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Protecting the Mentor and the Teachings

SGI-USA youth leaders deepen their understanding of Nichiren Buddhism by taking the Ikeda Wisdom Academy Exam, New Orleans, January 2017. Photo by Martha Manzanares

The Ikeda Wisdom Academy is the advanced study program for SGI-USA district through national youth leaders. It was named by Ikeda Sensei on January 26, 2013.

Bearing the motto, “Protecting the Mentor and the Teachings,” the academy serves to cultivate young leaders with a correct understanding of Buddhism who put the teachings into practice to lead lives of unparalleled victory and usher in a new age of the people. Toward that end, monthly Ikeda Wisdom Academy meetings are held where academy members can study together, learn the spirit of Buddhism and how to embody it. In a message to the participants of the North America and Oceania SGI Youth Leaders Study Conference in 2013, where the Ikeda Wisdom Academy was established, Sensei says:

Nichiren Daishonin wrote to the young Nanjo Tokimitsu, “My wish is that all my disciples make a great vow” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1003). This one statement constitutes the Daishonin’s eternal guideline for all youth throughout the 10,000 years of the Latter Day of the Law.

“As youth, you face all sorts of difficulties and wrestle each day with worries and problems. Precisely for this reason, it is crucial that you stand up with a great vow and strive to achieve a fundamental goal. Once you decide what is fundamental, nothing that happens will sway you, and you can grow by leaps and bounds. (February 15, 2013, World Tribune, p. 2)

To date, Ikeda Wisdom Academy has completed four classes, studying works such as The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra series and Sensei’s lectures on key writings of Nichiren Daishonin. Each class’ graduation is marked by an exam that all district through national youth leaders are encouraged to take upon completing the study material.

For the next class of Ikeda Wisdom Academy, youth will study Sensei’s lectures from The Teachings for Victory, volumes 1 and 2. These two volumes cover key writings from Nichiren, including “Letter from Sado,” “Letter to the Brothers,” “The Three Kinds of Treasures,” “The Proof of the Lotus Sutra” and “The Kalpa of Decrease.”

The new class of Ikeda Wisdom Academy will begin in Spring 2021. If you are a district through national youth leader and would like to participate, please contact your local youth leaders.

Jackie Alexander
Matteson, Ill.
Region vice young women’s leader
Joined: July 5, 2017
Started attending: 2018

The Ikeda Wisdom Academy study program has helped me deepen my relationship with Ikeda Sensei and The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin. Through these lectures, I’ve learned about deep Buddhist concepts, which have fueled a stronger determination and conviction to win in my own life. I’m determined to polish myself and bring forth even greater wisdom, courage and compassion every day.

Taj Richards
Teaneck, N.J.
Chapter vice young men’s leader
Joined: July 11, 2016
Started attending: 2016

While I’ve been strong in faith and practice, study has always been challenging for me. As a young men’s leader, taking part in the Ikeda Wisdom Academy has given me a reference for encouraging other young men based on faith. I recently graduated with a degree in computer science, and my determination is that I can combine my technical skills with what I’ve learned from the Ikeda Wisdom Academy to contribute to a noteworthy cause as a global citizen and member of the SGI.

Manvi Goyal
San Francisco, Calif.
Chapter young women’s leader
Joined: March 16, 2016
Started attending: 2017

The Ikeda Wisdom Academy motto is “Protecting the mentor and the teachings.” I’ve experienced being a youth leader in a religious organization where the youth activities dissipated once the teacher passed away. I believe that by studying the correct teachings of Buddhism and putting them into action, we can ensure that our movement will endure. Being a part of this study program has enabled me to see the world through my mentor’s eyes and have conviction that everything I’m going through is tied to my deeper mission for kosen-rufu.

Christopher Robin Donaldson
Denver, Colo.
Chapter young men’s leader
Joined: February 18, 2015
Started attending: 2016

What we study is not abstract theory, it is practical guidance that has helped me change my life, family and community. The greatest actual proof has been in my work at a hospital. I can say that through this study program, I have changed from someone who seeks enlightenment only for myself to someone who has a desire to lead others to happiness based on my vow.

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The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vols. 4–6
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Fourth Class
SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series: On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime
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