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District Meeting

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace—August

District Study for August

When we chant before the Gohonzon ... we savor a serene and boundless happiness, as if gazing out over the entire cosmos. Makot / Getty Images

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace consists of excerpts selected from Ikeda Sensei’s collected works—his lectures, dialogues, encouragement and poetry spanning more than 50 year—which reflect his insights based on the philosophy and practice of Nichiren Buddhism. With the aim of having SGI members throughout the world study this series, it has been recently revised and posted on the new Soka Gakkai global website. A revised book will be available for purchase this summer.

Since March, monthly SGI-USA district study meetings began focusing on material excerpted from the revised edition of The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace series.

Here is a suggested framework for using this material:
1. Select one of the excerpts given.
2. Read the excerpt during the meeting.
3. Use the questions provided to guide your discussion.

“The Universal Language of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas” [3.20]

Chapter 3: The Practice for Transforming Our State of Life

I would like to address the question of whether there is any value in reciting sutra passages and chanting daimoku without understanding their meaning.

Of course, it is better if you understand their meaning. That will strengthen your faith in the Mystic Law. But if you understand and yet fail to practice, it won’t get you anywhere. Moreover, you cannot understand all of the profound significance of the Law through reason alone.

Birds and dogs, for example, have their own language, their own speech. People do not understand it, but other birds and dogs do. There are many comparable examples among humans as well—codes, abbreviations or foreign languages that are comprehended by experts or native speakers but unintelligible to others. Married couples also sometimes have their own language that only they understand!

In the same way, the language of gongyo and daimoku reaches the Gohonzon and the realms of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and three existences. We might call it the language of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. That is why our voices reciting the sutra and chanting daimoku before the Gohonzon reach all Buddhas, bodhisattvas and heavenly deities, whether we understand what we are saying or not. They hear it and say in response, “Excellent, excellent!” rejoicing and praising us. The entire universe envelops us in the light of happiness. …

When we chant before the Gohonzon, the door to our inner microcosm instantly opens to the macrocosm of the entire universe, and we savor a serene and boundless happiness, as if gazing out over the entire cosmos. We feel a deep fulfillment and joy along with a feeling of supreme confidence and self-mastery, as if we hold everything in the palm of our hands. The microcosm enfolded by the macrocosm reaches out to enfold the macrocosm in its own embrace.

Nichiren Daishonin writes in “Letter to Niike”: “When nurtured by the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, … [we] are free to soar into the sky of the true aspect of all phenomena”[1] (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1030). …

Just as we might climb the highest mountain peak to gaze down on the bright, clear scene of the world below, we can climb the mountain of perfect enlightenment, or supreme wisdom, the Daishonin says. We can attain a state of eternal bliss, experiencing moment after moment the infinite expanse and depth of life, as if soaring through the universe and savoring the sight of myriad beautiful stars, blazing comets and glittering galaxies.

Discussion Questions:
1. Based on consistent Buddhist practice, what aspects of life have you come to appreciate?
2. What were some benefits you experienced from chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo even before you understood its meaning?

“Appreciation and Joy Multiply Our Good Fortune” [4.2]

Chapter 4: It Is the Heart That Is Important

“It is the heart that is important” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1000), writes Nichiren Daishonin.

When we do something, do we approach it with a negative attitude—grumbling, “Oh, not again! I hate this!”—or a positive attitude—telling ourselves brightly, “All right, here’s a fresh opportunity to gain good fortune!”?

This seemingly small, subtle difference in attitude can make a huge difference in our lives. It can change things 180 degrees. This is what the Lotus Sutra and the doctrine of “three thousand realms in a single moment of life”[2] teach us.

The heart is invisible, and Buddhism provides a comprehensive understanding of the principles governing that invisible heart. It represents the highest form of psychology, neuroscience and psychotherapy.

Appreciation and joy multiply our good fortune. Complaint and negativity erase it.

In the endeavor to spread Nichiren Buddhism, actions arising from our sincere wish to help others and teach them the greatness of the Mystic Law bring immense benefit and good fortune to fill our lives.

“It is the heart that is important”—there are no truer words than these.

Human beings are weak and easily susceptible to complaint, resentment, envy and discouragement.

But this is where those who practice Nichiren Buddhism differ. They stop complaining, they stop being dissatisfied and negative. They attain an inner strength that makes them confident and positive. And their hearts overflow with appreciation and gratitude.

We often find that those who live in the city yearn for country life, while those who live in the country long for city life, or that those who are single dream of being married, while those who are married wish they were single again. That is a common tendency of the human heart.

But happiness doesn’t lie somewhere far away. It is something we must achieve for ourselves through our present struggles in the here and now.

When we have a positive and appreciative attitude toward our communities, it will give greater confidence and impetus to our activities. The joy of kosen-rufu will spread.

Discussion Questions:
1. How has a “subtle difference in attitude” helped you transform a situation?
2. What are some positive qualities that you would like to strengthen or negative tendencies you are determined to transform?


  1. True aspect of all phenomena: The ultimate truth or reality that permeates all phenomena and is in no way separate from them. A principle expressed in “Expedient Means,” the 2nd chapter of the Lotus Sutra, clarifying the truth that all people are inherently endowed with the potential to become Buddhas. Nichiren Daishonin taught that all phenomena are manifestations of the universal Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. ↩︎
  2. Three thousand realms in a single moment of life (Jpn ichinen sanzen): A philosophical system established by the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai of China based on the Lotus Sutra. The “three thousand realms” indicates the varying aspects that life assumes at each moment. All phenomena are contained within a single moment of life, and a single moment of life permeates the three thousand realms of existence, or the entire phenomenal world. ↩︎

Excerpts From Nichiren’s Writings in Volume 28

Weeding the Garden of Our Minds