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District Meeting

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace—July

District Study for July

A life that has been thoroughly polished by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo shines with wisdom, and this wisdom serves as a beacon guiding the way to victory in life. Photo by Yvonne Ng.

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 years—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 spring.

In 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.

“Polishing Our Lives Through Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” [3.14]

Chapter 3: The Practice for Transforming Our State of Life

The Mystic Law is the key to polishing our lives. In “On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime,” Nichiren Daishonin writes: “This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena [Dharma nature] and the true aspect of reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 4).

Our society today is rife with negative influences. People’s lives are easily clouded and sullied. That is why we need this fundmental method for polishing and purifying our lives.

A life that has been thoroughly polished by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo shines with wisdom, and this wisdom serves as a beacon guiding the way to victory in life. In “The Benefits of the Teacher of the Law” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the wisdom of those who uphold the Mystic Law is likened to “a pure bright mirror / in which forms and shapes are all reflected” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 303). Just as a bright, clear mirror reflects every object as it is, a life that has been well polished can discern the true reality of all things in the world.

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin comments on this passage as follows: “The sutra passage is saying that persons whose six sense organs are pure[1] will be like lapis lazuli[2] or like bright mirrors in which one sees the major world system (or the thousand-millionfold world).[3]

“Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they see and understand the ten thousand phenomena [i.e., all phenomena], as though these were reflected in a bright mirror” (p. 149). …

The “bright mirror” of a well-forged and polished life fully reflects the universe, society and human life. The “bright mirror,” fundamentally, is the Gohonzon—in other words, the life of Nichiren Daishonin. In a broader sense, it is the “bright mirror of the single mind [of faith]” (see OTT, 149) of all those who believe in the Gohonzon as disciples of the Daishonin.

This is the profound significance of faith in the Mystic Law. Through strong faith, we can elevate and transform our lives—spiritually and physically—to their purest and strongest possible state.

Discussion Questions:
1. How has chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enhanced your life?
2. How has chanting helped you “discern the true reality” of a situation and turn it around for the better?

“Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Freely” [3.16]

Chapter 3: The Practice for Transforming Our State of Life

A 100,000-lira note is worth more than a 10,000-lira note. It goes without saying that it is preferable to have the note with the greater value. In the case of daimoku, the important thing is to chant earnestly and with strong conviction. Of course, it would be even better to have lots of 100,000-lira notes! The bottom line is that both quality and quantity matter in chanting.

The principle of “responsive communion” is very important in Nichiren Buddhism. To use an analogy, when talking on the phone, if the connection is good, we’ll be heard even if we speak softly, but if it’s bad, then sometimes the other person won’t be able to hear us even if we shout. In order for our prayers to be effective, we need to express them honestly and directly to the Gohonzon.

The Daishonin states, “What is called faith is nothing unusual” (“The Meaning of Faith,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1036). In other words, we can just be ourselves.

He continues: “Faith means putting one’s trust in the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, and the heavenly gods and benevolent deities, and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a woman cherishes her husband, as a man lays down his life for his wife, as parents refuse to abandon their children, or as a child refuses to leave its mother” (WND-1, 1036).

We should be honest and unpretentious when we chant to the Gohonzon. If we are suffering or feeling sad, then we should take that suffering to the Gohonzon without hiding it, expressing in our prayers what is in our hearts.

It is the Daishonin’s wish that we all become happy. By coming in contact with and connecting with the life of the Daishonin [by chanting to the Gohonzon], therefore, we are certain to attain happiness. It is inconceivable that the Daishonin would fail to protect those who are striving as his emissaries to realize kosen-rufu.

Essentially, we practice Nichiren Buddhism for our own happiness and well-being. In chanting daimoku, too, the main thing is that we ourselves feel happy and satisfied. It’s not a matter of formality; there are no rules specifying how long we have to chant and so on. While it is often helpful to set ourselves a target for the amount of daimoku we want to chant, when we’re too tired or sleepy, or we find ourselves dozing off in front of the Gohonzon and just chanting out of force of habit, then it is far more valuable to get some rest and chant properly another time, when we’re refreshed in body and mind. … When we continue chanting in this way each day, we will naturally come to experience a life in which all our desires are fulfilled.

Discussion Questions:
1. What has the process of developing faith been like for you?
2. In studying this guidance, what would you like to challenge or overcome?


  1. Purification of the six sense organs: Also, purification of the six senses. This refers to the six sense organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind becoming pure, making it possible to apprehend all things correctly. ↩︎
  2. Lapis lazuli: One of the seven treasures, which in the Lotus Sutra also includes gold, silver, seashell, agate, pearl and carnelian. ↩︎
  3. Major world system: Also, thousand-millionfold world. One of the world systems described in ancient Indian cosmology. ↩︎

Excerpts From Nichiren’s Writings in Volume 27

Cherry, Plum, Peach and Damson Story