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District Meeting

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace—September

District Study for September

Our attitude changes everything. This is one of the great wonders of life, and at the same time, an undeniable reality. Photo by Kindel Media / Pexels.

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 60 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 fall.

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.

“Polishing Our Hearts to Shine Like Diamonds” [4.4]

Chapter 4: It Is the Heart That Is Important

What is the purpose of our Buddhist practice? It is for all of us, without exception, to become happy. That is also the purpose of our organization for kosen-rufu. Those who steadfastly uphold the Mystic Law will never be unhappy. It is important to have absolute confidence in this. That confidence, that conviction, will generate immense good fortune.

Buddhism teaches the four sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death … are inescapable parts of life. Will you lead a life shining with solid happiness, accumulating ever more benefit and good fortune as you grow older? Or will you lead a life characterized by frustration and disappointment, growing sadder and lonelier with the passing years?

The Mystic Law embodies the principle that “the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.” It enables us to be eternally youthful and vibrant, always bringing forth hope and actualizing our dreams.

The Mystic Law embodies the principle that “earthly desires are enlightenment.” The more numerous our problems, the more we can expand our life state based on faith and make those problems the fuel for our happiness. We can positively transform everything, changing poison into medicine. …

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

Those who have diamondlike hearts of faith are radiant champions who enjoy an indestructible, diamondlike state of happiness. They are eternal victors. Wherever they go, wherever they dwell, is a royal palace. They enjoy a vast and lofty state of life, as if gazing serenely over the entire universe.

By contrast, there are those who, though giving the appearance of being fine and upstanding, are actually morally corrupt and dishonest.

We need to polish the diamond of our faith. A raw gemstone only sparkles when it is polished. The diamond of our faith is polished by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and working for kosen-rufu. A life dedicated to the mission of advancing kosen-rufu will unfailingly enter a path of enduring happiness—a wonderful state of constant joy.

Discussion Questions:
1. Please share an example of how you turned “your problems into fuel for your happiness.”
2. How has chanting and supporting others transformed your state of life?

“When Our Life State Changes, the World Around Us Changes” [4.7]

Chapter 4: It Is the Heart That Is Important

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Hungry spirits perceive the Ganges River as fire, human beings perceive it as water, and heavenly beings perceive it as amrita.[1] Though the water is the same, it appears differently according to one’s karmic reward from the past” (“Reply to the Lay Priest Soya,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 486).

How we perceive things differs according to our state of life. When our state of life changes, the realm in which we reside also changes. This is the essence of the doctrine of the “actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life”[2] found in the Lotus Sutra.

Referring to the unending persecution he experienced throughout his life, the Daishonin says: “Day after day, month after month, year after year I have been subjected to repeated persecutions. Minor persecutions and annoyances are too numerous even to be counted, but the major persecutions number four”[3] (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 240).

Yet even while exiled to Sado Island, the harshest of his persecutions, he still serenely declares: “I feel immeasurable delight even though I am now an exile” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” WND-1, 386). The Daishonin calmly gazes down on his situation from the lofty heights of a life condition as vast and boundless as the universe.

Soka Gakkai founding President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi endured his wartime imprisonment for his beliefs with a similar state of mind, writing in letters from prison: “What I am going through is nothing compared to the sufferings of the Daishonin on Sado”;[4] and “Depending on one’s state of mind, even hell can be enjoyable.[5]

Our attitude changes everything. This is one of the great wonders of life, and at the same time, an undeniable reality. …

Nichiren Daishonin speaks of the “wonderful workings of one mind” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 30). The focused mind of faith in the Gohonzon has power and functions that are truly immense and wondrous. When the fundamental engine of our “one mind”—our inner attitude, or resolve—starts running, the gears of all phenomena of the three thousand realms are set in motion. …

When embraced by the great life state of Buddhahood, we ourselves, those around us, and the land in which we live will all shine with the light of happiness and hope. This is the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the “actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life.” At work here is the Buddhist principle of dynamic transformation.

Discussion Questions:
1. How has a “focused mind of faith in the Gohonzon” changed your attitude?
2. Can you give an example of how raising your own state of life influenced those around you?


  1. Amrita: A legendary, ambrosia-like liquid, often translated as “sweet dew.” Amrita is said to remove sufferings and give immortality. ↩︎
  2. Actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life: The doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which is the fundamental teaching for attaining enlightenment, is classified into two as the theoretical principle and the actual embodiment of this principle. However, in the Latter Day of the Law, these are both theoretical; and the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that Nichiren Daishonin revealed is the actual teaching of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. ↩︎
  3. Nichiren faced four major persecutions: the Matsubagayatsu Persecution (1260), the Izu Exile (1261), the Komatsubara Persecution (1264), and the Tatsunokuchi Persecution and Sado Exile (1271). ↩︎
  4. Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 10 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1987), p. 282. ↩︎
  5. Ibid., p. 285. ↩︎

Excerpts From Nichiren’s Writings in Volume 29

Analogy of the Garden Hose