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District Meeting

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace—April

District Study for April

People who never lose hope, no matter what happens, are truly happy. monkeybusinessimages / 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 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.

Starting 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.

The Key to Happiness Is Inner Transformation

We may encounter all kinds of problems in the course of life. There will also undoubtedly be times when we are faced with circumstances beyond our control.

But why is it that, in the same situation, one person advances vibrantly, while another sorrows and laments? It is because happiness is an internal condition, something we feel in our hearts.

If we can live our lives with joy, if we enjoy living, then we are winners. That’s why transforming our hearts and minds is so important. This is the essence of Nichiren Buddhism.

External appearances are not what matter. There are many people whose circumstances are the envy of others, but who are actually very unhappy.

Those with strong, wise, resilient and generous hearts remain upbeat and positive, no matter what happens.

“It is the heart that is important” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1000), writes the Daishonin. This is the foundation for happiness—a foundation we establish through the Mystic Law.

The Daishonin declares: “The wonderful means of truly putting an end to the physical and spiritual obstacles of all living beings is none other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (“The Wonderful Means of Surmounting Obstacles,” WND-1, 842).

Happiness is not just a word. It is not found in objects, nor is it determined by wealth, social status, or celebrity.

The key, first of all, is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. When we do so, we will feel an upsurge of life force.

To feel joy in the depths of our lives, no matter what happens; to take delight in each moment of each day as we converse with friends and chant to our heart’s content—these are examples of genuine happiness.

Discussion Questions:
1. What are some examples of genuine happiness that you have experienced?
2. What is the key to developing genuine happiness in our lives?

The Life State of Practitioners of the Mystic Law

What characterizes the life state of genuine practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism?

First of all, having no fear—not being disturbed or daunted by anything. Lies and deceit abound in society. It is foolish to allow ourselves to be swayed by such things; it only leads to unhappiness.

The Mystic Law and Nichiren Daishonin are absolutely free of any falsehood. The wisest possible course, therefore, is to dedicate our lives to the widespread propagation of the Law—to kosen-rufu.

On account of our faith in Nichiren Buddhism, we may from time to time encounter unpleasantness from others. We may also find ourselves working much harder than many around us. But that is all part of our Buddhist practice.

The Daishonin teaches that we can attain enlightenment in this lifetime. This entails weathering the trials of the three obstacles and four devils.[1] But if we can do that, we can attain enlightenment in this lifetime and enjoy the boundless life state of Buddhahood throughout eternity. That’s why we need to forge ahead fearlessly, positively and courageously, come what may.

The second characteristic is living with vibrant hope. Nothing is stronger than hope. The Mystic Law is a source of eternal hope. People who never lose hope, no matter what happens, are truly happy.

The third characteristic is a state of life in which we savor joy at all times.

It is to have such joy that, even at the time of death, one can say with a heartfelt smile: “What a wonderful life that was! Now where shall I go next?” That is the life state of a genuine practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism.

Our Buddhist practice enables us to achieve an expansive state of being in which we can enjoy everything in life. As the Daishonin says, faith in the Mystic Law is “the greatest of all joys” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 212).

Discussion Questions:
1. Ikeda Sensei offers three qualities essential for Buddhists to develop: having no fear, living with hope and savoring joy at all times. How has working to develop these qualities helped you?
2. What challenge have you recently overcome through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and expanding your state of life?


  1. Three obstacles and four devils: Various obstacles and hindrances to the practice of Buddhism. The three obstacles are 1) the obstacle of earthly desires, 2) the obstacle of karma and 3) the obstacle of retribution.The four devils are 1) the hindrance of the five components, 2) the hindrance of earthly desires, 3) the hindrance of death and 4) the hindrance of the devil king. ↩︎

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