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Ikeda Wisdom Academy

Applying the ‘Teachings for Victory’ in Our Lives

Study Material Overview for the Ikeda Wisdom Academy’s Fifth Class

In August, we held the last study lecture for the fifth class of Ikeda Wisdom Academy, our advanced study program for SGI-USA district through national youth leaders, which started in March 2021.

The following offers highlights from Ikeda Sensei’s study lectures in Learning from Nichiren’s Writings: The Teachings for Victory, volumes 1 and 2.

The material published in the March 2021 through August 2022 issues of Living Buddhism can be accessed at:

‘Letter from Sado’

Ikeda Sensei lectured on this writing in three parts. All three lectures can be found in The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, pp. 1–58. The following is a highlight from the first part.

Part 1: ‘My Disciples, Win With the Heart of a Lion King’

When an evil ruler in consort with priests of erroneous teachings tries to destroy the correct teaching and do away with a man of wisdom, those with the heart of a lion king are sure to attain Buddhahood. Like Nichiren, for example. I say this not out of arrogance, but because I am deeply committed to the correct teaching. (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 302)

From Ikeda Sensei’s Lecture:

Amid a calamitous storm of persecution, Nichiren Daishonin forged ahead with the “heart of a lion king,” refusing to retreat a single step. To have the heart of a lion king means to calmly recognize the “nature of beasts” for what it is and to defeat it. In Buddhism, lion king is another name for a Buddha. Those who stand up with this heart—or spirit—are certain to attain Buddhahood. …

Unhesitatingly committing yourself to the Law and having the lionhearted courage to battle the enemies of the Lotus Sutra are in essence the same thing. It seems to me the key message of the first half of “Letter from Sado” is that the Daishonin’s disciples should be lion kings, courageous individuals who embody the same selfless spirit as he does. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, p. 13)

•   •   •

‘Letter to the Brothers’

Ikeda Sensei lectured on this writing in three parts. All three lectures can be found in The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, pp. 58–112. The following is a highlight from the third part.

Part 3: ‘The Disciple’s Victory Is the Mentor’s Greatest Wish and Joy’

A passage in the Six Paramitas Sutra says to become the master of your mind rather than let your mind master you. Whatever trouble occurs, regard it as no more than a dream, and think only of the Lotus Sutra. (WND-1, 502)

From Sensei’s Lecture:

Becoming the master of one’s mind ultimately means basing oneself on the unwavering foundation of the Law. Herein lies the importance of sutras or writings containing the teachings of the Buddha who has awakened to and spreads the Law. For us, as practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism, mastering our minds means basing ourselves on the Gohonzon and Nichiren’s writings. And in Buddhism, it is the teacher or mentor who puts the teachings into practice that helps us connect to the Law. Mastering our minds means having a sincere seeking spirit in faith based on the oneness of mentor and disciple, and not being ruled by arrogant egoism or self-centeredness. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, p. 107)

•   •   •

‘The Supremacy of the Law’

Ikeda Sensei lectured on this writing in three parts. All three lectures can be found in The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, pp. 113–57. The following is a highlight from the third part.

Part 3: ‘Faith That Grows Stronger Is the Key to Eternal Victory’

The benefits that come from opening the eyes of even one blind person are beyond description. How then is it possible to describe the benefits that derive from opening the blind eyes of all the Japanese people, and from giving the gift of sight to all human beings throughout Jambudvipa and the other three continents? (WND-1, 615)

From Sensei’s Lecture

Today, just as 700 years ago, humankind is in need of a fundamental guiding philosophy that can serve to awaken or “open the eyes” of the people. Such a philosophy is found in the Lotus Sutra’s teachings of universal enlightenment and respect for all people. This philosophy holds that when we rise above differences of ethnicity and culture and discard all barriers, we come to see that all people inherently possess the same noble Buddha nature and have been born in this world to fulfill their highest potential. Every person is worthy of supreme respect. And when each person brings his or her innate Buddhahood to shine to the fullest, the world will change. A great human revolution in the life of just one person can change the world’s destiny. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, p. 152)

•   •   •

‘The Three Kinds of Treasure’

Ikeda Sensei lectured on this writing in three parts. All three lectures can be found in The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, pp. 159–201. The following is a highlight from the third part.

Part 3: ‘The Ultimate Key to Victory in Life Is Accumulating Treasures of the Heart’

The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the “Never Disparaging” chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being. (WND-1, 851–52)

From Sensei’s Lecture

Deeply apprehending the truth that—when viewed from the fundamental perspective of life—everyone is a Buddha, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging bowed in reverence to all he met, no matter how he was persecuted and attacked. This is the behavior of one who truly embodies the spirit of the Lotus Sutra. …

The treasures of the heart may be invisible to the eye. But when these inner treasures are given concrete expression as respectful actions toward others, they demonstrate and prove to others the power of the Mystic Law and the Buddha nature. …

Because shakubuku in Nichiren Buddhism is based on respect for others, it aims to refute the error of those who disrespect others. Premised on this understanding, Nichiren indicates that, even in the evil and slanderous age of the Latter Day, we need to act prudently and respectfully rather than simply rushing in to refute error.

Fully and unequivocally stating the truth is also shakubuku. The Latter Day of the Law is an age rife with distrust and fear stemming from a society in which people are not respected, and life is held in low regard. In such an age, shakubuku means standing up alone and resolutely holding high the banner of respect for human beings and the sanctity of life. This, too, is the courageous practice of shakubuku. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, pp. 197–200)

•   •   •

‘On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings’

Ikeda Sensei lectured on this writing in three parts. All three lectures can be found in The Teachings for Victory, vol. 2, pp. 1–52. The following is a highlight from the third part.

Part 1: ‘Striving for Kosen-rufu in the Spirit of the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple Is the Key to True Peace and Security in This Existence’

“The Lotus Sutra is the teaching of shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines.” True to the letter of this golden saying, in the end … The time will come when all people will abandon the various kinds of vehicles and take up the single vehicle of Buddhahood, and the Mystic Law alone will flourish throughout the land. When the people all chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the wind will no longer buffet the branches, and the rain will no longer break the clods of soil. … Realize that the time will come when the truth will be revealed that both the person and the Law are unaging and eternal. There cannot be the slightest doubt about the sutra’s promise of “peace and security in their present existence.” (WND-1, 392)

From Sensei’s Lecture

[This passage] refers to a situation where people readily accept the correct teaching upon hearing it, without slander or opposition. It is a time when the benefit of this teaching—the Law for the enlightenment of all people that the Buddha demonstrated with his life and taught to others—spreads widely among the people. This also signifies “establishing the correct teaching” in terms of Nichiren’s principle of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” …

Kosen-rufu is the most difficult of undertakings. It involves an inner transformation in people’s lives. Faith in the Mystic Law is a self-motivating force. Steadfast efforts in one-to-one dialogue are indispensable to nurturing that faith, giving each person confidence in his or her potential to change from within. …

The Law does not spread through coercion. As such, the ideal described in the aforementioned quote will only be realized when the humanism of Nichiren Buddhism gains widespread acceptance, becomes the philosophical current of society and develops into humankind’s shared value. Kosen-rufu cannot be accomplished without tenacious dialogue and the shining humanity of those who spread the Law. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 2, pp. 13–14)

•   •   •

‘King Rinda’

The following is a highlight from Ikeda Sensei’s lecture on this writing, which can be found in The Teachings for Victory, vol. 2, pp. 123–40.

‘Vibrant Chanting Opens the Great Path to Absolute Victory’

Like King Rinda of past times … the white horses are Nichiren, and the white swans are my followers. The neighing of the white horses is the sound of our voices chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. When Brahma, Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, the four heavenly kings, and the others hear this sound, how could they fail to take on a healthy color and shine with a brilliant light? How could they fail to guard and protect us? We should be firmly convinced of this! (WND-1, 989–90)

From Sensei’s Lecture

Even when the very survival of the country and its people is in question, those who confidently chant and propagate the Mystic Law can tap the fundamental life force of the universe in their own lives and stand up as agents of positive change in such a time of peril.

In this passage, the followers who are likened to white swans are none other than a gathering of disciples who are just such agents of change. Following the lead of their teacher, the Daishonin, who embodied the fundamental transformative power of the Mystic Law and stood up to open the way to enlightenment for all people, they chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the same strong conviction as he and taught others to do the same. …

The more troubled and confused the times, the more powerful the unity of the oneness of mentor and disciple becomes. When mentor and disciple are united in chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, it becomes the most powerful means for overcoming negative karma, dispelling the dark clouds looming over society and achieving the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 2, pp. 138–39)

•   •   •

‘The Kalpa of Decrease’

The following is a highlight from Ikeda Sensei’s lecture on this writing, which can be found in The Teachings for Victory, vol. 2, pp. 141–57.

‘Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism: Wisdom for Realizing Happiness for All Humanity’

Great evil portends the arrival of great good. If all of Jambudvipa [the entire world] were to be thrown into chaos, there could be no doubt that [this sutra would] “be widely propagated throughout Jambudvipa.” (WND-1, 1122)

From Sensei’s Lecture

The society of the Daishonin’s day refused to recognize the truths he presented to it. It condoned slander of the Law that brought suffering down upon the people. It was difficult for such a society to grow and prosper soundly, given that it granted legitimacy to erroneous Buddhist schools that either ignored or made an empty pretense of working for people’s happiness.

But the light of wisdom of the correct teaching of Buddhism shows its true worth in times of great confusion and turmoil. The Daishonin clearly believed that the darkest hour of night was but a prelude to a dawn of people’s awakening—an opportunity for change, a turning point. …

Precisely because the Latter Day of the Law is a time of seemingly insoluble challenges, we can take action to transform things, overturning evil practices of the past, carrying out radical reevaluations and starting at the source to find solutions for change. Such thoroughgoing transformation will, quite naturally, meet with resistance, but it is the only way to open a new path forward. The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin is a teaching of unwavering commitment to the positive transformation of reality—a teaching that makes it possible for us to change this troubled saha world into a realm of peace and happiness without fail. (The Teachings of Victory, vol. 2, pp. 154–55)

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