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District Meeting

District Discussion Meeting Material

February 2022

Illustration by ArdeaA / Getty images

This year, Living Buddhism is providing three options to be used as study material for the monthly discussion meetings.

Option #1: Presentation on a Buddhist term (also available online).
Option #2: Ikeda Sensei’s guidance on a Buddhist concept.
Option #3: Study material on a passage from Nichiren’s writings.

You can choose one of these topics to discuss at your monthly discussion meeting. Enjoy!

OPTION #1: Remaining Steadfast Amid the Eight Winds

The numbered boxes correspond to the PowerPoint slides for the February 2022 discussion meeting. The full PowerPoint and script can be found at


We can lead victorious and happy lives by pressing ahead toward our dreams and goals based on faith, unbowed by neither insults nor praise.


“Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline.”

—“The Eight Winds,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 794


Four favorable winds:
• Prosperity
• Honor
• Praise
• Pleasure

Four adverse winds:
• Decline

• Disgrace
• Censure
• Suffering


We human beings allow thoughts of short-term gain or loss or public opinion to rule our behavior. We become obsessed with what others think of us, focus only on superficial appearances and overlook what’s really important. If this happens, we won’t stand a chance when confronting intense winds of hardship or times of momentous change. It is crucial that we forge a solid self that is impervious to all eight winds.

—Ikeda Sensei, The Teachings for Victory, vol. 6, p. 22


It’s no exaggeration to say that refusing to be defeated is the most important key to victory in life. Those who keep moving forward with tenacity, who refuse to be discouraged or defeated by even the most painful trials, without fail win in the end.

—Ikeda Sensei, The Teachings for Victory, vol. 6, p. 23

Suggested Questions:
1) What are some ways you can develop the strength to remain unswayed no matter the situation?
2) Can you share an experience of refusing to be defeated by your circumstances?

OPTION #2: Relieving Suffering and Imparting Joy

What exactly is the Buddha’s compassion? Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom discusses the term generally used in Buddhism for compassion—jihi in Japanese— explaining that the Chinese character for ji, or pity, means imparting joy to people, while hi, or mercy, means relieving them of their sufferings. Opening the way for relieving suffering and imparting joy so that all people may attain enlightenment is an expression of the Buddha’s compassion.

Empathizing with others’ pain and suffering is different from merely feeling pity. Ultimately, the only way for someone to truly overcome their problems is for that person to summon the power from within the depths of their life to stand up strongly on their own to challenge those problems. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda pointed out: “You can’t help anyone in a truly meaningful way by just saying how sorry you feel for them. Become leaders who can offer genuine guidance and encouragement based on faith. You should say what needs to be said, and then chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo together with the person you’re encouraging.” True Buddhist compassion has nothing to do with sentimentality or mere pity. This is because sentimentality or mere pity cannot help the other person achieve victory in life; it cannot truly relieve suffering and impart joy, for it does not solve the fundamental problem in terms of “shared sufferings.” (November 13, 2009, World Tribune, pp. 4–5)

• • •

Mr. Toda declared: “The Daishonin is a Buddha of great compassion without compare. We should make his all-embracing compassion known throughout the world.” The direct path to realizing this undertaking is found in our vibrant day-to-day efforts to reach out to others in Buddhist dialogue.

Since the pioneering days of our movement, our members have empathized with those who were suffering, chanted for their growth and happiness, spoken with great conviction about the principles and ideals of Buddhism, and helped many people fundamentally transform their lives by introducing them to faith in the Mystic Law. No matter how our members were scorned or ridiculed, they never retreated in their efforts, always rushing to the side of those who were suffering and warmly supporting them. They have continuously encouraged others to become happy through practicing Nichiren Buddhism, assuring them that they would be able to overcome all obstacles. These are truly the courageous and persevering efforts of Buddhas.

Mr. Toda said: “As ordinary mortals, it can sometimes be difficult for us to summon forth compassion, but we can substitute courage for compassion. The courage to speak the truth is equivalent to compassion. They are two sides of the same coin, and the ‘heads’ side of that coin is courage.” …

Our network of courageous compassion has now spread to 192 countries and territories. Nowhere can we find a more wonderful organization than the SGI in its dedicated efforts to warmly support and bring hope to people everywhere. (November 13, 2009, World Tribune, p. 5)

Adapted From the December 2018 Daibyakurenge, pp. 92–95

Suggested Questions:
1) How has sharing Buddhism and supporting others helped you grow?
2) What role can Buddhist compassion play in transforming society?

OPTION #3: Being of the ‘Same Mind as Nichiren’

“Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku. At first only Nichiren chanted Nammyoho- renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well.”

—“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 385


This February 16 marks the 800th anniversary of Nichiren Daishonin’s birth. Let’s study this passage to learn what it means to be of “the same mind as Nichiren.”

The Daishonin wrote this letter in May 1273 while exiled on Sado Island. It was addressed to Sairenbo, who was also in exile there. The letter discusses the concept of “the true aspect of all phenomena,” which teaches that … all forms and realities that exist, both concrete and abstract, are manifestations of the Mystic Law.

Nichiren expresses that, as a Bodhisattva of the Earth, he has been entrusted to spread this Mystic Law and that those devoted to propagating this teaching with “the same mind as Nichiren” are themselves Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

He urges his followers to exert themselves in faith, practice and study.

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

We of the SGI are comrades who have joined together in dedicating our lives to the vow of kosen-rufu. We have striven selflessly, with “the same mind as Nichiren,” to realize Nichiren’s will and decree.

Moreover, we are fulfilling our noble mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth to propagate “the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo” in a spirit of equality and mutual respect, according with the Daishonin’s admonition that there should be no discrimination between men or women (see WND-1, 385).

Nichiren further states: “At first only Nichiren chanted Nammyoho- renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well” (WND-1, 385). We, too, are practicing in exact accord with this eternal and unchanging formula for the progression of kosen-rufu.

The spirit to stand up alone, to take personal initiative, is the core spirit and essence of the SGI. My mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, called out to young people: “Youth, just one of you stand! A second and then a third will definitely follow!” Our members around the world have indeed demonstrated that when one pioneering individual takes the lead, “two, three, and a hundred will follow.” In many localities and regions, kosen-rufu has started from a single individual, and from there spread to another person and then another. Through such steady, persevering efforts to share Buddhism with others, we have created the great current of kosen-rufu we have today. (February 2014 Living Buddhism, p. 26)

Suggested Questions:
1) What is the significance of spreading Buddhism to you?
2) What does it mean to have a “stand-alone spirit”?

District Study Meeting Material

The Wisdom of Buddhist Humanism—Human Rights