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District Meeting

District Discussion Meeting Material

December 2022

Illustration by ArdeaA / Getty images

Living Buddhism provides three options to be used as study material for the monthly discussion meetings.

Option #1: Presentation on a Buddhist theme (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. Have a great discussion!

Option #1: How to Get Unstuck

The numbered boxes correspond to the PowerPoint slides for the December 2022 discussion meeting. The full PowerPoint and script can be found at > “Resources” > “This Month’s Downloads” tab. 

1. Key Points

1) Make an inner breakthrough.
2) Resolve to be the change.
3) Take action for the happiness of others.

2. What Does Being Stuck Look Like?

If you’re stuck, you may experience the following:

•  having only vague goals and determinations
•  doing gongyo and SGI activities out of a sense of obligation
•  being prone to complaining or criticizing
•  feeling no joy, enthusiasm or gratitude
•  having a weak seeking spirit
•  being lax at work and forgetting to put faith into practice in daily life

—See The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, revised edition, p. 229

3. Make an Inner Breakthrough

“Everything in our lives … occurs as a result of the changes unfolding within us. That’s why it is important for us to strive to change for the better and ceaselessly create our own happiness. You therefore have to be true to yourself and take responsibility for your own life. Indeed, it’s vital to recognize that you have no choice but to do so.”

—Josei Toda, September 2022 Living Buddhism, p. 56

4. Resolve to Be the Change

“If we pray to the Gohonzon through all our sufferings and sorrows and firmly resolve that: ‘This is my destiny. This is my life. I will do my human revolution first and foremost,’ then a path forward will open without fail.”

—Sensei, The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, p. 185

5. Take Action for the Happiness of Others

“In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, speaking of how our bodies correspond to the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, the Daishonin says that our legs correspond to kyo [meaning “sutra” or “teaching”].[1] The good fortune and benefit of the Mystic Law spread when we take action, when we go out and work for the happiness of others and for the sake of the Law.”

—Sensei, March 6, 2020, World Tribune, p. 2

Suggested Questions:
1) Can you share how using one or more of these points could help you get unstuck?
2) What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2022?

Option #2: The Lion’s Roar

The lion’s roar (shishi ku) is the preaching of the Buddha. … The first shi of the word shishi, or “lion” [which means “teacher”], is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi [which means “child”] is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The “roar” is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison. (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 111)

Nichiren Daishonin states that the “lion’s roar” refers to teacher and disciple chanting and spreading Nam-myoho-renge-kyo together.

The wish of the lion king—the Buddha—as taught in Nichiren Buddhism is to triumph over every manner of devilish function and enable all people to realize happiness through the great lion’s roar that has the power to move everything in a positive direction.

He teaches us here that the essence of this lion’s roar is the shared struggle of mentor and disciple.

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, not only spoke out for the truth with a lion’s roar himself, but also often urged the youth division members: “Kosen-rufu is a struggle of words, so you, too, should tirelessly speak out!” and “We are in the right, so just speak the truth exactly as it is!”

Kosen-rufu is a spiritual struggle to fundamentally vanquish the destructive impulses that reside in the depths of people’s lives and cause them unhappiness. …

The great, united lion’s roar of mentor and disciple allows us to vanquish fundamental darkness or ignorance and powerfully draw forth the fundamental nature of enlightenment, or Dharma nature. (August 2018 Living Buddhism, p. 41)

•  •   •

The Chinese term for lion comprises two elements: the first means “teacher” or “mentor,” and the second, “disciple.” “Roars like a lion” refers to the oneness of mentor and disciple where mentor and disciple roar together. This is the true meaning of propagation.

Early in my practice, I made the determination: “President Toda is the mentor of propagation in the Latter Day, and I am his disciple. Therefore, it is impossible for me not to propagate Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching.” With that resolve, I accomplished propagation of the Daishonin’s teaching second to none.

The chapter says that the disciples are “without fear.” We should never be afraid. We need not be fearful or complain or lament our situation. Rather, we must have bright, vital faith. Then the limitless beneficial power of the Mystic Law will flow through our lives. (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 5, p. 18)

Suggested Questions:
1) How has having a mentor in faith helped you overcome hardships?
2) How does chanting with the “lion’s roar” impact your faith and daily life?

Option #3: ‘The Greatest of All Joys’

“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys.”—The Record of Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 211


Nichiren Daishonin makes the above statement in the context of the Lotus Sutra’s parable of the Jewel in the Robe. The story involves a wealthy man concerned about his impoverished friend. The man sews a priceless jewel into the lining of his friend’s robe while he is sleeping. The wealthy man then leaves. His friend awakens unaware of the jewel hidden in his robe and continues to experience hardship and poverty. Some time later, the two men reunite. The wealthy man tells his friend about the jewel he had sewn into his robe. The poor man, realizing for the first time that he possesses a priceless jewel, is overjoyed. This discovery is a source of joy unlike any other.

Discussing this parable, Nichiren says realizing that we have always possessed the potential for Buddhahood is cause for unrivaled joy.

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance:

The life state of the Buddha inherently abounds with immense joy. It is pervaded by the joy of the Law at having arrived at the ultimate truth. Having attained a state of deathlessness, the Buddha’s life eternally overflows with the joy to be alive. Mani-
festing Buddhahood means to bring forth the joy of the Buddha from the depths of our beings.

If we uphold the Mystic Law and have courage, the life force of Buddhahood—which enables us to take on any hardship—will well forth from within us. If we have invincible hope that shines on undaunted by even the most bitter setbacks, then this lifeforce will never be exhausted.

Through the power of the Mystic Law, we come to recognize that, though we may once have been overwhelmed by problems and difficulties, we actually have the inner strength to address and overcome them. By dedicating ourselves to the great objective of kosen-rufu, we come to realize that our own problems and worries can serve as the driving force for changing our lives for the better and thereby prove the validity of the Daishonin’s Buddhism. We come to appreciate that our refusal to be defeated by suffering can be a source of inspiration and encouragement to many others. And by maintaining a fighting spirit for kosen-rufu, we can arrive at the realization that we ourselves are originally Buddhas.

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings continues: “This passage refers to the great joy that one experiences when one understands for the first time that one’s mind from the very beginning has been the Buddha. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys” (pp. 211–12). (SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series: The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life, pp. 137–39)

Suggested Questions:
1) What does it feel like to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the awareness that you can overcome any challenge?
2) Please share a time when you experienced your Buddha nature emerge and felt a deep sense of joy.


  1. Nichiren Daishonin says: “We may say that our head corresponds to myo, our throat to ho, our chest to ren, our stomach to ge, and our legs to kyo. Hence this five-foot body of ours constitutes the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 28). ↩︎

District Study Meeting Material

The Wisdom of Buddhist Humanism—World Citizen Education