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District Meeting

District Discussion Meeting Material

March 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: The Buddhist Principle of ‘Cherry, Plum, Peach and Damson’

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


1) The principle of “cherry, plum, peach and damson” teaches that through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and sharing Buddhism we can joyfully discover how to live true to ourselves and fulfill our unique mission.

2) Our efforts to engage in our human revolution are vital in this process.

3) Nichiren Buddhism teaches the importance of respecting diversity while working together to create a harmonious society; it can serve as a guiding philosophy to create genuine peace.


“Each thing—the cherry, the plum, the peach, the damson—in its own entity, without undergoing any change, possesses the eternally endowed three bodies [of the Buddha] …

“Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the original possessors of these eternally endowed three bodies.”

—Nichiren Daishonin, The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, pp. 200–01


There is a difference between “being who you are” and “staying as you are.” If you content yourself with staying as you are, you’ll never grow or develop. By deeply pondering the questions of who you really are and what your purpose in life is, and by making effort after effort and tirelessly challenging yourself, you will bring to blossom the flower of your mission in life.

—Ikeda Sensei, The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, pp. 125–26


Through the workings of the eternally endowed three bodies of the Buddha in our lives, the individual differences we possess are turned into our unique positive characteristics. In this connection, the philosophy of human revolution—of each individual striving to realize this kind of fundamental inner transformation—will surely lead to elevating the life state of all humankind.

—Ikeda Sensei, January 2018 Living Buddhism, pp. 48–49

Suggested Questions:
1) What does it mean to you to live true to yourself?
2) Can you share a time when you transformed a conflict that developed into a deeper sense of respect and appreciation for those involved?

OPTION #2: Unseen Virtue Brings Visible Reward

The following excerpts from Ikeda Sensei’s discussion in Youth and the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, pp. 191–93, explain the principle that “unseen virtue brings about visible reward.”

There are days when the cold winter winds blow, when the hot summer sun is beating down, when it’s pouring rain or when heavy snow is falling. But no matter what challenges our young men and women of the Soka Group, Gajokai and Byakuren face, they always greet those arriving at our facilities with the respect befitting Buddhas, just as the passage from the Lotus Sutra states.

They are carrying out their duties with a spirit of venerating and serving everyone as Buddhas. There is nothing more praiseworthy. Through their behavior, they are putting into practice the passage “You should rise and greet [them] from afar, showing [them] the same respect you would a Buddha,” which is “the foremost point [the Buddha] wished to convey to us.”[1]

• • •

The Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the universe are aware of all the noble unseen efforts you are making to chant for others and support your fellow members, and of how much thought and care you are putting into fulfilling your responsibilities. By the same token, they also know when you are neglecting your duties, thinking that no one will notice. This is merely another way of expressing the law of cause and effect, the workings of which are inescapable.

How seriously we pray and exert ourselves are all engraved in our lives. Those who practice sincerely and earnestly will definitely win in the end. They will accrue immense benefit and good fortune without fail. This is the conclusion I have reached from upholding faith in the Mystic Law for more than [70] years.

The Daishonin writes: “Where there is unseen virtue, there will be visible reward”[2]; and “Though one’s trustworthiness may at first go unnoticed, in time it will be openly rewarded.”[3]

All the actions we take for kosen-rufu will become a cause toward attaining Buddhahood and enable us to reveal our Buddha nature. And by revealing our Buddha nature, the “heavenly deities”—the positive functions of the universe—will assist and protect us. As Nichiren writes, we will surely gain “visible reward” and be “openly rewarded.”

Buddhism does not exist somewhere apart from reality. Therefore, the efforts you make for the sake of kosen-rufu will all become your own benefit. And they will also become a cause that will lead your family and loved ones to enjoy great benefit in lifetime after lifetime. Whether or not your efforts may be recognized by others, please be assured that you will most certainly be rewarded by the workings of the Mystic Law.

Adapted From the August 2018 Daibyakurenge, pp. 96–98

Suggested Questions:
1) How has understanding the law of cause and effect impacted you, especially when your efforts aren’t openly recognized?
2) What has your experience been with “unseen virtue bringing about visible reward”?

OPTION #3: Striving With ‘Good Friends’

“When a tree has been transplanted, though fierce winds may blow, it will not topple if it has a firm stake to hold it up. But even a tree that has grown up in place may fall over if its roots are weak. Even a feeble person will not stumble if those supporting him are strong, but a person of considerable strength, when alone, may fall down on an uneven path.” —“Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 598


Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to the lay priest Nishiyama, who, despite various pressures from the authorities, continued to uphold his faith and visit Nichiren at Minobu.

The opening of this letter explains the importance of “good friends”—those who assist or encourage one in Buddhist practice. In the Latter Day of the Law, a time when the world is rife with misguiding views and “evil companions”—those who hinder one’s quest for enlightenment—Nichiren stresses how rare it is to encounter a “good friend.”

Thus, he calls on Nishiyama to strive together with a “good friend” who will help him carry out correct practice of Buddhism.

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

The Soka Gakkai is a gathering of true good friends, who stand in the same spirit as their mentor and expand a realm of support to help all people reveal their Buddha nature. …

When we respect and value our fellow members in the course of our day-to-day SGI activities, we are practicing the correct teaching in accord with the Buddha’s intent.

There may well be times when one finds it somewhat challenging to work with other members, who may have different personalities or backgrounds. Young people, in particular, often find organizations restrictive and stifling, and many may think it is easier and more pleasant to be on one’s own.

There is also a strong tendency these days for people to try to avoid direct interaction with others. But that trend deprives us of the opportunity to make the most of our differing personalities, to praise and support one another, and to cultivate our tolerance and understanding. As a result, we may end up being unable to appreciate the pain and suffering of others, control our own anger or patch up even small differences and misunderstandings. …

The important thing, when all is said and done, is to apply ourselves to our human revolution and continue practicing with steady faith that is like flowing water. The Soka Gakkai is our training ground in this effort. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 5, pp. 61–62)

Suggested Questions:
1) Can you share an experience of overcoming a difficulty with the help of “good friends” in faith?
2) How have you grown by striving with the SGI community?


  1. The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 192. ↩︎
  2. “Unseen Virtue and Visible Reward,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 907. ↩︎
  3. “The Four Virtues and the Four Debts of Gratitude,” WND-2, 636. ↩︎

District Study Meeting Material

The Wisdom of Buddhist Humanism—Protecting Our Planet