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District Meeting

District Discussion Meeting Material

November 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: When We Change, Our Environment Changes

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

1. Key Points

  1. We are inseparable from our environment, so a change in our hearts changes our environment.
  2. The key to winning over negative functions, improving ourselves and transforming our surroundings is chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, teaching others about chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and showing them the benefits of Buddhist practice.

2. Self and Environment Are Indivisible

“To illustrate, environment is like the shadow, and life, the body. Without the body, no shadow can exist, and without life, no environment.”

—Nichiren Daishonin, “On Omens,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 644

3. Our Environment Reflects Our Inner State of Life

“If the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds.” 

—Nichiren Daishonin, “On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime,” WND-1, 4

4. What It Means to ‘Truly Change Our Hearts’

“Changing our heart is not a matter of doing something that will only temporarily lift our mood or make us feel better, without changing our reality. A true change in our hearts is more profound; genuine inner change produces actual change in our lives. … 

That’s why we need to have a serious attitude in faith. … The subtlest difference in our hearts can produce dramatically different results.” 

—Ikeda Sensei, September 2018 Living Buddhism, p. 52

Suggested Questions:
1) How does understanding the concept of “the oneness of life and its environment” help you in your daily challenges?

2) When has winning over your own negativity or weakness led to a change in your circumstances?

Option #2: ‘Experiencing the Boundless Joy of the Law’

[The following passage] is from a letter of encouragement Nichiren Daishonin sent to Shijo Kingo, who found himself in difficult circumstances. Kingo had incurred his lord’s disfavor by trying to convert him to the Daishonin’s teaching, an act that also invited hostility from his fellow samurai retainers. The Daishonin writes to him:

Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than [experiencing] the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever. (“Happiness in This World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 681)

Right now, your life may be filled with suffering. But just as pleasure never lasts forever, neither does suffering. In life, there is both suffering and joy. Sometimes we win, and other times we lose. Both suffering and joy are a part of life; this is life’s reality. That is why, whether experiencing suffering or joy, we should keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, just as we are, says the Daishonin. If we do that, we will attain a state of supreme happiness through the wisdom and power of the Mystic Law. We can lead a life in which nothing will defeat us.

The Daishonin uses the phrase “experiencing the boundless joy of the Law.” “Experiencing” here means that we obtain and savor this joy ourselves. It comes down to us, not others. This joy is not bestowed on us by someone else or something outside us. Creating our own happiness and experiencing that happiness for ourselves; developing the inner strength and capacity to serenely enjoy life, regardless of its ups and downs—this is the meaning of “experiencing the boundless joy of the Law.” The power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to do this.

For that reason, we don’t need to compare ourselves with others. We should simply live in a way that is true to ourselves, based on faith in the Gohonzon.

Please advance in good health and with clear goals, while cultivating positive, harmonious relations with those around you. By conducting yourself in this way, you will naturally become the kind of person others admire, are drawn to and want to get to know. The Mystic Law enables you to utilize your potential to the fullest. When that happens, you can go anywhere and face anything with a sense of confidence and ease. You’ll be able to do what you need to do, unswayed by immediate events and circumstances, and lead a life of deep satisfaction, without regrets. That is the mark of a true victor in life. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 1, revised edition, pp. 180–82)

Suggested Questions:
1) How has chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped you experience the sufferings and joys of life differently from before?
2) How do you “enjoy life, regardless of its ups and downs”?

Option #3: Every Person Is Infinitely Noble

“The more gold is heated in the flames, the brighter will be its color; the more a sword is whetted, the sharper it will become. And the more one praises the blessings of the Lotus Sutra, the more one’s own blessings will increase.”

—“The Blessings of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 673


Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter in 1276 to his disciple Myomitsu. He explains that the struggle to open the way for the enlightenment of all people began with his lone, trailblazing efforts. He declares that the time when people far and wide chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will eventually arrive, assuring Myomitsu that he and his wife will receive boundless benefit for their unstinting support of the movement to widely propagate the Mystic Law.

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance:

In the Lotus Sutra itself, there are only a few pages elucidating the essence of the Law. Overall, the 28 chapters of the Lotus Sutra could be said to be dedicated almost entirely to describing multitudes of living beings unanimously lauding the blessings of the Law of universal enlightenment. …

Praise for the Mystic Law fills one’s life with blessings, and praise for those who uphold and propagate the Mystic Law increases those blessings exponentially.

We who uphold the Mystic Law believe that all people—both ourselves and others—innately possess the supreme life state of Buddhahood. When we strive as emissaries and disciples of the Buddha—chanting the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra ourselves and encouraging others to do the same—we can spread the philosophy of genuine respect for the sanctity of life far and wide and enrich the world through the workings of Buddhist compassion.

What our world needs today are more and more genuinely committed people who embody the life-affirming ideals of the Lotus Sutra. That is, the world needs individuals who can teach others through their personal experiences and actions that all people alike are endowed with infinitely noble potential. By awakening to that inner potential, we can defeat the discrimination that is the fundamental source of all evil, which arises from the darkness or ignorance in human life. Also, only when we deeply recognize the inherent dignity of all human beings can we triumph in the struggle to fundamentally overcome the perennial problem of war that plagues humanity. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 2, pp. 99–100)

Suggested Questions:
1) In our daily lives, what does it mean to “praise” the Mystic Law?
2) Why is sharing Buddhism with others essential to Buddhist practice?

District Study Meeting Material

Engage in Dialogue With the Unshakable Conviction That All People Embody the Mystic Law!