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District Meeting

District Study Meeting Material

February 2022

Illustration by ArdeaA / Getty images

The study material below is adapted from The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace by Ikeda Sensei. With the aim of having SGI members throughout the world study this series, it has been recently revised. You can purchase the revised edition of part one at

OPTION #1: ‘Creating the Future With the Buddhism of True Cause’ [5.4]

Chapter 5: Transforming Suffering Into Joy

Behind a smile might lie sadness. After pleasure might come emptiness. Problems and suffering are inescapable realities of life. And yet, we must go on living. How, then, should we live? How can we change suffering into true joy? The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin has the answer to these important and fundamental questions.

Nichiren Buddhism is the Buddhism of true cause.[1] It is a great, revolutionary teaching. It reveals that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the fundamental cause for attaining enlightenment and that, by simply embracing the Gohonzon, we can acquire in this lifetime all the practices and virtues of the Buddha.[2]

Nichiren Buddhism focuses on the present and the future. Its essence is for us to always keep advancing while looking forward and brightly illuminating the future. …

The important thing is to remain undaunted when difficulties arise, to firmly believe that they are expressions of the Buddha’s compassion and forge ahead with even stronger faith.

Some may weakly succumb to doubt and question why they still have problems even though they are practicing the Daishonin’s Buddhism. But such a weak way of thinking will—in accord with the principle of “three thousand realms in a single moment of life”[3]—come to permeate every aspect of their lives and create a state of even greater suffering. This is the opposite of having strong faith.

As ordinary people, we may not be able to fathom why a particular event happens at a particular time, but over the long term we will come to understand its meaning. We will also be able to positively transform the situation, changing poison into medicine. I can say this with complete confidence based on my personal experience of more than four [now seven] decades of Buddhist practice. We may not understand the significance of a certain event until five or 10 years later, or it may even take a lifetime. However, from the perspective of the eternity of life spanning the three existences, everything has meaning as an expression of the Buddha wisdom.

Suggested Questions:
1) Which part of this material resonated with you?
2) Can you share a time when you came to understand the significance of a certain event only after some time had passed?

OPTION #2: ‘Both Suffering and Joy Are a Part of Life’ [5.6]

Chapter 5: Transforming Suffering Into Joy

I would like to share a passage from Nichiren Daishonin’s writings that I’m sure all of you are very familiar with. It is from a letter of encouragement the Daishonin sent to Shijo Kingo, who found himself in difficult circumstances. Kingo had incurred his lord’s disfavor by trying to convert him to Nichiren’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. … That is why, whether experiencing suffering or joy, we should keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, just as we are, says Nichiren. 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.

Suggested Questions:
1) Which part of this material resonated with you?
2) Do you have an experience of developing the inner strength to serenely enjoy life regardless of its ups and downs?


  1. Mystic principle of the true cause: The true cause for enlightenment is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the Law of life and the universe. Nichiren teaches the practice of always moving forward from this moment on based on this fundamental Law. ↩︎
  2. See “The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 365. ↩︎
  3. Three thousand realms in a single moment of life (Jpn ichinen-sanzen): A philosophical system established by the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai of China based on the Lotus Sutra. The “three thousand realms” indicates the varying aspects of each life moment. All phenomena are contained in a single moment, and a single moment permeates the entire phenomenal world. ↩︎

‘Treasuring Each Person’—The Guiding Spirit of Our Actions As Genuine Practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism

District Discussion Meeting Material