Skip to main content

District Meeting

District Study Meeting Material

July 2022

Illustration by ArdeaA / Getty images.

The study material below is adapted from The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace by Ikeda Sensei. You can purchase the revised edition of part one at

OPTION #1: Be a Shining Presence Like the Sun—Part 2 [6.6]

Chapter 6: The Principle of ‘Cherry, Plum, Peach and Damson’

In Discussions on Youth, Ikeda Sensei talks with high school students and other young people about the keys to finding their unique mission and becoming a shining presence.

It is often said that everyone is a genius at something. Being talented doesn’t just mean being a good musician, writer or athlete—there are many kinds of talent. For instance, you may be a great conversationalist or make friends easily or put others at ease. Or you may have a gift for nursing, a knack for telling jokes, selling things or economizing. You may be someone who is always punctual, patient, steady, kind or optimistic. Or you may love new challenges, be strongly committed to peace or bring joy to others.

Each of you is as unique as a cherry, plum, peach, or damson blossom (see The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 200), as Nichiren Daishonin explains. Please bloom in the way that only you can.

Without a doubt, you each possess within you a jewel, your own innate talent. How can you discover that talent? The only way is to challenge yourself to the limit. …

The most important thing is getting into the habit of challenging yourself to the limit in this way. In a sense, the results you get don’t matter all that much. The actual grades you receive in high school, for instance, won’t decide the rest of your life. But the habit of challenging yourself to the limit will in time bear fruit. It will distinguish you from others without fail and bring your unique talents to shine. …

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda once said: “Young people must have the determination to excel at something.” Determination, tenacity of purpose, is crucial. Halfhearted effort will not make the precious jewel of your unique talents shine.

Suggested Questions:
1) Which part of this material resonated with you?

2) How has your Buddhist practice helped you recognize and develop your innate talent?

OPTION #2: Advancing Freely and Steadily [6.7]

Chapter 6: The Principle of ‘Cherry, Plum, Peach and Damson’

Ikeda Sensei prefaced a question-and-answer session with Bharat [India] Soka Gakkai members by stating that “open discussion in which participants can speak freely and ask anything on their minds is a Buddhist tradition dating back to the times of Shakyamuni.” In this excerpt, he offers encouragement to a men’s division member who said he found it difficult to master the qualities of eloquence, wisdom and compassion that the guidance of the Soka Gakkai suggests we aspire to.

Just be yourself. All you have to do is keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and advance freely in a manner that is true to yourself. That is what the Buddhist principle of “illuminating and manifesting one’s true nature” (see “The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 746) is all about. By practicing Nichiren Buddhism, we can bring our true self to shine. If this were not the case, we’d be frauds. Naturally, we should exert ourselves in our human revolution, but there is absolutely no need to resort to false or contrived eloquence, compassion or wisdom.

What’s important is to continue making effort daily, chanting and praying for the happiness of others, doing your best to be kind and considerate to those around you, and polishing your own character. But, as second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda often pointed out, if you can’t treasure your spouse or those closest to you, you won’t be able to treasure others. Compassion, he said, doesn’t flow forth so easily.

Surely the correct path and most dignified way to live is to advance just as we are, as ordinary people, striving to improve ourselves even just by small increments based on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren Buddhism is a great teaching that is open to all people; it does not make irrational or unreasonable demands.

Suggested Questions:
1) Which part of this material resonated with you?

2) What does it mean to advance in a way that is “true to yourself” while carrying out your human revolution? 

Vibrant Chanting Opens the Great Path to Absolute Victory

District Discussion Meeting Material