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District Meeting

District Study Meeting Material

March 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: Difficulties Are a Driving Force for Growth [5.7]

Chapter 5: Transforming Suffering Into Joy

Nichiren Daishonin’s life was a series of hardships and persecutions, including being exiled twice. Some of his disciples questioned where any peace and comfort was to be found in all this. But the Daishonin insisted that difficulties are in fact peace and comfort and in his writings repeatedly made such statements as: “What fortune is mine!”[1]; “How delighted I am!”[2]; “In future lives I will enjoy immense happiness, a thought that gives me great joy”[3]; and “How can such joy possibly be described!”[4] He savored a state of life that he could only describe as “How fortunate, how joyful!”[5]

In the light of the Buddhist scriptures, difficulties are inevitable. The important thing is how we transform them, changing poison into medicine, and use them as the driving force for fresh growth and progress.

There is no point in feeling anxious or lamenting each time the harsh winds of adversity blow. If we have a powerful determination to change everything that happens into a strong “tailwind,” we can surely open the way forward.

We of the Soka Gakkai have been able to create a history of tremendous development based on faith that is focused on the present and the future—namely, always looking from the present moment onward and moving forward, ever forward.

Without hardships, there is no true Buddhist practice. Without struggle, there is no genuine happiness. And that would not be real life. There would be no attainment of Buddhahood, either. When we practice Nichiren Buddhism with this understanding, we will never reach an impasse.

The power of one’s state of life is indeed wondrous. The power of one’s inner determination is limitless. In identical situations or circumstances, people can achieve completely different results and lead completely different lives depending upon their life state and their determination.

Those who have a strong resolve to promote our movement for kosen-rufu will see clear blue skies of good fortune appearing rapidly in their lives, stretching ever further and further, as if the wind were sweeping away every dark cloud.

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

2) Can you describe a time when a difficulty became the driving force for fresh growth and progress?

OPTION #2: Polishing Ourselves Through Adversity [5.8]

Chapter 5: Transforming Suffering Into Joy

The diamond is regarded as the king of gemstones. It is the hardest of all minerals, possessing unmatched brilliance. A symbol of purity, its name derives from the Greek word adamas meaning “unconquerable” or “invincible.”

How are diamonds formed? I’m not a scientist, but it is widely known that diamonds, like graphite, are made of carbon. Deep in the earth, this material is subjected to intense heat and pressure until it is transformed into the crystalline structure of a diamond.

This is similar to how we develop ourselves. Only when subjected to the concentrated pressure of hardships and the fierce heat of great adversity will the core of our lives, our deepest self, be transformed into the diamondlike and indestructible life state of Buddhahood. In other words, it is through experiencing hardships that we acquire the “diamondlike body,” or the Buddha body—a brightly shining state of absolute happiness as indestructible as a diamond that cannot be crushed by any amount of suffering or delusion.

A smooth and uneventful kind of Buddhist practice without any difficulties cannot truly help us polish and forge our lives. It is only when we withstand the intense heat and pressure of great hardships that we can shine as “champions of life,” sparkling like the most perfect of diamonds.

Such a diamondlike state of life shines with a pure, beautiful and imperishable light. It is solid and indestructible when buffeted by the turbulent tides of society and the obstacles of corrupt and ill-intentioned forces. We can achieve this state of life through earnestly chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and dedicating ourselves to kosen-rufu. Then our lives will forever be one with the Mystic Law, and we can strive for kosen-rufu with complete freedom throughout eternity. By correctly embracing and upholding the Gohonzon, we can become our greatest possible selves, continuing in this supreme state of Buddhahood in lifetime after lifetime.

Please lead brilliant lives that are diamondlike and indestructible. Indeed, may you all become “diamonds” of happiness that sparkle with the radiance of your beautiful hearts. To do so, please never fear hardships. Don’t allow yourselves to be defeated by unfounded criticism. Rather, be grateful for all obstacles, because they help you polish and develop yourselves.

Those who show even stronger conviction in faith and engage even more joyfully in Buddhist practice the greater the hardships they encounter will truly live as diamondlike champions.

Suggested Questions:
1) Which part of this material resonated with you?
2) What challenge have you overcome that became a turning point in your Buddhist practice?


  1. “On the Buddha’s Prophecy,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 402. ↩︎
  2. Ibid. ↩︎
  3. “The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 287. ↩︎
  4. “On Practicing the Buddha’s Teaching,” WND-1, 396. ↩︎
  5. “A Sage Perceives the Three Existences of LIfe,” WND-1, 642. ↩︎

The Ultimate Key to Victory in Life Is Accumulating the Treasures of the Heart

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