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District Meeting

District Study Meeting Material

May 2022

All illustrations 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: Live True to Yourself [6.3]

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

To know oneself, to know the nature of human beings, to know the preciousness of life—herein lies the important significance of religion.

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda remarked: “Whether one is suffering because of poverty, a business failure, a bitter quarrel with one’s spouse, an injury caused by tripping over a hibachi [a charcoal brazier]—ultimately, all these things are a reflection of one’s life. That is, they are outward expressions of one’s inner state of being. … That’s why it is important for us to strive to change for the better and ceaselessly create our own happiness.

“You therefore have to be true to yourself and take responsibility for your own life. …

“However, human beings are … easily controlled by others or their external circumstances, no matter how they may resolve to be true to themselves, to follow their own convictions. …”

Practicing Nichiren Buddhism enables us to become as strong as we possibly can. …

President Toda once gave the following guidance to members of the youth division: “To believe in your own mind is especially important when you are young. Yet it is difficult to trust one’s mind. This is particularly true during one’s youth, a time of emotional turmoil and confusion. …

“I’ve seen the American cartoon Popeye. The main character, Popeye, is so weak that he is constantly being beaten up by others. But when he eats spinach, he instantly acquires strength and easily triumphs over his adversaries. This is because he believes in the power of spinach. …

“We all need to have something we believe in. “I have the Gohonzon. Therefore, I will be able to overcome any problem. Everything will be fine.”—If you have such firm conviction, you can do anything. …

“If you feel that this is the path in life for you, that it’s the right way to go, then believe in the Gohonzon and make it the core of your convictions. You will definitely be able to overcome any obstacle, including illness and poverty. But it requires the essential ingredient of faith. …

“For youth, the stronger your faith, the more invincible you will be in any situation. Young people need to have something to believe in. You must trust your own hearts.

“Yet, because the human heart can be such an unreliable thing, it is important that you make the Gohonzon the foundation of your faith. If you do so, I am sure you will be able to lead your lives with confidence and ease.”

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

2) How has faith in the Gohonzon helped you believe in and strengthen yourself?

OPTION #2: Appreciating Your Uniqueness [6.4]

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

It is quite normal not to have much confidence. In many cases, people who go around bragging about their confidence are merely arrogant, always clashing with and greatly disliked by those around them. A person can be miserable with either too much or too little self-confidence.

The important thing is that all of you shine in your own way, win in your own daily endeavors, and develop your life in the way most suitable and natural for you. All you need to do is just keep on improving yourself as you steadily advance toward your goal.

After all, you are you, not someone else. There is no need for you to compare yourself with others; it’s your life. The important question is, What do you really feel and think in the depths of your being? Buddhism expounds the principle of cherry, plum, peach and damson, each having their own unique characteristics, and the related principle of “illuminating and manifesting one’s true nature” (see “The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 746).

Cherry blossoms are cherry blossoms, and peach blossoms are peach blossoms. A cherry blossom can never become a peach blossom. Nor is there any need for it to try to do so. It would be perfectly miserable if it did. Similarly, you are none other than yourself. You can never be someone else, however much you might wish it. What matters is that you become the kind of person who can cherish, praise and feel content with your own precious, irreplaceable life.

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is fundamental to this, enabling you to reveal your innate Buddhahood just as you are. Not only will chanting give you a wonderful, fundamental self-confidence, it will also adorn and dignify your life with the brilliance of your true and highest potential.

Please have absolute confidence in yourself, because you are living the noblest possible life, with a beautiful heart.

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

2) Which of your qualities have you come to appreciate more through practicing Buddhism?

The Compassionate Practice of Shakubuku

District Discussion Meeting Material