Skip to main content

Frontline News

Celebrating a Decade of Study Based on a Great Vow

The Ikeda Wisdom Academy, SGI-USA’s study program for district-national youth leaders, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with the start of its sixth class. On Jan. 26, 2013, the study program, named by Ikeda Sensei, was launched at a historic study conference. 

In his message to that conference, Sensei encouraged the youth of North America, saying: 

Nichiren Daishonin wrote to the young Nanjo Tokimitsu, “My wish is that all my disciples make a great vow” (“The Dragon Gate,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1003). This one statement constitutes the Daishonin’s eternal guideline for all youth throughout the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law.

As youth, you face all sorts of difficulties and wrestle each day with worries and problems. Precisely for this reason, it is crucial that you stand up with a great vow and strive to achieve a fundamental goal. Once you decide what is fundamental, nothing that happens will sway you, and you can grow by leaps and bounds. (See Feb. 15, 2013, World Tribune, p. 2)

Bearing the motto “Protecting the Mentor and the Teachings,” the academy serves to cultivate young leaders with a correct understanding of Buddhism who put the teachings into practice to lead lives of unparalleled victory based on a great vow. Now, a decade after its founding, the Ikeda Wisdom Academy will be returning to the material studied in its first class—the first three volumes of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra.

Wisdom to Identify Devilish Functions

Anthony Cloyd
Los Angeles

In 2020, I had been a member for only about a year. The pandemic hit and people needed support. I dived into young men’s division leadership and joined the Ikeda Wisdom Academy, studying weekly with fellow young men’s leaders and attending monthly youth lectures.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from the academy is how to identify devilish functions—from within and without.

Within—my challenge is with laziness and inertia. I may be running hard in my SGI activities, but then I’ll tell myself, “All right, I finished the campaign; I’m going to sleep in.” That’s when I start chanting less and gradually slacken in my responsibilities, and the members have less support. That’s a devilish function slowing down kosen-rufu. I battle that laziness and look forward to how I want my life and organization to look in the next year, three or five. That starts now! 

Without—anything or anyone that sows the seeds of division and doubt and ultimately impedes our Buddhist practice is a manifestation of devilish function. 

In his lectures on “Letter to the Brothers,” Ikeda Sensei explains that all devilish functions are depicted on the Gohonzon, so when we chant with a vow for kosen-rufu, devilish functions can serve to support us. This taught me there is nothing to be afraid of—even the worst devilish functions can be transformed into value through prayer and efforts for kosen-rufu. Now, I see devilish functions for what they are and rejoice: “I can transform this!”

I feel it’s so crucial to be clear on the true meaning of Buddhist teachings. It’s easy to misinterpret and create your own meaning if you’re not plugged into the source: our mentor and the community advancing kosen-rufu. My training and study as a youth leader have created incredible upward trajectory in every area of my life—in my career, family, relationships and sense of self. As I enter the men’s division, I want to continue building upon what I learned as a youth, use study to protect Sensei and the teachings of Buddhism and expand this movement to illuminate whatever environment I’m in! 

All Illustrations by NGEDIT_VECTOR / Fiverr

Using Study to Master My Mind

Sahary Santana
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Ikeda Wisdom Academy is a great opportunity to learn how to study in depth and apply it to our lives. In his lectures, Ikeda Sensei teaches us how to go beyond, further and deeper into our understanding of Nichiren’s writings. 

I first started attending the Ikeda Wisdom Academy meetings in 2017, when we were studying SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series: The Opening of the Eyes. Just a couple months later, we were hit by Hurricane Maria. At the time, my brother was staying at his in-laws’ house, and it flooded. They had a newborn baby, and my dad wanted to rescue them, even though that would’ve put him in a lot of danger. The whole time, I was chanting with the mentality of  “producing fire from damp wood” (see “On Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 444).  If it weren’t for the study in the Ikeda Wisdom Academy, I’m not sure I would’ve had that type of fighting spirit or daimoku. Our family was able to calmly handle the situation, and everything was OK.

More recently, I was appointed the region young women’s leader of Puerto Rico. Of course, I understood the importance of study, but going back over the material in the study guide helped me understand that on a whole other level.

In “Letter to the Brothers,” Nichiren says to “become the master of your mind rather than let your mind master you” (WND-1, 502). While it has been a challenge to connect with some members, I am determined to overcome my fear and self-doubt, trust in my daimoku and the causes I make and not be swayed by my mind. 

I would encourage all youth leaders to take the opportunity to join the Ikeda Wisdom Academy and take up the challenge of studying for the exam in February!

Jan.1, 2023, World Tribune, p. 11

The Incredible Power of Prayer

Venice and Its Lagoon