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District Meeting

District Discussion Meeting Material

April 2023

Illustration by ArdeaA / Getty images

Please base your study for your monthly discussion meetings on:

1) Writings for Discussion Meetings (pp. 40–41)
2) Buddhist Concepts (pp. 42–43)
3) Material from any recent issue of the World Tribune or Living Buddhism

Have a great discussion meeting!

Buddhas Keep Striving for the Happiness of All

Writings for Discussion Meetings


Commit yourself to the Lotus Sutra and have faith in its teachings. You must not only believe in them yourself but also encourage others to do the same, so that you may save those who were your parents in all your past existences.

From the time that I was born until today, I have never known a moment’s ease; I have thought only of propagating the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra.

—“Persecution by Sword and Staff,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 964–65

What It Means to ‘Commit Ourselves to the Lotus Sutra’

Nanjo Tokimitsu received “Persecution by Sword and Staff” in 1279 when he was 21. He had been fighting to protect his fellow practitioners during the Atsuhara Persecution.[1] In the letter, Nichiren Daishonin urges his young disciple, “Commit yourself to the Lotus Sutra and have faith in its teachings” (WND-1, 964).

He encourages Tokimitsu to base his life on faith and overcome all hardships, no matter what happens. We could say that this is the key message of this letter.

To “commit yourself to the Lotus Sutra” means to read the Lotus Sutra with our life, to stay true to our Buddhist faith and practice, especially in the face of difficulties and opposition. We can open up our highest state of life by always basing ourselves on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon and dedicating our lives, alongside the mentor who has overcome intense persecution, to the great battle for kosen-rufu.

Nichiren continues, “You must not only believe in them yourself but also encourage others to do the same, so that you may save those who were your parents in all your past existences” (WND-1, 964–65). In this passage, he conveys two essential points of action: 1) to continue deepening our faith and 2) to encourage those around us to take faith.

He also affirms that we should “commit ourselves” to taking such action to save all who were our parents in past lives or, in other words, to lead the countless people we encounter to absolute happiness.

Caring for the Happiness of Each Person

In addition, Nichiren expresses his firm resolve: stating, “From the time that I was born until today, I have never known a moment’s ease; I have thought only of propagating the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra” (WND-1, 965).

Battling tremendous hardships without concern for himself, he strove to fulfill his compassionate vow to realize the happiness of all people.

In modern times, the three founding presidents of the Soka Gakkai—Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda—and Soka Gakkai members have upheld the Daishonin’s selfless dedication and fighting spirit to realize kosen-rufu.

Ikeda Sensei writes:

The Buddha’s struggle is expressed by the line in the sutra “This, a Buddha’s work, I have never for a moment neglected.”[2] It is a ceaseless and ongoing challenge. If one should slacken in resolve “even a bit, devils will take advantage.”[3] It is a “battle [that] goes on even today.”[4]

As long as people suffer, as long as misery exists, the Buddha continues to fight. The Buddha cannot abandon even one person in misery.[5]

Toward May 3, Soka Gakkai Day, let’s respond to Nichiren’s call to carry out Buddhist practice for ourselves and to share Buddhism with others as we transform our lives and demonstrate the remarkable power of the Mystic Law!

—Adapted from the April 2020 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study magazine, pp. 26–29

Suggested Questions:

1) How has sharing Buddhism with others helped strengthen your faith?

2) What does carrying out a vow to “realize the happiness of all people” look like for you?

We Can Purify Every Aspect of Our Lives

Buddhist Concepts

In Nichiren Buddhism, the word benefit (Jpn kudoku) is often translated as “blessing,” “reward” or “virtue.” It refers to the virtues or excellent qualities we develop by engaging in and sharing our Buddhist practice.

The ultimate benefit of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is revealing the life state of Buddhahood, or indestructible happiness, from within our own lives.

The Lotus Sutra’s 19th chapter, “Benefits of the Teacher of the Law,” explains that teachers of the Law who carry out the five practices of embracing, reading, reciting, teaching and transcribing the sutra experience the “purification of the six sense organs.” This concept equates to carrying out our human revolution.

Nichiren Daishonin comments on this in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings:

The words “teacher of the Law” mean the teacher of the Law who carries out the five practices. The word “benefits” (kudoku) means the reward that is represented by the purification of the six sense organs. In general we may say that now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are carrying out the purification of the six sense organs. Hence they are acting as teachers of the Law of Myoho-renge-kyo and possess great virtue (toku). The element ku in the word kudoku means good fortune or happiness. (pp. 147–48)

He reconfirms in another writing that “embracing the Lotus Sutra and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in itself encompasses the five practices” (“The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 833).

So, when we uphold faith in the Gohonzon and share Buddhism with others, we are carrying out the five practices described in the sutra and will, as a result, enjoy good fortune and happiness.

A Fighting Spirit Brings Good Fortune and Happiness

In Buddhism, the six sense organs are our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind, which are said to be operated by our “six consciousnesses” of sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought.

In pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, these six sense organs were considered the source of earthly desires, which people needed to extinguish to attain enlightenment.

In discussing the “purification of the six sense organs,” Ikeda Sensei explains that our senses are the interface between the microcosm of our individual lives and the macrocosm of the whole cosmos. Purifying our six sense organs through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo means harmonizing our entire lives with the rhythm of the Mystic Law and the universe (see The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 5, p. 69).

When we chant, we free ourselves from delusions about what we see, hear, smell, taste and feel. In turn, we enhance our perceptual faculties to use them for the greatest good—the happiness of all people.

“Through the power of the Mystic Law,” Sensei says, “we can overcome all hindrances, such as ignorance and delusion, and create the greatest possible value in our lives” (The Hope-filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 138). Thus, rather than being controlled by our environment or difficulties, we can purify, strengthen and expand our life force by chanting. We can transform everything into fuel for uplifting our lives.

Sensei also says:

The important thing is that our hearts burn with a fighting spirit. Manifesting such faith purifies the sense organs.

No matter what worries or sufferings we might have, we can change them all into value and benefit. Such a great life force is the benefit gained by a teacher of the Law. (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 5, p. 84)

As long as we always chant through everything and keep moving forward, using our challenges to fuel our growth, we will enjoy good fortune and happiness.

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department

Suggested Questions:

1) How has sharing Buddhism helped you “purify your senses”?

2) What helps you maintain a fighting spirit to take on challenges?

What It Means to Purify Our Sense Organs

The following descriptions are based on Ikeda Sensei’s discussions on the “purification of the six sense organs” in The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 5, pp. 63–83.

Purifying Our Eyes
Discerning the essence of all things and the supreme path for the future of our family, communities and society.

Purifying Our Ears
Listening to people’s voices and understanding the tendencies of the time; also letting people hear our voices of warm encouragement, justice, conviction and joy.

Purifying Our Nose
Perceiving people’s character or “fragrance”—someone who diligently strives to grow may have the fragrance of tenacity, while someone who is decadent and idle may have a rotting fragrance.

Purifying Our Tongue
Producing a wonderful voice that causes all who hear it to rejoice.

Purifying Our Body
Being a sunlike presence that everyone enjoys being around and compassionately recognizing people’s life tendencies.

Purifying Our Mind
Expressing wisdom and insight that accords with the truth of life and the universe.

From the April 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence against Nichiren’s followers in Atsuhara Village (present-day central Shizuoka Prefecture) from around 1275 to 1283. ↩︎
  2. The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 267. ↩︎
  3. “On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 997. ↩︎
  4. “On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings,” WND-1, 392. ↩︎
  5. The World of Nichiren’s Writings, vol. 1, p. 186. ↩︎

District Study Meeting Material

Youth and Faith—Awakening to Our Own and Others’ Dignity