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District Meeting

District Discussion Meeting Material

March 2023

Illustration by ArdeaA / Getty images

Please base your study for your monthly discussion meetings on:

1) Writings for Discussion Meetings (pp. 38–39)
2) Buddhist Concepts (pp. 40–41)
3) Material from any recent issue of the World Tribune or Living Buddhism

Have a great discussion meeting!

Our Seeking Spirit and Steadfast Faith Bring a Profusion of Benefits

Writings for Discussion Meetings


Strengthen your resolve more than ever. Ice is made of water, but it is colder than water. Blue dye comes from indigo, but when something is repeatedly dyed in it, the color is better than that of the indigo plant. The Lotus Sutra remains the same, but if you repeatedly strengthen your resolve, your color will be better than that of others, and you will receive more blessings than they do.

—“The Supremacy of the Law,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 615

A Woman With a Bold Seeking Spirit

Rather than accepting the way things are, we can turn back the tide of any adversity by developing an ever-stronger foundation in our faith.

This is one of the key messages of “The Supremacy of the Law,” which Nichiren Daishonin wrote in August 1275, addressing it to Oto and her mother. In it, Nichiren praises Oto’s mother for her strong faith. He also urges her to “strengthen her resolve more than ever” (see WND-1, 615). The source of victory, he teaches, lies in upholding a vibrant, ever-deepening faith.

Oto’s mother lived in Kamakura and raised her young daughter as a single parent after separating from her husband.

Upon the Daishonin’s exile to Sado Island in 1271, his disciples in Kamakura faced intense persecution, resulting in many relinquishing their faith in his teachings.

Oto’s mother, however, burned with a strong seeking spirit in faith, so much so that, with her infant daughter in tow, she made the arduous journey from Kamakura to Sado to visit Nichiren. Recognizing her firm faith, he bestowed her with the name Sage Nichimyo.

With this same seeking mind, she visited the Daishonin again in 1274, after he was pardoned from exile and had moved to Mount Minobu. The Mongols had, in October 1274, invaded Kyushu in southern Japan, causing many to live in fear of another invasion.

Becoming So Strong That Obstacles Fuel Our Growth

In the passage above, Nichiren emphasizes the importance of strengthening our resolve in faith. He says water, when cooled to the freezing point, turns into ice. And cloth repeatedly soaked in indigo dye will take on a shade of blue that is more vivid than the original plant.

Like water and indigo dye, Nichiren writes, “The Lotus Sutra remains the same.” So, while our practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon is unchanging, we must “repeatedly strengthen our resolve” as we chant and exert ourselves in our kosen-rufu activities.

Ikeda Sensei says:

By continually reaffirming our commitment to faith, our lives in this transient existence become adorned with the everlasting and indestructible treasures of eternity, happiness, true self and purity.[1] Constantly fortifying our faith becomes the key to establishing such a state of life.

Repeatedly strengthening one’s resolve or faith, therefore, means persevering in one’s Buddhist practice. It means being undaunted by obstacles or, rather, using obstacles as an impetus to summon forth even stronger faith and to polish one’s life even more. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, p. 147)

The essence of faith is always striving “more than ever.” While Nichimyo was a sincere disciple with solid faith, in this same letter, Nichiren says to her, “I know your faith has always been admirable, but now you must strengthen it more than ever” (WND-1, 614).

Praying with the resolve that “everything starts from here, from this moment!” we can break through all our obstacles. Through consistently refreshing our determination, we can forge ever-stronger faith, exhibit greater power and brilliance in all areas of our lives, “receive more blessings” and bring forth from within the indestructible, diamondlike life state of Buddhahood.

—Adapted by the SGI-USA Study Department from the March 2021 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study magazine, pp. 49–53

Suggested Questions:

1) When has overcoming an obstacle made you stronger, wiser and more confident?

2) What tips would you offer for repeatedly strengthening your resolve?

The Treasure Tower: Perceiving the Buddha Nature Within Our Lives

Buddhist Concepts

“The Emergence of the Treasure Tower,” the 11th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, begins with the scene of an enormous stupa—a tower described to be one-third the size of the planet, adorned with jewels, flowers and the seven kinds of treasures—rising from the earth. Within the tower sits Many Treasures Buddha, who praises Shakyamuni Buddha for expounding the truth of the Lotus Sutra.

Buddhas and bodhisattvas assemble from throughout the ten directions to listen to Shakyamuni preach the Law. With the appearance of the treasure tower, Shakyamuni enters the tower and sits next to Many Treasures Buddha. The grand scene known as the Ceremony in the Air begins when Shakyamuni raises the entire assembly into the air alongside the treasure tower. At this ceremony, he entrusts the Bodhisattvas of the Earth with spreading the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after his passing.

Such a wondrous spectacle may sound as if it has nothing to do with us, but it does. But it is deeply connected to our lives. Ikeda Sensei reminds us: “Buddhism is close at hand; it is concerned with the reality of our lives. This should be our basic stance as we try to come to terms with the teachings of the Lotus Sutra” (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, p. 4).

The Treasure Tower Within

So, how does this enormous treasure tower relate to us?

Abutsu-bo, a disciple of Nichiren Daishonin, sought to understand this same point. Nichiren responds to his question in part:

In the Latter Day of the Law, no treasure tower exists other than the figures of the men and women who embrace the Lotus Sutra. It follows, therefore, that whether eminent or humble, high or low, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are themselves the treasure tower and, likewise, are themselves the Thus Come One Many Treasures. No treasure tower exists other than Myoho-renge-kyo. …

Abutsu-bo is therefore the treasure tower itself, and the treasure tower is Abutsu-bo himself. No other knowledge is purposeful. (“On the Treasure Tower,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 299)

The treasure tower is an allegory for our innate Buddha nature. Its vastness and grandeur represent the supreme value inherent in our lives. When Nichiren inscribed the Gohonzon, he based it on the Ceremony in the Air, establishing it as the “clear mirror” by which we can perceive our enlightened true selves.

The Seven Kinds of Treasures Adorn Our Lives

There are seven kinds of treasures adorning the treasure tower, described in the Lotus Sutra as gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl and carnelian. They correspond to the treasures that we gain through Buddhist practice: 1) hearing the correct teaching [the Mystic Law], 2) believing it, 3) keeping the precepts [embracing and upholding the Gohonzon], 4) engaging in meditation [chanting to the Gohonzon], 5) practicing assiduously, 6) renouncing one’s attachments and 7) reflecting on oneself (see “On the Treasure Tower,” WND-1, 299).

Ikeda Sensei says:

Nichiren teaches that all of these elements are encompassed in faith in the Mystic Law. Indeed, if we look at our daily SGI activities, we can see that this is in fact true.
With regard to the seven treasures, ultimately it is not jewels or precious stones that adorn our life and the treasure tower within us but rather our heart and our actions. (Teachings for Victory, vol. 3, p. 125)

When we earnestly carry out our Buddhist practice, our hearts, actions and lives come to exude the same noble brilliance as the treasure tower described in the Lotus Sutra.

As Nichiren says, “The treasure towers are none other than all living beings, and all living beings are none other than the complete entities of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 230).

The more we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and share Buddhism with others, the more brightly our marvelous treasure towers shine. Thus, Sensei encourages us to create beautiful treasure realms where we are now:

We perceive the treasure tower in our own lives, and we perceive the treasure tower in the lives of others. And we are working to sanctify the places where we live and the entire world with forests of treasure towers. Let us construct “treasure towers of kosen-rufu” in our communities. Let us each leave behind an eternal golden monument of personal achievement. Let us adorn our lives by challenging ourselves with the spirit “This is where I will build my treasure tower.” (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, p. 29)

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department

Suggested Questions:

1) What does being a “treasure tower” mean to you?

2) How can you construct “treasure towers of kosen-rufu” in your community?


  1. Eternity, happiness, true self and purity are the four virtues. Describing the noble qualities of the Buddha’s life, the four are explained as follows: “eternity” means unchanging and eternal; “happiness” means tranquility that transcends all suffering; “true self” means true and intrinsic nature; and “purity” means free of illusion or mistaken conduct. ↩︎

District Study Meeting Material

Expanding Our Inspiring Network of Human Harmony in the ‘Treasure Realms’ of Our Mission