Skip to main content

Ikeda Wisdom Academy

Highlights of the April 2023 Study Material

Los Angeles. Photo by Allen Zaki.

Academy members should:
• be district through national youth leaders.
• have their own copy of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1.
• read the assigned material prior to each meeting.


The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, pp. 41–82

Part One: Prologue
• A Scripture that Calls Out to All People
Part Two: “Introduction” Chapter
• “This Is What I Heard”: The Pulse of the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple

Supplementary Materials:

The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 35–55
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, pp. 9–10


A Scripture That Calls Out to All People

The teachings of Buddhism were expounded for the happiness of all people; there is no discrimination based on sex, priestly or lay status, race, academic achievement, social position, power or wealth. In fact, Buddhism was expounded precisely to enable the discriminated and oppressed, those who have experienced the bitterest sufferings, to attain supreme happiness. This is the true power of Buddhism and the true wisdom of the Lotus Sutra. (p. 43)

•  •   •

A sad but true fact we must solemnly recognize is that the corruption of priests began soon after Shakyamuni’s death. Religion is always in danger of growing apart from the people when its leaders forget to reflect carefully on their own behavior and come to look upon themselves as authorities. (p. 49)

•  •   •

We have no class of professional clerics in the SGI. Our members—all of whom live in the secular world—not only study Buddhist doctrine but are responsible for propagating the Daishonin’s teachings and performing various ceremonies and religious services. Ours is a religion in which ordinary people assume full responsibility.

The founder and first president of the Soka Gakkai, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, called on us to be active practitioners, not passive believers, and we have rallied to his call. (pp. 51–52)


‘This Is What I Heard’: The Pulse of the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple

As we study The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, we will review corresponding passages from The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin’s commentary on the Lotus Sutra.


“The words ‘This is what’ indicate the substance of the doctrine heard from the Buddha. ‘I heard’ indicates a person who is capable of upholding that doctrine.” … “The ‘substance of a doctrine’ means its heart or core. … The heart or core of all phenomena is Myoho-renge-kyo.” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 9)

In this case, the Daishonin applies the principle of “text, meaning and intent” to reading the sutra. “Text” refers to the sutra’s literal content. “Meaning” indicates the doctrine or principle to which the text refers. When we restrict ourselves to examining only the literal text of the scripture, we can only get as far as its meaning.

But no amount of discussion of the text and meaning of the Lotus Sutra will be truly valuable unless we get to its heart, or true intent. …

“The substance of a doctrine,” “the heart or core of all phenomena,” is the Buddha’s wisdom itself, which pulsates through all 28 chapters of the sutra. That wisdom is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. …

From this perspective, “This is what I heard,” in terms of the Lotus Sutra, means to concentrate one’s entire being on apprehending and connecting with the vibration of the Buddha’s life. “This” refers to the faith and understanding that enable those who hear the teachings to “hear them exactly as they are preached” and engrave them in their lives. Since this activity involves one’s entire being, the expression “I heard” is used. “I,” the entire being, “hear,” not just the ears.

The “I” in this phrase is usually taken to mean Ananda, the disciple of Shakyamuni said to have been central in compiling the scriptures. Today, in the Latter Day of the Law, however, “I” signifies each of us. We each listen to the Daishonin’s teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with our whole being and embrace faith in it. This is the true meaning of “This is what I heard.”…

We are not to read the sutra as something separate from ourselves. Instead, we should “hear” it as it applies to oneself and as the Law of our own lives. (pp. 72–73)

•  •   •

The heart of “This is what I heard” exists in the disciples rising up with the determination to lead others to happiness just as their mentor did. It is a declaration of a momentous struggle, of readily taking on all hardships in the cause of guiding others toward enlightenment. (p. 75)


Ikeda Sensei: Religion in the 21st century must provide people with the wisdom to be independent, to think and decide wisely for themselves how to live their lives.

[Nichiren Daishonin] writes, “When one knows the Lotus Sutra, one understands the meaning of all worldly affairs” (“The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 376)

The wisdom of the Lotus Sutra is a wisdom that improves society and brings happiness to the people. Unless it accomplishes those things, it is not real Buddhist wisdom. From a broader perspective, I think we can say all wisdom that improves the lot of the people, that contributes to their happiness, is the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra

The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, pp. 54–55

Looking Forward: May Syllabus

The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, pp. 83–108

Part Two: “Introduction” Chapter
• “Three Meetings in Two Places”: Exchange Between Eternity and the Present Moment

Nichiren Daishonin—His Lifelong Vow and Great Compassion

District Study Meeting Material