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Ikeda Wisdom Academy

Highlights of the August 2023 Study Material

Los Angeles. Photo by Leticia Williams

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. 165–92

Part Three: “Expedient Means” Chapter
• The Heart of the True Aspect of All Phenomena: The Endless Challenge To Transform Reality

Supplementary Materials:

The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 56–81
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, pp. 20–42


Our Firm Resolve to Create Peace

In his treatise “The Selection of the Time,” Nichiren Daishonin predicts a time when people the world over will chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, while also warning that some who have not yet awakened to the Mystic Law will reject and slander the Lotus Sutra. As a result, great conflicts will occur throughout the world.

During the Cold War, some interpreted this as a prediction of World War III. Yet Ikeda Sensei rejected this view, saying:

If World War III were to occur, the entire human race would be wiped out by nuclear weapons. Must humanity be subjected to even crueler and more horrible suffering than it already has? To allow this to happen would show an abominable lack of compassion as a Buddhist! … Whatever happens, we cannot permit another world war to occur. Let us pray to the Gohonzon with strong determination to prevent such a thing at all costs, pledging to dedicate our lives ungrudgingly to the cause of propagating the Law. Let us definitely achieve kosen-rufu—the dream of lasting peace and happiness for all humanity! (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, p. 166)

Our efforts to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, share it with others and carry out our human revolution directly confront the source of all suffering and conflict. Sensei’s discussion in this section of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra elucidates the “true aspect of all phenomena,” which provides a theoretical basis for transforming our lives and creating a peaceful world.

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department


Danny Yoo
Southgate, Michigan

Living Buddhism: How has Buddhist practice and study helped you develop as a district leader?

Danny: In the May Ikeda Wisdom Academy material, Ikeda Sensei says that “to ‘rise into the air’ means to elevate our state of life through our determined and unwavering faith” (WLS-1, 96).

Although I was born into a family that practices Buddhism, I didn’t always feel a strong determination to support my fellow youth.

Then, during my mandatory Korean military service, I faced many struggles that helped me deepen my faith and grow. Now, as a district leader, I’ve been visiting and encouraging young men’s division members and realizing that as we elevate our life state, we also have a responsibility to share Buddhism and help others become happy.

My practice enriches my life amid ongoing challenges. The Buddhist concepts of cause and effect and changing poison into medicine have given me a new perspective. I’m applying for internships now and know that even if things don’t go as expected, through chanting I can transform negative experiences into positive ones. It’s not about why my karma is what it is but how I change it—doing gongyo and chanting daimoku every day keeps me moving forward!


The True Aspect of All Phenomena

“The true aspect of all phenomena” is explained in “Expedient Means,” the Lotus Sutra’s second chapter, which, in part, we repeat three times in our daily recitation of gongyo:

The true aspect of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end. (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 57)

This passage describes the Buddhas’ perspective of reality based on the “ten factors of life,” which are intrinsic to all life and phenomena and can be described as:

  1. appearance (nyo ze so): external appearance or form;
  2. nature (nyo ze sho): inherent nature, disposition or potential, not visible from the outside;
  3. entity (nyo ze tai): that which manifests itself as appearance and nature;
  4. power (nyo ze riki): latent potential;
  5. influence (nyo ze sa): the manifestation or expression of power;
  6. inherent cause (nyo ze in): internal causes of change;
  7. relation (nyo ze en): internal and external conditions and causes that prompt change to occur;
  8. latent effect (nyo ze ka): the direct intrinsic effect of change;
  9. manifest effect (nyo ze ho): the perceptible manifestation of the latent effect;
  10. consistency from beginning to end (nyo ze honmakkukyo to): that all other nine factors are consistent and coherent throughout; that all phenomena are equally entities of the Mystic Law.

At each moment, our state of life is reflected completely in each of these ten factors. It is expressed in every aspect: in our physical and emotional being and in the way we view and interact with our environment, other people and society. This is the meaning of consistency from beginning to end, which is key to unlocking our inherent Buddhahood. Ikeda Sensei says:

All living beings can become Buddhas once they awaken to the true reality of their own lives—that is, that they themselves are entities of the Mystic Law. Ignorance or awareness of this truth is the only difference between a Buddha and persons of the nine worlds. (WLS-1, 172)

He also explains how to awaken to the true reality of our own lives:

The Gohonzon is … a mirror in which the true aspect of all phenomena of all living beings is reflected. …

When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the Gohonzon, we ourselves (all phenomena) shine as aspects of the Mystic Law (true aspect). This is truly a method for attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime that is accessible to all individuals. (WLS-1, 181)

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department

Looking Forward: September Syllabus

The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, pp. 193–213

Part Three: “Expedient Means” Chapter
• “Expedient Means”: The Inherent Sanctity of All Existence

From the August 2023 Living Buddhism

Nichiren Daishonin—His Lifelong Vow and Great Compassion

District Study Meeting Material