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Ikeda Wisdom Academy

Highlights of the December 2023 Study Material

Photo by Molly Leebove.

Academy members should:
• be district through national youth leaders.
• have their own copy of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 2.
• read the assigned material prior to each meeting.


The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 2, pp. 93–122

Part Four: “Bestowal of Prophecy” Chapter
• The Purpose of “Bestowal of Prophecy” Is to Enable All People to Enter the Path of Absolute Happiness

Supplementary Materials:

The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 144–53
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, pp. 67–71


Discussion Meetings Are Joyful Forums for the ‘Bestowal of Prophecy’

Ikeda Sensei: [Founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi designated our discussion meetings as] “discussion meetings to prove experimentally the life of major good.” This means, in other words, showing through actual proof—in a manner that anyone can accept and understand—the wonder of “faith manifesting itself in daily life,” which we experience when we base ourselves on the Mystic Law and the wonder of human revolution—a way of life dedicated to the good of society and the well-being of others. Moreover, from the outset, the Soka Gakkai and SGI discussion meetings have been open to people from all walks of life.

SGI discussion meetings are grass-roots forums that provide society with wisdom and vitality.

On hearing others’ experiences of benefit, people renew their determinations: “They fought hard and won. I, too, can change my destiny. I will give it my best effort!”

And people encourage fellow members who are struggling amid various obstacles: “Let’s try to grow, just like this person! Let’s make this person our model!”

The give-and-take at discussion meetings encourages and reassures people that they can attain Buddhahood in this lifetime and arouses in them a sense of mission for kosen-rufu. In that sense, it has the same effect as the predictions of enlightenment in the Lotus Sutra. We could say, therefore, that discussion meetings are “forums for the bestowal of prophecy” where children of the Buddha encourage and are encouraged by one another. (WLS-2, 118–19)


What Is the Bestowal of Prophecy?

In “Bestowal of Prophecy,” the sixth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, four of Shakyamuni Buddha’s voice-hearer disciples—Mahakashyapa, Subhuti, Katyayana and Maudgalyayana—receive prophecies that they will undoubtedly become Buddhas in the future.

Why are these prophecies given?

They serve to ease any doubts in the hearts of the Buddha’s disciples and assure them that they will all reveal their enlightenment. The four disciples are each told the time period and place they will achieve enlightenment and the title they will assume as a Buddha. Sensei explains:

The important point here is that, upon attaining Buddhahood, the personality and total life experience of each of these disciples come to shine as virtuous enlightened attributes. As long as we have faith, no effort is wasted. This is the great benefit of the Lotus Sutra.

No doubt hearing the wonderful names of the kalpa, land and title—perfectly matching the character of each—enabled the four voice-hearers to sense profoundly that they would indeed attain Buddhahood. And all those around them could understand, by extension, that they, too, would become praiseworthy Buddhas. In consequence, ripples of joy spread among those who heard the bestowal of prophecies. (WLS-2, 108)

Throughout the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni bestows prophecies of enlightenment for many disciples. It is one of the concrete ways that the sutra expresses its core principle that all people can tap their inherent Buddhahood. Sensei clarifies:

Originally, “bestowal of prophecy” meant giving a clear reply and so resolving the doubts in people’s hearts. Leaders should always speak with forthrightness and clarity. Vagueness is bad, because it causes people to feel uneasy. Giving people confidence is the key point in the “bestowal of prophecy.” (WLS-2, 101)

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department


Federico Carrizo
Daytona Beach, Florida

Q: How has Buddhist study impacted your life?

When Ikeda Sensei was asked “What’s the best way to learn about faith?” he said: “We start by practicing the teachings of Buddhism together with our fellow members within the Soka Gakkai. It’s like judo or karate; you cannot master them just by reading a book” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 9, p. 200). Striving with my fellow SGI members, I challenge myself and my friends to grow in faith. It’s like a humanistic tournament where we’re all part of the same team.

Although I’ve been practicing Buddhism all my life, in my mid-teen years, I was in a dark place. I was on the streets and surrounded by negative influences as I tried to escape reality. But my SGI family, especially the members of the Brass Band, never gave up on me. They’d always visit me, encouraging me to challenge my Buddhist practice and study. Through their support, I got control of my life.

I moved to Florida from Argentina two years ago as part of my dream to become an astronaut. By studying Buddhism with others, like at Ikeda Wisdom Academy meetings, and opening up about our struggles, I realized that a challenge is a challenge—no matter what it is, we’re all fighting together! If you’d have asked me before, I’d probably be ashamed of my problems. Now, I want to share how I was able to overcome them and inspire others to do the same!

Looking Forward: January 2024 Syllabus

The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 2, pp. 125–79

Part Five: “Bestowal of Prophecy” Chapter
• The Eternal Bond of Mentor and Disciple
Part Six: “Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples” and “Prophecies Conferred On Learners and Adepts” Chapters
• The Voice-hearers Awaken

From the December 2023 Living Buddhism

Nichiren Daishonin—His Lifelong Vow and Great Compassion

District Study Meeting Material