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Ikeda Wisdom Academy

Highlights of the February 2024 Study Material

Photo by Yvonne Ng.

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. 183–211

Part Seven: “Teacher of the Law” Chapter
• Teachers of the Law Live Among the People

Supplementary Materials:

The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 199–208
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, pp. 81–88


Shakubuku Is Motivated by Great Respect

“Medicine King, if there are good men and good women who, after the thus come one has entered extinction, wish to expound this Lotus Sutra for the four kinds of believers, how should they expound it? These good men and good women should enter the thus come one’s room, put on the thus come one’s robe, sit in the thus come one’s seat, and then for the sake of the four kinds of believers broadly expound this sutra.

“The ‘thus come one’s room’ is the state of mind that shows great pity and compassion
toward all living beings. The ‘thus come one’s robe’ is the mind that is gentle and forbearing. The ‘thus come one’s seat’ is the emptiness of all phenomena.” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 205)

Ikeda Sensei: This is highly poetic. Shakyamuni uses the images of “robe,” “seat” and “room” to clarify the Buddha’s spirit in expounding the Lotus Sutra. And he urges people to broadly expound the teaching, saying in effect, “If you base yourselves on this spirit, then, even if you encounter difficulties, you can lead people to enlightenment unerringly just as the Buddha does.”

• • •

Propagation does not mean trying to force something on someone, nor is it for the sake of the organization. Propagation is an act of venerating the Buddha nature in the lives of others. Therefore, our efforts in shakubuku should be motivated by a spirit of the greatest respect for the other person.

[Second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda said, “The basis for doing shakubuku is a feeling of sympathy for others’ sufferings.” Compassion, in other words, is fundamental. You don’t propagate Buddhism with a confrontational spirit of trying to refute someone’s ideas and win the person over to your own side. …

Even if you think that what someone is saying is a bit odd, rather than constantly raising objections, you should have the broad-mindedness to try to understand his or her point of view. Then the person will feel secure and can listen to what you have to say.

In that sense, the Buddha is truly a master at dialogue. Shakyamuni and the Daishonin had such heartwarming personalities that just meeting them must have given people a sense of immense delight. And that’s probably why so many took such pleasure in listening to their words. (WLS-2, 195–97)


Voluntarily Assuming the Appropriate Karma

Ikeda Sensei: To simply view your sufferings as “karma” is backward-looking. We should have the attitude: “These are sufferings I took on for the sake of my mission. I vowed to overcome these problems through faith.”

When we understand this principle of “deliberately creating the appropriate karma,” our frame of mind is transformed; what we had previously viewed as destiny, we come to see as mission. There is absolutely no way we cannot overcome sufferings that are the result of a vow that we ourselves made. …

Therefore, we should all respect one another as noble beings each with a profound mission to fulfill. …

The Buddha is to be found among those suffering the most. Buddhism exists to enable those suffering the most to become the happiest. “The Teacher of the Law” chapter explains the sublime temperament of spiritual leaders who devote themselves to, and live out their lives among, the people. (WLS-2, 209–10)


Being Present in Each Moment

Ryan Cuevas

Q: What concepts from Ikeda Wisdom Academy are you applying in your life, activities and leadership?

Earlier, we studied the Parable of the Three Carts and the Burning House, where the children are so wrapped up in their distractions that they ignore the fire all around them. That painted a vivid picture of what devilish functions are like in life. Maybe not as insane as being in a fire surrounded by monsters, but it could be snoozing my alarm when I have to get up early or checking social media while chanting. After reading that, I’ve challenged myself to be more present and not get distracted by trivial things.

The parables in the Lotus Sutra make its wisdom easier to grasp. Working in real estate, I interact with clients every day. I have to convey the big picture in a relatable way.

In my SGI activities, I want to unite with everyone from future division to Many Treasures Group members. It’s crucial to communicate clearly, like the sutra does with its parables. I’m challenging myself to help others, like the father in the parable.

Even during his briefest meetings with someone, Ikeda Sensei could offer them encouragement to last a lifetime. When I talk with other young men, I think of how to best connect with them. On home visits, I always bring study material—something that’s impacted me or relates to the person’s situation.

Everything starts with daimoku. Chanting with someone, even for just a few minutes, raises our life condition. At other times, if someone isn’t responding much, I might take a photo of an encouraging guidance and send it to them, saying: “I read this and thought of you. Hope you have a great day!”

By taking these actions, I have no doubt I’ll be able to reach people and help them break through!

Looking Forward: March 2024 Syllabus

The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, pp. 3–31

Part One: “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower” Chapter
• One’s Life Is Itself the Treasure Tower

From the February 2024 Living Buddhism

Nichiren Daishonin—His Lifelong Vow and Great Compassion

Material for District Discussion Meetings (February)