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Daily Life

Correctly Perceiving the Essence of Life

When a broad network of youth study Nichiren Daishonin’s writings together, they form a powerful unifying force.

Photo by Yvonne Ng.

April is the month when Nichiren Daishonin established his teaching of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in 1253. As such, thousands of new SGI-USA members, youth and guests mark this occasion by taking the Introductory Exam. It is also a time for all members to refresh their spirit to study Nichiren’s writings and apply them to their lives.

In this issue, we reprint Ikeda Sensei’s monthly message from the September 2015 Living Buddhism, pp. 6–7, which touches on the spirit and impact of studying and applying Nichiren’s teachings to our lives.

Our SGI districts are gatherings of great philosophers. Among them, we find people of firm conviction who remain undaunted by any trial or tribulation; experts of dialogue who can impart hope and inspiration to anyone struggling or suffering; and people of courage and wisdom who can find a way forward in even the most challenging situations.

Based on the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, the SGI has created a vast network among ordinary people, one that upholds an unsurpassed philosophy of respect for the dignity of life. Our SGI activities, centering on exerting ourselves each day in the “two ways of practice and study” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 386), enable us, ordinary people, to enhance our wisdom for realizing happiness and peace, thereby creating positive value in our daily lives and society.

In a dialogue we published together, Dr. Lou Marinoff, founding president of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, asserted: “Buddhism offers more ways than any philosophy I know to activate human potential, to change life for the better and to engender positive circumstances.”[1] 

Society is awash with crass sensationalism and malice, inundated by false and misleading information. There are many corrupt individuals who deceive others, negative influences who drag people down into unhappiness and misery.

Yet even in such circumstances, we can always correctly perceive the essence of life, illuminated by the unparalleled mirror of the Daishonin’s writings. With a sound view of life, human existence, society and the universe, we can survey everything clearly and without distortion. Wielding the “sharp sword” of faith, we can sever ties with all negative influences and advance without confusion or doubt along the correct path of eternity, happiness, true self and purity. 

When we read his writings, we can come into direct contact with the towering life state of Nichiren Daishonin himself. We can break out of our small, constricting shell and open a vast, expansive state of life. Like the sun from time without beginning, the light emitted from the magnificent life of the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law completely bathes our entire beings.

Toward the end of a letter sent in reply to one of his disciples, Nichiren states that his writings are “for the use of those who are devoted to the work of propagation” (“Letter Sent with the Prayer Sutra,” WND-2, 461). Those who dedicate themselves to realizing the vow for kosen-rufu, which Nichiren made his mission, are able to grasp the true meaning of his writings. 

It is we, the mentors and disciples of Soka— led by our founding presidents Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda—who have read and will continue to read the Daishonin’s writings with our lives. 

Mr. Toda declared: “When we come into contact with the Daishonin’s absolute conviction and passion, we cannot help but feel the flame of faith blaze up still higher in our hearts.”[2] This is the great spirit that lies at the heart of the SGI’s study movement. 

When we read Nichiren’s writings aloud in the course of efforts for kosen-rufu, the lion’s roar of his golden words resonates with power and passion in our lives, and the enormous power of the Buddha wells up from our inner depths.

SGI members, Bodhisattvas of the Earth, are studying and putting into practice Nichiren Daishonin’s writings all around the globe. There are some who have even learned to read and write, motivated by a noble wish to be able to read and study the writings. 

A youth division leader from Argentina observed: “The Buddhist teaching that we can change our destiny and our environment through our own power is a great source of inspiration for all young people. … It is our mission as youth to transform our country through our personal human revolution.” 

A network of young people who together study the great teachings of Nichiren Buddhism is a force for creating peace and uniting the world, transcending all differences.

Practice and study are the wings that carry us to happiness and eternal victory, lifting the hearts of all humanity to boundless heights.

Striving to read a passage of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings each day, let us spread the wings of practice and study, and soar joyfully into the vast skies of triumph!

The Mystic Law
is a jeweled sword
severing unhappiness.
Let us study and uphold
the heart of the correct teaching.

The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, e-edition

Available for the first time as an e-book at major online booksellers, including Study Nichiren’s writings offline, highlight and save your favorite passages.

The World of Nichiren’s Writings—A Discussion of Humanistic Religion, vol. 1

Through discussion, Ikeda Sensei explores the life, times and teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. We learn how Nichiren’s actions are a model for us today.

The Heart of the Lotus Sutra

A line-by-line explanation of sutra passages that, according to Nichiren Daishonin, embody the essence of the Buddha’s lifetime teachings. 

April 12, 2024, World Tribune, pp. 6–7


  1. Lou Marinoff and Daisaku Ikeda, The Inner Philosopher: Conversations on Philosophy’s Transformative Power (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Dialogue Path Press, 2012), p. 44. ↩︎
  2. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1992), vol. 1, p. 135. ↩︎

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