Skip to main content

Ikeda Wisdom Academy

Highlights of the March 2024 Study Material

Detroit. Photo by Silvia Carderelli.
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
Supplementary Materials:
  • The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 209–20 
  • The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, pp. 89–100

The Treasure Tower

In “Emergence of the Treasure Tower,” the 11th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, a massive tower adorned with seven kinds of treasures emerges from below the earth. Seated inside is a Buddha called Many Treasures. The tower appears to attest to the efficacy of Shakyamuni Buddha’s preaching of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin interprets the treasure tower in various ways, equating it to the Mystic Law of Myoho-renge-kyo, to the Gohonzon—or object of devotion—and with an enlightened life state achieved through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Because a person’s Buddha nature, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the Law reflected in the Gohonzon are essentially one, the treasure tower refers equally to all three aspects.

Regarding this tower, Ikeda Sensei says: 

The treasure tower of Myoho-renge-kyo does indeed appear in response to the preaching of Myoho-renge-kyo. When we chant the Mystic Law and practice for our own happiness, as well as that of others, our lives become the treasure tower. Put another way, the treasure tower emerges in our lives. The Law that we chant is Myoho-renge-kyo. And Myoho-renge-kyo is also the entity of our lives. (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, p. 14)

Fusing Reality and Wisdom: Manifest the Eternal Here and Now

Ikeda Sensei: [Second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda said that “reality” means the objective world, and “wisdom,” the subjective world. He was not using these terms in a Western, dualistic sense. Rather, his comment assumes the essential unity of the subjective and objective realms. …

In fact, President Toda often said, “If being a grocer is your ‘reality,’ then working hard to make your business prosper is manifesting the ‘fusion of reality and wisdom.’” Of course, whatever our occupation—whether fishmonger or corporate employee—we each have a mission to fulfill and a path in life. That is our “reality.” It is the light of wisdom that causes this reality to shine. Effecting the perfect fusion of reality and wisdom in our lives means becoming indispensable wherever we are. …

In essence, everyone is a Buddha. That is our “reality.” It is the light of wisdom that causes the world of Buddhahood in our lives to shine. Our Buddhahood starts shining when we develop the wisdom to realize we are Buddhas. This is the fusion of reality and wisdom. From our standpoint, according to the Buddhist principle of “substituting faith for wisdom,” wisdom means faith. That we possess the world of Buddhahood is the objective truth, the reality, of our lives. Faith causes this reality to shine in actuality.

Shakyamuni and Many Treasures represent ordinary people who cause the original world of Buddhahood in their lives—usually covered over by the soot of earthly desires—to shine. The Thus Come One is an ordinary person, a human being. Nichiren Daishonin says, “Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions represent the world of Buddhahood within ourselves” (“The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 365).

Again, Many Treasures corres- ponds to reality because he always appears where the Lotus Sutra is being expounded. In other words, he represents eternal truth. And Shakyamuni causes this eternal truth to manifest here and now. 

Put another way, something eternal manifests in the here and now as a result of the two Buddhas sitting side by side, that is, through the fusion of reality and wisdom. In fact, it is only in the here and now that something eternal can appear. Anything else is just an illusion.

Shakyamuni represents wisdom, or the subjective entity. The Mystic Law manifests in our lives only when we wage a great struggle on our own initiative. We experience the fusion of reality and wisdom when we work to carry out our mission burning with the conviction: “I am a Bodhisattva of the Earth! I am a Buddha!” (WLS-3, 17–18)

Transforming My View of Leadership

Hannah Malus
Washington, D.C.

Q: How has the Ikeda Wisdom Academy impacted your perspective on leadership?

Sometimes I catch myself feeling like leadership is an obligation, but the Ikeda Wisdom Academy reminds me that it’s an opportunity to expand my life. Ikeda Sensei’s commitment to fostering capable youth in our organization directly translates to fostering capable people in society.

I am the youngest manager in my department at work. I had no training to manage others, so I had imposter syndrome and felt like I had to have all the answers and give orders to others. But when I sought guidance about my work troubles, I realized that my SGI leadership training was exactly what I needed to be a good manager. I started thinking of work as an extension of my SGI leadership—striving to foster collaboration and thinking about how I could treasure each person. Since then, the atmosphere in the office has completely transformed.

Participating in Ikeda Wisdom Academy meetings has been a blueprint for how to study, and it has given me hope. No matter the challenges I face, I never feel defeated and always have access to encouragement. I’ve transformed how I view leadership, not just in the SGI but also in my office and community. My Buddhist practice isn’t just one aspect of my life; it informs how I approach all aspects of my life. 

Our March Youth Peace Festivals are just the beginning of launching a year of joyful youth shakubuku, with even more youth coming out to meetings in April and May.

The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, pp. 33–63

Part One: “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower” Chapter 

• Recognizing the Infinite Value of Each Person’s Life

From the March 2024 Living Buddhism

Nichiren Daishonin—His Lifelong Vow and Great Compassion

Material for District Discussion Meetings (March)