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SGI STUDY

TRAINING
COURSE
October 15, 2016: Mumbai
and
October 16, 2016: Delhi
Contents
Lecture # 1: Summary of The Wisdom of the
Lotus Sutra (1)
Series Highlights 1

Lecture # 2: Summary of The Wisdom of the


Lotus Sutra (2)
The Lotus Sutra is the Teaching of
the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple 17

Lecture # 3: On Persecutions Befalling the Sage


(SGI NL No. 9394) 34

Lecture # 4: Kosen-rufu and World Peace


The Mission and Vow of the
Bodhisattvas of the Earth
(SGI NL Nos. 9425 & 9435) 49
SGI Study Training Course
October 15, 2016

Lecture # 1

Summary of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra (1)

SERIES HIGHLIGHTS

A Comprehensive Review of
The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra
and
Study of the Transmission Section for
the Formula for Kosen-rufu

Reference Material # 1

Ikeda: The Life Span of the Thus Come One (16th)


chapter of the Lotus Sutra describes the Buddha
enlightened since the remote past, or the eternal

Lecture # 1 1
Buddha. Just who is this Buddha? Commenting on
the passage in the Lotus Sutra that reads, It has been
immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten
thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas since I in fact
attained Buddhahood (lsoc, 265-66), the Daishonin
explains: I represents the living beings of the
Dharma-realm. I here refers to each and every being
in the Ten Worlds (ott, 126).
The eternal Buddha of the Life Span chapter
means all living beings. We are all eternal
Buddhas. Ordinary people are Buddhas just as
they are. There are no grades or distinctions among
people. We are all equal; we are all equally Buddhas.
The only difference among people has to do with
whether, or the extent to which, we realize this in
our hearts. From the standpoint of Buddhism, that
is the only meaningful distinction.
A Buddha is not someone displaying the thirty-
two features or eighty features. Our lives, originally,
are the Buddha. The universe itself is originally the
Buddha. The appearance of the sun is a function of
compassion. The illumination of the moon is also
compassion, as is the beautiful respiration of green
plants and trees. The entire universe is a great living
entity carrying out activities of compassion from the
beginningless past through the eternal future.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 4, 189)

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Reference Material # 2

Ikeda: Faith means carrying out a practice of


dedicating ones entire being to realizing kosen-rufu.
It means abandoning egoism and upholding ones
principles no matter what. President Makiguchi and
President Toda lived entirely for the sake of kosen-
rufu, for the sake of all others, for the sake of the
members and for society, without giving any thought
to themselves, putting everything off for later. And
I have done the same. One certainly cannot attain
Buddhahood with a slovenly or lazy attitude. The
Daishonin says, [On] the path to attain Buddhahood
it may invariably be when one has done something
like lay down ones life that one becomes a Buddha
(Banishment to Sado, wnd-1, 202).
The Buddha is a human being a person
who struggles continuously. The Buddha is not
some special being who exists in another world.
The Daishonin teaches that the ordinary person
is the most respectworthy and noble being. This
is the principle of the true aspect of all life; the
true aspect manifests amid the reality of all
phenomena of life and society. Therein exists
the world of Buddhahood. In the same way that
people exert themselves in different fields, whether
as a company employee, a teacher, a housewife or

Lecture # 1 3
a farmer, so too does the world of Buddhahood
pulse vibrantly in all spheres of activity. This is the
perspective of the Lotus Sutra.

Ikeda: Regarding the oneness of Buddhahood and


the nine worlds, putting our palms together when we
pray symbolizes this. It also represents the Mystic
Law. In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings,
the Daishonin says, [In the term pressing palms
together] [p]ressing means myo, or wonderful, while
palms refers to ho, or the Law; ... pressing is the
world of Buddhahood, and palms are the nine
worlds (ott, 45). In other words, Buddhahood lies
in chanting daimoku based on faith no matter what
happens. Whatever sufferings of the nine worlds we
may be undergoing, through strong faith we can lead
a life in which the nine worlds manifest the world of
Buddhahood, and the world of Buddhahood manifests
the nine worlds. While there may be instances when
our prayers are answered immediately, there will also
be times when that is not the case. Even so, we should
continue offering prayer, chanting daimoku and
taking action. Such resolute faith is itself the world
of Buddhahood; it is victory. Maintaining such faith
to the very end of our lives enables us to set out on
a journey over the three existences at one with the
eternal Buddha of the Life Span chapter.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 4,197-98)

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Reference Material # 3

Ikeda: What, then, does it mean to experience life and


death based on the great life of Nam-myoho-renge-
kyo? The Daishonin says, Passing through the round
of births and deaths, one makes ones way to the
land of the Dharma nature, or enlightenment, that
is inherent within oneself (ott, 52). He is talking
about a state of life of absolute freedom that exists
eternally over the three existences of past, present
and future.
Birth and death secure upon the ground of our
intrinsically enlightened nature means undergoing
life and death based on the supreme life of the
Mystic Law. When we embrace the Gohonzon,
we can advance with our lives rooted in the great
earth of Buddhahood, which is one with the life of
the universe.
Undergoing the cycle of life and death in the
nine worlds means awkwardly navigating ones way
through difficulties and hardships. It is like veering
along a path strewn with potholes; sometimes we
fall in and cannot get back on track; sometimes we
have accidents and get injured.
On the other hand, experiencing life and death
in the world of Buddhahood is like driving along
on a smooth highway in a high performance car;
while enjoying the brilliant scenery around us, we

Lecture # 1 5
take action with infinite life force to help others
become happy.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 4, 296)

Reference Material # 4

Ikeda: Failing to comprehend the greatness of their own


lives, people become attached to unimportant details.
The power of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth is the
fundamental power we human beings possess to break
through all differences whether of ethnicity, race,
gender or social standing and lead people to happi
ness. We are ordinary people, plain and unadorned; we
are thoroughly human and infinitely courageous. This
is the pride of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
The appearance of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth
is an earthshaking event attesting to the greatness
of the underlying power of life. We have to convey
this to people throughout the world. The essential
teaching transforms how people perceive the Buddha,
which amounts to a fundamental transformation in
how people perceive themselves.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, 216)

Reference Material # 5

Ikeda: Through thoroughly pursuing the question


What is the Buddha? he came to realize that the

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Buddha is none other than the self and the great life
of the universe; that these two the self and the
universe are in fact one.
Just as the saying, Start digging right where
you are, for there lies the source! implies, when
we dig into the inner reaches of our own being, the
common foundation of life that all people share
comes into view. This foundation is none other
than the eternal life of the universe. President Toda
became enlightened not only to the wellspring at the
core of his own being, but also to the foundation of
life that all people share. He realized that, as he put
it, in essence, all people are in fact Bodhisattvas of
the Earth.
With that conviction President Toda racked his
brain to find a way to enable all members to share
that same profound level of confidence in their
lives. Sometimes in urging the members to work
together to accomplish the goal of kosen-rufu, he
would address them as fellow Bodhisattvas of
the Earth. President Toda wholeheartedly sought
to teach us the nobility and strength we can attain
by basing ourselves on an awareness of the truth
as the wellspring of our being. He showed actual
proof of this truth through his own life. Because of
his conviction, it is the members of the SGI who
now share this awareness of the common homeland
of life.

Lecture # 1 7
The power of one person is truly immense.
Such power and strength cannot fail to become
manifest in those who awaken to their mission as
Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Such confidence is the
starting point for everything. The very wellspring of
our lives is free of all impurity and as vast as the
universe. Accomplishing human revolution means
realizing and showing actual proof of the existence
of this life.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, 266)

Reference Material # 6

In fact, the question of the identity and nature of


Bodhisattva Superior Practices is the main theme of
the essential teaching (or second half) of the Lotus
Sutra. In that sense, he is the true protagonist of the
Lotus Sutra. While Shakyamuni might appear to be
the protagonist, in fact Superior Practices more deeply
embodies the sutras spirit.
This is first and foremost revealed by the
development of the Lotus Sutra itself. Shakyamuni
calls out, After my death, who will spread the
Mystic Law in the saha world? Many bodhisattvas
announce their candidacy, beseeching him to
entrust them with the teaching. But Shakyamuni
refuses.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 5, 189-90)

8 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


Saying Leave off is significant. With this, he refutes
all the teachings he has expounded up to that point.
Nichiren Daishonin says, With this single expression
leave off , Shakyamuni Buddha settled once and for
all that there is no need for any bodhisattvas other
than Bodhisattva Superior Practices and his followers
[to spread the Mystic Law] (gz, 840).
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 5, 190)

Shakyamuni and Superior Practices are one Buddha,


not two. They are two sides of the same Buddha.
Therefore, while we may speak of transmission,
this is nothing more than a formality. To think
that this transmission itself has any substance is to
misunderstand the Lotus Sutra.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 5, 191)

Reference Material # 7

President Toda explained the significance of the


Daishonins appearance in the world as follows:
As human beings, its normal that we find
it difficult to embark on a life of conscious
compassion. Thats where the importance of the
Daishonins appearance comes in. The Latter Day
of the Law is an age when evil people abound
and when acts of compassion are desperately
needed. The reality, however, is that the world

Lecture # 1 9
is uncompassionate to the extreme. Even if the
inherent essence of our lives is compassion, we
wont be able to become truly happy as human
beings unless we cultivate the wisdom of the
Buddha. Cultivating the wisdom of the Buddha
and living with true compassion is the key to all
happiness. This wisdom is gained only through
faith. We need to bear this deeply in mind.

It is far from easy for ordinary people of the Latter


Day to live with compassion. However, unless a way
can be established for them to do so, the original
purpose of Buddhism will never be accomplished. In
this case, the task of leading people to enlightenment
in this polluted age could only be achieved by a
Buddha of outstanding compassion appearing from
time to time to save people weary from suffering.
However, with this kind of sporadic salvation,
people in subsequent generations after the Buddhas
passing would gradually forget the benefit of
the Buddhas teaching and succumb once more
to the same malaise from which they previously
suffered. This means that another Buddha would
have to appear and once more help guide people
to enlightenment. Or an alternative scenario is that
people might put their faith in an imagined Buddha
who dwells in some pure land far removed from this
world and aspire to gain rebirth there in their next

10 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


life. If such cycles continue repeatedly, then it will be
impossible to transform the real world of the Latter
Day of the Law.
The fundamental error here is thinking that
only a special Buddha can serve as a compassionate
liberator of human suffering. To accept this belief
shows a failure to grasp the true significance of
Shakyamuni Buddha entrusting the Bodhisattvas
of the Earth with the mission of widespread
propagation kosen-rufu in the Latter Day of the
Law. If the idea of a fixed relationship between an
absolute saviour and practitioners who need saving
takes hold, then it will be impossible to create a
world of mutual compassion, which is the goal of
Buddhism. Essential to truly freeing people from
suffering in this cold, cruel age of the Latter Day is
the appearance of a votary of the Lotus Sutra who
inherits the three virtues of the Buddha, along with
countless similar votaries agents and practitioners
of compassion who unite their efforts around the
central votary.
Certainly, its difficult for us ordinary people
to readily bring forth compassion, but we can
summon courage instead. When we courageously
practise and spread the Law of compassion, those
very efforts are equivalent to our having taken
compassionate action. And such efforts will naturally
lead to the development of infinite, positive human

Lecture # 1 11
relationships based on compassion, spreading from
one person to another. Our challenge lies in infusing
the realm of fundamental darkness with the warm,
life-affirming current of compassion and working
dauntlessly to create a world where people have
compassion for each other based on the Buddhist
teaching of dependent origination the principle
of the interconnection of all things. By doing so,
we can truly carry on the legacy of Buddhism that
originates from Shakyamuni and can further build
on it into the future.
(SGI President Ikedas Lecture on The Opening of the
Eyes, vol. 2,105-07)

Reference Material # 8

[T]his sutra provides good medicine for the ills of the


people of Jambudvipa. If a person who has an illness
is able to hear this sutra, then his illness will be wiped
out and he will know neither aging nor death.
(lsoc23, 330)

Reference Material # 9

After I have passed into extinction, in the last five-


hundred-year period you must spread it abroad
widely throughout Jambudvipa and never allow it to

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be cut off, nor must you allow evil devils, the devils
people, heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, kumbhanda
demons, or others to seize the advantage!
(lsoc23, 330)

Reference Material # 10

Ikeda: It is when we take action for kosen-rufu with


a selfless spirit, the microcosm of our lives fuses
with the macrocosm of the universe and our prayers
are answered. The Daishonin says, It could never
come about that the prayers of the practitioner of
the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered (On Prayer,
wnd-1, 345). So the issue becomes whether one is a
practitioner of the Lotus Sutra.
Nichiren Daishonins teaching is about making
a vow. In our present situation we need to pledge
to the Gohonzon: I will advance kosen-rufu to the
best of my ability! I will realize victory without fail!
Our prayer starts from this vow.
In explaining the origins of Bodhisattva Perceiver
of the Worlds Sounds, the sutra says, His vast
oath is deep as the ocean (lsoc25, 344), meaning
that his pledge to spread Buddhism is profound.
It further states that, as a result of this oath, The
sea of his accumulated blessings is immeasurable
(lsoc25, 347).

Lecture # 1 13
Nichiren Daishonin says regarding this passage,
The blessings and wisdom of the objective and
subjective worlds are immeasurable. Nam-myoho-
renge-kyo has these two elements of blessings and
wisdom (ott, 218). In other words, both we and
our immediate environment gain tremendous good
fortune and wisdom.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, 133-34)

Reference Material # 11

The Buddha preached the Lotus Sutra over a period of


eight years, and eight characters sum up the message
that he has left behind for living beings in this later
age, the Latter Day of the Law. It is in the passage
that reads, Therefore, Universal Worthy, if you see
a person who accepts and upholds this sutra, you
should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the
same respect you would a Buddha [lsoc28, 365].
With this passage the words of Shakyamuni Buddha
in the sutra come to an end, thus in effect ending the
sutra. The word should shows that these words refer
to the future. The words should rise and greet him
from afar indicate that the sutra passage is saying
that one should without fail show the practitioners of
the Lotus Sutra the kind of respect one would show
to a Buddha.
(ott, 192-93)

14 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


Reference Material # 12

This means that in the Latter Day, the Lotus Sutra is


meaningless unless one reveres Nichiren Daishonin as
the Buddha. On that premise, the Daishonin instructed
that upon seeing disciples with a direct connection in
faith to the Daishonin who are dedicated to kosen-rufu,
one should rise and greet him from afar, showing him
the same respect you would a Buddha.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, 241)

Reference Material # 13

As each group seeks their separate


roots and origins,
society fractures along a thousand fissure lines.
When neighbours distance themselves
from neighbours, continue your
uncompromising quest
for your truer roots
in the deepest regions of your life.
Seek out the primordial roots of humankind.
Then you will without fail discover
the stately expanse of Jiyu
unfolding in the depths of your life.

Here is the home, the dwelling place


to which humankind traces

Lecture # 1 15
its original existence
beyond all borders,
beyond all differences of gender and race.
Here is a world offering true proof
of our humanity.

If one reaches back to these fundamental roots,


all become friends and comrades.
To realize this is to emerge from the earth.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, 268-69)

16 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


SGI Study Training Course
October 15, 2016

Lecture # 2

Summary of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra (2)

The Lotus Sutra is the Teaching of


the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple
To the Protagonists of
the Religion of the 21st Century

Reference Material # 1

[A]t the start I took a vow,


hoping to make all persons
equal to me, without any distinction between us.
(lsoc2, 70)

Lecture # 2 17
Reference Material # 2

Becoming a Buddha is nothing extraordinary. If you


chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with your whole heart,
you will naturally become endowed with the Buddhas
thirty-two features and eighty characteristics. As the
sutra says, hoping to make all persons equal to me,
without any distinction between us, you can readily
become as noble a Buddha as Shakyamuni.
(Letter to Niike, wnd-1, 1030)

Reference Material # 3

In Expedient Means, Shakyamuni states:

[A]t the start I took a vow,


hoping to make all persons
equal to me, without any distinction between us.
(lsoc2, 70)

The Buddha vows to elevate all people to the same


state of life as his own. This is the spirit to raise
capable people, to enable people to develop their
fullest potential. This is also the spirit underlying the
mentor-disciple relationship.
Of course, since we also strive to keep growing and
developing ourselves, the determination to bring others
not only to our level, but above and beyond, is the true

18 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


spirit of the Buddhas vow to make all persons equal
to me, without any distinction between us.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, 143)

Reference Material # 4

Prior to the revelation of the one Buddha vehicle, the


bodhisattvas who were followers of the Bodhisattva
vehicle maintained a separate identity from the
followers of the other two vehicles of voice-hearers
(Learning) and cause-awakened ones (Realization),
whom they believed could never attain enlightenment.
Because they viewed each of the Ten Worlds as being
separate from one another, the bodhisattvas were not
only unable to save other living beings but they were
unable to attain Buddhahood themselves.
But the Buddhas wish is to enable all living
beings to attain enlightenment. Though there is always
inevitably some degree of disparity in the state of life
of the mentor and that of the disciple, in the case of
the bodhisattvas of the three vehicles, the very spirit,
aspiration and philosophy of mentor and disciple are
fundamentally irreconcilable. On the other hand, the
bodhisattvas who embrace the one Buddha vehicle
after the three vehicles have been put in their proper
perspective base themselves on the principle of the
mutual possession of the Ten Worlds that all living
beings can equally attain enlightenment, including

Lecture # 2 19
the now-transformed voice-hearers. Armed with this
profound philosophy, they then embark on the great
challenge to lead all living beings to enlightenment.
Here, for the first time, they enter the same path as the
Buddha. In this fundamental commitment, mentor and
disciple become comrades who share the same goal
and are bound in a relationship as a senior and junior
in faith travelling on a shared path. Advancing in such
unity, with such oneness of heart and mind, is the true
way of mentor and disciple.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, 164-65)

***

In this struggle to dive into the ocean of society and


strive to bring everyone aboard the great ship bound
for happiness, the Buddha, too, is a bodhisattva.
Explaining the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds,
the Daishonin says:

Buddhas too are encompassed in the bodhisattva


world because they dwell in the stage of religious
practice [even after having attained enlightenment].
Therefore, though they are in the stage of perfect
enlightenment, they appear to be in the preceding
stage, that of near-perfect enlightenment.
(The Sacred Teachings of the Buddhas Lifetime,
wnd-2, 59)

20 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


In any event, the mentors intent, as expressed in
Expedient Means, is to make all persons equal to
me, without any distinction between us (lsoc2, 70).
The Buddhas compassion is such that his goal is to
bring all living beings to a state of life identical to his
own. Another passage in this chapter tells us:

The original vow of the Buddhas


was that the Buddha way, which they themselves
practice,
should be shared universally among living beings
so that they too may likewise attain this way.
(lsoc2, 75)

The original vow of the Buddhas is to enable all


people to walk the same path towards enlightenment.
Of course, the practitioners of the three vehicles
of the sutras before the Lotus Sutra also believed in
and followed the Buddha. And in their fashion, they
followed the way of mentor and disciple. But these
disciples always felt an unbridgeable gap between
them and their mentor: the disciple was the disciple
and the Buddha was the Buddha. The disciple did
not know the mind of the mentor. The Lotus Sutra,
however, broke through this deluded belief.
The replacement of the three vehicles with
the one vehicle engendered a fundamental trans
formation in the mind and the way of life of the

Lecture # 2 21
disciple a transformation from the way of mentor
and disciple to the way of the oneness of mentor
and disciple.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1,165-66)

Reference Material # 5

[T]hose persons who had heard the Law


dwelled here and there in various Buddha lands,
constantly reborn in company with their teachers.
(lsoc7,178)

Reference Material # 6

As individuals, we put the vow we have made for


kosen-rufu into action in our own unique way. By
its very nature, a vow is personal and voluntary. As
our individual situations and circumstances differ,
naturally our concrete actions will also differ. But
flowing through all our actions is our commitment
as disciples to strive alongside our mentor, standing
up of our own accord to uphold the Lotus Sutras
profound principle that all people are Buddhas
and to engage in its practice of helping all people
become Buddhas.
As disciples, we propagate the Mystic Law in the
same manner and spirit as our mentor. As long as we
are equally committed to valuing and wholeheartedly

22 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


encouraging each person, we are striving in a spirit
of oneness with our mentor.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
Learning from The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin:
The Teachings for Victory, Letter to the Sage Nichimyo,
vc, February 2015, 30)

Reference Material # 7

Entering into the relation of teacher and lay


supporter is the result of a bond that bridges the three
existences (On the Five Seasonal Festivals, wnd-2,
375), writes the Daishonin, affirming that the bond
between mentor and disciple is eternal. They have
not become mentor and disciple for the first time in
this existence; they are linked by a vow that spans the
three existences of past, present and future. Having
learned of this everlasting tie, Akimoto Taro must
have been deeply moved and overjoyed.
Founding Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo
Makiguchi underlined this passage in his copy of
the Daishonins writings. It is extremely important
in that it expresses a concept that is the heart of
Nichiren Buddhism and the Soka Gakkai spirit.
Buddhism is a teaching of mentor and disciple.
Without the mentor-disciple relationship, the achieve-
ment of kosen-rufu, the realization of happiness
for all humanity, would be impossible. The mentor

Lecture # 2 23
is determined to communicate to the disciples the
Buddhas state of life, that of helping to free people
from suffering. The disciples make the mentors way
of life their own, seeking in the process to attain the
same lofty life state as their mentor.
When a group of ordinary people striving as one
with their mentor appear, they will pave the way for
elevating not only the life state of each individual,
but for transforming the destiny of all humanity.
The mentor seeks to guide the disciples to the
same life state the mentor has attained; the disciples
try to live in accord with the example of the mentor.
Striving together with a shared commitment is the
essence of the oneness of mentor and disciple.
And this bond between mentor and disciples is
not limited to this life. The Lotus Sutra clearly teaches
that it endures throughout the three existences.
The Lotus Sutra focuses, in particular, on
helping living beings attain enlightenment during
the Latter Day of the Law, an age of conflict when
people become alienated from the correct teaching
of Buddhism, causing it to be obscured and lost,
and bringing darkness and ignorance to prevail.
Nevertheless, at such a time, there are still those who
sincerely seek the correct teaching. Encountering a
correct teacher who expounds the correct teaching,
they dedicate their lives to striving alongside their

24 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


mentor with the same vow and selfless commitment.
The bond such disciples share with the mentor is
not limited to the present existence, but persists from
the distant past into the eternal future. Embodying
the same compassionate behaviour as the Buddha
in their actions, they carry out their fundamental
mission as the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. As a result,
they bring forth from the innermost depths of their
lives a state originally inherent throughout the three
existences the state of Buddhahood. There is no
nobler or more wonderful way to live.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On the Five Seasonal Festivals, vc, July 2016, 16-18)

Reference Material # 8

Striving together with our mentor, overcoming


adversity together with our mentor as we advance
along the great path of kosen-rufu this shared
struggle of mentor and disciple is the very essence
of what it means to practise Nichiren Buddhism. For
us to walk this path of shared struggle as disciples,
we must first of all be aware of and understand our
mentors struggles including why and how our
mentor has fought and how victory was achieved. It is
important that we try to engrave our mentors fighting

Lecture # 2 25
spirit, conduct and wisdom in our lives through our
own efforts for kosen-rufu and achieve actual victory.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
Learning from the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin:
The Teachings for Victory, Persecution by Sword and
Staff , vc, July 2013, 38-39)

Reference Material # 9

In this letter, the Daishonin proclaims: My wish


is that all my disciples make a great vow (The
Dragon Gate, wnd-1, 1003). This great vow is the
great vow of the Buddha which is ultimately the
great vow for kosen-rufu, as the Daishonin indicates
when he says: The great vow refers to the
propagation of the Lotus Sutra (ott, 82). And it
is the noble vow reflected in the Daishonins own
declaration in The Opening of the Eyes: Here I
will make a great vow. I will be the pillar of Japan.
I will be the eyes of Japan. I will be the great ship of
Japan. This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!
(wnd-1, 28081).
In his personal copy of the Daishonins writings,
Mr Makiguchi [the first president of Soka Gakkai]
double-underlined the passage, Here I will make
a great vow, and also wrote Great Vow in large
characters in the margin next to it. He lived out
his life true to this great vow, never succumbing to

26 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


the persecution of Japans militaristic authorities.
A letter that Mr Makiguchi sent to his family from
prison just a month before he passed away conveys
the serene state of mind of one who has truly
dedicated his life to spreading the Mystic Law. He
wrote: It is only natural that the three obstacles and
four devils should have assailed me; it is just as the
sutra states.
Josei Toda, his disciple and second Soka Gakkai
president, meanwhile accompanied Mr Makiguchi to
prison, carrying out a two-year struggle behind bars
before standing up alone in the ravaged landscape
of postwar Japan to rebuild the Soka Gakkai. His
deep resolve is expressed in the Soka Gakkai song
he wrote, titled Song of Comrades:

I now receive the Buddhas decree


and stand up alone,
proudly upholding the great vow
to spread the Mystic Law.
Allies are few, enemies many.

Mr Toda also declared: No matter what enormous


hardships might arise, I will never forsake the great
vow for kosen-rufu. I will do what I have to do
that is, strive to save the poor and the sick and those
who are suffering. For that purpose, I will keep
speaking out with all my might.

Lecture # 2 27
In my youth, I stood up alone as Mr Todas
loyal disciple and did everything I could to support
and assist him. In the course of those struggles, I
inherited this great vow from my mentor. The great
vow for kosen-rufu is inherited only through the
joint struggle of mentor and disciple.
My spirit of waging a shared struggle with my
mentor has continued to this very day. There has
never been a day when Mr Toda was absent from my
heart. I have lived my life these past 50 years with a
vow and commitment as if each day were March 16.
My keenest wish now, the area where I am
challenging myself most, is to enable all people,
particularly the youth, to savour and shine with the
deep and abiding joy that comes from dedicating
ones life to the great vow for kosen-rufu. I wish this
especially for the youth, since it is to them we must
entrust the future.
(Learning from the Gosho: The Hope-filled
Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, 134-35)

Reference Material # 10

Mr Toda, the disciple who shared Mr Makiguchis


spirit, read the Lotus Sutra and perceived its essence
while he was in prison at the same time as his mentor.
He realised that Buddha is the great life that
pervades the universe, and that he was a product of

28 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


that great eternal life life that from time without
beginning has constantly existed and operated in the
cosmic world. In other words, he realized that he
was a child of the Buddha.
As enquiries about humanity advance, the validity
and importance of this profound realization regarding
life will no doubt be persuasively demonstrated. We
are in fact already entering such a time.
President Toda often said: This [truth] isnt
something I studied and learned. Its something
I remembered. As a result of his painful ordeal
in prison, President Toda became extremely near-
sighted. When reading the Daishonins writings or
some other material, he would take off his glasses
and squint his eyes, bringing the object so close that it
nearly touched his nose. He would remark: With my
vision the way it is, I dont read the Gosho the way all
of you do. The Daishonins Buddhism is recalled.
When asked a question about Buddhism, he would
give his opinion and say: Im sure the Daishonin said
the same thing. I know its written somewhere. And
sure enough, when we would go and look, we would
find the same teaching of the Daishonin in The Record
of the Orally Transmitted Teachings or some other writing.
He would also describe how on numerous
occasions, when pondering a difficult portion of the
teachings, the meaning would just come to him as if
out of the blue.

Lecture # 2 29
President Toda was enlightened to the oneness
of mentor and disciple. He remembered the truth
that he had been exerting himself as a disciple of
and with the same spirit as Nichiren Daishonin since
the remote past. Understanding this, how could he
begrudge his life?
Filled with nothing but appreciation, we
should advance towards kosen-rufu. There is no
enlightenment in the Latter Day of the Law and no
world of Buddhahood apart from the faith to move
eternally in the direction of kosen-rufu. This is what
President Toda taught.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, 257-58)

Reference Material # 11

Now is eternity. Right now is the beginning. The past


is gone. The future has not yet arrived. The present
moment is all that exists.
The present in an instant becomes the past.
We may say that it exists; we may also say that
it does not exist. This is the meaning of non-
substantiality. Life continues from moment to
moment. Apart from this moment, life has no
actuality. One moment we might feel happiness, the
next, misery.
To view this moment of life as the direct effect
of some cause made in the past is to think in terms

30 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


of the true effect. It is to think, in other words,
I did that, so this happened. But that perspective
alone will not give rise to hope.
The key is to view ones life at the present
moment as the cause for creating future effects. This
is the true cause that reaches the very depths of ones
being. It is not a superficial cause.
Temporally, our lives are rooted in the life of
time without beginning. Spatially, they are the true
cause that pervades the entire realm of phenomena.
This is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the eternal cosmic
life, the great Law that moves the entire universe and
sparks constant development.
Therefore, when we believe in the Gohonzon as
the embodiment of that Law, chant the Mystic Law
and take action, at that moment we are experiencing
eternity. It is then that the eternally pure and
boundless life force that is something that was not
worked for, that was not improved upon, but that
exists just as it always has (ott, 141) wells forth.
We enjoy complete freedom in both the present
and the future. Nichiren Buddhism is the Buddhism
of hope.
The Lotus Sutra is precious because in its depths
is the Gohonzon. If we forget this one point, all our
efforts will amount to nothing.

**

Lecture # 2 31
This is faith based on the Buddhism of the true cause.
Faith means to have boundless hope.
No matter how bad our present circumstances
might be, even if it seems we are fighting a losing
battle, we must stand up determined not to be
defeated and from there show actual proof of the
limitless potential of the Mystic Law. Is this not the
true purpose of faith?
Without putting our whole lives into creating
something from nothing, we cannot know genuine
faith. The intense challenge to create value to
change loss into gain, bad into good and baseness
into beauty is the spirit of Soka. This is faith.
The Daishonin says, [I]f in a single moment
of life we exhaust the pains and trials of millions of
kalpas, then instant after instant there will arise in us
the three Buddha bodies with which we are eternally
endowed (ott, 214).
We must not become cowardly and craven people
who become disheartened and critical of others and
think only about protecting ourselves when things get
even a little bit tough. Those who can pull together
in the direst of circumstances are true comrades.
Faith is the spirit to give even our very lives for the
sake of kosen-rufu and the happiness of the people,
whether we gain from it or not.
In the entire world, the SGI is the only group
that is working to spread the Mystic Law throughout

32 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


the world. We must steadfastly protect this noble
organization. The SGI is the light of hope for
humankind.
(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, 258-60)

Lecture # 2 33
SGI Study Training Course
October 16, 2016

Lecture # 3

SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series


The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World

On Persecutions Befalling the Sage


(SGI NL No. 9394)

The SGI Movement is Opening an Era of the


Buddhism of the People

Gosho Passage # 1

Now, in the second year of Koan (1279), cyclical


sign tsuchinoto-u, it has been twenty-seven years
since I first proclaimed this teaching at Seicho-ji
temple. It was at the hour of the horse [noon] on
the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month in the

34 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


fifth year of Kencho (1253), cyclical sign mizunoto-
ushi, on the southern side of the image hall in the
Shobutsu-bo of Seicho-ji temple in Tojo Village.
Tojo is now a district, but was then a part of
Nagasa District of Awa Province. Here is located
what was once the second, but is now the countrys
most important centre founded by Minamoto
no Yoritomo, the general of the right, to supply
provisions for the shrine of the Sun Goddess. The
Buddha fulfilled the purpose of his advent in a little
over forty years, the Great Teacher Tien-tai took
about thirty years, and the Great Teacher Dengyo,
some twenty years. I have spoken repeatedly of
the indescribable persecutions they suffered during
those years. For me it took twenty-seven years, and
the great persecutions I faced during this period are
well known to you all.
The Lotus Sutra reads, Since hatred and
jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the
Thus Come One is in the world, how much more
will this be so after his passing?
(On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, wnd-1, 996)

Reference Material # 1

This persecution involved people awakened to a noble


mission waging a great struggle against the devilish
nature of authority.

Lecture # 3 35
A famous passage from the Daishonins treatise
The Selection of the Time states: Even if it seems
that, because I was born in the rulers domain, I
follow him in my actions, I will never follow him
in my heart (wnd-1, 579). These are words that
Nichiren Daishonin addressed to Hei no Saemon-
no-jo when they met after the Daishonin had been
pardoned from exile on Sado Island and returned
to Kamakura.
The Daishonins words were a lions roar. He
was declaring, in effect, to Hei no Saemon, a leader
who exercised absolute power: You can sentence
me to death or exile me, but you cannot deprive me
of my inner freedom. I will never be defeated! This
freedom of the spirit and freedom of religious belief
are fundamental and eternally inviolable human
rights. In that sense, the Daishonins words are a
towering expression of his great struggle for human
rights, declaring that the human spirit cannot be
bound by any authority.
Even absolute tyranny cannot subjugate the
human spirit. The farmers of Atsuhara, who staun
chly refused to abandon their faith in the Lotus Sutra
despite being intimidated and threatened by the
authorities, are a perfect example of that truth. They
fought to the end with the spirit of this passage from
The Selection of the Time. The Atsuhara Persecution

36 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


was an event where disciples, who had embraced this
impassioned message of the Daishonin, achieved a
remarkable spiritual victory through their struggle for
truth and justice.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, September 2016, 12-13)

Reference Material # 2

Nevertheless, even at that time there were still a


considerable number of disciples who continued to
walk the correct path of mentor and disciple with the
same courageous faith as before.
The Daishonin dedicated the latter part of his life,
the period after the Tatsunokuchi Persecution and the
Sado exile, to fostering genuine disciples who would
be ready to face and fight persecution as he did, and
to rebuilding the community of those practising the
correct teaching. He put even greater energy into such
efforts after moving to Mount Minobu.
It was Nikko Shonin, the Daishonins true disciple
and successor, who responded to his determination
in this regard, and bravely carried out propagation
activities. The farmer disciples of Atsuhara may not
have had the opportunity to meet the Daishonin in

Lecture # 3 37
person, but knew of his spirit through the daily words
and actions of Nikko Shonin.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, September 2016, 15)

Reference Material # 3

The Buddhism of the people is a philosophy based


on the teaching of universal enlightenment set
forth in the Lotus Sutra, fully propounding the
unsurpassed worth, dignity and equality of all people.
The protagonists of this philosophy have no special
abilities or attributes beyond those of ordinary human
beings. They are the mentor and disciples practising
and spreading the essence of Lotus Sutra in the real
world, in society and in their communities. The
disciples engage in the same practice as the mentor,
striving to awaken as many individuals as possible.
The Buddhism of the people is a humanistic religion,
in which people awakened to their mission play the
leading role and open the way to victory for all people.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, September 2016, 19)

38 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


Reference Material # 4

Persecuted for their faith in the correct teaching,


the unknown farmers of Atsuhara engaged in a
struggle to win eternal spiritual freedom. They
represented the emergence of a great power consisting
of people who believe in and practise Nam-myoho-
renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws, the
essence of the Lotus Sutra, and strive alongside
the Daishonin for kosen-rufu. The foundation of
the peoples Buddhism was thus firmly established.
This marked the fulfilment of the purpose of the
Daishonins appearance in the world. The essence of
Nichiren Buddhism is the emergence of people who
are Bodhisattvas of the Earth possessing a profound
mission, who take Bodhisattva Never Disparaging as
their model.
For the Daishonins disciples, the appearance of
the disciples among the farmers of Atsuhara who
did not begrudge their lives for the sake of Buddhism
became an immortal foundation for kosen-rufu that
will shine for all time.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, September 2016, 19)

Lecture # 3 39
Gosho Passage # 2

In these twenty-seven years, however, Nichiren was


exiled to the province of Izu on the twelfth day of
the fifth month [May 12] in the first year of Kocho
(1261), cyclical sign kanoto-tori, and was wounded
on the forehead and had his left hand broken on
the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the first
year of Bunei (1264), cyclical sign kinoe-ne. He
was led to the place of execution on the twelfth
day of the ninth month in the eighth year of Bunei
(1271), cyclical sign kanoto-hitsuji, and in the end
was exiled to the province of Sado. In addition,
countless numbers of disciples have been murdered
or wounded, banished or heavily fined. I do not
know whether these trials equal or surpass those
of the Buddha. Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Tien-
tai, and Dengyo, however, cannot compare with
me in what they suffered. Had it not been for the
advent of Nichiren in the Latter Day of the Law,
the Buddha would have been a teller of great lies,
and the testimony given by Many Treasures and
by the Buddhas of the ten directions would have
been false. In the 2,230 and more years since the
Buddhas passing, Nichiren is the only person in the
entire land of Jambudvipa [the entire world] who
has fulfilled the Buddhas words.
(On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, wnd-1, 996-97)

40 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


Reference Material # 5

The great struggle of the Daishonin and his disciples,


practising just as the Buddha taught and spreading the
teaching without begrudging their lives, has proven
the truth of the Lotus Sutra and opened the way for
kosen-rufu into the eternal future of the Latter Day of
the Law.
Fostering genuine disciples is of especially
profound significance.
Through the shared struggle of mentor and
disciple, the Buddhism of the people was transmitted
to future generations, leading eventually to the
emergence of the Soka Gakkai in our times. In that
sense, the mission and role of the peoples organization
of the SGI, which has inherited the Daishonins
fundamental purpose and spread it throughout the
world, take on even greater importance.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, September 2016, 22)

Gosho Passage # 3

Each of you should summon up the courage of a


lion king and never succumb to threats from anyone.
The lion king fears no other beast, nor do its cubs.

Lecture # 3 41
Slanderers are like barking foxes, but Nichirens
followers are like roaring lions.
(On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, wnd-1, 997)

Reference Material # 6

From the early days of the Soka Gakkai, our members


fought on tirelessly, refusing to allow themselves to be
defeated by unfounded criticism and abuse in accord
with the Daishonins admonition to never succumb to
threats from anyone (On Persecutions Befalling the
Sage, wnd-1, 997). They gritted their teeth and did
not retreat a single step. Those who advance, even if
just a step, or just a millimetre, are victors. Not giving
in to defeat is the way to accumulate imperishable
treasures of the heart and, in so doing, to accomplish
ones human revolution and transform ones karma.
In the realm of faith, those who sincerely persevere in
their Buddhist practice are certain to be crowned with
brilliant victory in the end.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, October 2016, 16-17)

Reference Material # 7

In this passage, the Daishonin uses the expression

42 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


Nichirens followers (wnd-1, 997). It implies
those who have forged a profound mentor-disciple
bond with the Daishonin, who, in the 27 years since
establishing his teaching [in 1253], as related earlier
in this letter, fought against and triumphed over all
kinds of powerful enemies and harsh persecutions.
I read his use of the words Nichirens followers
here as powerful encouragement to his disciples, assuring
them: You are all my disciples! As such, if you strive in
the same way I have, youll definitely win!
Disciples who embrace the great aim of kosen-
rufu and follow the example of a great teacher who
is filled with compassion, courage and wisdom will
never be defeated. The lion king is always victorious.
The lion cubs must resolve to become lion kings, too.
Now is the time for them to do so. The Daishonins
disciples should all encourage one another that the
time to stand up resolutely as lion kings has arrived.
This is the Daishonins message to his disciples.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, October 2016, 19)

Gosho Passage # 4

The lay priest of Saimyo-ji, now deceased, and


the present ruler permitted my return from my

Lecture # 3 43
exiles when they found that I was innocent of the
accusations against me. The present ruler shall no
longer take action on any charge without confirming
its truth. You may rest assured that nothing, not
even a person possessed by a powerful demon, can
harm Nichiren, because Brahma, Shakra, the gods
of the sun and moon, the four heavenly kings, the
Sun Goddess, and Hachiman are safeguarding him.
Strengthen your faith day by day and month after
month. Should you slacken in your resolve even a
bit, devils will take advantage.
(On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, wnd-1,997)

Reference Material # 8

What was the devilish function that Shakyamuni


and the Daishonin battled against all their lives? It
was the fundamental darkness or ignorance innate in
human life.
Devilish functions are essentially robbers of
life and robbers of benefit (see Opening the Eyes
of Wooden and Painted Images, wnd-1, 87). The
key to vanquishing them is found in a heart or spirit
that grows stronger day by day and month after
month. Ceaseless efforts to advance in Buddhist
practice bring forth the life state of Buddhahood.
Devilish functions can find no way into the lives
of those who are striving hard in their Buddhist

44 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


practicein other words, those who are constantly
bringing forth the state of Buddhahood from within
them. Those who continually press ahead can build
a vast and expansive state of life. That is the purpose
of Buddhism.
Strengthening our faith day by day and month
after month is the foundation for absolute victory,
enabling us to vanquish the three obstacles and four
devils, and to transform our karma.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, October 2016, 21-23)

Gosho Passage # 5

Urge on, but do not frighten, the ones from


Atsuhara who are ignorant of Buddhism. Tell
them to be prepared for the worst, and not to
expect good times, but take the bad times for
granted. If they complain of hunger, tell them
about the sufferings of the world of hungry spirits.
If they grumble that they are cold, tell them of the
eight cold hells. If they say they are frightened,
explain to them that a pheasant sighted by a hawk,
or a mouse stalked by a cat, is as desperate as
they are.
(On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, wnd-1, 998)

Lecture # 3 45
Reference Material # 9

The essence of Buddhism can be understood only


from the perspective of eternity often expressed
in Buddhism as the three existences of past, present
and future. Because we believe in the eternity of
life, our endeavours in this existence have profound
meaning. The pain of present hardships is for the
sake of attaining Buddhahood. It is like moxibustion,
which is painful when applied, but later has a
medicinal effect.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, October 2016, 25)

Reference Material # 10

The mentor-disciple relationship is the ultimate


expression of faith. Mr Toda declared with utmost
conviction: Just dedicate your life to the Soka
path of mentor and disciple. You will never regret
it. Youll be able to lead a life filled with the joy of
victory.
I have single-mindedly walked the path of
oneness of mentor and disciple. This is my greatest
pride and honour in life. Today, countless fellow

46 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


Bodhisattvas of the Earth, also advancing along
this noble path, are active in communities around
the world.
Marco Antonio Laffranchi (19362015), the late
president of the University of Northern Parana in
Brazil, said to me that he agreed that the mentor-
disciple relationship is very important. The mentor
makes the plans, he said, and the disciples carry
them out. The mentor indicates the pathway to
success, and the disciples dedicate their lives to
following it. Dr Laffranchi expressed concord with
our conviction that a great human revolution in just
a single individual will help achieve a change in the
destiny of a nation.
The new era of worldwide kosen-rufu is one
where Bodhisattvas of the Earth forge ahead on
the great path of mentor and disciple everywhere
around the globe.
A new era has dawned.
The entire world is awaiting the Buddhism of
lion kings.
The curtain has risen on the true stage of Soka
mentor and disciples.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, October 2016, 27-29)

Lecture # 3 47
Reference Material # 11

When people with an awareness of their mission for


kosen-rufu stand up, and the philosophy of respect for
life based on the Mystic Law is transmitted from the
people to the people and deeply absorbed into their
lives, then society and the times will be transformed
on a fundamental level.
The expansion of our Soka network is the surest
step forward in building peace.
The sun of the Buddhism of the people is rising
now, shining ever more brightly as a source of hope.
Let us set forth towards a golden age of victory
for humanity! The time has come to commence the
real struggle of genuine disciples.
(SGI President Ikedas Study Lecture Series,
The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World:
On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,
vc, September 2016, 23)

48 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


SGI Study Training Course
October 16, 2016

Lecture # 4

The Excerpted Guidance of SGI President Ikeda


The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:
Kosen-rufu and World Peace
The Mission and Vow of
the Bodhisattvas of the Earth
(SGI NL Nos. 9425 & 9435)

Reference Material # 1

The Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine


King, the 23rd chapter of the Lotus Sutra, states:
You must spread it [the Lotus Sutra] abroad widely
[kosen-rufu] throughout Jambudvipa [the entire
world] and never allow it to be cut off, nor must you
allow evil devils, the devils people, heavenly beings
[such as the devil king of the sixth heaven], dragons,

Lecture # 4 49
yakshas, kumbhanda demons [that sap peoples
vitality], or others to seize the advantage!
(lsoc23, 330; The Wisdom for Creating Happiness
and Peace: Kosen-rufu and World Peace,
Chapter 18, vc, October 2016, 77)

Reference Material # 2

Can there be any doubt that . . . the great pure Law


of the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] will be
spread far and wide (kosen-rufu) throughout Japan
and all the other countries of Jambudvipa [the entire
world]?
(The Selection of the Time, wnd-1, 550;
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:
Kosen-rufu and World Peace, Chapter 18,
vc, October 2016, 73-74).

Reference Material # 3

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:


18.1 The Aim of Nichiren Buddhism is Kosen-rufu

(1) Nichiren Buddhism teaches that all living beings


equally possess the Buddha nature and embody the
principle of three thousand realms in a single moment
of life. It also reveals the means by which we can

50 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


break free of all the chains that bind us. Asserting the
dignity, equality and freedom of all people, Nichiren
Buddhism is a world religion committed to bringing
peace to humanity. It will illuminate the 21st century
and impart the great light of universal happiness to
the world.
(nhr, vol. 1, Sunrise; The Wisdom for Creating
Happiness and Peace: Kosen-rufu and World Peace,
Chapter 18, vc, October 2016, 74)

(2) The most distinguishing characteristic of


Nichiren Buddhism is its emphasis on kosen-rufu
the widespread propagation of the Mystic Law.
It is a teaching that urges us to dedicate ourselves
to spreading the Mystic Law, the universal Law of
life, throughout the world and realizing happiness
and peace for all humanity, because this is the
mission for which we were born into this world and
the path to our own happiness as well.
In Nichiren Buddhism, therefore, we practise for
both ourselves and others. We strive in our Buddhist
practice not just to gain the benefits of the Law
ourselves, but to share the teachings with others and
introduce them to the practice so that they, too, can
gain the same benefits.
The Daishonin states: You must not only
persevere yourself; you must also teach others.

Lecture # 4 51
Teach others to the best of your ability, even if
it is only a single sentence or phrase (The True
Aspect of All Phenomena, wnd-1, 386). Chanting
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and sharing the teachings of
Nichiren Buddhism with others are the two wheels
of our Buddhist practice.
(nhr, vol.15, Flowering; The Wisdom for Creating
Happiness and Peace: Kosen-rufu and World Peace,
Chapter 18, vc, October 2016, 74-75)

(3) Nichiren Buddhism also stresses the importance


of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of
the land.
Throughout his lifetime, the Daishonin stressed
the need to spread the correct teaching and firmly
establish the philosophical principles of Buddhism
in the heart of each individual, thereby creating a
peaceful and prosperous society for all.
From one perspective, it can be said that
establishing the correct teaching, or widely
spreading the Mystic Law, represents our religious
mission as practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism, and
that realizing the peace of the land represents our
social mission.
(nhr, vol.15, Flowering; The Wisdom for Creating
Happiness and Peace: Kosen-rufu and World Peace,
Chapter 18, vc, October 2016, 75)

52 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


Reference Material # 4

Now, at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law,


I, Nichiren, am the first to embark on propagating,
throughout Jambudvpa, the five characters of
Myoho-renge-kyo, which are the heart of the Lotus
Sutra and the eye of all Buddhas. During the 2,220
or more years since the Buddhas passing, not even
Mahkshyapa, nanda, Ashvaghosha, Ngrjuna,
Nan-yeh, Tien-tai, Miao-lo, or Dengy has
propagated them. My disciples, form your ranks
and follow me, and surpass even Mahkshyapa or
nanda, Tien-tai or Dengy! If you quail before
the threats of the ruler of this little island country
[and abandon your faith], how will you face the even
more terrible anger of Yama, the lord of hell? If,
while calling yourselves the Buddhas messengers,
you give way to fear, you will be the most despicable
of persons!
(The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,
wnd-1, 764-65)

Reference Material # 5

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:


18.2 May Young Successors Follow the Path of
Kosen-rufu in Ever-growing Numbers

Lecture # 4 53
Thus, by follow me, he means for his disciples to
follow his lead in propagating the Mystic Law around
the world. He calls on them to leave behind an
achievement that will endure for all time.
It is the Soka Gakkai alone that has done
just that your seniors in faith who have striven
together with me. There is no greater honour. I hope
that our youth division members around the globe
will form their ranks and follow this path of kosen-
rufu in ever-growing numbers.
(The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:
Kosen-rufu and World Peace, Chapter 18,
vc, October 2016, 77)

Reference Material # 6

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:


18.3 Enabling All Humanity to Attain Buddhahood

Mr Toda also stated:

[The mission of Soka Gakkai members as


emissaries of the Buddha] is to elevate all people
to the life state of Buddhahood in other words,
elevate the character of all humankind to the
highest level. How can we accomplish this? That is
a very difficult question. But unless we can find the
answer, there will be no hope for true happiness on

54 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


our planet. If all humankind can be elevated to the
life state of Buddhahood, be made to reveal their
highest character, war and famine would disappear,
epidemics and poverty would be eradicated.
Helping all human beings become Buddhas that
is, express their highest character is to carry out
the Thus Come Ones work (lsoc10, 200).

Mr Todas profound insight was that elevating the


character of all humankind is the key to solving
every problem humanity faces. His vision extended to
our world today.
As long as the collective character of humankind
remains at a low level and continues to be ruled by
the base animal instincts of the six paths, any policy
or plan can end up leading in the wrong direction.
My mentors heartfelt wish was to eradicate
misery and suffering from the world. The way to
do that, he believed, is to help all people become
Buddhas and reveal their highest humanity. This is
our mission as Soka Gakkai members, he said.
Let us continue to base ourselves on Mr Todas
conviction and, while steadily strengthening our
foundation, move together towards the fundamental
goal of leading all humankind to enlightenment.
(The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:
Kosen-rufu and World Peace, Chapter 18,
vc, October 2016, 79-80)

Lecture # 4 55
Reference Material # 7

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:


18.5 Kosen-rufu Is an Unending Flow

Here, I want to clarify that kosen-rufu doesnt


necessarily refer to a particular fixed goal.
The Daishonin writes, If Nichirens compassion
is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-
renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and
more, for all eternity (On Repaying Debts of
Gratitude, wnd-1, 736). He is indicating that the
flow of kosen-rufu of widespread propagation
goes on endlessly, never ceasing. Kosen-rufu is not
the end point of the flow; it is the flow itself, the
vibrant coursing of this living Buddhism throughout
society and the world.
Our activities for kosen-rufu are aimed at
spreading the Daishonins Buddhism of the
Three Great Secret Laws in todays world and
nourishing everyone with its refreshing wellspring
of life. They are to enable each individual to
realize indestructible happiness in life and, as a
consequence, to build an ideal society of peace and
prosperity.
In other words, our activities for kosen-rufu, our
efforts to transmit the Mystic Law, constitute a most
fundamental struggle to revitalize human beings and

56 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


firmly establish within society a spirit of respect for
the dignity of life.
(The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:
Kosen-rufu and World Peace, Chapter 18,
vc, October 2016, 86)

Reference Material # 8

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:


18.8 The Soka Gakkai Is a Magnificent Realm of
Inspiration and Empowerment

I am always taking action in every way I can for the


sake of kosen-rufu, looking towards the distant future,
a hundred or two hundred years from now. We are
planting seeds in every area of human activity that
will someday grow into mighty trees and blossom
as magnificent flowers. Thats why theres no need
to be swayed by the ever-changing events and
circumstances of the present.

**

My mentor, Josei Toda, always stressed that raising


capable people was essential. He and I often discussed
the future of kosen-rufu, sharing the vision that the
Soka Gakkai would become a magnificent realm of
inspiration and empowerment.

Lecture # 4 57
The SGI movement is indeed an unprecedented
great endeavour to develop and foster people based on
the supreme philosophy and compassionate spirit of
Nichiren Buddhism. Its not just the organization that
is important. Fostering people is what matters most.
The progress of the spread of the Mystic Law
throughout the world depends on our success in
fostering individuals who will take the lead in that
effort. I would like to state clearly that each of you is
such an individual, a noble pioneer of our movement.
We are engaged in an undertaking of a truly
grand scale that will unfold over the ten thousand
years and more of the Latter Day of the Law. It is
a monumental enterprise to open wide the path to
peace and happiness for all humanity based on the
supreme principle of the Mystic Law.

In the course of this long journey, it is only natural


that we should meet with obstacles and difficulties
from time to time. If we have hardships to overcome,
we can grow and savour exhilarating joy once we
surmount them. And when we strive with pure-
hearted faith, all difficulties are transformed into
a source of benefit and good fortune, and become
springboards for creating an even brighter future.
(The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:
Kosen-rufu and World Peace, Chapter 18,
vc, October 2016, 98-99)

58 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


Reference Material # 9

Now, no matter what, strive in faith and be known as


a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and remain my disciple
for the rest of your life. If you are of the same mind
as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth.
And if you are a Bodhisattva of the Earth, there is not
the slightest doubt that you have been a disciple of
Shakyamuni Buddha from the remote past. The sutra
states, Ever since the long distant past I have been
teaching and converting this multitude. There should
be no discrimination among those who propagate
the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter
Day of the Law, be they men or women. Were they
not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant
the daimoku. At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-
myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred
followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation
will unfold this way in the future as well. Does this
not signify emerging from the earth? At the time
when the Law has spread far and wide, the entire
Japanese nation will chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,
as surely as an arrow aimed at the earth cannot miss
the target.
But now you must build your reputation on the
Lotus Sutra and give yourself up to it.
(The True Aspect of All Phenomena,
wnd-1, 385)

Lecture # 4 59
Reference Material # 10

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:


19.1 Realizing Our Identity as Bodhisattvas of the
Earth

The Bodhisattvas of the Earth dont reluctantly


drag themselves forward after being called on by
Shakyamuni; they leap forth eagerly as if they have
been waiting for that moment. This self-motivated
faith to energetically spring forth is the key to eternal
happiness.
Securing eternal happiness is the purpose of
faith in the Mystic Law. This life is like a dream.
We practise Nichiren Buddhism so that we can
awaken from that dream and realize such enduring
happiness in our present existence. We call this
attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime. Thats why
we must strive earnestly here and now.
What do we need to do this? The Daishonin
states: If you are of the same mind as Nichiren,
you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth (wnd-1,
385). Those who exert themselves for kosen-rufu
with the same commitment as Nichiren Daishonin
are genuine Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

**

60 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


I am a Bodhisattva of the Earth! todays mighty
river of kosen-rufu began to flow dynamically from
his powerful conviction.
Having intensively pondered the question
of What is a Buddha? Mr Toda arrived at the
realization that it is none other than ones own life
and the great life of the universe itself, and that
those two things are one and the same.
Like the saying, Dig beneath your feet, there
you will find a spring, when Mr Toda delved into the
source of his own being, the foundation common to
the lives of all people was revealed the eternal life
of the universe itself. While awakening to the source
of his own being, he also awakened to the foundation
shared by all humanity that everyone on the most
fundamental level of life is a Bodhisattva of the
Earth. As Soka Gakkai members, we now share this
awareness of the common home, or source, of life.

**

The bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching are like


those trying to attain Buddhahood by accumulating
minor good. In contrast, the bodhisattvas of the
essential teaching the Bodhisattvas of the Earth
make the great life force of the world of Buddhahood
issue forth from the depths of the Dharma nature

Lecture # 4 61
(ott, 119), the innermost reaches of their being, with
the explosive force of an erupting volcano.
The Bodhisattvas of the Earth constantly practise
the Mystic Law and live each moment deeply attuned
to the eternal dimension of life. While in terms of
their practice they are bodhisattvas, in terms of their
inner enlightenment they are Buddhas.
But the image people tend to have of a Buddha
is that of a transcendent or superhuman being.
Contrary to this image, Bodhisattvas of the Earth
devote themselves as bodhisattvas who are ordinary
human beings practising the Mystic Law. They
devote themselves as real people. This is profoundly
significant.
A restoration of trust and faith in human beings
this is the key for a religion of the 21st century. I
believe the world is eagerly awaiting the appearance
of such a great teaching of humanism and life.
(The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:
Kosen-rufu and World Peace, Chapter 19;
vc, November 2016, 62, 64, 67-69)

Reference Material # 11

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:


19.2 Soka Gakkai Members Are the True Bodhisattvas
of the Earth

62 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are bodhisattvas who
possess within their lives the Mystic Law of time
without beginning. Nichiren Daishonin says that,
had they not been entrusted with the supreme Law,
they could not possibly appear and propagate it in the
Latter Day (cf. The Object of Devotion for Observing
the Mind, wnd-1, 372). The supreme Law is Nam-
myoho-renge-kyo.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the teaching implicit
in the Life Span chapter of the Lotus Sutra, is
the highly effective medicine (lsoc16, 269) for
curing the ills of all living beings in the Latter Day
of the Law. It is the Law of life. Only when one
possesses this Law in ones own being and is able
to communicate it to others in the Latter Day of the
Law can one help free people from suffering.
Nichiren Daishonin, in his role as Bodhisattva
Superior Practices, the leader of the Bodhisattvas
of the Earth, based himself on the conviction that
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the very essence of his
being. And he inscribed his enlightened state of life
in the form of the Gohonzon to enable all people of
the Latter Day of the Law to attain enlightenment.
The Daishonin states: The accepting and up
holding of this original Law is expressed in the single
word belief or faith. The single word belief is the
sharp sword with which one confronts and overcomes

Lecture # 4 63
fundamental darkness or ignorance (ott, 11920).
He also says: If you are of the same mind as
Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth
(The True Aspect of all Phenomena, wnd-1, 385).
We who strive for kosen-rufu with faith in the
Gohonzon and in the same spirit as the Daishonin
are also Bodhisattvas of the Earth who uphold the
supreme Law, just as he did.
(The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:
Kosen-rufu and World Peace, Chapter 19;
vc, November 2016, 69-70)

Reference Material # 12

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace:


19.4 Stand-alone Faith Infused with a Vow for
Kosen-rufu

Delving deeper into the true nature of the


Bodhisattvas of the Earth, he said: The defining
characteristic of bodhisattvas is their vow. The vow
of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth is to propagate the
Lotus Sutra. Thats why it is important for us to chant
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with this vow for kosen-rufu,
resolving with all our hearts to help those around us
become genuinely happy. From a strict point of view,
chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo without that vow is
not the prayer of Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

64 SGI Study Training Course October 2016


The vow for kosen-rufu brims with the powerful
life force of the Buddha, which can vanquish all
negative influences.
Shinichi wanted every single member to enjoy
great benefit. He wanted them to overcome illness,
financial hardship, and every other kind of adversity
and become truly happy. Their prayers to triumph
over such obstacles needed to be infused with a vow
for kosen-rufu.
We all have our own problems and sufferings.
To surmount them, its important to have the
determination to do so for the sake of kosen-rufu.
If we are suffering from illness, for example, then
vowing to overcome that illness and gain the strength
and life force we need to freely take action for
kosen-rufu and demonstrate the validity of Nichiren
Buddhism to others will become a tremendous
impetus for our recovery.

**

Discussing the passage, At first only Nichiren


chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three,
and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching
others (wnd-1, 385), Shinichi emphasized the
importance of courageous stand-alone faith.
He said: Whatever the age, standing alone,
or self-reliance, is a fundamental and unchanging

Lecture # 4 65
principle of kosen-rufu. The Daishonin as well as
Presidents Makiguchi and Toda all resolutely stood
alone. This is the spirit of Buddhism and the heart
of champions of Soka.
To stand alone, practically speaking, means for
each of us to take full responsibility for the mission
of spreading the Mystic Law in all of our personal
realms of influence, including in our families and
communities.
We all have relationships with family
members, relatives, friends and others that are
particular to each of us. From the perspective of
the Mystic Law, those relationships constitute the
true realm of our mission, and each of the people at
the centre of those relationships shares a profound
karmic connection with us. Each of us alone is
responsible and qualified to propagate the Mystic
Law exactly where we are.
Thats what makes the principle of standing
alone so important. We need to be aware that we
are here now as emissaries of Nichiren Daishonin.
And it is the mission of Bodhisattvas of the Earth
to stand up and take action in their own respective
spheres. Never forget that this is the only way kosen-
rufu is realized.
(nhr, vol. 24, Vigilant Safeguarding; The Wisdom
for Creating Happiness and Peace: Kosen-rufu and
World Peace, Chapter 19; vc, November 2016, 79, 80-81)

66 SGI Study Training Course October 2016