Men's Division: Study: November 2004 Study Material

SGI-USA Men's Division Monthly Meetings
Suggested study material for November 2004

Opening a Powerful Path to Peace from Within:
Changing Karma into Mission

The suggested material for the men’s meetings in November are the following excerpts from speech #1 by SGI President Ikeda given July 26, 2004 at the Nagano Training Center. It was published in the Special Pullout Section of the World Tribune dated September 3rd, 2004. In these excerpts, once again President Ikeda discusses the importance of the mentor-disciple relationship in fulfilling our mission.

Suggested discussion questions follow each excerpt below.

The mentor-disciple relationship is the heart of Buddhism; it is the key to limitless growth and self-improvement and the path to the unending triumph of truth and justice. I was physically weak when I was young, and the doctors said I probably wouldn’t live beyond 30. I felt that my time was limited, and I wanted to spend my youth without regrets. That’s why I advanced single-mindedly on the path of mentor and disciple. I sincerely and trustingly followed my mentor’s instructions.

I acted solely in accord with the Buddha’s intent. I never entertained an ambition to become this or that or to receive special treatment. All I wanted was to protect Mr. Toda and devote my life to his service. That was my prayer. I would be satisfied if I could set an example for future generations of how a true disciple of Mr. Toda, a mentor without parallel, should lead his or her life.

My mentor poured his heart and soul into fostering me, and I responded by replying to his expectations with the whole of my being. I am what I am today because of that mentor-and-disciple struggle that transcends life and death.
Likewise, the Soka Gakkai has achieved its present global development because we have dedicated ourselves to propagating the Law in the spirit of oneness of mentor and disciple Nichiren Daishonin taught. This is a fact we cannot afford to ever forget or ignore. I affirm it here today for posterity.

1) In this excerpt President Ikeda talks about his own experience as a disciple of Mr. Toda. How did this relationship lead to his discovering and fulfilling his own mission? What does the mentor-disciple relationship mean to you in your own practice?

It is our tradition in the Soka Gakkai for seniors to raise their juniors to become even more capable than themselves. It is deplorable for seniors to be envious of their juniors’ growth or to sit back and take credit for their juniors’ hard work. When seniors pray sincerely for their juniors’ development and do whatever they can for them, their generosity of spirit and big-heartedness will inspire and encourage the juniors. In turn, they will want to live up to their seniors’ expectations and exert themselves harder to grow and improve. This will give rise to mutual trust and unity.

2) Have you had an experience of a senior who helped you develop in this way? Have you had an experience putting this into practice yourself and raising one of your juniors in faith?

The Daishonin writes: “[My followers] should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death. Herein lies the true goal of Nichiren’s propagation” (WND, 217). The Soka Gakkai has triumphed through the faith of its members, who are united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind”; it has triumphed through the unity of faith.
Let’s further solidify our unity in the remaining months of the year and advance, one in heart and mind, toward the goal the Daishonin has entrusted to us, the widespread propagation of the Mystic Law.

3) President Ikeda encourages us, based on this famous passage from the Gosho, to strengthen our unity and advance. Do you have an experience of creating or strengthening unity in your organization that you can share? How can we put this encouragement into effect, in practical terms?