SGI-USA Men's Division Monthly Meetings
Suggested study material for February 2005
Developing Courage and Wisdom to Attain Victory
The suggested material below is excerpted from SGI President Ikeda’s Study Lecture Series, Lectures on “The Opening of the Eyes,” from the first installment, published in the November 2004 issue of Living Buddhism. In this excerpt, President Ikeda discusses the principle of “casting off the transient and revealing the true,” the “basic principle for attaining Buddhahood that applies to all people…,” and the importance of courageous faith in order to actualize this principle. Suggested discussion questions follow the excerpts.
“As he [Nichiren Daishonin] describes in detail in ‘The Opening of the Eyes,’ he won this fundamental victory of life – the victory of casting off the transient and revealing the true – in the course of his relentless struggle to surmount persecution after persecution and triumph over all obstacles. In the same way, when we maintain courageous faith, unafraid of any obstacles, then, no matter what happens, we, too, can defeat the darkness of ignorance and establish a self that manifests our enlightened Dharma nature. This is how we cast off our own transient aspect and reveal our true selves. Casting off the transient and revealing the true is essential to our attainment of Buddhahood in this lifetime.
“As Nichiren indicates when he says, ‘Here a single individual has been used as an example, but the same thing applies equally to all living beings,’ his casting off the transient and revealing the true elucidates the basic principle for attaining Buddhahood that applies to all people of the Latter Day of the Law; it is also proof of this principle and an example for others.
“All people, if they possess unwavering faith in the Mystic Law, can develop a state of being as vast as the universe in their flesh-and-blood lives as ordinary people. You could say that Nichiren Daishonin was the very first person to demonstrate the truth that all people of the Latter Day could cast off the transient and reveal the true. To verify his casting off the transient and revealing the true and to provide a ‘clear mirror’ or means so that others could do the same, Nichiren manifested the Gohonzon in a concrete graphic form.
“The Daishonin is truly the pillar of all humankind, because his example of discarding the transient and revealing the true makes it possible for all people to bring forth their own inherent Buddha nature. Herein lies the most profound significance of his assertions that ‘The destiny of Japan depends solely upon Nichiren,’ and ‘Nichiren is the soul of the people of this country.’
“Opening the eyes is thus also a call to ‘Open your eyes to Nichiren.’”
(Living Buddhism, November 2004, pp 24-25)
“The only way to liberate the people of the Latter Day of the Law from fundamental suffering is to firmly establish the means by which the Buddha nature inherent in all human beings can be manifested in each individual’s life and in society. This great path can be opened only by those who are able to establish the deep, strong faith necessary to defeat the fundamental darkness inherent in human life. That is because all obstacles and devilish functions are in essence manifestations of fundamental darkness.”
(Living Buddhism, November 2004, p 28)
Suggested questions for discussion:
1. President Ikeda emphasizes that the principle of “casting off the transient and revealing the true” is not just something that applies only to Nichiren. What does this mean to you in terms of your own life this year?
2. We often hear about challenging ourselves in faith to make the impossible possible (for example, in the theme for the SGI-USA Women’s Division this year – see the January 2005 issue of Living Buddhism). Can you see a connection between this theme and “casting off the transient and revealing the true?”
3. Nichiren demonstrated the “courage of the lion king” at Tatsunokuchi, enabling him to reveal his true identity. In your own life, how is courage related to expanding or strengthening your life condition and winning?
4. How does defeating the fundamental darkness in our own lives enable us to help others?