March 2006 Study Material

SGI-USA Men's Division Monthly Meetings
Suggested study material for March, 2006

The suggested material below is excerpted from SGI President Ikeda’s lecture series, Lectures on “The Opening of the Eyes,” intallment 17, published in the March/April, 2006 issue of Living Buddhism. In this excerpt, President Ikeda discusses shakubuku as an act of compassion. Suggested discussion questions follow the excerpts..

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The Opening of the Eyes [17]: Lessening One's Karmic Retribution

- The Principle of Changing Karma That Frees People from Suffering

"If one befriends another person, but lacks the mercy to correct him, one is in fact his enemy. (Living Buddhism, March/April, 2006, p. 91)

Shakubuku, an act of supreme compassion, is a lion's roar directed toward the goal of reviving the goodness in people's hearts and bringing dynamic vitality and creativity to society for the benefit of all. It is a spiritual struggle of the loftiest dimension, one that seeks to conquer devilish functions, break through darkness and delusion and actualize true, lasting happiness for humankind. And it is powered by a fighting spirit that resembles that of a fearless lion king.

This struggle enables us to forge an indestructible, diamond-like state of life. Citing the Nirvana Sutra, the Daishonin notes that obtaining a "diamond-like body" (WND, 285) is the benefit of practicing shakubuku.Those who practice shakubuku can forge indestructible lives.

By embarking on this compassionate struggle, we can rid our own lives of the rust of inertia, carelessness, and cowardice - the dull patina that prevents our true brilliance from shining forth. Those who tap the depths of their wisdom and persevere in their efforts to lead even one person to happiness can break through the binding chains of all kinds of preconceived ideas and prejudices and defeat the alienating ignorance of disbelief and disrespect. Those who battle negativity and delusions can cleanse and polish their lives with a purifying stream that washes away spiritual decay; they can develop an infinitely vast and expansive state of life that desires the happiness of all humanity. Moreover, those who remain committed to this cause can create the most wonderful and everlasting memories of their lives in this human world.

The glory of a life dedicated to kosen-rufu is found in the midst of tireless struggle. The indestructible, diamond-like state of being we attain through winning resolutely in every challenge for kosen-rufu not only adorns our lives in this present existence but will shine on for all eternity.

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Suggested discussion questions:
1. Why does President Ikeda say that shakubuku requires the courage of a fearless lion king? If you have experienced doing shakubuku when it felt like it required courage, please share your experiences.

2. Can you share an experience in which you rejuvenated your own life or, as President Ikeda says, “rid your own life of the rust of inertia, carelessness and cowardice,” through introducing others to Buddhism?

3. Why do you think the struggle to do shakubuku forges an "indestructible, diamond-like state of life?"