SGI-USA Men’s Division Monthly Meetings
Suggested study material for May, 2006
The suggested material below is excerpted from SGI President Ikeda’s essay, “Gongyo: The Wellspring of Victory,” published in the March 17, 2006 issue of World Tribune, page 3. In this excerpt, President Ikeda discusses the great transformation of life that takes place through deepening one’s prayer. Suggested discussion questions follow the excerpts.
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The Mystic Law is absolute. The only way to tap the infinite power of the Buddha and the power of the Law is to chant and exert ourselves for kosen-rufu with the intensity of a charging lion.
When Mr. Toda’s business was in financial straits, I worked furiously to help him surmount the crisis. Pushing myself to the limit day after day took a serious toll on my health. I was a physical wreck. One day, Mr. Toda called me into the Gohonzon room and said: “Daisaku! You haven’t got an ounce of life-force! You’re not going to win any battles in that condition. Let’s do gongyo together!”
He took me sternly to task as if seeking to banish my weak life-state and free me from the devil of illness. Tears filled by eyes at my mentor’s compassion. As I sat in front of the Gohonzon and chanted alongside Mr. Toda – my voice and heart attuned to his – a powerful fighting spirit and a surge of courage welled up inside me.
During that tumultuous period, I had many opportunities to do gongyo with my incomparable mentor. They are now a precious treasure and a memory that continues to resonate in my life to this day, filling me with profound and undiminishing gratitude.
A “fighting gongyo” is the inexhaustible wellspring of absolute victory in both life and the struggle for kosen-rufu.
Through the Buddhist doctrine of “3,000 realms in a single moment of life,” the Daishonin teaches that a great transformation in our attitude can bring about a transformation in all phenomena comprising the three thousand realms. When our fundamental mind-set changes, we ourselves change. And when we change, the environment and the world change, too.
The source of this great transformation is found nowhere but in a radical deepening of our own chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon. This sort of prayer to the Gohonzon is completely different from that found in a dependent, supplicant faith; we do not weakly and passively beg someone for salvation or assistance.
Prayer in Nichiren Buddhism is ‘fundamentally a vow. It is a pledge or commitment to follow a chosen course of action; it is a declaration to challenge a clear objective. As such, how could anything be more wonderful than the vow to realize our personal human revolution and actualize kosen-rufu with its goal of world peace?
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“There is no such thing as retreat for a man of prayer,” declared Mahatma Gandhi.
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Suggested discussion questions:
1. What does a “fighting gongyo” mean to you and what kind of spirit is behind it? What does the quotation President Ikeda shares from Gandhi mean for us in daily practice?
2. Can you share an occasion when you experienced something like what President Ikeda calls a “radical deepening” of your prayer, and what enabled you or caused you to do that?
3. What can we learn about oneness of mentor and disciple from his experience with Mr.Toda that President Ikeda shared in the above excerpt? How do you feel that is connected with his guidance about deepening our prayer by making a vow?