September 2006 Study Material

SGI-USA Men’s Division Monthly Meetings
Suggested study material for September, 2006

The suggested material below is excerpted from two works by SGI President Ikeda on the practice of introducing others to Nichiren Buddhism, both printed in the World Tribune. Suggested discussion questions follow.
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Essay by SGI President Ikeda "Take Great Strides for Peace”
(World Tribune, Dec 23, 2005, p3)

The Daishonin writes: “When I, Nichiren, first took faith in the Lotus Sutra, I was like a single drop of water or a single particle of dust in all the country of Japan. But later, when two people, three people, ten people, and eventually a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, and a million people come to recite the Lotus Sutra and transmit it to others, then they will form a Mount Sumeru of perfect enlightenment, an ocean of great nirvana” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 580).

Kosen-rufu means expanding the number of people who have a connection with Buddhism; it means expanding dialogue and friendship. SGI members are surely and steadily widening the circle of trust and understanding for our movement.

One example of this is the “Million Friends Campaign” initiated by the SGI-Brazil youth division, which has far surpassed its goal and seen the youth engage in meaningful Buddhist dialogue with some 1.2 million people to date. Based on the idea that a hundred people each speaking to one person is more effective than one person speaking to a hundred people, Brazilian youth division members have reached out to their fellow youth and engaged them in lively dialogue about numerous topics, among them: “What is Buddhism?”, What kind of organization is the SGI?” “What is the meaning of happiness?” and “What goals should young people pursue?”

Trust gained through such tenacious one-on-one dialogue is unassailable. It cannot be undermined by even the most malicious insult or rumor. Above all, the challenge of engaging in dialogue contributes to our own development and strength. This, you may be certain, is the surest way to promote peace and the lofty ideals we champion.
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Address at a Women's Division leaders’ conference held in Shinjuku, Tokyo on Feb. 10, 2006 (World Tribune, April 28 2006, p2)

We are carrying out the noblest work of the Buddha. In “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” Nichiren writes:

“Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere yourself you must also teach others. Both practice and study arise from faith” (WND, 386).

Let us advance courageously and joyously just as Nichiren urges, following the great path of faith, practice and study. And let us foster many talented individuals along the way.
Sharing Buddhism with others is extremely difficult. But even if we don’t see immediate results, there’s no need to be discouraged. Mr. Toda declared: “Enabling people to free themselves from suffering eternally and on the most fundamental level is an extraordinary effort that can’t be achieved with ordinary motivation. No task is more important or challenging.”

Filled with pride that we are carrying out the noblest and most sacred work of the Buddha, let us continue striving joyfully, with confidence and good cheer, to engage people in dialogue aimed at expanding the sphere of happiness, hope and peace.
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Questions for Discussion:

Why are dialogue and friendship so important in Buddhism?
Share an experience of engaging in a friendly dialogue about Buddhism. What did you learn?
Discuss the passage “You must not only persevere yourself, you must also teach others.”