SGI-USA Men’s Division Monthly Meetings
Suggested study material for October, 2006
The suggested material below is excerpted from SGI President Ikeda’s speeech, "Respect and Greet Everyone as Buddhas," at the 59th HQ leaders meeting commemorating May 3, published in the May 19, 2006 issue of World Tribune, page 2 and 3. In these excerpts President Ikeda discusses the importance of respecting each member, and the significance of helping people form connections with Buddhism.
* * *
The Lotus Sutra states that we should rise and greet from afar a person who accepts and upholds this sutra, showing him or her the same respect we would a Buddha (The Lotus Sutra, p. 324). My mentor, our second Soka Gakkai president, Josei Toda, firmly believed that if leaders respected all our members as if they were Buddhas, worldwide kosen-rufu would naturally advance.…
The central focus of Nichiren Buddhism is kosen-rufu. This means not only chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ourselves but actively sharing it with people around the globe. Nichiren’s ultimate wish was the widespread propagation of the Mystic Law throughout the entire world. The Soka Gakkai has overcome every hardship and obstacle to spread this great philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, and our movement now encompasses 190 countries and territories. This is an achievement unprecedented in the history of Buddhism all the way back to Shakyamuni’s time.
* * *
We are Bodhisattvas of the Earth dedicated to realizing the momentous undertaking of kosen-rufu; as such, we can lead lives of incomparable meaning and value. I have striven in the spirit of making each year the equivalent of a decade or even an entire lifetime. The power of the Mystic Law makes this possible.
* * *
Planted seeds will definitely flower.
I constantly receive reports from throughout the country and around the world, and recently I received some very gratifying news from a women’s division member of Toyama Prefecture. Efforts to share Nichiren Buddhism with others are advancing dramatically throughout Toyama. This is the story of what happened when a women’s leader visited a woman living in a remote mountain village to talk with her about Buddhism.
During their talk, the woman being visited shared an anecdote. Several decades earlier, apparently, this woman had been traveling with her young child by train to Nagoya. The train was very hot, and the child could no longer bear the heat and started to cry. Just then a young man sitting next to her began to fan the child gently. Maintaining a smile, he also bought a boxed lunch for them to eat.
What a kind young man, thought the mother, touched by his thoughtfulness. “I guess there really are such wonderful people in the world!” When she offered her thanks in parting, the young man handed her his card. On it was written his name: Daisaku Ikeda. The woman still remembers that incident as if it had taken place yesterday, and just recently she joined the Soka Gakkai.
The connections to Buddhism that we have helped people form will eventually flower and bear fruit without fail. As Nichiren writes, “The seeds of Buddhahood sprout as a result of conditions [in other words, in connection to some external cause]” (WND, 1117).
* * *
Suggested discussion questions:
Why do you think Mr. Toda believed that if leaders respected all members as if they were Buddhas that Kosenrufu would advance without fail, and how can we practice this ourselves?
President Ikeda states that acting as Boddhisatvas of the Earth we can lead lives of incomparable meaning and value. How have you experienced this in your own life?
President Ikeda also states that the connections to Buddhism that we have helped people form will eventually flower and bear fruit without fail. Can you share examples of this from your own experience?