August 2007 Study Meeting Material

The excerpts below come from Volume VIII, in Book II of the current edition of The Human Revolution. Suggested discussion questions follow. Please also see the “highlights” reading, also available on the SGI-USA website, with longer excerpts from Volume VIII. We encourage all Men’s Division members to own and read the complete work, available through your SGI-USA bookstore.

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“Light and Darkness” pp. 1093-1094

At a campfire guidance session for a select group of YMD, the Suiko-Kai, President Toda talks about the conflict between reason and emotion from the standpoint of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism

“People tend to regard reason and emotion as opposing forces, but this is because they don’t take into account the workings of life. Once people are awakened to the undeniable reality in the depths of existence—the flow of life itself that extends throughout past, present and future—they will realize that reason and emotion merely represent two sides of that one basic essence. No one is without emotion, nor is anyone devoid of reason. Reason and emotion will either agree or conflict depending on whether one’s state of life is pure or polluted.

“Let’s take Nichiren Daishonin for example. The behavior he maintained throughout his life may well be said to have been a perfect fusion of reason and emotion—great reason in the form of the ultimate Law of Buddhism and the noble emotion that continually endeavored to save all of the unhappy people in the world. Although we are separated from him by seven hundred years, as his disciples we also must regard reason and emotion in the same spirit. Only in this way can our acts become totally free of illusion.

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“Light and Darkness” pp. 1097 - 1098

At a Youth Division General Meeting in October, 1954, President Toda states that the successful restoration of the nation and society must be based on Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. .

“My dear young friends! Today, political, economic, educational, cultural and other circles are doing their utmost to restore our country. However, neither politics, economics nor education alone are sufficient to rescue Japan. Now, I am not denying the merits of political, economic, educational, cultural or other activities, but I want to stress that all such activities must have Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism as their foundation. Every endeavor, whether political, economic or educational, has to be based on, nourished and fostered by the Daishonin’s Buddhism if it is to be capable of redeeming our afflicted society and enabling the people to live in happiness.”

Toda was suggesting to his audience that the Soka Gakkai’s activities not be confined to the religious sphere but extend throughout all sectors of society. He realized more than anyone else that his organization was entering a stage in which such far-reaching efforts would be vital. Unless the movement of the Soka Gakkai were to spread into every phase of human affairs, it would be impossible to make the ideal of kosen-rufu a reality. What was most important, then, was the strong faith to support such wide-ranging activities. Should this ever collapse, all endeavors would come to naught. Toda went on to explain exactly what Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is:

“It goes without saying that Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism means this correct society, whose believers are practicing their faith exactly as he taught. This is vividly clear from the Daishonin’s writings, from the principles of Buddhist philosophy and, moreover, from the innumerable examples of actual proof.

“Eventful Days” pp 1121-1122

As part of his New Year’s Day Message in January, 1955, President Toda presented the leaders with the following poem which would, after his death, be inscribed on a monument in the garden of the Grand Lecture Hall at the head temple Taiseki-ji.

The journey to spread the Mystic Law is long,
Yet encouraging each other,
We continue onward hand in hand.

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…The organization was about to leave a relatively calm inlet and plunge into the open sea. There were sure to be many unexpected difficulties lying in wait.

Toda did not hesitate, no matter how much had to be done. He was only too willing to tackle them all if it would just serve to solidify each new step toward kosen-rufu. However, he knew that it was vital to deal carefully and skillfully with any obstacle as soon as it occurred. It was to remind those close to him of the great length of their ultimate journey that he had given the poem to the participants. It was meant as a warning to the leaders whose heads were still filled with only partially thought out, short-range strategy.

For the Soka Gakkai to surmount the obstacles it would have to face, perfect unity among its members was prerequisite. But solidarity in the truest sense of the word could not be maintained by such means as iron discipline. It was essential that all should travel the long journey hand in hand, encouraging each other so that no one would drop out, until they safely reached their destination.

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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. As men we often find our reason and emotions in conflict. How can our seeking the same spirit as Nichiren Daishonin help us in this struggle? How has your own human revolution reflected your growth in this area?

2. What does President Toda’s statement that in order to redeem society, all endeavors must be “based on, nourished and fostered by the Daishonin’s Buddhism” mean to you?

3. President Ikeda explains that in order to face and overcome every obstacle, perfect unity is required. Since this type of genuine unity is accomplished through “encouraging each other hand in hand,” how can we overcome the negativity in our lives that prevents us from reaching out to others?