The Door To This Wisdom is Difficult to Enter

The Door To This Wisdom is Difficult to Enter

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Heart of Shakyamuni's Teaching

After leaving prison on 3rd July 1945, Josei Toda returned home and in the evening made the following vow:

 “Gohonzon and Nichiren Daishonin!  I, Josei Toda, swear to work to achieve kosen-rufu.”  (The Human Revolution: Vol. 1, p26-27)

Over the coming months he tried to encourage and motivate some of the old Soka Gakkai members who had turned their back on their faith due to pressure from the military government, and he thought about how he could realize the vow he had made.  Towards the end of the year he had started to focus on concrete plans to ensure the spread of Nichiren Buddhism and he decided that a basic course of study on The Lotus Sutra would be an essential step on the road to kosen-rufu.  He wanted members of the Soka Gakkai to become familiar with the Lotus Sutra and develop a deeper understanding of the importance, and relevance today, of Shakyamuni’s highest teaching.  Volume One of The Human Revolution, recalls Josei Toda's first lecture:

"When you make a general survey of Shakyamuni’s lifetime teachings, comparing each with [T’ien-t’ai’s classification system which grouped all of the sutras according to the five periods when they were written and the eight different teachings], you will easily understand that the doctrine of Myoho-renge-kyo (the Lotus Sutra) is the highest teaching, the very core and foundation of Shakyamuni’s Buddhism.  Therefore, without understanding it, you cannot reach the heart of his teaching.”  (HR1, p185)

President Ikeda later explains that “what Toda intended to do was to help people understand living Buddhism.  They were preoccupied with the idea that Buddhism had nothing to do with daily life; that the dead Buddhism which had prevailed up to that time was unnecessary and too difficult to understand.  Toda was determined to make people discard this preconception.”   (HR1, p226-227)

The Lotus Sutra is the source of our faith and practice as Nichiren Buddhists, and many of Nichiren’s letters explain, commentate on, and praise the Lotus Sutra.  Following in his mentor's footsteps, President Ikeda also held lectures on the Lotus Sutra, especially chapters 2 and 16, and he has also released “The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra” (Volumes I – VI) - a series of dialogues with three leaders from the Soka Gakkai Study Department on the complete sutra. 

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