SGI members embrace Nichiren Buddhism, following a Lotus Sutra-based practice formulated by the 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren. The Lotus Sutra is considered by many in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition to be the fullest expression of the teachings of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha who was born in present-day Nepal some 2,500 years ago. The Lotus Sutra is revered for its embracing message that all people possess the Buddha nature, both men and women. The image of the pure lotus flower growing in a muddy pond symbolizes how people can develop this enlightened state of life in the midst of their daily problems and struggles. Nichiren studied all available Buddhist texts and investigated the many competing schools of Buddhism of his day before concluding that the Lotus Sutra epitomized the true compassionate intent of Shakyamuni. Today, SGI members study the letters and treatises of Nichiren and his analysis of the Lotus Sutra, as well as the Lotus Sutra itself and commentaries by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.

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