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Buddhism

Back to listOct 14, 2007

SGI Members Challenge Study Department Exams in Brazil, Venezuela, Thailand and Nepal

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SGI-Brazil study exam candidates

SGI members throughout the world have been deepening their study and understanding of Nichiren Buddhism's humanistic philosophy, which is the foundation of faith and the key to accomplishing our human revolution and creating positive value for oneself and others.

On September 30, 2007, 15,000 SGI-Brazil members took an intermediate-level exam at 258 locations throughout the country. Some candidates were graduates of the SGI-Brazil Education Department's Adult Literacy Education Program. University students made time to prepare for the exam between part-time jobs and studying for their classes. In Venezuela, 700 candidates challenged entrance-level, proficiency and beginning-level examinations at 18 venues on September 30 and October 7.

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SGI-Venezuela study exam candidates

In Thailand, around 6,000 candidates sat for the intermediate-level examination on September 14 at 47 sites throughout the country. The study material included two of Nichiren's writings--"Letter from Sado" and "A Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings"--and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's lecture on "The Opening of the Eyes," also written by Nichiren. To prepare for the exam, some SGI-Thailand members traveled over 50 kilometers round trip to attend study review meetings.

SGI-Nepal held its first entrance-level exam for 50 people at the SGI-Nepal Peace Center in Kathmandu on September 29. The candiates were tested on their knowledge of two of Nichiren's writings, "The Dragon Gate" and "The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra," as well as on major events in Nichiren's life. The study material had to first be translated into Nepalese. Once the translation was completed six months prior to the exam, SGI-Nepal members young and old began to study together. A sudden cloudburst did not hinder the candidates, who gathered with great excitement to sit for their first exam. One candidate expressed a sense of fulfillment afterwards. "I enjoyed studying so much. I want to deepen my study to understand the greatness of Buddhism." On October 6, the youth held a study session in Hetauda on topics such as "life and hardships" and "the significance of the mandala."

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SGI-Nepal study exam candidates

Nichiren wrote extensively and the majority of his writings are personal letters of encouragement to his followers in times of difficulty. Mr. Ikeda calls the writings "a work of faith, of philosophy, of daily living, of eternal living and of boundless hope." He states that the purpose of studying Nichiren's writings is deepening faith, practice and study, emphasizing that "study must never be a mere accumulation of knowledge. It must be strictly a practical study to deepen one's own faith and elevate one's own state of life." Ideally, study leads to an increasing awareness of one's responsibility to pursue the bodhisattva way that manifests as compassionate actions to guide others to lasting happiness. Ultimately, Mr. Ikeda says, the fruits of our study show in our own behavior as human beings.

[Adapted from an article in the October 26, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]