This originally was a SGI presentation I did in the late 90's. I am not sure of the exact number of Honorary degrees Daisaku Ikeda currently holds,"as the number is dynamic, and increases steadily", I am sure it is at least 274.


What Is Buddhism?

Buddhism is at once a religion, a philosophy, and a science. Yet the worldview of Buddhism is greater than these three parts simply added together. It reaches beyond the limits and contradictions in religion, is more practical and accessible than philosophies of materialism or spiritualism, and reflects life and the universe more accurately than, science probably ever will. Buddhism does not contradict common sense and is in accord with reason.

The purpose of Buddhism is to enable people to overcome suffering an achieve true happiness, to become skilled in living our lives. The realization of this process is called Buddhahood. We do not become a Buddha, we always have had the condition within our lives. It is the realization and development of this potential that defines Buddhahood.

Therefore, a Buddha is not a supernatural being that exists outside yourself, but a sublime state of life that is in harmony and rhythm with the Universe, with Life itself. Simply put, the difference between a Buddha, and a so called,"common mortal", is that a,"common mortal", is deluded about the true nature of life, and a Buddha is not.

Shakyamuni, (Gautama Siddartha), Buddha was the historical founder of Buddhism some 2500 years ago. In his quest to understand existence, suffering, life and death, he realized the universal truth of all things through introspection and meditation. The profound awakening he experienced is called enlightenment. Thus he became known as the Buddha, "The Awakened or Enlightened One".

This universal truth is what we Nichiren Buddhists call Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, The ultimate law of life and of the universe. Although Shakyamuni realized and revealed the existence of this law in the Lotus Sutra, "His highest teaching", it wasn't until the advent of Nichiren Daishonin, "who we call the Original or True Buddha from Time without Beginning", that this fundamental law was defined and given a practical application. Nichiren crystallized the essence of this Ultimate Law that Shakyamuni was awakened to and which he revealed in the Lotus Sutra, as Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

Through chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, Nichiren provided all people with a concrete way to invoke this Ultimate Law, in order for each person to obtain Enlightenment,"True happiness".

Nichiren then enscribed the Dai-Gohonzon, a carving of wood representing a physical manifestation of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, The Majestic Law that we each possess within our own lives. Nichiren enscribed the Dai-Gohonzon so humanity would have a tangible expression of the law, to serve as a mirror, reflecting and stimulating our intrinsic Buddha nature. This physical representation, has been transcribed onto parchment scrolls that serve as our personal Gohonzons that we Nichiren Buddhists have enshrined in our homes.

In Nichiren Buddhism, prayer takes the form of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, to reveal our innate Buddhaood which we experience as the attainment of Joy, Wisdom, Courage, Compassion and Winning in life. When we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we do not ask or petition help from without. Instead we summon up the courage, wisdom and life force within our own lives, and this puts us in rhythm with the Supreme Universal Law, through this process we are able to overcome our problems and obstacles and to fullfill our wishes, and at the same time, develop our sense of humanity and our own Enlightenment.

The lineage of the correct teachings of Nichiren Buddhism has been maintained and transmitted by the SGI,"Soka Gakkai International", our lay organization. A worldwide movement dedicated to peace, culture and education based on Nichiren Buddhism, with affiliated organizations in 192 countries and territories around the globe.The philosophy of SGI upholds Nichiren Buddhism's emphasis on the sanctity of life, and is based on the concept of, "Human Revolution", a process of inner transformation for the betterment of ourselves and for society.

The President of the SGI is Daisaku Ikeda. Mr.Ikeda has traveled to more than 50 countries meeting with many world leaders as well as a great number of ordinary people. He has founded several educational and cultural institutions and is a prolific writer. Mr.Ikeda has received the United Nation Peace Award as well as 247 honorary degrees from institutions throughout the world.

{Compilation by Vincent Frallicciardi}

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Comment by Vince Frallicciardi on March 23, 2010 at 8:03am
U r most wecome Marga!
Comment by Marga on March 22, 2010 at 10:01pm
Thank you very much! Great for meetings !
marga New jersey
Comment by Vince Frallicciardi on March 20, 2010 at 2:28am
You are most welcome, and thank you Betty!
Comment by Betty Santoro on March 20, 2010 at 1:48am
Hi Vince, thanks for the new friendship! Enjoyed your explanation on "What is Buddhism"...
Keep it up.
Comment by Vince Frallicciardi on March 19, 2010 at 1:03pm
OK, Thanks Dan!
Comment by Dan on March 18, 2010 at 11:27pm
You too, Vince. Here's my reply to Johnnie Parker:

You guys should be really be posting these gems in our ABCs of Buddhism discussion forum. A 'blog' is for personal thoughts, observations (buddhist if possible) and experiences. All you're doing is crowiding out the real blogs which reflects the members' struggles, triumphs, and personal victories.

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