Seeking / strengthening the relationship of mentor and disciple « Academic Division
However, Buddhism is not a collection of theoretical concepts for reading. It is a practice “The mentor-disciple relationship is the very foundation of Buddhism. The foundation of the relationship between mentor and disciple in Buddhism is the shared pledge to work together for the happiness of people, to free them from . Josei Toda revitalized the importance of the mentor-disciple relationship in the practice of Buddhism within the Soka Gakkai for the contemporary age.
Confucius was contemporary to Shakyamuni Buddha who initiated and mentored the Samgha Community of Believers. Early disciples of the Buddha recorded his teachings in various Sutras, many starting by the phrase: SGI literature refers to this phrase as an expression of the oneness of the Buddha followers with their mentor: The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra vol 1 p.
Are You Confused About the Mentor-Disciple Relationship?
The preaching of the Law refers to the Lotus Sutra, and specifically to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Orally Transmitted Teachings, p.
On a personal level, without his encounter with Josei Toda, the young Daisaku Ikeda could have remained an obscure person, with no prospect for benefiting the lives of millions of individuals world wide. At that time, when Ikeda attended his first meeting, the membership of the Soka Gakkai was just about only members. Basically, the success of the world peace movement initiated by presidents Toda and Ikeda is attributed to its grass root structure based on small group discussion, an activity introduced by their mentor, Makiguchi, in the first place.
Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life.
Differing Views on the Mentor/Disciple Relationship
This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith. Faith as conceived by Nichiren precludes doubt [toward the power of the Mystic Law].
Therefore, it is only natural that our Buddhist practice includes actively battling the devilish nature inherent in life as well as external obstacles and devilish functions that act as negative influences. And he assures us that if we join him in this struggle, we will realize the fruit, or effect, of attaining Buddhahood without fail. LB Nov 04, p 30 Ultimately, unless we undertake the same resolve as our mentor in faith, we will be defeated by devilish functions.
This is why the Daishonin called his disciples to rise into action with a vow equal to his.
What is the need for Mentor-Disciple Bond
He proved there is nothing to fear, not even amid the most terrible persecution or hardship caused by devilish functions. The spirit to battle powerful enemies is the heart of the lion king. As long as we possess the readiness and courage to confront these negative forces, we can manifest our inherent Buddhahood and bring forth the necessary fighting spirit, wisdom and life force to achieve victory.
The beneficent Law manifests in the conduct of the votary of the Lotus Sutra. It is extremely rare, however, to encounter a votary who struggles against and triumphs over the three powerful enemies.
It is difficult to encounter a genuine leader of Buddhism. LB Nov 05, p 39 Ready to brave all consequences, Nichiren declares his resolve: Let the gods forsake me.
Let all persecutions assail me. I will be the eyes of Japan.
I will be the great ship of Japan. This is my vow, and I will never forsake it! Here, he reveals the core of his own spirit. While these passages constitute declarations of his personal resolve and commitment, he is also underscoring the importance of cultivating faith that responds to the spirit of the mentor.
It is as if he were saying: Cast aside your doubts and laments as befits cubs of the lion king! LB Mar 06, p 72 The essence of this ultimate teaching of the Buddhas is to help everyone actualize the same great enlightenment that they have achieved. That is why Buddhism is at all times concerned with raising disciples who will exert themselves in faith and practice with the same spirit as the mentor. Buddhism is none other than a philosophy of mentor and disciple.
LB Mar 06, p 76 From the Lotus Sutra, Chapter 2, Expedient Means Shariputra, you should know that at the start I took a vow, hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us, and what I long ago hoped for has now been fulfilled. I have converted all living beings and caused them all to enter the Buddha way.
Differing Views on the Mentor/Disciple Relationship | Soka Spirit
They do not seek the Buddha, with his great might, or the Law that can end their sufferings, … For the sake of these living beings I summon up a mind of great compassion.
Even embracing the Lotus Sutra would be useless without the heritage of faith.
In this way, through the True Body and True Appearance of attained faith, although the priest and lay believer become one equal body, because one reaches that stage through the actual aspect of the observance of faith, an absolute difference between priest and lay person exists in the lineage of the Master and disciple. There is no oneness or equality in Nichiren Shoshu. If, as they say, there is an absolute distinction between us several questions arise: Is it, according to Nichiren Shoshu, even possible for lay believers to attain Buddhahood in their present form?
Would the enlightenment of lay believers be somehow different or diminished from the enlightenment of priests? If our enlightenment is not the equal of the priests, it is certainly much different from the enlightenment of the High Priest who is the Master who possesses the Bestowal of the Living Essence of the Law.
What does that mean? In what way are we different?