Monday, 12 May 2014

Grade 2 Study Exam - 2014. The journey commences.

Finally, after two years, I can start preparing the Grade 2 exams!

I am so very excited to be starting this journey and to share it on the blog.

Since I passed Grade 1 in 2012, last year I had to take a gap as per SGI-UK regulations. In that occasion, I was the lilac chief for my local exams and I trained next year's lilac chief, who will be supporting me this time around. During the activity I also met an Italian Young Woman who has since then moved into my district and become an absolute lighthouse of joy for the district and especially the other young women.

Here is part of the message Sensei wrote last year to members who decided to take the exam last year.

Many congratulations to every one of you for your efforts to be here today! Everything you have done to study the material will be a great cause for the happiness of yourself and other people.
Please don’t compare yourself to the other people around you who are also taking the exam – if they appear to be writing more quickly, or more slowly, than you – that is not a measure of their understanding of Buddhism. The most important thing is that you carefully consider the questions and do your best to answer them. Through preparing for today, your life will have absorbed some wonderful principles of Buddhism which, in addition to the extent that they emerge today, will be a permanent resource for your own encouragement as well as for sharing this Buddhism with others.
Ultimately, we study in order to deepen our faith. Nichiren Daishonin writes, ‘One who, on hearing the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, makes even greater efforts in faith is a true seeker of the way. T’ien‐t’ai states, “From the indigo, an even deeper blue.” This passage means that, if one dyes something repeatedly in indigo, it becomes even bluer than the indigo leaves. The Lotus Sutra is like the indigo, and the strength of one’s practice is like the deepening blue.’ (WND‐1, p. 457)
Thank you again for all your efforts, and for your support of the study movement!
Grade 2 is structured differently from Grade 1. In G1 we just need the right answer, in G2 we need to be able to refer back to the source. (I still haven't thought much about this point, I guess I will make it up as I go along). There is no set length for the answers, but none of them should be longer than 300 words.

The exam is made of 3 sections:

Section A - 3 questions chosen from a list of possible 10.
Section B - 4 questions out of 6
Section C - 3 questions out of 10

The study material and various resources can be downloaded from here.

Since there are so many possible questions (26) to prepare answers for, I will be writing different posts for each question (or group of questions), rather than section. I will update this post to link back any new post in the series as I go along. Also, I might go back to answers I have already written when we start the study meetings, which we haven't scheduled yet.

As I am reaching the end of Dedicated Lilac training, I really, truly need a new challenge (or three), and this came just at the right time!


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