Friday, 30 September 2016

Grade 1 Study Exams - 2016. Section D

The History of SGI
All of your answers should be based on the material in Section D: The History of SGI.Write a maximum of 150 words in answer to each of the following questions.In the study exam, you will be set ve questions from this section.

D1  What is the difference between Soka Gakkai’s and Nichiren Shoshu’s interpretation of Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings?
The Soka Gakkai is dedicated to making Nichiren’s teachings effective and practical in the everyday modern world. It has always stressed that Nichiren Buddhism enables every individual, whether priest or lay believer, to develop his or her own innate Buddha nature. It has also stressed social engagement based on the bodhisattva ideal of taking action for the happiness of others towards the creation of a peaceful global society.The Nichiren Shoshu priesthood on the other hand is locked into an ancient ritualistic system, concerned to preserve its authority and jealous of its monopoly of certain sacred teachings, places and objects.Nichiren Shoshu has been more concerned with preserving traditional rituals, with a focus on the priests as intermediaries who are seen to be on a higher spiritual level than lay believers. In this sense it could be said to have lost sight of the original purpose and social mission of Buddhism.

D2  Why and how did Soka Gakkai work together with the priesthood after the Second World War?
Why? For the sake of the progress of Nichiren Buddhism and in the hope that they would help promote the common goal of establishing peace and happiness for the people. How? Soka Gakkai’s support for the priesthood included restoration of major buildings at Nichiren Shoshu’s head temple premises, construction of a new main head temple building and donation of land and a total of 356 branch temples. 

D3  In what ways did members experience excommunication as liberation? 
Soka Gakkai experienced the excommunication as liberation, because for one thing, the priests had viewed interfaith dialogue and cooperation as ‘heretical’. Soka Gakkai has thus become freer to express its faith in modern terms.Also, while its basic Buddhist practice of reciting the Lotus Sutra and chanting Nam‐myoho‐renge‐kyo has not changed, since 1991 Soka Gakkai has released itself from its previous religious formalism, and more vigorously pursued its promotion of social engagement and interfaith dialogue. 

D4 When was the Soka Gakkai founded?
18 November 1930. On this date the first volume of "System of Value-creation Pedagogy" was published by the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (the forerunner of the Soka Gakkai) by Mr Makiguchi and Mr Toda.

D5 Why was Mr Makiguchi arrested?
Mr Makiguchi was arrested because he refused to display the Shinto talisman (i.e. the symbol of the state religion which venerated the emperor) as the government required.

D6 What were Mr Toda's two realisations in prison?
The first realisation was "Buddha is life itself". The second was that he was none other than one of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth who attended the the Ceremony in the Air. These two realisations firmly convinced him of his mission to achieve kosen rufu.

D7 What do we commemorate on 16 March and why?
We commemorate Kosen Rufu day. On 16th of March 1958 President Toda held a meeting of 6000 youth division members and passed onto them and his young disciple Daisaku Ikeda the responsibility of the Kosen Rufu movement.

D8 When was President Ikeda inaugurated as third president of the Soka Gakkai?
3 May 1960. Two years after Toda's death.

D9 Name the two historical novels written by Daisaku Ikeda chronicling the development of the Soka Gakkai and SGI.
The Human Revolution (Soka Gakkai) and The New Human Revolution (SGI).

D10 When did President Ikeda depart for his first visit to Europe?
4 October 1961.

D11 What were the main purposes of this trip?
The main purposes were: to encourage European members, to purchase materials and fixtures for the Grand Reception Hall and to observe the state of religion in Europe.

D12 With his visit to Europe imminent, what was President Ikeda's vow?
He vowed that this was the time for a great humanistic philosophy hat would foster bonds between people to spread widely and take root in the human heart. He would blaze way to secure peace in the world by establishing the right principles of Buddhism.

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