Sunday, 9 October 2016

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2016. Section B Q1-5

Boy, I am struggling with this one!
As you MAY have noticed, I have already published all the other sections, but Section B is proving quite challenging.
Adding to this, that Blogger has recently turned into a monster of frustrating html quirks, and I am seriously considering migrating this blog to a less annoying platform (one that, say, I can actually access from my iPad and therefore update when I am on the go).

I have studied the section and decided on answers for all the questions, but I have found it quite complex to structure the answers following the guideline of including at least three points. I am not sure it is a very helpful guideline, and I personally found some questions a bit convoluted, but hey.
Here are the first five, the next five (concluding this series) will follow shortly.

As always, I have used the method of selecting passages from the material, copying them into my word processor and tweaking them to follow the answering guideline. In this case I have chosen to divide each answer into bullet points (which is one of the two ways they recommend to structure your answer). Based on the material, there is no word count for this section, but they mention one or two short sentences per point, so we are still talking of fairly concise answers.

Good luck and keep studying!

All your answers should be based on the material in Section B: ‘On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime’.
Include at least three different points in your answer to each question, except for question B9, which requires two points only.
You can write your answer in bullet points, or in a paragraph of one or two short sentences for each point.
In the study exam, you will be set five of these questions.

B1  Drawing from the section ‘The profound meaning of chanting daimoku’ Explain the two aspects of daimoku in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.
- There are two aspects of the daimoku in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism: the daimoku of faith and the daimoku of practice.
- The daimoku of faith refers to the spiritual aspect of our practice. This consists of the struggle we wage in our hearts against our inner delusion or darkness;
- The daimoku of practice refers to chanting Nam‐ myoho‐renge‐kyo ourselves and also teaching it to others.

B2  Drawing from the section ‘The profound meaning of chanting daimoku’: What happens when we chant Nam‐myoho‐renge‐kyo?
- When we chant Nam‐myoho‐renge‐kyo, we are chanting the name of the Buddha nature in our own lives and the lives of others.
- When our faith wins out over inner doubt and delusion, the power of our inherent Buddha nature is called forth by the sound of our daimoku and spontaneously manifests in our lives.
- The key point here is to chant NMRK with faith in our own Buddhahood.

B3  Drawing from the sections ‘The significance of our existence as human beings’ and ‘Emphasis on inner change’: Why did the Daishonin repeatedly stress the crucial importance of the heart or mind?
- The Daishonin repeatedly stresses the crucial importance of the heart or mind, because in it resides the potential for dramatic shifts from evil to good or from good to evil.
- The Daishonin’s teaching of enlightenment can be viewed as a process that begins with inner change. We cannot achieve enlightenment without a profound change in our lives themselves – that is, a change in our hearts and minds.
- Also, the Daishonin warns that if we seek the Mystic Law outside ourselves, then no matter how much daimoku we chant, we will not be able to attain enlightenment.

B4  Drawing from the section ‘The significance of attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime from the individual perspective’: President Ikeda explains that ‘attaining Buddhahood’ is about accomplishing a transformation in the depths of one’s being. Please explain this in more detail.
- In the Daishonin's Buddhism, 'attaining enlightenment' is not about embarking on some long journey to become a godlike Buddha, it is about accomplishing a transformation in the depths of one's being, here and now.
- In other words, it is not a matter of practising in order to attain enlightenment at some point in the distant future, rather, it is a constant, moment-to-moment inner struggle between the opposing courses of revealing our innate dharma nature or allowing ourselves to be ruled by our fundamental darkness and delusion.
- Attaining Buddhahood equals constructing a solid, truly independent self and achieving a state of boundless happiness and peace of mind.

B5 Drawing from the section ‘The significance of attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime from the collective perspective’: What does President Ikeda say is the only way for human beings to change, and why is this important for human beings and the world today?
- The only way for human beings to change is for them to conquer their inner darkness and rediscover the eternal sanctity and dignity within their own lives. 
- Cultivating the noble spirit with which all people are originally endowed will directly lead to a change in the destiny of humankind.
- Without surmounting the fundamental human delusions of greed, anger and foolishness, we will not be able to solve the many problems that the world faces today, including the preoccupation with economic growth, politics that are devoid of humanism, international conflicts, warfare, growing disparity between rich and poor, and rampant discrimination. 


  1. I do all my blogging (I'm on Blogger too) on my iPad using an app called BlogTouch Pro. Check it out. I find it easy to use and I haven't spotted any annoying quirks yet using it.
    I find your blog so useful. Good luck with it.


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