Surrey & West Sussex SGI
The Benefits of Studydated 5th August 1983
Guidance from Mr. Causton to HQ and Chapter Leaders
1. Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is not religion for religion's sake. It is religion applicable to every aspect of our daily life. In other words, we should strive to "live" the spirit of the teachings every moment. This means facing our unhappy karma and doing our human revolution and teaching others to do the same through strong practice.
2. People who only talk about Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism in theoretical way are not applying it to their lives thereby showing actual proof of its benefits, are not practising as the Daishonin taught.
3. Nichiren Daishonin emphasised the need for faith, practice and &h. We have to learn to study in the way Nichiren Daishonin meant us to study. that is to say, most of the Gosho were written to individuals to help them to apply the teachings to their daily lives and problems. Therefore we have to dig deep between the lines so that we can relate what he is teaching to our own lives and circumstances.
4. If we only look at the surface meaning of the Gosho, we will not absorb the essence, and after reading the Gosho 2 or 3 times we might even find it boring. The important point about attending study lectures and discussions is that it teaches us how to seek out and extract the essence.
5. Likewise, until our faith runs deep through many years of practice we have no way of judging whether the essence we think we are extracting is the true essence or a false assumption. This is very dangerous.
6. The advantage of our study lectures is that they are carefully researched and based on the notes and treatises of eminent high priests as well as lectures given by lay leaders with 30 or 40 years of practice. These are still only available in the Japanese language and are therefore inaccessible to most of us.
7. We cannot afford to guess the meaning. If we are wrong. our understanding will be distorted, we will inevitably commit slander and we will suffer as a result. This is absurd.
8. It doesn't matter where a study session is held or how good (or bad) the lecturer is, if the audience have enthusiastic seeking minds it will prove to be a valuable experience for everyone. It is well known that even a bad script can be brought to life by actors if the spirit of the audience is encouraging. In the case of the Gosho the script is unsurpassed. .
The Benefits of StudyBy 1st General Director SGI.UK, Richard Causton (1983)
Guidance For Study Lecturers
Chapter Study should be seen as an opportunity to get to know the members in the Chapter. This spirit is the direct inheritance of Nichiren Daishonin as we can see when we read to the postscript to the Gosho Letter from Sado. One of the best ways of promoting unity in the Chapter, as well as encouraging new people to start to practice is to share the Gosho with them. It is always useful and inspiring to remember that the great and famous Kansai campaign was built on the study of the Gosho.
When giving a lecture, it is useful to bear the following points in mind.
1 The Gosho, in the finest sense of the word, is sacred. 'Sacred' in the dictionary means 'esteemed and precious' and 'immune from criticism'. The Gosho is 'immune from criticism' because we can prove it in our daily lives. Because the actual proof of the Gosho is recorded, we do not have to spend hours arguing about whether it is valid or not. Therefore, we can take the chance to show our appreciation by viewing the opportunity to give a study lecture as an honour. It is a matter of respect that there should be no drinking or smoking in a lecture. Similarly, lecturers should consider their dress, are they neat and tidy? Treat the physical book of the Gosho with respect and treasure it: members will learn from your attitude .
2 Every single word in the Gosho is chosen with wisdom. This starts, of course, with the original words of the Daishonin. The translators too have used their wisdom to convey the spirit of Nichiren Daishonin. So, when, for instance, we find the word 'kill' used in the Rissho Ankoku Ron, it is used in the sense of 'killing' slander. This practice is strong, witness the number of references to lions in the Gosho. Because of the powerful message of the Gosho, lecturers must chant lots of daimoku before a lecture so that we can be sure our wisdom is working full blast.
3 All Gosho must be viewed from the twin angles of the general and the specific. Specifically each Gosho has its background and it's original recipient - Shijo Kingo, Toki Jonin etc. Generally, the truths conveyed in the Gosho apply to all of us.
4 Our attitude towards the Gosho should always be fresh. You should not read the Gosho and feel that you know it already. It is dangerous when this attitude sets in. Each time, we should re-read it and bear in mind the people who are going to hear the lecture, and how to encourage them, just as Nichiren Daishonin considered the original recipients of the letters.
5 Sequence should always be 'Preparation, revelation, transmission'. We should always shape our lectures this way,.
6 Gosho lectures should contain a) explanation (which is revelation) and b) inspiration (transmission). If we are not preparing notes on either area, we should be careful to check ourselves: are we going to waffle, or show off? Inspiration can be geared to inspire the individual or the members of the chapter as a group. We should aim to inspire people to want to apply points of the lecture to their own lives.
7 We should try to live every word and phrase of the Gosho ourselves, struggle to apply it to our own lives first. If we haven't really applied it to our own lives, our words will be insincere, we will tend to become theoretical and then we will not be able to deeply affect our listeners. If the Gosho in question still feels like an empty theory, we must return to the Gohonzon again and again until we really understand it. Such a struggle is necessary for every Gosho lecture. Then we can illustrate the point of the Gosho from our own experiences, without fearing to mention our own failings, doubts and struggles. Actually, it is helpful to mention personal failings to show how through studying the Gosho and chanting, we have been able to overcome our problems.
Mr. Causton told us that giving a Gosho lecture was always a scary thing, and he was always nervous beforehand. He saw it as his task to give people a chance to understand something which would help their own lives to grow. It is quite right to feel nervous when faced with such a responsibility. He had his own way of tackling the fear, as he told us: 'I would say to Nichiren Daishonin, please allow me to give the lecture the way you would give it'. Finally, Mr. Causton reminded us always to chant for good attendance.
(Notes taken by B J Samuels)
The Benefits of Study1. Give yourself plenty of time.
Suggestions On How To Prepare
2. Read the Gosho time afier time and chant Daimoku about it.
3. Research and study all reference material which has been recommended and which you can find which concerns the Gosho and the basic principles it contains. Make notes on it.
4. Chant Daimoku.
5. Compile your lecture.
6. Chant Daimoku.
7. At this point you will find there are things which you don't understand and you start to panic.
8. Chant Daimoku.
9. Attend study prep.
10. Ask questions and try to clarify.
l1. Re-compile your lecture based on the study prep and your new realisations
12. Chant Daimoku for good attendance and for members to feel spirit of Nichiren Daishonin through your lecture.
13. Consult HQ Chief if there are still unsolved problems - even ask them to attend your lecture if you feel unsure.
14. Chant Daimoku.
15. Have a great study session.
16. If you can't answer the questions, don't worry. Never be afraíd to say you don't know and you'll find out for next time.
17. Outline notes on each Gosho session will be provided these are points which should be included. You can fill them out with your own study and understanding.
The Benefits of StudyBy 1st General Director SGI.UK, Richard Causton (1983)
Self-Assessment For Study Lecturers
This self-assessment sheet is intended to help you plan and evaluate your Gosho lecture. Please consider the areas offered for your attention and add new ones ifyou vhsh. Please record your answers on a separate sheet and keep a file ofyour self-assessments. Please check yourself honestly.
1. General Considerations
- Name of Gosho
- Date of lecture
- Number attending
- Hire of Hall
- Setting up
- UKE'S available
- VCG and Lilac
- Did I start to prepare far enough in advance (2 months, or preferably 3)?
- Did I chant suflîcient daimoku?
- Did I make the hest use of my preparation time?
- Was I able to attend study preparation?
- If yes, was it helpful - how?
- Did I use my own research and follow up references?
- If prepared from tape, were the tape and accompanying notes adequate?
- Díd I use the study article(s) in the UKE?
3. Gosho4. Balance and Pace
- Did 1 read it thoroughly, again and again, as part of my preparation?
- Did I research concepts I did not understand?
- Have I organised access to research study material?
- Did I use senior leaders for help and support?
- Introducing yourself and the reader
- Setting scene and background of Gosho
- Making clear main point(s) of Gosho
- Clear explanation of Buddhist principles
- How Buddhist principles are manifest in society and our lives
- Clear differentiation between Shakyamuni / Nichiren Daishonin's interpretation
- How this Gosho applies to our lives
- Conveying the spirit and practice of Nichiren Daishonin
- Encouragement in faith and inspiration
- Use of President Ikeda's guidance
5. Notes on Delivery
- Were my notes clear?
- Did I sort out the main study points?
- Did I use visual aids?
- Did I enlist help from members to prepare them?
- Did I draw on my own experience / examples to illustrate points?
- Did I meet the reader beforehand to go through the Gosho?
- Did I make eye-to-eye contact?
- Did I use humour?
- Were my points clear?
6. EvaluationThese notes are for you to use to help you as a study lecturer. It may be helpfiJl iìyou share your findings with your senior leader or a fello1N. lecturer, but it is up to you to decide. However, please do pass it on if you have any comments about the study preparation. The main thing is to be honest with yourself. Also, we must all keep striving to deepen our understanding through positive proof ofNichiren Daishonin's teaching and to improve our ability to transmit Nichiren Daishonin's spirit and vision of Kosen-rufiJ.
- What went well?
- What didn't go so well?
- Why was this?
- Did I do enough daimoku?
- When I next lecture, how will I change things?
- How can we inspire more members to attend Chapter Study and strengthen their
- own study?
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