Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2016. Section B Q6-10

And here are the final five questions, completing the Grade 1 2016 series!




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!

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. 


Thursday, 29 September 2016

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2016. Section C

All your answers should be based on the material in Section C: Principles of Nichiren Buddhism in SGI.
Write a maximum of 200 words in answer to each of the following questions.
In the study exam, you will be set two questions from this section.

C1  What is the meaning of ‘establishing the correct teaching’? What is the meaning of ‘for the peace of the land’?

C2  What is Kosen‐rufu?

C3  What is the Soka Gakkai? 

Looks deceivingly simple, right?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2016. Section A2


In 50-100 words, and based on the material in Section A – Part 2, explain the following subjects as if you were talking to a friend who is interested in Buddhism. Include at least three different points for each subject in your answer. In the exam, only one of the three subjects will be set.


(a)  What is the meaning of Nam‐myoho‐renge‐kyo?

(b)  What is the difference between a Buddha and an ordinary person?

(c)  What is the Gohonzon? 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2016. Section A1


Based on the material in Section A – Part 1: The Life of Nichiren Daishonin, you will be set seven multiple choice questions. The questions given below may or may not be set in the exam. They are examples of the format in which the exam questions will appear. 
In studying this course and preparing for the exam, please read each section of the material carefully, so that you could answer a multiple choice question on it. This section is intended to cover the key events and places in Nichiren Daishonin’s life.
Below are the examples in the study material, complete with answers.

EXAMPLE 1) What date was Nichiren Daishonin born?
(a) 22 February 1222 
(b) 22 February 1226 
(c) 16 February 1222 
(d) 16 February 1226


EXAMPLE 2) What declaration did Nichiren Daishonin make about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at Seicho-ji Temple?
(a) 
It is the sole correct Buddhist teaching for leading all people in the Latter Day of the Law to enlightenment.
(b) 
No Buddhist teaching can lead all people in the Latter Day of the Law to enlightenment.
(c) 
All Buddhist teachings are the same.
(d) It is the Buddhist teaching for leading people to enlightenment in their next lifetime.

EXAMPLE 3) What do we call the event in which Nichiren Daishonin was attacked and had his left hand broken?
(a) the Tatsunokuchi Persecution 

(b) the Komatsubara Persecution 
(c) the Tsukahara Debate
(d) the Izu Exile


EXAMPLE 4) Who was Nichiren Daishonin’s successor?
(a) Nanjo Tokimitsu 
(b) Nikko Shonin
(c) Shijo Kingo
(d) Nichimoku Shonin 

Below are some examples I created myself. These are without the answers. Feel free to put the answers in the comments

Monday, 19 September 2016

Study

I have been involved in the study movement for a few years now, and I love it.
I have always loved studying, it comes easily to me because I have an incredible memory, I also have the advantage, within Buddhist study, to have been raised by Buddhist parents who are extremely knowledgeable of Buddhist philosophy and I love supporting other people in their journey (ever the teacher!).

I took Grade 1 in 2012, when I created a pretty popular series of posts about exam prep. 

In 2013 I was lilac chief for my local exams. 















Saturday, 17 September 2016

A new life

In the last few years, I have found it increasingly difficult to keep the good rhythm of posts I had at the start of this blog. 

It started off as a way to channel my pain and frustration. I hurt, I write it down, I realise stuff, I feel better. 
I started getting some followers, some questions, and I like to share what I know, so I carried on.
Maybe I haven't needed this outlet anymore, maybe it's because a few things happened that I could not share on here, maybe it's because I have incrementally less time now because I am doing more buddhist activities and I am (finally!) in a relationship. 

Who knows?

I know, however, that I like this blog and I don't want to let it go defunct.

So, I've made some decisions. (I sound like RuPaul here)Image result for rupaul I have made some decisions

Monday, 15 February 2016

Buddhist quotes - February

Keeping in line with the general topic of courage, here are two quotes from Letter to the Brothers.
[Y]ou must grit your teeth and never slacken in your faith. Be as fearless as Nichiren when he acted and spoke out before Hei no Saemon-no-jō. Although theirs was not the path to Buddhahood, the sons of Lord Wada and of the governor of Wakasa, as well as the warriors under Masakado and Sadatō, fought to the death to preserve their honor. Death comes to all, even should nothing untoward ever happen. Therefore, you must never be cowardly, or you will become the object of ridicule.
Hei no Saemon-no-jō was a powerful government official who persecuted Nichiren and attempted to have him killed. This resulted in the Tatsunokuchi persecution.

The second quote is about the attitude we should have in front of obstacles.

Whatever trouble occurs, regard it as no more than a dream, and think only of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren’s teaching was especially difficult to believe at first, but now that my prophecies have been fulfilled, those who slandered without reason have come to repent.


Happy Leap February everyone!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Buddhist quotes - January

After the assemblies mentioned in my latest experience, I wanted to do some more research on the parable of the Jewel in the Robe.
This is what is mentioned in the SGI Library:

parable of the jewel in the robe [衣裏珠の譬] (Jpn eriju-no-tatoe )Also, parable of the gem in the robe or parable of the jewel sewn in the poor man's robe. One of the seven parables in the Lotus Sutra. It is related in the "Five Hundred Disciples" (eighth) chapter by five hundred arhats to demonstrate their understanding of the one vehicle teaching. It tells of an impoverished man who goes to visit a close wealthy friend. Being treated to wine, he becomes drunk and falls asleep. The wealthy friend must go out on business, but before leaving, he sews a priceless jewel into the lining of his sleeping friend's robe. When the poor man awakens, he has no idea that he has been given the jewel. He then sets out on a journey. To provide himself with food and clothing, he searches with all his energy, encountering great hardship. Being always in want, he is content with whatever little he can obtain. Later he happens to meet his old friend, who is shocked at his poverty and shows him the jewel in the robe. The man realizes for the first time that he possesses a priceless jewel and is overjoyed. The five hundred arhats explain that, just as this man was ignorant of the treasure he possessed, so the Buddha's disciples were unaware that the Buddha had caused them to plant the seeds of an unsurpassed aspiration and were instead satisfied with provisional teachings and a small portion of nirvana.[quoted from here]

Friday, 1 January 2016

Shakubuku and obstacles

This is an experience I shared at my area kick-off. It was supposed to exemplify the "Light of Courage".

In this experience I will talk about how I challenged my tendency to focus on outside validation over internal validation through my fight to do shakubuku.

I am a fortune baby, which means I grew up in a Buddhist household with both my parents, my paternal grandparents and other members of my family practising.
My house was full of Buddhist publications, we had at least one meeting a week and according to my dad Nam Myoho Renge Kyo was one of my first words.

I have always struggled with shakubuku. Talking about the practice was never a problem, but I did not feel “qualified” to introduce someone to the practice as I did not experience being shakubukued. Something so simple as: “Do you remember the first time you heard Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?”, which is an experience most people shared, is not a question I can answer.

This caused me a lot of suffering because I felt I was lacking as a disciple of sensei since only one person received Gohonzon after being introduced to the practice by me (my kindergarten teacher when I was three years old, btw), so I naturally chanted quite a bit about it and started taking bolder actions, such as handing out NMRK cards, something that I found really hard before.

Now, let me say a few things about what I came to call my “One Evil”, as in my tendency to attach my self worth onto external confirmation and gratification.
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