Buddhism traces its heritage back 2500 years to Northern India where Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, became enlightened to the fundamental causes of human suffering and the way to relieve that suffering. Buddhist thought then travelled through China, Korea and Japan from India.
In the 13th century, a Japanese monk named Nichiren Daishonin (1222-1282) intensively studied the original teachings of the historical Buddha and questioned why the Buddhist teachings had lost their power to enable people to lead happy, empowered lives. He realised that this was because the predominant understanding of Buddhism in Japan was based on provisional teachings, not on the compassionate mind of the Buddha.
Nichiren understood that the Buddha’s highest teaching, the Lotus Sutra, contained the essence of the Buddha’s enlightenment and held the key to transforming people’s suffering. Nichiren’s teachings provide a way for anybody to readily draw out the enlightened wisdom and energy of Buddhahood from within their lives, regardless of their individual circumstances. Each person has the power to overcome all of life’s challenges, to live a life of value and become a positive influence in their community, society and the world.
Nichiren Buddhism was revitalised in pre-World War II Japan, beginning from its origins as a movement for educational reform to its current status as possibly the world’s largest socially engaged lay Buddhist association. The core of the Soka Gakkai lies in its a conviction in the unbounded potential of each individual and the right of all people to lead happy, fulfilled lives.