The Soka Gakkai Singapore (SGS) is a Buddhist organisation that practises Nichiren Buddhism, a Buddhist teaching originating from Shakyamuni Buddha (Gautama Siddartha) in India.
Shakyamuni Buddha was born a prince but renounced his royal upbringing to embark on a spiritual quest to understand how human suffering could be ended. Eventually, while in deep meditation, he experienced a profound awakening, or enlightenment–a deep, encompassing understanding of life and human nature.
Upon awakening to the true nature of life, Shakyamuni Buddha travelled widely, sharing his wisdom with others. The truth to which he was enlightened is expounded in the Lotus Sutra, a central teaching of Mahayana Buddhism, which upholds that Buddhahood – characterised by compassion, wisdom and courage – is inherent within every person.
The teachings of the Lotus Sutra were transmitted and developed by Buddhist scholars and teachers in India, China and Japan, most notably Zhiyi (Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai) in China and Nichiren in Japan.
The Lotus Sutra is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential sutras, or sacred scriptures, of Buddhism.
Its key message is that Buddhahood – a condition of absolute happiness, freedom from fear and from all illusions – is inherent in all life. The development of this inner life state enables all people to overcome their problems and live a fulfilled and active life, fully engaged with others and with society.
The Lotus Sutra affirms that all people, regardless of gender, capacity or social standing, inherently possess the qualities of a Buddha, and are therefore equally worthy of the utmost respect.
Based on his study of the sutra Nichiren established the invocation (chant) of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a universal practice to enable people to manifest the Buddhahood inherent in their lives and gain the strength and wisdom to challenge and overcome any adverse circumstances. Nichiren saw the Lotus Sutra as a vehicle for people’s empowerment – stressing that everyone can attain enlightenment and enjoy happiness while they are alive.