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Thursday, January 12, 2012


SGI member: “After consistent practice over 24 years and the just as consistent demonstration and proof of the power of the practice both conspicuous (material) and inconspicuous benefit I feel compelled to tell you that SGI is correct in using “Tactful” means of offering practitioners the promise of material gain and benefit. Further to that it is absolutely the birthright of any human to openly benefit from the infinite abundance of the Universe. Your view is limited and ultimately both judgmental and pessimistic. The idea of course is to understand by gaining material that it is not the source of happiness in and of itself but that those who are aware or awake to their Buddha nature will want for nothing and can fulfill their desires. There is no “sin” other than to not live our lives and as fully as we can.”

KHK response: Your benefits are miniscule compared to the devotees that practice as the Lotus sutra and Nichiren Daishonin teach. Try practicing as Nichiren did and you will experience the real benefit of the Lotus Sutra.

Here is the real reality of SGI “benefits”:

Shortly after the temporary Community Center opened on Park Avenue and 17th street (1979?), I went to a Young Men’s Division meeting on Saturday. The purpose of the meeting was to make our personal determinations for the future and to present them to Pres. Ikeda. We wrote down one or two line determinations in a binder-type book, one after the other. The meeting opened and, to my surprise, every determination was read. I was uplifted by the determinations. They were so lofty: US senators; judges; congressmen; doctors; lawyers; artists; musicians; and a few teachers, “for Kosen Rufu and for Sensei”. Final encouragement was given by Mr. Kasahara. The jist of what he said was to chant and do lots of activities and we would all realize our dreams without fail. At the end of the meeting, I’ll never forget, this Japanese senior leader going around and shaking hands very vigorously saying, “Ah!, future senator, future congressman, future doctor, for President Ikeda, neh?”

I’ll never forget the animated conversation I had with my best friend at the time after the meeting. I’m sorry if he reads this post and is offended but it is very instructive in terms of the truth of the SGI. He determined to become a US Senator. He told me he applied to become one of the “Who’s Who” of American Youth, and he determined to do so and was encouraged by his leaders to do so, so it would happen. It mattered nothing that he had accomplished little outside of the SGI. He even held on to his dream of becoming a US Senator for a time. He had attained the level of YMD headquarters chief, but he could barely hold on to a job for more than several months at a time, let alone finish college. He says he’s doing great, but to me, the SGI is just a fantasy land of broken dreams.

You will see replies to this post that this was an isolated example but if we delve into the history and the actuality of these young men, we will see that of the ~ 150 young men at the meeting, it would be safe to say, 120 stopped practicing with the SGI during the last 29 years. That leaves somewhere around 30 who continue to practice. Of those 30 how many have gone on to achieve a modicum of success (actual proof being touted by the SGI as the only reliable proof of a teaching)? How many have gone on to become senators, congressmen, judges, doctors, lawyers, accomplished artists or musicians, noted scientists, teachers, etc? To my knowledge, not one has gone on to become a senator, congressman or judge. Perhaps one or two has gone on to become a doctor or lawyer and there were conceivably a few who had gone on to become respected teachers, artists, scientists etc. But out of this handful of “successful” people, how many realized their determinations from that day in 1979? From what I’ve witnessed, the “actual proof” attained by these SGI practitioners was actually worse than the “actual proof” attained by those that stopped practicing or by a similar cohort who never practiced. For example, take any group of 150 highly motivated young men. One would expect that at least ten to twenty percent would go on to realize their determinations. But through the SGI faith and practice, probably less than five percent realized their dreams. However many (or few) there are, this is hardly the universal actual proof that the SGI espouses.

The bottom line is, there is no actual proof in the “Buddhism” of the SGI, regardless of how persuasively and aggressively the practitioners would have you believe. They have distorted the teachings of the Eternal Shakyamuni, the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin. How could they demonstrate actual proof?

You really misunderstand the heart of the Lotus Sutra and the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and the principle of abandoning expedients. Perhaps, I can help you but I doubt it. You have learned little in your 24 years in the Soka Gakkai. All the same, I will try.

SGI member: You can chant for anything you like, the purpose of chanting is to fullfill your every desire.
Shakabuku: Really? I always wanted a Cadillac Sevlle and a pretty girlfriend.
SGI member: You can chant for ANYTHING you want. The purpose of chanting is to accumulate actual proof in your life so you can demonstrate the benefits of chanting to your family and friends and create world peace.
Shakabuku: That sounds great, I think I will give it a try.

Two years later, the shakabuku has just totaled his shiny new Cadillac and his pretty girlfriend ran away with the district chief. He is devastated and he quits chanting.

This is a scenario that is all too common among the members of the SGI and is one of the reasons, of the more than 500,000 people in the USA who came to SGI Buddhism in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s, less than 35,000 have persevered in their practice.

Lets take the SGI teachings literally:

You chant to fulfill your desires. Your desires are fulfilled. By fulfiilling your desires you attain Enlightenment. What is it that is permanent in this world? A car? A girlfriend? A house? Good health? Good friends? Joy? Nothing. There is nothing that is permanent. Everything and everybody is as ephemeral as the dew on the grass. Nevertheless, the SGI says chant for this and chant for that and this is the purpose of Buddhism.

An SGI member concisely sums up the SGI teachings:

“Actual attachments are the source of enlightenment. Don’t confuse Mahayana with Hinayana Buddhism. We all have desires and it is within the scope of Buddhism to fufill them in order to deepen our faith in the effectiveness of this practice.”

Question: What is the source or cause of Enlightenment, according to the SGI?
KHK Answer: “Attachments” according to Nichiren Lotus Sutra Buddhism are but temporary phenomena yet, according to the SGI, attachments fulfill ones desires and leads to Enlightenment. We have already seen that one aspect of phenomena is impermanence. Therefore, there is nothing that one can attach oneself to permanently. Furthermore, to attach oneself to anything, since all things are impermanent, can not lead to the attainment of the awakened state of Enlightenment which is absolute and permanent.

The awakened state clearly perceives, among other things, the impermanence of all phenomena and no other perception that characterizes the Enlightened state invalidates the truth of temporary existence. Even the truth of the Middle Way does not invalidate the truth of temporary existence. Therefore, it is absolutely useless to rely on attachments (impermanence) to arrive at the sublime life state of Enlightenment. The Daishonin states:
“It is said in the Nirvana Sutra:’ Before listening to the Lotus Sutra we had all been of evil views.’ Grand Master Miao-le explains this in his Fa-hua hsuan-i shih-chi’en; ‘ The Buddha himself called his pre-Lotus Three Teachings (zokyo, tsugyo and bekkyo) evil. ‘ Tientai citing the words of the Nirvana Sutra just mentioned, says in his Mo-ho Chih-kuan (Great Concentration and Insight): They called themselves evil. Isn’t “evil” bad? ‘ Miao-le explains this in his commentary on the Mo-ho Chih-kuan:

‘Evil means “wicked.” Therefore we must know that only the engyo (perfect teaching) among the Four Teachings is correct. But it has two meanings. First, it means that following the “perfect teaching” (engyo) while rejecting the remaining three is correct, and rejecting the “perfect teaching” while following the three is erroneous. THIS IS A RELATIVE POINT OF VIEW (caps me).

Secondly it means that attachment to the “perfect teaching” is considered erroneous while detachment from it is correct. This is an absolute point of view in which there is no difference in the eyes of the Buddha between the “perfect teaching” and the remaining three of the so-called Four Teachings. Either way, we have to stay away from error. It is bad to attach ourselves to the “perfect teaching,” how much worse it is to attach ourselves to the Three Teachings!” (The Opening of the Eyes).

What is it that the Daishonin means, in practical terms? He means that if we attach ourselves to some desire, any desire, one can not attain the sublime life state of Buddha. Let me give you a few examples, albeit extreme examples that are derived directly from SGI’s and the SGI member’s assertions above:

One man is attached to eating. He chants to be able to eat the most sumtpuous food whenever he wishes, in order to prove the validity of the practice. The person will surely realize this desire, according to the SGI. He eats until he is 600 lbs. He develops diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. The practice is proven according to the SGI, the person attatches himself to his desire to eat and through chanting and realizing this desire, he thus attains Enlightenment.

What really happens is that, instead of leading to Enlightenment, attaching himself to his desire, he gets sick and becomes a poor example of a Buddhist.

Another person loves to chant the Daimoku. He attaches himself to chanting the Daimoku in order to attain Enlightenment. He determines to chant the Daimoku continuously and realizes his desire by chanting ten or more hours a day. Once again, according to the SGI, he proves the validity of the practice.

The reality is that he disproves the practice despite realizing his desire. He skips meals, fails to talk with the wife, and begins missing work. He gets divorced and is layed off from work.

By forming attachments, according to the SGI, one obtains enlightenment but, as we see, the actual reality is that attachment leads to misery. The Lotus Sutra, the Buddhas throughout the Three Existences, and Nichiren Daishonin teach that attatchments lead to suffering but why then, does the SGI teach otherwise?

There are several reasons: They misunderstand Buddhism; they emphasize quantity rather than quality; they have huge egos and thinking themselves wiser than Buddha Shakyamuni and Nichiren Daishonin; and their leaders are deluded.

In the end, not one person has ever attained Buddhahood through the SGI teachings.

Lastly, the SGI is as phony as a three dollar bill and as duplicitous as those who espouse republican right wing family values:

Speaking to SGI members:

“Make Full Use of Your Attachments” — Lectures on the Hoben and Juryo Chapters of the Lotus Sutra by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

But when speaking to the intellectual community:

“The more one is able to solidify a “mind of goodness,” the more he or she overcomes attachment to earthly desires and develops a “mind of peace.” — Dr Yoichi Kowada, the Director of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy speaking at the Fourth World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations in Rhodes, Greece

“Nichiren writes:

“I, Nichiren, have never prayed for the benefit of this lifetime alone. I pray only for the realization of Buddhahood.”  He also says, “However, I always pray for your sake, Shijo Kingo, because you are one who inherits the life of the Buddha, the life of the Lotus Sutra” and "No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder".

 "No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder" which is from The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren never wrote that and I will change it post haste.

Nichiren never prayed for Shijo Kingo’s profit, for a better income or higher social status. What he does say is,”I always pray for your sake.” When Nichiren says,”for you sake”, he prays for the sake of Shijo Kingo’s life in the true, ultimate sense. Shijo Kingo was in the midst of an extremely difficult situation when he received this writing from Nichiren (his fellow samurai were jealous of the close relationship he shared with Lord Ema, their over-lord, so they tried to persuade Lord Ema to punish Shijo Kingo and force him to abandon his practice of faith. As a result, Lord Ema threatened to confiscate Shijo Kingo’s property unless he gave up his faith.)

Even during this horrible time, he does not pray for Shijo Kingo’s material advancement, but he does pray deeply for his sake, for his security. In other writings, Nichiren criticized priests who concentrated on the material gain or benefit of their believers. He taught that such teachings are not of the True Law. In “Letter to Hoshina Goro Taro Nyudo: Nichiren says: “Today, priests such as Zendo, Honen, and the others, deceive ignorant priests and lay believers by displaying magical skills, thereby destroying faith in the true teaching of the Buddha. The followers of the Shingon sect are especially guilty of stressing benefit only for today, only for this lifetime. They worship various kinds of animals in order to bring about love between male and female, or to gain property, wealth and status. They value such superficial bits of proof. If you think that their teachings are superior to other teachings because of this sort of proof, then you should know they are inferior to even the heretical teachings in India.”

Question: What about the Gosho “Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment”, it contains the phrase “In a practical sense, the doctrine of ‘earthly desires are enlightenment’ indicates that the mundane cravings of the individual, when tempered by faith in the True Law, become the fuel for enlightenment.”
Answer: This is wrong. It is a Soka Gakkai/NST doctrine, not a Nichiren Doctrine. Seeing the words “in a practical sense” in SGI/NST publications, whether in the writings themselves or their commentaries, is seeing a red flag – you should read on with great caution. From what I see, both SGI and NST view orthodox doctrine as theoretical and inapplicable to “modern” life while viewing their “more practical” teachings as something that people today can understand and use to “create value” in their lives.

Their “practical” but false explanations of the teaching is proof of their widespread misunderstanding of the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. A good example is found in their view of the popular writing they call, “Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment”.

In reality, Nichiren Shonin did not give a title to this writing, and if you read it carefully, you will see that the writing could just as easily be called, “The Sufferings of Birth and Death Are Nirvana.” If you find the “Sufferings of Birth and Death Are Nirvana” not as appealing as “Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment”, that should be an indication to you that you have a misunderstanding of Nichiren Shonin’s teachings.

Part of the Lotus Sutra that you recite reads: “Isshin yok-ken butsu Fu ji shaku shinmyo”, which means that, with one, solid mind we sincerely deeply long to see the Buddha – to find the Buddha. To pray in this way continually is the meaning of prayer. A prayer for material desires must, by definition, be shallow, because it is a prayer concerned with that which is transient. Someone who longs today for a Mercedes Benz may want a BMW tomorrow. Affairs such as these change so easily. Material desires are ever-changing and never-ending but the prayer to see and manifest the state of the deathless unchanging reality of Buddhahood should always be always in our hearts. Not all people recognize it or understand it but, from the time we were born and before, the prayer of “yearning to see the Buddha” has always been in our lives. That is why we are able to feel such joy by chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. The existence of this prayer in the depths of our lives is the reason we are capable of praying with the strength of producing fire by rubbing wet wood together, or reaching the water of the Buddha’s mercy by digging through dry earth. To feel this real prayer and to realize the genuine benefit of faith in our lives, we need strong, persistent, unbroken prayer for Buddhahood.

Nichiren states, “Even if the sun rises in the west, the prayers of the devotee of the Lotus Sutra could never be unanswered“.

“The devotee of the Lotus Sutra” will be able to call forth this ultimate prayer in his or her life. This real prayer will give us the steady life we long for; we will no longer be sometimes joyous, sometimes depressed. The aspects of a devotee’s life – those phenomena that are both discernable and conspicuous or those things referred to as “benefit” and “loss” will then manifest to best serve the life of Buddha within [the non-discernable and inconspicuous]. In the writing, The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren writes, "No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder

I am sure that you SGI or NST members sometimes have been engaged in campaigns to chant one million Daimoku in order to get some sort of “actual proof” of the Gohonzon’s power – a nice apartment or house, a new job, a husband or wife, etc. It may be of interest for you to know that Nikko and Nichimoku Shonin strictly forbade such practices of “testing” the Gohonzon. At any rate, whether or not one’s wish is fulfilled, after completing such practices, does not provide evidence of “actual proof” of Nichiren’s teachings since such prayers are not the prayers of the devotees of the Lotus Sutra.

Please understand that I am not saying that desires are wrong in and of themselves. For instance, someone may long to live in a beautiful penthouse apartment. It is possible for someone to enjoy that kind of wish as long as he or she is not consumed by desire [attached] and does not confuse such wishes with prayers.

Your true virtue as a human being who chants the Daimoku can never be replaced by anything – not even good friends, family, or by a perfect relationship between husband and wife. Certainly, your true worth as a human being does not depend on your high standing in society, apartments, houses, cars, jobs or money, as taught in the Soka Gakkai.

We can complete the true meaning of our existence when by fusing our life with the Gohonzon, with the Life of the Eternal Buddha, and with the Lotus Sutra. When we do this our real prayers are manifested and we feel an overwhelming joy and appreciation to the Lotus Sutra. Isn’t that wonderful! When we have this feeling of joy and appreciation to the Lotus Sutra our prayers are answered.”

SGI leader attempting to rationalize SGI’s erroneous interpretation of Earthly Desires are Equal to Enlightenment:

“Yes. To clarify what the Daishonin meant, on the Gohonzon he wrote two names in (medieval) ancient Indian Sanskrit, or Siddham. They are the Buddhist deity Ragaraja, which represents the principle of “earthly desires are enlightenment”, and the Buddhist deity Achala which represents the principle that “the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.”

Since it’s on the Gohonzon, it’s a very real part of our lives.”

Aizen Myo [Ragaraja]  is The Wisdom King of lusty, passionate, greed]:

“愛柔 明王 {Aizen-myo’o}:

Ai means something like infatuation. The kanji read zen means stained or dyed. Aizen is a translation of raga. It is translated as passion, lust, greed, desire, gluttony, & craving; among other things. I think I like infatuation for raga.

The myo means light, a translation of vidya, meaning objective wisdom. The O is, of course a translation of raja, meaning king. (Skt: Ragaraja) A Buddhist deity who is said to purify people’s afflictions and free them from illusions {hleshas, bonnos} and the sufferings accruing from afflictions. In the esoteric teaching his true identity is regarded as Dainichi (Skt: Mahavairochana) Buddha or Kongosatta (Vajrasattva). Aizen is pictured on the Diamond World mandala and is depicted as being red in color with three eyes, six arms and a furious expression. In his hand he has a bow and arrows. His name is inscribed in Siddha, a medieval Sanskrit orthography, on the left-hand side of the Gohonzon as one faces it, signifying the principle that afflictions are enlightenment (Jap: bonno soku bodai). -- Source: A Dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts. NSIC: Tokyo. 1983. 1990.

Other meanings of aizen:

[Basic Meaning:] impassioned; To be caught by desire/attachment(Skt. rakta, saṃrakta, amiṣa; Tib. chags pa; kun tu chags pa) [cmuller; source(s): Nakamura,S.Hodge]; the taint of desire. (Skt. tṛṣṇ�, r�ga, ) [cmuller; source(s): Soothill, Hirakawa]

The Flammarion Iconographic Guide: Buddhism states:

“This Vidyaraja, who is venerated almost exclusively in Japan, is a deity of
conception. He is the king of the magic science of attraction or of love. ‘Aizen
Myo-o represents in fact the amorous passion as it appears sublimated in the
perspective of esotericism: victorious over itself, not by suppression as
normally taught, but by a greater exaltation transmuted into a desire for
Awakening.’ He is sometimes identified with a ferocious form of Vairocana,
although he is not one of the five great Vidyarajas. ” (p.213)

The Guide also says:

“Due to his combative force, Fudo is invoked in many circumstances, chiefly
against attacks of sickness – not because he is considered as a healer, but as
an effective force to combat impurities and demons that cause illness. He is
also invoked for protection against persons feared to be harmful and against
spells cast by sorcerers. Fudo is also often considered as the defender of Japan
against attack from external enemies. For all these reasons, he must be one of
the Buddhist deities most often invoked in Japan, and also one of the most
popular. The temples and sanctuaries dedicated to him are found throughout the
countryside, in cities and at crossroads. Most of these temples belong to the
Shingon and Tendai sects. Members of the Nichiren sect also worship him, mainly
as the ‘protector of the state’.” (p.208)

“Aizen Myo-o is still venerated by the Japanese, and is often invoked in
connection with petitions concerning love. Apart from this, he is not a popular
deity except among artists, geishas and others in professions connected with
matters of love.” (p.214)

The seed syllable hum [the preceding on Aizen Myo found on Robin Beck's blog on Fraught With Peril]

However, the Kempon Hokke clarifies Aizen Myo ["Earthly Desires Are Equal To Enlightenment"] from the perspective of Nichiren’s Lotus Sutra Buddhism and most importantly, the true meaning of the Gohonzon, faith in the Lotus Sutra, and faith in Eternal Buddha:

The SGI’s reliance on Aizen Myo and their misunderstanding of the concept of Earthly Desires Equal Enlightenment [which should read, Delusions Equal to Enlightenment], is equivalent to a separate enshrinement of this deity. It is a great slander of the Law. They misunderstand the very nature of the Gohonzon while the position of The Master of Teachings Lord Shakya of the Original Doctrine of the Lotus Sutra and thus the Gohonzon itself is diminished. This is the fundamental cause for their lack of benefits and their punishment.

Nichiren Daishonin writes:

“For all the beings of this country of Japan the Buddha Shakya is Ruler, Teacher, and Parent. Even the Heavenly Deities, the Five Generations of the Earthly Deities, and the Ninety generations, gods [kami] and humans, of the Human Kings are subordinates of the Buddha Shakya.” [Myoho bikuni gohenji or Reply to Bhikshuni Myoho]

Subordinates refer to retainers or vassels. Aizen Myo or Delusion are Equal to Enlightenment is subordinate to Shakyamuni Buddha of the Juryo Chapter and the Buddha nature of the Amala consciousness. Therefore, earthly desires are subordinate to the Great Desire for Buddhahood and the spread of the True Teachings.
In reply to Various People [Shonen Gohenji] we read:

“The whole of the country of Japan one and all will become the disciples and lay donors of Nichiren. Those who have left the household life among my disciples will become teachers of the Emperor and Retired Emperor. The housholders will be ranged among the Ministers of the Left and of the Right. Or even the whole of Jambudvipa will all revere this doctrine.”

This is why we have priests to clarify the teachings and the danger of those unlearned SGI men and women, those who claim to have attained what they have not, teaching the Lotus Sutra and the meaning of the doctrines of Nichiren Daishonin. The whole of “Give Adoration” [Namu] includes Aizen Myo who gives adoration to Namu Myoho renge kyo.

Therefore, our earthly desires or delusions give way to Namu Myoho renge kyo, not the other way around as taught in the Soka Gakkai. They are confused about the Gohonzon and they are confused about the Buddha. How could they not be confused about everything else. Do not believe them, not about anything. If you want guidance go to the source. Go to the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin and, if you still have questions, seek out a priest who knows the heart of the Sutra.

Let the karmic retribution of many SGI’s top leaders [as well as the theoretical proof proffered here] be a warning to those who follow. It would be better to outlaw the SGI distorted teachings than offer up ten thousand prayers.

“Anyone who can find the spirit
of Nichiren Daishonin in our group,
please come and join us but please go
anywhere you find any other group
who holds the spirit more than us.”


  1. great article mark. thanks.

    sgi long time leaders and members learn to lie for the gakkai. these are the sickest ones. the sgi has become a social cult that ecourages codependency while turning their backs on the buddhas dharma.

    back in '04 when i did my second tour with the sgi; one of the first things that hit me hard was that although they chant the daimoku, the buddhas dharma does no longer exist in the sgi. it was clear as a bell.

  2. Many times they don't even know they are lying, even those who are studied. It's almost as if some of their brains are shut off.

  3. this is what happens to those who stay too long in the gak.

    i know plently who will look you right in the eye and tell a non truth or a bold faced lie. it may be one that they believe of have convinced themselves to believe, nevertheless, it is all fabricated.

    i, myself, cannot do that, therefore, i had to leave the sgi.

  4. “No matter how dangerous the world may become, I Nichiren, will pray to save all of you, with a spirit equal to starting a fire by rubbing wet wood together, or digging through very dry earth to reach water.”

    How, though, could this make any sense, since it is up to each person individually to do it?

    In another of his writings, after all, Nichiren says, "If your prayers are not answered, it is not the fault of Nichiren."

  5. Good look Doris. The first passage you cited from the post above is from the forgery, the Ongi Kuden, The passage that I meant to cite is the following

    "No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder" which is from The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren never wrote that and I will change it post haste.

    By changing the passage it becomes congruent. As far as "up to each person", Dependent Origination and the factors of Power and Influence demonstrate that we can effect change in the the environment, other individuals, and society.

  6. Nichiren's vow to save all living beings is in concert with Shakyamuni's claim to be the only one who can save all living beings--

    This vow is the intent of a bodhisattva based on the highest teaching-- a heartfelt prayer from a mind dedicated to faith in the Lotus Sutra.

    Did Nichiren actualize this vow?

    WE will know 9,000 years from now, IF the Law has been widely propagated and has endured.