Nichiren Daishonin writes:
"Those who call themselves my disciples and practice the Lotus Sutra should all practice as I do. If they do, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, Shakyamuni's emanations throughout the ten directions, and the ten demon daughters will protect them." On Establishing the Four Bodisattvas as the Object of Devotion WND, 978
Let us put it this passage into context, first with the entierty of this writing and then with the entierty of Nichiren's Gosho. Two salient points of the writing, On Establishing the Four Bodhisattvas as the Object of Worship, I would like to bring out [to validate my assertions about the SGI teachings].
Another passage reads,
"In your letter you asked: "You have told me that an object of
devotion should be made of Shakyamuni Buddha of the essential
teaching, who attained enlightenment in the remote past, attended by
the four bodhisattvas who sprang from the earth and who have been his
disciples since that remote past. If this is correct, when is such an
object of devotion to be established? "
The SGI denies that the object of devotion is is Lord Shakyamuni of the essential teachings. This is not practicing as Nichiren did.
Finally, Ncihiren writes in the concluding paragraphs,
"You also mentioned in your letter that the people connected with
Ota Jomyo are apparently saying that the theoretical teaching of the
Sutra can in no way lead to enlightenment. They are making a
sLotuserious mistake. Remember this about the theoretical and essential
teachings of the Lotus Sutra: Which is shallow and which profound,
which superior and which inferior, which lenient and which severe,
and which subordinate and which primary must be judged in accordance
with the time and the people's capacity. There are three periods in
which the sacred teachings of the Buddha's lifetime should be
propagated; the people's capacity should be thought of in the same
In the first five hundred years of the Former Day of the Law
following the Buddha's passing, only Hinayana teachings spread, while
in the next five hundred years, provisional Mahayana teachings
spread. The thousand years of the Middle Day of the Law saw the rise
of the theoretical teaching. In the beginning of the Latter Day of
the Law, only the essential teaching spreads, but even so, the
theoretical teaching should not be discarded. Nowhere in the entire
Lotus Sutra do we find a passage suggesting that we should discard
the first fourteen chapters, which comprise the theoretical teaching.
When we distinguish between the theoretical and the essential
teachings on the basis of the threefold classification of the entire
body of the Buddha's teachings, the pre- Lotus Sutra teachings were
to be spread in the Former Day, and the theoretical teaching, in the
Middle Day, but the Latter Day is the time to propagate the essential
teaching. In the present period the essential teaching is primary,
while the theoretical teaching is subordinate. But those who
therefore discard the latter, saying it is not the way to
enlightenment, and believe only in the former, have not yet
understood the doctrine of Nichiren's true intention. Theirs is a
completely distorted view.
This doctrine concerning the theoretical and essential teachings is
not my own [but was expounded by the Buddha]. Those who would distort
it can only be possessed by the heavenly devil, or Papiyas, and will
topple others along with themselves into the great citadel of the
hell of incessant suffering. How foolish they are! Teach this
doctrine to others clearly as I have taught you these many years.
Those who call themselves my disciples and practice the Lotus Sutra
should all practice as I do. If they do, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures,
Shakyamuni's emanations throughout the ten directions, and the ten
demon daughters will protect them. Yet, for all that, [some people
associated with Ota Jomyo distort the teaching]. I cannot fathom what
could be in their minds.
The priest Nichigyo's [Sammibo's] death was indeed pitiful. I recited
the Lotus Sutra and chanted Nam-myoho-renge- kyo for him here in
Minobu, sincerely praying to Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the
Buddhas of the ten directions to receive him on Eagle Peak. I have
not yet recovered from my illness, so I have written only briefly. I
will write to you again."
The SGI teaches the Nichikan doctrine: "We chant the Juryo-hon to smash the Hoben-pon and we chant the Daimoku to smash the Juryo-hon." They also teach, for example:
"Although LS and Gosho are great teachings, they are limited to
certain countries (Asian countries) and certain era (India 6
centuries BC, or 13th century Japan). It may need some explanations
and interpretations in applying their principles to modern times and
to other countries, such as Western countries and Africa. The person
who is doing this unprecedented task is SGI President Ikeda. With
his Ichinen and wisdom, Nichiren Daishonin's teachings has spread
to 14 million people in 128 countries. President Ikeda is the mentor
for our Buddhist practice. There is no other person in the world who
can do this. . . . KHS members assert that LS and Gosho can be
understood clearly by reading and interpreting as they are. This is
an arrogant attitude. When someone falls into arrogance that he/she
can understand everything by him/herself, the individual growth
stops and he/she will fail to attain enlightenment. Buddhism is
profound. No matter how many years we practice, still we always
make new discoveries when we read Sensei's lectures and
Nichiren says we can not even abandon the Theroetical section of the Lotus Sutra but here, the SGI teaches that the Lotus Sutra only applies to 6th Century India while the Lotus Sutra itself says it applies to to the entire world [Jambudvipa] and in this time period -- Lotus Sutra Chapters 13, 14, 15, 21, 22 and 23.
In asserting that the Lotus Sutra is too difficult and not applicable to us, this teaching is no different than those of the Nembutsu and Zen founders. In the Opening of the Eyes, Nichiren writes:
"Great Concentration and Insight says: "If one lacks faith [in the
Lotus Sutra], one will object that it pertains to the lofty realm of
the sages, something far beyond the capacity of one's own wisdom to
comprehend. If one lacks wisdom, one will become puffed up with
arrogance and will claim to be the equal of the Buddha."
As far as being puffed up with arrogance, we read:
"...Buddhism is a teaching of mentor and disciple, expounding as it
does the oneness of the Buddha (mentor) and living beings (disciples). "
"Encounter With a Mentor" World Tribune, Jun 25, 1999 PAGE 7
In other SGI writings they make the claim that all SGI members are Buddhas while, in reality, the members are treated as anything but Buddhas by their senior in faith.
There are ten epithets of a Buddha used in the Lotus Sutra: Worshipful. All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha, Tathagata. Would a Buddha say to another Buddha, "you lack faith" or "you ask too many questions, like Sharihotsu"? Why would a Buddha need guidance? Since when do Buddhas receive guidance from other Buddhas? When a Buddha expounds his teachings they are all true without a single exception. Every last Buddha has their own retinue of disciples and believers. Thus there is no need for a centralized organization of Buddhas since each one is autonomous and creates their own organization of believers.
If you compare the way the SGI and the Kempon Hokke treats their members, you will see that the Kempon Hokke comes much closer to the ideal of treating their members as Buddhas, with all the faith, wisdom, and respect accorded to a Buddha.
As promised, here are some similar passages to the one cited by the SGI member at the top of this letter.
"If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva
of the Earth." (The True Aspect of All Phenomena)
"In the same way, one who chants the Daimoku as the Lotus Sutra
teaches will never have a twisted mind." (MW vol 5, Letter to
Myomitsu Shonin, pg 196)
"They entirely look up to groups of icchantikas and rely on them as
leaders and, reverencing blasphemers against the Dharma, make them
national teachers. Taking up the Classic Filial Piety of Confucious,
they beat their parents' heads and, while chanting the Lotus Sutra of
Lord Shakya with their mouths, they go against the Master of
teachings." (Letter to Tonsured Layman Soya).
"Those who practice Buddhism but adhere to distorted views destroy
this loftiest of Sutras." (MW vol 5, Reply to Soya Nyudo, pg 164).