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Monday, January 25, 2016

I'll correct Desmond Tutu since SGI won't

SGI Quarterly: As an individual who has long been on the forefront of the struggle for human rights, what is your message to the youth of a new generation confronting their own struggles to build a world in which the dignity of all is recognized and respected?

DT [Desmond Tutu]: I admire young people. They are amazing in their idealism believing that we can have a world without war, without poverty and disease. I say to them, "Dream your dreams of a better world, dream the dream of God!"

Thanks to monotheistic religions and even Hinduism, the world is a constant state of violence. Compare the Lotus Sutra to your "Great Books" and only in the Lotus Sutra will you not find even one exortation to violence and killing. The ultimate teaching of the Lotus Sutra is that all people have the potential to become Three Bodied Tathagatas. We become the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni when we chant Namu Myoho renge kyo with utmost devotion. It is a great sin to harm a potential Buddha, let alone the Eternal Buddha.


  1. Not one of your better choice of target Mark. Since conflicts predated most monotheistic religions its probably got more to do with our evolution and competition over mates and resources than the influence of religion. Also, sweeping statements about the Lotus Sutra being the only teaching not to exhort violence is misleading. It depends what's included in the category of Great Books. Jainism far surpasses most other religions in this regard, even Buddhism. It's a long time since I did Bible Study of the Gospels but I can't remember Jesus exhorting violence either, in fact rather the opposite. It's long been a mystery to me why Christian's would want to mix their teachings with the 'Old Testament', which as you well know has a far greater bent towards conflict, though the Torah may not have been translated correctly, I'm not really in a position to say.

    As for Desmond Tutu, is there anything in his words or his conduct (apart from his affiliation with a faith you oppose) that you are correcting? If so, it's not obvious from what you've written.

    Far from coming across as unreasonable or fostering sectarian conflict, for what I know of his stance and actions over years, he's behaved in a exemplary manner, which is surely why SGI would want to try and align itself with him to hang onto the coat tails of his credibility.

    As for the Lotus Sutra and its practice, although I embrace it to the very best of my ability, one could easily make the same observation about the traditions that have been founded in it, including Nichiren's traditions.

    That brings us back to the human potential to create conflict and suffering even whilst purportedly following a teaching that eschews these.

    Many of your other posts are well chosen and well argued...perhaps this one needed a bit more work?

  2. Perhaps. Perhaps not...

    Also, I did state "great books". surely the jain scriptures are not as widely known as the Vedas, Bible, Q'uran and the Lotus Sutra.

    Only the Lotus Sutra turns the Three Poisons into the Three Virtues.

    Thanks for your reply.

  3. Thanks Mark. It was revelatory to refresh my Gospel knowledge, I wasn't surprised by the Old Testament stuff at all and Pauline teachings has always seemed a bit suspect to me! There's a bigger point about the whole cause and effect versus divine being judging. An it's true 're Jains. Thanks for clarifying the Great Books category.