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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Refuting a core SGI doctrine

Jim, an SGI senior leader has posted that nothing is ceded from the Gohonzon (power of the Buddha and power of the Law) to the believer because the only powers derives from the faith and practice of the believer.

There are several ways to look at this to demonstrate Jim's error and they derive from the timeless principles of Buddhism called Dependent Origination and Ichinen Sanzen or Three Thousand Worlds in a Momentary State of Existence. 

These principles demonstrate that everything in the universe is inextricably connected to everything else. Therefore, not only does one's thoughts words and deeds affect ones own being but all beings both sentient and insentient and all phenomena equally affect us. This is the rational for chanting for other people's welfare, those dead and alive, praying for rain, good weather, lack of accidents etc. The environment equally has the power to influence us. Rainy days are gloomy or cause our joints to hurt, for example.

When examining one's own power compared to the power of the Buddha and Law, it is impossible to fail to acknowledge that our power alone is indeed limited. Whether in the religious or in the secular realm, a team can accomplish more than an individual and an individual with a tool can accomplish more than one without a tool. Were our power not limited, we could, by our own power, obtain Buddhahood but according to Nichiren Daishonin, we require both the help of others [the Buddha, the Law, and good friends in the dharma] and the hindrances of others [those who obstruct our faith and practice]. Believing that we can utilize our power alone to attain Buddhahood is a shallow mechanistic approach to Buddhism, denying others assistance and the utility of a tool. It also deprecates the Gohonzon thinking that the paper and ink of the object of devotion is inferior to the flesh and bones of the human being. In the secular realm, millions have given their lives for the sake of ink and paper, ie: for the Constitution of the United States. How much more so in the realm of Buddhism where, "Since the Law is supreme, the Person is worthy of respect; since the Person is worthy of respect, the Land is sacred."not the other way around.

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