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Friday, January 1, 2016

The question of actual proof is a tricky one

The question of "actual proof" is a tricky one, because SGI/NST has spread it's version of Nichiren Buddhism, with an emphasis on "actual proof". This really means "personal experience" and "tangible benefit" in their terms. While this is something that most human beings would take as "proof", it is not what Nichiren meant when he said "actual proof". To Nichiren, actual proof meant that the predictions in the Lotus Sutra were being actualized in his very life. Without Nichiren, there is no spreading of the daimoku in the first five-hundred years, there is no persecution of the preacher, no establishment of the object of worship (the Gohonzon), no fulfillment of the prophesies that are made in the Lotus Sutra.

If the definition of "actual proof" was validated by personal benefit, then one only has to look at Nichiren's life to see that he lived in extreme poverty, under very harsh conditions, and he gave the appearance of not being "protected" as a votary of the Lotus Sutra. In fact, many disciples gave up their faith when Nichiren was banished to Sado, claiming that Nichiren himself could not find a peaceful life, so how could his followers expect to benefit. TO this, Nichiren answered that the benefit is to escape the "burning house" of this world and to end the cycle of birth-and-death as a deluded human. By definition, only slanderers of the Lotus Sutra are born in Mappo, so to take faith is so hard, since the consequences of slander are then suffered in the practice. However, this is the way of retribution of past slander against the Dharma. Nichiren himself said that his sufferings were because of past lives, and he rejoiced that he could actually resolve aeons of retribution in this single lifetime, thereby being assured of Buddhahood in the future. Nichiren makes this point over and over again in many authenticated writings. (Here is the danger in relying on forgeries like the Ongi Kuden and about 55 other well known "gosho" that are not in Nichiren's hand and do not reflect the doctrine of the Lotus Sutra, but some other "later medieval Tendai" doctrines of the "hongaku shiso" craze that state the opposite of what Nichiren actually wrote.)

It's obvious that there are "miracle "stories in every religion. In fact, if this were a criteria of correct doctrine, then we'd have to abandon the Lotus Sutra and follow any number of spectacularly successful religions in the mundane world. However, this world is illusions, so what good is the manipulation of illusions? It's like a dream world. If a religion can turn the nightmare into a pleasant dream, has that solved the problem of falling to hell for slander, after you die?

In the fires that hit southern California over a year ago, a single home, in Laguna Beach, stood unscathed, among the burned-out rubble, stretching for miles. The owner, a Vietnamese immigrant who became wealthy, had his house blessed by Theravada priests, and he said the "protection" was from this. This is one of hundreds of "protection" stories that came out of last year's devastations (in California, the Midwest, etc.) The stories were from all denominations, and they were all equally powerful. "Protection" may be from a previous lifetime, for an action that impacts this lifetime. In the Lotus Sutra, there is the promise of "peace and security" and, when devastation hits, people who take faith in the Lotus Sutra do have some miraculous stories to tell (me included, but I'll keep this from getting long). If protection were so cut and dried, then the Atsuhara martyrs would not have lost their heads. To Nichiren, it was a blessing because they were able to lay down their life for the doctrine of the Lotus Sutra, thereby attaining Buddhahood instantly.

So we come to the main question. Is it doctrine or is it "personal experience" that should lead in Nichiren Buddhism? Emphatically, Nichiren says it's doctrine, because the comings and goings of this world are transient, designed to entrap humans in the snares of delusion. If you can't accept the Lotus Sutra, with all the doctrine in place, not twisted as the SGI/NST have done to it (it's the perfect Mara plan) then you are not following Nichiren Buddhism but some other inferior teaching, cooked up by Taisekiji and the SGI. Good marketing, but it is slanderous and insidious. As soon as Shakyamuni died, the doctrine was invaded by Mara who infected priests to mix up the teachings. If you doubt this, just re-read Nichiren's scathing denouncements of Shan-tao, Pu'king, Honen, .....all men who praised the Lotus Sutra but destroyed its heart. And Nichiren stated that those who follow these priests will fall into hell with them for slander, whether the believer is naive of the slander or not.

So, will there be a consequence for discarding the Lotus Sutra and accepting the insanities of Taisekiji that alter Nichiren's own words to cast aside the Eternal Shakyamuni? I think so, but maybe not in this lifetime, all experiences of "protection" notwithstanding. Slander of the Dharma is the worst cause imaginable, it is a "felony" of the highest order. If you commit a few misdemeanors on the side, it doesn't matter, if you are already facing a death sentence (to use a criminal analogy). You may emerge unscathed for this lifetime (though I doubt it, given the strange occurrences that are starting to escalate), but the issue is whether you fall to hell for slander after you die. If you think this is not Nichiren Buddhism, re-read him again. He stated that first you must resolve the great matter of death (i.e. where you are destined to go after you leave this lifetime) and then think about the mundane consequences of this lifetime only after you are clear about your faith at the moment of death. Faith in SGI/NST is not faith in the Lotus Sutra or even the Gohonzon as Nichiren originally made it (the Nikken/Nichikan honzons are not what you think, but that's beyond the scope of this essay). Now that information is being aired, after years of SGI/NST domination of overseas Nichiren Buddhism, the follower of Nichiren must take everything into consideration.

It's naive and even foolhardy to trust in human teachers or priests. You can only trust the Dharma (i.e. Lotus Sutra, gohonzon and Nichiren as the Eternal Shakyamuni's messenger, as predicted in the Lotus Sutra). The prediction is for the messenger of the Buddha to "stand in " for the Buddha in an evil age and transmit the daimoku or practice for the evil age. The Lotus Sutra does not say that the Buddha returns to do this task. Quite the contrary. So, don't trust what SGI/NST have passed off as "orthodoxy". Even a little bit of investigation turns up so many lies that only a zombie would be unshaken.  I left the SGI/NST precisely because so many people that I knew were getting bad results in the long run, me included. The "good things" were outweighed by many other troubling things. In retrospect, the "bad things" were beneficial, because they made me leave and made me question what was important and what was slanderous. The people who stay in SGI/NST are suffering without knowing it and must pay the consequence of being part of a hoax. SGI/NST pose as Nichiren Buddhism, but it's 5% Nichiren's and 95% Ikeda's or Nikken's interpretations. 

For 15 years in the SGI, I never met a single person in the SGI/NST who had ever even read the Lotus Sutra or who really was familiar with Nichiren's writings. But they all could quote the daily guidance from Ikeda. There is something wrong with it all, and if you're not totally asleep, then you have to acknowledge the SGI/NST schizophrenic approach to Nichiren's buddhism ("Nichiren says this, but what he REALLY means is.....").

Ultimately, the important thing is correct doctrine, the correct chant, the correct object of worship, the way that Nichiren stated it, no deviations or revisions at all. Then the "personal benefits" will follow as a matter of course, but they won't be inconsequential phenomenon, but all pointed to the final objective of Buddhahood. Slander of the Law means that Buddhahood is delayed until the expiation of such what good is it to point to "personal benefits" if the end result is retribution for slander?

From now on, ignorance of the facts is no longer an excuse, because more and more will surface about the correct faith of Nichiren's Buddhism. There can be different levels of faith, understanding, even resolve and conviction. But you can't compromise on slander and you can't praise the Lotus Sutra in theory, but discard it in actual practice. This kind of nonsense, along with a whole lot of other garbage, is strictly latter day Taisekiji, and cannot be found in Nichiren's authenticated words. And the consequences cannot be wished into oblivion.

Nichiren never said to replace the Eternal Shakyamuni with Nichiren, he never made Nikko the "treasure of the Samgha" by some secret transmission, and he never said "discard the Lotus Sutra" and only chant the daimoku (no matter how the translation is rendered in "Major Works") Would it make sense to chant the title of a sutra that is to be discarded at the same time as "worthless"? Does it make sense to believe in a "DaiGohonzon" which first appears two hundred years after Nichiren's death, with the admonition to consider all other Nichiren gohonzons as "worthless" (Taiskeiji's own words) or "provisional"? Where does Nichiren say any of this?

If one wishes to be a Nichiren Buddhist, they must reconsider all that they have learned from SGI/NST and even assume that there are many lies that pass for truth in the "organizations" of SGI/NST. The organizations are inconsequential, it is doctrine that is most important. If your faith is first with Taisekiji or with SGI, then with Nichiren, it's all backwards and doomed to evil consequences.

Of this, I'm absolutely convinced, not because of my "personal experience" but because the "scriptural evidence" is absolute. [from the Kempon Hokke archives].

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