There is a basic misunderstanding of Nichiren Lotus Sutra Buddhism on the part of SGI and NST members regarding Nichiren’s views of Shakyamuni of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Either that or there is a willful disregard of what Nichiren actually wrote or even worse, a willful offensive on their part to change the fundamental teachings of Nichiren. The SGI and NST members call the principle of the Eternal Shakyamuni [which is a pivotal part of Nichiren Lotus Buddhism] as “god-Shakyamuni”, a term with no basis in Buddhism, let alone Lotus Sutra Buddhism. It is simply an odious epithet for Shakyamuni Buddha, a slander that Nichiren never would condone.
The SGI and Shoshu members when discussing Buddhism, outside of a few isolated phrases, do not rely much on Nichiren’s writings. let alone the Lotus Sutra. In fact, SGI and Nichiren Shoshu members are relatively unfamiliar, with much of what Nichiren wrote. For example, Reply to Lord Matsuno’s Wife [Matsuno dono nyobo go-henji] reads:
“… In turbid water the moon does not abide; in a withered tree there are no birds. A woman who keeps the Hokekyo is like clear water, the moon of the Buddha Shakya[muni] takes up residence there. For example, although, when a woman is first pregnant, she is not aware of it in her own body, as the months gradually add up and the days repeatedly pass, she first wonders if it is so; later she thinks that it is certain [that she is pregnant]. A woman of insight even knows whether it is a boy or a girl. The doctrine of the Hokekyo is thus. When one believes Namu Myo Ho Renge Kyo in ones mind, the Buddha Shakya is conceived with the mind as his lodging. Though at first one does not know it, as the months gradually add up, the Buddha in ones mind appears in dreams and a joyful mind gradually emerges.”
Since the SGI and Shoshu members remove the eternal Buddha Shakyamuni from their faith, can we believe them when they say that the Buddha-nature wells up in their lives? How can Buddhahood manifest while disparaging the central Buddha of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha revered by Nichiren? Such an attitude towards Shakyamuni obviates Buddhahood from appearing. To uphold such a negative opinion of Shakyamuni while claiming Buddhahood can best be described as delusional.
Why do the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu members have this negative attitude towards Shakyamuni and adopt this blind belief? They haven’t researched the doctrines so they rely on the arbitrary opinions of their predecessors and leaders. They were simply told about these distorted views when they entered the SGI and the Nichiren Shoshu and they never questioned the validity of such views.
Nichiren teaches in another writing:
Nichiren teaches in another writing:
“If it is not the proper Object of Worship (gohonzon), even though there be no falsehood [even if the practitioner is sincere] it will not form the seed [of Buddhahood]. The Daimoku of the Honmon [Doctrine of the Original, found in the Lotus Sutra] is the seed of Buddhahood. This is because the Eternal Shakyamuni of the Honmon has put his Causal Practices (his myriad practices that lead to enlightenment) and his Virtues of the Effect [the merits of the effect, which is Buddhahood] into the seven characters of Namu Myo Ho Renge Kyo.”
In light of the Lotus Sutra and teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, do the SGI and Shoshu members ever think that their dismissal of Shakyamuni is unwarranted? Shouldn’t they worry about the consequences? If there is no receiving and keeping of the Lotus Sutra and no proper Object [if Shakyamuni is thrown out], then there is no Buddhahood.
As for the statement made by SGI members, “you are a Buddha just as you are”, taken out of context, it is meaningless. You are the Buddha, just as you are, if you receive and keep the Lotus Sutra and embrace the correct Object of Devotion. This is the meaning of the above text. Out of context, as it is used by the SGI, it would mean that Adolph Hitler was a Buddha just as he was and all the people he killed were also Buddhas. Stalin, Mao, Attila the Hun, and Osama Bin Laden too would have been Buddhas by this reasoning.
The Zen sect too states, “you are the Buddha, just as you are”. The Zen sect also teaches, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him”. Its not logical for SGI and Taisekiji to adopt such views which are based on a lack of knowledge of the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren. They lack a correct faith.