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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Prove it ["I am a Nichiren Buddhist" - SGI member]

Someone wrote:

"This is a point that is not only in nichiren buddhism - the christians, the jews, and other religions have broken down into different ways in which to practice. hence sects in buddhism. people imho strive to be individuals, unique - i am not sure many wake up and say i want to be part of a group where we all do the exact same thing. Go to a jehova meeting, white shirts, women in dresses, the main person reading on stage reads from their bible or watchtower. they are carbon copies of each other. they do not have branches, sects or any differences between them. actually i think they are the only whole religion in the world. what you are saying sounds to me like you feel that the only way for buddhism to be whole is be all the same. i say how boring. no need for conversation, or questions... sqash all seeking spirits. Just follow the one in front of you and if you turn around the one behind is doing the same so it does not matter which direction you are going it is all the same. rather than be carbon copies why not just stop fighting? isn't fighting anti buddhist? respect and metta - compassion and understanding will bring light to buddhism.' 

My response: 

Correcting wrong thought is the practice of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth in the Latter Day. It was the practice of Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren Daishonin. Let's take your idea to its logical conclusion...One school or individual decides it's ok to chant the Daimoku and to worship Amida Buddha. This person or sect calls itself Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism or "I am a Nichiren Buddhist" because they chant the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra. Many people will get the insanely wrong idea that this is correct and some will even be led to believe that Nichiren Daishonin believed that all teachings lead to Buddhahood. Another places a statue of Jesus on the altar and instructs others that individual destiny is shaped by a greater being . This person too, erroneously believes that as long as one chants the Daimoku he is a Nichiren Buddhist. Yet another is a Japanese militarist like Ishiwara who believed and taught that Japan has a mandate to spread the Daimoku by any means. He assembles several divisions of zealous youth, arms them to the teeth and indoctrinates them with the Lotus Sutra teachings, "We do not value our own lives, we value only the Supreme Way." He leads them on a crusade against the Chinese heretics to convert them to the Daishonin's teachings. He not only calls himself a Nichiren Buddhist but others maintain that he is a great Wheel Turning King of Japan born to protect the Law by forcibly infusing and diffusing the teachings that have originated in Japan. I think you get the picture. If you really study the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and take the teachings of the Lotus Sutra to heart, you can never come to the interpretations and conclusions of these kinds of men. I would argue that they can chant the Daimoku day and night but that still doesn't make them Nichiren Buddhists. Those who continue to argue that all are Nichiren Buddhists who chant the Daimoku, regardless of their beliefs, will quickly destroy the sublime teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Anyone who fails to take the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha of the Juryo Chapter, and Nichiren Daishonin as teachers and who fails to take their teachings to heart, can not be considered Nichiren Buddhists. We are all individuals by virtue of causes and conditions. This does not change by embracing the same Law, practice, and faith as Nichiren Daishonin. Damson, apple, pear and cherry blossoms are all flowers. They all grow from the earth and they are all nourished by a single sun and a single great shower of rain.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully put Mark - thanks for that. I've thinking a lot recently about the various 'onenesses' and the misunderstandings that can arise. Being unified on the correct teaching leaves lots of scope for individually of expression, as you so aptly pointed out with Nichiren's analogy. By contrast if you don't have that sorted out, you end up in the muddle your though experiment illustrates or in the state of affairs where people think they are practicing right simply because they've got a scroll hanging, chant the Daimoku and belong to this or that organisation.

    I applaud your efforts to make distinctions and cut through the crap out out by sects who teach at very clear variance with Nichiren's teaching, yet claim to be spreading it (or worse to be the sole inheritors of his teaching and be 'at one with him). It's like selling knocked off Rolexes for $10 in a dodgy market. No more. Yep some people will be fooled but you just wait until you try to swim in it, or happen to gently knock the face. Then the scam is revealed...