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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"I am on the verge of dismantling my altar and burning my Gohonzon but before I do could you please answer some questions:"

Question: Nichiren said that other forms of Buddhism had lost their power to help/save/enlighten the people. What did he base this on? 
Answer: He based this on three things: Scriptures such as the Daijuku Sutra (Sutra of the Great Assembly), Shugo Sutra (Sutra of Protection), Maya Sutra, Lotus Sutra and Nirvana Sutra; theoretical considerations, such as the relative profundity of the various teachings; and most importantly, an observation and correct appreciation of the actual events of the time and insight into the past and future. 

Question: What separates *your* branch of Nichiren Buddhism from the others? (Please, no name calling here. What are the *doctrinal* or *practical* differences?) 
Answer: "Our founder, the orthodox teacher Nichiju, took the Sutra text and Nichiren's Letters as absolute and proclaimed the Succession Through the Scrolls of the Sutra (kyogan sojo), spreading the teaching with the cry, "I adhere directly to Nichiren Daishonin'. The Lotus Sutra and writings of Nichiren are our doctrine. 

Other lineages have manufactured forgeries and called them "Letters" of Nichiren Shonin, Minobu which put together the Letter to Lord Hakii (Hakii done gosho) and the Taisekiji faction which forged the Two Successions (Nika sojo), the Selection on the Sublimity of the Original Cause (Hon'in myo sho), and the Selection of the Hundred and Six (Hyaku rokka sho) and others should die of shame before the Patriarch Nichiren Shonin. 

It is assertive propagation while undergoing persecution and beatings for the sake of thr Dharma by the Nichiju lineage since the founder, the Orthodox Teacher Nichiju, such as: The Onin Persecution when the Third Abbot of the Head Temple Myomanji, Nichinin, Nichijitsu and others spread the teaching unfazed by the torture of boiling water; the assertive transmission of the Way by the tenth Abbot Nichijun; the heroic deeds of Nittai in establishing the seven Hokke villages despite various persecutions; Nichigen, the twenty-sixth Abbot's persecution at Azuchi castle; and especially the twenty-seventh Abbot Nikkyo who continued to perform the forceful practices of the Lotus Sutra despite the amputation of his ears and nose and the killing of his young disciples, having incurred the animosity of the Tokugawa Shogunate; and the successive generations of Nikkyo, who day and night suffered persecution after persecution, oppression after oppression for the sake of the Dharma. They were beheaded, imprisoned, burned, and sent into distant exile on foreboding islands for twenty or thirty years and their martyrs' blood flowed as their noble lives were extinguished. Those of Nikkyo's lineage were contemptuously named the "New Disciples" by the general public but they themselves named themselves, "The Congregation of the Orthodoxy of the Original Doctrine" and "Those of the Right Old Doctrine of Nichiju". They [as we] boast[ed] that "we are in the direct lineage of Nichiren Daishonin but unfortunately, unlike us, they were forced underground in order to keep the fire of the faith going.

The people of the Right Old Doctrine in order to continue the Right Faith (sho shin) secretly founded the Daimoku Confraternity (called the Confraternity of the Daimoku of Inner Realization: Naisho Daimoku ko) and expounded the doctrine centered on the biographical traditions of the Three Teachers (Lord Shakya, Nichiren Daishonin, and Nichiju). 

It is this very fact that through the storms of religious persecution and suppression lasting three hundred tempestuous years they endured without falling into local folk religion but kept the doctrine that is a living example of the Succession Through the Scrolls of Sutra. It is something we boast of to other lineages and religions." -- Above answer taken from [and slightly edited] The Tradition and Doctrine of the Kempon Hokke sect by Tetsuju Kobota

Question: In *your personal view*, is there room for other Buddhist beliefs and practices? I'm curious here about personal insights, not the official party line. 
Answer: For better or worse, there will be other Buddhist beliefs and practices far into the foreseeable future but eventually, all the people will chant Namu Myoho renge kyo and worship the Eternal Buddha (Gohonzon). The Buddha's disciples will spread the Law in the manner most appropriate to the time. We refute the provisional teachings while praising the true teachings. 

Question: For the warring factions: is there any way to sincerely pray for the benefit of "the other side and is it possible to accept your differences and pray for peace at the same time? I ask these last questions because I am on the verge of dismantling my altar and burning my Gohonzon. The pure hatred I read here has me searching for another branch of Buddhism that's a little more, ya know, Buddhist. 
Answer: We pray for others constantly but if erroneous beliefs are permitted and are allowed to spread, Buddhism will be lost and all the people on earth will suffer. 

If it is a Nichiren Shoshu or an SGI Gohonzon that you intend to burn, as long as it is done respectfully and from a faith and understanding centered around the world of Buddha rather than the worlds of anger (hatred) and stupidity (ignorance), you will benefit from your decision. Then you can request a valid object of worship from us, as long as you continue to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo, have faith in the Eternal Buddha, and in the Sangha of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. I would maintain my altar and remove any objects associated with Taisekeji/SGI, cranes, pictures of Ikeda, High Priest memorabilia, etc. 

Question:Any suggestion for another branch of Buddhism that's a little more, ya know, Buddhist? 
Answer: Only the Nichiren Lotus Sutra faith leads to Buddhahood. 

Question: Will Buddhism survive in America given the loud in-fighting between and among the various Nichiren sects? (Here again, an explanation.  Many Americans are seeking a spiritual path, and Buddhism seems to be a trendy place to be these days (thanks largely to Hollywood). The Nichiren sects seem most interested in gaining converts. Therefore, I fear that many Americans will have their first quest for inner peace answered by a call to war. While I recognize (and sincerely appreciate) the many benefits of this practice, I have been driven away by the constant fighting and name-calling.  These petty squabbles will be forgotten in a very few years' time; what will the people then say of Nichiren Buddhism's power to help/save/enlighten?)
Answer: This Saha World is the Eternal Buddha Realm. It is forever. What matters is how many people you yourself teach to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo with the same faith as Nichiren.


  1. I'm not sure what to make of this, but I am willing to share the experience of my practice of Nichiren Buddhism and hopefully shed some light, spiritually. I have practiced Nichiren Buddhism for 30 years. I do not participate in activities and every now and then I may attend world peace prayer. It has been sometime since I even attended a district discussion meeting. I'm not trying to encourage anyone to practice Buddhism a certain way as this is the way that fits my life. I do wonder and sometimes question organized religion in general, not just the SGI-USA. People are searching and that quest can make us vulnerable. As for thinking about burning your Gohonzon, I have no comment because I simply do not understand what that will prove or how it is suppose to make you feel. In closure, I do gongyo everday granted, chant daimoku, study the gosho and do my best to treat every person I encounter with respect whether they practice Buddhism or not. In my spiritual journey I have came to the conclusion that spirituality has been made way too complex. The source of power to live a life fulfilled is within each of us, the challenge and variation of how we access that power should be respected. So in closure, I say that it is about respect, not judgement, not someone telling us what to do from a pulpit or a discussion meeting.

  2. "The source of power to live a life fulfilled is within each of us..."

    and without:

    There are two fundamental principles of Buddhism, Dependent Origination and Ichinen Sanzen [and its Three Realms].

    They reveal that everything in the universe is inextricably connected to everything else. Not only does one's thoughts words and deeds affect ones own being, all sentient and insentient beings, and all phenomena, but all beings 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 the Law is supreme so the person is worthy of respect, not the other way around.

  3. buddhism has always taught and cherished the three jewels/treasures.
    1. the buddha(the eternal shakyamuni of the 15th chapter)
    2. the law(namu myoho renge kyo, (not nam)
    3. the sangha(latter age, nichiren and his followers, not sgi/nst, ikeda, priesthood or anything else).

  4. In response to Barbara Web's comment:
    "spirituality has become way too complex"

    Maybe in terms of the increase in awareness each of us can't escape --regarding the *complexities* of our society, expanding to global issues?Would that complicate a spiritual path? I think so.

    I am wondering here, about a spiritual path that would exclude the complexities and inequities of society? Could that be anything but the pursuit of personal pleasure/gain?

    I would argue that it is fairly easy to be validated for taking a *non* stance on any complex issue, and be praised for *agreeing to disagree*-- in today's society. If one calls this a spiritual path-- or spirituality..ummm, well I have a problem with that.

    Just saying.... how can spirituality be equated with the pursuit of comfort in a vacuum?