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Friday, June 17, 2016

Shakubuku in the Latter Age for Anonymous

It is important to determine how and when the gentle [shoju] and forceful preaching  [shakubuku] methods  are to be performed. Nichiren writes:

"There are monks who preach the Dharma in various ways, but still they are not able to utter 'the lion's roar' and refute evil persons who deny the Dharma. Monks of this kind can bring no merit either to themselves or to the populace. You should realize that they are in fact shirkers and idlers. Though they are careful in observing the precepts and maintain spotless conduct, you should realize that they are incapable of attaining Buddhahood." (Opening of the Eyes)

The SGI, the Nichiren Shu, and the Nichiren Shoshu argue that the shoju method is the predominant preaching method to be employed  at this time in the USA because the USA is merely a passively evil country:

"When the country is full of ignorant or evil persons, then shoju is the primary method to be applied, as described in the Anrakugyo chapter. But at a time when there are many persons of perverse views who slander the Law, then shakubuku should come first, as described in the Fukyo chapter." (ibid)

"...This is because there are two kinds of countries, the country that is passively evil, and the kind that actively seeks to destroy the Law. We must consider carefully to which category Japan at the present time belongs."(ibid).

They cite as proof that the USA is merely passively evil because we are allowed to practice and spread the True Law throughout the United States. 

On the other hand, Nichiren teaches in the Gift of Rice:

"The sixth volume of the Lotus Sutra reads, 'No affairs of life or work are in any way different from the ultimate reality'" 


"The true path of life lies in the affairs of this world." 

Here are some ways the USA is actively evil: 1). It is engaged in war after war. 2). It has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. 3). It is the greatest source of global pollution. 4). It is the most glaring example of greed is good and other perverse views 5). It is the most powerful Christian country in the world. Since, at the very least, the USA has killed, is killing, and will kill many potential votaries of the Lotus Sutra, it actively seeks to destroy the Law. 

Nichiren teaches that, if we are incapable of uttering the lion's roar, we will fail to attain Buddhahood.

"When the time is right to propagate the supreme teaching, the provisional teachings become enemies. If they are a source of confusion, they must be thoroughly refuted from the standpoint of the true teaching. Of the two types of practice, this is shakubuku, the practice of the Lotus Sutra. With good reason, T-ien-t'ai stated: 'The practice of the Lotus Sutra is shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines.'  The four easy practices in the Anrakugyo chapter are shoju. To carry them out in this age would be as foolish as sowing seeds in winter and expecting to reap the harvest in spring." (On Practicing the Buddha's Teachings)

There are three aspects to attaining Buddhahood through the power of the Lotus Sutra. The first is faith, the second is practice, and the third is study. Practice encompasses practice for oneself and practice for others. There are two methods of practice for others, the shoju method (gentle approach) and the shakabuku method (forceful approach). We can liken the two approaches to the gentle compassion of a mother and the strict compassion of a father. If a child's problem behavior is not overly serious the mother, through gentle caring and guidance can assist the child. If a child's problem behavior is totally out of control, the child carrying a gun to school, for example, the strict and stern admonishments of a father is appropriate to alter the destructive course of the child. The two methods of propagation are like this.

In the world, during the times of Shoho (~ 3000-2000 years ago) and  Zoho (~ 2000-1000 years ago), society and individuals (as a whole) exhibited only mildly abherent and abhorant behaviors, so the shoju method was the principle and appropriate method to employ to awaken the people. From approximately 1000 years ago to the present, individuals and society became so steeped in the Three Poisons (Anger, Avarice and Stupidity) that shakabuku became the principle and appropriate method of propagation.

"In terms of the practices to be adopted, there are shoju and shakabuku. It is a mistake to practice shakabuku at time when shoju is called for, and equally erroneous to practice shoju when shakabuku is appropriate. The first thing to be determined, therefore, is whether the present period is the time for shoju or the time for shakabuku." (Conversations between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man).

"The methods of shoju and shakubuku are also like this. When the True Law alone is propagated and there are no erroneous doctrines or misguided teachers, then one may enter the deep valleys and live in quiet contentment, devoting his time to reciting and copying the Sutra and to the practice of meditation...But when there are provisional sects and slanderers of the Law  in the country, then it is time to set aside other matters and devote oneself to rebuking slander...One should practice shakubuku...."(ibid)

"Shoju is to practiced when throughout the entire country only the Lotus Sutra has spread, and when there is not even a single misguided teacher expounding erroneous doctrines.

We live in a horrendous time.

In his treatise, The Establishment of the Right Law to Save the Country, Nichiren states:

"We should rather eliminate heretical teachings than perform ten thousand prayers."

"But the present age is a defiled one. Because the minds of people are warped and twisted, and provisional teachings and slander alone abound, the True Law cannot prevail. In times like these, it is useless to practice the reading, reciting and copying [of the Lotus Sutra] or to devote oneselves to the methods and practices of meditation. One should practice ONLY shakabuku, and if one has the capacity, use his influence and authority to destroy slander of the Law, and his knowledge of teachings to refute erroneous doctrines."(ibid).

The Daishonin states in another Gosho, "All teachings are ultimately the revelation of Buddhist truth". Shakabuku is the method for refuting teachings when they are a source of slander or confusion. Included among these teachings are the the omniscience of science and Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and occult theology. All these teachings lead to suffering and their adherents all assert that their teachings are equal or superior to those of the Lotus Sutra. These teachings and their adherents must be taken severely to task, as Aryasinha did, even at the cost of his life. Do you think Aryasinha lost his life for practicing shoju?

There is a balance between the preservation of the purity of the teachings and a liberal interpretation of the teachings in order to convince others to convert. If you compromise the teachings in your eagerness to be everything to everybody, you end up being nothing to nobody. in effect you are doing neither shoju nor shakabuku but merely destroying the teachings. Is this not the case with the Soka Gakkai and the Nichiren Shu today?

In those few cases when a person is either readily ammenable to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra or when a Lotus Sutra adherent's faith and practice is basically correct and one's faults not overly serious, no strict admonishments are necessary. In this case, the shoju method may be employed. Having faith in Jesus while praying to the Gohonzon, is a serious transgression. Another example is studying the Human Revolution at the expense of studying the Lotus Sutra.

Speaking about Brahamanism, Nichiren writes:

"Erroneous teachings such as these are too numerous to be counted. Their adherents pay as much respect and honor to the teachers who propounded them as the various deities pay to the God Taishaku or the court ministers pay to the ruler of the empire But not a single person who adheres to these ninety five higher or lower teachings ever escape from the cycle of birth and death." (Opening of the Eyes)

In reference to Taoists he declares:

"But since such a man knows nothing about the past or the future, he can not assist his parents, his sovereign or his teacher in making provisions for their future lives, and he is therefore guilty of failing to repay the debt he owes them. Such a person is not a true wise man or sage."(ibid)

We would never employ gentle practices with the Hindu or Taoist adherents, why should we with Christian adherents?

The Lotus Sutra states, "In the whole universe there are not even two vehicles, how much less a third."(LS Ch. 2).

Nichiren Daishonin was a very strict teacher out of great compassion for humanity. In one of his Five Major Writings, "Establishing the Right Law to Save the Country", he  teaches that the cause of personal, societal, and environmental problems are mistaken ideas, false views, false religions, and false beliefs. He asserted, whether to use one or the other methods (gentle or assertive), depends not on the inborn capacity of the individual, not on the land, and not on the order of propagation [of the teachings] but rather on the time and the teachings themselves. During the Former and Middle Days, one gained emancipation through shoju but today in Mappo, the defiled degenerate age, one gains emancipation through the shakabuku method. Only the most powerful medicine will do for the most serious illnesses: Nuclear weapons, war having killed hundreds of millions of people in the twentieth century alone, pollution, famine, , massive earthquakes, floods, nuclear accidents,  new deadly strains of disease, the destruction of the rain forests, massive and growing dead zones in the sea..., problems one would expect to encounter in this Defiled Age. Nichiren  Daishonin taught these are caused by the rampancy of misleading philosophies and religions incapable of transforming the Three Poisons [Greed, Anger, and Animality] into the Three Noble Attributes of the Buddha, Dharma Body, wisdom, and emancipation.

Nichiren performed the forceful practices towards all save for his own faithful disciples and believers. The heretical sectarians of his day and even some of his "adherents" arrogantly admonished him to cease and desist, that his methods were too confrontational, too difficult to practice. In response to such criticism, he wrote:

"Though I may be a person of little ability, I have reverently given myself to the study of the Mahayana. A blue fly, if it clings to the tail of a thoroughbred horse, can travel ten thousand miles....I was born as the son of the one Buddha, Shakyamuni and I serve the king of scriptures, the Lotus Sutra. How could I observe the decline of the Buddhist Law and not be filled with emotions of pity and distress." (Establishing the Right Law for the Peace of the Land)

The provisional Buddhist teachings have sprouted here and there like so many weeds, even in the United States. There are more than one thousand provisional Buddhist denominations and permutations and their evil doctrines are embraced by millions of believers or supporters. Even worse, radical Christian fundamentalism and Bibleism is spreading to all corners of the heartland, its adherents actively working to stifle the sowing of the seeds of Myoho and to destroy our basic human rights of free speech and freedom of religion.

Let us forcefully awaken them to the best of our ability, teaching them of the manifest evil of their misguided beliefs and the workings of the Law of Cause and Effect. It is not the time to employ the gentle practices. We must assiduously practice shakabuku.


  1. one should practice shakubuku in accord with the ability of the people to understand...adapting it to the people's capacity to grasp it....shakubuku and shoju are both valid methods, it only depends on people's capacity, when choosing a method.....politically, the U S is open to any religious group...this fact must be assimilated into the Buddhist movement for peace....if we go around attacking non-Buddhists, we could be labeled un-American, I suppose, and not adhering to the tradition of freedom of religion...the other tact is to adopt a passive posture, challenging these provisional beliefs without necessarily condemning them....Buddhism has traditionally merged with other faiths, absorbing them as an ocean of thought....Nichiren wrote many many pages pointing out the heretical practices of his day and we should use his writings to argue against provisionalism...but coming out aggressively to condemn non-Buddhists today may simply be over the top and counter-productive....I guess common sense should be the guide.....I may be off base, correct me if necessary.....peace always

  2. Over the top? Counterproductive?

  3. Over the top? Counterproductive?

    1. the world is obviously descending into the burning pit of hades, if you consider co2 warming, along with the huge geo-political strife, mostly attributable to the West's propensity toward neo-fascist militarism.....but what's a decent soul to do in the face of these horrors? what is the first step in reversing these titanic energies that are growing stronger by the day?

  4. the lotus sutra was taught for the evil modern age. it is the medicine for the illness of mankind. to turn it into what it is not is truly counterproductive. sweet words have been here for a long, long time, but because the thinking is not right , sweet words do not fix anything.

  5. jules, continue to read the real teachings here. cheers.

  6. jules, I think the point is that there is great distortion of Nichiren's teachings evident in SGI's interfaith initiative- .

    The method one chooses by which to correct erroneous teachings of non-Buddhists is another matter entirely. To correct the misleading views propagated by the SGI requires strict shakubuku - forcefully applied!

    in my humble opinion~

  7. It is a foundation of deep compassion.