Shin Yatomi: IT seems a long time has passed since the priests at Taiseki-ji told the members of SGI that they could not sing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” in German. To do so, they announced, is tantamount to praising Christianity and thus a “slander” of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. This argument seemed rather ominous then, but now such a narrow, dogmatic approach to this Buddhism seems quite laughable. Over the last eight years, we have learned to look at the Daishonin’s Buddhism from the standpoint of its essential humane spirit, reason and common sense. And we have come to grasp more deeply a simple yet important truth: religion exists for the sake of people, not vice versa.
Can you sense the Creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell.
Be embraced, Millions!
This kiss for all the world!
Brothers!, above the starry canopy
A loving father must dwell.
Can you sense the Creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell. — From the Chorus of Ode to Joy
Dengyo the Great and Nichiren Daishonin disagree with the late Shin Yatomi. They assert that we prove the validity of the religion, it is we who make the religion great, not the religion that makes us great. The human being is central in Buddhism.
Shinsuke Yatomi: With SGI President Ikeda’s constant efforts to communicate the essence of the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, the Daishonin’s Buddhism has entered a new era, no longer confined within the framework of Japan’s ethnocentric, esoteric religious culture.
Me: In the SGI’s topsy turvy ends justify the means world, win is lose, lies are truth, and evil is good. You can be sure that if an SGI member or leader asserts that the SGI has demolished Japanese ethnocentric, esoteric religious culture, that SGI has exported Japanese ethnocentric, esoteric religious culture. First of all, SGI Japan calls all the shots and even in America, who is the General Director of the Soka Gakkai? A Japanese. Is the mentor Disciple relationship the prime point of the Lotus Sutra or of the Zen Bushido tradition? If you have any questions about this I will gladly answer them for you.
Shin Yatomi: For decades the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood endeavored to impose this culture upon the SGI’s efforts to spread the Daishonin’s Buddhism as a world religion. This atmosphere—characterized by a tradition of absolute priestly authority and emphasis on formalities—did have a shackling effect. Nevertheless, we were able to maintain our conviction that the Daishonin’s Buddhism is a religion that can offer the universal values of humanism to all people of all nations, cultures and ethnicities. It is based on this perspective that we have been deepening and refreshing our understanding of how best to practice and communicate the Daishonin’s Buddhism in today’s world.
Me: The “Master Professor of the Soka Gakkai” sounds more like any Group Leader of the Youth Division than a Master Professor of Buddhism. SGI is all about conformity of thought [cult]. The doctrines and talking points of the Soka Gakkai are formulated above by people like Shin Yatomi and then it is drummed into the heads of every member, repeating the same messages over and over again. That is why every Group Chief from Japan to the Netherlands to Brazil, spews these very same Gakkai talking points, almost word for word. There is nothing remotely close to the Soka Gakkai conforming to the cultures of the countries it has invaded [Zuiho Bini].
Shin Yatomi: One expression of this refreshed understanding is Article 7 of the SGI Charter: “SGI shall, based on the Buddhist spirit of tolerance, respect other religions, engage in dialogue and work together with them toward the resolution of fundamental issues concerning humanity” (December 8, 1995,World Tribune, p. 5).
Me: More of the east is west, up is down lies of the Soka Gakkai. SGI will respect freedom of religion, and other religions? Then why the never ending war against the Nichiren Shoshu, the Nichiren Shu, and the Kempon Hokke? The true teachings of the Soka Gakkai are only taught to the highest leaders:
Precisely because Shin Yatomi was a disciple of Daisaku Ikeda that he could not lessen his karmic retribution
Precisely because Shin Yatomi was a disciple of Daisaku Ikeda that he could not lessen his karmic retribution
“Our enemies are the evil religions. Evil religions drive people to hell. True Buddhism makes Buddhas out of all people. Nichiren Daishonin said the source of all unhappiness and misfortunes of people is evil religion. It was our teacher, Mr. Josei Toda, who repeated this great saying.”– Daisaku Ikeda
We are honest and upright. We don’t make a show in public of respecting and tolerating all religions and then in private teach that all other religions and practices, save for the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, lead to hell. We rain down the Law equally to all persons.
SGI as the Pearl Harbor of “Buddhism” comes to mind. The very heart and soul of the Kempon Hokke is Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land. It is the fifth and final principle of our American charter: 5). Uphold the principles of Establishing the Peace of the Land Through the Propagation of the True Law (Rissho Ankoku Ron).
Shin Yatomi: Some have raised the question: Isn’t “respecting other religions” a slander of the Law? Aren’t we abandoning the Daishonin’s spirit of shakubuku—to lead people to a correct understanding by refuting erroneous teachings’ To answer directly, respecting other religions, or those who practice them, does not in itself constitute slander of the Law, nor does it go against the Daishonin’s spirit.
Me: Yet, in their top leaders meeting they scheme and plot how to destroy the Nichiren Shoshu, the Nichiren Shu, the Kempon Hokke, and all other religions.
The Daishonin says about all other religions and philosophies:
“On the other hand, even if one does not commit a single evil deed throughout one’s entire lifetime, and observes the five precepts, the eight precepts, the ten precepts, the ten good precepts, the two hundred and fifty precepts, the five hundred precepts, or countless numbers of precepts; even if one learns all the other sutras by heart, makes offerings to all the other Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and accumulates immeasurable merit, if one but fails to put one’s faith in the Lotus Sutra; or if one has faith in it, but considers that it ranks on the same level as the other sutras and the teachings of the other Buddhas; or if one recognizes its superiority, but constantly engages in other religious disciplines, practicing the Lotus Sutra only from time to time; or if one associates on friendly terms with priests of the Nembutsu, who do not believe in the Lotus Sutra but slander it; or if one thinks that those who insist the Lotus Sutra does not suit the people’s capacity in the latter age are guilty of no fault, then all the merit of the countless good acts one has performed throughout one’s life will suddenly vanish.”
Nichiren also teaches very clearly that Confucianism, Brahmanism [Hinduism], and Taoism are shallow evil religions.
Shin Yatomi: In order to shed light on the meaning of Article 7 of the SGI Charter, we must examine in a little more detail what is meant by “slandering the Law.” Prior to 1991, under the influence of the priesthood, the meaning of slander as it applied to our religious faith was ambiguous, and was often misinterpreted and misused. We often heard: “It’s a slander to point your feet at the Gohonzon.” Or, “It’s a slander to put a gongyo book on the floor.” We were also told that criticizing a priest constituted inexcusable slander, and that even “singing ‘Ode to Joy’ in German is a slander.”
IN fact, the priesthood’s tendency has been to use the term slander to describe any act that displeased them. This might be compared to a religious authority with a dogmatic belief in a Western religion promising his critics that they are “going to Hell” because of their criticism of him. To preserve their authority, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood used the concept of slandering the Law as a tool to intimidate believers and often to defend their view of certain Japanese cultural traditions as essential Buddhist practice.
Me: That is why we go directly to the source, the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin to determine what is and what isn’t a slander and who is and who isn’t a slanderer. This is known as the Transmission Through the Scrolls of the Sutra. The Soka Gakkai just replaced one person [Nichiren Shoshu High Priest] for another [Three Presidents] in following persons rather than the Law. We follow the Law and not persons. We ARE as different as night and day.
Shin Yatomi: “The Law” in “slandering the Law” refers to the Lotus Sutra. Of course, as Nichiren Daishonin made clear, the Lotus Sutra of the Latter Day means the sutra’s essence, the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. But since the Daishonin expounded the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on the basis of the doctrines contained in the Lotus Sutra, when we examine the Buddhist concept of slander in terms of its doctrinal meaning, it is appropriate to take “the Law” to mean the Lotus Sutra. “A slander of the Law,” therefore, literally means a slander of the Lotus Sutra; it is speech or conduct that denies the teaching and ideal of the Lotus Sutra.
Me: How would the SGI know what constitutes slander of the Law of the Lotus Sutra? They have repeatedly taught that Myoho renge kyo has lost it’s power in this age. Let’s also not forget the teachings of The Fourteen Slanders Gosho, Letter to Lord Matsuno and Chapters 3 and 10 of the Lotus Sutra. It is equally as bad to slander the Sutras’ Votaries. In Nichiren’s other writings and Chapter 21 of the Lotus Sutra, we see how doubly bad it is to slander the Supreme Votary of the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren Daishonin. What bigger slander is their of Nichiren Daishonin than to alter his teachings [whether for the the sake of expediency or for the sake of the top Senior Leaders accumulating material riches]? Slandering too, is acting in an underhanded manner when propagating the Law as an envoy of the Thus Come One. Since we of the Kempon Hokke are the only true honest and upright votaries of the Lotus Sutra at this time and in this land, it is a great slander to treat us with any less respect than SGI would their teachers, sovereigns, and parents. Yet, over and over again they slander the faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha of the Original Doctrine, Nichiren Daishonin and we, Nichiren's disciples and believers.
Shin Yatomi: What is the teaching and ideal of the Lotus Sutra? The Daishonin expressed what he saw as the quintessence of the Lotus Sutra in the form of the Gohonzon, using the doctrine of the three thousand realms in a single moment of life (ichinen sanzen) as his theoretical foundation. Based on the Lotus Sutra, T’ien-t’ai expounded the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment to explain that all beings are entities of the Mystic Law, endowed with the Buddha nature. In other words, the fundamental message of the Lotus Sutra is that all living beings have the Buddha nature and thus are infinitely precious and worthy of respect.
Me: This is the most important doctrine of the Theoretical Section of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren taught in the Opening of the Eyes that the most important doctrine of the Lotus Sutra is found in the Essential Teachings, the Immeasurable Lifespan of the Tathagata. This is the reason that all beings are worthy of respect, because all beings are our mothers, daughters, Fathers and sons, and we theirs. In like manner, the Buddha of the Juryo Chapter is very real, our teacher throughout the Three Existences. To deny this Buddha is to deny our own father.
Shin Yatomi: The sanctity of life and the inherent dignity of all people are at the core of the Sutra’s teaching.
Me: As we have seen, this is not true in the case of the Soka Gakkai. For the sake of expediency, the Soka Gakkai throws out the fundamental principles of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin. For the sake of advancing itself [financial interests], it throws to the wayside the principle of the sanctity of human life and its inherent dignity. Lastly, for the sake of the binding and shackling SGI principle of living mentor and disciple, it abandons the primary teaching of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin that each and everyone of us is a Three Bodied Tathagata endowed with all the merits and virtues of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Shin Yatomi: From this perspective, we can define slander of the Law as any denial of the sanctity of life or the inherent dignity of all people.
Me: Then, no one is a bigger slanderer than the top SGI-USA Woman’s Division Leader and capital murder prosecutor, Linda Johnson. Nothing is more important than Actual Proof. “What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being.”
Shinsuke Yatomi: This interpretation of slander is consistent with the Daishonin’s perspective. He criticized major Buddhist sects of his day as slanderous of the Lotus Sutra. His was not merely a criticism of doctrine, however. For example, the Daishonin criticized the Pure Land (Nembutsu) sect not just for denying the Lotus Sutra’s validity on a doctrinal level. The Pure Land sect views this world itself as defiled and detestable; it teaches believers that they can only be happy in the afterlife if they are reborn in the Pure Land through reciting the name of the Amida Buddha. What lies at the core of the Pure Land teaching is despair and an escapist attitude.
The Daishonin stated: “If you chant the Nembutsu incantation often, you will come to feel like injuring yourself” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1509). The Daishonin denounced the Pure Land sect because it denied people’s potential to overcome their suffering and thus diminished the inherent dignity of their lives. Historically, the Pure Land sect was often manipulated by the authorities as a tool to oppress and control people. This is in complete opposition to the ideal of the Lotus Sutra, which is to empower people through awakening their inner potential.
Me: Nearly in every paragraph that he writes we see the subtle and advanced persuasive “lies are truth and truth is lies” techniques of the Soka Gakkai. The Soka Gakkai denies the ability of the people to awaken their inner potential by making the people dependent on the mentor and the Soka Gakkai itself. In a sense, they are no different than the Nembutsu, exchanging not Amida for Shakyamuni Buddha but the mentor of the Soka Gakkai and the Soka Gakkai itself for shakyamuni Buddha.
Of course too, several vital points of the Daishonin’s refutation of the Nembutsu is not even touched upon. There is no saving power in Amida Buddha, a Buddha who never set foot in this Saha world, unlike Shakyamuni Buddha. Another vital point in the Daishonin’s refutation of the Nembutsu is that the Amida Sutras teach that Amida will accept all people into his Pure Land, except those who have committed the Five Cardinal Sins and those men, like the men of the Soka Gakkai, who are of incorrigible disbelief. The concluding Sutra of the Lotus Sutra, the Fugen Sutra, proclaims that those who commit the Five cardinal Sins and incorrigible disbelievers against the Dharma, are the very ones who are saved by the Lotus Sutra. If you are really interested in a refutation of the Nembutsu I have a thesis in three parts by Graham Lamont.
Shin Yatomi: THE Daishonin’s criticism was also directed toward the Shingon sect, not merely because it proclaimed its doctrinal superiority over the Lotus Sutra. The Shingon sect was essentially an esoteric teaching in which believers relied on priests to perform rituals so that they might receive blessings from the transcendental Dainichi Buddha; it promoted people’s dependence upon an imaginary superior being and diminished their ability to reason. Such an idea fundamentally contradicts the ideal of the Lotus Sutra, which asserts the importance of self-reliance by pointing out the existence of Buddhahood within each person.
Me: “Self reliance” in the Soka Gakkai is an oxymoron. Leaving this aside for a moment, I have already proven the Shingon concept of Master [Lama] and the Gakkai’s, are one in substance or are your memories as poor as your illumination? Again and again we see the Gakkai’s ends justifying the means, east is west, and lies are truth philosophy. They are a “True sect” who has adopted the provisional teachings. They are as bad as the Shingon, a false sect who has adopted the teachings of Ichinen Sanzen. They get me sick. Were Nichiren alive he would refute them far more vigorously than I.
Shin Yatomi: As we see in those two instances of the Daishonin’s criticism of other Buddhist sects, slander of the Law is more than just vilifying the Lotus Sutra; it is to deny the sutra’s underlying humanistic principle. For example, if a child speaks ill of the Lotus Sutra or its practitioners while completely ignorant of what he or she is doing and of what the essence of the sutra is about, should we admonish this child as a slanderer of the Law? While maybe in need of some schooling in manners, that child should certainly not be taken to task as a slanderer. On the other hand, what if a government official or a doctor superficially praises the Lotus Sutra or the Daishonin’s teachings, but is led by corruption to give tacit approval to the use of contaminated blood supplies while knowing their potential for spreading disease’ Some people, although though not directly critical of the Law, act counter to the Sutra’s teaching about the inherent dignity of all people.
Me: Non Sequitor. The example of the child hardly follows from the Daishonn’s life and death struggles to refute the Nembutsu and Shingon. By the same token, we should not praise the child who slanders the Lotus Sutra nor should we believe that the child is incapable of understanding the Supreme Law of Cause and Effect. To do so is to disbelieve Myo Ho Ren Ge kyo. The Dragon King’s daughter was but a child. Nichiren Daishonin explains these concepts much better than I. Yatomi is grasping at straws in order to shoehorn the broad and deep teachings of the Lotus Sutra into the narrow shoe of the Soka value creation philosophy.
Shin Yatomi: WHAT if a Christian minister in your neighborhood church were to ask for your cooperation in a neighborhood watch program to prevent crime or a community cleanup? Is lending this Christian minister your support considered to be a slander of the Law? Of course, it is not. In this case, discussing the safety of your community with those who embrace religions other than Buddhism has nothing to do with slandering the Law.
Me: I would tell the preacher that I already watch out for my neighbors welfare and the cleanliness of my community by chanting Namu Myoho renge kyo. I would also tell him that he should abandon the shallow and embrace the profound and chant Namu Myoho renge kyo if he is really interested in protecting the community.
Shin Yatomi: What is most important is to promote the happiness and peace of all humanity.
Me: Which is impossible, according the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren, were one complicit with slander or failing to utter the lion’s roar.
Shin Yatomi: Since Buddhism exists for us to achieve this goal, it is only natural to have dialogue and cooperate with those of different religious beliefs in the process of bringing such a Buddhist ideal to reality.
Me: Only in the Soka Gakkai ends justify the means philosophy [which is antithetical to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin] does one abandon the principles of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin in order to realize the Lotus Sutra’s goal. This is so absurd as to be incomprehensible. It is teachings like these that will destroy Buddhism and the reason that Shin Yatomi destroyed his own castle from within. To me, it is not even sad. It is instructive.
Shin Yatomi: From this viewpoint, Article 7 of the SGI Charter declares that we “respect other religions.” This is not to say that we compromise our religious beliefs and abandon the Daishonin’s spirit of shakubuku. The concept of “respecting other religions” is easier to comprehend if we understand its intention, which is to respect the people who practice those religions. It must be pointed out that showing respect to other human beings, regardless of their religious beliefs, is different from accepting or advocating their belief.
Me: The Oneness of Person and Law only functions in those who embrace the Lotus Sutra. It fails to function in the lives of the Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Soka Gakkai blasphemers. The Soka Gakkai abandons the Lotus Sutra’s concept of the oneness of person and Law ["Since the Law is Supreme the person is worthy of respect"]. There is no distinction between the Law [teachings one embraces] and the person who we are. If the Law is inferior, so is the person who embraces that Law, according to Nichiren Daishonin.
Shin Yatomi: What is shakubuku then? Is it not to strictly refute erroneous teachings? Shakubuku may be defined from a number of perspectives. For example, A Dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts explains that shakubuku is “a method of propagating Buddhism by refuting another’s attachment to heretical views and thus leading him to the correct Buddhist teaching. The term is used in contrast to shoju, or leading another to the true teaching gradually without refuting his misconception” (pp. 376–77). Ultimately, however, shakubuku is to speak the truth of the Lotus Sutra—the universal potential of enlightenment possessed by all people. So shakubuku is not simply a matter of using harsh words or roundly refuting other religious beliefs.
Me: The “universal potential of enlightenment possessed by all people” is the prime point of the Theoretical Section of the Lotus Sutra. It is not the final truth of the Lotus Sutra:
“When we come to the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra, then the belief that Shakyamuni first obtained Buddhahood during his present lifetime is demolished, and the effects of the four teachings are likewise demolished. When the effects of the four teachings are demolished, the causes of the four teachings are likewise demolished. Thus the cause and effect of the Ten Worlds as expounded in the earlier sutras and the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra are wiped out, and the cause and effect of the Ten Worlds in the essential teaching are revealed. This is the doctrine of original cause and original effect. It reveals that the nine worlds are all present in beginningless Buddhahood and that Buddhahood is inherent in the beginningless nine worlds. This is the true mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, the true hundred worlds and thousand factors, the true three thousand realms in a single moment of life.”
Then, several passages down we read;
“Having pondered this, I am of the opinion that, though the Lotus Sutra teaches that persons of the two vehicles can attain Buddhahood, this view tends to be overshadowed by the opposite view propounded in the sutras that precede the Lotus. How much more so is this the case with the doctrine that the Buddha attained enlightenment in the remote past! For in this case, it is not the Lotus Sutra as a whole that stands in contradiction to the earlier sutras, but the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra that stands in contradiction both to the earlier sutras and to the first fourteen chapters of the theoretical teaching of the Lotus. Moreover, of the latter fourteen chapters of the essential teaching, all of them with the exception of the “Emerging from the Earth” and “Life Span” chapters retain the view that the Buddha first attained enlightenment in his present lifetime.”
Therefore whether it is is shoju or shakabuku that the Soka Gakkai practices it is, at best, the shoju and shakabuku of the Theoretical Teachings of the Lotus Sutra. It is hardly the shoju and shakabuku of the true teachings. How could it be? Were it the true teachings of shoju and shakabuku, there would be no reliance on a living mentor in the seat of the Law, by virtue of the immeasurable lifespan of the Tathagata.
Shin Yatomi: T’ien-t’ai in his Hokke Gengi (Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra) explains that since the Lotus Sutra expounds the truth, it naturally refutes the provisional teachings (i.e., to teach it is to practice shakubuku) while the Nirvana Sutra, which was taught after, and serves to confirm the validity of the Lotus Sutra, accepts the provisional teachings (i.e., shoju).
Put simply, shakubuku is to speak the truth of the supremacy of the Lotus Sutra while shoju is to accept other religious teachings while teaching the benefit of the Lotus Sutra’s teachings.
Me: This is precisely why we [the discples and believers of Nichiren] read the Lotus Sutra in light of the Lotus Sutra itself and in light of Nichiren Daishonin. Tientai read the Lotus Sutra [and the Nirvana and other sutras] in light of the Theoretical Section of the Lotus Sutra. Tientai’s practices included, reciting the name of Amida and Shikan style meditation. To repeat, Nichiren teaches:
"Having pondered this, I am of the opinion that, though the Lotus Sutra teaches that persons of the two vehicles can attain Buddhahood, this view tends to be overshadowed by the opposite view propounded in the sutras that precede the Lotus. How much more so is this the case with the doctrine that the Buddha attained enlightenment in the remote past! For in this case, it is not the Lotus Sutra as a whole that stands in contradiction to the earlier sutras, but the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra that stands in contradiction both to the earlier sutras and to the first fourteen chapters of the theoretical teaching of the Lotus. Moreover, of the latter fourteen chapters of the essential teaching, all of them with the exception of the “Emerging from the Earth” and “Life Span” chapters retain the view that the Buddha first attained enlightenment in his present lifetime.
The forty volumes of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, preached by the Buddha in the grove of sal trees just before his passing, as well as the other Mahayana sutras except the Lotus Sutra, have not one single word [to say about the fact that the Buddha attained enlightenment in the remote past]. They speak of the Dharma body of the Buddha as being without beginning and without end, but they do not reveal the true nature of the other two bodies, the reward body and the manifested body.55 How, then, can we expect people to cast aside the vast body of writings represented by the earlier Mahayana sutras, the Nirvana Sutra, and the major portion of the theoretical and essential teachings of the Lotus Sutra, and put all their faith simply in the two chapters “Emerging from the Earth” and “Life Span”?”
Cast aside NOT Accept.
Shin Yatomi: Because we communicate the Daishonin’s teachings based on our firm belief in the universal potential of enlightenment possessed by all people as expounded in the Lotus Sutra, and we hold these principles to be supreme, our method of communicating the Daishonin’s Buddhism is basically shakubuku. The distinction between these two methods, however, may not be always clear-cut. Sometimes it is more appropriate to adopt shoju based on the spirit of shakubuku…
Me: Ornate rhetoric and meaningless talk.
Shin Yatomi: …Nichiren Daishonin stated: “T’ien-t’ai declared that the practice should ‘accord with the times.’ His disciple Chang-an interpreted this to mean, ‘You should distinguish between shoju and shakubuku and never adhere solely to one or the other.? The Lotus Sutra represents a single truth, but its practice and propagation vary according to the people and the time” (MW-1, 175)…
Me: From he perspective of the immeasurable lifespan of the Tathagata, this, the Latter Day, is the very time for shakabuku. Nichiren Daishonin only practiced shoju among those who had already taken faith in the Supreme Law, his beloved disciples. The Soka Gakkai pratices more shakabuku against their own disciples than they do those of the provisional teachings or non-Buddhist teachings. Even towards his teacher Dozenbo, Nichiren practiced shakabuku but not towards his beloeved disciples.
Shin Yatomi: …Instead of being overly concerned about which method to choose, what is most important to keep in mind is the goal of propagation—people’s happiness. RELIGION is inextricably bound with culture. Even if we recognize a need to examine the value and philosophical correctness of various religious doctrines, it is very difficult to justify being critical of another culture.
Me: Practicing as the Soka Gakkai teaches one will never realize the promise of the Lotus Sutra, Supreme and Perfect Enlightenment nor will one encounter the Three Obstacles and Four Devils, particularly the King Devil of the Sixth Heaven [persecutions by the Government]. If the culture is a culture based on the belief in a creator and the saving power of Jesus Christ, Allah or Brahma, it must be thoroughly refuted in light of the immeasurable lifespan of the Tathagata and the Law of Myoho renge kyo [the simultaneity of cause and effect[, and the ultimate responsibility of the individual for both weal and woe. The Time and not the country, sequence of propagation, or capacity of the people is the most important consideration in the propagation of the supreme Law. The Soka Gakkai has become complicit in slander of the Suprme Law by accepting rather than casting aside inferior teachings. Honest and upright is the way of a votary of the Lotus Sutra not to defeat an enemy through stealth and cunning.
Shin Yatomi: In countries with little relation to Buddhism, and where religious values and cultural values are deeply intertwined, to disrespect or denounce a religious belief is tantamount to disrespecting and denouncing the culture.
Me: Nichiren Daishonin would love baseball, football, and basketball, he might even love the music of the Eagles and Michael Jackson and he would be playing poker instead of Go. Somehow, I don't believe he would have much use for the mega churches and phony preachers who suck the life and money out of their congregations. Had he found himself in a Muslim country he would be known as the Aryasinha of Mappo.
Shin Yatomi: ...Buddhism makes clear that its teachings should be spread while showing respect for and taking into consideration the culture and traditions of the place where it is being propagated...
Me: Ornate rhetoric and meaningless talk. Nichiren Daishonin showed no consideration for the provisional teachings of his own country. Would he have accepted the provisional teachings of another? He was highly critical of Confucianism, Brahmanism, Taoism, Shintoism, and provisional Buddhism, wherever and whenever it was found. The ends justifying the means philosophy of the Soka Gakkai is what has watered down the religion of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin and were it to continue to advance, it would destroy the Mystic teachings of Buddhism.
Shin Yatomi: Although the basic attitude of the Daishonin?s propagation was shakubuku, his writings indicate that he exercised flexibility in his method of propagation. He states: “It is natural for a rooster to crow in the morning but strange for him to crow at dusk. Now when the true and provisional teachings are utterly confused, it would be equally unnatural for one to seclude himself in the mountains, carrying out the easy practice of shoju, and avoid refuting the enemies of the Lotus Sutra. He would lose all chance to practice the Lotus Sutra”(MW- 1, 105). In this passage, the Daishonin refers to a situation in which the true and provisional teachings of Buddhism are confused. In such a case, the Daishonin suggests that a clear distinction be made between what is a true Buddhist teaching and what is a provisional Buddhist teaching through the method of shakubuku.
THIS situation, however, may not represent today's American society where the majority of people are unfamiliar with Buddhism. In this regard, the Daishonin states: “When the country is full of evil persons without wisdom, then shoju is the primary method to be applied, as described in the Anrakugyo [Peaceful Practices] 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”(MW-2, 183).
Me: Yatomi conveniently left out the next paragraph that goes on to explain his contention; “In the Latter Day of the Law, however, both shoju and shakubuku are to be used. 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.”
Muslim, Hindu and Christian countries are, in fact, countries that actively seek to destroy the Law. The SGI of course has nothing to worry about in this regard. It is hardly based on the Law of Namu Myoho renge kyo [in principle]. China too, for limiting the freedoms of speech and religious expression may be counted among the actively evil countries. America is not a monolithic society. it is composed of states, some secular that are only passively evil and others like the bible belt states that are actively evil. The SGI always practices shoju except against other Nichiren sects. How perverse is that?!
Shin Yatomi: The Daishonin explains that when a society is ignorant of Buddhism, shoju, the tolerant way of propagation, may be a better approach…
Me: Nichiren doesn’t say that at all. A society may be ignorant of Buddhism and be actively evil in trying to destroy Buddhism and the Law. And the Brahmans are not ignorant of Buddhism. We see how well the tolerant approach has worked in the United states, all those hundreds and thousands of Bodhisattvas abandoning their faith in Namu Myoho renge kyo thanks to the tolerant approach [shoju] of the Soka Gakkai.
Shin Yatomi: However, when confusion in the realm of Buddhism is the chief concern, shakubuku, the method of strictly refuting error and directly revealing the truth, may be the primary method. The strict stance the SGI has taken toward the errors and abuses of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood accords with this idea.
Me: The criticisms of the orthodox sects, however, are totally unwarranted and a cause for the Soka Gakkai members for falling into the Lower Realms of existence. Just look at Clown and CL.
Shin Yatomi: In another writing, the Daishonin said: “However, slander can be either minor or serious, and there are times when we should overlook it rather than attack it. The adherents of the Tendai and Shingon sects slander the Lotus Sutra and should be refuted. But without great wisdom it is very difficult to differentiate correctly between their doctrines and the teachings which Nichiren expounds. Therefore, at times you might be well advised to refrain from attacking them, just as I did in the Rissho Ankoku Ron"”(MW-1, 158). In the “Rissho Ankoku Ron,” the Daishonin refutes the teachings of the Pure Land sect, but does not refer to the teachings of the Shingon or Tendai sects. Here the Daishonin explains that although other religious sects, such as the Shingon and Tendai sects, contradict the Lotus Sutra, if the timing and condition of people are not appropriate, it is wise not to refute them.
Me: Within eleven years of the writing of the Rissho Ankoku Ron however, the Daishonin was revealing that the evils of the Tendai and Shingon are a thousand, a hundred thousand, ten billion times more evil than the Nembutsu. The Soka Gakkai teachings are far worse than the Tiendai and Shingon becuase it has brought confusion to the teachings of the Great Pure Law of Namu Myoho renge kyo. Just as the Nembutsu was far easier to refute than Tiendai and Shingon, the Soka Gakkai is far easier to refute than the Nichiren Shu. When the time is right, we of the will turn our attention to the Nichiren Shu’s aberrant religious practices.
Shin Yatomi: In a letter written to a believer who had previously practiced the Pure Land sect and chanted the Nembutsu incantation, the Daishonin writes as follows: “Women who put their faith in the Lotus Sutra should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo sixty thousand, a hundred thousand, or even ten million times a day, and after that, if they still have some time to spare, they may now and then murmur to themselves the name of Amida or one of the Buddhas”(MW-3, 26–27). Of course, if you chant daimoku one hundred thousand times a day, you would not have time to even sleep, let alone to chant the Pure Land sect’s incantation. In this letter, although the Daishonin clarifies the erroneous teachings of the Pure Land sect, he does not tell her to stop chanting the name of Amida Buddha. The Daishonin simply tells the recipient to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Once again, we can see the Daishonin’s flexible stance toward communicating his teaching to others. Had this believer been told never to chant the name of the Amida Buddha, she may have been unable to accept the Daishonin?s teaching. Religious beliefs and attitudes are deeply rooted in people?s minds; our sensitivity and understanding toward those to whom we are communicating are therefore critical, as the Daishonin demonstrates.
Me: If Nichiren Daishonin taught the above to any man or woman of even a modicum of faith and understanding, that person would get the message. Certainly, he didn’t say they may now and then genuflect before the cross, lay twillum, or face Mecca and offer a prayer.
Shin Yatomi: THE ultimate purpose of communicating Buddhism to others is to help them become happy, not to prove the superiority of Buddhism over other religions. As we can see in the Daishonin’s examples, he was always concerned about how to lead people to the truth revealed in the Lotus Sutra—to their inherent enlightened potential. The Daishonin’s views transcended narrow, religious sectarianism. He wrote, “I, Nichiren, am not the founder of any sect, nor am I a latter-day follower of any older sect” (MW-5, 195).
Me: The strawman reveals his ugly self, yet once again. It is impossible to become Buddha failing to embrace the exclusive faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra, having absolute faith in the superiority of the Lotus Sutra. What teachings is Shin Yatomi propounding? the provisional teachings, at best.
Shin Yatomi: He did not try to spread his teachings to prove his own greatness; his sole concern was people’s happiness, as he states: “Nichiren has been trying to awaken all the people of Japan to faith in the Lotus Sutra so that they too can share the heritage and attain Buddhahood”(MW-1, 24). Based on his clear sense of purpose in propagation, he exercised a great deal of flexibility, while not compromising in proclaiming what constitutes the true essence of Buddhism.
Me: To Shin Yatomi, “murmur a few Nembutsu now and then after chanting ten million Daimoku”, is a great deal of flexibility. He is as phony as a three dollar bill and is not a disciple of Nichiren Daishonin. He is [was] a disciple of Ikeda. This is precisely why he was unable to lessen his karmic retribution.