"Both the Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai suffer from the same ailment. A mass of true believers have lined up behind one man's ideology, one man's charisma, one man's vision. This reeks of the U.S. attitude my country, right or wrong. In this century, we have seen where this kind of an attitude can be devastating.
Both groups assert that they are in the right, that they have the special dispensation to devulge the truth handed to them by Nichiren himself. Yet, if you study the writings of Nichiren, it is obvious that they have gone astray. When confronted, neither group can quote just exactly where Nichiren called himself the Buddha and told us not to chant to Shakyamuni. Neither group can say exactly where Nichiren said that his teachings are the sole property of the Soka Gakkai or Nichiren Shoshu.
The council of christian churches makes more sense than these two warring "Buddhist" factions. Nichiren Dainshonin debated the issues of the day and won victories through his superior knowledge of Buddhist sutras. Both NST and the SGI are too busy fitting the Gosho to their own beliefs to see what it might actually be saying. Anyone who has read Ikeda's "Lectures on the Sutra" should be able to see that clearly with regard to the SGI. Where does the High Priest get the idea that he is the Buddha?
In a reasonable argument, contradictions cause one to think about the consequences of those contradictions. Even little things such as Nichiren carrying a statue of Shakyamuni with him should make a thinking person wonder.
Why does the temple resist verification of the so-called Dai-Gohonzon? Why not settle the issue once and for all? It begs the question, is it a fake? Just exactly who claims that their is a Dai-Gohonzon at all?
When I was young in the NSA, before the split up, I watched them shove Gohonzons on street people like flyers. Often, these Gohonzons were tossed in the trash on the way out of the community center. "Don't let the priest know, he will be angry," was the guidance we received. Is this how to protect the Gohonzon?
The priests should have kept better watch over the laymen. Cause and effect, both are at fault. But the money kept rolling in and it kept SOMEBODY happy. The numbers kept getting higher and it kept SOMEBODY happy. Most of the membership was not happy, they were too busy to be able to think, with the constant meeting schedule.
It was quite a time, the early days in the US. Everything was moving fast. I was told not to worry about my pronunciation of Gongyo, that would come later. Hurry up, follow the beat, and rush along with the rest of us. The peaceful river of the Lotus Sutra became a ride through the rapids then. Study today is like the gongyo of yesterday, listen to the beat, follow the drummer...
The meetings were not about the sutra or the gosho they were about BENEFIT. Buddhism works because I got the car I wanted, or my marriage is off the rocks, or I have a new job. Since the focus was on benefit, since you were ASKED to tell about your benefits, you saw them around every corner. If ND's buddhism could have been reduced to one principle at that time it would be: BENEFIT. I do not believe this attitude was beneficial to Buddhism.
The NSA Buddhist of that time carried the World Tribune, talked to anyone about the practice, rushed through Gongyo, and chanted for that house on the hill until his throat was raw. Now, somewhat older, they have put away childish things and are on the straight-and-narrow path to Enlightenment. So they would have us believe.
Yet, I have difficulty forgetting their past. They have no love for study, they ask few questions, and they accept doctrine as given. Sheep grazing in the field have more freedom than NST and SGI Buddhists. If only they would begin to graze on the Lotus Sutra and the words of Nichiren. Have you ever played the game where you pass a message around a small circle of friends in secret? When the message comes full circle, it is something completely different than the original. If only they would turn from the so-called orally transmitted teachings and turn to the verifiable writings instead.
The trouble is that in a field where there is little grass, the sheep become easily led. By this standard, both the NST and the SGI are full of Baa'd doctrine."
Don David Scott