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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Beating up an old man is an "act of kindness" according to Daisicko Ikeda


Jimon Ogasawara was a Nichiren Shoshu priest who wrote several tracts on theoretical Buddhism during World War II. The Soka Gakkai claimed that one of his writings loaned support to the restrictive religious policies of the Japanese wartime government, and therefore held him to be somehow responsible for the imprisonment of Josei Toda and Tsunesaburo Makiguchi. This animosity toward Ogasawara culminated in 1952 with an incident in which the 80-year-old priest was surround by thousands of Soka Gakkai YMD, stripped to his underwear and assaulted. 

A book about the Soka Gakkai which was highly praised by Daisaku Ikeda for its accuracy, renders this account of the circumstances surrounding the Ogasawara incident. Toda had not always displayed the reverence and humble loyalty that might be expected of a lay believer toward the priests at Taisekiji. And addressing members of his organization, he would often speak of 'bad priests,' compared with whom Toda was a far better student of the canon of Nichiren Shoshu in both knowledge and conduct....Toda felt particularly bitter toward one Taisekiji priest, Jimon Ogasawara.... He felt that the priests, and Ogasawara in particular, were largely responsible for the government suppression of Soka Kyoiku Gakkai and for Makiguchi's death in jail                               

 ...Toda never forgot this, nor did he forgive Ogasawara. On the eve of April 28, 1952, when Taisekiji held a major service to commemorate the founding of the Nichiren sect in 1253, Toda visited the temple with 4000 members of his Youth Division (led by Daisaku Ikeda) and assaulted Ogasawara. Toda felt justified in doing so to avenge his late  teacher and demanded an apology from the octogenarian priest. When Ogasawara refused, the young men mobbed him and carried him  on  their shoulders, tagging him with a placard inscribed: Tanuki Bozu (Ra- coon Monk). Ogasawara was hit twice, thrown into a pond, and then taken to Makiguchi's grave, where he was forced to sign a statement of apology.                     

Interviewed on July 2, 1956, in the Japan Times, [Toda] admitted hitting the priest 'twice' and said that this was the cause of the extremely unfavorable press his organization then received which labeled Soka Gakkai as a 'violent religion.'                             

Ogasawara filed a complaint with the authorities against Soka Gakkai for assault and battery. In November 1952, Nissho, the high priest of Taisekiji, reprimanded Toda for the April 27 incident and Toda responded with an apology printed in the Seikyo Shimbun....He promised that Soka Gakkai would follow the iron rule of absolute obedience to the policy of the (Taiskiji) administration and would continue to serve its interests..                                

The high priest Nissho admitted that assaulting a Nichiren Shoshu priest is tantamount to assaulting the High Priest himself and that punishment of a member of the priesthood is the prerogative of the High Priest alone. He further prohibited Toda from coming to the Head Temple for three months.

In 1969, Daisaku Ikeda freely exonerated the Soka Gakkai for their attack on Ogasawara, going so far as to call it "an act of kindness" carried out to alert the priest to the errors of his writings.    

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