The Lotus Sutra is not an ecumenical scripture. Neither was Nichiren. Even if we were battered and beaten with nose and ears cut off, as the martyr Nikkyo, we could win this debate.
Also, there is no faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day without Nichiren Daishonin. It is thanks to Nichiren Daishonin that we have faith in the Lotus Sutra and over thirty million people are chanting and spreading the Daimoku (granted, not all of whom have the same faith as Nichiren). Many people criticize Nichiren but do they have thirty million followers reciting the Daimoku and Lotus Sutra thanks to THEIR bodily reading of the Lotus Sutra?
The votaries of the Lotus Sutra fight: The armies of Mara (Emma); the enemies of the Lotus Sutra known as delusion; ecumenicists who deny the exclusive faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra; those who deny the exalted position of Shakyamuni Buddha; and lastly, the ignorant laymen, priests, and the rulers of our respective countries who persecute the votaries of the Lotus Sutra.
Let us look at the word narcissism:
1). Excessive love or admiration of oneself. See synonyms at conceit.
2). A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.
3). Erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development.
4). The attribute of the human psyche characterized by admiration of oneself but within normal limits.
Conceit is a near synonym: 1. A favorable and especially unduly high opinion of one's own abilities or worth.
Here is what Nichiren says about conceit:
The Mongol Envoys
"I CAN hardly express my joy at learning of your safe return from Kamakura. And I have received your news about the beheading of the Mongol envoys. It is indeed a pity that, while the priests of the Nembutsu, True Word, Zen, and Precepts schools, who are the enemies of our country, did not have their heads cut off, the innocent Mongol envoys have been beheaded. Those who are unaware of the particulars of the matter will no doubt think that I say this out of conceit because my prophecy has been fulfilled. Yet during this period of more than twenty years, this is what I have been privately lamenting about day and night to my disciples, and what I have publicly declared time and again."
On Curing Karmic Disease
"The Great Teacher Chi-tsang of Chia-hsiang-ssu temple was among the most outstanding scholars in China. He was the founder of the Three Treatises school, and lived on Mount Hui-chi in Wu. Believing that none could equal him in knowledge, he raised the banner of his pride to its highest. He challenged the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai to discuss the meaning of the passage that states, "Among the sutras I have preached, now preach, and will preach, [this Lotus Sutra is the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to understand]
In the debate Chi-tsang was soundly defeated and thereupon renounced his misguided beliefs. In order to expiate his serious offense of slander of the correct teaching and of those who uphold it, he gathered more than one hundred eminent scholars and begged the Great Teacher T’ient’ai Chih-che to lecture to them. Chi-tsang used his body as a bridge for the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai to climb [onto the preaching platform], supporting T’ien-t’ai’s feet with his head. Moreover, he served T’ien-t’ai for seven years, cutting firewood and drawing water for him. He ceased giving lectures of his own, dispersed his followers, and in order to purge himself of his great conceit, refrained from reciting the Lotus Sutra. After the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai’s death, Chi-tsang had an audience with the emperor of the Sui dynasty to pay his respects. As he was leaving, he clutched His Majesty’s knees and tearfully bade him farewell. Sometime later, Chi-tsang looked into an old mirror and, seeing his reflection, condemned himself for his past errors. All these many acts of penitence were done to eradicate his karmic disease."
"The priests of Nembutsu today are exactly like the evil monks mentioned in the above sutra. Moreover, the great conceit of the school’s teachers exceeds that of Devadatta a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million times. I will briefly describe the strangeness of the True Word school. Its priests paint a picture of the nine honored ones seated on an eight- petaled lotus in the center of the Womb Realm. Then they climb onto this picture, and stepping on the faces of the Buddhas, conduct their ceremony of anointment. It is as if they were trampling on the faces of their own parents or treading on their emperor’s head. Such priests as these fill the entire country and have become the teachers of both high and low. No wonder the nation faces ruin!" How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra:
"Question: The Flower Garland school propounds the doctrine of the five teachings and declares all the other sutras to be inferior, and the Flower Garland Sutra, superior. The True Word school puts forth the doctrine of the ten stages of the mind, declaring that all the other sutras, being exoteric teachings, are inferior, while the True Word school, because it represents the esoteric teachings, is superior. The Zen school rejects all the sutras as belonging to the realm of written teachings and asserts “a separate transmission outside the sutras, independent of words or writing.” Because enlightenment, they say, is gained merely by sitting and facing the wall, the Zen school alone is superior. The Pure Land school sets forth two kinds of practices, correct and sundry. The Lotus Sutra and the various other sutras are rejected as belonging to the category of sundry practices, and hence one is urged to “discard, close, ignore, and abandon” them. The three Pure Land sutras, on the other hand, they claim, are adapted to the people’s capacity and are wonderful sutras belonging to the realm of correct practices. Thus each school in its conceit maintains its own biased attachment. But which one represents the true intention of Shakyamuni Buddha?"
The Lotus Sutra teaches:
'Cease, cease! No need to speak.
My dharma is subtle and hard to imagine.
Those of overweening pride,
If they hear it, shall surely neither revere it nor believe in
it." (Lotus Sutra Chapter 2)
and the moment the Buddha was about to reveal the Wonderful Dharma:
"While he was speaking these words, in the assembly bhiksus, bhikshunis, upasakas, and upasikas to the number of five thousand straightway rose from their seats and, doing obeisance to the Buddha, withdrew. For what reason? This group had deep and grave roots of sin and overweening pride, imagining themselves to have attained and to have borne witness to what in fact they had not. Having such faults as these, therefore they did not stay. The World-Honored One, silent, did not restrain them.
At that time the Buddha declared to Shariputra: "My assembly has no more branches and leaves, it has only firm fruit. Shariputra, it is just as well that such arrogant ones as these have withdrawn. Now listen well, for I will preach to you." (ibid. Chapter 2).
“Now, weave together all of these observations. Imagine you are a disciple of the Buddha. Imagine you are a monk who has meticulously followed the vinaya, the complex code, or way of life, for Buddhist monastics. Now imagine that the Buddha announces that this code is a provisional teaching. I can understand why some monks would become offended, especially if they had generated a sense of self and personal achievement around this.
“Or imagine that you had cultivated the ability to enter into rarefied meditative states, the higher dhyanas. This had taken years of dedication and practice. Now the Buddha says that this is a provisional teaching. I can understand why some who had invested so much time and effort into this practice might feel insulted. I can even believe that some of them would get up and leave the assembly.”
The Lotus Sutra Chapter 7 states:
"Bhikshus, when the Thus Come One knows of himself, that the time of his Nirvana has come, that the assembly is pure, that their faith and understanding are solid and firm, that they fully comprehend the Dharma emptiness and have deeply entered into Dhyana Samadhi, he will gather together the host of Bodhisattvas and Sound Hearers and speak this Sutra for them, saying, ‘there are not two vehicles by which extinction is attained. There is only the One Buddha Vehicle by which extinction can be attained.’"
Nobody likes to be chastised or rebuked. There are those in the SGI who have been practicing for thirty or more years and have converted hundreds of people to the Gakkai and there are those in the Nichiren Shoshu who have a lot invested in the Daigohonzon and Nichiren as True Buddha. Then, there are others in the Nichiren Shu who follow Udana-in Nichiki, as a duckling follows it's mother. When we tell them to follow the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren, they turn red, they are afraid, and defensive, or they get up and leave.
Are these not the conceited ones, the narcissistic ones who fail to believe the auspicious words of the Buddha and the sage Nichiren?
The conceited will not debate the issues, thinking themselves too good to debate or too enlightened to even consider a rain challenge which they dismiss out of hand. The narcissistic spew venom from afar for fear of smudging their make-up or dirtying their hands.
"If in some other region
there are beings reverent and with faith beseeching,
again I am in their midst
to proclaim the unsurpassed Dharma,
though you who do not hear this
will say that I am extinct." (Lotus Sutra Chapter 16)
Those that claim that Shakyamuni is not always present preaching the dharma, too, are conceited and narcissistic. Failing to believe that the Buddha only appears to pass on as an expedient, they wallow in delusion.
"I do this lest, by always seeing me,
they should beget hearts unrestrained and self-indulgent,
be dissolute and only fixed upon the five forms of desire
and thereby fall into evil ways."
Those who think of themselves as Buddhas just as they are, merely by virtue of their being alive or merely by virtue of the organization they belong to, are like this, conceited and narcissistic.
Now let me say something about poisoning the well and peeing in the soup. Perhaps there are those who will consider me narcissistic or conceited for what I am about to say:
We independent disciples of Nichiren and Nichiju of the Kempon Hokke are a filter in which the impurities in the Nichiren faith are strained and removed. Citing the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren, our points are proven. All who proclaim the Lotus Sutra and Shakyamuni Buddha supreme will quickly reach the other shore. Those who deny the Lotus Sutra and Shakyamuni Buddha, are base and shallow.
Nichiren Daishonin states:
"I have made a vow. Even if someone says that he would make me the ruler of Japan on the condition that I give up the Lotus Sutra and rely upon the Amida Sutra for my salvation in the next life, or even if someone threatens me saying that he will execute my parents if I do not say 'Namu Amida-butsu,' and no matter how many great difficulties fall upon me, I will not submit to them until a man of wisdom defeats me by reason. Other difficulties are like dust in the wind. I will never break my vow that I will become the pillar of Japan, I will become the eyes of Japan, and I will become the great vessel of Japan." -- Kaimoku Sho (Opening the Eyes)
We are not the first nor will I be the last to read the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, realize their truths, and come to the same conclusions as Nichiren. Those who come later and share our beliefs (those who carefully study the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin), I pray will be ever more faithful and wise in defending what the Buddha has entrusted to us. Nichiren says, now is the time to outlaw misleading religions and philosophies, not the time to bask in the pleasure of ten thousand prayers.