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Friday, May 10, 2019

Soka Gakkai expert Levi McLaughlin on Soka Gakkai president Daisaku Ikeda

"The Soka Gakkai president is in a position of complete dominance. Though rewriting the history of the movement, he verifies himself as the exclusive and unquestionable leader. This historical revision encompasses not only that of the Soka Gakkai movement itself, but Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, the personage of Nichiren himself as he is treated historically, and with that the entire history of Buddhism. The Soka Gakkai president is subject to nobody. He is not only the head of an organization that is pledged to worshipping the Dai-Gohonzon as the embodiment of Nichiren as the Eternal Buddha. As head of this organization, he is viewed as the most faithful servant of the ultimate authority, Nichiren, incarnate as a sacred mandala. However, the president is in the unique position of being able to rewrite and reinterpret every facet of doctrine, history and practice that affects the Sôka Gakkai. Every activity undertaken, every word spoken by the president of Sôka Gakkai is reinforced by the authority of his office as it is sanctioned by holy decree, and justified through an unbroken lineage traceable to the source of original enlightenment.

As the exclusive controller of the religious tradition of Soka Gakkai, the president is servant of nobody. in effect, it is the Dai-Gohonzon that serves him. Both of Soka Gakkai's post-war presidents have been aware of the power of the written word. This can be observed in the fact that all texts produced by Saka Gakkai are written by the president. If they are not authored exclusively by the president, they are edited, prefaced, or supervised by him. If a Soka Gakkai book does not bear his name, it is either simply labeled "Soka Gakkai", or is credited as authored by an official department of the organization, such as the "Soka Gakkai Kyogakubun (Soka Gakkai Education Department), in the case of the Shakubuku Kyoten. There is no other Soka Gakkai author in an office lower than the president who produces texts under the auspices of the Sôka Gakkai.

Given what has been stated above, the reasons for this are obvious. The authority of the president is absolute. This means that the president alone is allowed to write history, pass judgment on events, and comment on their significance. By deciding what is historically "correct", the president is able to decide for the present what is good and what is evil. After establishing his authority as based in a noble historical lineage, the president is able to redefine basic logical assumptions held by his loyal membership. He is literally able to redefine right and wrong. The president decides for the individual members what good judgments and meritorious activities are, and what constitutes violations of sacred law. There is no one within the organization who is in a position to argue against the decisions made by him, as such arguments constitute the gravest offences there are in the Soka Gakkai milieu.

The decisions made by the individual at the top of this hierarchy of domination account for the discrepancies between the two post-war presidencies, both of whom claim to be perfect exemplars of the Nichiren Shoshü tradition. As absolute authorities, any discrepancy with the past regime can be explained away, justified, or simply ignored by the incumbent. As the unquestionable dominator of the Nichiren Shôshu tradition, every word delivered by the Soka Gakkai president is tantamount to the words of Nichiren himself."

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