Chapter 4: The Nature of the Soka Gakkai after the Organization Was Excommunicated from Nichiren Shoshu
Endless Slander against Nichiren Shoshu and Vexatious Lawsuits
After Daisaku Ikeda lost his status as Sokoto, the Soka Gakkai escalated its slander of Nichiren Shoshu. Furthermore, as soon as Ikeda was excommunicated from Nichiren Shoshu, the Gakkai filed criminal complaints and civil lawsuits against Nichiren Shoshu throughout Japan. Approximately 200 cases were filed (as of June 2002). Some lawsuits were intended to demean the dignity of the Heritage of the Law and the High Priest. Others were to pick holes in proprietary concerns regarding cemeteries and cineraria. In other cases, they demanded the return of Gokuyo offerings for the construction of the Sho-Hondo. All were intended to annoy Nichiren Shoshu. However, Nichiren Shoshu won decisive victories in these cases. The Soka Gakkai’s attempt to use judicial power to persecute Nichiren Shoshu failed completely.
Substitution of Doctrines and Formalities
It became apparent that the Soka Gakkai planned to break away from Nichiren Shoshu a long time before it was excommunicated. In order to achieve this aim, however, it needed to create new doctrines concerning the object of worship and other major points. At the same time, the Gakkai had to deny not only Nichiren Shoshu’s history but also its doctrines and formalities, which all Gakkai members had long observed.
Tentatively, the Gakkai leaders adopted doctrines based on the biased views of Yukio Matsudo and a view of history based on the distorted ideas of Masahiro Kobayashi.
The following are statements from some of Ikeda’s major speeches that show the attempt to change Nichiren Shoshu doctrines and formalities.
Concerning the Object of Worship
Less Emphasis on Receiving the Gohonzon
Ikeda made statements such as the following:
Toda Sensei spent two hellish years in prison where the Gohonzon was not enshrined. There, he attained a great state of life.
(Seikyo shimbun, Dec. 2, 1991)
Responding to the fact that Nichiren Shoshu discontinued the bestowal of the Gohonzon to Gakkai members, Ikeda wanted to make his members believe that one can attain Buddhahood without receiving the Gohonzon.
However, as Twenty-sixth High Priest Nichikan Shonin taught, the Gohonzon is the foundation of the Daishonin’s teaching. Nichikan Shonin explained:
Above all, the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching of the second year of Ko’an is the supreme of the supreme, the ultimate purpose of all ultimate purposes of advents. It is in fact, the foremost of the Three Great Secret Laws.
(The Essentials of the Fuji School, vol. 4, p. 221)
This shows that the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, inscribed on October 12, 1279, is the object of worship that forms the doctrinal basis of Nichiren Shoshu.
The Idea of Focusing on One’s Own Mind
Ikeda asserts that the Gohonzon is merely a tool for drawing out the inner Gohonzon within our minds and that our “inner Gohonzon” is most important. He has made statements such as the following:
What’s important is self or one’s own life. The Gohonzon, which is outside one’s life, was established by the Daishonin to help manifest one’s inner object of worship.
(Seikyo shimbun, Jan. 17, 1992)
However, Nittatsu Shonin, the Sixty-sixth High Priest of the Head Temple clearly refuted this viewpoint in the past. He explained:
When we face the clear mirror of the Gohonzon, the Buddha nature of our common mortal’s true aspect achieves the fusion of objective reality and subjective wisdom (kyochi myogo) with it, and we are able to attain Buddhahood for the first time. How can we attain Buddhahood by worshipping ourselves? Herein lies the importance of the Gohonzon. If we can attain Buddhahood by worshipping ourselves, then why did the Daishonin inscribe and reveal the Gohonzon? Was not the Dai-Gohonzon left behind as the Daishonin himself?
(The Complete Writings of Nittatsu Shonin,
part 2, vol. 2, p. 600)
Ikeda further demonstrated his complete misunderstanding of the object of worship with statements saying that the Dai-Gohonzon is an object that eventually will cease to exist.
A mandala in itself is not eternal in the aspect of an object…at any rate, by basing our life on “the Law of the infinite past of kuon-ganjo,” the true significance of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, we will find our way to the propagation of the perpetual mystic Law.
(Seikyo shimbun, May 5, 1993)
Ikeda belittled the Dai-Gohonzon, the true entity of Nichiren Daishonin, by saying it is “merely an object that will eventually cease to exist.” His intention was to make the members stop longing to see the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching.
With regards to the significance of the object of worship, the Daishonin stated the following:
I have refined the doctrine of ichinen sanzen and revealed it in the form of the great mandala.
(Gosho, p. 523)
Concerning the True Buddha
Ikeda made statements, based on his arrogance, which indicated that he himself is comparable to Nichiren Daishonin by emphasizing the idea that a common mortal is the Buddha.
Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha, acted just as a person, a common mortal.
(Seikyo shimbun, Sept. 10, 1992)
The Buddha is a person (a common mortal)….A person (a common mortal) is the Buddha.
(Seikyo shimbun, May 26, 1994)
These statements, however, belittle the profound significance of the appearance of Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha. The Daishonin stated the following in “One Hundred Six Articles” (“Hyaku rokka-sho”):
As the Great Teacher of the Essential Teaching, I, Nichiren, am the direct recipient of the Heritage of the supreme king who attained enlightenment in the inconceivably remote past in the treasure tower of Taho in the pure land of Eagle Peak; I am the successor of the entirety of the supreme and lesser doctrines of the essential and theoretical teachings; I am the master of the true cause and the true effect from the time of first hearing the name of the Law (myoji) from the inconceivably remote past of kuon; and I am the reincarnation of Bodhisattva Jogyo, the form taken by the actual Buddha of Intrinsically Perfect Wisdom.
(“One Hundred Six Articles” [“Hyaku rokka-sho”],
Gosho, p. 1685)
Concerning the Heritage of the Law
The Soka Gakkai has made statements that deny the Lifeblood Heritage of Nichiren Shoshu. Instead, it asserts that the Soka Gakkai possesses the Lifeblood Heritage. Examples of such statements are as follows:
Within one’s faith in the Gohonzon and the Daishonin, there exists “the Tathagata’s secret and his transcendent power.” This is the Daishonin’s teaching based on the extremely profound Heritage of the Law. Nichiren Shoshu, without fundamental faith, pretends that the High Priest holds a special “secret,” even though it excommunicated the Soka Gakkai, which has pure faith. This actually proves that Nichiren Shoshu does not know anything about the Tathagata’s secret.
(Soka Renaissance, vol. 64)
The attainment of Buddhahood depends on one’s own faith. It is not determined by the intervention of a priest. “Direct Connection” is how this Buddhism should be. Our faith, based on being “directly-connected to Nichiren Daishonin,” is correct.
(Seikyo shimbun, June 5, 1994)
The Soka Gakkai denies the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary and the Heritage of the Law entrusted to a single person, both of which form the foundation of faith. This is the tremendous extent to which the Soka Gakkai’s views have changed. The current views of the Soka Gakkai are based on heretical doctrines that go against the teachings of Nichiren Shoshu.
The Daishonin stated in the Gosho “On the Mystic Principle of the True Cause” (“Honin-myo-sho”):
The principles of the great significance of the lifeblood and the object of worship are the documents transmitted from Nichiren to each of the successive head priests, and are the bequeathal entrusted to only a single person, indicating the bequeathal inside the Treasure Tower of Taho Buddha.
(Gosho, p. 1684)
Concerning the Priesthood and Laity
Statements, such as the following, made by the Gakkai, claim that Nichiren Shoshu priests are degenerate and the Soka Gakkai is righteous:
Buddhism does not exist for the sake of the priesthood. The priesthood exists for the sake of Buddhism. The priests should devote themselves to propagate Buddhism at the cost of their lives, based on their resolve for martyrdom, in order to save the laity. Nichiren Shoshu is the exact opposite of this.
(Soka Renaissance, vol. 75)
The Gakkai makes such ridiculous statements in order to turn its members against Nichiren Shoshu. Both in the past and in the present, Nichiren Shoshu has striven for kosen-rufu for more than 700 years, based upon the unity of priesthood and laity, with the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary as the foundation.