Chapter 4: The Nature of the Soka Gakkai after the Organization Was Excommunicated from Nichiren Shoshu
The New Theory of Matsudo and Kobayashi
In order to give theoretical support to Ikeda’s heretical ideas, the following publications were issued: Seeking after Humanistic Nichiren as the True Buddha and Innovation of Nichiren’s Belief—The True Buddha as a Common Mortal, written by Yukio Matsudo. The Gakkai also published Masahiro Kobayashi’s Formation of the High Priest’s Absolute Power and the Criticism Against It. Through these writings, the Gakkai attempted to arm itself with new concepts. However, general members did not embrace Matsudo’s heretical notions that “the Gohonzon is merely a symbol” and “the True Buddha is inherent in the minds of common mortals.”
The Nichiren Shoshu Doctrinal Study Committee issued the book, The Soka Gakkai’s New Theory and its Nature, which completely refuted these ideas. The committee also published Correcting the Soka Gakkai’s View on Nichiren Shoshu History, which thoroughly refuted Kobayashi’s statements.
Alteration of the Ceremonies and Silent Prayers
Beginning in 1991, the Soka Gakkai began rejecting Nichiren Shoshu ceremonies and traditions, one after another. In particular, members started to conduct funeral and memorial services themselves, with their leaders presiding. Furthermore, the Gakkai no longer supported Gojukai and offering Gokuyo. It even altered the silent prayers of Gongyo and created its own prayer beads and memorial book. With these changes the Gakkai intensified its own course of heresy.
Manufacture of a Counterfeit Object of Worship
On September 7, 1993, the Soka Gakkai announced that it had created an “object of worship” [a counterfeit], which would be issued to the members. Concerning this announcement, President Akiya explained at a headquarters meeting that the Gakkai would make a copy of Nichikan Shonin’s Gohonzon enshrined at Joenji Temple—a breakaway temple from Nichiren Shoshu—and copies would be bestowed on the members.
Furthermore, the Soka Gakkai made the breakaway priests write a document entitled, The Doctrinal View on the Soka Gakkai’s Bestowal of the Object of Worship. The Soka Gakkai leaders obtained approval from these former priests and tried to convince the members that the Gakkai counterfeit object of worship was a correct Gohonzon.
Komeito Party’s Participation in the Coalition Government
To calm agitation among the membership, the excommunicated Soka Gakkai promoted the idea that the Komeito Party’s participation in the Hosokawa government enabled the Soka Gakkai to make the first step toward kosen-rufu. On August 8, 1993, the night before the inauguration of the Hosokawa coalition government, at the 69th Headquarters Meeting, Ikeda, in a gleeful mood, expressed the idea that he is the de facto leader of Komeito. Because the tape containing Ikeda’s irresponsible remark was leaked, the media strongly pointed out the reality of Komeito’s blending of religion and state.
Gakkai Members Lose their Qualification as Lay Believers
After excommunicating the Soka Gakkai organization, Nichiren Shoshu made continuous efforts to guide compassionately the Gakkai members back to the correct path of faith and practice. For a period of six years after the excommunication, individual Gakkai members who had received Gojukai from Nichiren Shoshu in the past were still recognized as Nichiren Shoshu lay believers. Nichiren Shoshu, however, could not continue with this situation, where a Gakkai member who follows Daisaku Ikeda qualifies as a Nichiren Shoshu lay believer. Nichiren Shoshu doctrine strictly prohibits its laity to hold membership in other religious organizations. On September 30, 1997, Nichiren Shoshu officially decided to terminate the membership of the Gakkai followers. After Nichiren Shoshu extensively notified the Gakkai members of this decision through its in-house publication and other means, the provision that all Gakkai members would lose their standing as Nichiren Shoshu lay believers went into effect on December 1, 1997.
Alteration of the Rules and Regulations of the Soka Gakkai
On March 28, 2002, the day of the Grand Commencement Ceremony of the 750th Anniversary of the Establishment of True Buddhism, the Soka Gakkai held a general council meeting and made changes to the “Soka Gakkai Rules and Regulations.” On April 26 of the same year, the “Bylaws of the Religious Corporation ‘Soka Gakkai’” were certified by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.
Chapter 5: The Soka Gakkai’s Past Comments Regarding the Doctrines and Purposes
In this section, the past guidance of the successive presidents and the Gakkai’s main arguments concerning the doctrines and purposes are listed. Through this documentary proof, it is clear that the current Soka Gakkai has contradicted itself and clearly has deserted its original aims.
Statements of First Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
How did our life of great good come to be proven as a universal principle by people like us? To understand this, we must know that there is the sole secret Law that has been transmitted correctly only at the Nichiren Shoshu Head Temple Taisekiji. This is the mystic Law (Myoho), the very secret of Buddhism.
(“Daizen Seikatsu Jisshoroku”
[“Empirical Record of Living for the Greatest Good”],
The Report from the Fourth General Meeting, p. 13)
In every respect, we wish to serve and follow the doctrine of Nichiren Shoshu Taisekiji that has been transmitted correctly by the Second High Priest Nikko Shonin. We, then, wish to conduct our life of great good by practicing Buddhism for ourselves and others so that we can contribute to the reform of education in Japan.
(ibid., p. 5)
Statements of Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda
The religion that has continued correctly in an unbroken line for more than six hundred years since the time of Nichiren Daishonin is Nichiren Shoshu….We experience day and night through our practice that this Buddhism is the very teaching that will lead us to true happiness.
(Lectures of Josei Toda, vol. 1, p. 29)
Unless we make a pilgrimage to the Head Temple and directly pray to the Dai-Gohonzon, we can never develop true faith….I want to make a plan to have as many members as possible visit the Head Temple.
(Complete Works of Josei Toda, vol.3, p. 490)
We are like the rickshaw pullers who lead ignorant persons to the correct path. When we find people who are confused, we put them in our rickshaw and guide them straight to the Dai-Gohonzon; this is the Gakkai’s sole mission. Whether or not one enters a gold mine and finds a jewel is due to the result of one’s faith. The Soka Gakkai’s venerable mission is just to guide people to the Dai-Gohonzon, the treasure trove.
(Lectures of Josei Toda, vol. 1, p. 31)
Statements of Third Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda
It goes without saying that the essential core of Nichiren Shoshu Soka Gakkai is the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, the supreme object of worship in the entire world. This Dai-Gohonzon is solemnly enshrined at Nichiren Shoshu Taisekiji. The Heritage of the Law has been transmitted from Nichiren Daishonin to the Second High Priest Nikko Shonin, the third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin and on down to the successive High Priests. At present, the entire Heritage has been transmitted to the Sixty-seventh High Priest Nikken Shonin. Therefore, following the guidance of the current High Priest, carrying on the tradition and doctrine of Nichiren Shoshu, I ask you to study Buddhism to deepen your faith and vigorously strive for kosen-rufu in each country and region in high spirits.
(On Kosen-rufu and Daily Life, vol. 1, p.131)
The fundamental point of Nichiren Shoshu is the Lifeblood Heritage of the Law entrusted to only one person. Deference to the High Priest who inherits the Lifeblood Heritage is the way priesthood and laity should be. If we fail on this point, everything will go wrong. I am convinced that the Soka Gakkai will prosper for all eternity, as it has faithfully followed the successive High Priests.
(ibid., vol. 3, p. 32)
The fundamental training ground is Taho Fuji Dainichirenge-zan Taisekiji where the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, the supreme object of worship in the entire world, is enshrined. The person who has inherited the Seat of the Law is High Priest Nikken Shonin. As a lay organization of Nichiren Shoshu, following the guidance of the High Priest, the mission of the Soka Gakkai lies in building a foundation for culture and peace that connects individual happiness and world peace based on the correct Law, for the achievement of everlasting peace of mankind.
(ibid., vol. 1, p. 146)
However, we must not forget the following points as our firm belief. They are: 1) The Dai-Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws is the essential core of all things; 2) We must learn the traditions and doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu under the guidance of the High Priest; 3) Based on these, the Soka Gakkai must further develop the activities for kosen-rufu.
(ibid., vol. 3, p. 271)
Excerpts from the Soka Gakkai Article, “Basic Issues of Buddhist Study,” dated June 30, 1978
1) The term “eternal master” was used for referring to the president in some cases. This expression was used to indicate the deep relationship between the master and his disciple. However, such expression was a little too excessive. In Nichiren Shoshu, eternal master means Nichiren Daishonin. Thus, we will never use this expression again in the future.
(Seikyo shimbun, June 30, 1978)
In Nichiren Shoshu, the term “great master” refers to Nichiren Daishonin as well as Nikko Shonin in both general and specific terms. Therefore, we will not use this term when referring to the first president [of the Soka Gakkai] in the future.
2) The expression or the words that implied the lifeblood heritage of master and disciple relationship between the first president Makiguchi and the second president Toda was an expression of one aspect that reflected the determination and promise between the master and disciple, and their actual practice for the achievement of kosen-rufu.
Statements of Fourth President Hiroshi Hojo
I heard that some people are behaving and speaking as if they deny the Heritage of the Law entrusted to only one person, in the case of High Priest Nikken Shonin. However, as we already made a vow; we are determined to protect High Priest Nikken Shonin no matter what happens and carry through our Soka Gakkai’s noble mission of strictly protecting the Head Temple.
(Dai-Nichirenge, January 1981, p. 14)
It is indeed an amazing thing that a path to expiating each individual’s negative karma and attaining true happiness was laid out worldwide in such a short period of time. It is all because of the boundless and profound compassion of Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha, and the absolute power of the Law of the Dai-Gohonzon. It is also due to the compassion of the successive High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu. We must show our deep sense of gratitude for all of these.
(Dai-Nichirenge, May 1981, p. 11)
In 1952, the Soka Gakkai acquired the legal status of an independent religious corporation. Upon its establishment, we promised Nichiren Shoshu that we would abide by three fundamental principles: 1) All converts are to join the congregation of a local temple; 2) All members are to uphold the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu Head Temple Taisekiji; 3) All members are to protect the three treasures of the Buddha, the Law, and the priesthood. Since then, based on these three fundamental principles, the Soka Gakkai has made efforts to protect the Head Temple and moved ahead toward the achievement of kosen-rufu.
(Seikyo shimbun, November 8, 1978)
It goes without saying that kosen-rufu, which we desire, is to teach people throughout the entire world the true Law and true justice of Nichiren Shoshu.
(Dai-Nichirenge, June 1979, p. 46)
Every member of the Soka Gakkai must take to heart the extensive guidance given by High Priest Nittatsu Shonin during his life, make a concerted effort to establish an ideal unity between the priesthood and laity under the guidance of the Sixty-seventh High Priest Nikken Shonin, and devote himself or herself to the practice, aiming toward the achievement of kosen-rufu, the will of Nichiren Daishonin. Let us advance forth, in high spirits, on the great path of the actual practice to propagate the true Law, based on conviction that this is the path of repaying our debts of gratitude for the great compassion of Nittatsu Shonin.
(Dai-Nichirenge, September 1979, p. 12)
Statements of Fifth President Einosuke Akiya
It is an undeniable fact that Nichiren Daishonin established the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching on October 12 of the second year of Ko’an (1279), and bestowed it on all people in the Latter Day of the Law in order to enable them to attain enlightenment.
(Dai-Nichirenge, February 1956, p. 21)
The Dai-Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws has been correctly and purely transmitted from Nichiren Daishonin to Nikko Shonin, Nichimoku Shonin, and on down to the present Sixty-sixth High Priest Nittatsu Shonin. Outside of the Head Temple Taisekiji Fuji School, there cannot exist the Dai-Gohonzon, or the Daimoku, or Nichiren Shoshu itself.
(Forty-eight Questions Concerning the Soka Gakkai, p. 38)
The Soka Gakkai is the purest lay organization of Nichiren Shoshu. Thus, it embraces and reveres the Dai-Gohonzon of Nichiren Daishonin, makes sincere efforts to follow the successive High Priests, and protects Nichiren Shoshu. The successive presidents of the Soka Gakkai have stated that service to the Head Temple is the fundamental principle of the Soka Gakkai.