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Chapter 3

                      A History of Betraying Nichiren Daishonin's Teachings

 

 

1    Nichiren Shoshu's History of Slanders and Improper Succession

 

1.1                       Priests disciples who betrayed Nichiren Daishonin

 

Just as the roots of corruption and degradation can be traced back many years in time, the history of the betrayal also goes back even to the days of Nichiren Daishonin and Nikko Shonin.

 

During Nichiren Daishoninfs lifetime, there were several priest disciples who betrayed the Daishonin and went against his teachings including Sammi-bo and the five senior priests. 

 

Sammi-bo was one of the Daishoninfs earliest disciples who excelled in debate and was highly esteemed for his great learning.  However he was arrogant and sought worldly status.  During the Atsuhara Persecution, he forsook his faith and is said to have died a tragic death.  On the other hand, it was lay believers during the Atsuhara Persecution who, never forsaking their faith, chanted daimoku until the moment of their execution.  It was such courageous faith of the lay believers of Atsuhara that finally convinced the Daishonin that the time was right to inscribe the Dai-Gohonzon, the true object of worship for all humanity. 

 

The five senior priests together with the second high priest, Nikko Shonin were designated by Nichiren Daishonin as his principal disciples shortly before his death.  They were Nissho, Nichiro, Niko, Nitcho and Nichiji.  While Nichiren Daishonin was alive, they devoted themselves earnestly to the propagation of the Daishoninfs Buddhism.  

 

However when the Daishonin passed away after designating Nikko Shonin as his successor, they refused to follow Nikko Shonin and gradually departed from the orthodoxy of the Daishoninfs teachings, compromising with heretical sects and neglecting the spirit of shakubuku.  They discarded the Gohonzon, allowed Gohonzons to be buried with deceased believers and even destroyed many original Goshos written by Nichiren Daishonin.  Fearing persecutions from the authorities they even declared themselves as priests of the Tendai sect.

 

One of the five senior priests, Mimbu Niko influenced Hakiri Sanenaga, the steward of Minobu area where Nichiren Daishonin lived the last part of his life, to commit slanderous acts and caused Mount Minobu to become a slanderous place.  This forced Nikko Shonin to leave Mount Minobu.  The slanderous Minobu sect is derived from Mimbu Niko and it eventually expanded to become the largest of all the Nichiren sects.

 

In time, various deviant Nichiren sects which originated from Nichiro and Niko prevented the Japanese people in general from understanding the corret teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. 

 

 

1.2         Inappropriate Succession and slanders of past high priests

 

Despite Nichiren Shoshufs strong exertion of their self-propounded principles of the ginfallibility of the high priesth and gthe high priest alone inherit the transmission of the lawh, there are numerous incidents in the history of Nichiren Shoshu which clearly confirm the fallacy of such erroneous claims. 

 

If what the priesthood claims is true then there should not be any improper succession of the position of high priest.  Yet it is an undeniable fact that the history of Nichiren Shoshu is filled with incidents in which the position of high priest was not properly succeeded and where the actions of the high priests clearly betrayed the Daishoninfs teachings. 

 

The following is a detailed chronology of such incidents.

 

Chronology of events showing improper succession and slanders of past high priests

 

 

Period

 

 

Events

 

1482-1596

(115 years)

 

Three successive high priests during this period were gboy high priestsh.  It is believed that they were appointed as high priests because their parents hold prestigious positions in society and had great wealth.  Due to their young age, all affairs were actually handled by elderly advisors.

 

The 12th High Priest was 13 years old.

The 13th High Priest was 9 years old.

The 14th High Priest was 18 years old.

 

 

1596-1692

(96 years)

 

 

Because of the lack of capable priests in the head temple, nine successive high priests from the 15th to 23rd High Priest, were recruited from Yoho-ji temple. 

Yoho-ji originated from Jogyo-in, a temple founded by Nichizon, a disciple of Nikko Shonin.  While it belonged to the Fuji school, it had deviated from the Daishoninfs Buddhism by incorporating various erroneous practices.

 

 

1865

 

A fire broke out at the Head Temple, and the reception hall and other buildings were burnt to the ground.  On the following morning, the 53rd high priest, Nichijo, suddenly resigned from his position without naming a successor.  He left the Head Temple and his whereabouts was unknown.  As a result, the position of high priest was vacant for a period of two months.

 

 

1904

 

 

During the war between Japan and Russia, 56th High Priest, Nichio made available for public viewing, a Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren Daishonon, through which he collected viewing fees and donated the money to the military. 

 

 

1914

 

 

57th High Priest Nissho cooperated and agreed with governmentfs plan to unite the various schools of the Nichiren sects including the slanderous Minobu sect. 

 

 

1923

 

 

Nissho passed away without naming a successor.  At this time, it was lay believers who upheld the lineage for some time and later transferred it to the 58th High Priest Nitchu. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1925

 

 

(From the Meiji era onwards, a religious corporation law was implemented that required the running of religious organization by a council.  As a result, a ten-odd members council was formed in Nichiren Shoshu.)

 

Nichikai (father of the current 67th High Priest Nikken) after being demoted by 58th High Priest Nitchu, schemed to have Nitchu removed.  A vote of no confidence by the council was taken against Nitchu which forced him to resign as high priest.  The dispute even involved the danto members and caused Nichiren Shoshu to be divided into two groups.  The matter became so bad that following a complaint by the danto members, the police conducted an investigation of several priests.

 

 

     1926

 

 

Later the government became involved in the dispute.  To bring an end to the dispute, the government ordered the selection of the high priest through an election.  At this time, Nichikai schemed to let Nichiko be the 59th High Priest and he himself to be the 60th High Priest.  As a result, Nichiko was elected to be the 59th High Priest.

 

 

1927

 

As Nichiko did not wish to be involved in the dispute of the two factions, he resigned from his position after one and a half years.  Nichikai was then elected as the 60th High Priest amidst complaints against Nichikai of vote-buying.

 

 

1928-1929

 

 

Nichikai made errors in transcribing the Gohonzon.  The anti-Nichikai priests discovered the errors and demanded Nichikai to resign.  The lay believers eventually found out about the errors and raised a strong protest.  Eventually in 1929, Nichikai submitted a letter of apology.

 

 

1940

 

In an attempt to get the people to support the war efforts, the Japanese government at that time sought to unite the people and roused their patriotic spirit for the Japanese emperor as the supreme authority.  To achieve these ends, it made extensive use of myths concerning the origins of Japan, and tried to establish the worship of Shintoism among the people. 

 

 

1942

 

 

A senior priest in Nichiren Shoshu, Ogasawara betrayed the Daishoninfs Budhdism by expounding the doctrine that Shinto is absolute while the Buddha is transient.  Although Ogasawara was expelled from Nichiren Shoshu, he used his influence with the military authority to try to take control of the priesthood.  This resulted in the military authority forcing Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai to accept Shinto talisman.  His scheming eventually led to the imprisonment of President Makiguchi and Josei Toda.  Refusing to bow to the demands of the military authority, President Makiguchi eventually passed away in prison.

 

 

    1943

 

Betraying the Daishoninfs Budhhism, 62nd High Priest Nikkyo committed the slander of enshrining a Shinto altar in one of one of the Head Templefs buildings.  He then compelled Nichiren Shoshu and its believers to accept Shinto talisman.

 

 

 

Only the Soka Gakkai under the leadership of its first president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi refused to comply.  President Makiguchi and Josei Toda together with other Soka Gakkai leaders were imprisoned by the military authority as a result.  Nichiren Shoshu issued an instruction to ban President Makiguchi and Josei Toda from visiting the Head Temple.

 

 

 

To further promote state Shintoism and the reverence for the emperor, the authorities ordered the deletion of Gosho passages.  These passages include references to indigenous Japanese deities as Buddhist gods that protect the votary of the Lotus Sutra and also remarks made by the Daishonin of past Japanese emperors, which the authority deemed, as derogatory.  Complying readily with these instructions, Nichiren Shoshu betrayed the Daishoninfs teachings and deleted as many as 500 passages from the Gosho.

 

 

 

Nichiren Shoshu even altered the silent prayers of the gongyo to include prayers for the success of the Japanese war efforts.  They surrendered Buddhist accessories to the military to be scrapped and recycled for the making of weapons.  Nichiren Shoshu even solicited funds for the war.

 

 

 

Nikkyo allowed the Head Temple to be used as dormitories for the Japanese imperial army.

 

 

     1945

 

 

A huge fire reduced many buildings in the Head Temple including the place where the Shinto altar was enshrined to ashes.  Nikkyo was burnt to death in the fire.

 

 

1947

 

 

63rd High Priest Nichiman sold land belonging to the Head Temple to profit himself.  He resigned after the council passed a vote of no confidence against him.

 

 

 

Nikken became the chief priest of Honkyo-ji in Tokyo.  It was here that he influenced members to leave the Soka Gakkai and join the Hokkeko.  Later, he was strictly reprimanded by President Toda.

 

 

1952

 

On the night of April 27, during the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the founding of Nichiren Daishoninfs Buddhism, the Soka Gakkai youth discovered Ogasawara, who was supposedly to have been expelled from Nichiren Shoshu, at the Head Temple.  They reprimanded him for his slanderous acts and demanded that he write a letter of apology to Nichiren Daishonin and President Makiguchi.

 

It was later discovered that despite the grave slanders committed by Ogasawara, Nichiren Shoshu has recently reinstated him as a priest on April 5.  The Nichiren Shoshu priesthood was angered by the action of the Soka Gakkai youth as they believe that lay believers have no right to interfere in the affairs of priest. 

 

The priesthood shielded Ogasawara and falsely accused President Toda of being at the scene and physically abusing Ogasawara.  As a punishment of President Toda, they issue three resolutions for President Toda:

1)   to submit a letter of apology

2)   to be dismissed as daikoto (senior representative of Nichiren Shoshu lay society)

3)   to be banned from visiting the Head Temple.

 

When the resolutions were passed, three executive priests submitted their resignations in protest against this unjust action.  One of them was Nittatsu Shonin, who later became the 66th High Priest.

 

The Soka Gakkai youth division led by Daisaku Ikeda met the priests of various Nichiren Shoshu local temples and highlighted the unjust action of the Head Temple and also asserted the righteousness of the Soka Gakkai.  As a result, the truth of the matter was revealed and eventually, the three resolutions against President Toda were retracted and Ogasawara was made to recant his heretical views and apologize for his mistakes. 

 

 

 

1.3                       Slanders and events relating to the 67th high priest

 

On December 27, 1991 a letter from the Soka Gakkai Headquarters calling for the resignation of 67th High Priest was send to the high priest.  This letter was submitted after similar petitions carrying the signatures of 16,249,638 members from throughout the world were received.

 

The letter highlighted the following three requests for the reformation of Nichiren Shoshu:

 

1           that the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood become open to the world in a manner that befits the age of democracy.

2           that the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood correct its authoritarian manner and contemptuous attitude towards lay believers; and

3           that the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood corrects self-indulgence among the priests and establishes a tradition of modesty and wisdom.

 

In an address on May 1, 1999, Soka Gakkai President Einosuke Akiya highlighted the following ten grave offenses of 67th High Priest Nikken:

 

1           Denying Nichiren Daishonin, the original Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law and attempting to destroy Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism

2           Disrupting the harmony of believers

3           Attempting to destroy kosen-rufu

4           Overwhelming arrogance and jealousy

5           Holding believers in contempt and trying to intimidate them

6           Allowing slanderous practices and developing relations with the Minobu sect

7           Corruption and prodigality

8           Lying and duplicity

9           Brutish uncivilized behaviour

10         Usurping donations

 

Of the many slanderous acts committed by the 67th High Priest Nikken Shonin, the most serious are the excommunication of the Soka Gakkai and the SGI and the termination of the bestowal of the Gohonzon on the members of the Soka Gakkai and SGI.  These two actions constitute the act of destroying of the harmonious unity of Buddhist believers (ha wa go so).  This is an extremely slanderous act because the organization of harmonious believers is the entity of the Mystic Law and it is only with a harmonious organization that the Mystic can be propagated and kosen-rufu be achieved.  Destroying the harmonious unity of Buddhist believers is thus equivalent to an act of obstructing and destroying the propagation of the Mystic Law.

 

Nichiren Daishonin states in Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life:

 

gAll disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim.  This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death.  Herein lies the true goal of Nichirenfs propagation.  When you are so united, even the great desire for widespread propagation can be fulfilled.  But if any of Nichirenfs disciples disrupt the unity of many in body but one in mind, they would be like warriors who destroy their own castle from within.h (WND, p217)    

 

The following table provides a chronological record of the slanders and events relating to the 67th High Priest Nikken.

 

Chronology of slanders and events relating to the 67th high priest

 

 

Period

 

 

Events

 

1979

 

 

In July, 66th High Priest Nittatsu Shonin passed away.  Nikken declared that he had received the lineage from the high priest and was subsequently inaugurated as the 67th High Priest.

 

 

 

 

After Nikken had assumed the position of high priest, some 200 Nichiren Shoshu priests belonging to a group called the Shoshinkai claimed that the succession by Nikken was not legitimate and refused to acknowledge him as the high priest.

 

 

1981

 

 

In February, Nikken expelled more than 180 of the Shoshinkai from Nichiren Shoshu.

 

 

 

 

In April, Nikken declared the gabsoluteness of the high priesth violating the Daishoninfs teaching of the equality of all people. 

 

The 2nd High Priest, Nikko Shonin warns against such erroneous views when he states in Article 17 of his 26 Admonitions, gDo not follow even the high priest if he goes against the Buddhafs Law and propounds his own views.h

 

 

1983

 

 

High Priest Nikken chided President Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai for reporting that the target of completing and donating 200 temples in a short period of 10 years (equivalent to 20 temples a year) could not be achieved.  Nikken became angry and demanded that the Soka Gakkai achieved this target no matter what. 

 

It is the spirit of Nichiren Daishonin to always cherish and express profound gratitude for the sincere offerings made by his disciples no matter how humble they may be. Such unreasonable demands of Nikken betrayed the spirit of Nichiren Daishonin.  The Daishonin expressed his gratitude in one writing, gI have received from you one unlined robe, one horseload of salt, and five sho of oilcI do not know how to thank you for the sincerity you have shown in sending these articles.h  (WND, p675)

 

 

 

Nikken stated, gIt is alright if priest do not carry out propagation activities.h 

 

Such a statement betrayed the spirit of Nichiren Daishonin expressed in Nikko Shoninfs 26 admonitions which states, gUntil kosen-rufu is achieved, propagate the Law to the full extent of your ability without begrudging your life.h (Gosho Zenshu, 1618)

 

1986

 

In October, several Nichiren Shoshu priests committed acts of slanders but were not censured by Nikken even though he was aware of such acts.  On the contrary, one of the slanderous priests, Kyosai Kishimoto was even promoted in October.

 

Kyosai Kishimoto, the chief priest of Hogon-ji temple made offerings toward a float for a Shinto festival.

 

Acting Chief priest Eizon Ishida of Jozen-ji temple in Miyazaki worshipped at the shrine of Bodhisattva Jizo and other heretical objects of worship.

 

Jiei Seki, the chief priest of Tokujo-ji temple in Hokkaido, conducted an eye-opening ceremony to the statue of Bato Kannon at the request of a believer.

 

Nichiren Daishonin states, gThough a person may have been fortunate enough to be born as a human being and may have even entered the priesthood, if he fails to study the Buddha's teaching and to refute its slanderers but simply spends his time in idleness and chatter, then he is no better than an animal dressed in priestly robes.  He may call himself a priest and earn his livelihood as such, but in no way does he deserve to be regarded as a true priest.  He is nothing but a thief who has stolen the title of priest.  How shameful and frightening!h (WND, p760) 

 

 

 

In November, Nikken were caught on photographs having a good time with geishas in a first-class Japanese restaurant in Tokyo.  These photographs were only made known to the public in 1992.

 

Nichiren Daishonin emphasizes the correct behaviour of priest in his Gosho which states, gTrue priests are those who are honest and who desire little and yet know satisfaction.h (WND, p747)

 

 

1987

 

Nichiren Shoshu strongly encouraged the making of memorial tablets for the deceased as a means to accumulate their wealth. 

 

 

 

In July Nikken once again told the priest, gIt is alright if all of you do not carry out propagation activities.h  He also told them, gYou must not chant more than 30 minutes of daimoku.h

 

The implication is that priests are special and therefore do not need to exert in Buddhist practice as lay believers.  The Daishonin did not draw such a distinction but emphasized the importance of chanting daimoku, gAmber draws dust and a magnet attracts iron particles; here our evil karma is like the dust or iron, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra is like the amber or the magnet.  If we consider these [analogies, we can see why] we should always chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.h (WND, p142)

 

 

1988

 

On January 1, at a New Year prayer meeting, Nikken stated, gthe wise refers to the priests while the ignorant refers to the lay believers.h 

 

Such arrogant remarks clearly violates the Daishoninfs teachings which state, gIt follows, therefore, that whether eminent or humble, high or low, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are themselves the treasure tower, and, likewise, are themselves the Thus Come One Many Treasures.h (WND, p299)

 

 

1989

 

In February, despite strong protest from the Soka Gakkai, Nichiren Shoshu announced the increase of obligatory offering for gokaihi (worshipping the Dai-Gohonzon at the Head Temple) by a hefty 43.8%.

 

 

 

In July, Nikken erected a tomb for his ancestors in the cemetery of a Zen temple and conducted a rite there despite the fact there were many vacant lots at nearby Nichiren Shoshu temples. 

 

 

1990

 

In March, Nichiren Shoshu announced the increase in obligatory offering for receiving the Gohonzon by 100%.  The Soka Gakkai expressed concern and request Nichiren Shoshu to reconsider decision.

 

 

 

In June, Jitoku Kawabe, chief priest of Nissho-ji temple and Kotoku Ohbayashi, Overseas Bureau chief, visited Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan and Spain to meet with SGI members who have left these overseas organization to discuss the development of a danto movement in these countries.

 

 

 

In July, a meeting of top senior priests was held to discuss Operation C, a scheme to destroy the Soka Gakkai and SGI.

 

 

 

In August after receiving many reports of the authoritative conduct and misbehaviour of priests, Nichiren Shoshu issued an instruction for all priests to strictly abide by its code of discipline.  In the instruction, Nikken even cited examples of priests playing golf and pursuing a luxurious lifestyle.

 

 

 

In November, Nichiren Shoshu falsely accused President Ikeda of criticizing the high priest at a leadersf meeting and claimed that the choral performance of Beethovenfs Ode to Joy at the meeting amounted to promoting non-Buddhist teachings and is a slander.

 

 

 

In December as part of the plan for Operation C, Nichiren Shoshu effectively dismissed Honourary President Ikeda as Head of Nichiren Shoshu lay organizations and President Akiya and several Soka Gakkai leaders as senior lay representatives.

 

Many requests made by the Soka Gakkai for a dialogue to clear any misunderstanding were denied by Nichiren Shoshu.

 

 

1991

 

 

In March, Nichiren Shoshu issued a ecommuniqueh to President Ikeda dismissing his responsibilities of providing guidance in faith for all overseas lay believers.  Subsequently, Nichiren Shoshu send letters to all SGI organizations informing them of this decision.  This signaled the beginning of the Nichiren Shoshufs danto movement campaign in overseas countries.

 

 

 

In May, Nichiren Shoshu unilaterally made changes to the tozan (pilgrimage to pray to the Dai-Gohonzon) system, which effectively denied Soka Gakkai and SGI members from making such pilgrimages.  Requests made by the Soka Gakkai for dialogues were again denied by Nichiren Shoshu.

 

In this way, Nikken made use of the Dai-Gohonzon to influence members to leave the Soka Gakkai and SGI and join the danto organization.

 

 

 

In June, Nikken allowed the slanderous act of Shido Ogawa, a chief priest of the Rikyobo lodging at the head temple, to go without censure.  Ogawa permitted non-believers to visit the head temple and take photograph of the Gohonzon.  Later in August, he prayed to a heretical object of worship and again Nikken did not reprimand Ogawa for this slanderous act.

 

 

 

In November, Nikken altered historical facts by glorifying Hakiri Sanenaga, who committed four major slanders after the passing of Nichiren Daishonin.  Hakirifs slanderous acts ultimately forced the 2nd High Priest Nikko Shonin to leave Mt Minobu, yet Nikken erroneously states, gAt Mt Minobu, Nichiren Daishonin realized the Three Great Secret Laws thanks to Hakirifs protection.h

 

At the same time, Nikken allowed distorted and slanderous teachings to proliferate in Nichiren Shoshu.  Such teachings include the views that the high priest is the true Buddha while Nichiren Daishonin is transient (because the Daishonin has passed away) and that the Gosho is only a partial teaching of the Daishonin.

 

 

 

In November, Nichiren Shoshu issued gOrder of Dissolutionh and gNotice of Excommunicationh to the Soka Gakkai. 

 

In the gOrder of Dissolutionh, Nikken emphasized several self-propounded and erroneous views.  These included :

 

1    The teaching that the Treasure of Priest (of the Three Treasures) refers to the successive high priests.  Such a false view was created to mislead people in accepting the absolute power of the high priest. 

 

      The 66th High Priest, Nittatsu Shonin states :

      gIn Nichiren Shoshu, the Three Treasures, as set forth in the regulations of our

        school, are as follows: The Dai-Gohonzon is the Treasure of the Law, the

        founder Nichiren Daishonin is the Treasure of the Buddha and Nikko Shonin,

        the second high priest who directly inherited the lineage of the Daishoninfs 

        teachings, is the Treasure of the PriestcBut, in a broad sense it can be said

        that priests and lay believers of Nichiren Shoshu who protect, study and

        transmit the Buddhafs Law to future generations can be considered as the

        Treasure of the Priest.h (Dai-Nichiren, July 1977)

 

2    Distorting the words of Nichiren Daishonin to imply that the concept of priesthood as master to the laity is part of the original teachings of Nichiren Daishonin.

 

      The Daishonin constantly emphasizes the equality of all people based on the

      teaching that all people are capable of attaining enlightenment.  For example,

      one Gosho states, gcthe Buddha surely considers anyone in this world who         

      embraces the Lotus Sutra, whether lay man or woman, monk or nun, to be the

      lord of all living beingsch (WND, p463)

 

 

 

     

 

3    Altering the doctrines regarding formalities of ceremonies such as funerals.  Such alteration seek to mislead people into believing that the prayers and services of the priests are indispensable in the performance of such formalities such as funerals, memorial services, memorial tablets and the giving of

posthumous names.  Nikken even claimed that funeral services conducted by priests and the giving of posthumous names by priests actually determines whether the deceased will attain enlightenment.  Such teachings are expounded solely for the purpose of securing lay believersf reliance on the priesthood and their monetary offerings.

 

      There are no such teachings in the Daishoninfs Buddhism.  The fact that the

      Daishonin did not even mention about such formalities conducted by the priests

      clearly refutes the false claims made by Nikken.  In addition, the view that

       funeral services conducted by priests determine whether the deceased will

      attain Buddhahood goes against the Daishoninfs teachings that it is the

      strength of onefs faith that determines onefs enlightenment.  The Daishonin

      states, gThe Gohonzon also is found in the two characters for faith.  This is 

     what the sutra means when it states that one can ggain entrance through faith

     aloneh (WND, p832)

 

In November, Nichiren Shoshu announced their decision to stop the conferral of Gohonzon on Soka Gakkai and SGI members.  In this way, they made use of the Gohonzon to compel members to leave the Soka Gakkai and the SGI.

 

 

 

In December, High Priest Nikken refused to accept the petition for his resignation which carried the 16,049,638 signatures of members from throughout the world

 

 

1992

 

In June, gThe Seattle Incidenth was uncovered.  The publication, Soka Shimpo reported on the discovery of a disturbing incident that occurred in 1963 when Nikken went to Seattle, USA to conduct Gohonzon conferral ceremony for USA members.  The USA Women Divisionfs member, Mrs Clow, who was Nikkenfs official interpreter, revealed that at that time, she was asked to report to the police station where she found that Nikken had been involved in an incident with some prostitutes.  She had kept this disturbing secret up till then.  (Please refers to Chapter  for details.)

 

Nikkenfs behaviour clearly betrays the spirit of Nichiren Daishonin who strictly states, gA good teacher is a priest who is free from any fault in secular affairs, who never fawns upon others even in the slightest, who desires and is satisfied with little, and who is compassionate; a priest who reads and upholds the Lotus Sutra precisely as it teaches and also encourages and lead others to embrace it.h (WND, p880)

 

 

 

In July, Nichiren Shoshu officially expelled Honorary President Ikeda as a lay believer of Nichiren Shoshu.

 

 

 

In November, Soka Shimpo reported another disturbing news concerning Nikken in which photographs of Nikken surrounded by geisha girls were published.

 

 

1993

 

In September, the Soka Gakkai announced of the decision to confer upon its members, the Gohonzon transcribed by 26th High Priest Nichikan Shonin.  However Nichiren Shoshu declared that the Gohonzons conferred by the Soka Gakkai are counterfeits because they were not transcribed by the current high priest, did not have the eye-opening ceremony and were not issued by the Head Temple.

 

There is nothing in the Daishoninfs teachings which states that believers should only have okatagi Gohonzon transcribed by the current high priest or that the Gohonzons can only be issued by the head temple.  Nichikan Shonin is the 26th high priest who is deeply respected as a great restorer of Nichiren Daishoninfs Buddhism.  Okatagi Gohonzons transcribed by Nichikan Shonin are therefore legitimate Gohonzons in accordance with the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin.

There is also nothing in the Daishoninfs teachings that states geye openingh ceremony must be conducted for Gohonzons.  To claim such procedures make the Gohonzon legitimate or give power to the Gohonzon goes against the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin because the Daishonin states it is only our faith that will bring forth the power of the Gohonzon.  The Daishonin states, gThe Gohonzon also is found in the two characters for faith.  This is what the sutra means when it states that one can ggain entrance through faith aloneh (WND, p832)

Such false claims clearly revealed the priesthoodfs slanderous behaviour in making use of the Gohonzon to mislead the lay believers for their self-interest.

 

 

1994

 

In July, the new compilation of the Gosho (writings of Nichiren Daishonin) by Nichiren Shoshu was published and found to contain as many as 900 mistakes. 

 

The Daishonin highlighted the strictness in adhering to the teachings of the Buddha in the Gosho passage, gFaith in this sutra means that you will surely attain Buddhahood if you are true to the entirety of the Lotus Sutra, adhering exactly to its teachings without adding any of your own ideas or following the arbitrary interpretations of others.h (WND, p1030)

 

 

1995

 

In June, the current 48th High Priest of Nichiren Shu, Ikegami sect (a sect which has deviated from Nichiren Daishoninfs Buddhism) was allowed by Nichiren Shoshu to pay homage at the Head Temple.

 

The Daishonin warns in the Gosho, gNot even wise persons or sages can avoid the hell of incessant suffering if they accept offerings from slanderers.  Nor should you associate with slanderers, for if you do, you will share the same guilt as they.  This you should fear above all.h (WND, p1028)

 

 

1996

 

In March, the Grand Reception Hall was completely demolished by Nikken.

 

 

 

In August, another 20 priests from the Minobu sect visited the Head Temple.

 

 

1997

 

In June, 20 priests from the Minobu sect paid another visit to the Head Temple.

 

 

 

In July, some 15 priests from Minobu sect visited the Head Temple.

 

 

 

In August, High Priest Nikken in a special lecture for priests declared that he is equal to the original Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin.

 

Also in August, a group of Nichiren Shoshu acolytes were allowed to visit the Minobu sectfs head temple.

 

 

 

In September, Nichiren Shoshu issued a notice that all members must leave the Soka Gakkai and the SGI by November 30, 1997 or be disqualified from being believers of Nichiren Shoshu. 

 

Another 30 priests from the Minobu sect were allowed to visit the Head temple.

 

 

 

In Novemeber, a group of priests from the Minobu sect were permitted to visit the Nichiren Shoshufs Head  Temple.

 

 

1998

 

In April, Nichiren Shoshu issued a notification for the demolition of Sho-hondo at a estimated cost of S$60 million.

 

 

 

 

2     Slanderous and Inappropriate Acts against the Gohonzon

 

The following are examples that clearly show the slanderous and inappropriate acts committed by Nichiren Shoshu priesthood against the Gohonzon.

 

1           60th High Priest Nichikai (the father of Nikken) made errors in transcribing the Gohonzon.  The lay believers found out about the errors and raised a strong             protest.  Eventually Nichikai had to submit a letter of apology.

 

2           Nichikai allowed an advertisement to be run in the priesthood organ that showed a photograph of a Gohonzon.

 

3     Nichikai allowed a Hokeko member to provide a photograph of the Dai-Gohonzon to a member of the heretical Jodo sect.  This Jodo sect member published this photograph of the Dai-Gohonzon in his book.  Instead of reprimanding the Hokeko member, Nichikai later even appointed him as the head of all Nichiren Shoshu lay societies.

 

4     Some priest from Nichiren Shoshu distributed photographs of the Dai-Gohonzon during World War II at a price of Y2.

 

5     Several years ago, twenty or thirty misprinted Gohonzons from Nichiren Shoshu were thrown onto the street in Toshima ward, Tokyo.

 

6     A priest from Nichiren Shoshu sawed off the bottom part of a wooden Gohonzon because it was too large for the templefs altar.

 

7     A chief priest of a local Nichiren Shoshu temple permitted a television station to film and telecast the Gohonzon in the temple.

 

8     A Nichiren Shoshu local temple chief priest left the Gohonzon behind after the funeral ceremony.

 

9     Nikken, before he became the high priest and while he was in America to conduct Gohonzon conferral ceremony, left the Gohonzon in a toilet of the public place where the ceremony was held.

 

10   When Nikken was still a regional administrator in Nichiren Shoshu, he  allowed a local chief priest in Shiga to physically remove his wooden Gohonzon in order to offer it as a collateral for a loan.

 

The Daishonin declared, gTherefore, this Gohonzon shall be called the great mandala never before known,h (WND, p832)  For Nichiren Shoshu priests to treat the Gohonzon with such disrespect is truly unthinkable.

 

 

3     Nichiren Daishonin Teaches Refutation of Slanderers of Buddhism

 

A person cannot be said to be practicing Buddhism correctly if he do nothing to refute slanderers of Buddhism.  Such a person disqualifies himself from being a true disciple of Nichiren Daishonin.  This strict guidance is emphasized in many Goshos.

 

gThe Nirvana Sutra states, 'If even a good monk sees someone destroyng the teachings and disregards him, failing to reproach him, to oust him, or to punish him for his offense, then you should realize that that monk is betraying the Buddha's teaching.  But if he ousts the destroyer of the Law, reproaches him, or punishes him, then he is my disciple and a true voice hearer.' This admonition urge me on, and I spoke out against slander in spite of the persecutions I faced, because I would have become an enemy of Buddha's teaching if I had not.h (WND, p625)

 

gReprove a person for slander when necessary, so that you can forestall for both of you the consequences of an offense.h (WND, p626)

 

gTo hope to attain Buddhahood without speaking out against slander is as futile as trying to find water in the midst of fire or fire in the midst of water.  No matter how sincerely one believes in the Lotus Sutra, if one is guilty of failing to rebuke slander of the Law, one will surely fall into hell, just as a single crab leg will ruin a thousand pots of lacquer.h (WND, p747)

 

gAt such a time, one must set aside all other affairs and devote onefs attention to rebuking slander of the correct teaching.  This is the practice of shakubuku.h (WND, p126)

             

gThe meaning of this passage is that, if a practitioner of Buddhism should fail to chastise evil persons who slander the Law but give himself up entirely to meditation and contemplation, not attempting to distinguish between correct or incorrect doctrines, or provisional and true teachings, but rather pretending to be a model of compassion, then such a person will fall into the evil paths along with the other doers of evil.h (WND, p129)

 

In addition, Nichiren Daishonin explains in the following Gosho that refuting slanderers of Buddhism is not only an important act to protect the purity of the Buddhism, it is also an act of great compassionate to the offender. 

 

gThe point is that even minor slanders may lead to serious ones, and then the effects one must suffer would be far worse.  This is [what Chang-an meant when he writes], eOne who rids the offender of evil is acting as his parent.h (WND, p626)

 

gChang-an writes, 'If one befriends another person but lacks the mercy to correct him, one is in fact his enemy.'  The consequences of a grave offense are extremely difficult to erase.  The most important thing is to continually strengthen our wish to benefit others.h (WND, p625)

 

gBut if there is someone who slanders the inconceivably profound teaching, that person will for immeasurable kalpas be unable to obtain emancipation.  However, if there is one who can cause others to awaken to and take faith in a teaching such as this, then that person is their father and mother, and also their good friend.  This  is a person of wisdom.  After the Thus Come One's passing, that person corrects false views and perverse thoughts and causes people to enter the true way.  For that reason, he has pure faith in the three treasures, and his virtuous actions leas others to enlightenment.h (WND, p620)

 

The refutation of slanders, whether seen from the perspective of protecting the Mystic Law or the perspective of compassion, is an act of greatest good that will brings immense good fortune and enable one to attain enlightenment in this lifetime.