Soka Spirit Editor
Posted on April 16, 2013
Daily Justice Compilation—Part 1
A Collection of Quotes from the Daily Justice Column
“The Daishonin did not passively encounter persecution. Rather, he says that he himself initiated this battle. It was a religious revolution, which he carried out under the “banner of the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo,” the heart of the Lotus Sutra. This is the struggle of kosen-rufu. And, as he indicates when he says, “So the battle goes on even today,” he carried on this struggle unremittingly for more than 20 years. Someone who continues to fight in this manner is a Buddha. The Buddha continuously strives to protect and build happiness for the people.” (The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, vol. 2, pp. 36–37)
In Nichiren Shoshu’s doctrinal scheme, one’s prayer to the Gohonzon is secondary to one’s obedience to the high priest. The temple members appear to pray to the Gohonzon. In the innermost reality of their consciousness, however, they are praying through the high priest, if not to the high priest. This is a misdirection that undermines their ability to overcome suffering. They state: “The master gives his sanction to a disciple’s enlightenment…. The sanctioning of the object of worship by the High Priest, who is the only person to be bequeathed the Daishonin’s Buddhism, is what makes the attainment of Buddhahood possible” (Refuting the Soka Gakkai’s “Counterfeit Object of Worship”, p. 8). “All objects of worship enshrined at local temples and in believers’ homes are imbued with the inner enlightenment of the Dai-Gohonzon…The High Priests inherit that profound ability [transcribe Gohonzon] as sole heirs to the Heritage…the Dai-Gohonzon is the perfect embodiment of the True Buddha’s inner enlightenment, and is the source from which all other Objects of Worship originate.” (December 2008 Nichiren Shoshu Monthly, p. 7) By claiming that the heritage of the Law and the power of the Gohonzon are held exclusively by the high priest, they have altered the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism to expand their own powers and gain control over their practitioners. What is, in reality, accessible to all believers is now portrayed as existing only within the exclusive purview of the high priest.
“Corrupt priests who live off Buddhism and greedily devour the believers’ offerings have been a constant in history.
“The Nichiren Shoshu priesthood has become a truly corrupt and immoral school, while its priests, including Nikken, are nothing more than aberrant priests who transgress the teachings of Buddhism. When the True Law is endangered by an avalanche of heretical Buddhist teachings, the Daishonin instructs us: “At such a time, one must set aside all other affairs and devote one’s attention to rebuking slander of the correct teaching. This is the practice of shakubuku” (WND-1, 126).
In light of this, to thoroughly rebuke the great slander of the Law that is being perpetrated by the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood is to practice Buddhism in a way that accords with the present time.” (My Dear Friends in America, p. 326)
Nichiren states: “Suppose there is an evil ruler who is bent upon destroying the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. In such a case, even at the cost of one’s life one must not obey him. And if there should be eminent priests who keep the precepts and practice religious austerities, and who appear to be spreading the teachings of the Lotus Sutra but are, in fact, subverting them, you should perceive the truth of the matter and reprimand them” (WND-1, 518).
Nichiren Daishonin wrote in 1277, two years before the inscription of the Dai-Gohonzon: “Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This Gohonzon also is found only in the two characters for faith. This is what the sutra means when it states that one can ‘gain entrance through faith alone.’” (WND–1, 832)
Nichiren Shoshu states: “The Gakkai says, ‘The Gohonzon exists within our mortal flesh’ but is that true?” (Refuting the Soka Gakkai’s Counterfeit Object of Worship, p.7)
“Is there any benefit in just worshipping a household Gohonzon and refusing to directly worship the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary? There is absolutely no benefit in refusing to visit the Dai-Gohonzon of the high sanctuary of the Essential Teachings and worshipping just a household Gohonzon, which is a transcription of that Dai-Gohonzon.” (p. 9)
Although the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood stresses a mandatory pilgrimage to receive benefit, Nichiren writes: “You must not come to visit me in person unless absolutely necessary. When you have something urgent to tell me, send a messenger.” (WND-1, 952)
SGI President Ikeda states: “It is not enough to merely be good-natured. It is necessary to be strict about matters regarding in faith. We must fight resolutely against anyone or anything that threatens to harm the Gakkai. Remember, “The voice does the Buddha’s work.” The way to protect the Gakkai is to boldly speak out with words of truth.” (Embracing Compassion: A Revolution in Leadership, vol. 2, p. 83)
Nichiren states: “If the lion is sleeping and you do not wake him, he will not roar. If the current is swift but you do not pull against it with your oar, no waves will rise up. If you do not accuse the thief to his face, he will remain unruffled; if you do not add fuel to the fire, it will not blaze up. In the same way, though there may be those who slander the Law, if no one comes forward to expose their error, then the government will continue for the time being on its regular course, and the nation will remain undisturbed.” (WND-1, 716)
In 1991 when Nikken excommunicated the SGI, SGI countries numbered 115. Today, the SGI is in over 192 countries and territories. Also, at that time, the number of academic degrees that President Ikeda had received from around the world was 15. Today it is over 300.
President Ikeda states: “When a movement imagines it can assume absolute, inviolable authority, it has stagnated. Then, though some of the original ideals may linger, the movement no longer has the vibrant power to realize them. Some people incorrectly interpret the mentor-disciple relationship as one of formalized superiority and submission. But, according to the Buddhist teachings, this should not be the case. The Buddhist philosophy that all are equally worthy of respect is no abstract doctrine. It must become the core of one’s own way of life. To truly achieve this in Buddhist practice, the disciple needs a mentor who is both a great teacher and a fellow pursuer of self-improvement. Herein lies the true mentor-disciple way. In the simplest terms, it is a relationship of equality between companions who share the will for self-improvement.” (Into Full Flower, pp. 111–112)
“The sanctioning of the object of worship by the High Priest is what makes the attainment of Buddhahood possible…”(Refuting the Soka Gakkai’s “Counterfeit Object of Worship”: 100 Questions and Answers, p. 8).
“No treasure tower exists other than the figures of the men and women who embrace the Lotus Sutra. Those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are themselves the treasure tower, and, likewise, are themselves the Thus Come One Many Treasures. No treasure tower exists other than Myoho-renge-kyo. The daimoku of the Lotus Sutra is the treasure tower, and the treasure tower is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo…“Abutsu-bo is the treasure tower itself, and the treasure tower is Abutsu-bo himself. No other knowledge is purposeful. You, yourself, are a Buddha who is originally enlightened.” (From On the Treasure Tower, WND-1, 299)
“One should accept what is clearly stated in the text of the sutras, but discard anything that cannot be supported by the text.”— Nichiren Daishonin(WND-1, 109)
In July 1998, Nichiren Shoshu needlessly destroyed the Sho-Hondo—the high sanctuary. On November 28, 1991 in the Notice of Excommunication signed and sent by high priest Nikken to President Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai it states: “Mr. Ikeda, in the shallowness of his vision, stated the following about the significance of the High Sanctuary of the Three Great Secret Laws of True Buddhism [Sho-Hondo], a matter of exceedingly great import to the Daishonin, our founding master: ‘The building of the High Sanctuary is nothing more than a mere formality. The truly important thing is that all people, all the masses, become happy’… Further, in their recent references to the significance of the Sho-Hondo, regardless of what they have indicated in various documents, Mr. Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai executive officers have given no indication of apology (reconsideration) or penitence for those errors.”
“What is most important is that, by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo alone, you can attain Buddhahood. It will no doubt depend on the strength of your faith. To have faith is the basis of Buddhism.” (“The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon,” WND-1, 832)
“Shakyamuni was a human being. He cautioned his followers against idealizing him. He indicated equality between himself and his followers by treating them like good friends. After his departure from life, however, some of his followers began elevating the human Shakyamuni and the concept of the Buddha to heights unattainable by ordinary people…. Undeniably, however, some monks were avid to deify Shakyamuni in order to enhance their own significance at having been his close associates. “Nichiren Daishonin strove to inspire a return to the founder’s original ideas. He summarized this attitude in the statement: ‘It is thought that Shakyamuni Buddha possesses the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent for the sake of all of us living beings, that is not so. On the contrary; it is common mortals who endow him with the three virtues.’ (WND-1. 384) Bold for its time, this statement was the starting point for a transition from the subordination of human beings to religion to the subordination of religion to human beings. This is the doctrine around which the Soka Gakkai movement for absolute humanism has evolved.” (Moral Lessons of the Twentieth Century, A Dialogue Between Daisaku Ikeda and Mikhail Gorbachev, p. 72)
Conditioned by centuries of government-sanctioned power over the lives of Japanese citizens, the Nichiren Shoshu clergy could not come to terms with the self-reliant, progressive lay believers of the Soka Gakkai. Eventually, it became clear to the priesthood that the self-empowering practice of Nichiren Buddhism precluded the priests’ control of the laity and its resources. The threat of excommunication was their last desperate attempt to seize control, and on November 28, 1991, they sent a Notice of Excommunication to the Soka Gakkai headquarters.
Although the Soka Gakkai was separate legally and organizationally from Nichiren Shoshu, second President Toda made sure that the Gakkai protected Nichiren Shoshu especially after World War II when the priesthood was destitute. This tradition of harmony between priesthood and laity was based on mutual devotion to kosen-rufu. However, Nichiren Shoshu had a tendency to become corrupt in faith, and as time went on, the younger priests took the support from the Gakkai for granted. They also envied the postwar affluent lifestyles they saw around them, and began to indulge themselves in pursuing personal pleasures, forgetting about the great objective of kosen-rufu. Occasionally, the Soka Gakkai would ask the administrators of Nichiren Shoshu to correct the disorderly lifestyles of priests, but this often resulted in ill-feelings. The priests viewed relations in terms of hierarchy and regarded the Gakkai as a mere lay organization.
“The history and doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu are filled with many myths. The word myth denotes something that is fictitious yet widely accepted. The Buddhist sutras and founder’s teachings constitute the foundation of any discussion in the world of Buddhism. Therefore, teachings that are not grounded in the original are viewed as myths.” —The Myths of Nichiren Shoshu,by Mikio Matsuoka, former Nichiren Shoshu priest— http://nichiren-shoshu.org/
What is the origin of the conflict between the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu priesthood? The origins and issues are deeply rooted in both Japanese religious culture dating back many centuries, and in human nature itself. Buddhism propounds the principle of the “oneness of good and evil”. Very simply, the potential for good and the potential for evil always exist simultaneously within all life. The religion or life-philosophy we base our lives on plays a significant role in which force—positive or negative—will dominate our thoughts, words and deeds. Practicing Nichiren Buddhism strengthens the positive force in life. However, the negative force, once displaced, seeks to re-establish itself. Buddhism accepts this tension between good and evil as part of the natural order of all things. This drama is especially evident in positions of authority when the temptations on human nature are especially strong. This is what happened to the priesthood. They succumbed to baser human emotions and began to view themselves in a superior manner contrary to the very teachings they professed to follow. This has happened repeatedly in the history of Buddhism and is, in fact, predicted in Buddhist scripture, especially the Lotus Sutra. At times like this, it is important to return to the teachings of Nichiren as the standard to discern right and wrong, good and evil. Ultimately, the power of good can always win as long as those who practice Buddhism remain courageous, united and true to the teachings. The SGI has proven that it is doing just that.
The idea set forth by the priesthood that practitioners must chant to a particular Gohonzon—that the priesthood owns—to gain the ultimate benefit is an obvious attempt to manipulate temple members and flies in the face of the Daishonin’s admonition, “Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself…. This Gohonzon also is found only in the two characters for faith…. What is most important is that, by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo alone, you can attain Buddhahood. It will no doubt depend on the strength of your faith. To have faith is the basis of Buddhism” (WND-1, 832). The priesthood’s emphasis on the Dai-Gohonzon, on what is external over what is internal, is contrary to the heart of Nichiren Buddhism.
Nichiren Shoshu states:
“The master gives his sanction to a disciple’s enlightenment…. The sanctioning of the object of worship by the High Priest, who is the only person to be bequeathed the Daishonin’s Buddhism, is what makes the attainment of Buddhahood possible….”(Refuting the Soka Gakkai’s “Counterfeit Object of Worship”: 100 Questions and Answers (West Hollywood: Nichiren Shoshu Temple, 1996), p. 8.)
Nichiren Daishonin states:
“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. No treasure tower exists other than Myoho-renge-kyo. Abutsu-bo is therefore the treasure tower itself, and the treasure tower is Abutsu-bo himself. No other knowledge is purposeful. You, yourself, are a Thus Come One who is originally enlightened.” (WND-1, 299)
In the 28th Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni concludes by giving clear direction, “Therefore Universal Worthy, if you see a person who accepts and upholds this sutra, you should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the same respect you would a Buddha” (LSOC28, 365). Nichiren Daishonin writes that the deepest meaning of the statement is that each person who practices the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law is a Buddha. President Ikeda states: “That point is the spirit of the entire Lotus Sutra. If one sees disciples with a direct connection in faith to the Daishonin who are dedicated to kosen-rufu, one should ‘rise and greet them from afar showing them the same respect one would a Buddha.’” (Living Buddhism, September 2000, p. 39)
“Only the worms that are born from the body of the lion itself will feed on the lion’s flesh. In the same waythe Buddha’s teachings cannot be destroyed by outside forces. But the evil monks who exist within the body of my teachings — they are the ones who will destroy these teachings that the Buddha has labored over and worked to establish.” —Nichiren (WND-1, 577)
Dr. Bryan Wilson, of Oxford University: “What emerges from the reactions of the priesthood to this openness to international cultures [of the Soka Gakkai] is the narrow parochialism which prevails within this closed religious caste, cut off from the currents of contemporary thought, and interpreting their spiritual inheritance as a limited and localized experience….Without these endeavors by Soka Gakkai, Nichiren Shoshu would have remained an obscure Japanese sect, unknown to the outside world, and perhaps of little significance even within Japan. In affirming Buddhism as a life-affirming religion, Soka Gakkai has rescued Japanese Buddhism from its preoccupations with funeral rites for the dead.”
Those who slander the Soka Gakkai have rendered no service in propagating the great Law and the cause of kosen-rufu. They have no appreciation toward for the efforts of the three presidents, and they have not fulfilled their responsibility to serve the members. They justcontinue to criticize this great organization, the Soka Gakkai International, to make themselves look big while, in fact, they are piteously empty. The more they criticize, the more the greatness of the Soka Gakkai will shine forth. The truth will become apparent with the passing of time. The “Teacher of the Law,” 10th chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads, “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the thus come one is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?” (LSOC, 203)
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) speaks to the future of priesthood: “
There will soon be no more priests. Their work is done. They may wait awhile. . perhaps a generation or two . . dropping off by degree. A superior breed shall take their place . . . A new order shall arise and they shall be the priests of man, and every man shall be his own priest . . . They shall arise in America and be responded to from the remainder of the earth.” (Walt Whitman. “Preface” from Leaves of Grass (1855). Complete Poetry and Collected Prose. New York: The Library of America, 1982. pp. 24-5)
“Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings…refers to living beings like ourselves. An ordinary person is a Buddha, and a Buddha, an ordinary person. This is what is meant by three thousand realms in a single moment of life” (WND-1, 36).
SGI President Ikeda writes: “Only in a world where truth and justice flourish can people freely bring forth their innate goodness. If, in contrast, philosophies or belief systems that deny the possibility of infinite human improvement prevail, misery and suffering will abound. When society and the times are in turmoil, the noblest and most honorable life is one committed to speaking out boldly for what is right. A famous English poet [Robert Browning] said, “Hold by the right, you double your might.”11 I have made these words one of my mottoes, engraving them in my heart in my youth and putting them into practice. Whenever I was buffeted by the raging waves and tempests of adversity, I held fast to what was right, to truth and justice, doubling my strength and triumphing over all” (Aug. 2012 Living Buddhism, p. 23).
Buddhism tells us that people will attempt to thwart our efforts for kosen-rufu—both from within and without our community of believers. This is not a case of criticizing or holding contrary opinions. The organization would wither without strenuous dialogue reflecting honest and differing views. We are talking about devious and manipulative behavior that is a genuine threat to the health of the organization, and thus to our movement for peace. SGI President Ikeda states: “Those who obstruct the advancement of the Soka Gakkai—an organization carrying out the Buddha’s will and decree—and inflict suffering on its members are far worse than any fearsome bandit” (September 23, 2005,World Tribune, p. IV).
Nichiren Shoshu is unique among the world’s religions in that they seek the destruction of the SGI—they in fact demanded that the SGI disband. After painstaking efforts to establish chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon as a worldwide practice that brought happiness to millions of people, the priesthood thought they could capitalize on those efforts for their own gain. As SGI President Ikeda states in his 2005 Peace Proposal: “Hiding behind their assumed authority as priests, the Nichiren Shoshu establishment sought to blind others to their corruption and degradation, and to crush and oppress the spirits of lay believers. For the members of the SGI, to have allowed ourselves to be cowed and defeated by this would have been to surrender our humanity. The implications of this controversy go beyond the scope of a single school of Buddhism. Rooted in the universal spirit of human dignity—that which we feel to be human—we believe it would be a disservice to humanity if we were to retreat on this issue.”
Nichiren Daishonin’s disappointment at the defilement instigated by the Tendai school was great. In referring to the dominant Buddhist schools of his time that he had convincingly discredited—Zen, Pure Land and True Word—Nichiren said this of the Tendai school: “And yet there is something that is more evil than these three teachings, so evil that it is a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million times more difficult to believe” (WND-1, 569). In other words, to propound distorted teachings without ever knowing the truth is one thing; but to know the truth and still propagate distorted teachings under the guise of truth is another thing altogether; hence, Nichiren’s outrage.
Nichikan writes: “When we accept and believe in this Gohonzon and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we ourselves become the object of devotion of three thousand realms in a single moment of life—that is, the sage Nichiren” (Nichikan shonin mondanshu[Commentaries of High Priest Nichikan], p. 548).
“‘Unless one perceives the nature of one’s life, one cannot eradicate one’s grave offenses.’ This passage implies that, unless one perceives the nature of one’s life, one’s practice will become an endless, painful austerity. Therefore, such students of Buddhism are condemned as non-Buddhist. Great Concentration and Insight states that, although they study Buddhism, their views are no different from those of non-Buddhists.” (WND-1, 4)
“It is the way of the great devil to assume the form of a venerable monk” (WND-1, 81)
“Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This Gohonzon also is found only in the two characters for faith. This is what the sutra means when it states that one can “gain entrance through faith alone. What is most important is that, by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo alone, you can attain Buddhahood. It will no doubt depend on the strength of your faith. To have faith is the basis of Buddhism.” —Nichiren Daishonin (“The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon,” WND-1, 832)
“Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter, states that the Latter Day of the Law will see the appearance of the three powerful enemies, including “many ignorant people who will curse and speak ill of [those who uphold the Lotus Sutra]” (LS-10, 193).
President Ikeda writes: “When all is said and done, faith is matter of overcoming self centeredness.” (NHR-9, 145)
“To 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.” (—Nichiren, “The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood,” WND-1, 747)
“T’ien-t’ai quotes Bodhisattva Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra which reads, ‘There are three kinds of self in common mortals: the deluded self, the arrogant self, and the original self.’ Self can be interpreted in many ways, but it is vital to grasp the nature of self. If it is a deluded or arrogant self, then the true spirit of Buddhism cannot enter into one’s life.”(—SGI President Ikeda, Selected Lectures on the Gosho, p. 272)
In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren states: “The place where the person upholds and honors the Lotus Sutra is the ‘place of practice’ to which the person proceeds. It is not that he leaves his present place and goes to some other place. The ‘place of practice’ is the place where the living beings of the Ten Worlds reside. And now the place where Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, ‘whether… in mountain valleys or the wide wilderness’ (chapter twenty-one, Supernatural Powers), these places are all the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light” (p. 192).
“Shakyamuni … the Lotus Sutra … and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another” (WND-1, 216).
In “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” Nichiren writes: “Though it is thought that Shakyamuni Buddha possesses the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent for the sake of all of us living beings, that is not so. On the contrary, it is common mortals who endow him with the three virtues” (WND-1, 384). This passage describes a shift from an authoritarian to a humanistic, people-centered religion. -SGI President Ikeda (Lectures On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime, pp. 11-12)
“Both teacher and followers will surely fall into the hell of incessant suffering if they see enemies of the Lotus Sutra but disregard them and fail to reproach them. To 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.” (WND-1, 747)
It is easy to point out Nikken’s errors or his slanderous behavior toward Buddhism. But it is extremely difficult to transform the underlying cultural base upon which Nikken stands or the human tendencies that allow authoritarian, priest-centered religion to thrive. For this reason, we must now go beyond refuting Nikken alone. Our challenge that began with the Nikken sect has entered a new phase, one in which we must endeavor to reform the spiritual soil of humanity at the fundamental level.
“The Buddha took no measures to correct those who slander the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, because while he was in the world there were no such persons. But in the Latter Day of the Law the formidable enemies of the single vehicle are everywhere in sight. Now is the time to benefit the world in the same manner as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. You who are my disciples, each of you should work diligently at this, work diligently at this!” (“On Reprimanding Hachiman,” WND-2, 936)
Correct faith is grounded in the realization that ‘Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment countless kalpas ago, the Lotus Sutra that leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another’ (WND-1, 216)
The French author George Sand (1804-76) wrote: “To call attention to an evil is to combat it.” Please don’t ignore evil or injustice when you see it. Such inaction makes you complicit in wrongdoing. This was also the teaching of President Makiguchi. —SGI President Ikeda
On March 29, 1958, at Taiseki Temple, hearing a report of corruption and abuse happening within Nichiren Shoshu, Soka Gakkai President Toda told Daisaku Ikeda, “For that reason, you must fight adamantly against any evil that takes root within the priesthood. Do you hear me? You must never retreat a single step. Never slacken in your struggle against such evil.” Toda passed away four days later. (The Human Revolution, vol. 2, p. 1911)
“Priests should learn about faith from the Soka Gakkai! You priests were frightened by the persecutions befalling President Makiguchi and slandered him! You are cowards who forsook the Law and abandoned President Makiguchi! If you wish to repent your offenses, you should join us, revere President Makiguchi’s will, and follow the teachings of the Buddha.” President Toda, November 1946, Value Creation)
People who believe they cannot change for the better – who deny their own potential – act in one of two ways. First, they may give up their power, feeling no hope of controlling their destiny and thus assigning that control to others. Second, they may become arrogant. Because they inwardly do not believe they can improve, they try to justify themselves as they are to convince themselves and others of their greatness. By trying to gain power over others, they avoid looking at their own shortcomings, which they despise. They interpret others’ deference toward them as affirming their own greatness. Actually, the creation of any type of tyranny or authoritarian system requires the existence of both types of people.
Nikko Shonin’s 26 Admonitions:
17. Do not follow even the high priest if he goes against the Buddha’s Law and propounds his own views.
Nikko Shonin’s inclusion of this article among the twenty-six admonitions clearly demonstrates that he did not think that the high priest was infallible. On the contrary, we can infer that Nikko Shonin was concerned about the emergence of the kind of high priests who should not be followed.
“The most important thing in practicing the Buddhist teachings is to follow and uphold the Buddha’s golden words, not the opinions of others.” Nichiren Daishonin (WND-1, 393)
“Some Nichiren Shoshu priests had forgotten that the power of the Gohonzon can be revealed in one’s daily life . . . until President Makiguchi discussed it. They were astonished at what he brought out, and I am dumbfounded that many of them have since pretended that they have known this principle very well for quite some time. Also, some priests are not yet aware of this principle. I am saddened rather than surprised by their ignorance.” (President Toda, July, 1951 “The History and Conviction of the Soka Gakkai,” August 1992 Seikyo Times)
“Priests in the Latter Day of the Law are ignorant of the principles of Buddhism and are conceited, so they despise the correct teacher and fawn on patrons. True priests are those who are honest and who desire little and yet know satisfaction.” Nichiren Daishonin (WND-1, 747)
When people view religion as an external authority and religious truth as superior to human beings then universal human values such as respect for life, human equality and empathy for others become secondary and are easily compromised.
There are two kinds of wisdom, correct and perverse. No matter how wise a person may appear, if his assertions are warped you should not listen to him. Nor should you follow priests merely because they are venerable or of high rank. Nichiren Daishonin (WND-1, 1028)
Nichiren Buddhism is about empowering the individual. It is a process of developing self-reliant faith. Therefore, our tendency to defer or submit to authority, particularly religious authority, is contrary to the intent of Nichiren Buddhism.
“One should abandon even one’s teacher if he or she is misguided, though there will be cases where this is not necessary. One should decide according to the principles both of the world and of Buddhism. Priests in the Latter Day of the Law are ignorant of the principles of Buddhism and are conceited, so they despise the correct teacher and fawn on patrons. True priests are those who are honest and who desire little and yet know satisfaction. (WND-1, 747)
“While we may think that we are praying to the Dai-Gohonzon outside us, when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo believing in the Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws, the Dai-Gohonzon in fact dwells within our own life. This is a most wondrous teaching.” (Collected Writings of Josei Toda, vol. 6, p. 608.)