Volume 4, No. 2 (Part 2)
June 13, 1994
On June 28, 1992, you gave a lecture at Myosetsu-ji temple. Following the lecture, you met with an SGI member and made statements along the following lines: “The Gosho is not for everyone to use. It is arrogant for you to think you understand the Gosho. It [the Gosho] is not for everyone. The Daishonin did not write these letters for everyone. People who received Gosho did not show them to anyone …. It is arrogant that Soka Gakkai members carry the Gosho and quote from it one sentence here and one sentence there as if they understand it.”
The “Twenty-Six Admonitions of Nikko,” written on Jan. 13, 1333, were left by the second high priest for all people, “for the sake of eternal protection and salvation” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1619).
The third admonition reads as follows: “There will [in the future] appear persons who slander our school, saying that the Gosho are forged writings. You must not associate with such evil priests.”
The 11th admonition reads: “Followers of this school should engrave the teachings of the Gosho in their lives and thereby inherit the ultimate principles expounded by the Master …. ”
Can you, as a priest of the same school, declare that you are practicing Buddhism in accordance with Nikko Shonin’s guidelines?
The 65th high priest, Nichijun Shonin, made clear that these were admonishments of the tendency then prevalent to consider the Daishonin’s teachings from the standpoint of T?ien-t?ai’s doctrine. He made the point as follows: “The Daishonin’s teachings are determined in every respect by the Daishonin’s Gosho.”
With the great desire to achieve kosen-rufu and save all humanity, Nikko Shonin said to “engrave the Gosho in your hearts,” and Nichijun Shonin as well said to “decide everything based on the Gosho.”
Taking these words to heart, SGI members reconfirm the importance of the Gosho on a daily basis and exert our utmost efforts in studying the Gosho. However, your statement on June 28, 1992, absolutely goes against the admonitions of Nikko Shonin and the guidance of Nichijun Shonin, and above all, the spirit of the Daishonin. As a priest, how do you reconcile your statement with the words of your masters, Nikko Shonin and Nichijun Shonin? Please answer.
Quoting from a passage in the Shintei Gosho, Nichiren Shoshu Ceremonies states that: “The deceased rely on the benefits of offerings from their relatives. So you should offer your benefit to them to relieve their suffering” (Shintei Gosho, vol. 1, p. 72).
In your lecture on Feb. 21, 1993, at a memorial service, you quoted a paragraph from the book Nichiren Shoshu Ceremonies (p. 86) and stated: “By having a memorial service performed, a person can prolong his own life and accumulate tremendous benefits. He will foresee the future and will gradually be free of suffering and hardship.”
Furthermore, in the “NST Newsletter” of September 1993, the statement is made: “even if you have the internal cause of faith, if you separate yourself from Myosetsu-ji Temple, or external relation, you…are likely to be defeated by your environment and go taiten.”
As the Daishonin’s disciples, we would like to ask you some fundamental questions about faith, and how it is that we attain enlightenment. We are aware that our enlightenment is achieved through the power of the Buddha and the power of the Law which are inherent in the Gohonzon, and the powers of faith and practice within ourselves. It is not in the least dependent on either a third party or an outside force.
In the Gosho “On Attaining Buddhahood,” the Daishonin states:
However, even though you chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the Mystic Law but some inferior teaching. “Inferior teachings” means those other than this sutra, which are all provisional and transient. No provisional teaching leads directly to enlightenment, and without the direct path to enlightenment, you cannot attain Buddhahood, even if you practice lifetime after lifetime for countless aeons. Attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime is then impossible. (MW-1, 3-4)
In light of this Gosho, there are clear errors to be seen in material distributed at Myosetsu-ji temple. According to what you stated, whether or not we can attain enlightenment seems to depend on the toba service and other offerings. But do fundamentals of the Buddhist practice lie anywhere other than in exerting ourselves in faith, practice and study?
The passage in the Nichiren Shoshu Ceremonies book, “The deceased rely on the benefits of offerings from their relatives …. ” is quoted from “In Praise of the Ten Kings in the Showa Shintei Nichiren Daishonin Gosho, vol. 1, and attributed in your handout to Nichiren Daishonin. However, Nichiko Shonin, the outstanding scholar of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, deliberately omitted this writing from the Gosho Zenshu. Are you aware that it has been demonstrated from a scholarly standpoint that this writing, “In Praise of the Ten Kings,” is fraudulent (i.e., not written by the Daishonin)? If you are, the intention of including such writings can be said to lie in your desire to enslave believers to the temple and collect contributions by playing on the believers? fear of death and their longings for deceased relatives.
Also, please explain why and how a toba service will enable a person to foresee the future.
It is stated in the September 1993 issue of NST Newsletter, “[I]f you separate yourself from Myosetsu-ji Temple, or external relation, you…are likely to be defeated by your environment and go ?taiten?.” What is the doctrinal basis for this statement? Does this mean that practitioners of the Daishonin’s Buddhism who live in places where it is virtually impossible to visit a temple are condemned never to become enlightened in this lifetime? Please clarify this point based on the Gosho.
In the study material entitled “Myosetsu-ji Temple Oko Ceremony, The Person and the Law” dated Nov. 21, 1993, it is stated: “If you think of those of us who chant to the Gohonzon as birds, and the Dai-Gohonzon as Mount Sumeru, then you can understand this Gosho passage: ?Birds which draw near to Mount Sumeru turn golden in color…? (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1536). The Mount Sumeru here is the head temple, Taiseki-ji.”
Regarding the significance of tozan (making a pilgrimage to the head temple) in the present day, you quoted a Gosho passage, “Those who visit this place can instantly expiate the sins they have committed from the infinite past…” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1578).
You have intentionally interpreted “Mount Sumeru” or “this place” to mean only Taiseki-ji, with the goal of encouraging members to go on tozan. However, in the same Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin stresses the importance of faith and embracing the Lotus Sutra. He in no way implies that being in or going to a specific place is of itself an expression of faith. Please clarify your views on this point.
Nittatsu Shonin gave very clear guidance on this point: “The Gohonzon enshrined in your altar is, itself, the life of Nichiren Daishonin” (Sept. 7, 1962, in Odawara).
The current high priest, Nikken, made this very clear in his own lecture on Nov. 20, 1979:
When we revere our founder, Nichiren Daishonin, as the original Buddha existing from time without beginning who appears in the “Juryo” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, and when we chant daimoku morning and evening, diligently, with single-minded faith, whether before the Dai-Gohonzon of the high sanctuary of True Buddhism, which is the embodiment of his life, or before the Gohonzon enshrined in each followers? homes, which are the emanations of that Dai-Gohonzon, there is no doubt that we will definitely attain Buddhahood in our present form.
The Daishonin wrote to his follower, Lord Matsuno, whom he had never met:
How is it that you can have faith in Nichiren, though you have never met him? It is, no doubt, the result of good causes you have planted in your life in the past. You are certain to attain Buddhahood in your next life. (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1379)
The Daishonin praised Lord Matsuno’s faith and declared that Lord Matsuno would definitely “attain Buddhahood” in his next life.
Again, in the Gosho, it is stated: “The place where those who practice the Lotus Sutra dwell is itself the Pure Land. Why should one bother to search for it elsewhere?” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 72).
All the above passages attest to the fact that faith based on the Dai-Gohonzon, and one’s physical presence in front of the Dai-Gohonzon have no relation to one another; practice for others with a selfless spirit and strong faith to promote kosen-rufu is indeed “faith based on the Dai-Gohonzon.” What is your view on this?
On the other hand, one lacking in faith cannot be said to be practicing “based on the Dai-Gohonzon,” even if seated directly in front of it.
As we have pointed out in this letter, Taiseki-ji has become a realm of slander, due to the misguided views of the high priest and of priests like yourself. Nikko Shonin states in the “Twenty-Six Admonitions of Nikko,” “You should not sit together with slanderers of the Law at religious ceremonies, for fear of suffering the same punishment as they” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1618).
Elsewhere, he says, “If we do not disavow those evil teachers who go against Nichiren Daishonin, we will be committing an offense ourselves” (Hennentai Gosho, p. 1734).
Further, in the “Rissho Ankoku Ron,” Nichiren Daishonin states: “[Y]ou must never give alms to a person who has slandered the Law” (MW-2, 38).
Now that the head temple has become infested with slanderers, going on tozan without remonstrating with the current high priest is tantamount to accepting slander. What is your view on this?
At the Hokkeko General Meeting held at Myosetsu-ji on Sept. 19, 1993, you publicly stated that conferral of the Gohonzon by the SGI is “the greatest slander committed in the 700-year history of Nichiren Shoshu.” Additionally, in the “NST News Special Issue” which you distributed, it is stated that Honorary President Ikeda and his Soka Gakkai were “Thieves of the Law.” It is further stated that due to their act of conferring the Gohonzon, the Soka Gakkai has severed its ties to the Dai-Gohonzon, and has become a heretical religious organization that is removed from the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin.
The Soka Gakkai began to confer Gohonzon on believers throughout the world after receiving a sincere and passionate offer from the Rev. Narita of Joen-ji temple in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. The Rev. Narita offered the use of Nichikan Shonin’s Gohonzon, which is in possession of Joen-ji temple, as the basis for Okatagi Gohonzon. Needless to say, the Gohonzon that Nichikan Shonin transcribed is an exact replica of the Dai-Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin on the “twelfth day of the tenth month in the second year of Koan,” and bestowed upon all people. We wonder how you can make such a statement in public, with full knowledge of the fact that this Gohonzon is an exact image of that transcribed by the 26th high priest of Nichiren Shoshu, who restored Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings to the center of Nichiren Shoshu and lived his life based totally on the Dai-Gohonzon! Please give clear, concrete evidence to support your denial of the legitimacy of this Gohonzon and your claim that this Gohonzon transcribed by Nichikan Shonin is counterfeit.
Underlying the conferral of the Gohonzon is the profound compassion of the Daishonin, who inscribed his enlightenment to the Mystic Law for the sake of ordinary people in eternal ages to come, and left it for all to worship. His spirit is clear for all to see:
Showing profound compassion for those ignorant of the gem of ichinen sanzen, the True Buddha wrapped it within the single phrase Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, with which he then adorned the necks of those living in the Latter Day. (MW-1, 82)
If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity …. (MW-4, 272)
When considering which person or organization is “qualified” to confer the Gohonzon, the fundamental criterion must be the degree to which that person or organization acts in accord with this spirit of the Daishonin’s spirit.
It is clear that only the SGI, the organization which received the inheritance of faith from Nichiren Daishonin, possesses the qualification to spread the law for the sake of the enlightenment of all people in the Latter Day of the Law. In the “Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” the Daishonin states simply and plainly that faith is the only way to be part of this heritage:
Be resolved to summon forth the great power of your faith, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the prayer that your faith will be steadfast and correct at the moment of your death. Never seek any other way to inherit the ultimate law and manifest it in your life. Only then will you realize that earthly desires are enlightenment and the sufferings of life and death are nirvana. Without the lifeblood of faith, it would be useless to embrace the Lotus Sutra. (MW-1, 25)
When one considers who it is that has brought kosen-rufu, the Daishonin’s will, to over 115 countries around the world and over 16 million members, it is clear who has truly inherited the teachings from the Daishonin, is it not?
In the “Rissho Ankoku Ron,” the Daishonin states:
The Lotus Sutra says: “There will be monks in that evil age with perverse views and hearts that are fawning and crooked who will say they have attained what they have not attained, being proud and boastful in heart. Or there will be forest-dwelling monks wearing clothing of patched rags and living in retirement who will claim they are practicing the true Way, despising and looking down on the rest of mankind. Greedy for profit and nourishment, they will preach the Dharma to white-robed laymen and will be respected and revered by the world as though they were arhats who possess the six supernatural powers…. Constantly they will go about among the populace, seeking in this way to slander us. They will address the rulers, high ministers, Brahmans and great patrons of Buddhism as well as the other monks, slandering and speaking evil of us, saying ?These are men of perverted views who preach the doctrines of heretical sects?… In a muddied kalpa, in an evil age there will be many different things to fear. Demons will take possession of others and through them curse, revile and heap shame on us …. The evil monks of that muddied age, failing to understand the Buddha’s expedient means, how he preaches the Dharma in accord with what is appropriate, will confront us with foul language and angry frowns; again and again we will be banished” …. If we do not admonish the evil monks, how can we hope to do good? (MW-2, 15-16)
The Daishonin further states in the “Shijuku-in Gosho”:
Ignorant and simple-minded people have failed to look to the clear, correct dictates of the sutras and have vainly believed instead in the secret transmissions that have been orally handed down from mentor to disciple. Though they claim to be practicing the prayer of the “secret Law,” there is no real proof of its efficacy.
So it is that Heaven and Earth show signs of strange natural disasters, and catastrophes are rife in our land. It is all because true Buddhism is not distinguished from false Buddhism and wise priests are not distinguished from foolish ones. (Gosho Zenshu, p. 848)
The priesthood, insisting on erroneous views of an empty “heritage” and “high priest worship,” has become a heretical Buddhist sect, completely opposed to the Daishonin’s teachings. The time has come for the New York Youth Division of the SGI-USA, who are the direct disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, to rise up and crush the false teachings of Nikken and people like you, Mr. Nagasaka, who blindly follow him.
We insist upon your sincere response to this questionnaire by April 28, 1994.