Volume 4, No. 2 (Part 1) –
June 13, 1994
Letters: The New York Youth Division’s Challenge to the Myosetsu-ji Temple Chief Priest
In February of this year, a small group of youth division members in New York awakened to a deep resolve. This was to defeat the intentions of one particular priest who, through groundless accusations, lies, rumor and distorted interpretations of Buddhism, has been seeking to arouse fear and suspicion in the hearts of SGI members.
The youths’ determination grew out of concerted prayer and effort to meet and talk with many of those who had either been influenced by or succumbed to the deceptions of this priest. The format they decided upon was that of an open letter, requesting that the priest, Jisei Nagasaka, account and provide written support for his many statements distorting the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin.
Initially, they had envisioned the letter to be brief, but as more people involved themselves in the effort and the breadth of Nagasaka’s misstatements and ill intent became more obvious, it expanded into a more lengthy challenge on many specific points.
By writing this open letter, the youth hoped to make public Nagasaka’s erroneous statements and refute them in a precise way based on the Three Proofs of Buddhism – documentary, reason, and actual fact – so that they could leave a clear record of the rightness of the SGI and its practice.
At the same time, they hoped to illuminate the real intention of Nikken and his supporters like Mr. Nagasaka, so that those following them might have opportunity to rethink their position.
In this issue of ‘The SGI-USA Newsletter’ we print, unedited, the open letter by the New York youth division followed by Mr. Nagasaka’s reply. Next week, a response by the New York youth, in which they ask the priest to face them in open debate, and Mr. Nagasaka’s letter rejecting the debate will be published.
The language of the letter may seem harsh or cutting. But this is an expression of the passionate conviction of the writers in addressing someone who, they are fully convinced, is knowingly engaged in deceit.
In the Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin states, ‘When an evil ruler in consort with heretical priests tries to destroy true Buddhism and banish a man of wisdom, those with the heart of a lion will surely attain Buddhahood as Nichiren did’ (MW-1, 35).
The youth of SGI-USA New York, in preparing these letters and in their courage to engage in tenacious study and dialogue, have clearly manifested the ‘heart of a lion.’ We applaud their bold efforts and celebrate with them proof of their victory.
April 2, 1994
Mr. Jisei Nagasaka
143-63 Beach Avenue
Flushing, New York 11355-2176
Dear Mr. Nagasaka:
THE golden words of the Gosho state: ‘This entire world is the place where Myoho-renge-kyo should be spreadŸ. The sutra states, ‘Ÿpropagate this Law throughout the world, causing its benefits to spread far and wide, and never allow its flow to ceaseŸ” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 717).
In December 1990, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood deliberately dismissed SGI President Ikeda. This action was taken in spite of President Ikeda’s exerting utmost efforts for the sake of kosen-rufu from his position as head of all lay believers. The priesthood has also suspended Soka Gakkai pilgrimages to the head temple, stopped the conferral of Gohonzon to Soka Gakkai members, and urged that the Soka Gakkai be dissolved. This string of events culminated in the one-sided excommunication of 16 million Nichiren Shoshu lay believers as of Nov. 28, 1991.
It is now clear that these successive actions against the Soka Gakkai were taken based on a plot called ‘Operation C,’ which was elaborately and minutely prepared by the priesthood centering on the high priest, Nikken. The evidence of a facsimile sent by former Overseas Division Secretary Kido Fukuda, as well as the Kawabe memo, which came to light earlier this year, provides irrefutable proof of this. Is there any doubt that these unjust actions of the priesthood are manifestations of great evil, aimed at the destruction of true Buddhism? The Gosho states:
‘If even a good priest sees someone slandering the Law and disregards him, failing to reproach him, to oust him or to punish him for his offense, then that priest is betraying Buddhism. But if he takes the slanderer severely to task, drives him off or punishes him, then he is my disciple and one who truly understands my teachings.’ (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 30)
The youth division of the SGI-USA in New York absolutely refuse to tolerate any evil conduct that obstructs the sublime flow of worldwide kosen-rufu, the will of Nichiren Daishonin.
We cannot ignore the fact that you, as a priest, far from finding fault with Nikken’s evil conduct, insist on his infallibility. Furthermore, through your own commentary, your lectures at the Myosetsu-ji temple, as well as temple publications, you are deceiving Hokkeko members by teaching distortions and falsehoods about the history of Nichiren Shoshu and Nichiren Daishonin’s doctrines. Article 17 of the ‘Twenty-Six Admonitions of Nikko’ reads:
Do not follow even the high priest if he goes against the Buddha’s law and propounds his own views. (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1618)
Is it not time for you to acknowledge your own misguided views and to remonstrate with Nikken for his slanderous acts? SGI representatives have spoken with you several times in the past, but these discussions have been inconclusive. We have also twice requested an open debate, to which you never responded. Therefore, we would like to refute your views of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, using what you have said at lectures and what has been published in the ‘Myosetsu-ji Temple News,’ ‘NST News,’ ‘The Nichiren Shoshu’ and other materials for whose distribution you were responsible.
1. Refute the concept of the infallibility of the high priest, based on the ‘mysterious’ heritage of the lifeblood.
2. Point out your deviations from the correct teaching of Nichiren Daishonin and distortions of the Gosho.
3. Clarify the real premise of faith based on the Gohonzon.
The Daishonin established his standard for right and wrong as follows: ‘One should accept what is clearly stated in the text of the sutras, but discard anything that cannot be supported by the text’ (MW-5, 65). All the refutations in this letter are based on documentary proof. We request that you sincerely and clearly respond, in writing, to each point laid out below, by April 28, 1994.
Should you fail to respond by the deadline, we will consider this as an admission that you have been distorting doctrine and history, opposing the will of Nichiren Daishonin, and committing profound slander. This is truly disgraceful for someone in the position of chief priest.
This letter will be made widely available to all SGI members, as well as the Hokkeko members of Myosetsu-ji temple.
SGI-USA New York Youth Division
19 Union Square West
New York, New York 10003
I. THE HERITAGE AND INFALLIBILITY OF THE HIGH PRIEST
At Myosetsu-ji on March 24, 1991, in response to a question from an SGI member, you said in summary that there is no distinction between an ordinary priest and a lay believer, but that one does exist between the high priest and other people. You continued that the high priest has inherited the life of Nichiren Daishonin, so attaining a state of life that the wisdom of common mortals can never know. He therefore has the ability to transcribe the Gohonzon.
In the ‘Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,’ the Daishonin states:
Shakyamuni who attained enlightenment countless aeons ago, the Lotus Sutra which leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from each other. Therefore, to chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate law of life and death. (MW-1, 22)
The Daishonin shows clearly here that there is no distinction between the Buddha and the people, and that to chant with this realization is itself the heritage of the ultimate Law of life. Therefore, your claim that the high priest’s life-condition far surpasses that of sincere believers is directly opposed to the Daishonin’s true teachings.
Please give us the doctrinal justification for your assertion.
The ‘Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life’ continues, ‘To carry on this heritage is the most important task for Nichiren’s disciples, and that is precisely what it means to embrace the Lotus Sutra’ (MW-1, 22).
If you deny the Daishonin’s intent as expressed here, could one not conclude that you, completely lacking in understanding of this heritage, are not ’embracing the Lotus Sutra’?
Further on in this Gosho, the Daishonin says, ‘The heritage of the Lotus Sutra flows within the lives of those who never forsake it in any lifetime whatsoever – whether in the past, the present or the future’ (MW-1, 23).
You and the current priesthood who believe in the infallibility of the high priest, and insist on the heritage of the ultimate law of life based on a discriminatory view, neither believe in nor practice the essence of what the Daishonin left for his disciples. Since the teachings of your school of Buddhism are far removed from those of the Daishonin, we hereby conclude that you have broken the heritage of the law of life.
On page 147 (lines 4-9) of the ‘NST News Special Issue’ – Soka Gakkai Announces Issuance of Counterfeit Gohonzons – of Sept. 7, 1993, it is stated:
In short, Nichikan Shonin taught that the Buddhism of the Heritage of the Law means chanting Daimoku with faith in the Three Treasures, which are the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin (Treasure of the Buddha), the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary (Treasure of the Law) and Nikko Shonin and the successive high priests (Treasure of the Priest). According to Nichikan Shonin himself, this is the direct path to attaining enlightenment. (p. 147)
As you know, Nichikan Shonin states in chapter 3, ‘Shodaihen,’ of the Toryu Gyoji Sho (On the Practices of This School):
The Treasure of the Priest from time without beginning is the founding high priest. (Rokkan Sho)
The ‘NST News’ has deliberately altered Nichikan Shonin’s definition of the Treasure of the Priest, seeking to make all high priests into objects of unquestioned reverence. We, the New York Youth Division of the SGI-USA, insist that you, as the representative of Nichiren Shoshu in New York, acknowledge this alteration, and explain why this was done.
The ‘NST News Special Issue’ – Soka Gakkai Announces Issuance of Counterfeit Gohonzons – The Circumstances and Correct Doctrinal Perspective From Nichiren Shoshu, of Sept. 7, 1993, quotes a passage from the Gosho ‘On the True Cause’ as documentary proof of the sole inheritance of the lifeblood by the high priests. The passage in question reads:
[The documents of] this HeritageŸandŸthe essential matters of the Gohonzon are documents of the Transmission of the Law from Nichiren to the successive master [sic] of the seat of the Law. They concern the Transmission bestowedŸat the Treasure Tower, the Transmission of the Heritage of the Law exclusively from one to the next. (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, vol. 1 p. 8)
This passage is not the words of the Daishonin or Nikko Shonin; it was added on later by another person. The 59th high priest, Nichiko Shonin, who spent his life doing exhaustive research on the Gosho and its veracity, said that the aforementioned passage in ‘On the True Cause’ was added to this Gosho at a later date. The intention of NST in using this passage lies in its desire to insist that important Gosho, such as ‘On the True Cause’ and other ‘secret’ transmissions relating to the Gohonzon, such as ‘Seven Documents of Inheritance About the Gohonzon,’ have been transmitted only through successive high priests.
These Gosho are not ‘secret teachings’ that have only been known to successive high priests. In fact, the original manuscript of ‘On the True Cause’ does not exist; Nichiko Shonin compiled it based on a copy made by the sixth high priest, Nichiji Shonin, and other copies made and preserved at temples of heretical Nichiren sects (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, vol. 1, p. 33). Despite the fact that Nichiko Shonin had to refer to copies of this Gosho held by heretical Nichiren sects, Nichiren Shoshu seems to claim exclusive possession of them.
Since all of the Daishonin’s Gosho and ‘secret teachings’ have been published, no ‘secret teachings’ exist that are known exclusively to the high priest in particular, or to the priesthood in general.
As stated before, the passage in ‘On the True Cause’ was deemed to have been added at a later date, and therefore does not constitute documentary proof of Nikken’s view that only high priests inherit the law of life inherent in the Gohonzon. Since the passage in ‘On the True Cause’ you used as documentary basis has been lost and cannot be attributed to either the Daishonin or Nikko Shonin, you should admit your error without delay, should you not?
At the urabon ceremony on July 12, 1992, after having distributed English material explaining the urabon ceremony, you stated in the course of your lecture that the current high priest, Nikken, is the ‘only doctor’ who can ‘save many people’ and ‘relieve them of their suffering.’
The current priesthood denies the faith of SGI that ‘directly connects’ to the Daishonin. In its place, the priesthood has created the heretical doctrine of ‘absolute faith in the high priest,’ which goes against the teaching of the Daishonin. Thus, the priesthood has become nothing but a group of slanderers. Nikko Shonin gave a clear guideline for future generations stating, ‘Do not follow even the high priest if he goes against the Buddha’s law and propounds his own views’ (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1618). Clearly there is no room for an ‘absolute’ high priest in the above statement. If the high priest is absolute and infallible, then this kind of admonition is unnecessary, is it not? Are you aware of this admonition by Nikko Shonin? Please respond.
The essence of this Buddhism is to ‘directly connect’ to Nichiren Daishonin. The Gosho states:
Nichiren and his followers who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo all reside together in the Treasure Land. Those who are ‘together with Nichiren’ will arrive at the Treasure Land, while those who are not will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. (Gosho Zenshu, p. 734)
This Gosho teaches the importance of being ‘together with Nichiren.’ Further, the Daishonin taught us to ‘rely on the Law and not upon persons’ (MW-5, 213), and that ‘The Buddha taught us to rely on the sutras if the Buddhist teachers should be in error’ (MW-5, 213) and in another Gosho the Daishonin states: ‘The most important thing in practicing Buddhism is to follow and uphold the Buddha’s golden teachings, not the opinions of others’ (MW-1, 102).
Based on the above, how can you put Nikken on the same level as the Daishonin? Please give us documentary proof using the Daishonin’s teachings for your assertion.
The Daishonin states his conviction as the true Buddha in the following quote:
There can be no room to doubt that I, Nichiren, am the foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra in all of Japan. Indeed, from this we may assume that, even in China and India and throughout the world, there is no one who can stand side by side with me. (MW-3, 163)
Here the Daishonin shows everyone that he alone is the one who possesses the power to save all people. He gave concrete form to his inner enlightenment as the Dai-Gohonzon. In so doing, the Daishonin showed us ordinary people the way to conquer our weaknesses, change our destiny and overcome sufferings through our strong prayers to the Gohonzon. The Daishonin makes it crystal clear to us that this is the case:
A hand which takes [the Lotus Sutra] up immediately attains enlightenment, and a mouth which chants it instantly enters Buddhahood. (MW-4, 305-06)[T]he sutra states, ‘Among those who hear of this Law, there is not one who shall not attain Buddhahood.’ This passage means that if there are a hundred or a thousand people who embrace this sutra, without a single exception all one hundred or one thousand of them will become Buddhas. (MW-4, 306)
He further states:
The most important thing is to chant only Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and attain enlightenment. All depends on the strength of your faith. To have faith is the basis of Buddhism. (MW-1, 214)
Nowhere in these passages is it stated that one cannot attain enlightenment without the high priest. On the contrary, the Daishonin states, ‘If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the EarthŸ’ (MW-1, 93). In other words, the Daishonin declared that those of us who exert ourselves for the sake of kosen-rufu based on faith are Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
Can we not change our own karma through our own faith in the Gohonzon? Why is it that without the power of the high priest we cannot overcome our suffering? Please justify the priesthood’s insistence that without the high priest, one cannot attain enlightenment.
At the oko lecture held at Myosetsu-ji on March 17, 1991, you said that each high priest has the same enlightenment and diamond-like life-condition as Nichiren Daishonin, and that this life-condition has been transferred from one vessel to another.
Referring to the ‘Two Documents of Inheritance From Nichiren Daishonin to Nikko Shonin,’ you said that one of them states, ‘I am going to transfer my life into yours,’ and that this proved that Nikken possesses the life condition of the Buddha.
At the gojukai ceremony conducted at Myosetsu-ji on March 28, 1993, you objected to SGI’s call to ‘return to the Daishonin’s era’ and ‘directly connect to the Daishonin,’ and stated that since Nikken has inherited the life-condition of Nichiren Daishonin, Nikken is the current Daishonin. Further quoting joju shi seppo (‘I am always here in this place, preaching the Law’) in the ‘Nyorai Juryo Bon’ (16th chapter) of the Lotus Sutra, you declared Nikken to be the current Daishonin and that as such, Nikken is always here, preaching the law.
The Daishonin’s ‘Ongi Kuden’ (Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings) states regarding joju shi seppo:
‘Always here’ means any place where the votary of the Lotus Sutra livesŸ. ‘This place’ means the mountains, valleys and plains of the saha worldŸ. ‘Preaching the law’ is to preach of the wisdom inherent in the words and voices of all peopleŸin the Latter Day of the Law, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the act of ‘preaching the law’ for Nichiren and his followers. (Gosho Zenshu, p. 756)
The votary of the Lotus Sutra referred to in the above passage means the Daishonin in particular. However, in general, this concept includes people who embrace the Three Great Secret Laws and exert themselves for the sake of kosen-rufu in exact accordance with the Daishonin’s will.
Further documentary proof for the above can be seen in a passage in ‘The True Entity of Life’:
No matter what, maintain your faith as a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and forever exert yourself as Nichiren’s disciple. If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth. And since you are a Bodhisattva of the Earth, there is not the slightest doubt that you have been a disciple of the Buddha from the remotest past. (MW-1, 93)
A passage in ‘The Opening of the Eyes’ states, ‘If there exists a votary of the Lotus Sutra, then the three types of enemies are bound to exist as well’ (MW-2, 195).
These quotes describe the qualifications of a votary of the Lotus Sutra. In short, those who exert themselves in propagating the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law in the face of the three powerful enemies are, in general, the votary of the Lotus Sutra. Accordingly, the above passage from the ‘Ongi Kuden’ (Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings) refers to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth residing in the secular world in the Latter Day of the Law, who promote kosen-rufu in accordance with the Daishonin’s will, in the face of the three powerful enemies. Further on in the ‘Ongi Kuden,’ it is stated that ”always here’ means to preach that the essential nature of all people is BuddhahoodŸ’ (Gosho Zenshu, p. 787).
Please justify your conduct in misusing passages from the Gosho or the Lotus Sutra in order to make the position and function of the high priest appear absolute.
In addition, a Japanese equivalent of ‘I am going to transfer my life into yours’ cannot be found in the original of the two documents of inheritance (Nika no Sojo) document. Is this not your fabrication to protect your theory of the high priest’s life-condition being equal to that of the Daishonin? Please clarify this point.
On page 10 in the ‘Myosetsu-ji Temple NST News Letter,’ July 1993 Issue #15, it is stated that ‘This Secret Law is possessed and protected only by the High Priest Nikken Shonin, who inherited it only from the Daishonin. Even with faith in the Gohonzon, if we overlook or ignore this sacred inheritance, we cannot draw out the true power of the Secret Law.’
The ninth high priest, Nichiu Shonin, makes the following crystal clear in his writing, ‘On the Formalities of True Buddhism’ (Yushi Regisho):
Faith, the Heritage of the Law and the pure flow of the entity of the Law are identical. Unswayed faith indicates the unbroken lineage and thus the correctly transmitted heritage of the Law and the uninterrupted pure flow of the entity of the Law. (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, vol. 1, p. 64)
The 59th high priest, Nichiko Shonin, states in his ‘Commentaries’ on the same writing:
In the final analysis, faith, the heritage of the Law and the pure water of the Law refer to the same thing. The heart of faith exists in those who practice faith, and with this faith, they receive the pure water of the Law from the original Buddha.
The way the pure water of the Law flows from the original Buddha to believers is like blood circulating in the human body. The transmission of the pure water of the Law through faith, therefore, is called the transmission of kechimyaku or the ‘bloodstream’ of Buddhism.
Thus faith shall not be swayed or disturbed forever. If faith is swayed, the pure water of the Law ceases to flow. If one insists that it does not cease to flow, then the heritage of the Law and the pure flow of the Law, I shall say, become defiled and corrupt. Then Buddhism still ceases to exist. (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, vol. 1, p . 176)
Faith is the only qualification needed to inherit the Law; depending on the individual’s faith, the pure water of the Mystic Law flows directly from the true Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, to his or her own life. There is not a scrap of evidence that this pure flow passes through the high priest simply because of his position. Your insistence that the high priest alone ‘possesses and protects’ this Law bears no relationship whatsoever to Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Please tell us the specific doctrinal basis for this assertion about the high priest.
On page 4 of the Myosetsu-ji Temple September 1993 Study Material, it is stated: ‘A Buddha is the only one who is able to follow the Law himself. Each high priest within Nichiren Shoshu has so strictly and completely followed this Law that when we follow the high priest, we are in fact following the Law.’
Furthermore, in response to a question from an SGI member on March 17, 1991, you said that the lineage of the priesthood ‘has never been broken’.
As documented below, quite a few high priests did not transmit the ‘face-to-face heritage’ to their successors, so breaking the line of heritage that the priesthood thinks essential. Moreover, it is an undeniable fact that many high priests have committed slanders which were strictly forbidden by the Daishonin. Can anyone say that each high priest ‘so strictly and completely’ followed the Law?
1) Regarding Slanderous Acts by High Priests
– The current high priest, Nikken, erected a tombstone in a Zen temple, and performed the ‘Eye-Opening Ceremony’ on it (7/17/89).
– Construction and enshrinements of statues of Shakyamuni Buddha at local temples by the 17th high priest, Nissei, and his justification and adoption of reciting the entire Lotus Sutra (‘Zuigi-ron,’ Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, vol. 9, p. 69).
– In 1764, the 33rd high priest, Nichigen, transcribed a Gohonzon so that it could be enshrined at Sengen Jinja, a Shinto shrine. This Gohonzon is still extant today.
– In 1904, when Japan was involved in a war with Russia, the 56th high priest, Nichio, ordered the creation of and subsequently sold 10,000 Gohonzon specially inscribed with the words ‘For Protection and Victory in War’ (Jap. sensho shugo). Later, he presided over a ceremony to pray for victory over Russia and to honor the Japanese Emperor. For this occasion, the high priest went so far as to use a Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin, while allowing believers from other sects to attend. He also collected donations from participants, which he then contributed to the armed forces (Ho No Michi, April 1905, 12th issue).
– In 1921, the 57th high priest, Nissho, took full part in a group of high priests of many other heretical Nichiren affiliated sects in applying to the Japanese Emperor for the granting of the title of Rissho Daishi (‘Great Teacher of Rissho’) to Nichiren Daishonin. Nissho also did gongyo with this group.
– The 60th high priest, Nikkai, before becoming high priest, was in charge of publishing the organ publication Byakurenge magazine. During his tenure, he allowed advertisements for the sale of Gohonzon in a knitted frame made of cloth. (The advertisements appeared starting in vol. 8, #10 of Feb. 7, 1914, to December of the same year, totaling seven times.)
– The 62nd high priest, Nikkyo, deleted key sections of the Gosho (‘Study of Nichiren Shoshu General Administration Bureau’ No. 8, Sept. 29, 1941), and approved of and encouraged worship at Shinto shrines (‘Nichiren Shoshu General Administration Bureau Intatsu Gogai,’ Nov. 11, 1943).
2) Unusual Methods of Transferring the Office of High Priest
a) ‘Temporary Entrustment’
– The eighth high priest, Nichiei Shonin, temporarily entrusted his heritage to the custody of a layman, Abura no Joren. The reason was that his chosen successor (eventually to become the ninth high priest, Nichiu Shonin) was still a child (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, vol. 5, p. 255, ‘Biography of Nichiei’).
– Nissho Shonin, the 15th high priest, transferred the heritage of the law to Rikyo-bo Nichigi temporarily, who later transferred it to Nichiju Shonin, the 16th high priest (Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, vol. 5, p. 261).
– The 58th high priest, Nitchu Shonin, received the transmission of the heritage from Nissho Shonin, the 57th high priest, via two lay believers from Osaka, Mitsutatsu Naka and Umetaro Makino (Hosoi Nittatsu in ‘Refuting the Vicious Book ‘Counterfeit Wooden Gohonzon,” Nichiren Shoshu Propagation Society, 1956).
b) ‘No Transmission’
– During the term of the 53rd high priest, Nichijo Shonin, there was a great fire at Taiseki-ji. Directly thereafter, he left the head temple and his whereabouts became unknown. Needless to say, no transfer ceremony took place between Nichijo Shonin and the 54th high priest, Nichiden Shonin (Nichiden Shonin Den; Autobiography of Nichiden Shonin; Abridged Biography of Nichiden Shonin).
Regarding this, the current high priest commented in a speech at a June 1989 ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of Nichiden Shonin’s passing, ‘I do not want the contents of Nichiden’s autobiography to become known among general believers.’
c) ‘Transmission to Heretical Priests’
– While not ‘breaking the lineage,’ it is a fact that the lineage was transmitted to priests who held heretical views. In the period from 1596 to 1692, nine generations of high priests (from the 15th high priest, Nissho Shonin, to the 23rd high priest, Nikkei Shonin) came from Yoho-ji temple in Kyoto, which propounded an erroneous doctrine involving worship of statues of Shakyamuni (Fuji Nempyo, p. 121; Fuji Shugaku Yoshu, vol. 9).
d) ‘Boy high priests’
The following high priests received what you call the ‘heritage’ at a very young age:
– The 9th high priest, Nichiu Shonin (17 years old)
– The 12th high priest, Nitchin Shonin (13 years old)
– The 13th high priest, Nichiin Shonin (9 years old)
– The 14th high priest, Nichio Shonin (18 years old)
(from Fuji Nempyo)
Are you aware of the fact that the heritage of Nichiren Shoshu has been broken not once, but several times? What kind of heritage is it that has allowed priests from heretical sects to receive the transmission? Regarding boy high priests, can the ‘heritage’ that the priesthood speaks of, in fact, be transmitted to boys so young as to be clearly incapable of fully understanding the Daishonin’s teaching?
Based on the above, it is undeniable that high priests have on numerous occasions gone against the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Article 21 of the ‘Twenty-Six Admonitions of Nikko’ strictly admonishes slanderous acts in later ages: ‘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).
The Daishonin also emphasizes the importance of the lifeblood of faith, stating that: ‘Without the lifeblood of faith, it would be useless to embrace the Lotus Sutra’ (MW-1, 25).
It is clear from the above facts that the ‘heritage’ on which the priesthood has been insisting totally lacks the lifeblood of faith.
The Daishonin also states:
All disciples and believers of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with one mind (itai doshin), 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. (MW-1, 23)
How is it that those high priests who have ‘inherited the lifeblood of the Daishonin’ came to commit such slanders?
The lifeblood of faith lies in the spirit to promote kosen-rufu in accordance with the Daishonin’s will.
Examples of true lifeblood of faith can be seen in the actions of the first and second presidents of the Soka Gakkai, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda. They were imprisoned during World War II as a result of their determination to refute slander by not accepting Shinto talismans, and to uphold the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin by practicing shakubuku. President Makiguchi gave his life for this cause.