Soka Spirit
Notification of Expulsion of the Soka Gakkai from Nichiren Shoshu

Volume 2, No. 1 (Part 1) January 27, 1992

The following document, signed by High Priest Nikken and Chief Administrator Nichijun Fujimoto, was recently received from Nichiren Shoshu. (It was translated by the temple and is reprinted here exactly as it was received.) It was addressed to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai President Einosuke Akiya and Soka Gakkai General Director Kazuya Morita.

Some time ago, Nichiren Shoshu issued a Remonstration to the Soka Gakkai. In this document we recommended that the Soka Gakkai take full responsibility for the difficulties it has caused, and voluntarily disband. However, the Soka Gakkai defied this recommendation, and has continued its increasingly libelous attacks on the High Priest and the priesthood.

Whereas the Soka Gakkai has negated the purpose for its existence as a lay organization, has disobeyed the doctrines of this sect, has diverged sharply from the manner in which a religious corporation ought to conduct itself, and has shown no indication of reconsideration or repentance regardless of repeated guidance and admonition from the High Priest and the priesthood, therefore Nichiren Shoshu is no longer able to tolerate the Soka Gakkai and hereby gives notification that the Soka Gakkai is expelled from Nichiren Shoshu. Furthermore, the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) organization, as well as organizations aligned with and receiving instruction from the Soka Gakkai, are also expelled.

I. The Relationship Between Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai

Nichiren Shoshu, which has a history and tradition of seven hundred years, has the only legitimate claim to the teachings of the founder, Nichiren Daishonin, whom we revere as the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Through this sect’s perseverance in faith and practice and its possession of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of True Buddhism as its central object of faith, and based upon the instruction of the High Priest who, since the time of our founder, is the only one to receive the Living Essence of the Law, Nichiren Shoshu has struggled for the propagation of the faith throughout the world.

The Soka Gakkai began in 1930 as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai. Following that, it became a lay organization of Nichiren Shoshu and in 1945 was reestablished as the Soka Gakkai. In 1951, the second president, Josei Toda, requested permission to establish the Soka Gakkai as a religious corporation for reasons of expediency in protecting the priesthood and carrying out shakubuku activities. At that time, the priesthood presented him with three basic rules which he promised to obey:

1. All individuals who are converted to Nichiren Shoshu will become members of a local temple.

2. All members will adhere to the religious doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu.

3. All members will revere the Three Treasures (True Buddha, True Law, Priest) of True Buddhism.

In other words, as determined by its own organization rules and regulations, the Soka Gakkai’s existence as a religious corporation was based on the premises of protecting the priesthood and abiding by the three basic rules.

II. The Soka Gakkai’s Disobedience in Terms of Doctrine

There is no doubt that the Soka Gakkai has exhibited extreme and unmistakable disobedience and at the present time is violating the traditional doctrines of this sect.

A. Concerning the Three Treasures of this sect, with specific reference to the deep significance of the Treasures of the Buddha and the Law, that is, that the Person and the Law embodied in the Object of Worship (Gohonzon) are one, Mr. Daisaku Ikeda has made a number of statements, such as: ‘The Dai-Gohonzon is the very inscription of the basic Law of the universe.’

He repeatedly and incorrectly places disproportionate emphasis on the Law, rather than on the personal inner enlightenment of the True Buddha, the Daishonin. This is a truly great slander which vitiates the doctrines of this sect.

In the past, Mr. Ikeda also committed the grave sin of independently authorizing the carving of several wooden Gohonzons.

The Treasure of the Priest of this sect began with second High Priest, Nikko Shonin, the only one to inherit the Living Essence of the Law. This Treasure has lived on through all of the successive generations of High Priests. In other words, based on his possession of the undiluted Living Essence of the Law, the High Priest is not only able to inscribe the Gohonzon as well as decide which doctrines are correct, but he also possesses the greatest wisdom with regard to all of the teachings of Buddhism.

Accordingly, in terms of personal practice and the worldwide propagation of the faith, the priests and lay members of this sect must carefully now follow the instruction of the High Priest.

But the Soka Gakkai is slandering the article of faith through which we faithfully believe in and follow the High Priest, heir to the Living Essence of the Law. It claims ‘coercion’ and ‘blind faith,’ and has further libeled the High Priest be referring to him as ‘double-tongued,’ ‘Devil High Priest’ and ‘Destroyer of the Law,’ or saying that ‘an evil demon has possessed his body,’ or that he has created ‘the Nikken sect.’ By doing so, the Soka Gakkai is desecrating the dignity of this sect.

Clearly, this gross slander contravenes this sect’s traditional doctrines of the Treasure of the Priest and the transmission of the Living Essence of the Law.

Moreover, in such publications and the Seikyo Shimbun and the Soka Shimpo, the Soka Gakkai has written malicious gossip about individual members of this priesthood who are, in a larger sense, members of the Treasure of the Priest. This has brought about a great loss of public trust in the priesthood. By doing all of this, the Soka Gakkai is in the process of pillaging the fundamental faith of this sect, the Three Treasures of the Buddhism of Sowing.

B. In the past, 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, 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. One may conclude from this that the construction of the high Sanctuary is, as such, no more than a kind of monument. It has symbolic significance only. It follows, then, that we may reasonably think of it as a secondary or tertiary problem, or the problem of the formality of a formality.’

By so stating, Mr. Ikeda has muddied the true intention of the Daishonin. 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, but have rather responded with antagonism and refutation. As has already been stated, this proves that the Soka Gakkai has become a slanderous organization in open rebellion against the instruction of the High Priest.

C. The Soka Gakkai is currently establishing doctrines which deem priests unnecessary. Activities conducted throughout the year such as the Urabon-E and Higan-E, as well as ceremonies held at various stages of a person’s life including coming of age rites, weddings, funerals and memorials are being performed by the lay members themselves. The offering of Toba and posthumous names of the deceased have been judged useless. These slanders have arisen through personal doctrine and change the traditional observances of this sect.

These actions isolate the members of the faith from the temples and violate the first of the three basic rules:

‘All individuals who are converted to Nichiren Shoshu will become members of a local temple.’

III. The Soka Gakkai’s Disobedience From the Viewpoint of Faith

Because the Soka Gakkai is destroying the teachings and observance of this sect, it is clear that the Soka Gakkai is also violating this sect’s articles of faith.

A. As Mr. Ikeda has stated in the past:

‘Our going on Tozan to worship the Dai-Gohonzon is exactly the same as having an audience with Nichiren Daishonin himself, through which we can receive great fortune.’

The Soka Gakkai has been able to expand so tremendously only because it has gained great fortune from making Tozan pilgrimages to the source, the Head Temple, with a firm belief in the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of True Buddhism. Presently, however, neither Mr. Ikeda nor most of the members of the Soka Gakkai are making pilgrimages to the Head Temple, and they are abandoning the responsibility of protecting the Head Temple, our central seminary of faith. This is proof that Mr. Ikeda and the others have lost the foundation for pious faith. This will keep many members from the path by which they would otherwise have been able to expiate their negative karma and attain fortune in this life and the next.

B. Because each of this sect’s local temples is the fortress of the True Law for its area, if one is a member of this sect he should go to the temple to which he belongs to persevere in his Buddhist training. However, it would seem that the Soka Gakkai is preventing sincere members of the faith who intend to make visits to the temples from doing so, for as a matter of fact, most members of the Soka Gakkai do not visit the temple to which they belong. More than that, the members of the Soka Gakkai have, through various means, put pressure on those who try to leave the Soka Gakkai, and those who have already left to become members of the Hokkeko or direct followers of a local temple. These actions obstruct the pure faith of members who wish to practice Nichiren Shoshu correctly.

C. The Soka Gakkai’s original function was to protect the priesthood and strive for worldwide propagation of the faith (kosen-rufu). However, rather than protecting the priesthood, members of the Gakkai are harassing priests in a most objectionable manner, and extreme cases have occurred where individuals have banded together to commit acts of violence in obstruction of a priest’s propagation of the teachings. Such occurrences, which prevent the teaching of doctrine, are slanders of the Law.

IV. The Soka Gakkai’s Deviations as a Religious Corporation

Because the Soka Gakkai has become an extremely slanderous organization, we cannot recognize it as a body established through the laws of religious corporation.

A. In recent times, the Soka Gakkai has degenerated from a lay organization which used to protect Nichiren Shoshu into a slanderous institution which now opposes Nichiren Shoshu. And furthermore, as explained earlier, by breaking its promise to abide by the three basic rules, the Gakkai has lost its basis and the purpose of its existence.

B. As was indicated in the Remonstration to the Soka Gakkai and Order to Disband, the Soka Gakkai’s involvement in various improprieties, and its implications in numerous scandals involving vast sums of money have called into question its nature and responsibility as a religious corporation. The Soka Gakkai’s anti-social behavior has been exposed. At the same time, this has injured the sect’s credibility, and is an obstacle to kosen-rufu.

Furthermore, because of the special financing campaigns conducted each year, during which enormous sums of money are collected, many members of this sect find it difficult to make ends meet, and there are not a few instances where people have been driven into very difficult financial straits. We therefore conclude that the Soka Gakkai’s state of affairs differs markedly from the original articles of faith of this sect, as well as from the goals of a religious organization.

V. The Soka Gakkai’s Betrayal of the Priesthood

Because of the situation outlined above, on November 7, 1991, the priesthood sent the Remonstration and Order to Disband to the Soka Gakkai and its affiliate, the SGI, so that they would take complete responsibility for their actions and voluntarily disband.

A. In attempting to keep up appearances, the Soka Gakkai has resorted to deception and guile. In addition to the phrases mentioned earlier, it repeatedly uses such others as ‘The Nikken Sect of Great Slander,’ ‘the arrogant, wicked High Priest,’ ‘the Devadatta of the Modern Age,’ ‘the High Priest, the Destroyer of Buddhism’ and ‘the heretical High Priest’ in its demands that Nikken Shonin step down from his position as High Priest.

For example, Mr. Einosuke Akiya has disregarded the High Priest of the Heritage of the Living Essence of the Law and insisted on the Gakkai’s direct connection to the Daishonin through statements like the following:

‘The members of the Gakkai regarded the priesthood’s order to disband as a proclamation of liberation from priesthood’s evil authority….

‘On the one hand, there are those who say that we cannot be endlessly bothered about what has become a degenerate, depraved and slanderous priesthood, and honestly, I believe I agree.’

This clearly indicates that the Soka Gakkai would prefer to withdraw from this sect and become an independent lay religious order.

B. More than fifteen years ago the Soka Gakkai devised a plan to subjugate the priesthood. This was the basis for the difficulties which occurred during the following years. Internal Gakkai documents which came to light indicated that the subject was discussed informally and in briefings with Mr. Ikeda. These were published as The Yamazaki and Yahiro Papers, and The Hojo Papers. An entry in the former, dated April 12, 1974, stated:

‘Concerning the Head Temple Problem, we’ve almost got a grasp of the entire picture, but we are considering two ways in which we might deal with it in the future. Since we will have to dissolve our relations with the Head Temple at some point in the future anyway, one way is, while making sure it doesn’t look as if the Gakkai is sparking the dissolution, and in effect, giving ourselves a three year margin of safety, to make it so that relations with the temples could dissolve at any moment during that period. The other way is to devise a plan for taking control of the Head Temple now, and then back them up against the wall. But as for our taking control of the Head Temple, there is the danger that it could blow up in our faces.

‘Still, the way I see it, I believe that even more than the political party, the university or even the Min-on organization, the Head Temple and Nichiren Shoshu have value to us as an outer organization, and our safely winning them over is an element we cannot afford to pass up in our propagation scheme. Then from this point of view, I am thinking that our only alternative is to go with the latter line of thinking.

‘In order to do this, we must take the following precautionary measures:

‘1. Take actual control of the Head Temple business affairs (corporate and financial business affairs).

‘2. Take control of finances (i.e. raise their degree of reliance on the Gakkai).

‘3. Take control of public relations.

‘4. Gain control of the rights to the leadership of the believers. (Establish the authority of the Hokkeko Sokoto through the sect’s By-Laws and Rules and Regulations; establish authority and rights to overseas propagation, etc.)

‘5. Transfer to the Gakkai rights to cemeteries and rights to perform ceremonies.

‘6. Take control of local temples through our delegates on the temple committees.

‘If we seize the opportunities to accomplish these things, but do so without giving ourselves away, them we have a chance of accomplishing points 1, 2, 3 and 4.

‘In any event, since I believe that these matters can only be decided upon through your [Sensei’s] high degree of judgment, I respectfully ask for your ruling.’

In the Hojo Papers, dated June 18, 1974, there was a piece called ‘The Head Temple Case,’ which describes the strategy by which the Gakkai would become independent from the priesthood:

‘Looking at the long term, I believe we have no alternative but to sever relations smoothly…. When the time to act has come, it is my desire to fight to the bitter end.’

As we can conclude from these internal documents, the Soka Gakkai devised a plot at that time, based on the arrogant idea of Gakkai as Master, priesthood as Follower, whereby it would virtually place the priesthood under its control. The priesthood would then become a satellite of the Gakkai, similar to the Komei political party or Soka University. If that could not be accomplished, then the Soka Gakkai would become independent of Nichiren Shoshu.

When these papers were made public in November, 1975, those Gakkai executives who were responsible made a Tozan pilgrimage to the Head Temple, apologized and promised:

‘From now on, we will eternally protect the priesthood, and of course, in the future we will never again think of executing a plan as flawed as this.’

Out of his compassion, the High Priest believed this apology and forgave the Soka Gakkai. But at the same time, he declared to a large gathering of priests:

‘Naturally, if at some time in the future there is any indication of this type of thing happening again, I will immediately denounce the error of that individual or organization, and if the situation is not rectified, I will be forced to think about taking unequivocal measures.’

C. Nevertheless, at the 35th Headquarters Leaders’ Meeting on November 16, 1990, Mr. Ikeda stated:

‘At the time of our 50th anniversary, I was about to be beaten. I was betrayed, I was under siege, I was forced to resign as presidentÊyou remember? And I was being trounced by the priesthood and the Shoshinkai. I was being made a fool of and then on top of it all, Hojo says, ‘The future looks pretty bleak, doesn’t it?’

‘I said, ‘What are you talking about? Just wait until our 60th anniversary, we’re going to bear the most dazzling fruits imaginable by our 60th anniversary. So buck up!’ This was the president, mind you. I was the honorary president. (Hojo) said, ‘Do you really think so?’ What, was he a fool?’

At the Victory Gongyo Meeting at Suginami Ward in Tokyo held on March 18th of this year, in comparing the current situation to that of 1977, Mr. Kazuya Morita stated:

‘Ten years ago, we were not able to do things in a dignified manner. We couldn’t say a word. We failed then, but this time we won’t apologize.’ And in the November 26, 1991 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Ms. Yasu Kashiwabara stated:

‘Looking at the priesthood these days, I realize that they have turned out to be the same as they were some ten odd years ago. Although the Gakkai conceded to the directives of the priesthood at that time, the Gakkai was right then as well.’

The recent attacks by the Soka Gakkai on the priesthood, including statements like these, are remarkably cruel, cold-blooded acts of betrayal and prove that while the Gakkai pretended to be friendly, it was really waiting for an opportunity to carry out the plan indicated in The Yamazaki and Yahiro Papers and The Hojo PapersÊeither take control of the priesthood or become independent. This proves that the apology for the deviations of 1977 was nothing but a fraud.

As cited above, the Soka Gakkai’s rebellion against all of the guidance given by the High Priest and the priesthood, and its marked alteration of the doctrines and faith of this sect clearly indicate that the Soka Gakkai has become a tremendously slanderous organization which is destroying True Buddhism. No matter how great the Soka Gakkai’s past meritorious service in the protection of the Head Temple, because our goals are protecting the traditional teachings of this sect through guarding against slander, and propagating the Ultimate Law throughout the world, Nichiren Shoshu can no longer recognize the Soka Gakkai as a lay organization of this sect.

In consequence, Nichiren Shoshu hereby notifies the religious corporation Soka Gakkai that it is expelled, and from hereon after has no relation to Nichiren Shoshu. We give further notification that the SGI organization, as well as organizations related thereto, which are aligned with and receive instruction from the Soka Gakkai, are also expelled and from hereon after have no relation to Nichiren Shoshu.

November 28, 1991
Nikken Abe, Kancho, Nichiren Shoshu
Nichijun Fujimoto, Sokan, Nichiren Shoshu

To the attention of:
Mr. Daisaku Ikeda, Honorary President of the Soka Gakkai; President of the SGI
Mr. Einosuke Akiya, President of the Soka Gakkai; General Director of SGI
Mr. Kazuya Morita, Executive Director of the Soka Gakkai, General Director of the Soka Gakkai