Soka Spirit
Know the Difference (No. 04): All About Politics

June 06, 1997

By Craig Green & Jeff Farr

Los Angeles

With the completion of the Grand Main Temple in 1972, the Soka Gakkai began to focus on strengthening and modernizing its facilities and infrastructure. However, voices of apprehension began to arise from the priesthood, soon turning to voices of accusation.

In 1974, the Soka Gakkai began preparations to establish the Nichiren Shoshu International Center for supporting the expanding international membership. However, there was a fear within the priesthood that NSIC would be used to eventually take control of Nichiren Shoshu. Around this time, there were also occasions where SGI President Ikeda was criticized for lectures and articles he wrote. These criticisms grew so intense that the Soka Gakkai was forced to publicly acknowledge “doctrinal deviations,” appeasing accusations that it was straying from the teachings.

Throughout this period, President Ikeda met often with Nittatsu Shonin, then high priest of Nichiren Shoshu, to try to work out their differences. But by 1979, the voices of discontent in the priesthood were too great. In April 1979, President Ikeda was forced to step down as president and take the position of honorary president of the Soka Gakkai.

It was all becoming too clear. This was not a dispute over matters of faith. This was not about clearing up doctrine. It was all about politics.

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