Soka Spirit
Editorial: Implications of the Danto Movement

April 01, 1991

NST temples in the United States have begun forming lay organizations under the direct leadership of the chief priests of each temple (the so-called danto movement). All members of the NSA lay organization are already members of Nichiren Shoshu and belong to their local temple as such. The existence of additional lay organizations are not, in themselves, an issue. It is one thing for the priests to begin doing their own propagation among non-Buddhists. But when priests denounce President Ikeda and confuse members in order to gain followers, this disrupts the unity of believers and is wrong.President Ikeda has always emphasized the fundamentals of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism as taught in the Gosho. Using his guidance, we have all been trying to improve our lives and our organization over the years. The SGI never denied the lineage of the high priest, and President Ikeda never denied the importance of the priesthood, neither in his Nov. 16 speech nor on any other occasion.

The SGI organization exists to take care of the members, and for more than 30 years, lay believers in the SGI throughout the world have been helping one another practice the Daishonin’s Buddhism correctly. Because of such selfless behavior, we can all practice today. We will continue to take even better care of the members, one by one.

These 30 years of efforts, however, were slighted by a simple notification issued recently by the priesthood. The notice stated that the policy of entrusting the guidance in faith of overseas members solely to President Ikeda and the SGI is abolished. To change this policy—affirmed time and again by successive high priests—is confusing many people and may even cause some to stop practicing. Nevertheless, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood issued the notice. We feel this fact reveals neither the priests’ compassion for the members, nor their concern for kosen-rufu, but their intention to place members directly under their control.Simply put, the current danto movement is not based on compassion but on the priesthood’s grudge against President Ikeda and an attachment to its authority. Such a movement is the result of the priesthood’s attitude that the laity is inferior to the priesthood, a contention stated repeatedly by the general administrator of Nichiren Shoshu, the Rev. Fujimoto.

The Soka Gakkai has always taught that in terms of faith, let’s return to the days of Nichiren Daishonin. In other words, let’s have the Daishonin’s original spirit to cherish believers and stand up to unjust authority or incorrect teachings. The Daishonin’s Buddhism is universal. But the priesthood’s recent actions are disrupting unity and hindering the propagation of his teachings.

In a sense, this dispute is not between the Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu; it is more accurately between the priesthood’s attitude and the spirit of the Daishonin, who cherished the people above all. This affair is nothing to fear, for from it a new age will be born and a new unity between priesthood and laity forged—a unity necessary for Nichiren Shoshu to be a true world religion. This will definitely occur just as the Daishonin so often predicted, When great evil occurs, great good will follow (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 5, p. 161).