Bijlagen, horend bij de blogtekst
Soka Gakkai (nu BUN-lid) de complexe waarheid bij een simpele chantende
discutabele vereringsreligie - Wie is de Boeddha van dit 'boeddhisme?' ,
die hier op 2 februari werd geplaatst.
' Text as Father: Paternal Seductions in Early Mahayana Buddhist Literature ',
door Alan Cole
Citaten uit het begin van het hoofdstuk
' Who’s Your Daddy Now? – Reissued Paternity in the Lotus Sutra '
en het eind van het hoofdstuk
' The Domino Effect – Everyone and His Brother Convert to the Lotus Sutra '
" One of the most striking things about the Lotus Sutra is its sophisticated use of father-son motifs to explain its own identity and then to insert itself as the defining element in creating a new identity for the reader and his relationship to the Buddhist tradition. The brilliance of the text lies in the way that it is designed as a pivot that achieves its own legitimation by offering legitimacy to the reader. Thus there is a formal mimesis between the text and the reader, both of whom are given their fathers in the reading event, and it is precisely by arranging that double fathering that the text effects its most basic seduction. That is, the text is designed to enact an amazing exchange: give me the paternal right to give you, the reader, your proper paternity.
More exactly, the Lotus Sutra attempts to draw the reader into accepting its redefinition of Buddhism by claiming that it, as text, was the final product of a perfect patriline of twenty thousand buddhas and that this heritage allows the text to then offer the reader entrance into that patriline, once the reader assents to the Lotus Sutra’s genealogical claim to be of that lineage.
In addition to this impressive narrative architecture, and its likely influence on other early sutras, the Lotus Sutra warrants special attention for displaying a complex relationship to earlier forms of Buddhism. Of particular interest is the way the Lotus Sutra defined this newly created Mahayana sonship as a kind of rebirth out of a previously established father-son identity that had already explained Buddhist identity as a kind of sonship to the Buddha. Standing back from this play of paternity, it seems that the Lotus Sutra created the image of a hyper-Buddhist family that is formed by explicitly renouncing a previously established paternal Buddhist family, even as it borrowed many of its defining elements and logics.
Thus, throughout these narratives of conversion there is something like a ritual structure for dying to one identity in order to adopt a new one, though there is no ritual format or institutional setting provided to support this shift in Buddhist identity. Hence the text attempts to effect what Pierre Bourdieu would call “rites of institution,” even though there is no institution mentioned other than the reading moment itself and no external props, save for the physical presence of the text as book. This lack of external or institutional support explains many of the narrative’s contortions as it attempts to legitimize itself from within itself in order to place itself at the center of a newly defined form of Buddhism that offered itself as the gateway to gaining a revamped form of Buddhist identity.
In organizing such a reading of the Lotus Sutra, I need to emphasize that I am assuming that the text, or at least the chapters that I analyze closelyhere, were composed as an integrated plot with a governing set of principlesdedicated to achieving goals that remain fairly constant over the arc of the narrative. In other words, I am assuming that at least a part of the Lotus Sutra has a plot and that we can, with care and attention, begin to understand its construction and the deeper set of authorial strategies that were relied on in creating a reading experience. If we do not adopt this kind of “reading for the plot” approach, then we have to fall back on one of three options.
The first is that we could simply consider that the text emerged as an unwished-for grab bag of unrelated narrative snippets, pasted together without a governing intent or a steady editorial notion of the work to be accomplished by the very act of compilation. This option is altogether unsatisfying since the text clearly shows authorial or editorial intention. The second option is the religious one that assumes that the narrative, in all its bits and pieces, reflects real events and thus cannot be read for a plot since it simply is what happened. In this view the text as text and the author as inventor completely disappear into the Real that the text creates for itself. The third option is trickier and I think represents the standard choice in Buddhist studies: the text has something of plot, but it is not the result of authorial ingenuity but instead reflects, in some distorted manner, a summation of the will and wishes of an early Mahayana community who wanted to create this document as a quilting point for their beliefs and practices.
As for this third possibility, on reflection this image of “writing by committee” is problematic and particularly so once we see how much seduction and deception are at work in the narrative. The assumption that the text is a kind of platform statement of the earnest Mahayana community in no way matches the subtle seductions that the text achieves precisely by working on the reader without the reader ever realizing these machinations. Moreover, it is altogether obvious that the Lotus Sutra is about making religious community rather than reflecting it in some Durkheimian manner. In short, I cannot see any way to interpret literary seduction, especially at this level of intricacy, other than via authorial intention. Too, by the final chapters of this book, I will have provided solid evidence that the Lotus Sutra and other sutras from this period belong to a literary culture of authors who, themselves, read each other’s work for the plot and borrowed and manipulated plotting techniques in the knowledge of how and why certain plot configurations were effective. Thus, though it is one of the heftier bugbears in the field of religious studies, we need not be afraid to imagine the role of the clever and complicated authors of religious content who gained their talents by reading tradition and seeing how it worked and then going on to create new and more inventive forms of tradition precisely because they had, in some measure, learned how tradition could be reworked. .....
While it would be revealing to work through more chapters in the Lotus Sutra, I believe I have offered enough material for recognizing the importance of father-son logic in this text as well as demonstrating the various tracks of seduction that the text employs in universalizing father-son connections and offering them to the reader so that he or she may consume them in the hope of reconstructing his or her identity. Equally important, we have seen how the narrative constructs the reader’s desire for truth and authenticity to circle around the narrative itself and the text that contains it. No longer is truth in the traditional forms of Buddhist doctrine, such as the four truths or the three marks, nor is it in the stalwart figures of the arhats and other reliable figures from the earliest days of Buddhism. Final truth is not even in the old buddhas such as Dipamkara and Maitreya, who are but students of the Lotus Sutra, whose scope and strength pale in comparison. Without a doubt, all those previous sites of sanctity have been demoted and absorbed by the Lotus Sutra and its new explanation of final truth and “real” Buddhist paternity.
Equally clear in this maneuver, the Lotus Sutra has shifted sanctity into a new medium—textuality. Though relic worship is recommended in some of the passages in chapters 2 and 3, still this does not compare to receiving and upholding the Lotus Sutra, and surely never was it said that one found one’s true sonship to the Buddha through relic worship. Similarly, no ethical action compares with maintaining a worshipful attitude toward the Lotus Sutra, with the corollary that there is no greater sin than disparaging or slandering the text. Obviously, there is now really only one final source for value in the universe, and it is the Lotus Sutra as text, the text that came pouring out of that ancient lineage of twenty thousand buddhas and eventually led to the production of the buddhas that we had known so well before, even if we did not understand their place in the history of the Lotus Sutra, a history that is essentially a history of the cosmos even as it is 'our' own history too.
Bij de SGI gechante passages uit de Lotus Sutra
Translation of Gongyo, the liturgy of Nichiren Daishonin
Lotus Sutra – ‘Hoben’ Chapter 2
Myoho renge kyo – hoben pon dai ni
Niji seson. Ju sanmai. Anjo ni ki. Go shari-hotsu. Sho-but^chi-e. Jinjin muryo. Go chi-e mon. Nange nannyu. Issai shomon. Hyaku-shi-butsu. Sho fu no chi.
At that time the World-Honoured One calmly arose from his samadhi and addressed Shariputra, saying: “The wisdom of the Buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. The door to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Not one of the voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas is able to comprehend it.
Sho-i sha ga. Butsu zo shingon. Hyaku sen man noku. Mushu sho butsu. Jin gyo sho-butsu. Muryo doho. Yumyo shojin. Myosho fu mon. Joju jinjin. Mi-zo-u ho. Zui gi sho setsu. Ishu nange.
“What is the reason for this? A Buddha has personally attended a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million, a countless number of Buddhas and has fully carried out an immeasurable number of religious practices. He has exerted himself bravely and vigorously, and his name is universally known. He has realized the Law that is profound and never known before, and preaches it in accordance with what is appropriate, yet his intention is difficult to understand.
Shari-hotsu. Go ju jo-butsu irai. Shuju innen. Shuju hiyu. Ko en gonkyo. Mu shu hoben. Indo shujo. Ryo ri sho jaku.
“Shariputra, ever since I attained Buddhahood I have through various causes and various similes widely expounded my teachings and have used countless expedient means to guide living beings and cause them to renounce attachments.
Sho-i sha ga. Nyorai hoben. Chiken hara-mitsu. Kai i gu-soku.
“Why is this? Because the Thus Come One is fully possessed by both expedient means and the paramita of wisdom.
Shari-hotsu. Nyorai chiken. Kodai jinnon. Muryo muge. Riki. Mu-sho-i. Zenjo. Gedas.^Sanmai. Jin nyu musai. Joju issai. Mi-zo-u ho.
“Shariputra, the wisdom of the Thus Come One is expansive and profound. He has immeasurable [mercy], unlimited [eloquence], power, fearlessness, concentration, emancipation, and samadhis, and has deeply entered the boundless and awakened to the Law never before attained.
Shari-hotsu. Nyorai no. Shuju fun-betsu. Gyo ses^sho ho. Gonji nyunan. Ekka shushin. Sharihotsu. Shu yo gon shi. Muryo muhen. Mi-zo-u ho. Bus^shitsu joju.
“Shariputra, the Thus Come One knows how to make various kinds of distinctions and to expound the teachings skillfully. His words are soft and gentle and delight the hearts of the assembly. Shariputra, to sum it up: the Buddha has fully realized the Law that is limitless, boundless, never attained before.
Shi shari-hotsu. Fu shu bu setsu.^Sho-i sha ga. Bus^sho joju. Dai ichi ke-u. Nange shi ho.
“But stop, Shariputra, I will say no more. Why? Because what the Buddha has achieved is the rarest and most difficult-to-understand Law.
Yui butsu yo butsu. Nai no kujin. Shoho jisso. Sho-i shoho. Nyo ze so. Nyo ze sho. Nyo ze tai. Nyo ze riki. Nyo ze sa. Nyo ze in. Nyo ze en. Nyo ze ka. Nyo ze ho. Nyo ze honmak^kukyo to.
“The true entity of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between Buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, inherent cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end.”
Lotus Sutra – ‘Juryo’ Chapter 16
Myoho renge kyo – nyorai juryo’hon dai ju-roku
Ji ga toku bur^rai. Sho kyo sho kosshu. Muryo hyaku sen man. Oku sai asogi. Jo seppo kyoke Mushu oku shujo. Ryo nyu o butsu-do. Nirai muryo ko.
“Since I attained Buddhahood the number of kalpas that have passed is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions, trillions, asamkhyas. Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting countless millions of living beings, causing them to enter the Buddha way, all this for immeasurable kalpas.
I do shujo ko. Hoben gen nehan. Ni jitsu fu metsu-do. Jo ju shi seppo.
“In order to save living beings, as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana but in truth I do not pass into extinction. I am always here preaching the Law.
Ga jo ju o shi. I sho jin-zu-riki. Ryo tendo shujo. Sui gon ni fu ken.
“I am always here, but through my transcendental powers I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement do not see me even when close by.
Shu ken ga metsu-do. Ko kuyo shari. Gen kai e renbo. Ni sho katsu-go shin.
“When the multitude see that I have passed into extinction, far and wide they offer alms to my relics. All harbor thoughts of yearning and in their minds thirst to gaze at me.
Shujo ki shin-buku. Shichi-jiki i nyunan. Isshin yok^ken butsu. Fu ji shaku shinmyo. Ji ga gyu shuso. Ku shutsu ryojusen.
“When living beings have become truly faithful, honest and upright, gentle in intent, single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha not hesitating even if it costs them their lives, then I and the assembly of monks appear together on Holy Eagle Peak.
Ga ji go shujo. Jo zai shi fu-metsu. I hobenrik^ ko. Gen u metsu fu-metsu. Yo-koku u shujo. Kugyo shingyo sha. Ga bu o hi chu. I setsu mujo ho.
“At that time I tell the living beings that I am always here, never entering extinction, but that because of the power of an expedient means at times I appear to be extinct, at other times not, and that if there are living beings in other lands who are reverent and sincere in their wish to believe, then among them too I will preach the unsurpassed Law.
Nyoto fu mon shi. Tan ni ga metsu-do. Ga ken sho shujo. Motsu-zai o kukai. Ko fu i gen shin. Ryo go sho katsu-go. In go shin renbo. Nai shutsu I seppo.
“But you have not heard of this, so you suppose that I enter extinction. When I look at living beings I see them drowned in a sea of suffering; therefore I do not show myself, causing them to thirst for me. Then when their minds are filled with yearning, at last I appear and preach the Law for them.
Jin-zu riki nyo ze. O asogi ko. Jo zai ryo jusen. Gyu yo sho jusho. Shujo ken ko jin. Dai ka sho sho ji. Ga shi do annon. Tennin jo juman. Onrin sho dokaku. Shuju ho Shogon. Hoju ta keka. Shujo sho yuraku. Shoten gyaku tenku. Jo sas^shu gi-gaku. U mandara ke. San butsu gyu daishu. Ga jodo fu ki. Ni shu ken sho jin. Ufu sho kuno. Nyo ze shitsu juman.
“Such are my transcendental powers. For asamkhya kalpas constantly I have dwelled on Holy Eagle Peak and in various other places. When living beings witness the end of a kalpa and all is consumed in a great fire, this, my land, remains safe and tranquil, constantly filled with heavenly and human beings. The halls and pavilions in its gardens and groves are adorned with various kinds of gems. Jeweled trees abound in flowers and fruit where living beings enjoy themselves at ease. The gods strike heavenly drums, constantly making many kinds of music. Mandarava blossoms rain down, scattering over the Buddha and the great assembly. My pure land is not destroyed, yet the multitude see it as consumed in fire, with anxiety, fear and other sufferings filling it everywhere.
Ze sho zai shujo. I aku-go innen. Ka asogi ko. Fu mon sanbo myo.
“These living beings with their various offenses, through causes arising from their evil actions, spend asamkhya kalpas without hearing the name of the Three Treasures.
Sho u shu ku-doku. Nyuwa shichi-jiki sha. Sokkai ken gashin. Zai shi ni seppo. Waku-ji i shi shu. Setsu butsu-ju muryo. Ku nai ken bussha. I setsu butsu nan chi.
“But those who practice meritorious ways, who are gentle, peaceful, honest and upright, all of them will see me here in person, preaching the Law. At times for this multitude I describe the Buddha's life span as immeasurable, and to those who see the Buddha only after a long time I explain how difficult it is to meet the Buddha.
Ga chi-riki nyo ze. Eko sho muryo. Jumyo mushu ko. Ku shugo sho toku.
“Such is the power of my wisdom that its sagacious beams shine without measure. This life span of countless kalpas I gained as the result of lengthy practice.
Nyoto u chi sha. Mot^to shi sho gi. To dan ryo yo jin. Butsu-go jip^puko. Nyo i zen hoben. I ji o shi ko. Jitsu zai ni gon shi. Mu no sek^komo. Ga yaku I se bu. Ku sho kugen sha.
“You who are possessed of wisdom, entertain no doubts on this point! Cast them off, end them forever, for the Buddha's words are true, not false. He is like a skilled physician who uses an expedient means to cure his deranged sons. Though in fact alive, he gives out word he is dead, yet no one can say he speaks falsely. I am the father of this world, saving those who suffer and are afflicted.
I bonbu tendo. Jitsu zai ni gon metsu. I joken ga ko. Ni sho kyoshi shin. Ho-itsu jaku go-yoku. Da o aku-do chu. Ga jo chi shujo. Gyo do fu gyo do. Zui o sho ka do. I ses^shuju ho.
“Because of the befuddlement of ordinary people, though I live, I give out word I have entered extinction. For if they see me constantly, arrogance and selfishness arise in their minds. Abandoning restraint, they give themselves up to the five desires and fall into the evil paths of existence. Always I am aware of which living beings practice the way, and which do not, and in response to their needs for salvation I preach various doctrines for them.
Mai ji sa ze nen. I ga ryo shujo. Toku nyu mu-jo do. Soku joju busshin.
“At all times I think to myself: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha?”
Cultivating Charisma: Ikeda Daisaku’s Self Presentations and Transformational Leadership
door Clark Chilson
Bron: Journal of Global Buddhism Vol. 15 (2014): 65-78
Because space does not permit a full answer to the question of how leaders shape followers’ understandings, this article focuses on just one specific leader and one specific method. The leader is Ikeda Daisaku, who despite not holding the top administrative office of the Sōka Gakkai since 1979, has been that Nichiren Buddhist organization’s undisputed leader since 1960. The method is autobiographical representation, which I argue fosters an interpretation of Ikeda as being an exemplary disciple to his own mentor, Toda Josei, the second president of Sōka Gakkai. Ikeda’s self representations as a completely dedicated disciple, despite the obstacles he faced, makes him seem extraordinary and worthy of great admiration in today’s Gakkai, in which the mentor-disciple relationship is a central concern ....
Who is Ikeda Daisaku?
Ikeda Daisaku (1928– ), has been among the most powerful Japanese leaders for more than 50 years. The Sōka Gakkai, which he became president of at age 32, today claims to have a membership of about 8.2 million families in Japan and 1.7 million individuals beyond Japan in over 190 countries and territories. Although the claimed number of members is almost certainly inflated, Sōka Gakkai is unquestionably Japan’s largest lay Buddhist movement and perhaps its largest current religious movement (McLaughlin, 2012b, 269). As Sōka Gakkai’s long-time leader, Ikeda is revered by Gakkai members, who attribute to him the founding of research institutes, numerous serial publications, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, the Min-On Concert Association, schools and two universities …
How has Ikeda been able to wield such influence? To answer this question, we must understand the centrality of the mentor-disciple relationship in the Gakkai in recent years.
The Mentor-Disciple Relationship in the Sōka Gakkai and the Life of Ikeda
Stories have power. In the Sōka Gakkai today few if any stories have more power than the life story of Ikeda Daisaku and his relationship with Toda Jōsei. Although Toda died in 1958 and Ikeda has done much since his mentor’s death, there is no part of his life that he talks about more, or with more enthusiasm, than the years he spent with Toda.
Ikeda tells of his time with Toda as a dramatic narrative. A short version of this narrative as he tells it and as many Gakkai members know it, goes something like this: In 1947, Ikeda is a young man living in Tokyo and has no clear direction in life. One night in August of that year a friend takes him to a Gakkai meeting and introduces him to Toda Jōsei. Impressed with Toda’s character and intellect, Ikeda decides to join the Gakkai. About sixteen months later he begins working for a business Toda owns. The economy is bad and the business struggles. Toda is a righteous and honest man. Ikeda is impressed with how he remains dignified in the face of adversity. Although Ikeda receives little money and often suffers from exhaustion and illness so severe that he thinks he might soon die, he devotes his life to Toda. When Toda has troubles with his business and the law, many abandon him, but Ikeda stands firmly by him. Toda tacitly recognizes Ikeda’s devotion and loyalty but he often scolds Ikeda and is harsh with him because he wants to make him a better person. Concerned with Ikeda’s education, Toda teaches him in the mornings and on Sundays. Ikeda soaks up this knowledge. He grows very close to Toda and is willing to do anything to protect him and to promote his vision for the Gakkai and Japan. When Toda dies there is no disciple who has been as close, devout or as loyal to Toda as Ikeda. Members of the Gakkai ask him to be the next president, but he repeatedly refuses. Eventually, however, with hopes of promoting his mentor’s vision, he consents to becoming the third president of the Gakkai in May 1960. After 1960 he expands the Gakkai and has great success, which he attributes to Toda. He also faces adversities, but he confronts them with the image of Toda never far from his thoughts.
This dramatic narrative Ikeda tells in the multivolume roman à clef, The Human Revolution (Ningen kakumei), which has sold millions of copies (McLaughlin, 2009: 150). He also tells it in speeches, in reflective essays, and in a diary that he kept at the time. Although Ikeda spent less than 11 years with Toda, has led the Gakkai for much longer than Toda, and has arguably done more for it than Toda did, Ikeda repeatedly in a public manner attributes his success to Toda. In doing so, Ikeda provides a model of the mentor-disciple relationship for Gakkai members.
In the Gakkai today, few issues, if any, receive more attention than the mentor-disciple relationship. Ikeda and Gakkai members say the relationship is so close as to be indivisible (shitei funi). The mentor is concerned with improving the lives of his disciples. Or, as the January 2010 Sōka Gakkai International Quarterly puts it, the mentor gives disciples “confidence in their own unrealized possibilities” and “is focused on the empowerment of others” (p. 28). Disciples support their mentor and his vision using their unique abilities. They are not passive followers of the mentor; in fact simple followers are not good disciples because they do not adequately seek ways to use their own individual talents to help realize their mentor’s vision. Good disciples protect and promote the mentor’s vision, with which they identify. Today Gakkai members both in and outside Japan commonly refer to Ikeda as their mentor. They often speak of the oneness of the mentor-disciple relationship (shitei funi), and some members say the relationship exceeds all others. They describe the relationship not as hierarchical but one in which there is mutual giving. Both the mentor and disciple are ideally selfless in their devotion to each other.
The idea of mentor-disciple can be found in the history of Nichiren Buddhism in general, and Sōka Gakkai in particular, before 1960. Since the split with Nichiren Shōshū in 1991, however, and particularly after the Aum sarin attacks that resulted in more intensive media critiques of Sōka Gakkai, Ikeda as well as leaders of the Sōka Gakkai have given it greater emphasis. Levi McLaughlin points out:
' Since the mid of 1990s, Sōka Gakkai in Japan has minimized its historical emphasis on proselytising in favor
of a singular focus on cultivating all members, particularly children born into the movement — called
children of fortune— in discipleship under Ikeda Daisaku. Members are urged to apply the of 'the
indivisibility of mentor and disciple' to their individual lives as they forge affective one-to-one relationships with Ikeda.'
It is in part because of the emphasis on the mentor-disciple relationship in the Gakkai that no Japanese religious leader in recent history has inspired as much loyalty among so many as Ikeda. To understand how Ikeda inspires such loyalty, it helps to understand how he is a transformational leader who provides an exemplary model of discipleship through his autobiographical writings. ….
The greatest transformational leaders, however, do more than simply gain the trust of their communities; they transform the very self-conceptions of those they lead. The social psychologist Shamir, along with others, has explained how transformational leaders motivate people at high levels by pointing out that such leaders often affect the self-conceptions of the led in a way that ties them to the leader’s vision (Shamir et al., 1993). Ikeda, with his emphasis on the mentor-disciple relationship, is a leader who does this. Those in the Gakkai today, following Ikeda’s lead, create a self-conception of themselves as not simply Gakkai members or Nichiren Buddhists, but as disciples of a helpful and caring mentor. Because they conceive of themselves as disciples with Ikeda as their mentor, Gakkai members are more likely to act beyond their own narrow self interests and for the accomplishment of the Gakkai’s goals.
If discipleship becomes part of a Gakkai member’s identity, how can he or she learn what discipleship entails? The answer for Gakkai members is found largely in Ikeda’s self representation of his own discipleship. Ikeda shows Gakkai members what it means to be a disciple by offering autobiographical portrayals of his relationship with Toda as a model to which his disciples can refer to understand the virtues of discipleship. What Ikeda’s model of discipleship involves can be understood from the entries in the diary Ikeda kept while with Toda. By reading the diary not as a historical source that tells us about Ikeda’s life in the 1950s, but rather as a text that can act in the present to offer an example of discipleship and to bring readers closer to Ikeda, we are able to see how it contributes to Ikeda’s leadership.
By showing his devotion to Toda in the above-mentioned ways (namely, characterizing him as his ultimate mentor, accepting Toda’s strict discipline, showing his desire to protect him, and by constantly thinking about Toda), Ikeda not only tells of his relationship with his mentor but also models the mentor-disciple relationship for Gakkai members who regard themselves as Ikeda’s disciples. ….
Ikeda’s autobiographical accounts of his youth in the 1950s and his discipleship to his mentor, Toda, are a means for leadership. With his diary, Ikeda fosters the idea that the mentor-disciple relationship, which is a central idea in the Sōka Gakkai today, is an empowering one. The diary as a set of autobiographical depictions of his dedication to Toda offers a model of discipleship for Sōka Gakkai members and encourages them to enter a mentor-discipleship with him. It does this first by giving an intimate self portrayal in a manner that helps readers feel they know Ikeda well and that helps them identify with him as someone not very different from themselves. Second, it does this by presenting the mentor-disciple relationship as an attractive one that can enormously benefit the disciple. Those who read Ikeda’s accounts learn that although Ikeda as a youth was in many ways ordinary, he achieved greatness as a leader as the result of his discipleship to his mentor. This holds the promise for Gakkai members that they too can achieve greatness in the mentor-disciple relationship, which in turn helps them see the self-conception of disciple as one of strength. With the self-conception of a disciple, Gakkai members are more likely to strive to achieve goals articulated by their mentor, Ikeda, that transcend their own self interests, such as the expansion of the Gakkai’s membership, and the promotion of culture, education, and world peace.
Skeptics might point out that Ikeda’s diary, as well as his other autobiographical writings, may have been constructed to present his life in a way that is not completely accurate. Indeed without access to handwritten originals, we cannot verify to what extent the printed version of the diary reproduces the original one. But what makes the diary important is not simply its historical value or veracity for understanding Ikeda’s youth but its consequences for Ikeda’s leadership of Gakkai members and his relationship with them today and in the future.
As mentor, Ikeda has provided the vision of an exemplary disciple. Various high level leaders of the Gakkai have told me they plan to keep that vision alive.
As [these] statement suggests, the Gakkai leadership is committed to promoting depictions of Ikeda’s relationship with Toda through publications so that future Gakkai members might know his “spirit of discipleship.” Primary among the sources for understanding this spirit of discipleship was, is, and will be Ikeda’s personal accounts of his life with his mentor. As sources for understanding discipleship, Ikeda’s autobiographical presentations, including those in the diary, exert influence on how Sōka Gakkai members conceive of their own discipleship with him. This indicates that autobiographical texts can serve as powerful sources for leadership even in the absence of the leader who wrote them.
The Fighting Forces of the Lotus Uit: Theendlessfurther van juli 2013
Recently I read a post at Emergent Dharma, described as a “Young Buddhist Blog,” in which the author writes of his visit to a Nichiren Shoshu temple in Ghana. A temple member introduced him to another member, saying the author was new to Nichiren but had been practicing Zen for a while. The second temple member replied, “Zen, huh? That is inferior.”
Anyone who has interacted with folks from the major Nichiren traditions will recognize this as a fairly typical experience. Now, there’s nothing wrong with believing your religion to be best. After all, who wants to practice a second rate religion? However, most of us don’t say to people right off in our first casual encounter that their religion sucks. And there is nothing new about Buddhist elitism. Many of us are aware of how the Mahayana continually criticized the so-called Hinayana for being inferior.
The difference here is that prejudice against other religions and forms of Buddhism is part of the Nichiren doctrine, and when prejudice and elitism are integral to a religion’s canon, it can be a dangerous thing. Eventually, the old Mahayana elitism diffused as it spread throughout Asian and time wore on. That doesn’t seem to be the case with the schools of Nichiren.
Nichiren’s belief in the superiority of the Lotus Sutra is founded on a number of assumptions. The first being the idea that the historical Buddha saved the Lotus Sutra as his highest teaching to be expounded during the final eight years of his life.
But there’s no historical evidence to support this. The Lotus Sutra is part of the Mahayana group of sutras that no reputable scholar in the world today believes the Buddha directly taught, since they were compiled centuries after the Buddha’s passing, a point that is conceded by leaders and scholars in the Nichiren traditions. Yet, among the rank and file, and for the purpose of disseminating their dharma, this inconvenient truth gets shoved aside. This notion is based in part on a doctrine called “Five Periods and Eight Teachings,” a classification of sutras erroneously attributed to T’ien-t’ai master Chih-i.
So, all other forms of Buddhism before the Lotus are “provisional,” and the Lotus alone is the “essential” teaching. Only chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra works in Mappo, the mythical “Latter Day of the Law,” every other Buddhist practice is impotent. There is a bit more to it than this, but that’s the gist.
When I was a member of the Soka Gakkai, I would hear variations of the same spiel over and over, “The historical Buddha’s practices are impotent; the Dalai Lama just talks about being a Bodhisattva, we actually help people; bad things will happen to you if you quit practicing Nichiren’s Buddhism” and so on. You weren’t allowed to have Buddhist statues or artwork, only Nichiren’s mandala, the Gohonzon. No Buddhist books, except those put out by the Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu.
I knew it was BS, but I put up with it, for reasons too complicated to go into here, until like Popeye the Sailor, “That’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands n’more!”
In Japan, hobobarai, or “removal of evil religions,” was an essential concept behind the Soka Gakkai’s aggressive conversion campaigns. Conversion has always been an important part of Gakkai activities. During my day, you were expected to convert people to Nichiren Buddhism, and your “faith” was often judged by the number of individuals you brought into the organization. Outside of Japan, the idea of “removal of evil religions,” was promoted with a soft-sell, but in Japan, especially in the early days of the Gakkai, it was militant.
Conversion is called shakubuku, a tradition Buddhist term that means “to break and subdue.” Gakkai members went to such extreme lengths to pressure people to join that according to Kiyoaki Murata, in Japan’s New Buddhism, “These tactics not only made the press highly critical of Soka Gakkai; they also alarmed the police and . . . the Ministry of Justice.”
In the U.S., shakubuku turned many people off, with good reason. We would often do “street shakubuku.” Go out on the street and corner strangers. I hated it and tried to get out of doing it as often as I could.
The Gakkai became so large in Japan during the late 1960’s that it was able to drop the aggressive tactics, but it didn’t cut loose from the philosophy behind it. In the United States, however, all through the 1980’s we participated in month-long membership drives twice a year. Every night of the week during February and August members were expected to carry out conversion activities. In 1985, the US branch of the Soka Gakkai, then called NSA, “converted” over 65,000 people. Only a tiny fraction of those remained with the organization for longer than six months.
On the Wikipedia page for Nichiren Buddhism, it reads “most Nichiren Buddhists enjoy a peaceful coexistence with other religious groups in modern times . . .” This is generally true. But there are several caveats. One being the superior attitude mentioned above. Another being that the different Nichiren factions tend to bicker each other – a lot. The most extreme example of this is the war between Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai that has been running for twenty years now.
Nichiren Shoshu is an official school of Nichiren Buddhism, and until the Soka Gakkai came along it was a relatively minor school. The SG was the lay organization affiliated with NS, but there were always problems between the two groups. Things first came to a head during WW2 when the NS priesthood was willing accept Shinto talismans that the Japanese military government was insisting everyone have to support the war effort. The 1st president of the SG, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, and 2nd President, Josei Toda, balked at this and were thrown in jail, where Makiguchi died in 1944.
One can certainly admire the two men for their unwillingness to compromise their principles, yet those principles came from Nichiren doctrine that it is a grave sin to possess religious items from evil religions, which is any religion other than Nichirenism.
Toda was released from prison in 1945, but he was no Nelson Mandela. He held a grudge against the NS priesthood for causing Makiguchi’s death. In 1952 Toda, and future 3rd President Daisaku Ikeda, led a group of Gakkai members who kidnapped and physically assaulted an elderly Nichiren Shoshu priest, Jimon Ogasawara, whom they believed responsible for the organization’s misfortune during the war. This is a well documented incident, one that to his credit, Ikeda provides a detailed description of in The Human Revolution, his account of Soka Gakkai history.
Fast forward to 1990, when all hell broke loose. After decades of rough relations, Ikeda formally denounced Nichiren Shoshu, and they responded by excommunicating the entire Soka Gakkai. It’s been like the Hatfields and the McCoys ever since. In my opinion both sides are to blame for this unfortunate schism, and neither seems willing to maintain peaceful co-existence. Each is out to destroy the other.
In Japan there have been accusations leveled at both groups regarding acts of violence. In recent years, I have heard accounts of U.S. Gakkai members getting together to pray for the destruction of Nichiren Shoshu, disrupting NS activities, and vandalism against NS temples. I have no doubt that those on the Nichiren Shoshu side have not been perfect angels either.
The Soka Gakkai in the U.S. maintains a website dedicated to setting the record straight on the “evil” Nichiren Shoshu. It’s called Soka Spirit which is described as,
"[The] spirit to protect and propagate the correct teaching of Nichiren Daishonin.
It is the spirit of the disciples to uphold the truth and justice of their teacher and mentor.
It is the spirit to recognize tendencies in human nature to distort the teachings of
Nichiren Buddhism for personal gain and to confront those who act upon those tendencies.
It is the spirit to defeat the fundamental darkness inherent in all life and manifest the Buddha nature."
Manifesting Buddha nature sounds good, but “teacher and mentor” is a veiled reference to the near-deification of Ikeda, who are SG members are encouraged to regard as their “eternal mentor in life,” and “distort the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism for personal gain and to confront those who act upon those tendencies” smacks of the familiar paranoia, persecution complex, and aggression.
There are articles on the Soka Spirit website such as “The Characteristics of Devils” (in other words, how to choose friends who are not anti-Gakkai), and “The Role of Rumors as a Function of Fundamental Darkness” (only believe what we tell you). This was the sort of thing that really drove me from SG. Articles that on the surface seem innocent and reasonable enough, but when you read between the lines you recognized a subliminal message that always coincided with whatever the organization was promoting at the time. Even the seemingly noble peace exhibits and seminars, seemed to be designed solely for the purpose of furthering the SG’s aims and lauding the greatness of Mr. Ikeda.
And of course, Soka Spirit has speeches from Mr. Ikeda. In one from Nov. 25, 2003, he told members of the Soka Gakkai,
"As comrades, family, brothers and sisters, fellow human beings, we will fight all
our lives for kosen-rufu. This is our mission. This is what unites us.
We are a fighting force, a fighting fortress.”
Publically, the SGI says that kosen-rufu “has been informally defined as ‘world peace through individual happiness’” and they link it back to a line in the Lotus Sutra. But within the Soka Gakkai, kosen-rufu really means a time when one-third of the world will believe in Nichiren’s Buddhism, one-third may not believe but will support it, and the remaining third oppose it.
There is much more to be said, but blog posts have their limitations. In these last two, I have focused on the troubling aspects of Nichiren Buddhism, because there were things that needed to be said, and no one else has been saying, or writing about them.
Extremists are uncompromising, prone to engage in fanatical behavior, and terrorism often begins when a group views themselves as victims persecuted by outside forces. In an open society, troubling things need to be brought into the light, aired, discussed, or else we remain in ignorance, the great ally of intolerance, extremism, and terror.
Uit : sokagakkailies.wordpress.com
Is SGI a cult? Does it matter? -- Cult Warning Signs in SGI
1. Authority without accountability. Soka Gakkai claims to have absolute authority withregard to Nichiren Buddhism; Nichiren Buddhism can only be correctly practiced if one is a member of SGI. Daisaku Ikeda is promoted by SGI to be the foremost authority on Nichiren Buddhism for the modern age. But SGI provides no accountability — members have no control over their leaders and have no mechanism by which to affect the policies and procedures of their organization.
2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. There are no opportunities to publicly question or critique the teachings of SGI in organizational publications. Critiquing SGI at small discussion meetings may be tolerated to a degree, but this behavior is called “negativity” and is discouraged.
3. No meaningful financial disclosure and no independently audited financial statement. Media reports and property tax records confirm that Soka Gakkai is a multi-billion dollar religious corporation. SGI refuses to disclose its finances even to members and donors who request this information. SGI has publicly maligned members who have pressed for financial disclosure.
4. Unreasonable fear about evil conspiracies and persecutions. Ikeda and his followers have denounced as “evil” a rival group called Nichiren Shoshu, and urged SGI members to fight this so-called devilish influence. SGI has sponsored prayer vigils focused on the destruction of Nichiren Shoshu and the demise of its leader, Nikken. SGI has also assigned at least one paid staff member to follow and spy on Nichiren Shoshu priests. Why? SGI claims that Nichiren Shoshu is out to destroy SGI.
5. The belief that former members are always wrong in leaving SGI. Former members often relate similar stories of being pressured to embrace certain beliefs, to say only positive things about SGI and to participate in fund raising, recruitment and public relations campaigns. Former members have a similar grievances regarding SGI: too much emphasis on the “evil” of Nichiren Shoshu, too much adulation of Daisaku Ikeda and too little emphasis on the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism. SGI leaders tell members that former members are deluded, cannot be trusted and should be avoided.
6. Dependence upon SGI guidance and activities for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. When SGI members are confronted with a problem, they are urged to seek “guidance” from local SGI leaders or to read guidance from Ikeda. Members are urged to recruit more members and participate in more SGI activities in order to have a “breakthrough” and solve their problems. If the problem is resolved, leaders are quick to claim that participation in SGI activities provides mystical benefits. If the problem is not resolved the member is often advised to make a greater commitment to SGI and “connect” with Ikeda’s heart.
7. Anything that SGI does can be justified, no matter how questionable or harmful. SGI members are good at making excuses for the shortcomings of their organization. “We’re still in our infancy — we’ve only been in America for a little over 30 years — mistakes are to be expected,” they say. “We are only human. Of course we make mistakes.” “We are fulfilling an important mission, so even if people are hurt by our activities, it will all work out for the best in the end.” “If people are hurt by our organization it is due to their karma, not ours.” “People are afraid of SGI not because we are deceptive and manipulative, but because we represent a real challenge to the status quo. People can’t handle the truth and justice we represent.” The list of excuses for bad behavior goes on and on.
8. SGI members are afraid. SGI members have been indoctrinated with a litany of fears: fear of visiting temples or investigating other forms of Buddhism, fear of not chanting enough or skipping gongyo, fear of contradicting the SGI, fear of listening to or entertaining criticism of the SGI, fear of chanting to the “wrong” Gohonzon, fear of leaving the SGI. SGI members fear that these things will invite severe “mystical” punishment such as financial hardship, illness, family strife, loss of a romantic relationship, getting fired from a job or a horrible, agonizing death.