Multiple Choice Test

1- What is the very core of correct faith and practice?

A- “A similar sentiment can be heard in the following statement: ‘I’ve been practicing this Buddhism for over 30 years. It’s actually been longer than many priests. What can I learn from [priests]?’ It is true, of course, that many members of the Hokkeko have been practicing Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism for a longer period of time than many priests, but it is also true that absolutely none of these members have been direct disciples of the Honorable Retired High Priest Nikken Shonin or 68th High Priest Nichinyo Shonin, thus receiving the Living Essence of the Dai-Gohonzon from our True Master. This is the key difference between the priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu, a difference which lies at the very core of correct faith and practice.” Lecture by Yuzui Murata, Chief Priest of Myosenji Temple, Nov 14, 2010

B- “Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment countless kalpas ago, the Lotus Sutra that leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another.  To chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death.”  “Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life” (WND-1, 216).

2- Can we attain enlightenment without going on Tozan?

A- “Tozan itself is not the only way to attain enlightenment. We are able to attain enlightenment with pure faith in the Dai-Gohonzon.” Daido Nakamoto, Myosetsuji News, Dec 1, 2010, page 1.

B- “Without our desire to visit Taisekiji to see the Dai-Gohonzon we can not share the life condition of the Buddha or in other words, we will not be able to attain Buddhahood.” Daido Nakamoto, Myosetsuji News, Feb. 1, 2011, page 1.

3- What is the correct attitude to take with SGI members?

A.  Sept 1, 2010 Myosetsuji News: “We must keep active SGI members away from our sacred Nichiren Shoshu temple and its correct object of worship. The same is true for our local meetings.” Daido Nakamoto, p. 1.

B. Sept 12, 2010 Myosenji Temple Oko Lecture: “We must strongly try to re-shakubuku all members of the SGI!” Chief Priest Yuzui Murata.

4-  What is the correct course of action to take towards icchantika, “people of incorrigible disbelief”?

A. High Priest Nichinyo: Try to save them. “[According to the Lotus Sutra) all living beings, including those of the two vehicles, icchantika, the determinate people, as well as women and evil men were given the possibility of attaining enlightenment.” Myosetsuji News, Feb. 1, 2011.

B. Daido Nakamoto: Shun them. “Looking back for the past 20 years and considering all the negative things SGI has done to Nichiren Shoshu, it becomes clear that SGI and their members can not [sic] be trusted. Due to Daisaku Ikeda’s influence, they have become modern day icchantikas or people of incorrigible disbelief. They have totally lost their true mind.” Myosetsuji News, Sept 1, 2010, p. 1.

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Daido Nakimoto Demoted

According to a Japanese blog, Daido Nakamoto, the chief priest of Myosetsuji Temple, is being reassigned to Jikaiji Temple, in Kagoshima.  Posted on February 11th, the reliability of the blog post was confirmed by Nakamoto’s announcement on February 13th.

All indications are that Rev. Nakamoto’s reassigned is a major demotion.  Once the Chief Secretary of the Head Temple’s Overseas Bureau, Nakamoto, 59, is being sent to a small temple, perhaps the most remote temple from the Head Temple. He’s being replaced by Rev. Shinga Takigawa, 43, who has been the chief priest at a temple in Singapore.  Ironically, web postings indicate that Rev. Nakamoto once got caught in an indiscretion in Singapore and it was the same Rev. Takigawa who was there to clean things up.

Jikaiji is located in Makurazaki City.  Usually new priests, freshly minted at Taisekiji’s seminary, are sent to this temple for their first assignment.  He will replace Ryodai Kawase, 32, who will be reassigned to the Head Temple.  “In terms of Japanese culture,” one commentator notes, “this is like a CEO replacing a receptionist with the latter being asked to hang out in the Human Resources office.”

Makurazaki City is an isolated fishing port in Southern Japan. It is nicknamed “Typhoon Ginza,” the first place the typhoons strike each summer when they reach the main islands of Japan.  Located at the last stop of the southern-most JR train line, the city has a population of about 25,000 people,  .3% of Nakamoto’s current New York City home.  Currently Nakamoto’s territory of Northeastern United States, Southeastern Canada and the Caribbean has a population of 38,000,000.  His new city’s population is .06% of this total.

Makurazaki City, founded in 1949, is renowned for its overbearing rotten fish odor.  It is the main site for Japanese katsuobushi processing plants, which produce the chief flavoring ingredient—dried fish flakes—found in miso soup. The fish are caught offshore and brought to Makurazaki for skinning and boning.  They are hot smoked in factories for up to two weeks and for an additional six weeks the fillets are alternately infected with Aspergillus mold and sun-dried.

Makurazaki is in the same prefecture as Mt. Shinmoedake, the volcano that is erupting and causing concerns about evacuation and air traffic delays.

According to the Japanese blog, the reason for Nakamoto being sent back to Japan is said to be “a woman problem.” In 2004, it came to light that Nakamoto, had an affair with a female Hokkeko member in Singapore during his trip there.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 4 times

In 2010, there were 22 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 57 posts. There were 17 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was August 17th with 45 views. The most popular post that day was Open Letter to a Temple Friend.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were nonstny.homestead.com, genuinedialogue.org, buddhajones.com, search.conduit.com, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for yuzui murata, daido nakamoto, david kasahara, ray petty, and david kasahara sgi.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Open Letter to a Temple Friend May 2008

2

Interview with David Kasahara, Excepts December 2008
1 comment

3

Archive: Buddhist Priest Claims Islam is Slanderous Religion August 2010

4

Gosho and Guidance Quotes: Why the SGI Eternally Fights Injustice May 2008

5

Archive: Response to Rev. Nakamoto’s Lecture on Letter to Niike August 2010

One Priest, One Sermon, 21 Errors: Response to Rev. Yuzui Murata’s 11/14/2010 Sermon

Summary

On November 14, 2010 Rev. Yuzui Murata, Chief Priest of the Myosenji Nichiren Shoshu Temple, gave a sermon containing 21 serious errors about Buddhism.  Some of his statements are all too familiar outrageous claims: his members are only the followers of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, the heritage of the Law travels as a “Living Essence” from high priest to high priest, the deification of Nichiren and the Dai-Gohonzon, and his claim that one of the Three Treasures of Buddhism is the Nichiren Shoshu Priesthood.

However he now makes several new and quite disturbing assertions:

  • In introduces a new term, “Fuzoku,” which means the passing of the teachings from the “True Master” to the disciples.
  • He claims that the “Living Essence” flows within the lives of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood itself.

He claims that the benefits of faith are dependent on his congregants’ relationship with him as the chief priest.  Further, he starts to construct an argument that places the priesthood to Nichiren on the same level:  “To apply the guidance and instruction we receive from the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin and from the priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu…”

Detailed Responses to Yuzui Murata’s 21 Errors

1-    “Realize your mission as a stalwart follower of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.” Mr. Murata continues to address his congregants as “followers of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.”   The consistency of his message leaves no doubt that he delegates his congregants to the status of “followers” of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth rather than the actual Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

This contention flies in the face of Nichiren’s assertion: “Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku’” (WND-1, 385).  In contrast, the three presidents of the SGI steadfastly encourage us to wake up to our mission as the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.  One facet of President Toda’s awakening in prison was his deeply personal realization that he was a Bodhisattva of the Earth. President Ikeda has stated: “We have now entered an age when our gathering of Bodhisattvas of the Earth is attracting praise far and wide.  The time has come when people everywhere are earnestly seeking the egalitarian and humanistic ‘Buddhism of the people’ of Nichiren Daishonin.  Based on the mentor-disciple spirit of Soka, let us now show the world the real ‘power of the people’ that is the hallmark of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” [Lecture on the Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life, p. 108].

2-    “The Living Essence.” Mr. Murata continues to claim that there is a “Living Essence” which is transmitted from high priest to high priest.  This form of mystical transmission has absolutely no basis in Nichiren’s writings. Nichiren states clearly: “Be resolved to summon forth the great power of faith . . . Never seek any other way to inherit the ultimate Law” (WND-1, p. 218). In another writing he explicitly describes Nam-myoho-renge-kyo “the heart and core” of the Lotus Sutra (WND, p. 541),  the only essence of faith.

3-    Mr. Murata identifies kosen-rufu as “the worldwide spread of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism.” Nichiren Shoshu priests have neither the skills nor compassion to lead a worldwide movement of Buddhism.  President Ikeda stresses that kosen-rufu is ultimately a movement of peace, culture, education, and dialogue.  Clearly a group of approximately 1000 men with cloistered and medieval perspectives, a singular cultural focus, and a besotted history have no capacity to appeal to people of integrity, leading thinkers, women, artists, and the rich brocade of the world’s multicultural fabric.

4-            Mr. Murata speaks about “High Priests who have strictly maintained the correctness of the Daishonin’s teachings.” In quite shocking detail The Untold History of the Fuji School (www.sokaspirit.org/resource/downloads) documents otherwise.   Each century in the 700-year history of the Nichiren Shoshu sect has witnessed numerous transgressions and inconsistencies committed by high priests:

  • 14th century: land disputes and questionable successions led to a decline in the Fuji School (the historical name of the Nichiren Shoshu sect) which was only resolved by the appointment of 9th high priest Nichiu.  He was labeled as a restorer of the Fuji School in recognition of his success in resolving these issues and staunching the school’s  decline.
  • 15th, 16th centuries: the appointment of children high priests and the introduction of the mistaken notion of the infallibility of high priests.
  • 17th century: the appointment of high priests from heretical Nichiren sects, the enshrinement of statues of Shakyamuni as objects of worship, collusion with the government’s parish system, and the recitation of all 28 chapters of the Lotus Sutra in gongyo. Nichikan, the 26th high priest, is also known as a restorer of Nichiren Buddhism because of his determined efforts to re-establish the orthodox teachings of Nichiren.
  • 18th century: the failure of high priests to protect lay members who faced governmental persecution as a result of their propagation activities.
  • 19th century: the failure of high priests to protect lay members who conducted propagation activities and the priesthood’s renounciation of clerical celibacy.
  • 20th century: the association with heretical Nichiren schools, the impeachment of a high priest, questionable successions, sexual misconduct (67th high priest Nikken was the illegitimate child of 60th high priest Nichikai), the support for the Japanese war efforts in World War II, the enshrinement of Shinto talisman at head temple, the slander of the disrupting of unity of believers with the excommunication of the SGI, the destruction of the Sho-Hondo, and the introduction of ideology antithetical to Nichiren’s teachings.

5-            Mr. Murata introduces the term “Fuzoku” which incorrectly ascribes the heritage of the Law to some form of ritualistic transfer between high priests and ignores the very core of the Lotus Sutra: the entrustment of the spread of Buddhism to Bodhisattva Superior Practices and the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.  The Gosho “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life” is very clearly teaches the essential spirit of the transmission of the heritage of the Law of life:

  • “Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment countless kalpas ago, the Lotus Sutra that leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another.  To chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death” (WND-1, 216).
  • “The heritage of the Lotus Sutra flows within the lives of those who never forsake it in any lifetime whatsoever” (WND-1, 217).
  • “All disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, 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.  Herein lies the true goal of Nichiren’s propagation” [WND-1, p. 217].

6-    Mr. Murata grossly misapplies and misinterprets the Gosho quote, “Nikko hereby entrusts the Dai-Gohonzon…to Nikko” (Provisions Bequeathed by Nikko Shonin, Gosho, p. 1883).  Nichiren does not imply any secret transmission or “Golden Utterance” in this passage.  He solely directs Nikko Shonin to assume administrative responsibilities for Taisekiji.  This certainly requires a high level of responsibility and faith; as illustrated in Point 4, some priests entrusted with this role were worthy of the responsibility and others were negligent.

It appears that Nichiren Shoshu rests its entire legitimacy on this single passage of Nichiren.  If the future of the entire school depended on this writing, why didn’t Nikko Shonin include it in his list of the ten most important writings of Nichiren?

  1. Mr. Murata states: “It is only because of Fuzoku that we are able to meet the True Law of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo during this present lifetime…. it is also the reason we are now able to receive the full merit of the Dai-Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws by establishing and then maintaining a strong connection to Its Living Essence, which has been purely inherited by the successive High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu.” This trivializes the profound ties of mentor and disciple which correctly explain why we have now appeared to practice Buddhism as described in The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life:
  • “My followers are now able to accept and uphold the Lotus Sutra because of the strong ties they formed with it in their past existence.  They are certain to obtain the fruit of Buddhahood in the future” (WND-1, 217).
  • “It must be ties of karma from the distant past that have destined you to become my disciple at a time like this.  Shakyamuni and Many Treasures certainly realized this truth.  The sutra’s statement, ‘Those persons who had heard the Law / dwelled here and there in various Buddha land, / constantly reborn in company with their teachers’ (LS, 140), cannot be false in any way” (WND-1, 217).

8-    Mr. Murata continues to mystify Buddhism.  For example, he consistently attempts to deify Nichiren and the Dai-Gohonzon by capitalizing pronouns that refer to them.  For example, he uses Its” to refer to the Dai-Gohonzon and the “True Intention” when describing Nichiren’s intent.  In the same manner, he capitalizes high priests (“the successive High Priests”) and himself (“the Chief Priest”). This explicit attempt at deification runs counter to Nichiren’s statement:

“In the Latter Day of the Law, no treasure tower exists other than the figures of the men and women who embrace the Lotus Sutra. It follows, therefore, that whether eminent or humble, high or low, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are themselves the treasure tower, and, likewise, are themselves the Thus Come One Many Treasures. No treasure tower exists other than Myoho-renge-kyo. The daimoku of the Lotus Sutra is the treasure tower, and the treasure tower is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (WND-1, 299).

9-    Mr. Murata shockingly endows the priesthood with an exalted status and connection to the Mystic Law (“Living Essence…which is flowing within the lives of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood”).  How can an entity such as a priesthood have such a special standing? This is a truly egregious statement that runs counter to the humanistic fiber of Nichiren Buddhism as well as the democratic impulse described by great heroes of history:

  • Walt Whitman: “The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.”
  • Mohandas Gandhi: “Let no one say that he is a follower of Gandhi. It is enough that I should be my own follower. I know what an inadequate follower I am of myself, for I cannot live up to the convictions I stand for. You are no followers but fellow students, fellow pilgrims, fellow seekers, fellow workers.”
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

10- Mr. Murata’s descriptions of the professional lives of lay people, “Selling vacuum cleaners or running an automobile dealership,” rings of condescension and contempt.

11-“To respond to this type of sentiment is one of the reasons I have been examining a sentence from the Gosho… ‘You must immediately renounce your erroneous belief and take faith in the supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra.’” Here Mr. Murata is utilizing the Rissho Ankoku Ron to address a hypothetical member who questions the relevance of the Chief Priest’s comments.  Nichiren wrote this Gosho with the absolute intent of identifying and destroying the roots of fundamental darkness that imprison society and destroy the land.  To invoke the Rissho Ankoku Ron at a person who questions Mr. Murata’s ability to relate to the daily lives of lay people is an act of unforgivable priestly authoritarianism and a form of spiritual terrorism.

12-Mr. Murata states, “The true mission of a Nichiren Shoshu priest is to receive and thoroughly understand the True Intention of Nichiren Daishonin by undergoing rigorous and diligent training as a direct disciple of the High Priest.” It runs counter to the teachings of Buddhism to claim that there is a secret path to the purpose of Nichiren’s advent. Shakyamuni’s vow in the Lotus Sutra is “At the start I took a vow, / hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us” (LS, 36). There is no mystery—Nichiren summarizes his purpose quite clearly:

  • “I vowed to summon up a powerful and unconquerable desire for the salvation of all beings and never to falter in my efforts” (WND-1, 240).
  • “I will be the pillar of Japan.  I will be the eyes of Japan.  I will be the great ship of Japan.  This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!” (WND-1, 280-81).
  • Towards his disciples his true intention was solely for their great happiness and victory: “Be resolved to summon forth the great power of faith, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the prayer that your faith will be steadfast and correct at the moment of death. Never seek any other way to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death, and manifest it in your life. Only then will you realize that earthly desires are enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Even embracing the Lotus Sutra would be useless without the heritage of faith” (WND-1, 218).

13- Mr. Murata’s statement, “To apply the guidance and instruction we receive from the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin and from the priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu,” equates the words and spirit of Nichiren to those of the priesthood.  This is a self-serving assertion of the greatest imaginable arrogance and delusion.

14- [Question from a hypothetical member]: “I’ve been practicing this Buddhism for over 30 years.  It’s actually been longer than many priests.  What can I learn from them?”  [Mr. Murata’s response]: Absolutely none of [such] members have been direct disciples of the Honorable Retired High Priest Nikken Shonin or 68th High Priest Nichinyo Shonin, thus receiving the Living Essence of the Dai-Gohonzon from our True Master.” Mr. Murata’s claims he has a special and higher relationship to the Dai-Gohonzon because he has studied with one or two high priests defies the spirit and instructions of Nichiren.

In reality, a person earns the status of teacher not because of a role or position, but because of his/her accomplishments in validating the Law by opening a path for people to overcome the sufferings of birth and death.   This encapsulates the difference between Mr. Murata’s “True Master” who claims the authority of teacher solely because of his robe and a mentor who overcomes persecution and emerges victorious in order to teach disciples how to do the same.

A snapshot of this mentor and disciple relationship can be seen in this interchange between Nichiren and his disciple Sairenbo: “You have followed Nichiren, however, and met with suffering as a result. It pains me deeply to think of your anguish. Gold can be neither burned by fire nor corroded or swept away by water, but iron is vulnerable to both. A worthy person is like gold, a fool like iron. You are like pure gold because you embrace the ‘gold’ of the Lotus Sutra” (WND-1, 217). Nichiren, on the basis of his victory, encourages his disciple to emerge victorious.

This type of mentor-disciple relationship, lying at the very core of Buddhism, was restored by the SGI’s three mentors.  President Ikeda states, “It is the first three presidents of the Soka Gakkai who have revived in the present age an active and engaged mentor-disciple spirit—the essence of Nichiren Buddhism.  It would be no exaggeration to say that were it not for the appearance of the Soka Gakkai, the spirit of mentor and disciple of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Buddhism would have all but disappeared” (Lecture, 90).

15-Mr. Murata states, “By coming to chant to the Temple Gohonzon…” which insinuates that one Gohonzon has more power than another.  Second SGI President Josei Toda stated, “Our existence as ordinary common mortals is the secret and mystic expedient; the truth is that we are Buddhas.  The Gohonzon is also enshrined in our hearts.  In other words, the core of Nichiren Buddhism lies in the conviction that the Gohonzon enshrined in our Buddhist altar is identical to our own lives.”  All Gohonzon have this significance; there is no distinction on the basis of size or location.

16- “Three Treasures of Nichiren Shoshu—the Buddha, the Law and the priesthood” is Mr. Murata’s tool to convince his congregants that the priesthood has a category of prominence equivalent to Nichiren and the Law, thereby elevating himself and other priests to the status of a religious object of veneration, and excluding believers who are not professional clergy from this sanctified plane.

In Buddhism in general, the three treasures (often referred to as “The Three Jewels”) are defined as the Buddha, the Dharma (the Law or teachings the Buddha expounds), and the Sangha (the Buddhist Order or community believers, i.e., those who spread the Buddha’s teachings). Traditionally the three treasures of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism have been defined as follows:

(1) the treasure of the Buddha is Nichiren Daishonin;

(2) the treasure of the Dharma, or the Law, is the Dai-Gohonzon bestowed upon all humanity; and

(3) the treasure of Sangha, or community of believers, is Nikko Shonin because he correctly preserved, propagated, and transmitted the Daishonin’s Buddhism.

This interpretation was affirmed by Nichikan, the 26th high priest, in his work titled On the Observances of this School: “The treasure of the Buddha of time without beginning is none other than the founder, the Daishonin. The treasure of the Law of time without beginning accords with the great object of devotion of the essential teaching, and the treasure of the priest of time without beginning, accords with the founder of this temple, [Nikko Shonin]” (Six Volume Writings of Nichikan, p. 225).

The Japanese term for the third treasure (“so”) refers to the gathering of people who, regardless of their position as clergy or laity, practice Buddhism in accord with the Law by transmitting and spreading it to all people.  Nichiren Shoshu insists on the most narrow of all its possible translations, “the priesthood,” without any consideration of the term’s broader roots and implications.[1]

17- “There is no ‘easy way’ to eradicate our negative karma, there is no ‘easy way’ to purify or cleanse our lives of the negative influences from the fundamental darkness which we brought into this current lifetime.” In the Gosho On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime, Nichiren stresses that “unless one perceives the nature of one’s life, one’s practice will become an endless, painful austerity” (WND-1, 4).  Mr. Murata implies that the process of changing karma is just such an endless, painful, austerity.

Nichiren’s Buddhism is a hope-filled teaching, however.  Mr. Murata’s theories contradict Nichiren’s writings which embrace the simultaneous nature of cause and effect and the presence of Buddhahood in all conditions of life:

  • “The seven disasters will instantly vanish, and the seven blessings will instantly appear” (On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, WND-1, 6).
  • “He attained enlightenment at the age of thirty and, at that time, instantly banished the three categories of illusion and brought to an end the vast night of ignorance” (Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man, WND-1, 107).
  • “The dragon king’s daughter, though as a woman subject to the five obstacles and thought to be incapable of attaining Buddhahood, was able instantly to achieve the Buddha way” (Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man, WND-1, 108).
  • “If one experiences extreme hardship in this life [because of the Lotus Sutra], the sufferings of hell will vanish instantly” (Lessening One’s Karmic Retribution, WND-1, 199).
  • “The precept refers here to the rule of conduct that one should observe to attain Buddhahood instantly. It means, simply, to embrace the Mystic Law” (Reply to Sairen-bo, WND-1, 314).
  • “Bound as we common mortals are by earthly desires, we can instantly attain the same virtues as Shakyamuni Buddha, for we receive all the benefits that he accumulated…. so can an ordinary person become a Buddha instantly” (Letter to the Sage Nichimyo, WND-1, 323-24).
  • “Then, if we chant until the very moment of death, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions will come to us instantly, exactly as they promised during the ceremony at Eagle Peak” (On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings, WND-1, 395).
  • “Those who visit this place can instantly expiate the offenses they have accumulated since the infinite past and transform their evils deriving from the three types of action into the three virtues” (The Person and the Law, WND-1, 1097).

Although problems do not change instantaneously, through faith we can immediately “change karma into mission” and fully savor the struggles of life and death.

18- “Follow the guidance of your current Chief Priest…to receive the full merit of your faith and practice.  This is an extremely important point.” Obviously, nothing in Nichiren Daishonin’s writings alludes to seeking the guidance of a chief priest as a means to gain the merit of faith and practice.

19-“The place where that person dwells shall be the land of eternally tranquil light.” Finally, Mr. Murata associates a passage from Nichiren’s writings with its correct meaning; however, in so doing he contradicts all his prior points.  As indicated in this passage, the place where a person dwells becomes the land of eternally tranquil light based on the power of that person’s faith and practice.  Neither the intercession of priests nor priestly rituals are needed.

20- “The true purpose of our faith and practice of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism is to transform the Tree Paths of earthly desires, negative karma and suffering into the Three Virtues.” Unfortunately, Mr. Murata gives no clues in his sermon as to how this is accomplished.  This leaves listeners to think that some mystical process is at work.

No mysticism is involved, however; problems motivate us to practice and from courageous faith we emerge victorious. In “What It Means to Hear the Buddha Vehicle for the First Time” (WND-2, 743) Nichiren describes the theory of changing poison into medicine. Commenting on this writing, President Ikeda points out that this view of causality opens the possibility of good coming out of evil, “When we believe from the depths of our hearts that earthly desires are enlightenment and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana, birth and death are no longer a source of suffering.  We are then able to truly ‘hear the Lotus Sutra’” (Lecture, p. 135):

“It is precisely because we have sufferings that we can earnestly chant to the Gohonzon.  The determination to seriously confront our sufferings causes the fundamental power inherent in our lives to emerge that more strongly.  At the moment we chant, our sufferings—our earthly desires—have already become causes for enlightenment…It is the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—the Mystic Law of the simultaneity of cause and effect—that makes this possible” (p. 133).

21- “Because negative influences have been implanted in our lives due to our past association with erroneous belief systems, it is crucial that we take the time to reflect on the true state of our faith and practice of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism” is a call from Mr. Murata that invokes fear, guilt, and dependency.  It is also, quite frankly, a wimpy interpretation of Buddhism.

This approach is not Nichiren’s spirit! “I, Nichiren, am alone, without a single ally” (WND-1, 81). Nichiren stood proudly alone with no trace of self-doubt.  Instead of invoking fear, Mr. Murata should ask his congregants to practice with the same lion’s roar as Nichiren in Sado:

“Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbor doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith.  Foolish men are likely to forget the promises they have made when the crucial moment comes” (WND-1, 283).

Archive: High Priest Nichinyo’s 2010 New Years Message

Did you know?

High Priest Nichinyo’s New Years Message to his followers exhorts them to recruit new people  to  NST. Unbelievably,  however,  throughout  his  message  he  never  wishes   for  the  health  and  happiness  of  his  members  and  their  families  for  the  new  year!

Yuzui Murata Defies Nichinyo’s Instructions to Conduct Dialogue

Reverend Yuzui Murata, the chief priest of Myosenji Temple has recently been making outrageous statements about the SGI and other religions.  On August 15th he stated:

“It is clear that the Daisaku Ikeda Sokagakkai International has defiled the very heart of the True Buddha Nichiren Daishonin and has slanderously desecrated the actions of the successive High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu, who have courageously maintained the purity of the Daishonin’s Buddhism. This is why we must strongly re-shakubuku every member of the SGI, because this is the only way they will be able to erase the effects of their unparalleled slander! As courageous followers of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, it is our responsibility to do shakubuku, shakubuku and shakubuku.”

In response to his statement, several leaders of the SGI-USA’s Mid-Atlantic Zone, which encompasses the area where Myosenji Temple is located, mailed a formal letter of protest to Mr. Murata:

“Since you have issued this firm call to re-shakubuku all SGI members, we request a dialogue with you to provide an opportunity for us all to awaken to the truth of Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings.

“In your lecture you also quoted High Priest Nichinyo Shonin: ‘Pointing out the erroneous ideas and slanderous thoughts of others, based on sincere consideration for them, and admonishing them to correct their understanding is like a parent’s compassionate action toward a child.’  We are confident that you will follow this guidance of the High Priest by responding to our request to dialogue with you.”

Mr. Murata has not responded to Mid-Atlantic Zone’s request for a meeting.  Undeniably his silence is hypocritical and cowardly.

Furthermore, he disregards the Buddhist reliance on dialogue to reveal the truth and discard the erroneous.  The eternal model of this process was demonstrated by Nichiren in “Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.”

The three SGI-USA zones that have geographical proximity to Myosenji are determined to hold Mr. Murata accountable for actions that run counter to the word and spirit of Nichiren Buddhism.

Liberal Maryland County Rocks from Storms of Religious Intolerance: A Satire

Maryland’s Montgomery County, a liberal enclave near Washington, D.C. and the eighth wealthiest county in the United States, was struck by rash of religious intolerance issues this past summer.  It was also the epicenter of a 3.6 scale earthquake and was the hardest-hit county of a summer squall that knocked out power for nearly a week.

The sequence of events started with a sermon on July 11th by Yuzui Murata, the chief priest of the Myosenji Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist temple of Rockville.  Murata claimed that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are “truly erroneous and misleading religions [that] are responsible for so many of the sufferings and uncertainties which seem to be multiplying in this country and around the world.”  Murata, whose own permanent building was deemed “unfit for occupancy” after a fire this past October, recommended that more people join his temple “so they, too, can fundamentally cleanse from their lives the erroneous belief systems which are continuing to keep them imprisoned within their own private hell.”

Four days later Rockville was the center of the earthquake which sent tremors into Washington, D.C.

The universe continued to punish Montgomery County with an unrelenting two-week heat wave that culminated in the July 25th storm. Loss of life, destruction, and the specter of the interrupted Boy Scouts of America Grand Centennial Parade where, as The Washington Post reported, scouts ran through the wind and rain with kerchiefs and caps flying, did not deter humans from continuing to commit acts of religious intolerance.  On July 25th a vandal defaced B’nai Shalom Synagogue in Olney with anti-Semitic graffiti.  The vandal even painted Nazi symbols on two houses, only one of which was owned by a Jewish family.

County officials, not hearing the concerns of higher powers, took only tepid responses to promote religious tolerance. The county relented to a suit by a Christian group that claimed violations to their free speech rights and County Executive Isiah Leggett continued to endorse plans to construct an enlarged Global Mission Church–largely built on neighboring Frederick County–despite opposition from environmentalists. Leggett’s spokesman Patrick Lacefield said the County Executive was “supportive of the good work of the church and supports the ability of faith communities to stretch out where they can.” Another county board, however, refused to sanction the destruction of a 1903 house to construct a parking lot that would make it possible for the 500 members of The Episcopal Church of the Ascension to access their church.  To confuse matters more, a county judge closed the Chabad Israeli Center, housed in the home of Rabbi Shlomo Beitsh.  The rabbi was cited for permitting 12 people to worship there.

Inviting more sanctions from the heavens, Montgomery County approved the rental of its Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center Auditorium on August 8th to the good Reverend Murata so he could speak about “The Fourteen Slanders.”

Perhaps Yuzui Murata, referring to his congregants in his July 11th sermon, had it right.  “We are not the mindless and powerless puppets these erroneous religions would have us believe.”

And so the story ends with widespread power outages that struck again on November 16th.