NST: Handshakes Forbidden

NST instructs its members to build a wall of science to inure themselves from contacts with SGI members. Daido Nakamoto has instructed his congregants: “Don’t talk to SGI members!”

On two occasions I have come face-to-face with one of the “So-Koto’s” (lay leader) of NSTNY. Both times I stuck out my hand to shake his. He quickly withdrew his hand and placed it behind his back. Many people observed this very strange action.

Of course, this defies social conventions. Even vitriolic opponents like Hillary and Barack shake hands after a debate. Contentious lawyers shake hands before and after legal proceedings. Boxers shake hands, too! So why does this NST leader refuse a shake? What goes on in his thinking?

Nichiren writes, Each of you should summon up the courage of a lion and never succumb to threats from anyone. The lion fears no other beast, nor do its cubs. Slanderers are like howling jackals, but Nichiren’s followers are like roaring lions.

Is the refusal of a handshake reminiscent of a roaring lion or a howling jackal? A handshake is a token gesture that symbolizes an opening, a step towards dialogue. Emerson once stated, “Wise, cultivated, genial conversation is the last flower of civilization and the best result which life has to offer us.”

Perhaps this lay believer should read from his own The Doctrines and Practice of Nichiren Shoshu (Chapter 44) which states, “By your complicity in the act by failing to take steps against [slander], you are as guilty of the act as the people who actually commit it, even though you have no intention of committing the act and take no action to forward it.” Failing to shake a hand–to open a dialogue–is therefore slanderous from the standpoint of Nichiren’s Buddhism.

When did Nichiren ever refuse to engage in a public debate with someone he regarded as a slanderer of the Law?

The irony of the most recent situation was that the most recent Great Handshake Refusal took place right before the NST celebration towards the 750th anniversary of the Rissho Ankoku Ron–the very writing which launched Nichiren’s battle to use the power of dialogue to reveal the true and refute the erroneous.

My recommendation: “Let’s use this lead up to the anniversary of the Rissho Ankoku Ron with a series of debates to clarify the true intent and spirit of Nichiren’s teachings.”

And let’s start each discussion with a handshake.

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One response to “NST: Handshakes Forbidden

  1. This question and answer with Reverend Nakamoto from a recent
    Myosetsuji newsletter ought to help clarify things:
    Question: Why can’t SGI members come to our temple and local meetings,
    even though we regularly invite non-Buddhists to these events?
    Answer: Looking back at 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 be trusted. Due to Daisaku Ikeda’s influence, they
    have become people of incorrigible disbelief . They have totally lost their
    true mind and have no sincere desire to practice Nichiren Daishonin’s
    teachings correctly. In order to provide a peaceful place of practice for
    our many sincere Nichiren Shoshu members, 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. Only if someone
    completely quits SGI and is seeking True Buddhism, then we can happily
    help this person.

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