“The Only Way to Prevent a Third World War”
Comments on JN’s lecture, Nichiren Daishonin’s Birthday, posted 2/26/2005.
In this sermon Jisei Nagasaka steps into the world of social commentary. His past sermons have been incredulously lacking in social commentary even though Mahayana teachings are often referred to as “Engaged Buddhism.” Unfortunately, although he portrays the tremendous suffering experienced by the people over the past century, his analysis is stunted and his solutions are insipid. For example, let’s deconstruct this clip:
We should have special Jigyo-keta chanting weekly in which one support staff leads the other support staff to the Gohonzon. This special Jigyo-keta chanting will be extended to the group members and guests naturally. When we advance in this way, we will definitely be able to activate our Keta practice without fail. This is the only way we will be able to prevent a Third World War and all the other disasters in this world.
Let me see if I get this right. JN will organize small weekly chanting sessions. This is the only way to prevent a Third World War! I find myself embarrassed for his followers. I just wonder why they are so blind and unable to see through him? Inevitably the little boy will have to cry out, “The Emperor has no clothes!”
There is no analysis here, no depth! The world is facing a myriad of interlocking crises. Thee are complex issues of war, environmental degradation, the North-South development gap, divisions among people based on ethnicity/religion/language, tribalization, fundamentalist extremism, the greed of transnational global corporations; the list goes on and on, each one a veritable bomb that must be expertly defused.
JN’s solutions to global crises pale in comparison to the efforts of other engaged Buddhist groups. The Dalai Lama, for example, has won a Nobel Peace Prize. The SGI has created two think tanks that coordinate the efforts of leading thinkers around the world: the Toda Institute for Peace and the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century. It is a leading NGO at the United Nations and it circulates exhibitions throughout the world to promote global dialogue. The president of the SGI, Daisaku Ikeda, has conducted and published dialogues with numerous peace activists and has submitted since 1983 detailed annual peace proposals (www.sgi.org/english/President/peace_pro.htm) to help global citizens blaze a path through the morass.
JN is right but sadly overdue in condemning the millions of people who have been needlessly and cruelly slaughtered in the 20th Century. I can’t help but wonder whether he is trying to create a Wannabe, Johnny-come-lately SGI through his commentary.
More significantly, his use of the countless deaths in the 20th Century to impel his members to propagate is devoid of imagination NS based on fear. Peace educators will point out that such approaches cannot work any more than showing pictures of STD victims prompts teenagers into safe behavior. Peace educators inform us that the only approach that works is empowering individuals to expand their full human potential and to take steps to build a culture of peace. JN’s remarks are clearly superficial and fraudulent.