Jisei Nagasaka Turns a Cold Shoulder to Youth
Comments on JN’s lecture, Special Jigyo-Keta Chanting, posted 3/29/2005.
The youth of NSTNY should be alarmed about Jisei Nagasaka’s disregard for youth. Indeed, absent from JN’s sermons is an all total absence of mention of youth! Instead, in quote after quote, JN offers a saccharine sweet view of Buddhism that is far removed from the spirit of youth. This is most evident in his remarks about “our special Jigyo-keta chanting.”
“By embracing the Dai-Gohonzon and practicing Jigyo-keta chanting, all living beings will be able to attain enlightenment within their environment.”
“When we seriously practice special Jigyo-keta chanting, we will obtain the Buddha’s compassion and wisdom.”
“United, the priests and Hokkeko members of Nichiren Shoshu must advance in our special Jigyo-keta chanting. In doing so, we will be able to accomplish our great goal of Kosen-rufu…”
Quite obviously, transforming the world—let alone personal enlightenment—requires a bit more than JN’s formula. In reality transforming the world will precisely require the active participation of youth. Every revolution of the past has been fueled by the power and passion of youth. This fact is not addressed by JN.
This obvious fact is recognized by leading intellects throughout time and location. The contemporary Chinese author Ba Jin stated, “Youth are the hope of humanity.” German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer argued that youth is a time of challenge and serves as the foundation of life, “For what is well learnt is youth sticks for all time.”
More worrisome, JN’s neglect of youth in his speeches directly contrasts with Nichiren’s lifetime practice of training and entrusting the youth who surrounded him. This drive continued to the very last days of his life.
On Nichiren’s death bed, at the residence of Ikegami Munenaka, Nichiren was challenged to a debate by the “Charma Seal Ise,” a Tendai priest and the son of a military official. Nichiren assigned Nichimoku (later the Third High Priest) to represent him in the debate. Only 22 at the time, Nichimoku boldly and vigorously defeated his opponent in what is now known as the Ikegami Debate. With every fiber of his life Nichiren encouraged the young Nanjo Tokimitsu who risked his life and livelihood to protect the farmers of Atsuhara.
JN’s comments deflate the very spirit of Nichiren. The youthful members of NST should feel cheated and abused. Nichiren’s life was not a sticky sweet affair. From his first sermon at the age of 32 to the last moment of his life he faced and surmounted obstacle after obstacle. Confronted each wave of struggle, Nichiren Daishonin led his life in exact accordance with the prediction in the Lotus Sutra that slander and abuse would attack the votary of the sutra.
The youth of NST should know that the lives of followers of Nichiren should take the same pattern. This is our badge of honor. That is why the Gosho states, “Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat.”
Powerful youth have no time and energy to waste being on ceremonies, formalities, and pandering. They are too busy struggling to transform their very being. The followers of Nichiren are meant to be fighters. The spirit of youth is reflected in the spirit of Nichiren Daishonin. For this reason we wrote, “I pray that my followers will be cubs of the lion king and never incur the ridicule of packs of foxes.”
Contrast the insipid message of JN to the clarion call of the Daishonin. “So the battle goes on even today.” JN will continue to issue trite commentary that is truly disconnected from the powerful roar of the lion of Nichiren’s spirit. After a lifetime of struggle Nichiren stated, “But I still am not discouraged.”