IN-REPLY TO SEPTEMBER COSMIC EDITORIAL BY GENERAL DIRECTOR OF SOKA GAKKAI MALAYSIA.
- Let us begin by expressing our appreciation to SGM Publication in publishing study materials for fellow comrades. Over the years, all of us must have benefited from learning through Cosmic-Flow. Cosmic is the flower and fragrance of peace. We use Cosmic magazine to do shakubuku.
Experiences and guidances published on a monthly basis has been encouraging and we believe it has been showering many with hope. SGM comrades’ true faith in the Gohonzon and correct understanding of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism centres on SGM Publication. With sincerity, we would like to once again express our deep appreciation.
- Numerous heart-breaking incidents has happened in the year 2016 within Soka Gakkai Malaysia. From the beginning of the Johor incident till formation of Nichiren Buddhist Association, we saw elements of infighting, bad-mouthing, accusations, lies, slandering, and witch-hunting among practitioners and disciples of Nichiren Daishonin. From the top to grassroots, such demeaning behaviour could be seen. After a prolong exposure to such an environment, many are fed-up and probably that resulted in the formation of 10 Nichiren Buddhist Association (to-date) in Malaysia, with the latest being Kota Kinabalu. We thought the infighting and bad-mouthing would stop, obviously it didn’t. On the contrary, slandering and accusations accelerated especially after September 2016. Why is that?
- The all-along respected, reputable, and highly recommended Cosmic Magazine has recently changes its tune by publishing and feeding SGM members with distorted views of Nichiren Buddhism, influencing members to inadvertently spread incorrect facts and views about Johor incident and the heritage of faith.
- The editorial team has agreed to publish SGM General Director’s monthly editorial article. This article implied that leaving Gakkai is equivalent to not being able to attain Buddhahood due to absence of heritage of faith.
- Specifically, the article said that “.. the spirit of kosen-rufu lives within SGI, and it has inherited Nichiren’s heritage of faith.” Later in the article: “..outside of SGI activities, one cannot know what the true heritage of faith is.“
- We were shocked to read such article and went through the article numerous times. We even ask our fellow leaders to follow suit just in case we misinterpreted the meaning of the article. This is because SGM Cosmic Magazine is advocating a New Theory, a New Teaching in Nichiren Buddhism. And to our great concern, that article which was approved and published by SGM Publication department, contradicts the Gosho. Let us examine numerous Gosho passages and let you decide if SGM Cosmic-Publication department has contradicted the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin or not.
- Nichiren Daishonin teaches that as long as we have heritage of faith, putting our trust in the Gohonzon through chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we will be able to enjoy ‘boundless benefit of the law’ (Happiness in This World, WND-1, pg 681). After Nichiren Daishonin revealed and inscribed the Gohonzon of Essential Teachings, he emphasizes on the importance of placing faith in the Gohonzon. The central teaching of Nichiren has changed from merely reciting the daimoku into believing in the Gohonzon. The evidence on the importance of the Gohonzon in our Buddhist practice can be seen in the major writing, “The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind“. Nichiren wrote extensively about the Object of Devotion as the pillar and staff of our happiness and Nikko Shonin classified it as one of the major writings of Nichiren Daishonin.
- What exactly Nichiren Daishonin means when it comes to having faith? In the Gosho entitled “On meaning of faith WND-1 (pg 1036)”, Nichiren Daishonin states, ‘What is called faith is nothing unusual. Faith means putting one’s trust in the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, and the heavenly gods and benevolent deities, and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a woman cherishes her husband, as a man lays down his life for his wife, as parents refuse to abandon their children, or as a child refuses to leave its mother.’
- In several other writings, Nichiren emphasises on the importance of benefit gained from having firm faith in the Gohonzon such as :
On upholding faith in the Gohonzon (WND-1, 624) ,
Letter to the Lay Priest Dōmyō (WND-1, 750) ,
The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon (WND-1, 831) ,
Reply to Kyo-O (WND-1, 412) ,
An Outline of the “Entrustment” and Other Chapters (WND-1, 911) ,
The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind (WND-1, 354) ,
The Entity of the Mystic Law (WND-1, 417) and
The True Aspect of All Phenomena (WND-1, 383) .
- These are familiar Writings for many of us in Soka Gakkai. In short, Nichiren Daishonin teaches his believers that it is important to demonstrate faith in the Gohonzon and all of his disciples will surely obtain absolute happiness by doing so.
- There’s no mention about having to have a medium to enable anyone to attain enlightenment. Nichiren Daishonin himself strictly warned his disciple that if they are lacking in faith, there will be no changes even if Nichiren prayed for them. This can be seen in “The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra (WND-1, 1000)“, ‘No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder. Spur yourself to muster the power of faith…..The heart of strategy and swordsmanship derives from the Mystic Law. Have profound faith. A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered.‘ From this Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin pointed out that what matters most is our own faith; our firm belief in the Mystic Law. Even Nichiren himself will not be able to save us if we are lacking in faith as mentioned in the Gosho.
- Currently, Cosmic publication and General Director mentioned that “.. leaving the SGI means abandoning happiness. Such is the solemn conclusion.” What GD implied is that without Soka Gakkai, there will be no happiness even if we practice Nichiren Buddhism. This indicates that Soka Gakkai is the only medium that will lead us to happiness which is contrary to Nichiren Daishonin who teaches that faith in the Gohonzon will lead us to absolute happiness.
- We do not blame the Soka Gakkai as a whole as what was being advocated is merely the views of SGM top leaders. They are not following Sensei guidance and Nichiren’s Gosho strictly. We hope members and leaders of SGM in the grassroots will correct the distorted views preached by SGM top leaders. This is a serious matter as it concerns Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings.