Materialien zum Neobuddhismus


Wilhelm II.: "Völker Europas, wahrt Eure heiligsten Güter!"

4. USA und Hawaii

4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika

1. Hintergründe

von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --   4. USA und Hawaii. -- 4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika. -- 1. Hintergründe. -- Fassung vom 2005-05-10. -- URL: . -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert: 1996-05-15

Überarbeitungen: 2005-05-10 [Ergänzungen]; 2005-05-07 [überarbeitet und erweitert];  2005-04-30 [aufgeteilt und überarbeitet]; 2005-04-29 [überarbeitet und stark erweitert]; 2003-06-28 [stark überarbeitet]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung Neobuddhismus, Univ. Tübingen, SS 1987, SS 2003, SS 2005

Copyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers.

Creative Commons-Lizenzvertrag
Diese Inhalt ist unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz lizenziert.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Buddhismus von Tüpfli's Global Village Library


0. Weiterführende Ressourcen

Fields, Rick <1942 - 1999>: How the swans came to the lake : a narrative history of Buddhism in America. -- Rev. and updated ed. -- Boston ; London : Shambala, 1986. -- 445 S. -- ISBN 0-394-74419-5.

Kashima, Tetsuden: Buddhism in America : the social organization of an ethnic religious institution. -- Westport : Greenwood, 1977. -- (Contributions in sociology ; 26). - 272 S.

Pure Land Buddhism in North America. -- In: Spring Wind : Buddhist cultural forum. -- Vol.5, No.4 (Winter 1985-86)

Tuck, Donald R.: Buddhist Churches of America : Jodo Shinshu. -- Lewiston, NY, [1987]. -- 309 S. -- (Studies in American religion ; 28). -- ISBN088946-672-6

1. Japanese Americans

"Japanese Americans, or Nikkei (日系), are a group of people who trace their ancestry to Japan or Okinawa and are residents and/or citizens of the United States. Japan is a western Pacific Ocean multi-archipelagic nation east of the Korean Peninsula in Asia. Okinawa, a former independent nation, was annexed by Japan in the late nineteenth century.

Japanese Americans have historically been among the three largest Asian American communities, but in recent decades have become the sixth largest (at 0.8 million). The largest Japanese American communities are in California, Hawai'i, Oregon and Washington. Each year, about 7,000 new Japanese immigrants enter United States ports, comprising about 4% of immigration from Asia; however, net immigration is closer to zero as some older Japanese Americans emigrate back to their ancestral homeland.

Cultural Profile


Japanese Americans have special names for each of its generations in the United States. The first generation born in Japan or Okinawa, is called Issei (一世). The second generation is Nisei (二世), third is Sansei (三世) and fourth is Yonsei (四世). The term Nikkei was coined by Japanese American sociologists and encompasses the entire population across generations.


Issei and Nisei speak Japanese or Okinawan in addition to English as a second language. In general, later generations of Japanese Americans speak English as their first language, though some do learn Japanese later as a second language. In Hawai'i however, where Nikkei are about one-fifth of the whole population, Japanese is a major language, spoken and studied by many of the state's residents across ethnicities. It is taught in public schools as early as the second grade. Japanese subtexts are provided on place signs, public transportation, and civic facilities. The Hawai'i media market has many locally-produced Japanese language newspapers and magazines. Stores that cater to the tourist industry often have Japanese-speaking personnel.


Japanese American culture places great value on the education of its youth. Across generations, parents tend to push their children to study for long hours and venture into advanced subjects. As a result of such cultural pressure, math and reading scores on standardized testing exceed national averages. They fill gifted classrooms and have the largest showing of any ethnic group in nationwide Advanced Placement testing in April or May of each year.

Japanese Americans however face stereotyping when it comes to educational skills. The American public has tended to place unreasonably high expectations in the intellectual capacities of Japanese Americans. In reality, the ratio between gifted versus normal intellectual capacity is about the same with whites.

Most Japanese Americans enter the military and/or obtain advanced college degrees. Japanese Americans once again face stereotyping as dominating the sciences in colleges and universities across the United States. In reality, there is equal distribution of Japanese Americans across academic disciplines in the arts and humanities in addition to the sciences.


As a result of Japanese American educational prowess, the community as a whole tends to enjoy above average economic well being. However, with the exception of Hawai'i, Japanese Americans still face racial discrimination in non-government and non-medical industries.


Japanese Americans are typically Christians. Only a small minority are also followers of Mahayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism and sectarian Shinto.

After Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans are the second largest Asian Christian community. The church is one of the most important cultural foundations for Japanese Americans. In California, Hawai'i and Washington, congregations can be comprised entirely of Japanese Americans. In the rest of the country they tend to be accepted in white dominated churches.


Japanese Americans tend to discard original religious values for most of its cultural celebrations and holidays. Instead, such celebrations are sectarian in nature and focus on the community-sharing aspects. An important annual festival for Japanese Americans is the Bon Festival which happens in July or August of each year. Across the country, Japanese Americans gather on fair grounds and large civic parking lots and commemorate the memory of their ancestors and their families through folk dances and food. Carnival booths are usually set up so Japanese American children have the opportunity to play together.

Major Celebrations in the United States
Date Name Region
January 1 Shōgatsu New Year's Celebration nationwide
February Japanese Heritage Fair Honolulu, HI
February to March Cherry Blossom Festival Honolulu, HI
March 3 Hina Matsuri (Girls Day) nationwide
March Hawai'i International Taiko Festival Honolulu, HI
March International Cherry Blossom Festival Macon, GA
March to April National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington, DC
April Pasadena Cherry Blossom Festival Pasadena, CA
May 5 Tango no Sekku (Boys Day) nationwide
May Shinnyo-En Toro-Nagashi (Memorial Day Floating Lantern Ceremony) Honolulu, HI
June Pan-Pacific Festival Matsuri in Hawai'i Honolulu, HI
July 7 Tanabata Festival nationwide


The history of Japanese Americans begins in the late nineteenth century when the first Japanese and Okinawan immigrants unload in Honolulu Harbor as indentured laborers of the many sugarcane and pineapple plantations. This event leads to several phases of Japanese American history: anti-alien period of the west coast in the early twentieth century, internment period during World War II, and finally political empowerment period of the late 1960s leading into the present day. Here are some key events for Japanese Americans:

  • 1890, First wave of Japanese immigrants to provide labor in Hawai'i sugarcane and pineapple plantations, California fruit and produce farms
  • 1900s, Japanese begin to lease land and sharecrop
  • 1907, Gentlemen's Agreement between United States and Japan that Japan would stop issuing passports for new laborers
  • 1908, Japanese picture brides enter the United States
  • 1913, California Alien Land Law of 1913 ban Japanese from purchasing land; whites threatened by Japanese success in independent farming ventures
  • 1924, United States Immigration Act of 1924 banned immigration from Japan
  • 1930s, Issei become economically stable for the first time in California and Hawai'i
  • 1941, Japanese attack Honolulu; federal government arrest Japanese community leaders
  • 1942, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 on February 19 uprooting Japanese Americans, except in Hawai'i, to be sent to concentration camps (euphemized by the government as "internment camps")
  • 1943, Japanese American soldiers from Hawai'i forming the 100th U.S. Army Battalion arrive in Europe
  • 1944, U.S. Army 100th Batallion merges with the all-volunteer Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team
  • 1945, 442nd Regimental Combat team awarded 18,143 Medal of Valor decorations and 9,486 Purple Heart decorations becoming the highest decorated military unit in United States history
  • 1959, Daniel K. Inouye becomes the first Japanese American in Congress
  • 1974, George R. Ariyoshi becomes the first Japanese American state governor
  • 1965, Patsy T. Mink becomes the first woman of color in Congress
  • 1971, Norman Y. Mineta elected mayor of San Jose, California; becomes first Asian American mayor of a major US city
  • 1978, Ellison S. Onizuka becomes the first Asian American astronaut
  • 1980, Congress creates Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to investigate World War II policies over Japanese Americans
  • 1983, Commission reports Japanese American internment was not a national security necessity
  • 1988, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988 apologizing for Japanese American internment and provide reparations of $20,000 to each victim
  • 1994, Mazie K. Hirono becomes the first Japanese immigrant elected state lieutenant governor
  • 1999, Gen. Eric Shinseki becomes the first Asian American U.S. military chief of staff
  • 2000, Norman Y. Mineta becomes the first Asian American appointed to the U.S. Cabinet; worked as Commerce Secretary (2000-2001), Transportation Secretary (2001-2004)

People from Japan began migrating to the U.S. in significant numbers following the political, cultural, and social changes stemming from the 1868 Meiji Restoration. Particularly after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Japanese immigrants were sought by industrialists to replace the Chinese immigrants. In 1907, the "Gentlemen's Agreement" between the governments of Japan and the U.S. ended immigration of Japanese workers (i.e., men), but permitted the immigration of spouses of Japanese immigrants already in the U.S. The Immigration Act of 1924 banned the immigration of all but a token few Japanese.

The ban on immigration produced unusually well-defined generational groups within the Japanese American community. Initially, there was an immigrant generation, the Issei, and their U.S.-born children, the Nisei. The Issei were exclusively those who had immigrated before 1924. Because no new immigrants were permitted, all Japanese Americans born after 1924 were--by definition--born in the U.S. This generation, the Nisei, became a distinct cohort from the Issei generation in terms of age, citizenship, and language ability, in addition to the usual generational differences. Institutional and interpersonal racism led many of the Nisei to marry other Nisei, resulting in a third distinct generation of Japanese Americans, the Sansei. Significant Japanese immigration did not occur until the Immigration Act of 1965 ended 40 years of bans against immigration from Japan and other countries.

The Naturalization Act of 1790 restricted naturalized U.S. citizenship to "free white persons," which excluded the Issei from citizenship. As a result, the Issei were unable to vote, and faced additional restrictions such as the inability to own land under many state laws.

Japanese Americans were parties in two important Supreme Court decisions, Ozawa v. United States (1922) and Korematsu v. United States (1943). Korematsu is the origin of the "strict scrutiny" standard, which is applied, with great controversy, in government considerations of race since the 1989 Adarand decision.

In recent years, immigration from Japan has been more like that from Western Europe; low and usually marriages between U.S. citizens and Japanese. The number is on average 5 to 10 thousand per year, and is similar to the amount of immigration to the U.S. from Germany. This is in stark contrast to the rest of Asia, where family reunification is the primary impetus for immigration. Japanese Americans also have the oldest demographic structure of any ethnic group in the U.S.; in addition, in the younger generations, due to intermarriage with whites and other Asians, part-Japanese are more common than full Japanese, and it appears as if this physical assimilation will continue at a rapid rate.


Main article: Japanese-American internment

The Internment during World War II, is the best known example of Japanese Americans in U.S. history. However, the history of Japanese Americans should not be reduced to the internment experience.

Americans of Japanese ancestry living in the western United States, including the Nisei were, forcibly interned with their parents and children (the Sansei Japanese Americans) during WWII. Despite the treatment, many Japanese Americans served in World War II, mostly as sentries and intelligence agents in the Pacific war. For the most part, the internees remained in the camps until the end of the war, when they left the camps to rebuild their lives in the West Coast.


Japanese Americans have made significant contributions to the agriculture in the western United States, particularly in California and Hawaii. Nineteenth century Japanese immigrants introduced sophisticated irrigation methods that enabled cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and flowers on previously marginal lands. While the immigrants prospered in the early 20th century, many lost their farms during the internment, although Japanese Americans remain involved in these industries today, particularly in southern California.

Detainees irrigated and cultivated lands nearby the World War II internment camps, which were located in desolate spots such as Poston, in the Arizona desert, and Tule Lake, California, at a dry mountain lake bed. These farm lands remain productive today."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 200-04-28]

2. Japanischer Buddhismus

Der japanische Buddhismus ist dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass er in zahlreiche Denominationen (Schulen, Sekten) zerfällt. Zu Beginn der Chronik wird kurz die Gründung dieser Denominationen erwähnt.

Abb.: Grobschema der Entwicklung des japanischen Buddhismus

[Bildquelle: Andreasen, Esben: Popular Buddhism in Japan: Shin Buddhist religion & culture. -- Honolulu : University of Hawai`i Press, ©1998.  -- xiv, 199 S. : Ill., map ; 24 cm.  -- ISBN 0824820282. -- S.6. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch bei bestellen}]


Abb.: Saichô
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28]

Der Mönchsgelehrte Saichô (最澄) (767 - 822) (postum: Dengyô Daishi (伝教大師)) gründet auf dem Berge Hiei bei Kyoto die Tendai-Denomination (天台宗) des Buddhismus

"Tendai-shū (jap. 天台宗, wörtlich Schule der himmlichen Empore) ist eine japanische Form der chinesischen Tiantai-zong, einer der bedeutendsten Schulen des ostasiatischen Buddhismus.

Die Schule wurde im 6. Jahrhundert in China von Zhi-yi (智顗, 538-597) gegründet.Der Name der Schule leitet sich von dem Berg Tiantai im Bergland südlich von Shanghai her. Auf dem Tiantai steht das Kloster, in dem Zhi-yi Abt war.

In Japan gründete auf den Lehren der Tiantai Saichō (最澄, 767-822) - genannt Dengyō Daishi (伝教大師, Großmeister und Überbringer der Dharma) - die Tendai-shū. Als Gründungsjahr in Japan wird im Allgemeinen das Jahr 806 genannt. Während der Heian-Zeit (794-1190) war die Tendai-shū neben der Shingon-shū die bestimmende buddhistische Schule in Japan, die auch stark die indigenen Kulte des Shintō mit integrierte und damit auch auf sie zurück wirkte. Die Tendai-shū wurde zur Ausgangsbasis für eine Vielzahl von späteren religiösen Neugründungen in Japan. So waren die Gründer der „neuen“ buddhistischen Schulen der Kamakura-Zeit alle ursprünglich Tendai-Mönche:
  1. Eisai (1141 - 1215) als Gründer der Rinzai-shū
  2. Dōgen (1200 - 1253) als Gründer der Soto-shū
  3. Hōnen (1133 - 1212) als Gründer der Jodo-shū
  4. Shinran (1173 - 1262) als Gründer der Jōdo-shinshū
  5. Nichiren (1222 - 1282) als Gründer der Nichiren-shū

Die Lehre der Tendai-shū basiert auf einer ganzen Reihe Schriften, die sowohl dem Umfeld des Theravada als auch des Mahayana entstammen. Als verbindendendes Element wird das Saddharmapundarîkasûtra, das Lotos-Sūtra verwendet. Auf diesen Elementen aufbauend wurde das System einer zehnstufigen Lehre entwickelt, die der Schüler des Tendai durchläuft. Charakteristisch ist in der rituellen und esoterischen Praxis das Streben nach einer Synthese aller Schulen des Buddhismus.

Berg Hiei (比叡山)

Das Zentrum der Tendai-shū ist der Tempel Enryakuji (延暦寺) auf dem Berg Hiei (比叡山) bei Kyoto. Hier hatte Saichō seit 785 zunächst eine Einsiedelei. Aus dieser hatte sich nach und nach ein buddhistisches Zentrum entwickelt, dass sich durch seine Nähe zu der damals neuen Hauptstadt Heiankyō (das heutige Kyoto) auszeichnete. 805 erhielt Saichō gegen den heftigen politischen Widerstand der älteren in Nara beheimateten Schulen des Buddhismus die offizielle Gründungserlaubnis für ein neues buddhistisches Zentrum. Er war im gleichen Jahr von einer Mission Kaisers Kammu aus China zurück gekehrt, auf der er die offizielle Bestätigung seiner Lehrbefähigung auf dem Tiantai-shan erhalten hatte. Die Erlaubnis auf dem Hiei Ordinationen nach den Mahayana-Vorschriften zu machen, wurde erst kurz nach Saichōs Tod gewährt. Der wohl berühmteste Nachfolger Saichōs als Abt des Hiei war der Priester Ennin (圓仁, 792 - 862), der bekannt ist für seine 10jährige Reise im China des 9. Jahrhunderts in dessen Verlauf er auch Zeuge der großen Buddhistenverfolgung 845 wurde."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]


Abb.: Kûkai - Kôbô Daishi (弘法大師)

Kûkai (空海) (744 - 835) (postum: Kôbô Daishi (弘法大師)) kehrt nach Japan zurück und Gründet die Shingon-Denomination ( 真言宗) des Buddhismus

"Shingon-shū (jap. 真言宗, wörtlich: Schule des wahren Wortes, gemeint ist: Schule des Mantra) ist eine von Kūkai (空海, 774-835) - genannt Kōbō Daishi (弘法大師, Großmeister der Lehrverbreitung) - im Jahr 807 gegründete Schule des japanischen Buddhismus, nachdem er von Kaiser Kammu nach China gesandt worden war und einige Jahre dort studiert hatte.

Sie hat ihre Wurzeln in der chinesischen Mi-tsung (Mizong) (密宗, Esoterische Schule) bzw. sanskrit Vajrayana oder Tantra, und zählt zu den bedeutendsten Richtungen des Buddhismus in Japan.

Zu ihren Besonderheiten zählen:

  • Die Verehrung des kosmischen Buddha Vairocana anstelle des historisch als Buddha bekannten Siddhartha Gautama
  • ein auch in Japan als besonders kompliziert geltendes Lehrgebäude
  • und die häufige Verwendung von Mantras, als „geistige Schlüssel“ angesehenen geheimnisvollen Wörtern während des Gebetes.

Die hierzulande als Tantra bekanntgewordenen sexualmagischen Praktiken sind im japanischen Shingon unbekannt."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]


Abb.: Hônen Shônin, Honolulu, Hawaii
[Bildquelle: -- ZUgriff am 2005-04-28]

Genkû (11333 - 121) (postum Hônen Shônin (法然 )) gründet in Kyoto die Jôdo-shû-Denomination ( 浄土宗) (Schule vom Reinen Land)

"Pure Land Buddhism (zh. 净土宗, pinyin  jìngtǔzōng, Japanese 浄土宗 Jōdoshū), also known as Amidism, is a branch of mainstream Mahayana Buddhism and currently the most popular school of Buddhism in Asia.

Pure Land Buddhism is based upon the Pure Land sutras first brought to China circa 150 by the Parthian monk An Shih Kao and the Kushan monk Lokaksema, which describe Amitabha, one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas, and his heaven-like Pure Land, called Sukhavati. This concept, personified or otherwise, can be translated variously but is usually shortened to "Amituo" or "Amitofo" in Chinese (阿彌陀佛, Mandarin wg O1 Mi2 T'o2 Fo2), "Amida" in Japanese and "Amito" in Korean.

The Pure Land school first became prominent with the founding of a monastery upon the top of Mount Lushan by Hui-yuan in 402. It spread throughout China quickly and was systematized by Shan-tao (613-681). The philosophy spread to Japan and slowly grew in prominence. Honen Shonin (1133-1212) established Pure Land Buddhism as an independent sect in Japan, known as Jodo Shu. Today Pure Land is the dominant form of Buddhism in Japan.

Contemporary Pure Land traditions see the Buddha Amitabha preaching the Dharma in his buddha-field (sa. buddhakchetra), called the "Pure Land" (zh. 净土, pinyin jìngtǔ, jp. 浄土 jodo) or "Western heaven" (zh. 西天), a region offering respite from karmic transmigration. In such traditions, entering the Pure Land is popularly perceived as equivalent to the attainment of nirvana.

In fact, the main idea behind Pure Land Buddhism is that nirvana is no longer practical nor possible to attain in our present day. Instead, devotion to Amitabha will gain one enough karmic merit to go to the Pure Land (reminiscent of Heaven) from which Nirvana will be easier to attain, because in this paradise there are no negative experiences so no new negative karma is created. Existing negative karma would disappear.

Some Pure Land Buddhists have taught that in order for a devotee to be reborn in Amitabha's Western Paradise, they should chant or repeat a mantra or prayer to Amitabha as often as possible to reinforce a proper and sincere state of mind (ex: J. Namu Amida butsu). This fairly simple form of veneration has contributed greatly to its popularity, especially in Japan."

Abb.: Namu Amida butsu
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-03]

Hier können Sie Namu Amida (nembutsu) hören: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-03

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]


Abb.: Myōan Eisai
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28]

Myōan Eisai (明菴栄西)  (1141 - 1215) kehrt aus China zurück und gründet die Rinzai-Denomination (臨済宗) des japanischen Zenbuddhismus

"The Rinzai school (臨済宗; Japanese: Rinzai-shu; Chinese: Linji Zong or Lin-chi Tsung) is one of the two major Japanese Zen sects.

The Rinzai school is known for its emphasis on sudden enlightenment and the use of methods such as the koan to achieve this end. Rinzai is the Japanese branch of the Chinese Linji school, which was founded during the Tang Dynasty by Linji Yixuan. It was brought to Japan by Myōan Eisai in 1191.


Unlike the larger Sōtō school of Zen, Rinzai is not a single organized body. Rather, it is divided into fifteen sects, referred to by the name of their head temples. The largest and most influential of these is the Myoshin-ji branch, whose head temple was founded in 1342 by Kanzan-Egen Zenji (1277 - 1360). Other major branches include Nanzen-ji, Tenryu-ji, and Daitoku-ji.

Rinzai encourages an active pursuit of enlightenment, through the intellectual shock of the Koans, or the streneous efforts and high-discipline of martial arts. It can be contrasted to Sōtō Zen, which insists on "just-sitting" as the method of choice to reveal the inate Buddha nature in everyone.

Rinzai was adopted by the samurai caste, whereas Sōtō had a more popular following, as described in the Japanese saying "Rinzai for the Shōgun, Sōtō for the peasants" (Jap.: "臨済将軍、曹洞土民" Rinzai Shōgun, Sōtō Domin).

Martial arts

The Rinzai school has historically been closely linked to various martial arts traditions in Japan.

In pre-modern Japan, Rinzai was widely popular among the warrior aristocracy and samurai, in distinction from Sōtō Zen which was more associated with artists and poets. This is due to Rinzai zen's reputation for removing all fear of death via direct experiential transformation of consciousness. For a Samurai, fear of death was naturally a great obstacle, so Rinzai zen practice was a practical necessity. Rinzai also has relatively greater emphasis on koan literature and intellectual knowledge than does Sōtō, this appealed to the educated and literate upper classes. However, one of the most intellectual and literate of pre-modern zen masters, was the Soto zen master Eihei Dogen.

Because the medieval aristocracy was also a warrior class, it became natural for them to apply Rinzai teachings to matters of combat. Some have argued that the Samurai influence co-opted the essential Buddhist origins of Rinzai zen.

After having faced the opposition of traditional schools of Buddhism in Kyoto, Eisai personally introduced Rinzai Zen to the samurai warrior caste of the Shogun court in Kamakura around 1199.

The predilection of the samurai for Rinzai Zen continued into the Tokugawa period (1615-1868), when it was the regular training regimen of the warrior caste, leading to the development of Bushidō.


Koan practice—concentrating on koans during meditation and other activities—is particularly important among Japanese practictioners of the Rinzai sect of Zen.

Koans are said to reflect the enlightened or awakened state of historical sages and legendary figures who uttered them, and sometimes said to confound the habit of discursive thought or shock the mind into awareness.

Tea ceremony

The Rinzai school is also particularly associated with the Japanese tea ceremony. Eisai, is said to have introduced tea from China to Japan, together with the method of mixing powdered green tea in hot water.

Tea, a light stimulant, originally had a spiritual purpose in maintaing meditational wakefulness in Zen monks. One legend attributes the origin of tea in China to Bodhidharma, a 6th century Indian Buddhist missionary, and the first zen patriarch, who, according to legend, cut off his eyelids to keep awake during meditation. Tea plants supposedly grew where his eyelids fell.

Later developments

During 18th century, the Rinzai school had undergone a period of decline and stagnation. At this time, a teacher named Hakuin Ekaku became prominent, and his vigorous methods spearheaded a long-lasting revival of Rinzai. Today, Hakuin is perhaps the most revered Rinzai ancestor.

The Japanese Obaku Zen sect is also descended from the Chinese Linji school. However, Obaku was brought to Japan several centuries later, in the 17th century, and shows significant influences from the Pure Land school, which are largely absent in Rinzai."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]


Abb.: Shinran Shônin (親鸞聖人)

Shinran Shônin's (親鸞聖人)  (1173 - 1262) Hauptwerk führt zur Jôdo-shinshû-Denomination (淨土眞宗) (Wahre Schule vom Reinen Land)

Abb.: Shinran Shônin (親鸞聖人). -- Holzschnitt in einem Schulbuch der Otani High School

[Bildquelle: Andreasen, Esben. Popular Buddhism in Japan: Shin Buddhist religion & culture. -- Honolulu : University of Hawai`i Press, ©1998.  -- xiv, 199 S. : Ill., map ; 24 cm.  -- ISBN: 0824820282. -- S. 150]

"Jôdo Shinshû (淨土眞宗, »Wahre Schule des Reinen Landes«), kurz auch Shinshu genannt ist eine der vier neuen buddhistischen Schulen der Kamakura-Zeit. Nach den Nichiren-Schulen die heute zweitgrößten Konfession des japanischen Buddhismus. Sie ist eine Gründung von Shinran Shonin (1173-1263) und wurde von Rennyo Shonin (1415-1499) weiter ausgebildet.

Die Schule basiert auf dem Sukhâvatîvyuûhasûtra (jap. Amida-Kyô), dem »Sûtra des Landes der Glückseligkeit«. Sie ist dem Amidismus zugehörig. Im Zentrum ihrer Lehre steht das Vertrauen in den transzendenten Buddha Amitabha (jap. Amida) und die Hoffnung auf eine Wiedergeburt in seinem »Reinen Land« (jôdo).

Shinran's Denken wurde stark von seinem Verständnis des Mappō (末法) beeinflusst, das er als ein Zeitalter des Niedergangs des Dharma (Buddhalehre) sieht. Shinran ist der Überzeugung, dass für die meisten Menschen dieser Zeit keine Hoffnung besteht, sich aus 'eigener Kraft' (jiriki, 自力) aus dem leidvollen Kreislauf von Geburt und Tod zu befreien. Für Shinran waren alle Bemühungen, Erleuchtung zu erzielen, oder das Bodhisattva Ideal zu verwirklichen nur Ausdruck der Verblendung, die der Ich-Illusion entstammt. In Anbetracht der Verstrickung in unheilsames Denken, Sprechen und Handeln ('bonno') ist den allermeisten Menschen eine Befreiung aus dem Samsara (leidvoller Daseinskreislauf) unmöglich: Shinran: "Die Hölle ist meine einzige Bestimmung." Das Vertrauen aber auf die 'andere Kraft' (tariki, 他力), die Kraft von Amida Buddha's grenzenlosem Mitgefühl, das sich in seinem ursprünglichen Gelübde, alle Wesen zur Befreiung zu führen, manifestiert, verwandelt die gebotene Hoffnungslosigkeit in die Gewissheit der vollkommenen Befreiung. ("Sogar der Gute wird erlöst, um wie viel mehr der Böse") Wer dieses Vertrauen (shinjin, 信心) in seinm Herzen verwirklicht, dem ist das Aufgehobensein im Reinen Land sicher. Da vom Einzelnen nichts getan werden kann, weil alles schon getan ist, kennt Jodo Shinshu auch keine Praxis, wie man sie von anderen buddhistischen Schulen kennt. Selbst die Nembutsu-Praxis (nembutsu, 念佛), das oftmalige Ausrufen von "Namu Amida Butsu" (南無阿弥陀仏) ("Verehrung dem Amida Buddha!"), das in anderen Reine-Land-Schulen als verdienstvolle Handlung gesehen wird, hat keinen Einfluss auf den Akt der Befreiung, sondern ist nur Ausdruck des Dankes für die Zusicherung der Befreiung durch Amida. Wer sich von der anderen Kraft Amidas zur Gänze erfassen lässt, verwirklicht Shinjin. Shinjin wurzelt in Jinen (自然 natürliches spontanes Wirken des ursprünglichen Gelübdes) und kann nur durch Hingabe verwirklicht werden. Amida's unendliches Licht verklärt die karmischen Übel zahlloser vergangener Wiedergeburten und transformiert sie in gutes Karma. Der so von Amidas leuchtendem Beispiel Verwandelte geht unwiderruflich ins Reine Land ein und kehrt als Bodhisattva in die Welt zurück, um alle Wesen zu befreien. Somit und durch sein Verständnis von Leerheit und Nicht-Dualität steht Jodo Shinshu innerhalb der Mahayana Tradition, trotz aller Unterschiede zu den anderen Ausformungen des Großen Fahrzeugs.

Da das Reine Land kein physischer Ort ist, erscheint auch die unter Anhängern der Jodo Shinshu weit verbreitete Auffassung, dass erst der physische Tod den Weg ins Reine Land ebnet, äußerst fraglich, aber schützt sie, die Mühen eines Bodhisattvas auf sich zu nehmen.

Lehrmäßig steht die Jôdo Shinshû ihrer Mutterschule, der Jodo-shu sehr nahe, von der sie sich aber durch die Verwerfung des Mönchsideals unterscheidet. Auch der Gründer der Jodo-shu, Honen Shonin wird als Lehrer Shinrans hoch geschätzt. Die Jôdo Shinshû ist somit eine reine Laienreligion. In Japan vereinigt sie etwa 23 Millionen Gläubige auf sich"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]

Webpräsenz des Nishi Hongwanji (西本願寺): -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26 


Abb.: Dôgen Zenji
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28]

Dôgen Zenji (道元禅師) (1200 - 1253) kehrt aus China zurück und gründet die Sôtô-Denomination (曹洞宗) des japanischen Zenbuddhismus


"Soto (曹洞宗; Japanese: sōtō-shū; Chinese "Caodong Zong") is one of the two major Japanese Zen sects. It is an extension or subbranch of the Chinese Caodong, which was brought to Japan by Dogen Zenji (1200-1253), and which after his death became known as the Soto school.


With 14,700 temples and nearly 7 million adherents (in 1989) Soto is the largest Zen sect in Japan, surpassing Rinzai and Obaku. In Japanese history, Soto gained ground among provincial rulers and ordinary people, while Rinzai won the support of the central samurai government. Soto is practised both in Japan and in the West, and stresses shikantaza, the meditation in simply sitting in a fixed posture. Sitting is not seen as the means to an end, but as an end in itself, a direct means of expressing enlightenment and Buddhahood in an instant.


The characteristics of Soto as a distinct style of Zen go back to Shih-t'ou Hsi-ch'ien (J. Sekito Kisen, 700-790) who led an important practice center in the mountains of Hunan province in China. From this school there developed three different schools of Zen of which Soto is one, being founded by Tung-shan Liang-chieh (807-69) in China. Its transmission to Japan was done by Eihei Dogen Zenji (1200-1253). Similarly to the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, a senior monk will be appointed to be a lineage bearer in a Dharma Transmission ceremony. This monk will have previously been acknowledged to have some degree of enlightenment or satori by a current Zen master, as well as having lived and served for some decades in a zen-monastery. The lineage documents typically trace the chain of transmission back to Gautama Buddha, the original historical Buddha and founder of Buddhism.

Important texts

Shih-t'ou Hsi-ch'ien's poem "The Harmony of Difference and Sameness" is an important early expression of Zen Buddhism and is chanted in Soto temples to this day. One of the poems of Tung-shan Liang-chieh, the founder of Soto, is "The Song of the Jewel Mirror Awareness" is also still chanted in Soto temples. Another set of his poems on the Five Positions of Absolute and Relative is important as a set of koans used in the Rinzai school. Dogen's teaching is characterized by the identification of practice as enlightenment itself. This is to be found in the Shobogenzo."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]


Abb.: Nichiren (日蓮)

Nichiren (日蓮) (1222 - 1282) begründet die Nichiren-Denomination des Buddhismus

"Nichiren Buddhism is a branch of Buddhism stemming from the teachings of the 13th century Japanese monk Nichiren (1222–1282). Nichiren Buddhism itself also comprises several major schools, such as Nichiren Shu and Nichiren Shoshu, and many sub-schools, and it has spawned several of Japan's new religious, such as Reiyukai and Sōka Gakkai. Various forms of Nichiren Buddhism have had great influence among certain sections of Japanese society at different times in the country's history, such as among the merchants of Kyoto in Japan's middle ages and among some ultranationalists during the pre-World War II era. Nichiren Buddhism is generally noted for its opposition to other forms of Buddhism and an evangelical streak as evinced by some schools' practice of shakubuku, efforts to convert others by refuting their current beliefs and convincing them of the validity of Nichiren's teachings.

The founder, Nichiren

From the age of 16 till 32, Nichiren studied an numerous temples in Japan, especially Mt. Hiei (Enryakuji) and Mt. Kōya, in his day the Japanese centers of Buddhist study, in the Kyoto–Nara area. He eventually concluded that the highest teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha (563?-483?BC) were to be found in the Lotus Sutra. The mantra he expounded on 28 April 1253, Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō, expresses his devotion to that body of teachings. During his lifetime Nichiren stridently believed that the contemporary teachings of Buddhism taught by other sects (particularly Shingon, Nembutsu, and Zen) were mistaken in their interpretations of the correct path to enlightenment and therefore refuted them publicly and vociferously. In doing so, he provoked the ire of the country's rulers as well as the priests of the sects he criticized and was subjected to persecution, including an attempted beheading and at least two exiles. Some Nichiren schools see the attempted beheading incident as marking a turning point in Nichiren's teaching, since he began to inscribe Gohonzon and wrote a number of major doctrinal treatises during his subsequent three-year exile on Sado Island in the Japan Sea. After a pardon and his return from exile, Nichiren moved to Mt. Minobu in today's Yamanashi Prefecture, where he and his disciples built a temple, Kuonji. Nichiren spent most of the rest of his life here training disciples and looking after lay believers.


Today, Nichiren Buddhism is not a single denomination. It began to branch into different schools within several years of Nichiren's passing, before which Nichiren had named six senior priests (rokurōsō) whom he wanted to transmit his teachings to future generations:

  • Nisshō (日昭),
  • Nichirō (日朗),
  • Nikō (日向), Nitchō (日頂),
  • Nichiji (日持), and
  • Nikkō (日興),

each of whom eventually started a lineage of schools. The reasons for this are numerous, entangled, and subject to different interpretations, depending on which school is telling the story—as is usual with religious splits. Suffice it to say that the senior priests had different understandings of what Nichiren's lifetime of teaching was about. Although the former five remained loosely affiliated to varying degrees, the last—Nikkō—decided to leave Kuonji. Kuonji became the central temple of today's Nichiren Shu, one of the major branches, and the starting point for the numerous minor schools of the Minobu branch. Nikkō moved on to found Taisekiji, the head temple of today's Nichiren Shoshu school and the starting point for the minor schools of the Kōmon or Fuji branch. Traditional Nichiren schools include the Kempon Hokke Shū, several sub-schools that call themselves just Hokke Shū, and the Honmon Butsuryū Shū. Several of Japan's "new religions" are also sub-sects of or otherwise based on one or another of the traditional Nichiren schools. The Reiyūkai, Risshō Kōseikai, and Nipponzan Myōhōji Sangha stem from one or another of the Kuonji/Minobu branch schools, whereas Sōka Gakkai, Shōshinkai, and Kenshōkai are breakaways from the Nichiren Shoshu school.

Doctrine and practices

Much of Nichiren Buddhist doctrine is, at least on the surface, a further development or adaptation of Tendai (Chinese: Tiantai) thought, especially as passed down from Saichō, also known as Dengyō (767–822). For example, as in Tendai but in contrast to many other Buddhist schools, most Nichiren Buddhists believe that personal enlightenment can be achieved in this world within the practitioner's current lifetime. Markedly different from Tendai and any other Buddhist lineage is the Nichiren Buddhists' practice of chanting daimoku, the repeated recitation of the mantra (phrase) Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō, in some denominations also pronounced Namu-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō. Most Nichiren schools also recite the Lotus Sutra (in Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese text) to varying degrees in their respective versions of the often daily or twice-daily gongyō service. Other details of Nichiren Buddhist practice can differ widely depending on the school. Some recite the whole Lotus Sutra, while others recite only certain chapters, parts of chapters, or verses. Some worship Buddhist statues or images and the Gohonzon, a mandala Nichiren left behind; others worship only statues or images of various types; whereas yet others worship only a particular Gohonzon and transcriptions of it. Some schools stemming from Kuonji keep Shinto shrines in their temple compounds and permit or encourage worship of indigenous Japanese deities, while those stemming from Taisekiji tend to be very strict on the prohibition of worship of anything other than the Gohonzon or even the mixing of doctrines from other schools. Some schools are virulently nationalistic; others are not and are further strictly pacifist. To understand these differences, readers are urged to look for information on the particular school or schools in which they have an interest.

Nichiren's writings

Nichiren was a prolific writer. His personal communications and writings to his followers as well as numerous treatises detail his view of the correct form of practice for the Latter Day of the Law (Mappō); lay out his views on other Buddhist schools, particularly those of influence during his lifetime; and elucidate his interpretations of Buddhist teachings that preceded his. These writings are collectively known as Gosho (go is an honorific prefix designating respect; sho means writings) in some schools and ibun ("left-behind writings") in others. Over 400 of them, some complete and some only in fragments, have been passed down through the centuries in compilations, as copies, and even many in the original. Some are also available in English translation, most notably in Letters of Nichiren and Selected Writings of Nichiren in the Translations from the Asian Classics series from Columbia University Press; more-sectarian translations of some of his writings are also available."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]

Tokugawa-Periode (1600 - 1868)

"Der Buddhismus hat in Japan eine ungefähr 1500 Jahre lange Geschichte. Er kam Mitte des 6. Jahrhunderts von Korea aus in das Land. Während der ersten Tokugawa-Periode (1600-1868) hatte er zumindest äußerlich den Gipfelpunkt seiner Macht erreicht, da er in jener Zeit praktisch als Staatsreligion fungierte. Jeder Haushalt im ganzen Land musste eine Verbindung zu einem nahegelegenen buddhistischen Tempel unterhalten. Dadurch kam es zu einer explosiven Vermehrung der Zahl der Tempel von nur 13 037 in der Kamakura-Zeit (1185 - 1333) auf 469 934 in der Tokugawa-Zeit.

Für den Buddhismus hatte die Rolle als japanische Staatsreligion allerdings auch einige eher nachteilige Auswirkungen. Zum einen wurden durch die allgemeine Verpflichtung der Bevölkerung, eine Verbindung zu einem buddhistischen Tempel zu unterhalten, viele buddhistische Priester praktisch zu Funktionären der Regierung. Zum anderen war die Mitgliedschaft in einer bestimmten buddhistischen Gemeinschaft häufig eher eine Frage politischer Verpflichtung als einer bestimmten religiösen Überzeugung. Überraschend ist eine solche Entwicklung im Grunde nicht, da das Tokugawa-Regime dem Buddhismus vor allem deshalb eine Vorrangstellung einräumte, weil es das Christentum aus dem Lande vertreiben wollte, um die Gefahr einer Kolonisierung Japans durch westliche Mächte zu verringern. Ein ebenso wichtiger Grund für die Unterstützung des Buddhismus war sicherzustellen, dass sich die religiösen Institutionen des Landes ebenso wie alle anderen Institutionen der japanischen Gesellschaft unter strenger Kontrolle der Regierung befanden.

Die Machthabenden suchten die buddhistischen Institutionen durch Maßnahmen zu kontrollieren wie die Teilung der mächtigen Shin-Schule (»Wahres Reines Land«) in einen westlichen Teil mit Namen Nishi (Westen) Honganji und einen östlichen namens Higashi (Osten) Honganji, entsprechend der Namen ihrer jeweiligen Haupttempel. Außerdem verfügte das Tokugawa-Regime, dass jeder Tempel im Lande, so bescheiden er auch sein mochte, einem höherrangigem Tempel unterstellt sein musste, so dass eine pyramidenförmige Hierarchie entstand, an deren Spitze ein Haupttempel (Honzan) stand, dem die gesamte Gemeinschaft unterstellt und zu Gehorsam verpflichtet war. Zwar wurden Unterschiede zwischen den einzelnen Richtungen toleriert, doch war der Haupttempel jeder Gemeinschaft für sämtliche Aktivitäten aller ihm unterstellten Personen, ob Laien oder Kleriker, verantwortlich.

Ein weiterer und vielleicht noch höherer Preis, den der institutionalisierte Buddhismus für die Anerkennung durch die Regierung zahlte, war das, was Robert Bellah als die »allgemeine Lethargie und die mangelnde Kreativität des Buddhismus in der Tokugawa-Zeit« bezeichnet hat.

Anesaki Masaharu hat diesen Tatbestand noch weniger schmeichelhaft ausgedrückt:

»Die meisten buddhistischen Kleriker waren gehorsame Diener der Regierung, und in der langen Friedenszeit wurden sie allmählich faul oder verweichlichte Intriganten.«

Natürlich gab es in gut ausgestatteten Tempeln immer einige Priester, die sich der Gelehrsamkeit widmeten. Und es gab auch Reformer und Erneuerer, die mit einem gewissen Erfolg versuchten, ihre jeweilige Tradition zu revitalisieren.4 Doch nutzten viele, wenn nicht gar die meisten Mitglieder des buddhistischen Klerus ihre Privilegien als Bevollmächtigte der Regierung, um die Laien, die ihren Tempeln angehörten, zu unterdrücken und ökonomisch auszubeuten. Joseph Kitagawa merkt hierzu an:

»Die moralische und spirituelle Korruptheit des buddhistischen Establishments weckte zwangsläufig Kritik von innen und von außen.«

So gingen die buddhistischen Institutionen fast zwangsläufig einem Tag der Abrechnung entgegen."

[Victoria, Brian (Daizen) A. <1939 - >: Zen, Nationalismus und Krieg : eine unheimliche Allianz. -- Berlin : Theseus-Verl.,  ©1999. -- 399 S. -- Originaltitel: Zen at war (1997). -- ISBN: 3-89620-132-8. -- S. 20f. -- Dort Quellennachweise.]

Historischer Hintergrund:

"The Tokugawa shogunate or Tokugawa bakufu (徳川幕府) (also known as the Edo bakufu) was a feudal military dictatorship of Japan established in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family until 1868. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the Tokugawa seat of Edo, now Tokyo. The Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo castle until the Meiji Restoration. Following the Sengoku Period of "warring states", central government had been largely re-established by Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu who completed this process and received the title of shogun in 1603. His descendants were to hold the position, and the central authority that came with it, until the 19th century.

The Tokugawa period, unlike the shogunates before it, was based on the strict class hierarchy originally established by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The warrior-caste of samurai were at the top, followed by farmers, artisans, and traders. Ironically, the very strictness of the caste system was to undermine these classes in the long run. Taxes on the peasantry were set to fixed amounts which did not account for inflation or other changes in monetary value. As a result, the tax revenues collected by the samurai landowners were worth less and less over time. This often led to confrontations between noble but impoverished samurai and well-to-do peasants.

Toward the end of the 19th century, an alliance of several of the more powerful daimyo with the titular Emperor finally succeeded in the overthrow of the shogunate after the Boshin War, culminating in the Meiji Restoration. The Tokugawa Shogunate came to an official end in 1868, with the resignation of the 15th Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu and the "restoration" ('Taisei Hōkan') of imperial rule.

Seclusion and Social Control

Like Hideyoshi, Ieyasu encouraged foreign trade but also was suspicious of outsiders. He wanted to make Edo a major port, but once he learned that the Europeans favored ports in Kyushu and that China had rejected his plans for official trade, he moved to control existing trade and allowed only certain ports to handle specific kinds of commodities.

The "Christian problem" was, in effect, a problem controlling both the Christian daimyo in Kyushu and trade with the Europeans. By 1612 the shogun's retainers and residents of Tokugawa lands had been ordered to foreswear Christianity. More restrictions came in 1616 (the restriction of foreign trade to Nagasaki and Hirado, an island northwest of Kyushu), 1622 (the execution of 120 missionaries and converts), 1624 (the expulsion of the Spanish), and 1629 (the execution of thousands of Christians). Finally, in 1635 an edict prohibited any Japanese from traveling outside Japan or, if someone left, from ever returning. In 1636 the Portuguese were restricted to Dejima, a small artificial island — and thus, not true Japanese soil — in Nagasaki's harbor.

The Shimabara Rebellion of 1637-38, in which discontented Christian samurai and peasants rebelled against the bakufu — and Edo called in Dutch ships to bombard the rebel stronghold — marked the end of the Christian movement, although some Christians survived by going underground. Soon thereafter, the Portuguese were permanently expelled, members of the Portuguese diplomatic mission were executed, all subjects were ordered to register at a Buddhist or Shinto temple, and the Dutch and Chinese were restricted, respectively, to Dejima and to a special quarter in Nagasaki. Besides small trade of some outer daimyo with Korea and the Ryukyu Islands, to the southwest of Japan's main islands, by 1641 foreign contacts were limited by the policy of sakoku to Nagasaki.

Japanese society of the Tokugawa period was influenced by Confucian principles of social order. At the top of the hierarchy, but removed from political power, were the imperial court families at Kyoto. The real political power holders were the samurai, followed by the rest of society. In descending hierarchical order, they consisted of farmers, who were organized into villages, artisans, and merchants. Urban dwellers, often well-to-do merchants, were known as chonin (townspeople) and were confined to special districts. The individual had no legal rights in Tokugawa Japan. The family was the smallest legal entity, and the maintenance of family status and privileges was of great importance at all levels of society.


Shogunate and Han

The bakuhan taisei (幕藩体制) was the feudal political system in the Edo period of Japan. Baku, or "tent," is an abbreviation of bakufu, meaning "military government" — that is, the shogunate. The han were the domains headed by daimyo.

The system was feudal. Vassals held inherited lands and provided military service and homage to their lords. However, the system also resembled the bureaucratic and modern politics as well, an aspect that is not seen in the European feudalism.

Unlike feudal systems found in the medieval history of Europe, in the system, two levels of governments existed: the shogunate in Edo and provincial domains throughout Japan; the domains had a certain level of sovereignty and were allowed an independent administration in the han in exchange for loyalty towards the Shogun while the shogunate was responsible for foreign relations and national security. The shogun and lords were both daimyo, feudal lords with their own bureaucracies, policies and territories. The shogun was the foremost, strongest and largest among them; thus, it was primarily responsible for its own territory, the fief of the Tokugawa house, just as were other domains. Taxes were collected and the economy was conducted separately in each domain.

Besides its duty as the daimyo, the shogunate was also concerned with controlling the social classes, maintaining order if disorder went beyond the power of the domain, and making policies across Japan.

The shogunate had the power to discard, split and transform domains--those were essential tools for controlling the domains. The sankin-kotai system of alternative residence in Edo required daimyo to leave hostages such as heirs and wives in Edo and alternate between the han and attendance in Edo in alternate years. This imposed a huge expenditure on the domains and was another important tool in controlling the daimyo.

The number of han varied during the Edo period, with 250 being an approximate figure. They were ranked by size, which was measured as the number koku, or bales of rice, that the domain was said to produce. The minimum number for a daimyo was ten thousand; the largest, apart from the shogun, was a million.

Along with size, another way of classifying daimyo and their han was according to their relationship to the shogun. Fudai daimyo were hereditary vassals of Ieyasu, as well as of his descendants. Tozama, or "outsiders," became vassals of Ieyasu after the battle of Sekigahara. Shimpan, or "relatives," were collaterals of Tokugawa Hidetada. Early in the Edo period, the shogunate viewed the tozama as the least likely to be loyal; over time, strategic marriages and the entrenchment of the system made the tozama less likely to rebel. However, in the end, it was the great tozama of Satsuma, Choshu and Tosa that brought down the shogunate.

Shogun and Emperor

Despite the establishment of the shogunate, the emperor in Kyoto was still the legitimate ruler of Japan. The administration (taisei, 体制) of Japan was a task given by the imperial Court in Kyoto to the Tokugawa family, which they returned to the court in the Meiji restoration.

The shogunate appointed a liaison, the Kyōto Shoshidai, to deal with the emperor, court and nobility.

Shogun and Foreign Trade

The foreign affairs and trade were monopolized by the shogunate, yielding a huge profit. Foreign trade was also permitted to the Satsuma and the Tsushima domain.

The visits of the Nanban ships from Portugal were at first the main vector of trade exchanges, followed by the addition of Dutch, English and sometimes Spanish ships.

From 1600 onward, Japan started to participate actively in foreign trade. In 1615, an embassy and trade mission under Hasekura Tsunenaga was sent across the Pacific to Nueva Espana on a Japanese-built galleon San Juan Bautista. Until 1635, the Shogun issued numerous permits for Red seal ships, destined to Asian trade.

After 1635 and the introduction of Seclusion laws, only inbound ships were allowed, from China and Holland.

Institutions of the Shogunate

Rōjū and Wakadoshiyori

The rōjū (老中) were the senior members of the shogunate. They supervised the ōmetsuke, machibugyō, ongokubugyō and other officials, oversaw relations with the Imperial Court in Kyoto, kuge (members of the nobility), daimyo, temples and shrines, and attended to matters like divisions of fiefs. Normally, four or five men held the office, and one was on duty for a month at a time on a rotating basis. They conferred on especially important matters. In the administrative reforms of 1867, the office was eliminated in favor of a bureaucratic system with ministers for the interior, finance, foreign relations, army, and navy.

In principle, the requirements for appointment to the office of rōjū were to be a fudai (hereditary) daimyo and to have a fief assessed at 50 000 koku or more. However, there were exceptions to both criteria. Many appointees came from the offices close to the shogun, such as soba yōnin, Kyoto shoshidai, and Osaka jōdai.

Irregularly, the shoguns appointed a rōjū to the position of tairō, great elder. The office was limited to members of the Ii, Sakai, Doi, and Hotta clans, but Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu was given the status of tairō as well. Among the most famous was Ii Naosuke, who was assassinated in 1860 outside the Sakurada Gate of Edo Castle.

The wakadoshiyori were next in status below the rōjū. An outgrowth of the early six-man rokuninshū (1633–1649), the office took its name and final form in 1662, but with four members. Their primary responsibility was management of the affairs of the hatamoto and gokenin, the direct vassals of the shogun.

Some shoguns appointed a soba yōnin. This person acted as a liaison between the shogun and the rōjū. The soba yōnin increased in importance during the time of the fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, when a wakadoshiyori, Inaba Masayasu, assassinated Hotta Masatoshi, the tairō. Fearing for his personal safety, Tsunayoshi moved the rōjō to a more distant part of the castle. Some of the most famous soba yōnin were Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu and Tanuma Okitsugu.

Ōmetsuke and Metsuke

The ōmetsuke and metsuke were officials who reported to the rōjū and wakadoshiyori. The five ōmetsuke were in charge of monitoring the affairs of the daimyo, kuge and imperial court. They were in charge of discovering any threat of rebellion.

Early in the Edo period, daimyo such as Yagyū Munefuyu held the office. Soon, however, it fell to hatamoto with rankings of 5000 koku or more. To give them authority in their dealings with daimyo, they were often ranked at 10 000 koku and given the title of kami (an ancient title, typically signifying the governor of a province) such as Bizen-no-kami.

As time progressed, the function of the ōmetsuke evolved into one of passing orders from the shogunate to the daimyo, and of administering to ceremonies within Edo Castle. They also took on additional responsibilities such as supervising religious affairs and controlling firearms.

The metsuke, reporting to the wakadoshiyori, oversaw the affairs of the vassals of the shogun. They were the police force for the thousands of hatamoto and gokenin who were concentrated in Edo. Individual han had their own metsuke who similarly policed their samurai.


The san-bugyō ("three administrators") were the jisha, kanjō, and machi bugyō. The jisha bugyō had the highest status of the three. They oversaw the administration of Buddhist temples ("ji") and Shinto shrines ("sha"), many of which held fiefs. Also, they heard suits from several land holdings outside the eight Kanto provinces. The appointments normally went to daimyo; Ōoka Tadasuke was an exception.

The kanjō bugyō were next in status. The four holders of this office reported to the rōjū. They were responsibile for the finances of the shogunate.

The machi bugyō were the chief city administrators of Edo. Their roles included mayor, chief of the police (and later also the fire) department, and judge in criminal and civil matters not involving samurai. Two (briefly, three) men, normally hatamoto, held the office, and alternated by month.

Three machi bugyō have become famous through the jidaigeki, Ōoka Tadasuke and Tōyama Kinshirō as heroes, Torii Yōzō as a villain.

The san-bugyō together sat on a council called the hyōjōsho. In this capacity, they were responsible for administering the tenryō, supervising the gundai, the daikan and the kura bugyō, as well as hearing cases involving samurai.

Chokkatsuchi, Gundai and Daikan

The shogun directly held lands in various parts of Japan. These were known as bakufu chokkatsuchi; since the Meiji period, the term tenryō has become synonymous. In addition to the territory that Ieyasu held prior to the Battle of Sekigahara, this included lands he gained in that battle, and as a result of the Summer and Winter Sieges of Osaka, and by the end of the seventeenth century had reached four million koku. Such major cities as Nagasaki and Osaka, and mines, including the Sado gold mine, also fell into this category.

Rather than appointing a daimyo to head the holding, the shogunate placed administrators in charge. The titles of these administrators included gundai, daikan, and ongoku bugyō. This last category included the Osaka, Kyoto and Sumpu machibugyō, and the Nagasaki bugyō. The appointees were hatamoto."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-27]


Abb.: Nishi Honganji, Kyoto
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-09]

Der spätere Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康) (1543 - 1616) teilt den Haupttempel der Jôdo-shinshû-Denomination (淨土眞宗) (Wahre Schule vom Reinen Land) in Kyoto in zwei und schafft damit zwei Unterdenominationen:

Abb.: Higashi Honganji, Kyoto
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-09]

Nishi Honganji wird im Lauf der Zeit von allen 10 Unterdenominationen des Jôdo-shinshû die größte.


Die Meiji-Regierung veröffentlicht ein Fünfpunkteprogramm zur Reform. Der vierte Punkt lautet:

"Alle absurden Gebräuche des alten Regimes sollen aufgegeben werden, und alles soll im Einklang mit dem rechtschaffenen Weg des Himmels und der Erde geschehen."

[Zitiert in: Victoria, Brian (Daizen) A. <1939 - >: Zen, Nationalismus und Krieg : eine unheimliche Allianz. -- Berlin : Theseus-Verl.,  ©1999. -- 399 S. -- Originaltitel: Zen at war (1997). -- ISBN: 3-89620-132-8. -- S. 22]

Dies ist gegen den Buddhismus gerichtet.

Angesichts dieser buddhismusfeindlichen Maßnahmen versuchen die buddhistischen Führer, sich mit allen Mitteln bei der Meiji-Regierung anzubiedern.

"Meiji-Restauration (jap. 明治維新 Meiji isshin) bezeichnet den politischen Umbruch im Jahr 1868 und den Beginn einer neuen Regierungsform in Japan. Sie stand am Anfang einer Epoche der rasanten Modernisierung und Verwestlichung der japanischen Gesellschaft, obwohl sie zunächst die Rückkehr zum alt-japanischen Kaisertum propagierte.

Die Meiji-Restauration verdankt ihren Namen der neuen Ära-Bezeichnung Meiji (jap. 明治), welche wörtlich übersetzt „leuchtende Herrschaft” bedeutet. Diese Bezeichnung war zugleich der Thronname des neuen Kaisers Mutsuhito (= Meiji Tenno).

Geschichtlicher Hintergrund

Die Meiji-Restauration beendete die über 250 Jahre währende Herrschaft der Tokugawa-Dynastie. Die Tokugawa hatten als Angehörige des sog. Kriegeradels (jap. 武士 bushi oder Samurai) eine feudale Regierungsform geschaffen, die durch eine starke Betonung von Vasallenverhältnissen, eine Einteilung der Gesellschaft in vier erbliche Stände (ähnlich den indischen Kasten), und eine rigide Abschließung des Landes gegenüber dem Ausland gekennzeichnet war. Im Zuge der Meiji-Restauration wurden diese längst obsolet gewordenen Verhältnisse abgeschafft. Die neue Regierung war sich der Überlegenheit westlicher Mächte bewusst und versuchte so rasch als möglich, mit diesen auf technologischem und verwaltungstechnischem Gebiet gleichzuziehen.

Zugleich verstand sich das neue Regierungssystem aber als Rückkehr zu den politischen Verhältnissen des Altertums, in denen der japanische Kaiser (Tennō) die höchste politische Autorität innehatte. Mit der Machtübergabe an den zu dieser Zeit 15-jährigen Kaiser Mutsuhito lag die Zentralgewalt seit vielen Jahrhunderten erstmals wieder in den Händen des Kaisers. Daher spricht man nicht von einer Revolution oder Reform, sondern von einer Restauration (Wiederherstellung). Tatsächlich teilte sich aber eine Gruppe von ehemaligen, relativ niederrangigen Samurai die politische Macht. Man spricht von den sogenannten „Meiji-Oligarchen”.

Der politische Umbruch startete am Beginn des Jahres 1868 und verlief blutig. Auf den Putsch der Daimyō von Chōshū, Satsuma und Tosa folgte der Boshin-Krieg, der ungefähr 10.000 Menschen das Leben kostete, obwohl er schnell zugunsten der Anhänger des Tennō entschieden war. Die raschen Erfolge der Modernisierung weisen auf eine generelle Akzeptanz der neuen Verhältnisse hin, es gab aber auch Widerstand. In den ersten Jahren der Meiji-Zeit kam es immer wieder zu Aufständen, die von dem Gefühl getragen wurden, dass sich Japan zu sehr an den Westen anlehnte, und dass von einer echten Rückkehr zur idealisierten Vergangenheit keine Rede sein konnte. Der bekannteste dieser Aufstände ist die Satsuma-Rebellion unter Führung des Generals Saigō Takamori. Sie diente als Vorlage für den Film The Last Samurai."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-27]


Die Meiji-Verfassung definiert Religionsfreiheit in Kapitel 2, Artikel 28:

"Art. 28 Alle japanischen Untertanen genießen, soweit es nicht gegen Frieden und Ordnung verstößt, und nicht ihren Pflichten als Untertanen Abbruch tut, Freiheit des religiösen Bekenntnisses. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-27]


Abb.: Kakutaro Kubo
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29]

Kakutaro Kubo (1892-1944)  gründet auf der Grundlage der Philosophie des Buddha Shakyamuni (des historischen Buddha Gautama) Reiyukai.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29

"Reiyūkai. Name einer aus der Nichiren-Bewegung hervorgegangenen neureligiösen Erscheinung des japanischen Buddhismus (gegr. 1919).

Die als Laiengemeinschaft organisierte Gemeinschaft verehrt das Lotus-Sutra (jap. Hokke-kyō) als den höchsten Ausdruck der buddhistischen Botschaft. In ihrer Praxis bewahrt sie zudem gewisse Aspekte der altjapanischen Religion des Shinto, legt Wert auf die Ahnenverehrung, ist aber auch sozial und karitativ engagiert.

Aus der Reiyūkai ging 1938 die (größere) Rissho Koseikai hervor. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wurde sie überdies zur Basis weiterer neureligiöser Bewegungen in Japan.

Die Reyûkai zählt etwa 2 bis 3 Millionen Anhänger."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29]


In the 1920's, amid the rubble of the Great Tokyo Earthquake and the chaos of a society in transition, Kakutaro Kubo, the founder of Reiyukai, saw a way for people to live better lives. His vision did not involve a political party or the preaching of monks; instead he looked to the philosophy of Shakyamuni Buddha and devised a simple, personal set of teachings that could be applied by anyone, anywhere, regardless of their race, religion, or economic circumstances.

Kubo believed that all humans were born with the same raw potential and that this potential should be developed to its highest level. If each individual member of society could realize their potential and this find peace of mind, then not only would they experience true happiness, but society as a whole would also naturally improve. Therefore Kubo taught the value of striving to develop oneself, something which he believed was an essential part of being human. Just as change and development form the very core of nature and human life, so the strength and desire to improve ourselves lies within us all.

But how can we improve ourselves?

Kakutaro Kubo believed the first step is to try to truly understand who and what we are. With a better understanding of our own minds, our own wants, and our own strengths and weaknesses we can better understand where our lives are leading us, what our goals are, and how best we can reach those goals. Each individual is unique, having different experiences, strengths and weaknesses, needs, and aspirations, and thus each individual has the greatest capacity to determine what is best for them and how they can best develop themselves. Thus by coming a better understanding of ourselves we are taking the first step in improving ourselves and achieving true happiness.

Naturally there is much more to improving ourselves and creating a better world than simply becoming more self-aware. That is why Reiyukai emphasizes not only awareness but also action and development. Once we have attained a greater awareness, we will have a clearer and more balanced vision of how we should act. Having recognized our shortcomings, we can work to overcome them; having identified our strengths we can strive to make the most of them. In this way, we can develop into better people, and if each member of our community improves, then our community as a whole will also improve.

This then is the Reiyukai philosophy of awareness, action, and development. As more people strive to apply this in their lives, Reiyukai hopes that we will draw a little closer to the ultimate aim of us all: world peace. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29]


Reiyukai was founded by Kakutaro Kubo in 1920. Japan was undergoing a period of change and unrest at that time, and the Great Tokyo Earthquake of 1923 heightened the population's sense of insecurity. Kubo felt that in such troubled times people wanted to find some way to bring order to their lives and through the 1920s and 1930s he worked very hard to communicate his ideas. Reiyukai's themes of self-reliance and taking control of one's destiny created hope for individuals living in extreme poverty and despair and Kubo's positive attitude stood in stark contrast to prevailing social attitudes. Many people were attracted by what Kubo had to say and one of his first followers was Kimi Kotani, the wife of his elder brother - Yasukichi Kotani. Kotani worked with Kubo to expand Reiyukai, becoming its first President in 1930, and, after Kubo's death in 1944, she widened the scope of Reiyukai's social welfare activities and created a multitude of youth programs.

During the early 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Reiyukai focused its efforts on the development of these youth programs. Kotani believed that the nation's youth were being neglected as Japan raced to modernize and rebuild. As a result, the Reiyukai Youth Group was inaugurated in 1954. In 1964, Mirokusan - a training retreat for youth members was completed, and in the same year, the Meiho Junior and Senior High Schools, founded by Kimi Kotani, opened their doors. Kimi Kotani passed away in 1971; today, she is remembered as the co-founder of Reiyukai.

By the 1970s, Reiyukai had grown considerably and many members believed it was time for Reiyukai's message to be taken outside Japan. In 1972, a Reiyukai centre was established in the United States of America. Brazil and Canada followed in 1975. And then the Philippines in 1976; Mexico, Italy and Taiwan in 1977; United Kingdom in 1978 (closed as of March 1998); Peru, Thailand, and France in 1979; India, Nepal, and Paraguay in 1983; Spain in 1984; Korea in 1988; Bolivia in 1996; and Sri Lanka in 1999. Reiyukai today has evolved into a multifaceted organization with centres throughout the world. The goal today remains the same as it was when Kakutaro Kubo first began urging his countrymen to try to improve themselves and their communities: make the world a better place through the development of each individual.

1920 Kakutaro Kubo begins formulating his philosophy for what is now Reiyukai.
1930 Reiyukai is inaugurated. Kakutaro Kubo becomes Chairman of the Board of Directors and Kimi Kotani becomes President.
1944 Kakutaro Kubo dies.
1954 The Reiyukai Youth Group is inaugurated.
1958 The Kubo Memorial Hall is completed in Tokyo and donated to a social welfare organization.
1963 The Kotani Scholarship is established.
1964 Meiho Junior and Senior High Schools, founded by Kimi Kotani, are opened. Also Mirokusan, a training retreat for youth members, on Mt. Togasa, on the Izu Peninsula is completed.
1971 Kimi Kotani dies. Tsugunari Kubo becomes President of Reiyukai.
1972 A Reiyukai Centre is established in the United States. It is followed by centres in Brazil and Canada (1975), the Philippines (1976), Mexico, Italy, and Taiwan (1977), United Kingdom (1978, closed as of March 1998), Peru, Thailand, and France (1979), India, Nepal, and Paraguay (1983), Spain (1984), Korea (1988), Bolivia (1996), and Sri Lanka (1999)
1978 The 1st International Conference of Reiyukai Youth Group Society (YGS) is held.
1980 Reiyukai's Inner Self Development campaign begins.
1982 Reiyukai establishes a Japanese language school in Tokyo, Japan (Azabudai Japanese Language School).
1984 The Ise City Plaza is built by Reiyukai and donated to Ise City, Japan, for use as a civic centre.
1985 Representatives from 14 countries participate in a Youth Speech Festival in commemoration of United Nations International Youth Year. Following this, national festivals are held annually throughout the world and international festivals are held in the Asian, American, and European regions on a regular basis.
1988 Reiyukai Executive Council is inaugurated.
1990 The Sixth International Youth Year Speech Festival is held in Osaka, Japan, as part of the International Garden and Greenery Expo '90. Representatives from 17 countries attend.
1992 Reiyukai International Operation for Cambodian Relief (RIOCR) opens its office in Cambodia
1993 Reiyukai International Committee is inaugurated
1994 The Tenth International Youth Year Speech Festival is held in Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Tsugunari Kubo resigns as President of Reiyukai.
  • Reiyukai sponsored Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI) is inaugurated in Nepal.
  • The International College for Advanced Buddhist Studies (ICABS) is established in Tokyo.
  • Yae Hamaguchi is elected as President of Reiyukai.
  • The 1st Reiyukai Supervisory Council is inaugurated.
  • 1999 Reiyukai establishes a Japanese and English home page on the Internet.
  • Fourth Reiyukai International Conference - Tokyo, Japan
  • Yae Hamaguchi dies.
  • Ichitaro Ohgata is elected as President of Reiyukai; Yushun Masunaga and Hiromichi Hirakawa as Vice-Presidents.
  • 2001 Reiyukai establishes a Portuguese home page on the Internet.
    2002 Reiyukai establishes a Spanish home page on the Internet.

    [Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29]


    Abb.: Tsunesaburo Makiguchi [Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]

    Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (牧口 常三郎)  (1871 - 1944) gründet in Japan Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-Creation Education Society), die Vorläuferin der Soka Gakkai International

    "Soka Gakkai was founded as the Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai (創価教育学会, lit. "Value-Creation Education Study Group") on November 18, 1930 by Japanese educators Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (牧口 常三郎) and Josei Toda (戸田 城聖). After World War II, the Soka Gakkai experienced a period of rapid growth in Japan. The organization was formally organized in the United States on October 13, 1960. SGI was created in 1975 to act as the international leadership of national Soka Gakkai organizations.

    The international body of SGI has been guided since its inception by its president, Daisaku Ikeda (池田 大作). A disciple of Second Soka Gakkai President Toda, Ikeda succeeded him in 1960 as Soka Gakkai President and became SGI President upon its creation in 1975. Founder of Soka University and the Soka School System, Mr. Ikeda is the author of numerous books and has held dialogues toward peace, education and culture with numerous scholars and world leaders. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and awards including the United Nations Peace Award, the International Tolerance Award of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Rosa Parks Humanitarian Award. Mr. Ikeda is however a somewhat controversial figure in his home country of Japan, and he stepped down as Soka Gakkai President of Japan in 1979 following a flurry of accusations, though he remains SGI President to this day.


    Nichiren Daishonin (1222–1282), was a Japanese Buddhist sage who determined that the Lotus Sutra was the most important of Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings, and crystalized the essence of the sutra as the phrase "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" ((南無妙法蓮華経). "Nichiren" is the name he chose for himself when embarking on spreading his teaching on April 28, 1253. It means "Sun Lotus." The word "Daishonin" is an honorific meaning "great sage."

    Nichiren taught that by chanting this phrase to the "Gohonzon (御本尊)"—a scroll with Chinese and Sanskrit characters representing the enlightenment and life of the common mortal—anyone can activate her or his "Buddha nature" and become enlightened.

    Abb.: Gohonzon
    [Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-02]

     Erklärung des Gohonzon


    The following is the key to the accompanying diagram.
    The key gives the phoneticized original, English translation
    and Sanskrit of characters on the Gohonzon transcribed by Nichikan.

    1. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
    2. Nichiren
    3. Zai gohan-This is Nichiren Daishonin's personal seal.
    4. Dai Bishamon-tenno-Great Heavenly King Vaishravana (Skt.), also called Tamon-ten (Hearer of Many Teachings).
    5. U kuyo sha fuku ka jugo-Those who make offerings will gain good fortune surpassing the ten honorable titles [of the Buddha. Note: In Buddhism, making offerings has a broad meaning; here it means to respect and praise.
    6. Namu Anryugyo Bosatsu-Bodhisattva Firmly Established Practices (Skt. Supratishthitacharitra). Note: The word namu is added to some names in the Gohonzon as a sign of great respect.
    7. Namu Jyogyo Bosatsu-Bodhisattva Pure Practices (Skt. Vishuddhacharitra).
    8. Namu Shakamuni-butsu-Shakyamuni Buddha.
    9. Namu Taho Nyorai-Many Treasures Thus Come One (Skt. Prabhutaratna Tathagata).
    10. Namu Jogyo Bosatsu-Bodhisattva Superior Practices (Skt. Vishishtacharitra).
    11. Namu Muhengyo Bosatsu-Bodhisattva Boundless Practices (Skt. Anantacharitra).
    12. Nyaku noran sha zu ha shichibun-Those who vex and trouble [the practitioners of the Law] will have their heads split into seven pieces.
    13. Dai Jikoku-tenno-Great Heavenly King Upholder of the Nation (Skt. Dhritarashtra).
    14. Aizen-myo'o-Wisdom King Craving-Filled (Skt. Ragaraja). Note: The name is written in Siddham, a medieval Sanskrit orthography.
    15. Dai Myojo-tenno-Great Heavenly King Stars, or the god of the stars.
    16. Dai Gattenno-Great Heavenly King Moon, or the god of the moon.
    17. Taishaku-tenno-Heavenly King Shakra (also known as Heavenly King Indra).


    1. Dai Bontenno-Great Heavenly King Brahma.
    2. Dai Rokuten no Mao-Devil King of the Sixth Heaven.
    3. Dai Nittenno-Great Heavenly King Sun, or the god of the sun.
    4. Fudo-myo'o-Wisdom King Immovable (Skt. Achala). Note: The name is written in Siddham, a medieval Sanskrit orthography.
    5. Hachi Dairyuo-Eight Great Dragon Kings.
    6. Dengyo Daishi-Great Teacher Dengyo.
    7. Jurasetsunyo-Ten Demon Daughters (Skt. Rakshasi).
    8. Kishimojin-Mother of Demon Children (Skt. Hariti).
    9. Tendai Daishi-Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai.
    10. Dai Zojo-tenno-Great Heavenly King Increase and Growth (Skt. Virudhaka).
    11. Hachiman Dai Bosatsu-Great Bodhisattva Hachiman.
    12. Kore o shosha shi tatematsuru-I respectfully transcribed this.
    13. Nichikan, personal seal-Signature of the high priest who transcribed this Gohonzon, in this case, Nichikan, consisting of his name and personal seal.
    14. Tensho-daijin-Sun Goddess.
    15. Butsumetsugo ni-sen ni-hyaku san-ju yo nen no aida ichienbudai no uchi mizou no daimandara nari-Never in 2,230-some years since the passing of the Buddha has this great mandala appeared in the world.
    16. Dai Komoku-tenno-Great Heavenly King Wide-Eyed (Skt. Virupaksha).
    17. Kyoho go-nen roku-gatsu jusan-nichi-The 13th day of the sixth month in the fifth year of Kyoho [1720], cyclical sign kanoe-ne.

    [Quelle der Erklärung: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-02. -- Dort auch ausführliche Erklärung]

    The basic practice of SGI members is based on chanting "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" daily, reciting Gongyo (two sections of the Lotus Sutra taking about 5 to 10 minutes to recite), introduction of others to the practice, and study of important Buddhist teachings. Most important in this study are the collected writings of Nichiren, recently compiled and issued in a single English volume titled "The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin." The Japanese edition of the writings, the "Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Zenshu," was issued in 1952. Translations are available, or are being done, in other languages.

    Klicken Sie hier, um Gongyo zu hören

    Quelle der mp3-Datei: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-02


    Klicken Sie hier, um Gongyo (part A)  zu hören

    Quelle der mp3-Datei: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-02

    Part A


    Myoho renge kyo -- The wonderful Law of the Lotus Sutra  
    Ho ben pon dai ni: Skillful Ways
    Ni Ji Se Son -- There the World Honored One
    Ju San Mai -- Quietly came up
    An Jo Ni Ki -- From his samadhi
    Go Shari Hotsu -- And said to Shariputra:
    Sho Bu' Chi E -- The wisdom of the Buddhas
    Jin Jin Mu Ryo -- Is profound and cannot be measured
    Go Chi E Mon -- Its gate is hard to understand
    Nange Nan Nyu -- And difficult to enter.
    Is Sai Sho Mon -- No Shravaka-Disciple
    Hyaku Shi Butsu -- Or Self-taught buddha 
    Sho Fu No Chi -- Can understand it.
    Sho I Sha Ga -- Why is that? (because!)
    Butsu Zo Shin Gon -- the [present] Buddhas attended on many
    Hyaku Sen Man Noku -- hundreds of thousands of billions
    Mu Shu Sho Butsu -- Of [past] Buddhas,
    Jin Gyo Sho Butsu -- And practiced the many teachings
    Mu Ryo Do Ho -- Of those Buddhas bravely and energetically
    Yu Myo Sho Jin -- To their far-flung fame till they attained
    Myo Sho Fu Mon -- The profound Law
    Jo Ju Jin Jin -- Which you've never heard before,
    Mi Zo U Ho -- And also because they are exposing
    Zui Gi Sho Setsu -- The Law according to the capacities
    I Shu Nan Ge -- Of all living beings a way that the intention is hard to understand
    Shari Hotsu -- Shariputra!
    Go Ju Jo Butsu I Rai -- Since I became Buddha, I also
    Shu Ju In Nen -- Have been stating various teachings
    Shu Ju Hi Yu -- With different stories of previous lives,
    Ko En Gon Kuyo -- Various parables, and various similes.
    Mu Shu Ho Ben -- I have been leading all living beings
    In Do Shu Jo -- With countless expedients
    Ryo Ri Sho Jaku -- In order to save them from materialism,
    Sho I Sha Ga -- Because I have the power
    Nyo Rai Ho Ben -- To employ skills,
    Chi Ken Hara Mitsu -- And the power to perform
    Kai I Gu Soku -- The Paramita (reached goal of wisdom) of insight
    Shari Hotsu -- Shariputra!
    Nyo Rai Chi Ken -- The insight of the Tathagatas
    Ko Dai Jin Non -- Is wide and deep.
    Mu Ryo Mu Ge -- They have all the [states of mind
    Riki Mu Sho I -- Towards] countless [living beings],
    Zen Jo Ge Da's' San Mai -- unchecked [intelligence], powers,
    Jin Nyu Mu Sai -- Fearlessness, dhyana-concentrations,
    Jo Ju Is Sai -- Liberations and samadhis. They entered
    Mi Zo U Ho -- Deep into no limits, and attained the Law which you've never heard before
    Shari Hotsu -- Shariputra!
    Nyo Rai Nyo Shu Ju Fun Betsu -- The Tathagatas divide the Law
    Gyo Ses Sho Ho -- Into various teachings, and state
    Gon Ji Nyu Nan -- Those teachings so gently and skillfully
    Ek Ka Shu Shin -- That living beings are delighted.
    Shari Hotsu -- Shariputra!
    Shu Yo Gon Shi -- In short, the Buddhas attained
    Mu Ryo Mu Hen -- The countless teachings
    Mi Zo U Ho -- Which you've never heard before
    Bus Shitsu Jo Ju -- No more
    Shi -- Will I say
    Shari Hotsu -- Shariputra
    Fu Shu Bu Setsu -- Because the Law
    Sho I Sha Ga -- attained by the Buddhas
    Bus Sho Jo Ju -- Is the highest Truth.
    Dai Ichi Ke U -- Rare [to hear] and hard
    Nan Ge Shi Ho -- To understand.
    Yui Butsu Yo Butsu -- Only the Buddhas attained
    Nai No Ku Jin -- The highest Truth, that is

    Sho Ho Jis So -- The Reality of All Things
    Sho I Sho Ho -- In regards to:
    Nyo Ze So -- Their appearances (form? shape? size? ) as such,
    Nyo Ze Sho -- Their natures (essence) as such,
    Nyo Ze Tai -- Their embodiments (present incarnation) as such,
    Nyo Ze Riki -- Their powers (potentiality also possibilities) as such,
    Nyo Ze Sa -- Their activities (function or role) as such,
    Nyo Ze In -- Their primary causes (obvious cause) as such,
    Nyo Ze En -- Their environmental causes (process) as such,
    Nyo Ze Ka -- Their effects (latent or hidden effect) as such,
    Nyo Ze Ho -- Their requital (final outcome or return) as such,
    Nyo Ze Hon Ma' Ku Kyo To -- And the combination of these [factors] as such (over and over again) 

    [Quelle der Umschrift und Übersetzung: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-02]

     Klicken Sie hier, um Gongyo (part C) zu hören

    Quelle der mp3-Datei: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-02

    Part C


    Myo ho renge kyo - The Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Law - 16th Chapter.
    nyo rai ju ryo hon, dai ju roku - the duration of Life of the Tathagata (Many Treasures).
    Ji ga toku bu'rai -- Since I became a Buddha
    Sho kyo sho ko shu -- It is many hundreds of thousands
    Mu ryo hyaku sen man -- Of billions of trillions
    Oku sai a so gi -- Of asankhyas of aeons (many many years).
    Jo sep po kyo ke -- For the past countless aeons
    Mu shu oku shu jo -- I have been stating the Dharma
    Ryo nyu o butsu do -- To hundreds of millions of beings
    Ni rai mu ryo ko -- To lead them into the Way to Buddhahood
    I do shu jo ko -- In order to save [perverted] people,
    Ho ben gen ne han -- I expediently show my Nirvana to them
    Ni jitsu fu metsu do -- But In reality I never pass away.
    Jo ju shi sep po -- I always live here and preach the Law.
    Ga jo ju o shi -- Although I always live here
    I sho jin zu riki -- With perverted people
    Ryo ten do shu jo -- I disappear from their eyes
    Sui gon ni fu ken -- By my supernatural powers
    Shu ken ga metsu do -- When they see me seemingly pass away,
    Ko ku yo shari -- they make offerings to my relics
    Gen kai e ren bo -- they adore and admire me,
    Ni sho katsu go shin -- they become devout, upright and gentle,
    Shu jo ki shin buku -- And wish to see me
    Shichi jiki I nyu nan -- With all their hearts
    Is shin yok ken butsu -- Even at the cost of their lives.
    Fu ji shaku shin myo -- So I reappear on Mt. Sacred Vulture peak
    Ji ga gyu shu so -- With all my people (community/sangha) 
    Ku shutsu ryo ju sen -- And say to them:
    Ga ji go shu jo -- I always live here.
    Jo zai shi fu metsu -- I'll never be extinct.
    I ho ben rik ko -- But I show my extinction expediently
    Gen u metsu fu metsu -- Although I never pass away.
    Yo koku u shu jo -- I also state the highest Law
    Ku gyo shin gyo sha -- To the living beings of other worlds
    Ga bu o hi chu -- If they respect me, they believe me,
    I setsu mu jo ho -- And wish to see me.
    Nyo to fu mon shi -- But you've never heard this;
    Tan ni ga metsu do -- So you thought that I passed away
    Ga ken sho shu jo -- I see [perverted] people sinking
    Mo tsu zai o ku kai -- In a sea of sufferings.
    Ko fu I gen shin -- Therefore, I disappear from their eyes
    Ryo go sho katsu go -- And cause them to admire me.
    In go shin ren bo -- Whey they adore me,
    Nai shitsu I sep po -- I reappear and expound the Law to them.
    Jin zu riki nyo ze -- I can do this by my supernatural powers.
    O a so gi ko -- For countless aeons
    jo zai ryo ju sen -- I lived on Mt. Sacred Eagle
    Gyu yo sho ju sho -- And in all other delay.
    Shu jo ken ko jin -- [Perverted] people think:
    Dai ka sho sho ji -- 'This world is in a great fire.
    Ga shi do an non -- The end is coming.'
    Ten nin jo ju man -- but really this world of mine is peaceful.
    On rin sho do kaku -- It is filled with gods and good people.
    Shu ju ho sho gon -- Its gardens, forests, and palaces
    Ho ju ta ke ka -- Are adorned with treasures;
    Shu ju sho yu raku -- Gem trees have fruits and flowers;
    Sho ten gyaku ten ku -- Living beings are enjoying themselves;
    Jo sas shu gi gaku -- And the gods are beating heavenly drums,
    U man da ra ke -- Pouring music and mandarava blossoms
    San butsu gyu dai shu -- On the Buddha and all assembled beings.
    Ga jo do fu ki -- My land is pure and indestructible.
    Ni shu ken sho jin -- But [perverted] people think:
    U fu sho ku no -- ‘It is full of sorrow, fear and pain,
    Nyo ze shitsu ju man -- and will soon burn away.'
    Ze sho zai shu jo -- Because of their evil karmas,
    I aku go In nen -- these sinful people cannot hear even the names
    Ka a so gi ko -- Of the Three Treasures
    Fu mon san bo myo -- For countless aeons
    Sho u shu ku doku -- To those who have accumulated merits
    Nyu was shichi jiki sha -- Who are gentle and upright,
    Sok kai ken ga shin -- And see me living here,
    Zai shi ni sep po -- stating the Dharma,
    Waku ji I shi shu -- I say: ‘The duration
    Setsu butsu ju mu ryo -- Of my life is immeasurable.'
    Ku nai ken bus sha -- To those who see me after a long time,
    I setsu butsu nan chi -- I say: ‘It's hard to see a Buddha.'
    Ga chi riki nyo ze -- This I can do by the power of my wisdom.
    Eko sho mu ryo -- The light of my wisdom knows no limit.
    Ju myo mu shu ko -- The duration of my life is forever
    Ku shu go sho toku -- I obtained this by ages of practices.
    Nyo to u chi sha -- All of you, wise men!
    Mot to shi sho gi -- Have no doubts about this!
    To dan ryo yo jin -- Remove your doubts, have no more!
    Butsu go jip pu ko -- Because the Buddha's words are true, not false.
    Nyo I zen ho ben -- The doctor, sent a man skillfully
    I ji o shi ko -- To tell his perverted sons
    Jitsu zai ni gon shi -- Of his death so he could to cure them,
    Mu no sek ko mo -- Was not accused of falsehood through living
    Ga yaku I se bu -- Likewise, I am the parent of this world.
    Ku sho ku gen sha -- I save all living beings from suffering.
    I bon bu ten do -- Because they are perverted, I say
    Jitsu zai ni gon metsu -- That I pass away, even though I do not.
    I jo ken ga ko -- If they always see me,
    Ni sho kyo shi shin -- They will become arrogant and no morals
    Ho itsu jaku go yaku -- And cling to the five human desires
    Da o aku do chu -- Till they fall into evil paths (Hell, Hunger and Animality).
    Ga jo chi shu jo -- I know all living beings,
    Gyo do fu gyo do -- Who practice the Way and who do not.
    Zui o sho ka do -- Therefore I expound various teachings
    I ses shu ju ho -- According to the abilities of all.
    Mai ji sa ze nen -- I am always thinking:
    I ga ryo shu jo -- 'How can I cause all living beings
    Toku nyu mu jo do -- To enter into the highest Way
    Soku jo ju bus shin -- So they can quickly become Buddhas?

    [Quelle der Umschrift und Übersetzung: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-02]

    Followers of Soka Gakkai believe that through chanting one becomes energized and refreshed spiritually and mentally making one happier, more productive, and prosperous. Chanting is also believe to have a positive impact on the world at large, bringing blessings on others as well. Believers recommend that everyone try chanting to see its positive impact on their lives.

    Soka Gakkai doctrine originates from Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. However, in 1991 the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood excommunicated the Soka Gakkai, and the two organizations are now completely separate.

    The organization holds weekly meetings throughout the United States, both at local SGI-USA community centers and in members' homes. Local meeting information is available through the various community centers, whose addresses and telephone numbers are also available at the website above.


    Soka Gakkai has attracted some critics who accuse it of placing an emphasis on recruitment and fundraising, demonizing perceived opponents, and using phobia indoctrination and peer pressure. They maintain that the organization is cult-like in its emphasis on one's dependence on the organization of SGI for one's spiritual advancement. Controversial figure Steve Hassan believes that Soka Gakkai's tactics are cult-like."

    [Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-27]


    Abb.: Nikkyô Niwano und Myôkô Naganuma

    Nikkyô Niwano (1906 - 1999) und Myôkô Naganuma (1898 - 1957) gründen die Risshô Kôsei-kai (立正佼成会).

    Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10

    "Rissho Kosei-kai was established on March 5, 1938 by the late Nikkyo Niwano and Myoko Naganuma. Nikkyo Niwano’s initial interest in the Lotus Sutra arose through Sukenobu Arai, a leader in a religious organization called Reiyukai. In 1934, the Niwanos’ second daughter became ill with Japanese sleeping sickness and seeked help from Sukenobu Arai. Nikkyo Niwano soon joined Reiyukai and began following its practice of ancestor veneration. Quickly, his daughter’s condition improved, which proved the merit of Reiyukai, but what impressed him the most was the organization’s emphasis on the Lotus Sutra, one of the most important scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism.

    The Lotus Sutra, revered by Buddhists as the core and culmination of the Buddha’s teachings, appealed to him as the perfect way in which to save people both physically and spiritually. Two of its teachings suited his innermost feelings exactly: the way of compassion of the bodhisattva (helping others and serving all people in the world) and the ability of the lay believer both to save and be saved. His conviction was so strong that he changed to an occupation (neighborhood milk dealer’s shop) that would give him enough free time and opportunity to meet many people. This is where he was able to meet Myoko Naganuma, which at that time was suffering from a variety of illnesses. Soon after she began receiving religious guidance from Nikkyo Niwano, her ailments disappeared, confirming the effectiveness of the Reiyukai teachings. She became so enthusiastic that she vigorously began conveying the teachings to others.

    Nikkyo Niwano and Myoko Naganuma decided to break away from Reiyukai when its president made a statement that the lectures on the Lotus Sutra were an out-of-date concept. This was the birth of Rissho Kosei-kai, where its initial headquarters was a room in Niwano’s home. By 1941, membership reached one thousand and the construction of a separate headquarters began. It was completed in May 1942. During this time Founder Niwano and Cofounder Naganuma devoted themselves full-time to their religious activities.

    Reverend Naganuma devoted all her remaining years disseminating the Lotus Sutra. She worked tirelessly providing guidance to members until September 10, 1957, when she passed away.

    In 1958, Founder Niwano moved actively into a new phase of Rissho Kosei-kai. The first step was the affirmation of the focus of devotion, the Great Benevolent Teacher and Lord, Shakyamuni, the Eternal Buddha. Another important step taken, was educating the members by guiding them to study the Lotus Sutra and to apply its teachings in practical ways in their daily lives.

    In 1960, Founder Niwano announced that his eldest son, Nichiko, would succeed him as president.

    Four years later, in 1964, the Great Sacred Hall was completed as part of the headquarters complex in Tokyo.

    On November 15, 1991, Reverend Nichiko Niwano, became the second president of Rissho Kosei-kai.

    On November 17, 1994, the holy name of Kosho was given to Mitsuyo Niwano, the eldest daughter of President Niwano, by the founder and the president. And she appointed president-designate of the organization. Founder Niwano passed away on October 4, 1999 at Kosei General Hospital.

    Currently, Rissho Kosei-kai has some 6.5 million members in 245 branches throughout Japan as well as in other countries."

    [Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]  

    Basic Practices of Rissho Kosei-kai


    Sutra Recitation In front of the family altar, members engage in reciting the Lotus Sutra in the morning and evening. This is done in the morning to give gratitude for the new day and in the evening to reflect and give thanks for the events of that day.

    This practice is also important because it expresses appreciation towards our ancestors, which is a reason of our existence. 

    Hoza (Circle of Compassion) In hoza, members sit in a circle, sharing and listening to the problems people have and help resolve the problems through the Dharma. Through this practice, members guide and lead the people to salvation and happiness. It is a place to resolve basic suffering, learn the teaching and be enlightened to the Truth.

    Our Founder stated that it is a place where one can find the "truth hidden deep under."

    [Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]


    Im Zuge der Kriegsvorbereitung erlässt die Regierung das Gesetz über religiöse Organisationen, um bessere Kontrolle über die Religionen zu bekommen. Die Religionen werden festegesetzt und beshränkt auf:

    Allen Religionen übergeordnet ist der Staatsshinto


    Abb.: Josei Toda, 1957
    [Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-27]

    Nachdem Tsunesaburo Makaguchi 1944 im japanischen Gefängnis (angeklagt des Hochverrats wegen seines Widerstands gegen den Krieg) verhungert war, übernimmt Josei Toda (戸田 城聖) (1900 - 1958) die Führung von  Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-Creation Education Society) und nennt sie in Soka Gakkai (Value-Creation Society) um.


    Abb.: Daisaku Ikeda

    Daisaku Ikeda (1928 - ) wird Präsident von Soka Gakkai. Er internationalisiert Soka Gakkai. So reist er kurz nach seiner Amtsübernahme in die USA.

    "Daisaku Ikeda (池田 大作, born January 2, 1928) is the president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Buddhist association of more than 12 million members in more than 190 countries and territories, and founder of several educational, cultural and research institutions.

    He was president of the Soka Gakkai from 1960 to 1979, when he was succeeded by Hiroshi Hojo. Ikeda was named the president of SGI (Soka Gakkai International), upon its founding in 1975 and remains in that position to the present (as of 2005).

    Outside of the organization, he remains a controversial figure, sometimes linked with various accusations that have been made about Soka Gakkai's activities.

    He is a prolific writer, poet, peace activist, and interpreter of Nichiren Buddhism. He has traveled to more than 50 countries to hold discussions with many political, cultural and educational figures. Topics he has addressed include the transformative value of religion, the universality of life, social responsibility, and sustainable progress and development.

    As a leader of SGI, he has founded several institutions, such as the Soka schools (from kindergarten through university level), the Min-On Concert Association and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, in order to promote educational, cultural and artistic activities and conduct exchanges with like groups and institutions on a global scale. Ikeda has also initiated a wide range of grassroots exchange programs and delivered speeches at a number of institutions of higher learning around the world, including Harvard University, the Institut de France and Beijing University.

    Mr. Ikeda has received honorary doctorates from 20 universities, including University of Glasgow (UK), Moscow State University, Sofia University (Bulgaria), University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Ankara University (Turkey), University of Nairobi (Kenya), University of the Philippines. He has honorary professorships in 14 universities, including Beijing University and National University of San Marcos (Peru).

    For his humanitarian endeavors in a range of fields, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United Nations Peace Award, National Order of the Southern Cross of the Republic of Brazil, Honorary Cross of Science and the Arts from the Austrian Ministry of Education, Medal of the Grand Officer of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture, and the World Poet Laureateship from the World Poetry Society.

    Major books that he has written include: The Human Revolution (12 volumes),Choose Life: A Dialogue with Dr. Arnold J. Toynbee; Dawn After Dark with Dr. René Hughye; Before It Is Too Late with Dr. Aurelio Peccei; A Lifelong Quest for Peace with Dr. Linus Pauling; Dialogue of World Citizens with Dr. Norman Cousins; Choose Peace, with Dr. Johan Galtung; The Snow Country Prince, The Cherry Tree, The Princess and the Moon and Over the Deep Blue Sea (children's books translated into over ten languages)."

    [Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-27]


    Dr. Neville G. Pemchekov-Warwick alias Ajari. immigriert in die USA. Er ist der Gründer von Kailas Shugendo (seit ca. 1940).

    "The Kailas Shugendo was founded by Dr. Neville G. Pemchekov-Warwick, known to his followers as Ajari. Shugendo is an old Buddhist tradition that borrows from pre-Buddhist Japanese shamanism and mountain religion. Ajari has been conducting Shugendo practices since 1940 and is termed Dai Sendatsu, which allows him to start his own movement. His background is Russian Buddhist, and he immigrated to America in the 1960s.

    Central to the Shugendo is fire worship. Twice a day, members observe Goma, the fire ceremony. The ritual master conducts while the members chant. Once a week Hiwatari, fire purification, is performed. Members walk the sacred fire but are not burned. At intervals, members go to the mountains for ascetic practices-shugyo (climbing the mountain while chanting mantra), going under ice-cold waterfalls, and hanging people off rocks. Music is also a part of daily life. Headquarters of the ashram are in San Francisco, California, where it offers musical and cultural presentations to the Bay Area community and performs emergency community services."

    [Quelle: Melton, J. Gordon: The encyclopedia of American religions. -- Reprint der 3rd ed., ©1989. -- Tarrytown, NY : Triumph Books, 1991. -- Vol III.  -- Nr. 1467]

    Abb.: Feuerlaufen

    "Without any preparation, I myself had an opportunity to participate in a firewalking ritual with a group of Kailas Shugendo Buddhists in San Francisco under the direction of Dr. Ajari Warwick.  The religious practices of these individuals include daily fire rituals of several kinds, maintaining an ambulance rescue service (pulling people out of plane wrecks and fires), as well as mountain climbing – and country-western music.  Unlike many "spiritual groups," the Kailas Shugendo people make no effort to proselytize.  In fact, they actively discourage would-be converts.  They are extremely disciplined, yet they possess an overflowing humor.  It was in one such peak of gaiety that Ajari invited me to come to a ritual with my camera and tape recorder.  I regarded the invitation as an honor because I knew the group was very cautious about allowing the public to treat the practices as a circus sideshow.  I did not expect to attend, as I was without transportation at the time and the ceremony took place on a remote beach.  I put the idea out of my head.  However, by a coincidence, a friend with a car appeared at 7:30 a.m. on he appointed day – and off we went.

    The ceremony was modest – simply a six-foot pit of flaming logs that we walked over dozens of times, quite briskly, generally stepping once with each foot.  The flames rose up and singed the hair on my legs, although I felt no pain and suffered no burns.  I had complete confidence in Ajari who asked that I follow him across the pit.  Microphone in hand, I recorded my impressions on tape as we went over the flames.  I must admit that I actually felt protected in some way.  It was a totally uplifting experience.  Later on, some psychic readers mentioned that I was surrounded by a white light.  Perhaps they noticed my silly smile. "

    [Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29]


    Soka Gakkai gründet eine eigene politische Partei "Komeito". 1970 wird diese Partei von Soka Gakkai offiziell unabhängig. 1995 wird sie in die New Frontier Party integriert.


    Beginn der Auseinandersetzungen zwischen der Nichiren Shoshu Geistlichkeit und Soka Gakkai, die im November zur Exkommunikation der Soka Gakkai führt.

    "Conflict between the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and Soka Gakkai, the largest lay Buddhist organization in Japan founded by Josei Toda, started in 1990 as tension between a conservative priesthood and a reforming lay movement. This tension significantly affected both groups. Nichiren Shoshu grew rapidly from a weak status group to a powerful position substantially through Soka Gakkai's aid and its membership's donations. But the question must also be posed as to whether a lay movement, Soka Gakkai, can survive without support and logistics of a priesthood, especially in the secular society today.

    Both Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai originated from Nichiren, who founded Nichiren School of Japanese Buddhism. Soka Gakkai was founded in the 1930s as a lay religious movement for spreading of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism throughout Japan and other countries. Nichiren Shoshu claims that its priesthood possesses total religious authority. Soka Gakkai claims that Nichiren's sacred writings are all that matters. They argue that anyone is equally capable of achieving enlightenment through faith alone without the Priest's aid. Nichiren Shoshu considers Soka Gakkai to be nothing but its (Nichire Shoshu's) surbordinate group. Soka Gakkai, on the other hand, views itself as an independent group that receives guidance directly from Nichiren, and separately from Nichiren Shoshu. The intense tension between the two is due to these fundamentally conflicting views of authority. 

    Mutual advantage between the two groups seemed to work well as Sokagakkai gained ritual support from Nichiren Shoshu, and Nichiren Shoshu gained financial support including hundreds of temples being built internationally and recruitment of new members from Sokagakkai (lay organization). The priesthood assigned Sokagakkai's president and other leaders, indicating they have more power than the lay group. Until 1990, both groups considered the relationship with each other as a great example of harmonious division of labor between priesthood and lay group.

    The disagreement between the groups is based on power, authority, and finances. In 1989 and 1990, Sokagakkai claimed that the priesthood (Nichiren Shoshu) raised obligatory offering for Gokaihi (worshipping the Dai-Gohonzon) for members and for memorial services fees. On the other hand, the priesthood claimed to have total authority on the offerings. Sokagakkai also claimed in 1990 that the priesthood holds a narrow minded view that can prevent the faith from becoming a global religion. An example would be the Nichiren Shoshu's refusal to allow the singing of a Christian song "Ode to Joy." The priesthood responds by saying that the Sokagakkai is deviating from the path of True Buddhism and, hence, disrespecting the priesthood. In addition, Sokagakkai claimed that Nichiren Daishonin's teachings are above the priesthood's teachings. This means Gohonzon is part of the Three Treasures, which are Law, Buddha, and Priest. On the other hand, the priesthood claimed that the priesthood's teachings are one of the Three Great Treasures of Buddhism, meaning being against them means being against Buddhism.

    The actual tension was triggered as Fujimoto Nichiren, Nichiren Shoshu's General Administrator Reverend, distributed a tape of Daisaku Ikeda's, Soka Gakkai's leader, speech at Thirty Fifth Headquarters Leaders Meeting held on November 16 1990. The speech included comments that were seen as insulting to the priesthood. Taisekiji contended that Ikeda had doubts about the Head Priest, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power.

    Soka Gakkai's president requested a discussion with Nichiren Shoshu. Nichiren Shoshu responded by asking that Soka Gakkai reply to questions about the speech through writing. The questions were sent with a one week deadline for Soka Gakkai to reply. Soka Gakkai replied through writing, but did not meet the demanded deadline.

    On December 27 1990, the Nichiren Shoshu Council, called Shukai, revised Nichiren Shoshu Rules (shuki), causing the power of Soka Gakkai leaders, including Ikeda to be reduced. The action also stated that lay representatives (daikoto) and lay believers would be punished if they criticized Nichiren Shoshu chief administrator (kancho or the Head Priest).

    Tension between the groups kept increasing as Taisekiji sent a letter to Soka Gakkai on November 8 1991, ordering separation of the groups. Soka Gakkai refused the request as it accused the Priesthood of lacking "respect for the faithful".

    The priesthood put restrictions on Sokagakkai in various ways. For example, members were required to register with a local temple and to make a piligrimage (tozan) to the head temple, not to the Sokagakkai community center. Sokagakkai argued that the priesthood's denial of their freedom was unacceptable, and priesthood's power over the lay group was against True Buddhism's spirit. In addition, the argument of Sokagakkai's president Ikeda, that he works on Kosen-rufu (Nichiren Daishonin's will) is seen by the priesthood as Ikeda's intention to destroy the priesthood in order to make his own religion. The priesthood even encourages members to leave Sokagakkai. 5

    Taisekiji finally formally excommunicated Soka Gakkai and its international chapters at the end of November 1991. The Head Temple pressed for members's resignation from Soka Gakkai's membership. The tension still exists today. Sokagakkai claims that individuals control their own destiny through practicing to the Gohonzon, which are directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin and Dai-Gohonzon. On the other hand, the priesthood claims that the direct way to the enlightenment is through the High Priests since they possess the True Law.

    The Nichiren Shoshu Taisekiji priesthood points out Soka Gakkai's fault is that it forgets it is only a lay organization. The priesthood also accuses Soka Gakkai for being a corrupt organization as its head people illegally avoid paying taxes and "other questionable financial practices." Some say the Head Temple was simply in fear of Soka Gakkai taking over the power of Nichiren Shoshu with the accompanying loss of the priesthood's authority. It was this fear that lead to the excommunication of Soka Gakkai. 

    This fear was probably heightened as President Ikeda gained charismatic authority. People called him a spiritual teacher even when he was removed from the position. Nikken Shonin especially was uncomfortable with this fact as he technically held the highest authority as the High Priest according to Nichiren Daishonin's teachings. Both Nikken Shonin as ritual authority and Daisaku Ikeda as charisma and international peacemaker look for things that each other's opponent has. Each has their own followers who both think that their leader is the right one.

    Sokagakkai owns the Nichiren Daishonin's writings, called Gosho, which are the faith's religious standards. On the other hand, Nichiren Shoshu holds the High Priest's authority which nobody can be disrespective to as the High Priest is said to be the "True Buddha's messenger and who alone carries on the lineage of True Buddhism".

    In an article in the February 1992 issue of Bungei Shunju, Abe Nikken stated that Soka Gakkai's attempted actions to have complete control over the church had created the crisis. He also claimed that Soka Gakkai was not only failing to follow the priesthood, but was criticizing the priesthood arguing that anyone can equally become a priest.

    On the other hand, Nichiren Shoshu believes that the priesthood is important as the successor line kept directly from Nichiren to Nikko who erected Taisekiji and down to generations of High Priests. Therefore, excommunication of Soka Gakkai was necessary to save "the sanctity of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism." This tension was especially increased with the appearance of Daisaku Ikeda as a leader of Soka Gakkai in 1960s. Ikeda is accused of simply being hungry for personal power that would make his position higher politically and socially. This pursuit of power is leading to the distortion, indeed, the destruction of Buddhism's teachings."

    [Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28]

    Zu 4.4.2.: Chronik des japanischen Buddhismus in den USA