Materialien zum Neobuddhismus


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

4. USA und Hawaii

4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika

3. Soka Gakkai in Amerika

von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --   4. USA und Hawaii. -- 4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika. -- 3. Soka Gakkai in Amerika. -- Fassung vom 2005-06-20. -- URL: . -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert: 2005-05-20

Überarbeitungen: 2005-06-20 [Ergänzungen]; 2005-06-10 [Ergänzungen]; 2005-05-21 [Ergänzungen]

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. Übersicht

1. Einleitung

Soka Gakkai in Amerika wird ein eigens Teilkapitel gewidmet, weil dies die wohl am schnellsten wachsende buddhistische Denomination ist, die zudem die größten Anteile von Schwarzen und Latinos hat.

Zu Soka Gakkai im Allgemeinen siehe auch:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --   4. USA und Hawaii. -- 4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika. -- 1. Hintergründe. -- URL:

2. Weiterführende Ressourcen

Murata, Kiyoaki <1922 - >: Japan's new Buddhism; an objective account of Soka Gakkai  / by Kiyoaki Murata. Foreword by Daisaku Ikeda.
 -- New York, Walker/Weatherhill, 1969. -- xii, 194 S.  : Ill ; 24 cm.

Hammond, Phillip E. ; Machacek, David W.: Soka Gakkai in America : accommodation and conversion. -- Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.  -- xi, 224 S. : Ill. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN: 0198293895

Dobbelaere, Karel: Soka Gakkai : from lay movement to religion. -- [Salt Lake City] : Signature Books in cooperation with CESNUR, [2001?]. -- vi, 86 S. : Ill. ; 19 cm.  -- ISBN 1560851538. -- Originaltitel:  La Soka Gakkai : un movimento di laici diventa una religione (1998). -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei bestellen}

Hervorragendes Material bietet Chris Holte: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10

3. Gesamtschau

Soka Gakkai ist keine "Neue Religion":

"Not a "New Religion"

Many Japanese consider Soka Gakkai to be one of the shinko shukyo (new religions) of Japan. This term is generally used to refer to those religions which have grown rapidly among the masses of modern Japan since about 1905 and whose doctrines are independent of, or at best only remotely related to, any of the three established religions of Japan, namely Shinto, Buddhism, and Christianity. Furthermore, the founder of a "new religion" usually claims to be a savior, healer, or prophet, and to be the sole source of religious authority for his or her organization. In short, in these "new religions" the founders are regarded as superhuman beings or "living gods." Of the many "new religions" that emerged before World War II, only a few have survived to the present. Some, crushed in the 1930's and early 1940's by the government, were revived after the war. But the postwar moral hiatus in defeated Japan gave birth to many more "new religions," some of which are already dead or dying. Soka Gakkai, however, bears no resemblance to these "new religions" in their chief characteristics, for its doctrine is not new, being the teachings of Nichiren, and its founder Makiguchi did not claim divinity, sanctity, or any supernatural endowments. He merely interpreted the teachings of Nichiren and attempted, with considerable success, to persuade others of their truth.

Relations with Nichiren Shoshu

Among the various Nichiren sects and subsects founded over the seven centuries since Nichiren's time, Nichiren Shoshu was, until recently, one of the most insignificant, with a relatively small following. A survey conducted by the Religions Bureau of the Ministry of Education at the end of 1939 showed that there were only seventy-five temples of Nichiren Shoshu throughout Japan, while the temples of all other Nichiren sects and subsects totaled 4,962. Similarly, the total number of priests in the Nichiren Shoshu temples was fifty-two, while those of other Nichiren sects numbered 4,451 in all. (See table)
Comparison of Nichiren Shoshu and Other Nichiren Sects in 1939
  Number of temples Number of priests Number of danto (parishioners)s Number of shinto (adherents)
Nichiren Shoshu 75 52 45.332 40.209
Other Nichiren sects and subsects 4.962 4.451 2.074.530 1.318.521

As of January 1969, however, the Nichiren Shoshu temples numbered 319, including four located outside Japan. Temples built by Soka Gakkai and dedicated to Nichiren Shoshu—at the rate of from ten to twenty a year—account for most of the increase. Today Taiseki-ji, the head temple of Nichiren Shoshu, is undoubtedly the most prosperous of all the Buddhist temples of Japan, with approximately fifteen thousand votaries visiting it daily during eleven months of the year. (This statement leaves aside the temples that attract legions of tourists each year, such as those of Kyoto.)"

[Quelle: Murata, Kiyoaki <1922 - >: Japan's new Buddhism; an objective account of Soka Gakkai  / by Kiyoaki Murata. Foreword by Daisaku Ikeda.
 -- New York, Walker/Weatherhill, 1969. -- xii, 194 S.  : Ill ; 24 cm.  -- S. 70f.]

Ein Übersichtsartikel eines Insiders (Chris Holte):

Sokagakkai and Sokagakkai International

The Sokagakkai is a Nichiren Based organization originating in Japan based on the Lotus Sutra and the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Its origins are with the Fuji School and until 1992 it was directly affiliated with a parent organization known as Nichiren Shoshu. The Teachings of the Gakkai are purportedly directly derived from Nichiren's "Gosho" or honored writings but in actuality are liberally interpreted.

Soka Kyoiku Gakkai

The Sokagakkai was founded in 1930 as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai by Tsunesuburu Makiguchi and his disciple Josei Toda. It was one of many lay organizations belonging to the parent religion Nichiren Shoshu. These lay organizations were collectively known as "hokkeko" organizations and dated their existence back to the days when the founder was still alive. It was somewhat special from the beginning. Makiguchi founded the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai after he was converted to Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism by a lay member with the help of the two priests of the Fuji School1; Reverend Hori and Reverend Horigome, both of whom served time as High Priests, and both of whom had profound faith in the Daishonin's teachings and were very humble teachers. This at first differentiated it from other lay groups such as the Reiyukai or Koseikei, or even the competing Myoshinkai, who often depended on charismatic founders and distorted the teachings of Nichiren in favor of the teachings of those founders.

Founding of Soka Kyoiku Gakkai

Makiguchi founded the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai for twin purposes. One was to propagate his educational and social ideas of "Value Creation" or "Soka". The other was to spread Buddhism among the teachers of Japan and thus contribute to "Kosenrufu." He had been raised as a Nichiren Buddhist from one of the so-called "Minobu Schools" but Buddhism hadn't been a very strong influence in his childhood. It was only after a long hard struggle promoting his pedagogical theories in the face of an authoriarian Government that he once again turned to Buddhism. He came to be impressed with Nichiren's teachings anew thanks to the wisdom of his teachers whose enthusiasm for Nichiren's teachings was pure, and because he suddenly saw the "value creation" aspect of the Lotus Sutra and of Nichiren's teachings. His own theories were relatively shallow without Buddhism. Explaining that "Value" is subjective he replaced the Kantian values of Beauty Goodness and Truth with Beauty Goodness and Gain. He wasn't diminishing the importance of Truth, just trying to create a subjective basis for these values. Unfortunately one of the results of this teaching was that it became something people could later misinterpret. Some have interpreted Value Creation theory as teaching that truth is relative, which is far from true.

Makiguchi and World War II

Encouraged by the priests, his lay organization enjoyed some limited success, becoming an organization with somewhere around 2000 members by the time of it's near demise in 1943. Reverend Hori and Reverend Horigome had seen the need for a new lay based Nichiren Shoshu based Buddhist Movement and supported both Makiguchi and Toda in their efforts. Other Nichiren Monks and priests were less enthusiastic. Indeed many were downright opposed to such liberal nonsense as lay societies or value creation. Makiguchi may not have been a pacifist in the way we are used to the term now, but he was enough of an iconclast to get himself into trouble. And worse, he was something rare in Japan, an honest man, and that was enough to get him into trouble sooner or later.

Indeed these were the prewar years in Japan, and most Nichiren monks and believers were going out of their way to support the Government, and were not interested in anything that didn't support it. Most of them were instead crawling all over themselves to prove that Nichiren was an emmanation of the Sun Goddess and that the Divine Emperor would spread Nichirenism as he conquered the world.  By 1943 the Government was bringing pressure on Buddhist sects to consolidate, but that wasn't the worst of Buddhism's problems. They also were pressuring Buddhists to engage in Emperor Worship and to respect the "Kami" or natural gods of Japan. Within Nichiren Shoshu, there was even a teacher (Jiko Ogasawara, who held the rank of chief instructer of priests, who taught that Nichiren was inferior to the Sun Goddess. But, his extreme views were only the worst of the fawning and synchophantic notions put out by Buddhists and non Buddhist Japanese alike. High Priest Nikkyo Shonin,laygroups such as the Myoshinkai, and Nichiren teachers such as Tanaka seemed to vie with each other to make Nichirenism the vanguard of Japanese Nationalism.

Compared to them Makiguchi and his disciple Toda must have seemed radicals of internationalism. And indeed Makiguchi had based his earliest teachings on a "Geography of Life."

Makiguchi came to believe that Buddhism was being subsumed, and betrayed, by nativist religion (Shinto) and nationalism. This betrayal of Nichiren's message had to be protested, in the grand tradition of Nichiren himself, even at the cost of the protestors life. The current situation was proof that the admonitions in the Rissho Ankoku Ron were still applicable to Japan. If so, then the predictions would occur too. Unles the country were remonstrated with, it might indeed perish. If Buddhism had been healthy and not "destroyed from within" there would have been no danger from Shinto. Shinto is a primitive religion that has hardly any value on it's own. But because of the "slander of the sutra" of teachers like Ogasawara and others, the nation was destined to be defeated by the USA in the now joined battle. Makiguchi saw that the Japanese people were so confused that they were sure to lose the war and finally fulfil the predictions that Nichiren made back in the thirteenth century.

He hoped that his protest would make a difference. Therefore he remonstrated about the efforts to make members accept Shinto Talisman and the effort to subsume Buddhism to Japanese Nationalism and Shinto. As a consequence of this all the leaders of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai were arrested, including Josei Toda. All but Makiguchi and Toda turned tail and were released from Prison. Nikkyo Shonin, High priest of the time excommunicated these leaders and forbade them to visit the Head Temple. Makiguchi died in prison.

Josei Toda

Josei Toda came out of Prison a changed man. He had had some revelations about the meaning of the Lotus Sutra and had finally seen the supreme relevence of it's teachings to this day and age and his own life. This gave him a broader vision of the role of the Sokagakkai than simply as a lay organization of teachers. He renamed the Sokagakkai from the "Value Creation Education Society" to simply the "Value Creation Society" and began a vigorous propagation effort. He used three themes for this propagation effort. One was the notion of "human revolution", which emphasized the value of common people and the idea that "the change in one man can influence an entire society." The second was the eternal Buddha notions of the Fuji School interpreted afresh through his prison experience. He hammered home these views by lecturing on the Lotus Sutra. And thei third theme for his propagation efforts was the notion of Kosenrufu as world peace through the spread of "correct teachings." Nichiren Shoshu had been relatively isolated for it's 750 year history, and so could claim that it was the "one true sect" that had preserved Nichiren's teachings intact, and these teachings in combination were nearly irresistable to people disillusioned with Emperors and Shinto.

"Fighting for Kosenrufu"

Toda and Nichiren Shoshu had also developed the notions of "Fuje Fuse" (not to accept or give donations to heretical sects), to their logical extreme. For instance in October 1954, addressing the YMD at the Josei Toda, said:

"We must consider all religions our enemies, and we must destroy them."

This naturally led to a kind of "Shakubuku" that was more than critical of the moribund Buddhist Sects of it's time. New members were required to destroy all religious objects in their homes before enshrining the Gohonzon...including the family ancestral tablets(akin to the "Family Bible"). At times, overzealous Soka Gakkai members would even remove these items against the wishes of the new convert and their families.see footnote "Q"

It was only a matter of time before such an outward looking "warrior" attitude would turn within and the Sokagakkai take this attitude towards it's own source of doctrines. Indeed the Gakkai got into a public battle after Toda allowed 47 of his disciples to attack and publicly chastise the priest Ogasawara, who had been restored to his membership as a Nichiren Shoshu Priest. Even so, the Gakkai was liberal in comparison to rivals such as the Myoshinko (later Kenshokai) and it's approach seemed consistent with Nichiren's teachings as interpreted by Nichiren Shoshu. And as a result of the embarrassment caused by his actions, Toda promised to convert the entire Japanese nation. The seeds of future conflict had been planted.


One of the leaders of that propagation effort was his disciple, Daisaku Ikeda, who galvanized the Youth Division and led major efforts in Kansai. The Sokagakkai became famous (or infamous) for their "shakubuku methods" which in typical Japanese style were methods that took no quarter. They also became famous for getting involved in Politics. The Kansai campaign was also a political campaign as well as an effort to make conversions among the people living there. Generally the seeds of future political involvement were planted with President Toda's declaration that Nuclear Weapons should be wiped off the face of the earth, and with their involvement in the "Komeito"(clean Government party). Toda was a passionate man, and that passion led him to make a declaration against war and nuclear weapons that was to endure to this day. He died in 1958


The Gakkai vigorously criticized and "refuted" most of the Buddhist and Non-Buddhist, mainly "shinto" religions in Japan and vigorously recruited people from other Nichiren Sects and all walks of life. The vehicle for this was the "shakubuku campaign" the "discussion meeting" and an emphasis on indoctrination and study, actual proof, and a simple practice of chanting "Daimoku"(Nam Myoho Renge Kyo) prayer to the "Gohonzon" scroll that is the central object of worship. This was "exclusive practice" of chanting to an exclusive object of worship. They specifically criticized the other Nichiren Sects, claiming that their religions lacked actual proof of Buddhism because they slandered Nichiren's teachings rather than practicing them and that that was because their founders had failed to follow the correct teachings handed down through his disciple Nikko Shonin. This effort awakened many people to faith in Nichiren's teachings but it also alienated and scared many Japanese who are as a whole afraid of direct confrontation "within" their society. It alienated people who might otherwise have been receptive to the Gakkai's message. And some of these people were to later continue to express hostility towards the Gakkai even after it made efforts to improve its image. Worse, the "method" of this argument was based on fear, what turned out to be oral traditions, and documents that were alleged to be forgeries.

President Ikeda

Toda passed away in 1958 and two years later Daisaku Ikeda emerged to become President in 1960. Ironically President Ikeda claimed an oral inheritance from Josei Toda and used this "lineage" credentials to win out over more senior potential successors in the Gakkai and to transform the Gakkai from a committee directed organization to one pretty much under his personal and complete control. President Ikeda continued this effort, and led major campaigns all over Japan, expecially continuing in the "Kansai" (Kyoto area) region Southwest of Tokyo. He created a cadre of translators and assistants to help him turn out dozens of books and wrote one series in particular named "The Human Revolution" which was designed to galvanize the members. During his time, members started to appear in other countries. Expecially in the USA. The Sokagakkai helped rebuild Nichiren Shoshu after it's near destruction during world War II, and eventually donated many wonderful buildings, including one the "Sho Hondo" that was later torn down specifically because it reminded the 67th high priest of President Ikeda.  Building the Sho Hondo was the high water mark for both Nichiren Shoshu and the Sokagakkai. Even so, it was built at the cost of Nittatsu Shonin being forced to excommunicate the rival Myoshinko organization.

The Japanese organization also got involved in politics rather early. The above mentioned Kansai campaign was as much a political one as a shakubuku one. The Gakkai is officially seperate from this organization, but members are so heavily involved that this separation is often paper thin.

NSA and Sokagakkai USA, and worldwide

After World War II, Japan was occupied by the USA. Many US GI's were stationed in Japan. Initially regulations and societal mores of the Japanese tried to keep the two groups seperate. But nature took it's course anyway and many GI's ended up marrying Japanese Women. Sometimes called "war-brides. These women, for the most part, formed the kernel of what was to be known as NSA or Nichiren Shoshu of America. Later the name was changed to SGI-USA. Under the leadership of these women and some Japanese students and immigrants such as Masayasu Sadanaga (George M Williams), NSA grew into a fairly large organization with a mix of Military men, assorted native speakers, and set a model for development in other countries. Indigineous organizations also developed in Britain, under Mr. Causton, Germany, under Peter Kuhn, Europe as a whole under Dr. Yamazaki (not the same as that other Yamazaki), and various places all over the earth. This led to the formation of SGI international. Often these men were married to Japanese wives. Sometimes the leaders were Japanese emmigrants.

Sokagakkai International

In 1975 the Sokagakkai founded SGI -- Sokagakkai International -- and under that rubric President Ikeda was able to ride out the "stormy furor" that was created by rivals and the priests in the late seventies over various issues. The Gakkai was also protected by the late High Priest Nittatsu Shonin who wanted only that it adhere to correct Nichiren Shoshu Doctrines. When he died in 1979, his successor Nikken Shonin at first supported the Gakkai and continued his policies. In 1985 SGI World got a charter and eventually organizations like NSA were renamed as constituents of this parent organization. Thus the current Gakkai organization in the USA is SGI-USA. This organization is supposed to be an equal partner with Sokagakkai Japan according to it's charter.

Issues and the Split

The SG and SGI during their development used a pyramid structure that starts with a capable few at the top and then goes down the line with ever more local leutenants close to the people. The SG in Japan also got involved in politics which was such a hot potatoe that the SG is now seperate from the Komeito, though they continue to be involved with that political party informally. As a lay group of Nichiren Shoshu it was sheltered against charges that it was a "cult" but now it is subject to them. There were also tensions and internal contradictions. For the period between 1979 and 1990 these tensions had been papered over, but they proved Irreconcilable. In 1990 the priests heard news of the content of the 35th Anniversary Leaders meeting of the Gakkai. The High priest was very upset and fired Ikeda from his position as "Honorary head" of the Hokkeko. A Communique was sent out to the members about him and members were asked to "re-register" with their local Temples. The Gakkai and NST quickly squared off, and both let loose with charges and countercharges about internal corruption and "deviations from doctrine." Ikeda was soon "excommunicated" and those who chose to follow him eventually were disenrolled as well. The results got to be very personal as the "temple issue" spun out of control.

These legacies are the reason that Sokagakkai is sometimes controversial. There is an internal contradiction between a pyramidal top down structure and any pretense to democracy or "bottom up" movement. In fact the notions of "democracy" that SGI expouses sometimes seem to be more the notions of "democratic centralism" than the kind of democracy we associate with the USA. The SGI is continuously trying to change it's image here, though I see little hope for this to be more than cosmetic unless it actually changes it's formal structure -- and that will not happen as long as the organization is directed from Japan and doesn't see through the personality cult that some of the members have built around Ikeda. "

[Quelle: Chris Holte. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]

3.1. Daisaku Ikeda (池田 大作)

Soka Gakkai untrennbar verbunden mit der Geschichte ihres dritten Präsidenten, Daisaku Ikeda

Abb.: Daisaku Ikeda mit Gattin Kaneko
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]

"President Ikeda


Is the Third President of the Sokagakkai, a successor to his Predecessor Josei Toda and the leader of Sokagakkai International. He is noted for a number of things. From his sponsership of efforts to create World Peace and ban Nuclear Weapons and his advocacy of "dialogue" between peoples, to his stewardship of the problematic relationship with the parent Sect of the Gakkai, Nichiren Shoshu.

He is a wealthy man from his stewardship of his predecessors publishing company, and has been responsible for a wide range of novels, study materials, and creative works.

born; January 2, 1928 in Tokyo,

Early Years

President Ikeda was born from a poor family involved in the seaweed business. Early in his youth he caught the attention of the second president of the Sokagakkai, Josei Toda, and was taken under his wing. He says that Josei Toda, basically, adopted him. As a youth leader, and also a leading disciple of Josei Toda, he was influential in several campaigns for the growth of the Gakkai. One of these was the famous "Kansai Campaign." Another less lovely affair was his participation in the Ogasawara Affair the year before. He also achieved some fame and notoriority for being arrested on charges as a result of Sokagakkai/Komeito election efforts. The charges were about procedural violations of rules against door to door canvasing, with which the Sokagakkai was technically in violation of due to the exhuberance with which some members had campaigned door to door. It was a major issue because the involvement of religious groups in politics is always a fearful thing to people outside of that religion. Ikeda wasn't convicted of anything, and claims to this very day that the charges were trumped up. Ikeda has always been interested in politics, and the Japanese Organization, while officially distances from it's "stepchild" in the Komeito, is known to be heavily (unofficially) involved with it.

True Disciple 1949-1960

From early on he seems to have regarded himself as Toda's truedisciple and depicted himself as such in his diaries, which he has periodically published throughout his career.  Assuming they were written at the time, we can see that even in the 1951, he ambitiously saw himself as being Toda's successor to be.

Wednesday, December 27 1951. Fine and clear.
I am confident I understand Mr. Toda's great mission better than anyone else. I alone truly inderstand what is in his mind. Blazing with righteous anger, I will fight with all my life.
Role in Ogasawara Affair

And Ikeda was indeed a leading disciple. By April of 1952 he was one of the 47 disciples picked out to try to punish the errant priest Jimon Ogasawara for his role in the arrest and death of Toda's mentor Tsunesuburu Makiguchi.

Later, when talking about what had happened, Ikeda portrayed his masters efforts as fulfilling the role of the Nirvana Sutra's admonition to punish and oust slanderers of the law. As Daniel Montgomery says in his book:

Only a year after Toda's inauguration, however, the societies zeal almost brought it to an ignominious end. In April 1952 Taiseki-ji and other Nichiren Temples throughout the land were celebrating the 700th anniversary of the founders first proclamation of the Daimoku, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. Believers from around the country came to the head temple for special festivities. At Taiseki-ji, four gala days were planned. The first two were to be managed by the sect's official laymen's organization, called Hokkeko, the last two days were for the Sokagakkai. Toda planned a show of force. The Hokkeko was bringing 2,500 members, and he would muster 4000, from his one year old society. He also saw it as an opportunity to avenge his two years of imprisonment during the war: he had learned that the leader of the compromising party, Jimon Ogasawara, was going to be present. There could be no better time for a showdown.

Before leaving for the head temple, he organized his younger members like shock troops. He instructed them to search discreetly for the offending priest, and then be ready for action once thye found him. They were to challenge him to debate his views right then and there. Forty seven leaders of the Youth Division, one of whom was Daisaku Ikeda, worked out a systematic plan ot locate Ogasawara and bring him to justice...."

I'm told that Josei Toda chose the young Daisaku Ikeda to lead 47 youths, in an obvious reference to a famous incident called the "Forty Seven Ronin." These youths saw the erroneous priest Ogasawara as evil in a quite literal way and planned to rebuke him publicly and force him to apologize for his deeds. Unfortunately this confrontation however, took place publicly, with unintended side effects, in the eyes of the press, and was exceedingly embarrassing to the Gakkai. Rather than getting a public confession they simply embarrassed everyone involved in the affair. Daniel says:

"According to Ikeda, Toda reasoned calmly with Ogasawara, demanding an apology, while the old man 'drooled at the mouth' and 'howled like a Rabid dog.' But Murata claims that Toda told him in an interview that he struck the priest 'twice.' In any case, Ogasawara would not be intimidated, and would admit to nothing.

"Seeing that he was getting nowhere, Toda finally strode out, leaving the old priest to the mercies of his tormentors. 'If you so stubbornly refuse to apologize, whatever may happen to you is no longer my concern. Whatever the youth division members may do to you, I will not take the responsibility"

...the young men once more hoisted the priest up on their shoulders. By then they'd torn off his priestly robe and stripped him down to his underclothes. They carried him to the Temple grounds, shouting through megaphones, "This is Jimon Ogasawara, a parasite in the Lion's body, Gnawing at Nichiren Shoshu...This is the villanous monk, the actual murderer of Mr. Makiguchi!" They tagged him with a placard reading 'Racoon Monk' and bore him to the grave of Makiguchi. There the thoroughly shaken old man was forced to sign a prepared apology and repudiation of his theological opinions.

The High Priest of the time Nissho Shonin forced Josei Toda to apologize on behalf of everyone involved. In the end public opinion was somewhat mollified as the truths of Ogasawara's prewar behavior came out and on account of Josei Toda's public apology. However, this incident laid bear the underlying conflict and issues between the "temple" and the Gakkai that was to become the later "split" between the two.

Kansai and Youth Division

This event, which horrified Japanese Society and alienated the Priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu was also the impetus for one of the largest propagation efforts of any religious movements. President Toda made a pledge to atone for this affront to the priesthood by Shakubukuing the entire Japanese Nation. Ikeda, with his extraordinary devotion, effort, and intelligence, seems to have next thrown his life into the effort to make this dream a reality. By all acounts his efforts were fruitful.

As he recounts in the Human Revolution, in it's later chapters. Ikeda led a shakubuku campaign coupled to electioneering, in Kansai, the area that encompasses the old capitol of Japan, Kyoto. This area had deep roots in Nichirenism dating from the Muromachi period, and had seen those efforts torpedoed by persecution and betrayal by the infighting of the priests of the time. A lay Nichiren Group could expect to find support here if it taught the dharma of Nichiren with any kind of ferver and orthodoxy. Because of this, and the organization and faith of those who led this effort the campaign was fantastically successful. It became the model for future efforts. And those efforts didn't peak until they had spread all over Japan and attempted to application outside the country as well.

These efforts were "all out." The gakkai created a "Shakubuku Manual" which focused on the "heresies" of the various Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools of Japan. Shakubuku in the 50's and sixties involved a kind of persistant effort which won converts but also scared the be-jeesies out of those not converted. The emphasis was the "Zadankai" or discussion meeting, where discussions usually entailed personal experiences of the horrors of "incorrect religion" coupled with the sometimes exaggerated benefits of practicing Buddhism. Members would also pay people visits, sometimes to the point where those people felt harrassed. To this day many Japanese see the Gakkai the way American's see Born again Christians like Jim Bakker or the Jehovah's witness. Couple that with the fear of the Komeito political party and you have almost guaranteed misunderstandings and distrust. The idea was that "Kosenrufu" could be "built" with enough effort and persistence, within this lifetime. Toda and Ikeda were serious in their intention to shakubuku the entire nation. And Ikeda led this effort while Toda supported it with lectures on the Lotus Sutra and publications.

Osaka Incident (1957)

It also was tied to an election campaign. The Gakkai felt that Buddhism should influence politics by Buddhists literally participating in Politics, and in its single minded way of thinking that meant sponsering candidates and eventually a political party. Unfortunately being neophytes at this they brought on troubles due to the very enthusiasm with which they attempted this. Various campaign irregularities were committed by functionaries. These led to an investigation, and Ikeda as the man in charge ended up under arrest and under interrogation. Ikeda ended up in Jail over-night and suffering embarrassing questioning by the local police who didn't treat him with the kind of respect he'd later become accustomed to. To this day he maintains he was innocent, and he later used this experience as part of his claim to having suffered "persecution" like his mentor had. Ikeda says about this incident that he was incarcerated, "having been arrested on completely false charges of violating the election laws."

Third President 1960-1978

When President Toda died suddenly, Ikeda was already the prime leader of the Youth Division. He used his claims to being the "only legitimate successor" to Toda to put himself de-facto in charge of the Gakkai. He then accepted the Presidency. His wife wasn't surprised at all because he'd already set it up for them to ask and for him to accept. He writes in his essay, "Third President" that in 1960, several years after the death of his Mentor, Josei Toda he became President. Before he became Third President he had to beat out a few other candidates for the position. He was helped by the fact that his chief YD rival was sicker than he was. That rival later was pushed out, felt betrayed, and wrote a book with the help of a Professor named Hirotatsu Fujiwara called "I denounce the Ikeda Sokagakkai" which came out in 1969 and whose publication was fought in the courts because it was embarrassing.

He doesn't seem believe in the kind of "democracy" that the west practices. His essays are replete with references to Napoleon, to his friends in China, expecially with the wife of the leader Chao En lai, Madame Deng. For him what counted was carrying on the "spirit of his master" and leading his troops. For him Buddhist Democracy was the leadership of the "capable few" organized around the "Kechimyaku of Faith," with everyone supporting that leadership in a spirit of "wagoso." Leaders should listen to members, but there was no call for them to necesarily obey their concerns or consult with them. The organization was on the model of most Japanese organizations and top down, military style. His disciple Mr. Williams would try to apply that model to his organization in the USA, NSA with mixed results. A few holdovers from the day's of Josei Toda, supported him such as President Hojo, but for the most part all potential rivals were edged out and a strong party centered around him was formed. From 1960 to 1979 he was President of Sokagakkai in Japan. He gradually shifted power to himself. All traces of democratic organization were written out of the bylaws of the central organization by 1963. Those who had been potential rivals to him either supported him completely or they were forced out as well.

The Human Revolution

More importantly, the study department of the youth division was encouraged to adulate him as somebody extraordinary. He was teaching two very powerful and revolutionary doctrines. One the notion of "human revolution" was based on the notion that the potential for Buddhahood is present in all living beings, and that therefore we are fundamentally equal. This notion was strongly allied with kindred "original enlightenment" and the teaching that Nichiren was the "original Buddha" (The Buddha is a common mortal") and "Shakyamuni" a provisional one that suffuse Nichiren Shoshu's version of Fuji School Doctrine. And the second one was his own, almost fanatical notions of master/disciple in which his Mentors, Makiguchi, and Toda were more than simple lay leaders, but almost True Buddha's themselves, and that therefore disciples of Buddhism should follow the "guidance" and "direction" of this True Disciple of Nichiren's as the living embodiement of these principles. This second doctrine directly challenged Nichiren Shoshu doctrines. It would be an irreconcilable conflict.

Toda had taught the notion of "human revolution." The idea was that "The change in a single person could bring about change in entire societies." The idea that radical introspection, the adoption of a new way of life, and following the teachings of Nichiren could actually bring about "Kosenrufu" inspired those who heard Ikeda talk about those ideas every bit as much as those same ideas had inspired Ikeda in the first place. For The Gakkai, the goal of Kosenrufu was to be achieved in an almost militaristic fashion. And Ikeda was the youthful and spirited general of this movement.

Growth and Politics

During his tenure The Sokagakkai grew from an organization of around a million members to nearly 10 million members and became an international organization. His charisma, savvy, and self confidence, energized the membership which became involved in politics and also world-wide propagation. He also encouraged the development of chapters of Nichiren Shoshu/Sokagakkai abroad. He deeply encouraged Japanese and other members living abroad who were struggling with their daily issues to apply the principles of Nichiren Buddhism to their lives and to develop indigineous organizations. Some of these disciples created large organizations in their adopted countries. Examples were NSA under the leadership of Mr. Williams and organizations such as Nichiren Shoshu of Britain under the leadership of Richard Causton or Nichiren Shoshu of Ghana under the leadership of Joseph Asomani. There were also people who made similar efforts in Singapore, Mallaysia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia and a host of other places. Some of them would later remain with the Gakkai, some with Nichiren Shoshu.

Publications and writings

President Ikeda is and was a prolific writer. He utilized his large staff to help him in his research endeavers, as well as in editorial and translation works. Some of his work seems scholarly, but other work is starkly and unashamedly polemical. He has written numerous books on a number of topics.

To advance Buddhism, and also his own stature in society he started conducting dialogues with world leaders. Until I read about the Reiyukai and Koseikei, I thought that the notion of "dialogue" was his invention, but it appears that many Asian organizations see their stature in terms of the stature of the man leading them. His dialogues were often wonderful vehicles for learning about Buddhism. Sometimes they were even real dialogues with real differences of opinion which were instructive. His dialogue with Arnold Toynbee was in this class, published as "The Toynbee Ikeda Dialogue" it is still not dated. These dialogues were also the continuation of a practice he had started as an editor for President Toda. Many of them were published as books and translated into English. Indeed his writings often dominated the organizations study materials. These works, extensively translated into English, were invaluable to foreign members who wished to get an understanding of the complex principles of Buddhism. Some of the other Dialogues include "Dialogue on Life", "Choose Life" and most recently "Dialogue on the Lotus Sutra." All of them promote his unique world view either directly or indirectly.

Ikeda also was pursuing more subversive and revolutionary aimes. For instance this essay which purports to be a history of Buddhism: Historical View and yet it advances his unique worldview

Is also a very subtle effort to "deconstruct" the role of the Buddhist Priests in Nichiren Buddhism. This effort would eventually set the intellectual underpinning for what came to be known as the "temple issue" or the "split" with Nichiren Shoshu.

Human Revolution Series

Among the earliest of his productions was a series called the "Human Revolution" which started ostensably as a homage to his teacher "President Toda who had taught the notion of "Human Revolution" as part of the Buddhist idea of inner transformation. Under his pen-name, the Human Revolution was used to cement the bonds of mentor/disciple by advocating it's centrality to Buddhism and by making the Book a continual paeon to this notion of loyalty and mutual growth. The Book was made into a great movie called "The Human Revolution" with Tetsuru Tamba playing Toda. The first book was entirely about Toda and Makiguchi -- and world war II. My own mental image of Toda is that of the actor from that movie. The movie is a classic and worth seeing by anyone who wants to understand Nichiren's Buddhism and the Sokagakkai.

The first books were somewhat of a hagiography of Toda and Makiguchi, the first and second Presidents of the Sokagakkai. They were published in serial form. As the work developed, the author first introduces himself as a young man, and then matures him under the "tutelage" of Toda. All the stories are idealized, the villains are clearly villains, and the heros are always Makiguchi, Toda, "Shinichi Yamamoto" and his leutenants. Ikeda took the story along until he'd reached a point where he was dealing with events far removed from the original.

In later years, he wrote a new work now called the "New Human Revolution" which was both and an idealized version of himself and events under his efforts as one of the characters; "Shinichi-Yamamoto." and an "apology" or effort to explain his organization and its activities. The book, as it has come out in recent years, seems designed sometimes to mirror current events in Japan and the world. All of the books advance the notions of "human revolution" and mentor/disciple as notions integral to Buddhism. Earlier volumes praised the universal nature of the Buddha within, later volumes have increasingly seemed to emphasize the valor of this principle character.

The story has found great currency among Japanese and American Members seeking a hero to guide them out of confused personal lives. Some claim that it is ghost written, but insider loyalists swear Ikeda writes it himself. I think he writes most of it himself because some of the events he recounts could only have been recounted by witnesses, and reflect the view of someone who was there. Though not always the same eye-witness account as others might give. For instance in referring to his visits to North America he portrays the Japanese women he ran into as weak and fearful. I heard their experiences, they were fearful, and his encouragement did help them to stay and prevail. But they were everybit as responsible for subsequent events as he was.

Ikeda does write most of his efforts with the help of a huge editorial staff. Indeed all of the Gosho we have in the "Major Writings" volumes were translated as a byproduct of translating one of his study lectures. Although conspicuously missing is the Gosho "On Talking with Other Sects" which he lectured on in the 70's and for some reason I've never been able to find a copy of. He used it to discuss the merits of High Priest Nichijun Horigome, and cited its famous passages about "becoming a bat" as the kinds of admonitions that priests should use on themselves.

Sho Hondo

The high point of Sokagakkai, was when Ikeda and Nittatsu Shonin jointly completed the construction of the Sho Hondo to house the Dai-Gohonzon in October 1972, and opened that building in October 1973. For them this was supposed to be an omen that Kosenrufu was nearly at hand.

Beginnings of Trouble with Nichiren Shoshu

In the late 1970's, the rather conservative Priesthood, lead by Nittatsu Shonin, heard the fact that President Ikeda was being called a Buddha and other things that the Gakkai was teaching as Buddhism and went ballistic. Many of the priests wanted to excommunicate the Gakkai or at the very least get them to apologize for all the anti-clerical things they were saying. The Gakkai denied it was against Nichiren Shoshu, but you can see a clear stream of rising independent spirit even in ostensibly innocent study materials like Ikeda's "Historical View" lecture.

Later the Gakkai would claim that the priests were prodded by internal turncoats like "Yamazaki", and this may be partially true, apparantly Yamazaki was one of Ikedas direct disciples and was playing both the Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu for his own reasons. The Gakkai would deny all the charges, but this would only make things worse for them when the priests would get their hands on proof that their allegations were true. Nittatsu Shonin was a kind man with genuine faith in the Buddha-Dharma of Nichirens, but he was no fool. He gave a speech in which he demonstrated that he knew that the Gakkai was lying. He cited one of their own study materials "Hi no kuni" (Land of Fire). There was no choice at this point. Either the Gakkai apologized, and Ikeda resigned, or the Gakkai was going to be excommunicated. This would have caused many members to stay with Nichiren Shoshu, as up until this point the Gakkai had been "more Catholic than the Pope." Ikeda felt he needed time, that he wouldn't be backed in a fight, and the other leaders seemed to have felt that it was time for Ikeda to go. Ikeda recounts in his "Stormy April Speech" that one of them said

"You can’t go against the flow of the times."

The priests proded him to resign, first from his position as "Sokoto" of the Hokkeko and then to retire as President of the Sokagakkai and give up his position to Fourth President Hiroshi Hojo who himself was a remarkable person.

Uchi Iri

This appeared to resolve the issues between the Priesthood and the Sokagakkai, but actually it just put off the final showdown. Nittatsu had been both strict and kind to him, he left him titles such as "honorary President" and praised him for his efforts even as he rebuked him. Outside observers thought all the more highly of Ikeda for taking responsibility for what had happened to him and for his contributions to those affairs. However he didn't see it that way:

Ikeda writes about his experience in his "Stormy April Essay".

This far, far too bitter day
I will never forget
The dusk presses in
I walk alone

As his mentor Toda had had him do with the priest Ogasasawara, Ikeda was launched on a path of "vindication", or using Japanese cultural understanding; "Uchi Iri"/Revenge in conscious immitation of classic examples such as Go-Daigo's campaign against the Hojo's or the Forty Seven Ronin. He was helped in this effort by subsequent events.

Resignation and Return

After he resigned resignation and became "Honorary Chairman" of the Sokagakkai. his deputies tell us that for several years he was restricted from travelling and forced to keep a low profile. However, I don't remember him disapearing too long. He resigned at the beginning of 1979. He was succeeded initially by Fourth President Hiroshi Hojo. In June 1979 the Seikyo Times reported Ikeda's resignation and Hojo's acceptance speech (unusually fast for those publications).

However, what had happened was that almost as soon as Ikeda resigned, Nittatsu fell ill with a terminal disease. By the the fall of that year he was dead. Nittatsu had told the priests to cool down and to accept Ikeda's resignation and apology, but many of them knew full well the ideological and institutional threat that Ikeda's ideas represented coupled with the huge and devoted throng that continued to follow him. They wanted stronger measures. But the new High Priest, was in no shape to engage in such measures. Instead of continuing the "battle" Nikken ordered them to accept his accension to the position of high priest. They didn't believe his accension was legitimate. Nikken now needed the Gakkai. Frankly Nikken needed his help and seems to have cut a deal with him to let him off the hook for his earlier "deviations."

Nikken started by making Ikeda, Hojo, and the others apologize again. In June 1980 the Seikyo Times reported to us Nikken's response to Ikeda's apology statement along with various affirmations of the Gakkai's undying loyalty to Nichiren Shoshu and its priests.

Nikken Shonin had many enemies and few friends and his claim to being the next High Priest was based on having visited Nittatsu's deathbed in 1979.  Nikken had about 200 priests who disputed this claim or at least questioned it. These priests formed the "Shoshinkai" group and by 1980 Nikken was forced to "defrock them" or "excommunicate them. This included the New York Priest, reverend Tono. Thus by 1983 many of the priests who had most adamantly (and principally) opposed the Gakkai had resigned. Some two hundred had walked. More had walked in opposition to the Gakkai staying, than would walk later in 1992 when the Gakkai finally did leave. Nikken lacking unity seems to have been afraid to challenge Ikeda. For the next 11 years everyone not in the know would have assumed they were best buddies. I saw Nikken at a rally early in this time (around 1980). When the lights went on Ikeda the stadium when wild. When they went on Nikken there was polite clapping and he clearly looked unhappy. Ikeda was well on his way to winning his campaign.

When Hojo died in 1981, the current President of the Sokagakkai, President Akiya succeeded him. Hojo was, relatively speaking, an independent character. He was technically Ikeda's senior, but he was wise enough to know the value of a charismatic and intelligent leader. President Akiya is obviously President Ikeda's loyal follower. By 1980 all that had already ended.

But I've been doing some fact checking and there are some inaccuracies there. If Ikeda suffered any, it ended when Nikken needed his support and then Hojo died.

His apology had showed a rare humility, and the members responded with even more love than before his resignation.

Retention of Role at home and Abroad. SGI international.

When Ikeda resigned in 1979 some observers thought that he would join the (Madigiwa Zoku) "window Watching clan" and be put out to pasture. But that was not to be. For one thing he retained his title as "honorary President", for another he retained control over the overseas organization. This organization had been founded in 1975 as the International Buddhist League (I'm still looking for my original sources for this) with the help of Masayasu Sadanaga/George M. Williams and other leaders of the allied groups. By 1980 this group had been renamed the Sokagakkai International. The January 1981 issue of the UK express refers to the first general meeting as having been held in LA on the 17th of October 1980.

When Ikeda resigned in Japan, he was left in charge of this international organization. As leader of the "Sokagakkai International" and "honorary President" he retained direct influence and actually ended up with even more power than before. By the mid eighties the "Soka Gakkai International" was in full flower with him in control and had an actual Charter. Unfortunately disputes between NST and SGI continued behind the scenes. Ikeda and his disciple George M. Williams, talked a lot about authoritarianism and democracy in the intervening years. They were preparing a rebellion, though none of us realized what that meant.

The split with Nichiren Shoshu 1991--

In the 70's, the priests had used a number of "doctrinal deviations to get President Ikeda to resign his position. By 1989, President Ikeda was back in charge completely, and once again touring the world and encouraging members world wide. In 1990 President Ikeda gave a number of encouraging guidances known as the "mirror guidances" for the improvement of the American organization. Apparantly he had thought long and hard before giving them, and what he meant with his words--or at least how his Japanese and indoctrinated American disciples understood them, and what many of us understood proved to be two separate things. We had hope he was talking about genuine "bottom up" and American style democracy. This would prove harder to attain than it appeared.

The 35th Anniversary speech

At the end of 1990, President Ikeda gave a speech which appeared critical of the Priests. The priests published their complaints and that was the first that most of us heard the language he was alleged to have used. We later found out that he doesn't always use flowery language, and the transcript which appeared in Gakkai publications was nothing like what was actually said. Though the Gakkai, to this day, claims that President Ikeda was criticizing the Shoshinkai Priests and hadn't criticized the High Priest Nikken, it was obvious that he was referring to him, nobody was fooled, and this was the "provocation" that apparantly some of the priests had been expecting. When Ikeda made comments about Nikken's speaches being "like German" (in technical language) and other remarks anyone knowing Japanese Character would know he had no choice but to go ballistic. The priests reacted by excommunicating him from Nichiren Shoshu and then threatening to expulse those who stayed with him.

Most of us followed him, and were excommunicated as well. Initially we heard all the correspondences between Nikken's deputy fujimoto.html and the current President Akiya, but it was obvious who the real combattants were. Later as more and more letters and speeches were translated it was obvious just how passionate both parties were, and that both of the top men were behind all the bitter language, charges and countercharges.

This was an extraordinary matter. NST was excommunicating almost 9 out of 10 members. One of the people I know is married to a bilingual former leader who attended that meaning. He says she was "gob-smacked" at what he said at the time about the High Priest. That is the closest I've been able to get to an objective account of what occured. I suspect he really said these things. It was admirably unJapanese, but also brutally frank and rude even by non-Japanese standards, considering this was the guy the Gakkai was constantly publicly praising and telling people to follow.

Rebellion 1991--

This rebellion against the authority of the priests of Nichiren Shoshu is still going on.

As a result of the split we were reintroduced to the notions that he had apologized for in the 1979's. The importance of his mentors as teachers (and by implication himself), the uniqueness of the Sokagakkai, and other interpretations of the ancient teachings of Nichiren Buddhism that are uniquely those of Sokagakkai. Also the priests went from being a basically decent bunch whom we were supposed to support in their efforts for Kosenrufu to being a corrupt and evil gang of "slanderers of the Dharma. We were told that we should unite together in a spirit of "true Democracy" around our leaders. This pattern has continued to this day. It became a very personal battle.

Interestingly, some of the fear that Ikeda is subject to is based on fact. For instance in 1994 when the crazy Aum Shinryo people were making their attacks one of their first targets with "Sarin" was Daisaku Ikeda:

The first attempt to employ sarin was undertaken at the direction of the cult's leader, who wanted Daisaku Ikeda, leader of the Soka Gakkai Buddhists, killed. The attempts were made in March, 1994, but the spray apparatus failed (either spraying backwards or catching fire - published accounts are contradictory; in some accounts, it is stated that Tomomitsu Niimi, Aum's chief of security was exposed to the agent but survived due to rapid administration of atropine).
Ikeda as Mentor

People were impressed with his ideas and apparant wisdom, so much so, that even in the early sixties some were teaching that the President was a "Buddha." There is no doubt that his loyalty towards his mentor has been unflagging. His efforts to build Soka University, to end the use of Nuclear Weapons, even some elements of the so called "Temple Issue", in my opinion (and that of those I asked), this has largely been an attempt to reply to the desires of his mentor Josei Toda, and his mentors master Tsunesuburu Makiguchi, who were heavily involved in education. Toda had given a very famous speech on Nuclear Weapons. Ikeda feels fiercely and personally loyal to them.

Komei Party

His promotion of the Komei party and it's obvious identification with the Gakkai, led to people being suspicious of his motives and to political concerns influencing his behavior. In one of his stories in the "New Human Revolution" "Shinichi Yamamoto" turns down a visit with President Ikeda because a Politician had proposed it with a "quid pro quo." That the one thing should have been related to the other shows the influence of political thinking on a Buddhist Teacher. The Komei Party involvement has led to the Gakkai having influence on Japanese Society out of proportion to it's numbers, but has also made it vulnerable to Tabloid attacks and charges of corruption and malfeasance. It has led to the creation of various "evil persons" at least in the press.  Most recently he has said that he regretted three things, and of course the third one was trying to dialogue with a Japanese Politician. Curiously the other two are not learning English, which would seem to be a criticism of his Mentor Toda, since he claims that Toda told him not to study languages as they might "prejudice him", and the other one was in having lousy translators. All kind of ungrateful kinds of complaints.

Tapping the Darkside -- Recent

Unfortunately the "true disciple" rhetoric and the effort to make him the only one that people should respect or follow has gone on, with the result that long time members feel somewhat left out, as ideologically we are close to the Gakkai, and Nichiren Shoshu gives no legitimate alternative for our hearts, and yet we miss Nichiren shoshu as well. He continues to hold dialogues, to cast his opponants as evil people, and we find ourselves holding to Nichiren Shoshu Dogmas without the credibility of the Nichiren Shoshu lineage. Its a slow process of change because the men at the top all think that that is how an organization should be run, with top down hierarchy, a follow the leader mentality, and respect going far beyond adolation of the central figure.

Recently he has reminded me a bit of King Lear. He still talks about dialogue, and world peace, and makes wonderful proposals for achieving it. But then the most remarkable things can come out of his mouth. He is still preoccupied with Nichiren Shoshu as much as Nichiren Shoshu is preoccupied with him (despite all the murmurs to the contrary.) Nichiren Shoshu sometimes pretends to be unconcerned with him, but then they promote their "100 questions and answers regarding the counterfeit Gakkai object of Worship" or devote essays and sermons to how evil the Gakkai or Ikeda is. Sometimes those essays get transmitted and disseminated as further evidence of how "evil" the "Nikken Sect" is. Revenge is still a part of his agenda. Its a shame. And NST seems as obsessed with him. NST destroyed the Sho Hondo and replaced it with the Hoanden. And NST has done its best to erase all memory of the Sokagakkai or President Ikeda. They (NST) feel he has "hijacked Buddhism."

On the other hand, the Gakkai lately sometimes seems to be promoting the mentor/disciple relationship as if it were equally infallible as the "specific heritage" or perhaps a replacement? claimed by Nichiren Shoshu. We also have been spending inordinate amounts of time chanting to end the presence of Nikken is the King Devil of the sixth heaven and a manifestation of the "Sensho Zojoman". Nichiren Shoshu deserves "refutation" but not this level of animosity. The continuing fight has not been waged on a proper level of "refuting incorrect teachings" but instead has been very personal. In Japan the tabloids have taken on the issues with a kind of glee.

Recently he said (On November 23 during a day when he gave a speech to both Mongolian envoys and to a youth group):

Friday, November 22, 2002 SGI Newsletter No. 5355
SGI President Ikeda's Speech
22nd Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting
The Purpose of Faith Is to Win in Life
The Daishonin strictly warns that unless we struggle valiantly against the three powerful enemies, we are not genuine practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, and our faith is a sham.
In modern times, it is first Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, second president Josei Toda, and I, the third president and their most direct disciple, who have undergone great persecution at the hands of the authorities. Under that three-generation leadership, the Soka Gakkai has grown into the world's foremost organization dedicated to kosen-rufu.
President Makiguchi, President Toda, and I-all three of us were imprisoned for our efforts to propagate the Daishonin's Buddhism. We were baselessly slandered, attacked, and persecuted. We struggled wholeheartedly against the three powerful enemies and carried out the Daishonin's teachings without the slightest deviation, never for a moment begrudging our lives. This is the Soka Gakkai's eternal starting point and glory.
The first three Soka Gakkai presidents will remain forever the heart of our movement to spread true Nichiren Buddhism, forever the pillars of kosen-rufu. I hope you will never forget this. I have taken the liberty of stating this clearly today for the sake of the future and so that you will never stray from the correct path.

Well, what can one say? A Japanese leader, fresh from Japan, started telling me a tale about how this "eternal presidents" thing is to prevent anyone else from taking the role that President Ikeda has taken, sort of trying to close the barn door after the fire. According to him there are hundreds of Vice Presidents all of whom would like to take the role of a "true Successor" in the way that Ikeda had done. The idea is to prevent a Succession battle after his death. Recently I've been reading that he's been sick (June 2003), that makes these issues all the more relevent. Perhaps all these efforts to push "soka spirit" and undying efforts to resist Nichiren Shoshu are aimed at purifying the organization and preventing it from reconciling with them after his death. I don't know.

In July, 2003, the Gakkai leadership was praying that Nikken wouldn't visit New York City. Nikken did so anyway. After he left they claimed that they chanted that he wouldn't do much damage. The "uchi-iri" campaign continues. Most American members don't understand this campaign. I understand it a little, but since it makes no sense I see no reason to support it.


Even so, he was constantly talks about coming to the USA and leading Kosenrufu here. He has two surviving sons who are active in the organization. there are rumors that one of them will succeed him when he dies. This makes even less sense than the "Temple Issue"

Insularity and Universality

He arouses strong feelings in people. People seem to either love him or hate him with passion. My own feelings towards him are still very much filled with appreciation. It is hard for them to see him as simply a human being with both strengths and weaknesses. I admire him for the work he has done with the Sokagakkai and for the beauty of his ideas. Sometimes I'm sad that he hasn't completely transcended his Japanese roots or been able to avoid the sort of hero worship that infuses our organization. According to his writing in the original "Human Revolution" Toda had told him not to study a foreign language as that might "prejudice him" towards one or more foreign cultures. What Toda didn't understand himself was just how strongly Japanese are already influenced by their insular and somewhat xenophobic culture. Toda recognized that Japan had problems, but he was focused on Nichiren Shoshu as a solution to the worlds ills. He viewed things in terms of the traditional view of Japanese, which is one that balances a need for "wa" with the precepts of confucianism, which value hierarchy, authority, and precepts about relationships. At any rate, in a recent speech Ikeda has said he regrets three things. The first was not learning a foreign language, the second was a poor choice in translators, and the third was talking to one particular politician. I guess he sees my point.

Recently a scholar has been lecturing on "Ocean" People and Village people, but even that scholar doesn't seem to understand that even "educated" Island people are still insular in their perceptions. Some of the disputes that have origined within SGI could have been prevented if it weren't for these cultural issues.

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

3.2. Religiöses Leben eines japanischen Mitglied der Soka Gakkai  um 1969

"The Life of a Member

A potential Soka Gakkai convert is usually taken to a discussion meeting by the member attempting to shakubulcu him. At the meeting he listens to the testimony given by members, has his own doubts and questions resolved, and probably decides to join the association. The member who brought him is his "introducer," and becomes the convert's immediate superior in their kumi (unit).

Before he can be admitted to Nichiren Shoshu, a new convert must remove all the images, tablets, and mandalas in his own family Shinto or Buddhist altars. This procedure is called hobobarai, "removal of evil religion."

After hobobarai, his introducer takes the convert to a nearby Nichiren Shoshu temple where the priest performs the conversion rites and he receives a gohonzon. The convert pays Y500 as offertory to the temple. When he hangs the gohonzon in his family altar, he must hold a shikimi (anise) twig between his lips so that his breath will not desecrate the sacred object. Nichiren Shoshu tradition does not permit flowers to be offered to the gohonzon. The reason given is that flowers wither and their colors fade. The only plant that may be placed before it is the shikimi, the evergreen tree used in Buddhist services in Japan. From day to day, the worshiper may offer the gohonzon incense sticks, candles, water, and bowls of rice. These are common items, but according to Soka Gakkai anything may be offered as long as it reflects the spirit of offering something to Nichiren.

Soka Gakkai members' chief religious practice is gongyo: the recitation of the title of the Lotus Sutra and passages from it in the morning and in the evening.

The morning gongyo consists of five prayers. In the first prayer, the votary sits on the floor in front of the gohonzon and recites "Nam-myoho Renge-kyo" three times. Then he turns to the east and reads aloud a passage from the second chapter (Hobembon) of the Lotus Sutra and from the sixteenth chapter (Juryobon). This is followed by three hiki-daimoku (drawn-out recitations of "Nam-myoho Renge-kyo") in which one pronounces the sacred phrase by giving double value to the length of each syllable: "Na-a-mu-u-myo-o-ho-o Re-en-ge-e-kyo-o." Then comes a silent reading of a prayer.

In the second prayer, the votary turns to face the gohonzon again, sounds a table bell once, and reads the Hobembon passage. The reading of the Juryobon passage is preceded by another sounding of the bell. This time he must read the entire Juryobon chapter of the sutra. Then he recites hikidaimoku three times, sounds a bell once, and reads the second prayer. Then he chants the daimoku three times. The third, fourth, and fifth prayers are different in contents.

Evening gongyo consists of the second, third, and fifth prayers of morning gongyo, conducted exactly the same as in the morning. Obviously, under many circumstances, a Soka Gakkai member would find it difficult to conduct the prescribed morning and evening services. A factory worker living in a dormitory or a patient in a hospital ward are just two examples. Even at home, a member whose family objected to his joining Soka Gakkai would find it difficult to fulfill his religious duties. In such cases, Soka Gakkai tells its members that "it is not necessary to recite the daimoku loudly or to burn incense sticks or candles.... When you conduct gongyo despite objections, you may find yourself being kicked out of a dormitory, or discharged by your employer, or other members of your family might touch the gohonzon." Such developments could break a member's faith, and he might eventually renounce it. If people complain about a member's loud daimoku recitation, then the member should recite softly, Soka Gakkai advises. "What is important, above all, is not to let such circumstances be the cause of your losing your gohonzon (meaning ceasing to be a member of the association). If you are resolved never to part with your gohonzon, come what may, a way will open itself in front of you, even though you might suffer temporarily."

Another key requirement for a member is to conduct shakubuku, just as he himself was shakubuku-ed.

Equally important is a pilgrimage to the head temple, Taiseki-ji. The temple is a twenty-minute bus ride from Fujinomiya station on the Minobu line of the Japanese National Railways. Groups of pilgrims come to Taiseki-ji at the rate of fifteen thousand persons a day. All together, up to 3,500,000 devotees visit the temple every year. Those from distant parts of the country stay overnight in the dormitories of the temple. Short-distance visitors have a choice between a day trip and an overnight trip.

Most pilgrims come to Fujinomiya on trains chartered from the Japanese National Railways. Highly efficient teams of members from the Pilgrimage Department conduct the pilgrims from Fujinomiya to the temple. For this group travel on such an unprecedented scale, the government railways built special waiting rooms at key junctions and recently rebuilt tracks at Fuji station on the trunk Tokaido line so that the pilgrims' trains could be switched from the main line to the branch line instead of requiring the passengers to change trains.

In September 1965, for the first time, Soka Gakkai chartered a ship to transport pilgrims from Kochi, in Shikoku, to Taganoura, in Shizuoka Prefecture, the nearest port to Taiseki-ji. During the two years and four months after this, the ship, the Fuji, carrying up to 1,300 passengers and traveling at 20.4 knots, made 140 trips between Shikoku and Shizuoka, transporting more than 160,000 pilgrims. Later, the Fuji's service was extended to Kagoshima, Miyazaki, and Okinawa. More recently, another ship was added to the same service.

The primary object of the pilgrimage is to worship the Daigohonzon now kept in the sanctuary, a privilege exclusive to members of the sect. However, the visit to Taiseki-ji also stimulates each member's sense of belonging and commitment to a movement that is historical, large, and stable. An impressive gate opens onto the long walk through the temple grounds, flanked by rows of temple buildings and towering cedar trees, centuries old. The pilgrim's exhilaration is complete when he enters the Grand Reception Hall, a colossal piece of masonry combining both ancient tradition and modern styling."

[Quelle: Murata, Kiyoaki <1922 - >: Japan's new Buddhism; an objective account of Soka Gakkai  / by Kiyoaki Murata. Foreword by Daisaku Ikeda.
 -- New York, Walker/Weatherhill, 1969. -- xii, 194 S.  : Ill ; 24 cm.  -- S. 147 - 158]

3.3. Geistliche und Laien: vom Konflikt zum Schisma

Karel Dobelaere fasst den Konflikt zwischen den Geistlichen von Nichiren Shoshu und den Laien von Soka Gakkai prägnant zusammen:


Conflict between members and clergy is not unique to Nichiren Buddhism. The tendency has occurred to a greater or lesser degree at all times and in all religions. The history of Protestantism is an example, as are the present tensions between Catholic authorities and diverse grass-roots activists. In general such tension may be characterized as follows. On one side the clergy claim to be the sole interpreters of sacred texts and define themselves as guardians of the scriptures, sacred objects, and places. They base their claims, among other things, on their professional training and consecrated character of the mission they undertake. On the other side lay people—or at least some—seek to reduce the barriers between the sacred and the profane. Bryan Wilson explains these tensions between the Gakkai membership and the clergy:

This then was the mood of the increasingly successful Gakkai movement, in which bold claims were made for a new dynamic approach to spirituality, challenging the staid and settled style of the clergy of Nichiren Shoshu, and setting forth a programme in which modernity was set over against antiquity, faith against ritual, and rational methods and procedures against traditional custom. It went too far and too fast for the clergy who ... could not but feel threatened by this bold claim to have created a new "third order" of votaries who regarded their own status as equal to that of the religious professionals. Were they to go further and assume the functions of ritual performances, the priesthood might find themselves deprived of both special status and livelihood (Wilson and Dobbelaere 1994, 235).

It was this endemic competition for the control of the faith, believers, and donations that forced Ikeda to resign in spite of the pacifying gestures and retractions by SG.

In fact, the two parties had different objectives from the start. The ultimate goal of SG was, and is, to help ordinary lay people live in society while giving them a sense of conviction and the strength to persevere. The monks, on the contrary, were hoping that an increase in the number of SG members would allow them to become the largest Buddhist sect in Japan with the largest number of temples and monks. They insisted on a hierarchical structure with a high priest at the top and, at the bottom, the priests of local temples presiding over congregations of lay people. During its development the SG organization rapidly became distinct from the Nichiren Shoshu sect. It organized meetings at different levels and insisted that members attend at least the monthly discussion meetings to study Buddhist doctrine and to attend bi-monthly conferences on the Gosho. To stimulate the study of doctrine, it organized examinations. Its study department helped members deepen their faith and apply Buddhist principles to daily life, which, according to SG, was the only way to give the principles validity. The result was that the Gakkaiin (SG adherents) became members of local temples in name only; monks no longer were able to control doctrinal development of SG, their task being limited to Gojukai and, in Japan, funeral rituals.

A new wave of conflict took place in December 1990 that can only be understood against this backdrop. Indeed several accusations seemed trivial. For example, Ikeda was repreached for promoting non-Buddhist teachings by having allowed members to sing the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's 9th Symphony with its allusions to God. He was criticized after a Soka Gakkai scholarly journal ran a picture of the gowns of the English "Order of the Garter" decorated with a cross: the monks stigmatized this as a reference to Christianity.

Other accusations were more fundamental. For example, the president was criticized for having abandoned shakubuku as a method of proselytism in favor of the shoju method. This was later retracted, but only after the monks changed the rules of representation of the laity in the Nichiren Shoshu council to the detriment of SG. Ikeda once more lost his title of sokoto and the other leaders of SG lost their title as daikoto, lay representatives on the council. In this war of communiques, retractions, and allegations, the leaders of SG claimed that in 1990 the monks had tried to raise the fee to be paid for admission to see the Dai-gohonzon during pilgrimages to the central temple complex, Taisekiji, and thai they had unilaterally doubled the sum to be paid for the commemorative tablets, toba, presented when a death occurs in the family. Following this, as early as July 1990, SG leaders insisted that the monks limit their financial assessments. President Akiya pointed out that the excuses and concessions made by SG during the conflict of 1977-79 and the resignation of Ikeda from the presidency of SG were motivated solely by a desire to maintain the unity of the movement in order to avoid a split with the clergy. In other words, the lime of concessions and of apologies on the part of SG was past. (For a more detailed description of this conflict, see Wilson and Dobbelaere 1994, 239-45.)

[Wilson, Bryan R. ; Dobbelaere, Karel: A time to chant : the Soka Gakkai Buddhists in Britain. --  Oxford [England] : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1994.  -- xi, 267 S. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN: 0198279159]

In the midst of these problems, the double structure of the movement ceased to function. In reality it had never been fully successful, except perhaps at the beginning when the SG membership was extremely small. SG seems to have reached the conclusion that the link with traditional monks was less critical than they had thought, especially as the movement expanded. For example, in the UK Express it was emphasized that contrary to other religions where clergy played an indispensable intermediary role, in Nichiren Buddhism followers did not need such mediations in order for their "Buddha nature" to be realized (Wilson and Dobbelaere 1994, 238). Furthermore, in African, American, and European countries the role of monks was limited to performing the rite-of-passage ceremony, the Gojukai. Consequently, as these problems were identified as being structural in nature, SG leaders ceased to feel guilty about the conflicts. Nevertheless members, including some outside Japan, still felt a deep but abstract respect for the Shoshu clergy—monks who had kept the faith and practice for centuries, thus making it possible in 1930 to create SG—a fact which the high priests never failed to underline. The situation was therefore delicate for the SG leadership until in November 1991 the monks undertook a wholesale excommunication of SG members, meaning that there would be no more Gojukai, and from then on the high priest would not give authentic copies of the Gohonzon to new members. Gakkaiin were, moreover, excluded from pilgrimages to the main temple, this privilege being from then on reserved for Nichiren Shoshu members (the Hokkedo) of local temples. How did SG react to these developments?

It must be stressed that not all monks approved of the mass excommunication of SG, a fact that was to be useful to SG leaders. But a grave problem surfaced: new members could no longer receive the Gohonzon, the central object of worship in Nichiren Buddhism. Certainly, new members begin their practice in front of a white wall since, according to Nichiren, the Gohonzon truly exists only inside an individual and can be found only through faith (Reaffirming 1996, 11). However, this sacred scroll serves as a means to facilitate the individual's realization of Buddhahood, and it is the mirror through which one examines his or her life. In the Gojukai rite of passage, new members receive their own copy of the Gohonzon from a monk and make a commitment to abandon other religions and other objects of worship. Over the years an attempt was made to replace this ceremony with presentation of a certificate of adhesion, but this very rational procedure was not an adequate substitute for a sacred ritual. It was thus essential to find a solution.

On 7 September 1993, close to two years after the excommunication of Soka Gakkai, it was announced that SG had accepted a proposal from Sendo Narita, the Nichiren chief priest of Joenji temple in Tochigi prefecture, to facilitate distribution of the Gohonzon to new members and to those who had not received it during the preceding years. The version of the Gohonzon in question was copied from a scroll transcribed in 1720 by Nichikan, the twenty-sixth high priest of Taisekiji, based on the original Daigohonzon present in Taisekiji. According to the publication of SGI-USA, the decision of SG to distribute a new Gohonzon was inspired by "the intention and the desire of Nichiren to put it at the disposal of all those who seek sincerely to practice the teachings and to give them the possibility to reach indestructible happiness through their faith and practice" (Reaffirming 1996, 7). In addition, previously initiated members were given the opportunity to exchange their Gohonzon transcribed by the present high priest of Nichiren Shoshu, Nikken, for a copy derived from High Priest Nichikan's transcription.

Learning this, the Nichiren Shoshu monks asserted that the new Gohonzons were forgeries because, among other things, they had not been authorized by High Priest Nikken, nor had they been distributed by the main temple. This was refuted by SG, based on historical and doctrinal points, the central one being that the high priest lacked the authority to command the power of the Gohonzon, that this power lies within individuals themselves and can be captured only by faith and practice. While reaffirming the excommunication, the Nichiren Shoshu monks demanded that the Gakkaiin become their subordinates (Reaffirming 1996, 7-57). Taking note of the breakdown of its relationships with the monks, and based on the fact that since 1952 SG has been legally registered as a religion in Japan, and also taking into account laws ruling the constitution of SGI in each country, SG finally named its own priestly exarches and ministers. In France, where it is established as a religious association, SG named two exarches who have "episcopal" jurisdiction, assisted by six ministers. Exarches are named by SGI officials in Japan, whereas ministers are named by exarches. The nomination depends on the level reached in the study of Nichiren Buddhism, on responsibilities previously assumed in the organization, and on at least twenty years of practice. In the U.S.A., conversely, ministers are respected leaders designated by the local organization. This difference in procedure may be explained by the models of the dominant religious culture: appointment of ministers and vicars by the Catholic hierarchy versus the selection of ministers by proteslant congregations. The assumption of independent ecclesiastical authority resulted in the restoration of all religious services. However, members are still denied the opportunity of undertaking pilgrimages to Taisekiji, even though the Great Temple was built thanks to their donations. More recently the rupture between SG and the Shoshu priesthood was consummated when High Priest Nikken ordered the destruction of the Great Reception Hall (1995) and then the Great Main Temple (1998), both constructed under President Ikeda."

Abb.: Abriss der Great Reception Hall, Taisekiji (大石寺), Fujinomiya, Japan 1996
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20]

Abb.: Der Great Main Temple Taisekiji (大石寺), Fujinomiya, Japan, vor und während des Abrisses 1998
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20]

[Quelle: Dobbelaere, Karel: Soka Gakkai : from lay movement to religion. -- [Salt Lake City] : Signature Books in cooperation with CESNUR, [2001?]. -- vi, 86 S. : Ill. ; 19 cm.  -- ISBN 1560851538. -- Originaltitel:  La Soka Gakkai : un movimento di laici diventa una religione (1998). -- S. 10 - 15. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei bestellen}]

3.4. Predigt des Obergeistlichen von Nichiren Shoshu gegen Soka Gakkai

Abb.: Nikken Shonin
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20]

"Nikken Shonin [geb. 1922]: The Start of True Kosen-Rufu

The Second Overseas Believers’ General Meeting, Kofu-bo Hall, Head Temple Taisekiji, August 23, 1998

Following the First Overseas Believers’ General Tozan, which was held four years ago, it is my greatest joy to have the Second Overseas Believers General Tozan taking place this year in this splendid manner. Congratulations.

All of you are taking the lead to propagate the Great Law in order to save the people of the world. Today there are representatives from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Federated Republic of Brazil, Canada, Republic of Chile, Republic of Colombia, Dominican Republic, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Hong Kong, India, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Italy, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Kingdom of Nepal, Kingdom of Norway, Republic of Panama, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Kingdom of Sweden, Switzerland, the Republic of China, Kingdom of Thailand, Republic of Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Uruguay.

I firmly believe that gathering here at the Head Temple and revealing the actual practice and actual proof of propagation, which is the Buddha’s true undertaking for the bright future, with the firm determination of protecting the True Law and also taking the pledge for advancement is more admirable than any other possible activity. The Three Treasures of Buddhism must be watching over this great gathering and deeply praising the faith of each one of you. I truly admire your efforts to travel long distances from all over the world.

Now, the world today is full of people who are suffering in a vortex of various conflicts and confrontations. These sufferings are inversely proportional to the development of material civilization. This phenomena clearly shows no matter how the material civilization progresses, the peoples’ sufferings cannot be resolved.
  This had already been taught in the Lotus Sutra and by the True Buddha, who knew the three existences of past, present and future. That is:

There is no safety in the threefold world; it is like a burning house, abundant with a multitude of sufferings, truly to be feared.
(“Simile and Parable,” The Lotus Sutra, translated by Burton Watson, p. 69)
These are golden words that are consistent throughout the three existences.

The “multitude of sufferings” is characterized by the suffering of making a living, the suffering of sickness, the suffering of having to part from those whom one loves, the complex suffering of various human relations, the suffering of a purposeless life, the suffering of anxiety and despair and various other sufferings. These are all caused by being ignorant about life. A correct religion teaches the ten factors of life properly as well as guides us along the path to true happiness. This true religion is Buddhism, specifically the Buddhism revealed by Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha of Kuon ganjo who appeared in Mappo.

However, because True Buddhism is the religion in the world that is the most profound and mystical, evil will arise from both inside and outside to obstruct this Great Law.

Rather than evils arising from outside, many who had supported and protected the Great Law from inside gradually strayed towards non-Buddhist teachings. This was the act of the Devil of the Sixth Heaven. It was the Soka Gakkai led by Daisaku Ikeda.

The mistakes made by the Soka Gakkai on Buddhism and The Start of True Kosen-Rufu worldly life are countless but the biggest mistake it has made on the Three Great Secret Laws of Nichiren Daishonin was distorting the doctrines concerning the High Sanctuary. These are most critical for achieving Kosen-rufu. This is the gravest slander.

This slander originates from looking down on the true and far-reaching meaning of the Daishonin’s Buddhism with conceit and pretentiousness due to the distorted faith of Daisaku Ikeda as well as the Soka Gakkai organization. Because of this crucial mistake, the benefits they gained from protecting the True Law and their judgment of right and wrong have reversed. They started to focus solely on their own gain and victory, and shamelessly took immoral steps; lying, pressuring and persecuting. The nature of the Soka Gakkai has horrifyingly degraded True Buddhism. In particular, it has reached the point where it despises and makes various criticisms against the Three Treasures of Nichiren Shoshu, which are the core of faith. Because of this, many Gakkai members suffer every kind of retribution.

Particularly striking was the actual proof of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which occurred immediately after the gravest slander of deceiving the Gakkai members in Hyogo region into receiving the counterfeit objects of worship. Such calamity is the causal relationship that necessitated the reconstruction of the former Great Reception Hall, which had been the boastful donation of Daisaku Ikeda.

Furthermore, this reconstruction gave all the Hokkeko members the opportunity of accumulating benefits by giving sincere offerings for reconstructing the ideal anti-seismic, fire-resistant, durable and graceful new Reception Hall. Also we successfully carried out the splendid ten-day Tozan of 100,000 Hokkeko members which started at the end of March and ended on April 5th of this year. Therefore, Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism has proven itself to be the Great Law based on the True Law and the True Doctrines.

However, we must know that the real start of Kosen-rufu of the Great Law exists after all our duties have been fulfilled based on the general principles of refuting evil and revealing the truth. Therefore, now is the time to demolish the Sho-Hondo which was a plot of the arrogant and evil Daisaku Ikeda. Under Daisaku Ikeda’s guidance, the Soka Gakkai tarnished the true significance of the High Sanctuary of Honmon though its self-serving views. It lied about establishing the High Sanctuary referred to in the Gosho, “On the Three Great Secret Laws,” and distorted the real purpose of the Daishonin’s guidance. It was the Gakkai who originated the erroneous idea of “the Second Chapter of Kosen-rufu.”

Now is the time to put our efforts into practice towards the real Kosen-rufu, aiming at the 750th anniversary of True Buddhism.

It is taught in the Lotus Sutra:

If one of these good men or good women, in the time after I have passed into extinction, is able to secretly teach the Lotus Sutra to one person, even one phrase of it, then you should know that he or she is the envoy of the Thus Come One. He has been dispatched by the Thus Come One and carries out the Thus Come One’s work. And how much more so those who in the midst of the great assembly broadly expound the sutra for others!
(“Hosshi,” The Lotus Sutra, translated by Burton Watson, p. 162)
Generally, among various philosophies and religions, the Dai shonin’s Buddhism, which is the most supreme religion, reveals the root cause of peoples’ sufferings and teaches the causality in the three existences of past, present and future. In Buddhism alone, Mahayana excels Hinayana and the Lotus Sutra, which is the true Mahayana (jitsu-daijo), is superior to the provisional Mahayana (gon-daijo). That is the Mystic Law which was the enlightenment of Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha of Kuon The Start of True Kosen-Rufu ganjo, and also the long-cherished reason for the advent of all the Buddhas throughout the three existences. In the Lotus Sutra, the entity of the Law of the harmonious fusion of Oneself with the Gohonzon (kyochi myogo) is the true enlightenment of the Thus Come One. In other words, the “Thus Come One’s Work” (Nyoraiji) exists. Therefore, the one who receives it and the one who secretly teaches the benefit of the Law to another, experience all the supreme enlightenment, power, and functions of the Buddha as an envoy of the Thus Come One. I assert that the true and most splendid merit and virtue lie in such deeds.

The Daishonin, as the rebirth of Bodhisattva Jogyo, inherited the five characters of the Mystic Law, which is the essential part of the comprehensive, brief, and essential aspects of the Lotus Sutra, preached by Shakyamuni Buddha for all living beings in Mappo (the Latter Day of the Law). This Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the origin of the Buddhism of Kuon ganjo and the entity of the Gohonzon of the Honmon (Essential) Teaching of the Person and the Law.

If we look at the previous words in the “Teachers of the Law” (Hosshi-10th) Chapter of the Lotus Sutra based on this true significance, the “phrase” no doubt indicates the Mystic Law of the Object of Worship of the Honmon (Essential) Teaching which is the consequence of the Buddhas of three existences. Because the Mystic Law possesses innumerable benefits, spreading the great Law from one person to another is the Buddha’s deed which reveals the virtue and wisdom of the Buddha. Moreover, this act is not a difficult thing at all. As long as one has a wish to save another, anyone can perform this act.

In other words, teaching the Mystic Law is refuting one’s shallow view of life and leads one to the most supreme and most profound Buddha’s wisdom and virtue. This is “shakubuku.” Shakubuku not only saves many other people who are suffering but also the one who takes faith in and spreads this Law accumulates immeasurable benefits.

The significance of “each member achieving one shakubuku each year” lies in this practice. When one starts one’s life of faith in the Mystic Law, one should look at various hardships and sufferings as good sources for proving the benefits of the Great Law.

Nichiren Daishonin states:

Now, Mappo, is the time when benefiting all people and enabling them to gain merit will exist through the propagation of the seven characters of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Therefore, if one mixes other things together with this Daimoku, it will lead to fallacy. This is the time to reverently embrace this supreme Mandala of the Mystic Law with your life. Believe in it in your mind, and chant it with your mouth.
(“Verbatim Lectures” (Oko Kikigaki), Gosho, p. 1818)
With firm faith in the benefits of the Gohonzon in mind, if you put your heart into chanting the Daimoku for ten minutes, thirty minutes, fifty minutes or for as long as you like, you will surely receive actual proof depending on each situation. The solution to a problem may flash into your mind. You may develop a compassionate spirit, peaceful mind, courageous mind, mystical mind, improve your physical condition, and so on. In other words, the fundamental guideline of living for everyone lies in the chanting of the Daimoku. With experience as a base, one person teaches another and continues accumulating the merits of spreading the “Thus Come One’s Work” (Gyo Nyorai Ji) and these are the basics of Kosen-rufu.

Now, you who represent the laity from various countries from all over the world, please be aware that now is the time for the Great Law of Nichiren Shoshu to eradicate the rampant evils of the past that is, the gravest slanders of Daisaku Ikeda and know that the true and unshakable foundation for Kosen-rufu has been laid. In 2002, four years from now, we will celebrate The Start of True Kosen-Rufu the 750th anniversary of the founding of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

For the up coming celebration, each member should courageously shakubuku one person, to help achieve the goal of true happiness for all the people in the entire world, and for your neighbors in your respective countries, and for your own happiness and enlightenment. And, for the celebration in four years, I sincerely hope you will come to the Head Temple to celebrate with fellow members in joyful exuberance.

Once again, to all of you from the whole world, let me say that I deeply appreciate your effort in coming to this Tozan. I will close my remarks for today by offering my sincere prayer for your good health and further diligence in faith. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20

4. NSA — Nichiren Shoshu Academy/America

Soka Gakkai kam in die USA erstmals Mitte der 1950er-Jahre mit den japanischen Frauen (war-brides) amerikanischer Soldaten.


Die Nichiren Shoshu Academy (NSA) bringt Soka Gakkai nach Kalifornien. Mit der Betreuung wurde Masayasu Sadanaga, betreut, ein Japaner, der 1957 in die USA immigriert war. 1972 änderte Sadanaga seinen Namen in George Williams, weil sein japanischer Name im Telephonbuch von Los Angeles so häufig war, dass es schwierig war ihn zu fínden.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28


NSA 1 variously meant Nichiren Shoshu of America, Nichiren Shoshu. Sokagakkai of America. It was the lay organization entrusted with propagation predominantly in the USA, though we had chapters in the Carribean and other places until SGI was formed. From sometime in the 60's to 1991 this was the name that most Nichiren Buddhists in this country referred to their organization. It was probably for that reason that one of the current "splinter groups" breaking away from the Gakkai calls itself "NSA." The old NSA was a more or less unified organization and the American members had little idea that Nichiren Buddhism could be anything else than it was. The brave new world of SGI is very different from that organization of positivity and deep faith in both the teachings of Nichiren and in the mentorship of priests and layleaders like Ikeda Sensei and that these meant the same thing. We never did understand why the name behind the moniker kept changing.

The Role of Mr. Williams

For most of that time it was dominated by a single man and his personality. That man came over to this country in 1955 ostensibly to study Government and Politics and took the lead in propagation in this country. His name at the time was Masayasu Sadanaga.2 He later changed his name to "George M. Williams". He was enthralled with this country and was both dedicated and determined to make "Kosenrufu" of America happen in his lifetime 3. His vehicle for Kosenrufu was a continuous stream of Shakubuku4 campaigns, culture festivals and activities developed at converting and training American Young People. Much of the history of NSA is, for better or worse, tied to his personality and efforts. To really understand NSA I believe you should also visit the page on Mr. Williams [siehe unten!]. If President Ikeda was Mr. William's Sensei/teacher/mentor, in a very real sense Mr. Williams was ours.


The NSA started in the 1950's with three groups of people and others they interracted with. These groups were,

  1. Young Japanese Students and the American Nationals they interracted with.
  2. Japanese "Warbrides", girls who married American GI's during the postwar occupation or afterwards, and who usually came from backgrounds where that offered the only hope that they would have a life other than abjection and low social status. These women and the men they married formed the core of what became NSA. They were the background of it's organization and it's efforts.
  3. Japanese Nissei and Issei immigrants to the United States (and other countries as well).

The most important of these three groups were the "War Brides" or "Fujimbuchu." The men may get most of the credit for world Kosenrufu, but that is only because the women involved have let them. In my own area these people included wonderful wise and courageous women with names like Ms. Raison, Ms. Bond, Ms. Morgan, Ms. Snelling, and sometimes teams composed of such women and their husbands, such as Mr and Ms. Hicks, the Hurdles, the Browns, and numerous others. And these women formed a network of relationships that spanned the country. Some of them converted their husbands who became 'leaders' in their own right. And eventually these people converted "native" 'gaijin' members like myself. The women 'fujimbu' were the backbone of the organization, yet they supported the, mostly male, leadership through Mr. Williams and President Ikeda. They encouraged each other and all of them were constantly and warmly encouraged by these two genuine leaders. They had reason for their gratitude.

The shakubuku effort that began in Japan naturally spread through these three groups of interactions, and the NSA was formed in order to coordinate these efforts and encourage the disparate people involved. President Ikeda takes credit for this, but the credit he deserves is mostly for having the good sense to recognize and encourage a good thing when he saw it. It was the efforts of people like Mr. Williams, Mr. Osaki, and a host of others who actually created the NSA organization. And they did so with his encouragement. They didn't have to fear his interference until things started going wrong in the 70's and 80's. You can't even begin to describe the development of NSA without talking about Mr. Williams contributions.

Eventually enough momentum was achieved that the shakubuku efforts were extended to people for whom Japanese wasn't a primary language and from there to people who had no idea of Japanese culture prior to their conversion. NSA was an exciting organization. People were learning about a form of Buddhism that was radically different from the simplistic and unbearably difficult teachings of Theravada or the esoteric and time consuming teachings of Zen or Tibetan Buddhism. This was a muscular Buddhism that was aimed at ordinary people living ordinary lives with ordinary jobs. And the very enthusiasm and feeling that it was the "One true Faith" of Buddhism fit well with the born again psychology of Americans. Indeed, if it weren't for the confusion of the Japanese about issues of Master/disciple and other confusions, one wonders if it might have had even more of an impact on the USA.

Trying to Transplant Japanese Organizational theories
Mr. Williams chose the structure he chose was modeled after the structure of the Sokagakkai in Japan and the Japanese Army, with a strict hierarchy of leadership:
starting with the "hancho" (group chief),
"Chikibucho" (Disctrict chief)
"Shobucho" (Chapter Chief)
"Hombucho" (Area Chief)
And on up to General Director

There were also assorted "fuku" (assistant) and other positions, and the organization also had duplicate positions for the "four divisions" of Men, Women, Youth men, and Youth Women. This led to some funny situations as I got older, such as Youth division leaders who were in their forties while Young Women would get kicked out when they married.

This organization was meant to be an "Army of Kosenrufu." The core of the organization were volunteer local leaders, overseen or "directed" by staff members who were often quite charismatic. The volunteers were also supported by a both paid and unpaid headquarters staff consisting of local representatives usually at "Hombuchu" level or higher. The country had few headquarters so the "Chapters" were where most of the central action was, while the "districts" were where the day to day faith activities were centered. There also came to be a central organization centered in Santa Monica.

The organization was modeled after Japan. The country had a General Director, below him was the Central Committee. The country was divided into regions, which were divided into Territories, which were divided into areas, which in turn were divided into General Chapters, Chapters and finally into districts and groups. The exact structure would change from time to time, but not much. The functional unit was the District and group where meetings would occur. District Chiefs and Chapter Chiefs were the "line leaders" and were responsible for day to day activities. Above them were staff leaders who were supposed to assist in their practice, giving guidance, or helping with home visitations or other activities. Until 1976 this basic structure was conjoined with a vigorous and sometimes punishing schedule of activities. Around 1976 members were told to knock off around 8:30 (so they could get enough sleep!) and that has been the traditional meeting end since then.


These were the core activities in those days;

The "Zadankai"5
or discussion meeting, which was (and is) the principle meeting for both study and conversion of others.
The "Home Visit"
which was meant to help wavering members, create solidarity, and often to help collect subscriptions to the organ newspaper.
The General Meetings
Cultural Festivals.

These meetings were meant to help the members get a feel for the organization, it's purpose and the "feel" of this organization. These were also "target" points around which other activities were engaged in, from sewing and creating uniforms, building props and sound stages, to preparing for and participating in shows and performances. In Japan the "Minon" or performance group has a reputation for professional performances, and the performances put on (often by untalented ordinary members) were often very professional. Some of these performances included various "Brass Bands" a young woman's fife and drum corps (Kotekitai), choreographed dances, half time shows, and things ranging from the sublime to the almost rediculous. One of the more unusual activities was the "Five Story" pyramid efforts of the mid to late 80's. This was followed by rollor blading and other variations of the same theme. These activities may have seemed strange to outside observers, but they brought participants a kind of pride and satisfaction. They may have targeted outside audiences and been done in the name of "Shakubuku" 4 but they were really done for the sake of the spiritual growth of the participants.

Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three

There were some incidents in the 1970's which should have warned us that all was not well between two organizations, but maybe I was dense and I believed the leaders and priests when they made their assurances of mutual love and fidelity. We later found out that both the priests and the leadership of NSA were trying to shield us ordinary members from the conflicts in Japan. These started with issues dating back to World War II and only escalated with time.

In the late 70's, early 80's, There was a local priest in New York, who criticized the Gakkai, Reverend Tono But he was expelled. Two Youth Division members brought him his expulsion papers and he led a breakaway group that persists to this very day. There was also the incident of President Ikeda's resignation in 1979. All this coincided with ups and downs in the organization. When I first joined, the period was called "phase one" and the Gakkai everywhere was involved in radical propagation efforts. We had everything geared towards recruiting (at least most of the time), and were out doing activities constantly. In 1976 there was something called phase II. I hear now that it collapsed, and I kind of witnessed that collapse as my own practice had it's period of ups and downs around the same time as all that. That was rapidly followed by phase III. Since then there have been a number of gyrations and so I'm not sure what phase we are currently in. Actually I think the term was abandoned, though one can never tell.

Mr. Williams and the Japanese Leadership

Mr. Williams led most of these efforts. His enthusiasm, "bonhomme" and tirelessness impressed many people, including the author of this page. Indeed those around him in Santa Monica are still impressed by his spirit to practice and share this Buddhism. Until 1989 he was "The General Director" and at one time he was also "Honorary Vice President." He was beloved by many American members for his genuine kindness, passion, and unwavering committment to Kosenrufu of America and propagating Nichiren Buddhism.

Unfortunately he also deserves some of the credit for things going sour. There are some people who allege that he abused his position, but I don't think he did so on purpose but was simply caught between the two cultures. He understood his "host culture" some, but didn't appreciate the value of our democratic values or openess, until those things had become a liability to the Japanese leaders. Due to his massive positivity he would have created Kosenrufu of America by himself if that had been possible using a Japanese hierarchical organizational structure and Nichiren Shoshu doctrines. He was unable to appreciate the dangers of the military style structure and the authoritarian habits of Japanese patriarchy and authoritarianism. Perhaps he took Ikeda on the surface meaning of all his speeches on democracy and "bottom up" organization. All I know is that if the NSA had been an elective organization he'd probably still have at least an honorary top position. According to Norman McCormack he later apologized for not realizing this. Of course by then it was too late to have any influence on the hierarchy. Since his departure the SGI has been run with an iron hand by Japan all the while asking us for "advise" (but disregarding it each time it is offered).

In 1989 he was publicly rebuked and he was publicly "deposed" by President Ikeda officially in 1992 and replaced with Fred Zaitsu. His replacement ends the story of NSA as Nichiren Shoshu Academy. In 1989 when President Ikeda gave guidances towards a "kindler gentler" version of the Gakkai in his famous 1990 "mirror guidances" everyone involved thought that meant that American's would inherit leadership of their own organization and that there would follow democratization. Unfortunately that was not to be the case, and Mr. Zaitsu was more quietly replaced with Danny Nagashima in 1999.

Sokagakkai International

When the World Buddhist League Sokagakkai International(SGI) was formed in 1975, NSA was part of it, when it was renamed the Sokagakkai International, SGI was renamed as well. This was in 1989. It was renamed SGI-USA, but it was still known as NSA to most people until the split with Nichiren shoshu. In a sense NSA broke up when NST and Sokagakkai split. The NSA organization was renamed Nichiren Sokagakkai or simply Sokagakkai International of USA (SGI-USA). The members who stayed loyal to the priests they'd been trained to "respect" and "follow", joined "NST" (also known as NSS). Since then it has had two general Directors, Fred Zaitsu, and now Danny Nagashima, these two men are not the same kind of "pioneer" that Mr. Williams was, but they are decent enough fellows. The story of NSA ends where SGI-USA takes off and the conflict with Nichiren Shoshu breaks out.

NSA forever

For those of us who practiced with NSA, it's official name may have been Nichiren Shoshu of America or Nichiren Shoshu Sokagakkai of America, but for most of us it was simply the Nichiren Society of America. For us Zadankai (discussion meetings), Gongyo (Sutra and daimoku recitations), and doing Shakubuku were simply practicing Nichiren's orthodox teachings. We had no real consciousness that there was any way to practice Buddhism except as Nichiren said. We were sure that the High Priests and Senior leaders of the Gakkai were simply teaching us Nichiren's teachings.

This idea has gone fallow. The imported conflict between the Nichiren Shoshu and Sokagakkai, and it's inheritance from ages of internal wrangling between sectarian priests and laymen, has led to the splitting of this "NSA" Sangha. The conflict with NST inevitably led to personalization and conflict within the Gakkai, as inevitably criticisms such as that of the "IRG" led to reform movements, which in turn led to break away movements of "Indy's" and others. Now there are people who call themselves Sokagakkai, Soka Spirit, Hokkeko, Nichiren Buddhist Sangha, etceteras. And they are all broken off from one another with furrowed brows and angry expressions. I would suggest people try to bring it back. I don't miss the dogmatics of the old NSA, but I do miss the "soka spirit" to create value out of our lives, share this Buddhism, and learn about Nichiren's teachings. I am a still a member of the Gakkai as far as I know. I refuse to quit the one to join the other or to acknowledge the divisiveness and divisions of our great Buddhist Sangha. I realize the errors and mistakes of my teachers and their lineages, but I also acknowledge my brotherhood and sisterhood with all people seeking enlightenment. To me there is only one Nichiren Sangha. Call it what you will but I think of it as the Nichiren Sangha or Society of America: NSA. Long Live NSA. Recently some Independents have even decided to call their loose association "NSA". What Irony.

I flirted with joining this. They even created a web-page. However, the person organizing all the internet activities was one person. And while he remained quiet for a while suddenly he decided that he was going to run things himself and his way. He sent me an Email:

This email is going to all the current moderators of the Nichiren Society of America (NSA) Discussion Board

As owner of this board I have decided that it has become necessary for us to start enforcing the rules of the board. This has not been the case in the past. We had rules but they were not enforced, partly because several of the moderators do not believe in moderation.

Accordingly I have removed all the existing moderators. New moderators will be appointed presently.

I ask you all to refrain from arguing about this decision on the public board, at least for a few days to let things settle down. Any of you are, of course, free to start up a new board without moderation or rules if you prefer that type of environment. We would allow publishing a link to any new groups that may be formed on the Yahoo! NSA Discussion Board.

Walt Bush

I've had enough of this sort of authoritarian crap. I resigned that NSA, and remain a member of "Soka Underground." NSA past and present, fearless leaders, I've had enough of them. Leadership is a good thing. I'm just tired of hierarchies.

Soka Underground

For a time I was heartened by the creation of a "Soka Underground" but that didn't pan out either. The site was started by Lisa Jones, but after a time something offended her, probably similar to the letter that the reform movement received. At any way, her website still exists: [Zugriff am 2005-05-10] but those of us who still love the Gakkai without loving it's warts are now putting up blogs at: [Zugriff am 2005-05-10]

Links and Footnotes
  1. This link I got from a link that used to belong to an Army Website: "Religious Movements" "nich.html", when it belonged to the Army it was more accurate. When it moved they moved the link to here. They spell some words wrong
  2. Mr. Williams, Born as Masayasu Sadanaga, I am told that he comes from a samurai lineage, though he, himself, I am told, was born in Korea. As a young man he came to this country.
  3. Kosenrufu is a term loosely translated as "world peace" but literally means widespread propagation. It is generally considered a condition when approximately 1/3 of the people are practicing Buddhism and only 1/3 hate Buddhism.
  4. Shakubuku, literally means to "break and subdue". However it generally refers to efforts at propagation of Buddhism. It actually originally comes from the practice of Buddhism which is to "break" delusions and "subdue" the mind of "evil". Evil in Buddhism is the deluded mind that causes misery and isn't the same as evil in most Judeo-Christian schools. Shakubuku really means to use literal, theoretical and actual proof to convince others to abandon evil notions and accept the truth. This isn't always the same as converting them to one's religion itself. Often it means getting them to "detach" from incorrect teachings.
  5. Zadankai Discussion Meeting. People gather here for the free discussion of various topics, usually Buddhism and it's principles.

[Quelle: Chris Holte. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10] 

4.1. Masayasu Sadanaga = George Williams

Zu George Williams:

"Mr Williams

Early years -- Masayasu Sadanaga

Mr. Williams had started practicing in Japan. I vaguely remember him giving experience as a youth member there. His ancestry seems to have been mixed Korean and Japanese. His father was from the age old Sadenaga clan (the same one that donated the property at Mt. Minobu and that Nikko first supported and then feuded with), but his mother seems to have been Korean. In any case, this later affected his relations with the Sokagakkai in Japan, and I remember one incident in I was told of the SokaGakkai Vice Presidents making fun of him for this. He had one foot in Japanese Culture but really was one of us at heart.

Mr Williams came to this country in 1957 as a young man, in order to study management science, and in retrospect to be a missionary of true Nichiren Buddhism. He came to this country as a student at UCLA in 1957 after he had already started chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. A story he recounted at a meeting to me, and that I've since heard from others, and a version in the "New Human Revolution" tells us that before he'd even started his father died. He was so miserable that he wanted to return to Japan to help his family. However, President Ikeda so encouraged him to fulfill his "mission" for "kosenrufu" that he stayed and soldiered on.

The first thing he had to do was to learn English, which he applied himself to doing while working as a Janitor and Dishwasher1. Nearly as soon as he arrived he learned his father had died. Daniel B. Montgomery recounts (Quoting the Seikyo Times) that during this time that "he screamed Daimoku to the Gohonzon saying 'I've got to win!'" I remember him later using mottos like "Imua" (which means 'go for broke') and similar. He always had a fighting spirit. From low grades he went on to attend GWU and to graduate from the University of Md with his Masters in Political Science from the U of Md. He wrote his thesis on the Komeito Party and it's origins and impact. I read this thesis, it was well written but needed editing and was never polished. I wish I'd made a copy, it makes cogent reading even now.

Leader of Kosenrufu in America

As a young man he was active in Gakkai activities even when this was nearly impossible due to attending colleged and having to support himself by working as well. Some members used to tell me fond stories of him working at the People's drug store at Dupont Circle and commuting from there to another job washing dishes, and then attending school at the same time. At the same time he never stinted from heroic efforts to encourage and visit the other Washington Members.

He used to tell stories of being so poor that he only ate when he was at meetings or could get food at work at the restaurant he worked in. I know that while he finished his Masters he was working two jobs.

This must have been exhausting effort, but when he graduated from this effort he was able to move to Santa Monica California. Soon he was criss-crossing the country encouraging members everywhere and had organized a large organization and was on it's staff.

Mr. Williams and a number of dedicated members led this growth through a combination of personal effort, countless campaigns, and by recruiting others who were dedicated to "Kosenrufu" as much as he was. He was supported by such leaders as Ted Osaki, Kenji (later Kenneth) Sudo (No relationship to the Moonie leader by that same name), and others. These people included allies such as Mr. Kikamura, Mr. Fujioka, Mrs. Takakua, Mrs. Elliott, and Miss Inowashi, and deeply committed friends such as Ms. Snelling or Ms. Morgan in the Washington area.

Mr. Williams used his own personal magnetism and creativity to recruit people. For instance, even the author of "Fire in the Lotus" (Daniel B. Montgomery) was impressed by his personality. He writes:

"Mr. Sadanaga/Williams is a very good 'communicator' indeed. The Princeton Notice commented that he 'has the ability to drop a pipe line to people listening and turn them right on to his level' (29 October 1969). His talks are flavored with humour and sparkle with vitality. He is at his best with small groups where his personal magnetism fills the room."2

This is how I remember him also.

It also included a cadre of young people who were recruited in the various cities and towns accross the country. From this "small" root grass roots core group centered around early converts, (mostly the wives of Gi's and their husbands and friends), the organization began to grow. By the mid seventies it was approximately the same size it is now, and on paper even bigger.

Sixties: Outreach efforts

Beginning in 1968, the Nichiren Shoshu Academy inaugurated academic outreach efforts 3 aimed at academics by inaugurating a series of highly successful seminars at major campuses across the country. Professor George M. Williams gave these lectures at the University of California, UCLA, Boston University, Memphis State, U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Nebraska, Pennsylvannia, Princeton, Cornell, Rice, Harvard, Maryland, Amhurst, York University of Toronto, and many more. By 1971 he had given 70 seminars in 40 college campuses (NSA Seminary Report,1968, 1971). He is quoted as follows:

"In an informal way, professor Williams explains the Philosophy of Happiness, relating Buddhist terms directly to the Student's own daily life. 'Hell is what you feel when you get all D's, and heaven is what you feel when you get all A's', he tells them. 'Heaven and hell are not waiting for you after you die, but are conditions of your life right now. So why don't you work hard to change your life of hell into heaven?'"4

Mr. Williams would then cheerfully explain how to do that by chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. Using these lectures, plus the efforts of people already converted, Mr. Williams was able to build up membership in this youthful religion. He had a way of passing on his own enthusiasm for the practice of Buddhism and the "vigorous activities" of NSA.

He also led efforts to do cultural outreach. Eventually building up a devoted array of musicians, actors, and other artists. It was an amazing accomplishment. By the beginning of the 70's, NSA was a thriving and youthful organization.

"Phase I" at the beginning of the Seventies

Until the mid seventies, the organization was involved in very aggressive efforts to propagate Nichiren Buddhism, and Mr. Williams was at the center of most of them. Leaders, such as Mr. Osaki, Mr. Sudo, and a long list of others, were appointed to lead these efforts, and Mr. Williams was constantly seeking to energize and inspire these people and those they were responsible for. There were long periods when "activities" for active members meant dailly meetings, long hours, and even standing on street corners seeking to invite people to meetings. This was known as "Street Shakubuku" and some in Japan tittered about it, but those engaged in it found it a faith affirming activity -- though not always very productive in numbers. I must attest that I'm one of the few still practicing members who was recruited in this manner. Most who stuck with the organization were recruited by friends or relatives -- or at least acquaintances. I was shakubukued on the street at the University of Maryland. Mr. Williams gave a talk soon after I joined that was one of the reasons I started practicing this Buddhism.

Culture Festivals and Tozans

Mr. Williams also initiated culture festivals, which eventually fell into a cycle that repeated approximately on a ten year cycle. These involved two very different activities (sometimes combined) "culture festivals" and "Tozans." Tozans were for the sake of visiting the head temple, and culture festivals were for the sake of affirming our practice and demonstrating to others (it turns out mostly our Japanese brethren) that we were enthusiastically behind the effort for world wide Kosenrufu.

Culture Festivals

The Culture Festivals involved great productions of theatrical brilliance, and so attracted professional artists and musicians. Something that is a pattern to this day as demonstrated by such personages as Herbie Hancock and Tina Turner. They were marvelous, grueling, and often reflected more of Japanese Culture than of American culture. The sometimes superhuman effort to produce culture festivals sometimes ran counter to the effort to "shakubuku" and encourage others to practice, and so the organization was always going up and down in numbers. Under Mr. Williams you got used to constant wrenching change. He seemed to revel in it. And truth be told, even amateurs usually gave professional performances at these affairs. I participated in a number of them, and don't regret one of them.


The other faith affirming activity was the Tozan. Mr. Williams led Tozans throughout the time the Gakkai was linked to Nichiren Shoshu. These were meant to allow members to visit Japan, worship the "banner" object of faith -- the Dai-Gohonzon -- and receive benefit as a result. It was said that a member would get back the cost of Tozan in benefits, and so most of us members regarded going on Tozan with a kind of ferver akin to Moslems visiting mecca.

Sho Hondo Convention

The culminating activity of the Gakkai during this time was the "Sho Hondo" Convention in 1973. This was both a Tozan and a culture festival, and was quite an extravaganza. It led to later problems, but most of us didn't know that at the time. It was probably a personal high for Mr. Williams as well as for the rest of us.

Phase II

In the 1970's, the organization experienced some turbulence, largely due to three things. There were a number of reasons why the organization could not generate large numbers or sustain it's high level of effort indefinately. These were:

  1. The unstable dynamic of "phase one." Members were practicing almost nightly. Some of the leaders, such as Ted Osaki, gave people one night a week "off," but otherwise members were encouraged to participate in nightly "street Shakubuku efforts" meetings, activities, and other behavior all aimed at creating "Kosenrufu of America". What was inspiring about these leaders was that they put out even more effort than they expected others to contribute. There was very little jawboning for contributions and one felt free to contribute as much as one could. This is probably the best way to guarantee maximum participation. Unfortunately there were enough of these kinds of activities made the organization look cultlike and "burned" out recruits. Campagins were sometimes around the clock and one sometimes felt like a door to door salesperson in doing "Street Shakubuku."
  2. In the Mid 1970's, President Ikeda gave guidance that that meetings should end at 8:30, and eventually that street Shakubuku should be eschewed in favor of more subtle efforts such as "freinds making campaigns." The result of this effort, dubbed "phase II" was that suddenly members began thinking for themselves and many people began living ordinary lives again. Some of them also began realizing that the organization didn't really reflect their wishes. Some felt betrayed when they realized that they had given up careers, lives, schooling, for almost no results. This led to some localized revolts, expecially as events from Japan began affecting the organization. President Ikeda's guidances were well meaning, but he really didn't understand this country and sometimes what was happening here was aggravated by his well meaning efforts to do something about problems in this country.
  3. Mr. William's character of great enthusiasm and sometimes seeming impatience, also had an affect on things. The organization went from one campaign to another, often destroying the results of a shakubuku campaign by completely forgetting about recruits while the organization prepared for a big convention or other event. Mr. Williams seemed to be perpetually trying to please President Ikeda while putting out superhuman efforts towards Kosenrufu. Each Campaign portrayed in triumphalist fashion as a great victory. If Mr. Williams could have created World Peace by himself he would have. As it was he made massive efforts towards creating a world wide organization and was honored by Ikeda with an "honorary" Vice Presidency.

      The main cause of our difficulties however was that the central organization in Japan was always looking on. Either goading people like Mr. Williams to inhuman efforts, or subtly sabotaging independent efforts or anything that didn't meet with Japanese sensibilities. In Japan whenever the Sokagakkai made a bid for real power, members here were supposed to support it. For example in the 60's, Members in the USA held Daimoku Tosos in Los Angelos to support an election campaign. And when Ikeda sneezed, we got out the hankerchief. When the SGI began to build a Temple building to be named the "Sho Hondo" which was to symbolize "world wide Kosenrufu" with the people as sovereign, we naturally supported it. Members around the world went to extraordinary efforts to raise an extraordinary (for the time) amount of money. Mr. Williams was on hand for the completion ceremony. It was the high point for NSA.

Troubles in Japan affect the US Org

However all these grandiose efforts were sabotaged from within by factionalism in Japan, indecision in our own country, and interference from Japan, in the 70's.

The more nationalist and literalminded wing of Nichiren Shoshu centered around a group called the "Myoshinko" (now around as abreak off group called the Kenshokai) didn't like the idea of an "ordination platform" without the sanction of the Emperor. They actually threatened to attack the people who were planning to move the Dai-Gohonzon to the Sho-Hondo. Mr. Williams made sure that American's were in the "protection group" guarding the transfer. These efforts were defeated, and in the end the Myoshinko found themselves excommunicated. However, that only was the beginnings of trouble as they never gave up their efforts to get even with the Gakkai. Some would blame them for it's eventual excommunication.

The other problem the Gakkai had was it's charismatic leader and synchophantic people around him. Some priests (and others) didn't like the effort to portray Ikeda as a hero bordering on "Buddha" (and for some over that border), and there were people among both the priests and Sokagakkai who were all too willing to play politics with these things. The result was a number of internal scandals, with the Gakkai backing High Priest Nikken in his efforts to assert his authority as the inheritor of the Kechimyaku of the Law. The result was that the Shoshinkai affair and the related resignation of President Ikeda from his position as Third President of the Sokagakkai also led to turbulence in this country as people questioned the wisdom of Ikeda's leadership. These things couldn't but affect the members in this country.

The Rise and Demise of phase II

President Ikeda was constantly talking about common sense, balanced practice, and a more democratic organization. Some members took him seriously. Around 1975 something called "phase II" was instituted. The idea was a kinder gentler NSA that would be more attractive to converts and also be able to hold on to members with less "burnout" of members. Members couldn't always maintain the 6 day (or even 7 day) a week pace of "activities" and would often quit after a while. Phase II was supposed to remedy that. Unfortunately people took those words of Ikeda literally, in much the same way that the Communist Youth of the "Cultural Revolution" China took Mao too literally. They started clamoring for transparancy in finances and a real say in the organizations direction and efforts. All over SGI members suddenly started partying, starting businesses, or trying to lead ordinary lives. This led to a situation in which meetings became non-existent, converts disapeared, and the organization nearly vanished as well. People weren't prepared for the freedom! This led to an end to phase II. The "Youth division" was disbanded due to efforts to assert independence and "stand alone spirit." And a number of members were quietly removed from positions or told to mind their mouths or be kicked out. The movement was suppressed under the term "phase III." And at the same time a "friends making campaign" and a kindler gentler NSA was instituted under central direction.

Fallout from Ikeda's Resignation

In the meantime events in Japan were causing additional problems. Ikeda was forced to resign in 1978, and the Gakkai was told to re-educate it's members in Nichiren Shoshu Doctrine, the teachings of Nichiren and the principle of "follow the law" not person. For most members this actually was a benefit and proof that the organization was indeed what it said it was. It turns out for others this was an expedient situation in which they had to lay low for the sake of their Master. To his credit Mr. Williams was both loyal to Ikeda and loyal to "Law." Even so, after forcing Ikeda's resignation, Nittatsu Shonin, the HP of the time, died, and Nikken Shonin took his place claiming a death bed transfer of authority. Very soon after that the anti-Ikeda forces became anti-Nikken forces as well, and Sokagakkai was suddenly back in good graces with Nikken, and while the re-education efforts continued. Ikeda was allowed to be our "mentor" in chief once again. For many of us Mr. Williams was more of a direct mentor. He was more accessable and spoke English and seemed to understand our problems.

Mr. Williams put forth fantastic efforts to hold the country together as it seemed to be falling apart. Some members also helped a lot, others joined the various other groups. In New York, a Young Priest, Reverend Tono led a breakaway group that was eventually excommunicated by High Priest Nikken, the Shoshinkai. Their principalled defiance of both the Gakkai and NST was seen as "ha-wagoso" by Japanese members and by those of us heavilly indoctrinated with Japanese attitudes. The organization wasn't ready yet for a "loyal opposition." In other areas members simply vanished for a while, left completely, or took up where they left off where they joined. The organization shrank, but it didn't disapear. There was simply too much power at the district and chapter level and within the Zadankai system. Members continued to practice because true Buddhism benefited their lives, no matter what was going on around them. The 70's seemed a disaster, but it really wasn't. By the end of the 70's it was clear that no one was going to cooperate with efforts either to go back to the frenetic pace before and many of us were going to stick with the basic practice no matter what happened.

The Eighties

Mr. Williams continued to travel the country along with his leutenants, giving guidances and encouragement as he went. He gave speeches and championed causes like the "liberty bell" campaign in the 80's. In retrospect he seems to have been trying to send a message that his loyalty to his mentor and Japanese Custom didn't allow him to state directly.

Around the time of the turmoils(the late 70's) additional "students" began coming to the country who were given minor jobs as PR advance men or as functionaries at local community Centers or Culture Centers. These people included Fred Zaitsu, Danny Nagashima, Ted Morino, Eugene Hirohara and others who were to later take over from Mr. Williams when the time came in the early 90's. SGI-USA was officially independent, but there was no question as to who was really in charge. In the 80's these newcomers became increasingly visible in the organization.

Late in the 80's, "Regicho" was still loved, but most people who actually ran into him were no longer so impressed with him. He had delegated much of his efforts to others, and seemed to be riding first class on the work of others. As one member said years later, he seems to have "believed his own myth." That was part of his undoing.


The Gakkai membership (then known as NSA for Nichiren Shoshu Academy or Nichiren Shoshu Sokagakkai Academy) wasn't much different in 1989 than it had been in 1979, except that many of the members were older and there were fewer true youth. The turnover was overwelming. The organization had some people with authoritarian attitudes and wasn't very flexible. This was all blamed on Mr. Williams, though the structure had been imported from and dictated to by Japan. In 1989/1990 he was very publicly criticized and humiliated by President Ikeda. Then he was kept in a kind of suspended state for two years until he was publicly replaced in a "Town Hall meeting" in 1992. The person who delivered the invite to that meeting remembers that he felt so humiliated that all he could do was to apologize over and over again while recounting his accomplishments. He apologized for the "military" format of the organization. He recounted that he had opened 57 community centers. He had done his best. He really should not have been publicly shamed.

He was replaced by Fred Zaitsu. This was televised and public, but I didn't know anything about it for several years. His name was simply gradually erased and replaced with others. His leading backers were also gradually eased out. The Japanese don't "Fire People" and turn them on the street the way American's do. They give them a "Window Watcher" office and humiliate them instead. They also don't rehabilitate people or appreciate them for their accomplishments. This is an American Organization, he deserves better treatment than that. Maybe even if it were a Japanese Organization he would deserve better treatment. And I thought Hollywood was bad!


There is a lot we can learn from these events. And there is a lot of warnings in the history of NSA, for the organization when one is fair towards Mr. Williams the man and doesn't make the mistake of demonizing him for his faults. It is the pyramidal organization structure and lack of either accountability or genuine input from below that prevented him from being aware of the mistakes he was making or able to prevent them. And he did a lot of things that show his sincerity. For one thing, he could have taken the SGI-USA into the Nichiren Shoshu camp and kept his position, and he didn't. Mr. Asomani was also deposed around that time, and he took his entire organization except for a skeletal bunch over to the Hokkeko. Of course the circumstances of the two men were completely different, and Mr. Asomani didn't expect to be treated with disrespect and he and those who backed him, felt he'd been discriminated against on account of being non-Japanese. Indeed they rebelled for about a year before the NST decided to back them. I'm just talking about what he could have done. Mr. Williams on the other hand is still loyal to his mentor and to Kosenrufu. He is still loyal to President Ikeda and has travelled the nation seeking to "bring back" American Hokkeko believers to this day. That despite the awful way PI treated him. He is a "true disciple."

A true Disciple

Between his public humiliation around 1990 and his formal replacement in 1992, Mr. Williams was still nominally in charge. During that time the "war" between the Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu. Mr Williams could have taken the organization into the Nichiren Shoshu Camp or refused to stay with the Gakkai. He didn't have to accept being humiliated and sacked. Had he done so he would have split the organization more than it was anyway, but he would have benefited personally. The chief priest for Overseas affairs offered him shelter in Nichiren Shoshu if he would do so. Instead he travels the country on behalf of the Sokagakkai visiting former Gakkai members who are with the Temple. He also continues to be involved in helping members when they need it. Recently when a member's son was hurt, it was Mr. Williams who took the time to call that member and encourage him. He didn't "have to do it." There was no formal chain of command involved, and this member is not with the Temple. The fact that he has chosen to continue to struggle for unity and Kosenrufu instead is something about him that is admirable. His sense of honor will not allow him to be a "Devadatta" to his own organization. He is a "true disciple" of Ikeda no matter what. The Japanese Ideal is that you follow your "mentor" no matter how he might treat you. Mr. Williams used to play the theme song from Man of La Mancha at meetings. The words of that song include the following:

To Dream the Impossible Dream
To fight the unfightable foe
To Right the unrightable wrong...
...And I know, if I only be true, to my glorious quest
That my heart, will lie peaceful and calm,
when I'm laid to my rest.
And The world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

If anyone deserves to live peaceful and calm when his time comes. It's Mr. Williams. Mr. Williams I salute you!


Fred Zaitsu lasted until 1999 and was replaced by Danny Nagashima. Danny acts sometimes like Mr. Williams used to act. Mr. Williams seems to be like one of the leaders from "1984" or from the old Communist Countries. And like those leaders he was on top one day and then mysteriously began to disappear not just from the leadership but from the official histories themselves. This isn't a good idea. I myself owe him a debt of gratitude, and for that reason and to get these things written down before old age erases them even from my own memory, I have dedicated this page to him. He is a man who tried to become a legend, but after all is just a man.

As of today, in 2004, there isn't much chance that Mr. Williams will ever be in charge again. Like Ronald Reagan, I recently heard he has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. That was a mean thing to say, and I'm sorry I believed it. Fortunately, I've been assured by someone who lives near him that this is a vicious rumor. Even so, please send him prayers. And send the Gakkai your prayers too. If Kosenrufu is ever to happen people have got to stop creating myths and be real heros -- As Mr. Williams truly was.5

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.


  1. Fire in the Lotus, by Daniel B. Montgomery, page 211. I also have recollections of hearing him tell this story.
  2. Ibid page 211, and same.
  3. Ibid page 207, and same.
  4. Ibid page 207-208, and I remember similar lectures, though I never attended any of these.
  5. A number of long time members held a private discussion on him at the zadankai list where I learned he still has his "window watcher" seat in Santa Monica and is doing just fine.
[Quelle: Chris Holte. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]

4.2. Hiroe Clowe und The Seattle Incident 1963

"The Seattle Incident (at least ostensibly) began when a milile aged priest then known as Shin-no Abe was given the unique honor of performing the first Gojukai in Seattle in 1963. While in Seattle, he alledgedly sought a "dalliance" with two prostitutes and got into a fight with them over payment. Police were called and a local SGI leader, Hiroe Clowe "came to the rescue." The incident was buried, and but for the "rise" of the "war of words" between the Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu would have remained so. If you are really interested you can read about it here. I've provided a timeline of the incidents and related articles(mostly because the evidence seems pretty solid to me and the Hokkeko members still swear that it was all a lie). For more on the subject follow each of the links and that should help you understand it. This has all been part of the very personal war between the Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu."

[Quelle: Chris Holte. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]

Hiroe Clowe

Hiroe Clowe was a Japanese born leader of the Sokagakkai of the SGI-USA. She had married an American Serviceman and moved to the USA sometime in the late fifties/early sixties. By the 1960's she had received enough benefit from her practice to become one of the pioneering members in the Seattle Area.

Like most of the Japanese Fujimbu leaders she was self effacing and content to be "behind the scenes of the organization. She was among the "Mothers" who spent much time helping create and develop NSA and mentoring the young men and women who joined it. She was also one of the leaders who made sure that dignitaries and top leaders and priests were protected from harm or from bad publicity during their visits. Frequently when important people came to visit, entire armies of such leaders would be marshalled to "take care of them.

Involvement in Events of the sixties

In 1963 she was among the first of the American members to receive a visit by President Ikeda and various other leaders and priests of the then Nichiren Shoshu of America, which was a subgroup of the Sokagakkai but at that time still part of the Nichiren Shoshu. This was a joyous ocassion for the members, as it was the first time a priest was able to come to the country in order to grant Gohonzon to the members who had been shakubukued (converted) in the USA by these pioneers from Japan. If you read the publications from that time you can see the great joy that all the members were feeling.

Because this was such an honor, Nittatsu Shonin sent one of his most senior priests. This man was a middle aged senior priest named Nikken Abe. Reverend Abe had the honor of performing the first "Gojukai"(conferal of Gohonzon) ceremonies on USA members. Not just in Seattle, but across the country. Mr Williams and other leaders accompanied him to all of these places along with a small army of an entourage. He stayed in nice hotels everywhere he went.

Ms. Clow and the Seattle incident

There was one incident though, which seems to have occured during this visit that later would come back to haunt everyone involved. This incident is what later came to be known as the "Seattle Incident." Supposedly he left his apartment. Supposedly he was sleeping.

Ms. Clowe, would probably have retained in obscurity, perhaps remembered fondly by those whom she had "raised" and her own family, but completely anonymous, had it not been for an essay she submitted years later about her experience with then Study Department Chief Nikken Abe during his 1963 visit to Seattle. In that essay she claimed to have had to prevent his arrest and deportation after two officers were called to mediate an alteration with two prostitutes in Seattle's then red light district. It was her job, so she admitted herself, to cover up any such indiscretions, and either she had done such a good job that little evidence remained of what happened.

This essay was published around 1991. It was one of many essays alleging abuse by the priesthood of their authority as priests. These essays were meant to "prove" that priests were evil, and that therefore their doctrines did not have to be followed by the SGI, which had just become embroiled in a dispute with Nichiren Shoshu -- on the surface -- over some unfortunate remarks made by President Ikeda at a leaders meeting he had attended -- But realy a result of years of accumulated and hidden tensions between the priests and layfolks of Nichiren Shoshu and the Sokagakkai. This essay might not have been so important except for one important fact. In the meantime Nikken Abe had become the next high priest of Nichiren Shoshu. That made it very important.

Lawsuits, Countersuits, and Big Stinks

Naturally he denied everything. Even trotting out a diary that didn't really prove anything. He also hired lawyers to defame her, discredit her testimony, and make sure that anything that was proved would be "spinned" in such a way so that believers could keep "believing" that High Priest Nikken hadn't done anything wrong.

And naturally the Gakkai hired lawyers and the results ended up in the courts.

She tried to sue him (for libel) in American Courts, but the courts turned her down for jurisdictional (and timeliness) reasons. The whole thing was just an incident in the US but it was big news in Japan. In Japan Nikken sued her for libel and she countersued. The whole mess became a protracted court and tabloid battle. It was one of many personal and tabloid style accusations that flew around directed either at Ikeda himself, or at the priests.


She died on March 23 1996, while the trial (suit by Nikken) was still underway. The suspicious Nichiren Shoshu lawyers had her body examined thoroughly and made dark intimations that she was murdered. Her daughter, Judy Clowe, later complained about the rudeness and harrassing behavior of the Japanese lawyers representing Nichiren Shoshu towards her and her mother. Eventually her trial was won by her codefendents, at least to the point of proving that something had happened in Seattle. At every turn, you saw reports sent to Nichiren Shoshu members that insisted that they had won the lawsuits, that Nikken was innocent, and that she had written this essay to "get him." Maybe that was part of it. Eventually both sides were forbidden to libel one another. And both sides called that a victory for their own side. The Japanese members really did treat this as a war."

[Quelle: Chris Holte. --


Abb.: Logo®

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10

1975 wird Soka Gakkai International gegründet, mit Hauptquartier in Tokyo. Zweck ist die Koordination der verschiedenen nationalen Soka Gakkai-Organisationen.

5.1. Selbstdarstellung

"Fundamental Purpose

The fundamental purpose of the SGI-USA is the happiness of people. Its goals are to contribute to peace, culture and education based on the philosophy and ideals of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.

Members of the SGI-USA practice the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin for personal happiness, and for development of a peaceful society. One central aim of SGI-USA activities is to promote humanistic dialogue based on Buddhist principles.

The SGI organization in the United States was officially established in 1960. In less than 40 years the U.S. organization grew to a multi-ethnic membership of 330,000, with members in every state and with more than 71 community centers around the country. The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) was founded in 1975 to unite the efforts of members worldwide. All of the SGI's activities are devoted to the promotion of peace, culture and education, based on the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.

The Preamble to the Charter of the Soka Gakkai International states:

"We believe that Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, a humanistic philosophy of infinite respect for the sanctity of life and all-encompassing compassion, enables individuals to cultivate and bring forth their inherent wisdom and, nurturing the creativity of the human spirit, to surmount the difficulties and crises facing humankind and realize a society of peaceful and prosperous coexistence."

[Quelle: -- Zugrif am 2005-05-10] 

"The Organization of SGI-USA

The SGI-USA organization functions to provide support for each individual's practice. Responsible fellow members provide teaching, counseling, communication, and planning of events.

The basic organizational unit of the SGI-USA is called a District. Districts meet regularly, usually in gatherings of 15 to 30 people. Groups, are part of the District, and larger groups, called Chapters, Areas, Regions, and Zones, comprise the regional and national organizational structure, and are responsible for planning and conducting larger scale activities.

In 1991 the SGI was separated from the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood. SGI is dedicated to the creation of a humanistic and non-authoritarian organization based on equality and respect for all life. Members practice Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism as lay believers. SGI-USA also provides legally sanctioned wedding and funeral services for its membership."

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

"Special Activities

SGI-USA members also take part in activities within age and gender groupings: Men's Division, Women's Division, Young Men's Division and Young Women's Division. There are also activities for preschool and elementary school aged boys and girls, and Jr. High School and High School aged members. Youth activities include study groups, symposia, performance groups and events such as the Miami Children's Festival in honor of the UN's 50th Anniversary and the Grand Youth Culture Festival in Southern California.

Performance groups such as choruses, bands, fife and drum corps and dance groups have been formed in many parts of the country for both young people and adults. SGI performance groups frequently take part in celebrations, fairs and parades in local communities as well as provide entertainment and inspiration at SGI gatherings."

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

"Becoming a Member of the SGI-USA

This is a summary of provisions for SGI-USA membership. These provisions were created by the SGI-USA Council and the Central Executive Committee, which meet regularly to decide organizational policies.

A complete set of the rules is available for review at your local community center. We hope it will help to answer your questions about applying for membership.

If you have further questions, please ask your sponsor or local leaders. We look forward to welcoming you to the SGI family in the near future.

What does SGI-USA membership mean?

Membership in the SGI-USA is available to you when you wish to take faith in Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism and support the goals of the SGI, which is committed to the realization of individual happiness, the prosperity of each country and society, and world peace.

If you desire to participate in fulfilling this goal, you may apply for membership and to receive the Gohonzon.

How do I become a member?

You can become a member by following these nine steps. They are intended to help you develop a sound foundation for Buddhist practice, and understand the role and function of the organization.

  1. The process begins when you complete the membership and/or Gohonzon application forms. If you are under 18, your application must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.
  2. The person who introduced you to this organization, or another individual, who is willing to assist you in this practice, can fill the important role of a "good friend" in faith. That person should be a current member of the SGI-USA and will sign your membership application as your sponsor.

The basics of embracing Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism -and the keys to gaining results in your life- are faith, practice and study.

To establish these firmly from the beginning, we ask that you:

  1. perform the daily practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and doing gongyo, the recitation of the Lotus Sutra.
  2. attend one meeting a month for a minimum of three months;
  3. subscribe to the World Tribune, the weekly organ newspaper; and
  4. participate in a New Members Seminar to learn the basics of the practice of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism and of the SGI peace movement.

At this point, you will have entered the final stages of the membership process. The SGI- USA exists to help people live truly happy and fulfilled lives. This can be realized by continuing your practice of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.

Having close bonds with seniors in faith, who can guide you based on their own experiences, has proven to be very valuable.

To introduce you to seniors, who will be available to you for that purpose, we ask that you:

  1. be visited at home by a leader of the chapter level, and
  2. meet with a leader of the headquarters level of the organization.
  3. With the recommendation of these leaders, your application will be reviewed for approval by the Area Personnel Committee, the group within the SGI-USA given responsibility for membership matters.
What happens after my application is approved?

After your application has been approved, you will be scheduled to receive your membership certificate at the next New Membership Ceremony. If you have applied for and been approved to receive the Gohonzon, you will have an opportunity each month to do so, during a Gohonzon Conferral Ceremony*. These ceremonies are held periodically, usually at an SGI-USA Community Center in your area. Your sponsor or one of the seniors in faith you have met in the organization can give you the specific schedule for your area. * In the South Florida Region, these are scheduled concurrently with the World Peace Prayer Meetings that take place on the first Sunday of every month.

What is the membership pledge?

In the process of becoming an SGI-USA member, we ask you to make a pledge based on your understanding of the fundamentals of Buddhist practice.

  1. First, you will be asked to embrace the Gohonzon throughout your life. By joining the SGI and receiving the Gohonzon, you are taking a great initial step toward your goal of a happier life. Persevering in your practice makes that possible. This portion of the pledge signifies the sincerity of your commitment to try your best to do so.
  2. Second, you will be asked to exert yourself in the basics of faith, practice and study as taught by Nichiren Daishonin, within the SGI-USA movement. This pledge indicates your understanding and determination to make efforts to carry out the full practice to the best of your ability.
  3. Third, you will be asked to abide by the guidance of the SGI as it relates to the practice of faith. This indicates that you recognize that the SGI faithfully upholds the Daishonin's Buddhism and that your desire to share in this movement for the happiness of all people. This pledge in no way interferes with the rights and responsibilities of individuals to make their own decisions with regard to the conduct of their personal lives.

In summary, these pledges express your determination to practice Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism as an SGI member.

What are the privileges and responsibilities of membership?

SGI-USA activities are held for the benefit of its members and their guests. As a member you may participate in activities at all SGI- USA facilities and may receive a letter of introduction to participate in activities of other SGI organizations worldwide.

You will find the people who make up the SGI-USA organization are remarkable in their warm-hearted desire to help and encourage others, especially during difficult times or crisis. As a member, you need only to ask, and many friends and leaders of the organization will be happy to assist you in overcoming problems through your Buddhist practice.

The Gohonzon conferred by the SGI-USA is for your use in the practice of faith throughout your life. If at some point one decides to permanently discontinue this practice, the Gohonzon should be returned to the organization.

As an SGI-USA member you are entitled to make tax-deductible, non-refundable, voluntary contributions to the organization which will be used to support the kosen-rufu movement.

Are there any standards of behavior for membership?

Not really. We hope that you actively continue your practice to the best of your ability. We ask that you treat the organization and your follow members with courtesy and respect. Only in an extreme case in which an individual might abuse the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, the organization, or fellow members, would the individual's membership status be reviewed.

Does it cost money to become a member?

There are no membership dues or fees. You are asked to make a minimum offering of $20.00 as an expression of appreciation when receiving the Gohonzon and in support of the kosen-rufu movement of the SGI-USA. This is a donation, not a commercial transaction. The Gohonzon is loaned to you; you do not buy it. A single $20.00 minimum offering includes all members of your family who join at the same time.

Although voluntary contributions to the organization are an aspect of the practice of the Daishonin's Buddhism, there is no requirement to do so. Your membership in the organization will always be free.

Please note that the organization is a non-profit religious organization. It is run and supported by voluntary contributions and the Buddhist spirit of offering.

When does my membership expire?

Basically you remain a member for life. Since your membership is completely voluntary, you can, of course, discontinue your membership at any time either by formal resignation or simply by not participating in SGI-USA activities for an extended period."

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

5.2. Motivation zur Mitgliedschaft

"It is neither a wish for escapism—accession to an "after-world where one could realize Nirvana" (Hourmanl 1990, 103)—nor a search for enlightenment in order to break the infernal cycle of birth and death that drives members of Soka Gakkai to seek Buddhahood. Their concern is rather with the here and now, with helping other people and with improving life on earth, and quickly being reborn after death in order to share their wisdom with others and lead people towards further enlightenment. Thus they share the greatest virtue of the bodhisattva: universal compassion translated into actions which, far from being paternalistic, show a deep respect for other people (Holly 1996). Nichiren Buddhism sees itself as the "Buddhism of sowing." This means that it is always possible to implement a new cause which will produce a new effect. Indeed, thanks to the core practice, the chanting of daimoku, followers may "change poison into medicine," i.e., create value whatever their karma happens to be. Inspired by the teachings of Nichiren, SG thus recommends to its members a methodical way of life: self-analysis within a religious framework. It is a Buddhism of action which seeks to promote a "human revolution," and the organization helps its members by establishing a "pillar" to guide and support them. Nichiren Buddhism and its expression through SG offer its followers the necessary tools to realize their own revolution and, in this way, to transform their environment simultaneously. SG also develops collective and concrete projects—showing respect for people and human rights, world peace, and a healthy environment—towards which it invests in political action both in Japan and internationally. It thus testifies that its approach is not geared solely towards changing the individual, and that its leaders are conscious of the necessity of transforming social structures in order to improve human existence."

[Quelle: Dobbelaere, Karel: Soka Gakkai : from lay movement to religion. -- [Salt Lake City] : Signature Books in cooperation with CESNUR, [2001?]. -- vi, 86 S. : Ill. ; 19 cm.  -- ISBN 1560851538. -- Originaltitel:  La Soka Gakkai : un movimento di laici diventa una religione (1998). -- S. 77f. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei bestellen}]

5.3. Zur Soziologie der Mitglieder

Folgende Angaben nach

Hammond, Phillip E. ; Machacek, David W.: Soka Gakkai in America : accommodation and conversion. -- Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.  -- xi, 224 S. : Ill. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN: 0198293895

Aktive Mitglieder 1997 (geschätzt): 36.000

Rassenzugehörigkeit (In Klammer: Anteil der betreffenden Rasse an der amerikanischen Bevölkerung):

Man sieht, dass vor allem Schwarze überdurchschnittlich vertreten sind. Auch dürfte keine andere buddhistische Gruppierung einen so hohen Anteil an Latinos haben.

Abb.: Keine Rassenschranken: SGI-USA Chicago, 2001
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]

Der religiösen Herkunft nach waren (in Klammer: Anteil der betreffenden Religion an der amerikanischen Bevölkerung):

69% der Mitglieder sind Frauen, nur 32% Männer. 38% der Mitglieder sind geschieden.

59% der Mitglieder neigen zur Demokratischen Partei, nur 11% zu den Republikanern.

Schulabschluss (in Klammer: Anteil des betreffenden Schulabschlusses an der amerikanischen Bevölkerung):

Mitglieder von Soka Gakkai USA haben also im Durchschnitt ein erheblich höheres Bildungsniveau als die Gesamtbevölkerung.

Häufigkeit des "Chanting":

Absicht beim "Chanting" (Mehrfachnennungen waren möglich) (in Klammer: Prozentsatz derer, die durch Chanting ein solches Ziel ereicht zu haben glauben):

Die Differenz zwischen Absicht und Zielerreichung erklärt man so:

Sexualverhalten, das abgelehnt wird

Während 65% aller Amerikaner Homosexualität ablehnen, tun dies nur 20% der Soka Gakkai_Mitglieder

Als Ursache für Armut sehen (in Klammern: alle Amerikaner):

Die Betonung der individuellen Verantwortung entspricht der Betonung der buddhistischen Karmalehre (angewandt auf das gegenwärtige Leben) durch Soka Gakkai.

6. Ereignisse


Die Nichiren Shoshu Academy (NSA) bringt Soka Gakkai nach Kalifornien. Mit der Betreuung wurde Masayasu Sadanaga, betreut, ein Japaner, der 1957 in die USA immigriert war. 1972 änderte Sadanaga seinen Namen in George Williams, weil sein japanischer Name im Telephonbuch von Los Angeles so häufig war, dass es schwierig war ihn zu fínden.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28


Soka Gakkai of America eröffnet ihren Hauptsitz in Los Angeles und hält die erste Versammlung in englischer Sprache ab.


Beginn der systematischen Gewinnung von nichtjapanstämmigen Amerikanern als Mitglieder. Man beruft sich auf die Lehre des zui ho bini des Lotussutras, nach welcher die Lehre der jeweiligen Kultur angepasst werden kann, wenn die wesentlichen Bestandteile der Lehre dadurch nicht berührt werden.


Der neue Immigration Act öffnet die Immigration für Japaner. Es kommt aber nur zu einem bescheidenen Anstieg der japanischen Einwanderung.

1968 bis 1975

Periode des särksten Mitgliederzuwachses


Die Akkulturation zeigt sich darin, dass man bei den Versammlungen in Stühlen sitzt und die Schuhe anläbehält.


Abb.: Tina Turner
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-03]

Tina Turner (geb. 1939) wendet sich Soka Gakkai zu.

"Tina Turner (* 26. November 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee; eigentlich Anna Mae Bullock) ist eine US-amerikanische Sängerin und Schauspielerin.


Tina Turner schaffte den Aufstieg vom Mädchen aus armen Verhältnissen im ländlichen Tennessee zur weltweit erfolgreichen Sängerin. Sie lebt heute in der Schweiz.

Tina und Ike Turner

Geboren wurde Tina Turner am 26.11.1939 in Brownsville / Tennesse als Anna Mae Bullock. Die ersten Erfahrungen mit gesanglicher Performance sammelt die kleine Anna Mae im Kirchenchor ihrer Gemeinde Nutbush. Nach schwieriger Zeit, während der sie bei ihrer Großmutter Roxanne lebt und sich ihre Eltern trennen, zieht sie 1955 zu Mutter Zelma Bullock und Schwester Alline nach St. Louis. Dort lernt sie Ike Turner mit seiner Band Kings Of Rythm kennen und wird deren Backgroundsängerin. 1960 nimmt Tina (ein Name, den Ike ihr aus Promotiongründen gegeben hat) den Song A Fool In Love auf. Der Titel schafft es im August auf Platz 27 der US-Charts. Tina und Ike, die inzwischen auch eine intime Beziehung verbindet, gehen mit der Ike & Tina Turner Revue auf Tournee, auch durch Europa und Australien. 1962 heiraten die beiden in Tijuana/Mexiko. Die Revue bringt viele Jahre großen, auch finanziellen Erfolg. Darüber hinaus gehen die Turners mit den Rolling Stones auf Tournee. Tina nimmt 1966 mit Produzent Phil Spector die in Großbritannien erfolgreiche Single River Deep, Mountain High auf und spielt in der Verfilmung der Rockoper Tommy von The Who mit. 1976 trennt sie sich von Ike. Die Scheidung wird im Jahr 1978 rechtskräftig, dabei verzichtet Tina auf Unterhalt und alle Rechte an der gemeinsamen Musik, sie behält einzig ihren Künstlernamen.


Tina kann solo nicht direkt an die Erfolge der Revue anknüpfen und hält sich u. a. mit Auftritten in der New Yorker Diskothek Ritz über Wasser. Dort wird sie 1983 von der Plattenfirma Capitol Records / EMI "entdeckt". Im selben Jahr erscheint die Single "Let's Stay Together", die in England ein Top-Five-Hit wird. 1984 wird die LP Private Dancer veröffentlicht; die erste Single-Auskopplung "What's Love Got to Do With It" schafft es auf Platz 1 der Billboard Charts. Im Februar 1985 erhält Tina Turner drei Grammy-Awards: Für die beste weibliche Gesangsdarbietung ("What's Love..."), die beste weibliche Rockgesangsdarbietung ("Better Be Good to Me") und die Schallplatte des Jahres ("What's Love..."). 1985 spielt Tina Turner die Rolle der Aunty Entity im Film Mad Max - Beyond The Thunderdome (Mad Max - Jenseits der Donnerkuppel, mit Mel Gibson) und nimmt an der Wohltätigkeitssingle "We Are the World" teil. Im gleichen Jahr tourt sie erstmals durch ganz Europa und tritt 1988 in Rio de Janeiro vor 180.000 Menschen auf. Es soll lange Zeit das Konzert mit den meisten Zuschauern bleiben. Es gibt keine Musikerin, die mehr Eintrittskarten verkauft hat als sie. Im Jahr 2000 geht sie (nach eigenen Angaben) zum letzten Mal auf Tournee, will aber weiterhin Platten aufnehmen und kleinere Konzerte geben. Eine neue Single ("Open Arms") erscheint am 25. Oktober 2004. Am 1. November 2004 erscheint ihr neuestes Album All the Best mit drei bisher unveröffentlichten Songs. 2005 wird Tina Turner in einem Film in der Rolle der indischen Göttin Kali mitspielen."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-03]


Soka Gakkai International wird gegründet, mit Hauptquartier in Tokyo. Zweck ist die Koordination der verschiedenen nationalen Soka Gakkai-Organisationen.

um 1975

Abb.: Wayne Shorter

Der Jazz-Saxophonist und Komponist Wayne Shorter (1933 - ) und seine Frau konvertieren zu Sokka Gakkai

"Wayne Shorter ist aktives Mitglied der buddhistischen Religionsgemeinschaft Soka Gakkai International. Dazu kam er vor 30 Jahren, als seine Tochter an einer Gehirnverletzung litt. Seine damalige Frau Anna-Marie - sie kam 1996 bei einem Flugzeugabsturz ums Leben - und er hätten jedenfalls nicht mehr weiter gewusst, und da sei dann von Freunden der Rat gekommen, sich an Soka Gakkai zu wenden. Sie hätten sich dann auf einer Straße der Aufklärung, der Erleuchtung wiedergefunden, und so erfahren, dass die Erforschung des Lebens ein ständiger Prozess ist, berichtet Shorter.

Ihre Tochter sei zwar mit 14 gestorben, so gesehen hat es also nichts genützt, religiös zu werden, aber sie habe ihnen geholfen, sagt Shorter, habe ihr Leben bereichert und sei der Auslöser dafür gewesen, dass sie sich zusammen mit vielen Freunden dem Buddhismus zugewandt haben. Sie ein "Baby-Buddha" gewesen, sie habe "ihre Mission in vierzehn Jahren erfüllt". "

[Quelle: Christian Broecking. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20] 


Die Nichiren Shoshu Academy feiert demonstrativ das 200-Jahr-Jubiläum der Unabhängigkeit der USA.


Abb.: Plakat: 2005 Year of Youth and Development (Hintergrundbild Soka University America)
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]

Soka University of America (SUA) wird eröffnet.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10

"Die Soka Univerity of America (SUA), gelegen in Kalifornien, ist eine unabhängige Hochschule und gliedert sich in zwei Teile: den "Calabasas" und den "Aliso Viejo" Campus.

Die Universität Calabasas wurde 1987 von SGI Präsident Daisaku Ikeda gegründet. Obwohl keinerlei religiöse Studien angeboten werden und der Zugang zur Universität völlig unabhängig von der Glaubensrichtung der Studenten ist, beruht der Gründungsgedanke auf den buddhistischen Prinzipien des Humanismus und der Menschenwürde.

SUA ist bestrebt, ein akademisches Angebot zu bieten, das der Unterstützung von Menschen aus den unterschiedlichsten Kulutren und Ländern dienen soll, die danach trachten, aus gemeinsamen Erfahrungen zu lernen. Besonderer Wert wird dabei auf kleine Klassen gelegt, so dass ein enger Informationsaustausch zwischen Studenten und Lehrenden gewährleistet ist.

Das Ziel der Universität ist es, als Zentrum für das Studium und den Ausdruck der verschiedenen Kulturen des pan-pazifischen Raumes sowie der amerikanischen Länder zu fungieren, um gleichzeitig als Verbindungsglied zwischen Ost und West zu wirken."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20]


Abb.: Brian Henry
[Bildquelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. I, No. 4 (Summer 1992). -- S. 75.]

Sergeant Brian Henry von der New York City's Metro North Transit Police beginnt seine Arbeit unter den Obdachlosen in der Grand Central Station.

"Sergeant Bryan Henry of New York City's Metro North Transit Police has an astounding record of accomplishment in helping the homeless at Grand Central Station. Henry describes himself as a "quasi-Buddhist practitioner" who joined the force in 1985 and volunteered for the assignment at the station in 1989. A modest man, Henry makes contact with homeless advocacy groups and helps the homeless get off the tracks.

In 1989, anywhere from 350 to 400 people were believed to be living in the 48 acres of underground track area. On March 27th, 1992, police counted 51 people. Henry says he does what comes naturally to him, and he does not try to influence his colleagues with his Buddhist philosophy. "I have found that my actions appeal to other officers and they in turn offer compassion. They see the results of my actions, not anything more. A few years ago, many officers found simply talking to the homeless unthinkable."

Before Henry began carrying a pistol as a police officer, he was a paramedic and could see the effects of his aid to people immediately. "Working with the homeless can be frustrating," he says, "Especially when you think you've gotten through to someone and suddenly they turn up in the subway station weeks later."

Bryan Henry became interested in Buddhism while growing up and sifting through his grandmother's books. "She had all kinds of books on metaphysics which led me into reading more Eastern philosophy,"

he recalls. In the seventies I met a group of Buddhists while biking through Flushing Meadows Park and became involved in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism." Although he does not go to regular temple meetings, Henry maintains a shrine in his house and often chants mantras and The Heart Sutra. "The other week I had to lock up a disturbed individual who kept screaming obscenities and racial slurs. I chanted mantras under my breath and other officers in the station couldn't believe the placid manner in which I withstood him.""

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. I, No. 4 (Summer 1992). -- S. 74f.]


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


Abb.: Briefmarke 25 Jahre SGI, Uruguay, 2000

Die Laienbewegung Soka Gakkai International-USA (SGI-USA) trennt sich von der von Geistlichen dominierten Nichiren Shoshu Academy. (Siehe oben!)

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28

"The fundamental purpose of the SGI-USA is the happiness of people. Its goals are to contribute to peace, culture and education based on the philosophy and ideals of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.

Members of the SGI-USA practice the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin for personal happiness, and for development of a peaceful society. One central aim of SGI-USA activities is to promote humanistic dialogue based on Buddhist principles.

The SGI organization in the United States was officially established in 1960. In less than 40 years the U.S. organization grew to a multi-ethnic membership of 330,000, with members in every state and with more than 71 community centers around the country. The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) was founded in 1975 to unite the efforts of members worldwide. All of the SGI's activities are devoted to the promotion of peace, culture and education, based on the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.

The Preamble to the Charter of the Soka Gakkai International states:

"We believe that Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, a humanistic philosophy of infinite respect for the sanctity of life and all-encompassing compassion, enables individuals to cultivate and bring forth their inherent wisdom and, nurturing the creativity of the human spirit, to surmount the difficulties and crises facing humankind and realize a society of peaceful and prosperous coexistence."

[Quelle. -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]

"Buddhism has always soughth to clarify the best way for people to overcome suffering and achieve fulfillment.

Differences about how to do so have characterized its history. These differences are often between “traditionalists” who value formality above all, and reformers dedicated to a grassroots practice of always returning to the Buddha’s teachings.

Nichiren, the 13th century Buddhist reformer, taught a simple and accessible, yet powerfully effective, form of practice.

Since its inception in 1930, the Soka Gakkai has adhered to the teaching of Nichiren and devoted itself to realizing its ideals, enabling millions to improve their lives. It also promotes the development of education and inter-cultural understanding to build peace.

Since 1990, Nichiren Shoshu, the order of priests who initially supported the Soka Gakkai, has opposed the Soka Gakkai. The priests' emphasis on formalized tradition and absolute clerical authority has led them to denounce this body of believers most dedicated to putting Nichiren’s teachings into practice.

The Soka Spirit movement began in the SGI-USA to correctly identify the heart of Nichiren’s teachings. The goal of this Web site is to clarify the conviction and practice of the Soka Gakkai in contrast with the views and behavior of Nichiren Shoshu, in light of Nichiren’s teachings.

We hope everyone will find this site informative and helpful.

Thank you."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]

SGI-USA hat mehr afro-amerikanische und hispano-amerikanische Anhänger als irgendeine andere buddhistische Gruppierung. 


Abb.: Boston Research Center for the 21st Century (in der Nähe der Harvard University)
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20]

Daisaku Ikeda gründet das Boston Research Center for the 21st Century

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10  


Our Purpose

The Boston Research Center for the 21st Century (BRC) is an international peace institute that envisions a worldwide network of global citizens developing cultures of peace through dialogue and understanding. We sponsor public forums, educational seminars, and dialogue circles that are collaborative, diverse, and inter-generational. BRC also produces multi-author books that have been used in over 220 college and university courses.

"In our work, we single out initiatives reflecting a broad humanism that is consistent with Buddhism," executive director Virginia Straus explains, "and we create programs that help to strengthen cultures of peace."

The Boston Research Center for the 21st Century was founded in 1993 by Daisaku Ikeda, who is a Buddhist peace activist and president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a religious association with members in 190 countries.

The Center fosters dialogue among scholars and activists on common values across cultures and religions, seeking in this way to support an evolving global ethic for a peaceful twenty-first century. Human rights, nonviolence, environmental ethics, economic justice, and women's leadership for peace have been focal points of the Center's work over the years. Current programs and publications focus on women's leadership for peace, global citizenship education, and the philosophy and practice of community building.

Our Programs

Since 2002, our public events have included an ongoing lecture series cosponsored by the Wellesley Centers for Women to honor women of courage. Linda Stout became the first speaker in the series when she delivered the Fannie Lou Hamer Lecture on Economic Justice (2002). The Jeannette Rankin Lecture (2003) featured a talk by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). In 2004, a Woman of Courage lecture honoring environmentalist Rachel Carson was delivered at the BRC by Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Most recently, in winter 2005, Dr. Gloria White-Hammond delivered the Harriet Tubman Lecture on Human Rights.

Re-imagining Self, Other, and the Natural World, the Center's 10th Anniversary Conference (September 2003), explored three philosophies of interconnectedness. Fall of 2004 marked the inaugural Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue. This first Ikeda Forum was entitled Re-Awakening East-West Connections: Walden and Beyond. In-depth summaries of these events are available on the Events pages of the BRC website.

Among the Center's books, Abolishing War (1998) was updated in 2002 with an online dialogue between peace scholars Elise Boulding and Randall Forsberg. Buddhist Peacework (published in 1999 in association with Wisdom Publications) offers firsthand international views of Buddhist approaches to cultural change. The Center's most popular titles include a series on the Earth Charter and Orbis Books' Subverting Hatred: The Challenge of Nonviolence in Religious Traditions (1999) and Subverting Greed: Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy (2002). The Center's first education book, Educating Citizens for Global Awareness, was edited by Nel Noddings and recently published by Teachers College Press (2005). The Center's books have been used in university courses in ethics, peace studies, education, and comparative religion by professors in over 120 American colleges and universities in over 200 courses to date. Order information can be found at

Past programs have include a biannual conference series on global ethics, forums on women's leadership for peace, Global Citizen Awards, and a series of books on common values. The BRC has also sponsored many conferences such as From War Culture to Cultures of Peace: Challenges for Civil Society (1999), a conference series that was designed to support the work of the United Nations which declared the year 2000 the International Year for the Culture of Peace. Other past conferences include the following:

  • The Conditions for Abolishing War: Cultures and Institutions
  • Religion and Ecology: Forging an Ethic Across Traditions
  • Religion and Transnational Civil Society in the 21st Century

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20]


Charta of the Soka Gakkai International:

"Charter of the Soka Gakkai International


We, the constituent organizations and members of the Soka Gakkai International (hereinafter called SGI), embrace the fundamental aim and mission of contributing to peace, culture and education based on the philosophy and ideals of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.

We recognize that at no other time in history has humankind experienced such an intense juxtaposition of war and peace, discrimination and equality, poverty and abundance as in the twentieth century; that the development of increasingly sophisticated military technology, exemplified by nuclear weapons, has created a situation where the very survival of the human species hangs in the balance; that the reality of violent ethnic and religious discrimination presents an unending cycle of conflict; that humanity's egoism and intemperance have engendered global problems, including degradation of the natural environment and widening economic chasms between developed and developing nations, with serious repercussions for humankind's collective future.

We believe that Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, a humanistic philosophy of infinite respect for the sanctity of life and all-encompassing compassion, enables individuals to cultivate and bring forth their inherent wisdom and, nurturing the creativity of the human spirit, to surmount the difficulties and crises facing humankind and realize a society of peaceful and prosperous coexistence.

We, the constituent organizations and members of SGI, therefore, being determined to raise high the banner of world citizenship, the spirit of tolerance, and respect for human rights based on the humanistic spirit of Buddhism, and to challenge the global issues that face humankind through dialogue and practical efforts based on a steadfast commitment to nonviolence, hereby adopt this Charter, affirming the following purposes and principles:

Purposes and Principles
  1. SGI shall contribute to peace, culture and education for the happiness and welfare of all humanity based on the Buddhist respect for the sanctity of life.
  2.  SGI, based on the ideal of world citizenship, shall safeguard fundamental human rights and not discriminate against any individual on any grounds.
  3. SGI shall respect and protect the freedom of religion and religious expression.
  4. SGI shall promote an understanding of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism through grass-roots exchange, thereby contributing to individual happiness.
  5. SGI shall, through its constituent organizations, encourage its members to contribute toward the prosperity of their respective societies as good citizens.
  6. SGI shall respect the independence and autonomy of its constituent organizations in accordance with the conditions prevailing in each country.
  7. SGI shall, based on the Buddhist spirit of tolerance, respect other religions, engage in dialogue and work together with them toward the resolution of fundamental issues concerning humanity.
  8. SGI shall respect cultural diversity and promote cultural exchange, thereby creating an international society of mutual understanding and harmony.
  9. SGI shall promote, based on the Buddhist ideal of symbiosis, the protection of nature and environment.
  10. SGI shall contribute to the promotion of education, in the pursuit of truth as well as development of scholarship, to enable all people to cultivate their characters and enjoy fulfilling and happy lives. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-24]


Refuting the Soka Gakkai's Counterfeit Object of Worship : 100 Questions and Answers. -- Nichiren Shoshu Temple. -- 1996

"What is the correct object of worship in Nichiren Shoshu? The correct object of worship . . . is the Dai Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teachings, as is clearly stipulated in the third article of the Rules and Regulations of Nichiren Shoshu... This Dai Gohonzon was revealed by our founder Nichiren Daishonin to achieve the ultimate purpose of his advent... As this passage indicates, this Dai Gohonzon has been handed down to Nikko Shonin, to Nichimoku Shonin and to the successive High Priests upon the transmission of the lifeblood of the Law entrusted to only one person.... Nichikan Shonin explains "Above all, the Dai Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teachings of the second year of Koan is the supreme of the supreme, the ultimate purpose of all ultimate purposes of advents. It is in fact the foremost of the three Great Secret Laws.The successive High Priests, through the authority they have received by inheriting that transmission, transcribe the Dai Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teachings, the Inner Realization of the Daishonin's enlightenment, and bestow the transcribed Gohonzons upon priests and lay believers." 

[Zitat: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-24] 


Die Umwandlung der Organisationsstruktur vom Zentralismus zum Föderalismus ist abgeschlossen.


Aussagen von ehemaligen SGI-USA Mitgliedern:

"I stopped going to their meetings and chanting in January of last year, 1997. ... I became disillusioned with, not with the practice itself, but the people who were practicing. They were a little too militant for my liking.... A number of people started telling me that if 1 wasn't chanting twice a day, and I wasn't following the regime as they saw fit, then I wasn't doing it correctly. And to me, that went against what we were doing it for. Intolerance didn't seem to be an aspect that I thought was acceptable. And I had also done some readings on Nichiren. It seemed that he was quite militant, too, about trying to force people to practice and excluding all other religions, even other sects of Buddhism, as not being able to reach enlightenment. I don't agree with that. I stopped going to the Soka Gakkai meetings last January. I have since gone to the temple, which is run by the priests. I've been there once, and I've signed up to do the first steps toward receiving Gohonzon from them. But that was probably May of last year, and I haven't followed through with that either."

[Quelle: Hammond, Phillip E. ; Machacek, David W.: Soka Gakkai in America : accommodation and conversion. -- Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.  -- xi, 224 S. : Ill. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN: 0198293895. -- S. 168.]

"There's just a lot of people that pretty much don't practice what they preach. . .. These people had sort of established a pecking order, so to speak.—"I'm on a faster track to enlightenment than you arc because I put more time in. I chant ten hours a night." ... It seems like the holier-than-thou type people—the "Bible thumpers"—it's just those kinds of people that I care not to listen to. If it works for them, great. But please don't say that I'm having difficulty in my life because I'm not sitting properly when I chant."

[Quelle: Hammond, Phillip E. ; Machacek, David W.: Soka Gakkai in America : accommodation and conversion. -- Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.  -- xi, 224 S. : Ill. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN: 0198293895. -- S. 169.]


Abb.: Emblem®

Das Youth Peace Committee (YPC) of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) USA initiiert Victory Over Violence

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20

"Victory Over Violence FACT SHEET

Quest For Peace- Working Toward a Non-Violent World

Victory Over Violence (VOV) is a youth-sponsored initiative to help young people identify and counteract the root causes of violence in their lives and in their communities. VOV outreach programs began in 1999 as a response to growing concerns over the rise in youth-related violence.

The Goals of VOV
  1. To promote awareness, introspection and the spirit of non-violence through dialogue among our youth, our families, our schools and our communities in order to inspire and awaken the energies for positive change.
  2. To provide "a source of hope and courage for young people who have suffered the effects of violence."
  3. To "transform the tendency to downplay the sanctity of life that became deeply rooted in the minds of our children during the twentieth century, the century of war and violence."
The Many Faces of Violence

"It's hard to imagine a time in my life when there was no violence." Acts of violence take many forms. The impact may be subtle or severe, but it is always destructive. Few were unaffected by the images and stories of school shootings in places like Littleton Colorado, West Paducah, Kentucky, Jonesboro, Arkansas, or Santee, California.

The physical acts of violence like school shootings and fighting are obvious, but what about the passive violence we commit each day?

"Being treated like a non-entity was perhaps the deepest act of anger against my soul, one that still cuts me to the bone today."

Mahatma Gandhi said, "passive violence fuels the fire of physical violence; and if we want to put out the fire of physical violence, logically we have to cut off the fuel supply." What is passive violence? According to Gandhi and his grandson Arun, passive violence are the things that we do to disrespect other people's (and our own) lives, such as name-calling, teasing, judging and criticizing. These small and often inconspicuous acts that we commit are actually a form of violence. So what causes passive violence?

On a deeper level, many people, including great leaders of our time, have said that a lack of self-identity can lead to passive violence. In other words, without a strong sense of confidence in knowing who we are, we can end up feeling insecure and even develop an insecurity complex. As philosopher Daisaku Ikeda put it, "When you succumb to a complex, you are likely to see everything about yourself in a negative light. When something doesn't work out for you, you tend to blame it on those things which make you feel inferior: 'It's because I'm short' and so forth." Lacking a solid sense of who we are makes us feel insecure, and this can cause us to compare ourselves to others and even criticize or judge others because they are different from us. Gandhi was referring to judgment and criticism when he stated that passive violence leads to physical violence.

Be The Change You Wish To See In The World

How do we counteract violence, especially passive violence? First of all, it is important to stop comparing ourselves to others, since it is neither good for us, nor for others. Second, we can embrace and accept ourselves for who we are today - not for the person we want to be in 5 years, or for the person we're glad we're not, but for the person that we are today. When we accept ourselves for who we are, we free ourselves from the shackles of comparison and allow ourselves to grow and develop from where we are now. Next, we can do our best to confront whatever task or challenge with which we are faced. By doing our best, we develop a form of confidence that enables us to feel good about who we are as individuals and that helps us to see our shared identity as human beings. When people start to awaken to their deeper identity, we create a revolution in consciousness and begin to see our similarities rather than focus on our differences.

This is the idea that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of when he said, "I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." We can all make a difference by changing ourselves, one step at a time. A Nobel Laureate recently said, "If you wish to change the people then you have to change yourself. If you're successful at changing yourself, then you have a responsibility to change the world." It is up to all of us. Are we going to do nothing and let violence continue its bloody path, or, as Gandhi said, are we going to "be the change we wish to see in the world?"

Trust & Tolerance through Dialogue

The VOV approach is a grassroots, peer-to-peer and heart-to-heart dialogue in a supportive and open atmosphere. It encourages participants to reflect on how violence affects their lives and how they can begin to make a change for the better.

While VOV was inspired by the long-standing Buddhist traditions of nonviolence and respect for all living beings, VOV programs are interfaith and community based. This all -inclusive approach allows VOV programs to focus on our human potential and on the value of dialogue in building a culture of peace. VOV programs encourage youth to develop tolerance, trust and friendship with each other despite differences in backgrounds such as race, religion, sex, color, language, or sexual orientation.

An eight-minute video, an information kit with interactive exercises, a VOV Peace Pledge, and website have been created to inspire and facilitate this dialogue toward a common ground. The kit can be adapted for elementary school age as well as workplace environments.

Pledge your Peace

At VOV events throughout the nation, we are encouraging youth to make their own pledge toward living a non-violent life. This pledge is both a personal statement, as well as a call to action for our governments, schools and other institutions to take up the work of building a non-violent society. By signing the pledge, we resolve to:

  • Value our own lives
  • Respect all life
  • Inspire hope in others


The Youth Peace Committee

Victory Over Violence was created by the Youth Peace Committee (YPC) of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) - USA Buddhist Association as part of their ongoing activities to support the United Nations' "Culture of Peace" initiative. Buddhist peace activist and SGI President, Daisaku Ikeda formed the Youth Peace Committee in 1991. Through collaborative, grass-roots educational projects, the YPC aims to 1) Support the activities of the United Nations; 2) Raise public awareness about the challenges facing humanity; and 3) Nurture the development of individuals who can contribute to peace and human dignity in the 21st Century. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20]

"Peace Pledge

I ... will value my own life. Recognizing that a lack of self-identity and hope for the future lay at the roots of all violence, I will reach beyond my limitations, taking concrete steps each day to uncover my real potential. I will never give up on my dreams, even if they seem impossible.

I will respect all life. Recognizing that violence comes in many forms, I will not isolate myself but will create an environment where others feel comfortable and can be themselves. I will see beyond superficial differences and reflect on my own behavior.

I will inspire hope in others. With courage, I will resolutely stand up against violence, be it verbal, physical or passive and teach others through my own example. I will support others and encourage them to follow their dreams. "

[Quelle: -- Zugrif am 2005-05-20]

"Victory Over Violence in Action

The following list includes some of the larger VOV activities that have taken place throughout the United States and abroad since 1999. In addition, many smaller group discussions and school meetings continue to go on.

  • Over 5,000 small group discussions have been held throughout the
    United States.
  • 110,000 pledges have been signed.
  • Presentations have been given to various city officials around the country.
  • San Francisco youth held a VOV meeting that attracted over 1,000 people and included 20 Non-Governmental Organizations.
  • The mayor of Memphis, TN declared October VOV month.
  • SGI-USA youth marched together with the Santa Monica, California Police & Fire Departments and other youth groups in "Night Out Against Violence"-a march to unify the Santa Monica community against violence.
  • VOV meetings have been held in high schools and colleges throughout the nation.
  • The Victory Over Violence project has received international attention with requests for information coming from France, England, Turkey, Mexico and other nations.
  • A VOV portable exhibit was created and has been traveling around the United States since February 2000.
  • Members created a VOV booth and participated in the Los Angeles Million Mom March where over 850 pledges were signed.
  • Youth Peace Committee members in New York hosted an exhibit called "Closing the Gaps to Create Cultures of Peace" which was attended by Bangladesh's Ambassador to the United Nations, Anwarul Chowdhary.
  • VOV project was presented at the Northern California United Nations Association on May 12, 2000 and at the Creating Cultures of Peace Committee meeting in April 2000 in San Francisco.
  •, the Victory Over Violence website, went online in February 2000.
  • A Victory Over Violence dialogue entitled, "Fostering Nonviolent Activism in Youth" was hosted by the YPC and published in the March 2000 issue of Living Buddhism magazine with youth representatives from the Gandhi Institute, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance, Soka University and the SGI United Nations office.
  • On May 25, 2000, Yvette Edmond, YPC Advisor, spoke about VOV at the SGI sponsored seminar in support of the Millennium NGO Forum, "Toward Creation of Violence Free Communities."
  • In June 2000, a Victory Over Violence concert featuring Nestor Torres was held in Puerto Rico, bringing attention to the widespread problem of youth violence and to encourage youth to live nonviolently.
  • In October 2000, the University of Michigan adopted Victory Over Violence and held a week long series of VOV activities, which included seminars, panel discussions and culminated in a concert. Guest speakers included Dr. James T. Yamazaki, author of "Children of the Atomic Bomb." The governor of Michigan and the mayors of Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan each proclaimed October 1-7 as Victory Over Violence week.
  • In November 2000, Colin Powell's organization, America's Promise, endorsed Victory Over Violence.

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-20]


Zwei Leserbriefe:

"I read Clark Strand's article "Born in the USA" with considerable interest and some perplexity. To explain SGI's racial diversity, Mr. Strand proposes that "when African Americans step into a Buddhist meditation center, [the] invisible [white] culture is the first thing they see." Mr. Strand fails to mention the fact that SGI is the only Buddhist organization in America that actively proselytizes. Although the aggressive street recruiting of the old shakubuku [literally, "propagation"] days may be a thing of the past, Soka Gakkai members are encouraged to evangelize their friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, and schoolmates and bring them into the fold. Left to their own devices, would African and Hispanic Americans seek out Soka Gakkai any more than they do Zen or Tibetan Buddhism i Or is SGI's diversity more likely a reflection of its emphasis on recruitment than it is the response to a racist miasma, invisible to European and Asian Americans but perceptible to African and Hispanic Americans, which secretly infects all varieties of Buddhism save Soka Gakkai? As the Buddha told the Kalamas, "If it agrees with observation and reason, then believe it."

Ralph Doty

The article on Soka Gakkai's ethnic diversity was informative, but the author's suggestion that Buddhist organizations that are predominantly "white" do not welcome "nonwhites" is weak. Further, it makes no sense to make vague assumptions about the ethnic demographics of various Buddhist groups without bringing real percentage figures into the greater context of historical development.

Non-Asian Buddhists in the United States are mainly converts. Thus, the current ethnic blend of any particular Buddhist group reflects the history of that group's previous outreach efforts, and may not reflect the attitudes of its present membership or its tenets.

The author cites the active proselytizing by Soka Gakkai members and estimates that roughly 20 percent of SGI members are African American (the African American U.S. population is about 14 percent). To determine whether SGI is inherently more ethnically diverse, as the article implies, or consequentially so, one would have to determine whether Soka Gakkai engaged in conversion activities in similar proportion to the racial diversity of the U.S. population. If it did, one would have to ascertain whether it did so as aggressively in predominantly white communities as it did in the inner city.

It seems that the author is looking not really for dharma per se, but for a culturally diverse group of friends who happen to share an interest in some type of Buddhism. Fellowship is an important function of any church. But when one is meditating (or chanting) with eyes closed or gazing at the floor, all Buddhist centers seem to look pretty much alike.

Paul Volker


Although it is not entirely true that SGI is "the only Buddhist organization in America that actively proselytizes" (a quick perusal of the advertisements in this magazines will reveal advertisers whose purpose is clearly to win converts—dare I say-customers—to its particular form of Buddhism), it is nevertheless true that SGI s method of recruitment has had much to do with its success in attracting diversity. It is, however, patently untrue that SGI has recruited African Americans more aggressively than white Americans. That it has tried to recruit them at all makes SGI utterly unique in American Buddhism, and this fact, more than any other, led me to investigate why that might be so.

Racial inequity is as much the historic legacy of our country as our Constitution. In psychological terms, it reveals the shadow side of American society, the part we would rather not look at too closely, the part we would rather not see. It is interesting to me that at the end of his letter Mr. Volker writes, "[W]hen one is meditating (or chanting) with eyes closed or gazing at the floor, all Buddhist centers seem to look pretty much alike." I would simply challenge him to look up for once in his particular Buddhist center and count how many faces of color he sees."

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XIII, No. 3 (Spring 2004). -- S. 8f.]

Zu 4.4.: Buddhist Churches of America