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The Imagery of Nichiren's Lotus Sutra - Other Characters of Interest to Buddhists 
 Shakubuku in Chinese   
 
Shaku
Shaku is Che or She in Chinese. 

It is composed of two radicals: 

    On the left is the front view of a hand. 
    On the right is an ax. 

Shaku is the action of an ax in a hand. It means to cut, to break, to burst (Wieger). To snap, to decide, to compound, to fold, to subdue evil and receive good (Soothill).  

 
Buku
    Buku is Fu in Chinese.

It is composed of two radicals: 

    On the left is a person.
    On the right is a dog.

Buku is a person imitating a dog i.e. being subservient or lowly. It means to crouch, to prostrate oneself, to hide, to humble (Wieger). To prostrate, humble, suffer, bear, ambush, dog-days, under control, e.g. as delusion (Soothill).  

Shakubuku means to break (Shaku) delusion (Buku) to cut suffering to empower. 

Critics of Nichiren's Buddhism commonly mistranslate the word Shakubuku as "to break and subdue." The problem with this "translation" is that the word "and" (ni in Chinese) does not appear in the word Shakubuku.  If it did, it would read Shakunibuku. 

Shakubuku is not breaking and subduing people, it is stopping suffering and awakening to life's potential. 

Another point: It is better not to say: "This is John, my Shakubuku." It makes a new person sound like a possession. 

It sounds better to say "This is my friend John" or "This is John he's new to the practice." 

As you may or may know,Shakubuku does not stop when a person receives a Gohonzon. Everyday we must break (shaku) the cycle of suffering (buku). Introducing others to the practice of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism keeps us in practice for fighting our own interior and exterior demons.  
 
 

Updated 6/7/06 
Copyright 2002 Imagery of Nichiren's Lotus Sutra website