5) "Zen Cemetery"
This is an old, old story. Nikken, the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu, while High Priest, performed a dedication of an ancestral grave at a Zen Cemetery, in direct defiance of injunctions from both Nichiren Daishonin and Nikko Shonin concerning performing ceremonies at heretical temples.

Nichiren Shoshu now tries to excuse this by pointing out that President Ikeda's relatives are buried in a Shingon cemetary.

If it were just that Nikken's ancestors were buried at a heretical temple, no one could blame him. Of course. But, he is the High Priest of the sect that calls itself the "true school" of Nichiren, and it's not a matter of his ancestors having subscribed to another religion he actually performed a ceremony at the temple of another religion (Zen).

This case also tells something about Nichiren Shoshu. Its first reaction, when the news was released, was to say that it was not a Zen cemetery, but another cemetery across the street from a Zen temple. When documents and pictures showed emphatically that the cemetery in question was indeed part of the temple, they denied he had performed the ceremony. When pictures of him performing the ceremony were produced, Nichiren Shoshu adopted its current attitude that President Ikeda is just as bad as the High Priest, then as if there is no difference between the Nichiren Shoshu High Priest performing a ceremony, and President Ikeda's family having, in the past, used a Shingon cemetery.

It is similarly disingenuous and backtracking in what it has told its members in SG-eye's next section.

6) "Shinto Talismans"
The final meeting between Makiguchi, Toda, and the priesthood occurred in June 1943, and at issue was a government edict that all religions adopt and enshrine a Shinto talisman. The Gakkai leaders opposed any compromise of the Daishonin's Buddhism, even if it meant persecution; while the priests argued for compliance. Makiguchi and Toda were arrested a few weeks later, and the Shinto talisman was enshrined at Taisekiji.

Since this issue first came up in the early 90s, Nichiren Shoshu has gone through a series of gyrating denials. First, of course, "it never happened". There were so many documents, however, recording that it did happen, that Nichiren Shoshu never actually used this argument with the public it merely tried to get its own members to believe it.

When those members were exposed to the documents anyway, the argument became "It was important to preserve the Daishonin's teachings; we had to pretend to accept the talisman so the government wouldn't wipe us out; and the Daishonin's teachings could be revived later".

Nichiren Daishonin, of course, faced death at the hands of the government; in fact, he would have been executed but for a freak of nature. And if he had died, there would have been no teachings for Nichiren Shoshu to resurrect.

Not once did Nichiren "pretend", not once did he fail to state his opinions, even knowing that doing so would incur the government's wrath.

So obvious is this, so tawdry does it make Nichiren Shoshu appear, that its campaign now is of course blame it all on the SGI.

It has recently issued a booklet in Japan about this. Using out-of-context quotes from early Gakkai publications, and adding its own spin to them, Nichiren Shoshu now alleges that Makiguchi and Toda were arrested, not for their opposition to government policy, but because they supported it too passionately!

Sure all psychotic dictatorships bent on world domination are afraid of people who support them too much.

SG-eye's argument, though, is that the Gakkai is hypocritical since it now allows new members to keep a talisman if they have one equating this with the act of a High Priest of the sect accepting one to avoid persecution.

For more on the Gakkai attitude toward prospective members who have the talisman (and artifacts of other religions) see the first article in section 2-A) "Unhealthy Allegiances".

7) "Truth About the Heritage"
It is Nichiren Shoshu's contention that the "heritage", by which they mean the Daishonin's enlightened life and the concomitant mastery of his doctrine, has been transmitted faithfully in an unbroken lineage with no interruptions whatsoever.

Two of Nichiren Shoshu's own records, The Chronology of the Fuji School and The Essential Writings of the Fuji School, contain writings by senior priests including High Priests from throughout the history of Nichiren Shoshu. Unfortunately for Nikken's need to reinforce the above contention about the unbroken lineage, both collections contain accounts of breaks in this lineage: High Priests imported form the temples of other sects, teenage and pre-teen boys being appointed High Priest, the documents of the lineage being given to laymen.

So, since the unbroken lineage is crucial to Nikken's claim to be the one and only holder of that lineage, Nichiren Shoshu has found itself in the embarrassing position of having to refute its own "essential writings". This they have done in a most improbable way (it is a rather daunting problem, with no reasonable solution): Nichiren Shoshu suddenly maintains that these were only records of rumors, left for later, post-contemporary scholars to sort out.

In short, it's saying: 

"There is a rumor that the current High Priest is a nine year old boy. For some reason I can't walk over to see for myself, but maybe later generations will have a better way to find out."

        Other "Temple Issue" Topics:

  • Overview of Temple Issue
  • Deja Vu
  • The Kawabe Memo
  • Seattle Trial