By Josei Toda
PART I (JULY 10, 1951)
When the first president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, stood up to lead the Soka Gakkai and propagate the True Law, Nichiren Shoshu believers had forgotten that one is punished when opposing this great Law. That is why he chose to expound the theory of punishment both inside and outside of Nichiren Shoshu, thereby meeting every persecution in his attempt to propagate the great Law. There were even priests who attacked him by saying that emphasizing the theory of punishment contradicts the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu.
However, President Makiguchi was resolute in expounding the dreadfulness of the punishment that one may receive by slandering the Law. Until the last moment of his life, he remained resolute in proclaiming the real punishment of the Law.
Mr. Makiguchi, my mentor, would often say:
"The Gohonzon has great power. The fact that it does have great power also means that if you slander it, you will be punished. If a father is not upstanding enough to scold his children, how can he help them to become happy? Pray to the Gohonzon sincerely. Can't you hear the Gohonzon say to you, 'If you slander this Law, you will have your head broken into seven pieces? This statement, which we can read on the Gohonzon, actually refers to the punishment one will receive by slandering it."I agree with Mr. Makiguchi's central contention. If you deny his view, you do not actually believe in the awesome power of the Dai-Gohonzon. Those who oppose the theory of punishment are no different from those who are seduced by the superficial compassion of Shakyamuni's Buddhism. I say that they do not embody the true spirit of Nichiren Shoshu.
I repeat this. In the upper-right corner of the Gohonzon are the words, "If you slander this Law, you will have your head broken into seven pieces." Doesn't this signify the theory of punishment? At the same time, in the upper-left corner of the Gohonzon is an inscription that reads, "If you make offerings to the Law, you will receive more good fortune than that derived from holding the ten tides of the Buddha." Doesn't this signify the promise the Gohonzon makes to us that we will receive benefits when we worship it? Benefit, or value, and punishment, or anti-value, constitute the reality of our daily lives. Some Nichiren Shoshu priests had forgotten that the power of the Gohonzon can be revealed in one's daily life in either way until President Makiguchi discussed it. They were astonished at what he brought out, and I am dumbfounded that many of them have since pretended that they have known this principle very well for quite some time.
Also, some priests are not yet aware of this principle. I am saddened rather than surprised by their ignorance. In the Gosho "On Persecutions Befalling the Buddha," Nichiren Daishonin writes:
In the Latter Day of the Law of Shakyamuni and the Buddhas before him, the rulers and people who despised the votaries of the Lotus Sutra seemed to be free from punishment at first, but eventually they were all doomed to fall.This passage clearly indicates that the person who slanders the great Law will receive severe punishment. Who can deny this? That would be a slanderous act, and those who do so are evil and foolish. The Daishonin also says in the same Gosho:
The deaths of Ota Chikamasa, Nagasaki Tokitsuna and Daishin-bo for example, who were all thrown from their horses, can be attributed to their treachery against the Lotus Sutra. There are four kinds of punishment: general and individual, conspicuous and inconspicuous. The massive epidemics, nationwide famines, insurrections and foreign invasion suffered by Japan are general punishment. Epidemics are also inconspicuous punishment. The tragic deaths of Ota and the others are both conspicuous and individual. Each of you should summon up the courage of a Hon and never succumb to threats from anyone.President Makiguchi made the heart of this passage his own. Even though he was alarmed, he was neither scared nor astonished. Rather, he continued to expound on the punishment one will receive by slandering the Law. He persisted in his theory of punishment. Thus, he was criticized by those both inside and outside Nichiren Shoshu.