Letter from Chief Priest of Joen-ji Temple Reverend Sendo Narita 

The chain of events perpetrated by Nikken, including the arbitrary excommunication of the Soka Gakkai and, above all, the unspeakable injustice of terminating the bestowal of Gohonzons upon its members, have filled me with a deep sense of indignation. Finally, in November 1992, after much soul-searching, I, as chief priest of Joen-ji temple decided to secede from the Head Temple Taiseki-ji. 

Every deed and action of Nichiren Daishonin, the original Buddha, throughout his life was dedicated to kosen-rufu. His sole wish was to save all humankind. Thus, it deeply pains me to think how saddened and angered the Daishonin, who always displayed such infinite mercy and compassion toward his believers, would surely be if he learned that people's seeking spirit toward faith was being denigrated and the flow of kosen-rufu obstructed. I firmly believe he would not tolerate such a situation. 

There is nothing more terrible than the betrayal of the sacred intent of the founder, who declared, "If Nichiren's compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity..." (MW-4, p. 272) 

From the very first, I was deeply moved by the way in which Soka Gakkai members, despite being unjustly denied the right to receive the Gohonzon by the head temple, have maintained unshakable faith, and indeed, have been advancing kosen-rufu in Japan and countries throughout the world with even greater vigor and energy than before, centering on SGI President Ikeda. 

The Soka Gakkai members' tenacious struggles to realize kosen-rufu convince me all the more that they genuinely practice correct faith and have seeking spirit toward the Daishonin's Buddhism. As such, no group of people is more qualified to pray before the Dai-Gohonzon, which was bestowed by the Daishonin upon the entire world. Since the Daishonin's Buddhism is dedicated to the realization of kosen-rufu, I have been filled with a fervent desire to lend my support and encouragement in some way to the members of the Soka Gakkai, who are struggling with such sincerity and devotion to this cause. 

Joen-ji temple, which was founded some 690 years ago, has among its treasures a Gohonzon transcribed by the 26th high priest of Nichiren Shoshu, Nichikan Shonin. The existing situation in which Nikken has unjustly terminated the conferral of Gohonzon upon Soka Gakkai members convinced me that the best and most just course as well as the course that, I feel, would win the approval of the Daishonin would be to enable Soka Gakkai members to receive Okatagi Gohonzon based on this Gohonzon. 

I have also brought this matter before a meeting of my colleagues in the Association for the Reformation of Nichiren Shoshu, where it was given unanimous approval. Hence, the reason for my tendering this proposal for your organization's consideration. 

If your organization would accept this proposal, nothing would give me greater joy. It is a proposal made solely on the basis of faith and inspired by my sincere wish to enable Soka Gakkai members, who demonstrate such great seeking spirit toward the Daishonin's Buddhism, to freely pray to the Gohonzon for the furtherance of kosen rufu. 

Very truly yours, 

Sendo Narita 
Chief Priest, Joen-ji Temple

All material is from the booklet Reaffirming Our Right to Happiness, issued by SGI-USA, and used without permission.