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Thursday, August 4th, 2011
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Soka Gakkai

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

The Japanese form of Buddhism known as Soka Gakkai is but one of the (1)many religious expressions that is found in Japan today as there are upwards of over a 100 new cults that are being formed every year in this nation. So Soka Gakkai claims to be the right religion then why has it failed to overwhelmingly convince its countrymen of its essential truths?

Anyway this religion has honorable goals and moral practices but practically there appears to be conflicting reports in comparison to this group and its parent movement of Nichiren Buddhism. The statements of SGI supports a position of global unification by accommodating humanistic and religious values for all mankind through its endorsement of universal  citizenship.

Yet this is contrary to the position of its mother organization that has taken more of a radical position in support towards ideas of (2)world domination along with the destruction and  denunciation of all other faiths even if it means forced conversions. Furthermore, the founding father Nichiren who is proclaimed as the Savior of the world has participated in these views by rejecting all other forms of Buddhism in openly preaching an exclusiveness not an inclusiveness.

The question is who is right and how can a group maintain its identity as an organization when it doctrinal agenda has been changed to fit its own goals and needs. This group may make claims to a reformation but this is more in line with a reorganization.

If the teachings and methods of Nichiren are right as being the chief legislator of this movement and if his methodology is being challenged as being incorrect then how credible is the rest of his teaching? To question a supreme authority in one respect is to   question everything else as well and therefore if you question everything else then what can be said concerning Nichiren’s ultimate truth which can not change.

Additionally on a positive note there have been many honorary awards given to President Daisaku Ikeda but still there are some inconsistencies in maintaing this high standard of global unity that is central to their social platform. Such compromise is plausible in regards to their actions  whether it was their spilt with Nichiren Shoshu over doctrinal and practical issues or by taking a partisan political position with the New Komeito Party in opposition to other political views towards government. Even having a individuated religion shows a degree of intolerance unless of course you are a Universalist.

Yet more importantly than these peripheral issues is the central teaching that comes from Buddhist thought. I have already addressed many of these conflicting issues which deal with rebirth and karma among other things which can be found by following these links.


According to Ikeda some of the highlights of his book on Seven Paths to Peace is his statement of obtaining mastery over ones desires, behaviors, and goals and yet there appears to be a  preoccupation with the practitioner to achieve personal happiness and joy including material benefits. I really don’t see the motives here as having a sense of otherness but rather it appears to be more egotistical in its approach. Maybe this comes with an attitude adjustment among it’s followers but nevertheless there is still an  unhealthy preoccupation with developing self rather than establishing a sense of community. Perhaps self development is necessary before community response can be realized or achieved but it appears to me that this is a continual process throughout the course of ones life in which the individual must constantly nurture themselves towards achieving buddahood. Just the efforts to remove bad karma can be time consuming and self indulgent through acts of worship, penance and chanting in bringing about this self redemption. Perhaps some of these things are part of contributing towards society but are the motives behind the actions altruistic or is there the individual desire to achieve the goal of enlightenment?

In other words if your ultimate goal could not be obtained then would you still be as persistent in following this path?

Personally I think this philosophy sounds good but basically it breaks down when looking beyond the superficiality of these outward works. Of course I am not saying by no means that there has not been a considerable contribution to the welfare of mankind by SGI but what I am challenging is it claims of being an essential spiritual reality.

Additionally the practice of chanting “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo” or “devotion to the mystic law of cause and effect through sound and vibration” to the Gohonzon can be a mind numbing procedure especially for those who persist over hours of recitation. This kind of practice can be a form of mind control for cultish groups and is also practiced among the Hare Krishna as a form of brainwashing. Hitler was responsible in influencing people by his Nazi propaganda in stating that if you say something long enough and loud enough that people will begin to believe you. After a while it breaks down the minds resistance to think and reason which can be hypnotically dangerous  by opening up a person to the subjectiveness of whatever message is being communicated. Also repetitive messages were used as a means of torture and mind alteration with prisoners.

So if chanting is necessary to obtain enlightenment then how many times and for how long do you have to continue this practice before you reach buddahood? Additionally, if you somehow reach this spiritual goal then how do you maintain your status without becoming disenlightened? Anyway I really question the ability for simple words to change the heart and nature of complex beings and I suspect that some of those reading this blog have questioned this practice as well.

Finally I hope I have not offended any of those who are apart of this movement with my challenging perspective.  I know that words can be helpful and at other times hurtful but if there is something that bears witness to what I am communicating then I would simply ask just to be open to other possibilites. On a personal note my life was radically changed over 20 years ago and it wasn’t through the arduous task of rituals or self effort in obtaining a check off list of meritorious actions but it came simply by believing in someone beyond myself namely in Jesus. I am including with this blog a link to my personal testimony which may be of interest to you in hearing about my life transformation by which I have never been the same since.

Lastly I would like to leave you with the words of Jesus who calls to every heart

Mt  11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”




How to know God

Soka Gakkai Resources




1 Excerpt taken from Operation World, Copyright© 2001 by Patrick Johnstone. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Richard Okamoto, “Japan,” Look, September 10, 1963, p.16

Handbook of Today’s Religion, Copyright 1983 by Campus Crusade for Christ Inc., Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers