I began to work on the staff of the Soka Gakkai Headquarters in April 1971. A guidance meeting was held for all new staff at the Gohonzon room of the Seikyo Press building. President Ikeda attended this meeting.
At the meeting there was a staff member who was chanting daimoku while listening to President Ikeda’s guidance. I was sitting four or five people away from his position, and I could not hear his chanting voice. I assume that President Ikeda could not clearly hear him chanting either, but he recognized that this new staff member’s mouth was moving to chant. President Ikeda scolded him severely, saying, “Don’t chant while you are listening to me. All you worship is nothing but the Gohonzon, not me.”
After this incident, another individual asked President Ikeda about a passage from the Gosho: “Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu were both scholars who produced a thousand works. However, they expounded only the provisional Mahayana teachings. Though they understood the meaning of the Lotus Sutra in their hearts, they did not declare it in words. T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo went so far as to expound it, but they left unrevealed the object of devotion of the essential teaching, the four bodhisattvas, the sanctuary, and the five characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Their reasons were, first, because the Buddha had not transferred these teachings to any of them, and second, because the time was not ripe and the people’s capacity had not yet matured. Now the time has arrived, and the four bodhisattvas will surely make their advent. I, Nichiren, was the first to understand this.” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 449)
After reading this passage from the Gosho “The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will Meet Persecution,” the questioner asked President Ikeda, “At this point in time, have the four bodhisattvas appeared in this world?”
President Ikeda responded to his question as follows: “In the passage you quoted, Nichiren Daishonin speaks about his conviction that he is the True Buddha. We should not interpret the passage as meaning Bodhisattva Jogyo has appeared as Nichiren Daishonin in this age. However, it can be said that there are people who perform the function of Bodhisattva Jogyo or the functions of the other leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Also, each individual performs all the functions of the four bodhisattvas. With the many people who fulfill the characteristics of the four bodhisattvas, we will fight on to achieve kosen-rufu.”
The person who was chanting while listening to President Ikeda’s guidance must have been very serious about his attitude in faith toward the president. But I think President Ikeda was strict with him so that he wouldn’t have even a tiny amount of misunderstanding. Also, his guidance on the above passage of the Gosho clearly refuted the notion of the rebirth of Nichiren Daishonin in modern times.
Since I was at that meeting with President Ikeda, I can clearly say that the idea that “the Soka Gakkai’s true teaching is to regard its president as the True Buddha” (an idea that began to spread within Nichiren Shoshu) was totally groundless.
I was first assigned to the New Society Research Center, an affiliate of the Soka Gakkai. Seiji Takeoka was also assigned to this company along with me. The center chief was Ryuichi Goto, who later became Chief Director of the Institute of the Oriental Philosophy. This center published a monthly magazine called Jyoho Pack. Its editor was Yukio Akitaya, who had moved from the Ushio Publishing Company. The Jyoho Pack stopped publishing in the summer of 1972, however, and the New Society Research Center was incorporated into Daisan Bunmei Sha, another affiliate of the Soka Gakkai. Masatomo Yamazaki took care of the legal procedure for the research center to become part of the Daisan Bunmei Sha.
Now that the Jyoho Pack was no more, Takeoka and I each received a new assignment, which was to work under Yamazaki to deal with an incident that arose in those days. In other words, we served as staff to Yamazaki, chief legal counselor of the Soka Gakkai. We became part of the team who gathered information to resolve an incident.
The year was 1972 when the Sho-Hondo was completed. Its completion ceremony was conducted in October.
Denying the Meaning of the Sho-Hondo
By rights, the definition of the meaning of the Sho-Hondo was decided upon at the early stage when donations for its construction were gathered. The final draft of the reason for the collection of donations for the Sho-Hondo was agreed upon at the Sho-Hondo Construction Committee meeting, held at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters building in Tokyo on March 26, 1965, with the attendance of Nichiren Shoshu High Priest Nittatsu and Soka Gakkai President Ikeda. The document that clarifies the purpose of the donations to the Sho-Hondo reads as follows:
“An announcement has been officially made that the time has come for the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary to be removed from Hoan-den and enshrined at the Sho-Hondo. We have been hearing that the construction of the Sho-Hondo is actually synonymous to the construction of the high sanctuary and the achievement of kosen-rufu. This point is now clearly confirmed.”
In accordance with the above reasoning, both priesthood and laity of Nichiren Shoshu participated in a contribution drive that lasted four days from October 9 to October 12, 1965, and which resulted in 35.5 billion yen contributed for the construction of the Sho-Hondo. Soka Gakkai members donated 35643 billion yen. Priests and their family members contributed 157187 million yen, and Hokkeko members offered 31382 million yen. (In those days, a college graduate’s monthly salary was only 20,000 yen.) The interest that was accrued by depositing this fund in several banks was as much as 13.24764 billion yen.
After such huge donations were made, High Priest Nittatsu expounded the meaning of the Sho-Hondo on various occasions:
“The Daishonin is building this High Sanctuary of the True Teachings of the Lotus Sutra. President Ikeda, head of all Nichiren Shoshu lay societies, initiated a vow in this October to build the High Sanctuary of the True Teachings.” (from a speech given at Shoko-ji temple in Kofu on October 4, 1967, and published in the October 1969 issue of Dai-Nichiren)
“Based upon a great pledge by President Ikeda, head of all Nichiren Shoshu lay societies, the construction of the Sho-Hondo, which should be called the High Sanctuary of the True Teaching, will get under way through its groundbreaking ceremony on the 12th of this month.” (from a speech given at Nissho-ji temple in Sapporo on September 19, 1968, and published in the March 1969 issue of Dai-Nichiren)
“The High Sanctuary of True Buddhism, based upon the great vow made by President Ikeda, head of all Nichiren Shoshu lay societies, is about to be constructed in 1972.” (from a speech given at the first priests’ family guidance meeting held at the head temple on January 25, 1969, and published in the April 1969 issue of Renge)
“Now that the time has come, the construction of the Sho-Hondo, which actually embodies the High Sanctuary of True Buddhism, has been under way, following the great vow made by President Ikeda, head of Nichiren Shoshu lay societies.” (from a speech given at the scroll-airing ceremony at the head temple on April 6, 1969, and published in the June 1969 issue of Dai-Nichiren)
“By rights, the Sho-Hondo is a holy temple where the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the True Teaching is to be enshrined. It is indeed the high sanctuary where Bonten, Taishaku, and so forth, will descend and visit. For this reason, Daisaku Ikeda, the person who vowed to build this sanctuary, gathered stones from various countries in the world of the southern Jambudvipa to bury them under the ground upon which the altar will be placed.” (from a speech given at the cornerstone-setting ceremony at the head temple on October 12, 1969, and published in the November 1969 issue of Dai-Nichiren)
It is obvious from these series of speeches made by High Priest Nittatsu that the Sho-Hondo was understood to be the actual High Sanctuary of the True Teaching.
Nichiren Shoshu Top Management Swayed by Myoshinko’s Asai Family
However, the meaning of the Sho-Hondo was about to be altered in 1970, just two years away from its completion, through the influence of a group of biased and distorted lay believers within Nichiren Shoshu. This was the Myoshinko. It was a very strange move since Myoshinko, as one of the lay societies of Nichiren Shoshu, had agreed upon the contents of the document explaining the purpose of donations for the construction of the Sho-Hondo and had actually participated in the contribution drive.
But the way the Myoshinko group gathered donations was unusual.
When the Hokkeko Lay Federation was formed in 1963, the Myoshinko group refused to be part of it, claiming that the Myoshinko is a special lay society. For this reason, the Myoshinko was not allowed to visit the head temple. On July 29, 1964, Jinbei Asai, head of the Myoshinko, threatened Masukichi Hirasawa, president of the Hokkeko Federation, by saying:
“If you have stopped sincere Myoshinko members from visiting the head temple through the power of authority, it could happen that some of them will resort to violence and create a bloody scene.” (from Masukichi Hirasawa’s diary contained in On the Issue of Former Myoshinko)
Because of such hostility between the two lay groups, the idea of Myoshinko even joining the Hokkeko Federation was up in the air.
It had been agreed at the head temple that Nichiren Shoshu would accept offerings only from the Hokkeko and the Soka Gakkai. Therefore, the Myoshinko did not have any access to the opportunity to make contributions for the Sho-Hondo.
Then, something else occurred. It was agreed that Kocho Kakinuma, then the general administrator of Nichiren Shoshu, would accept offerings from the Myoshinko group members as a special case. It is said that they offered a total of 8 million yen.
Jinbei Asai and his son Shoei were shocked at the enormous amount of money donated by Gakkai members. This father and son also became jealous about the difference between the Gakkai’s power and theirs; thus they were looking for an opportunity to make an issue out of the meaning of the Sho-Hondo.
However, Nichiren Shoshu’s executive priests including High Priest Nittatsu did not have a resolute attitude toward the Myoshinko. When the high priest met with Jinbei and Shoei Asai in person, he could not speak to them resolutely. Instead, he at times flattered them and at other times comforted them without showing them a clear direction. The reason was that High PriestNittatsu was very aware of the Asais’ stubborn and incorrigible nature. It was obvious that they would turn to threatening Nichiren Shoshu unless their opinions had been accepted. However, the Nichiren Shoshu top management failed to realize that its half-heartedness would contribute to the violent explosion of the Myoshinko group.
Jinbei Asai, taking advantage of the high priest’s manipulative words, cornered himself within the Myoshinko group by saying to the effect that he was superior to President Ikeda and that the high priest’s true intent was in accord with his own belief. By rights, however, the high priest and Nichiren Shoshu Administration could not alter what they had agreed in the document that stated the mission of the Sho-Hondo.
It could be considered a case of fraud if the significance of the Sho-Hondo was altered after donations for the construction were collected. And, of course, aside from such a secular perspective, the significance of the Sho-Hondo as the actual High Sanctuary of the True Teaching remained intact.
Under such circumstances, High Priest Nittatsu Hosoi issued an admonition on April 28, 1972. In it, he stated:
“I, Nittatsu, at this point in time, wish to clarify the significance of the Sho-Hondo for people both inside and outside Nichiren Shoshu, thereby leaving proof for posterity. The Sho-Hondo is the actual high sanctuary in these modern times that contains the significance referred to in the transfer documents of “Lifetime Propagation” and “The Three Great Secret Laws.” Namely, the Sho-Hondo is a great edifice that should be the High Sanctuary of Honmon-ji temple at the time of kosen-rufu.” (excerpted)
The Administrative Office of Nichiren Shoshu, following this admonition, sent Jinbei and Shoei Asai a notice that read to the effect that, “Unless you follow the admonition, you will be ordered to disband. Respond to us by July 7.”
The Asais sent the Administrative Office their response dated June 22. The Asais asserted that the admonition did not reflect High Priest Nittatsu’s true intent, and they intimidated the Administrative Office by declaring that they would take an unusual action as a case of emergency, unless Nichiren Shoshu revised the contents of the admonition by July 7:
“Unless you follow our plea, we as Myoshinko will take a suicidal action — the Gakkai, which covers the high priest’s true intent, will be disposed of, and the cunning Administrative Office will be done away with.” (quoted from The Issue of Former Myoshinko)
General Administrator Do’o Hayase (later named himself Nichiji after obtaining a noke position on September 28, 1972) and Study Department Chief Shinno Abe (Nikken) both submitted a letter of resignation before July 7 and disappeared from the scene of Nichiren Shoshu. Actually, these two executive priests fled to Arima Hot Spring in Hyogo prefecture. Under such circumstances, their request for resignation was not accepted. Since nobody was able to fill in these two vacant vital positions within Nichiren Shoshu, the issue of who would take over their responsibilities was up in the air.
In his memoir, Wado Hamanaka writes about Hayase and Abe’s escape to Arima Hot Spring:
As I found out later, High Priest Nittatsu, accompanied by his daughter’s husband, Reverend Jiun Sugano, and others, chanced to drop by the Arima Hot Spring in Hyogo prefecture. At the hot spring, Reverend Sugano bumped into the two executive priests. Hearing about their encounter, High Priest Nittatsu responded to Reverend Sugano smilingly, ‘This is where they’ve been hiding. Bring them over.’ Both of them, appearing in front of High Priest Nittatsu, looked very much embarrassed.
“In any case, there was no one in Nichiren Shoshu who would deal with the Asais since both the General Administrator and the Study Department Chief had run away. As a matter of fact, they both excused themselves and ran away from their responsibility, although they allegedly that they had done so to take responsibility.”
However, all of what Hamanaka wrote here can’t be regarded as true. Sugano’s encounter with Hayase and Abe at the hot spring can’t be a coincidence. We should look at their encounter as an instance in which High Priest Nittatsu took the trouble to travel all the way to Hyogo to bring them back to the head temple. We can see through this incident the structure of lukewarm human relationships within the sect of Nichiren Shoshu. Also, we can sense their lack of sense of responsibility as executives of a huge religious body. The truth of their escape was that they both passively showed their sign of protest against what was happening within Nichiren Shoshu, with only half a year away from the ceremony celebrating the completion of the Sho-Hondo. Theirs was, indeed, a case of sabotage.
There must have been something going on within the heart of High Priest Nittatsu Hosoi; something that prevented him from rebuking the two executive priests who shunned their responsibilities. In other words, there must have been a circumstance in which the high priest could not punish these two, even though they had abandoned their responsibilities by saying to him that he could do anything he pleased to handle the Myoshinko group. Or, it may be more correct to say that Hayase and Abe, whose family lineages are deeply rooted in Nichiren Shoshu, are in a superior position compared to that of Hosoi, who did not have any favorable Nichiren Shoshu family background.
Some may wonder how the high priest came to know their whereabouts, but it must have been very easy for him to know where the two executive priests went, since Nichiren Shoshu is a sect where various kinships exist and many priests are intricately interrelated to one another.
Many noted individuals, representing various sectors of society and including many foreigners of various countries’ embassies, were invited to the Sho-Hondo completion ceremony. While the Soka Gakkai leaders were fully prepared for the upcoming celebration, Nichiren Shoshu’s three top priests were not mindful enough about what they were achieving in October. To put it another way, at a huge event that could be as significant as a national event, the three most important priests of the sect were not united in their minds and actions. They were at a loss of what to do, feeling intimidation from one lay group.
At any rate, because of Hayase and Abe’s abandonment, the Administrative Office of Nichiren Shoshu stopped functioning completely. In the meantime, High Priest Nittatsu himself contacted Nichijin Matsumoto, Chief Priest of Myoen-ji temple in Sumida ward, Tokyo, on July 1, telling him to come to Taiseki-ji. Jinbei Asai and Shoei Asai had Matsumoto deliver their new intimidating letter to the high priest to reverse the contents of the admonition. In it they wrote:
“The indignation of our 2000 young men is now uncontrollable and they are now armed with swords and sticks to protect Buddhism.”
“When the Myoshinko stands up with one mind with death-defying spirit, there will be bloodshed without fail.”
“When this happens, the Myoshinko will perish, the dark clouds of the Gakkai will be dispelled, and the manipulations of the Administrative Office will become bygone.”
“We offer our ten thousand lives as our donations…”
When Nichijin Matsumoto handed their letter of intimidation, High Priest Nittatsu handed his letter to the Asais, where he wrote:
“The admonition represents my true intent. It is an expression of my belief as high priest.”
“Our decision is exactly in accordance with Nichiren Daishonin’s will. In no way is it opposed to his teaching.”
However, High Priest Nittatsu was all alone, with Hayase and Abe out of picture at that time. And on July 6, the high priest met with the Asais at Myoen-ji temple in Tokyo. But he could not correct the Asais’ errors. Instead, all he could do was calm them down, allowing them to become even more conceited.
High Priest Nittatsu met with the Asais again at Myoen-ji on August 12, giving them strict guidance for the first time. The Asais perceived that the high priest’s strict attitude toward them was a product of the Gakkai’s influence over Nichiren Shoshu, and they begged him to give them a chance to talk directly to representatives of the Soka Gakkai.
Nichiren Shoshu thus became incapable of solving the situation on its own, which meant the rise of a new phase of confrontation between the Soka Gakkai and the Myoshinko. It follows that the organization that donated 35 billion yen had to sit at the same table on the equal basis with the group that donated only 8 million yen.
First of all, Nichiren Shoshu was in the position to guide the Hokkeko Federation. It did not make sense that the Soka Gakkai would play a role to convince the Hokkeko of its erroneous belief. However, the Soka Gakkai had a primary mission to protect Nichiren Shoshu from the outside. The shrewd Asais took into account the Soka Gakkai’s position and mission in conjunction with Nichiren Shoshu. The Myoshinko was thus given an opportunity to have a debate with the Soka Gakkai on an equal basis, which meant it was given a chance to show the weight of its group to people both inside and outside Nichiren Shoshu.It was an especially good chance for the Asais to show their significance to the members of their own group.
In any case, the Soka Gakkai needed to convince the Myoshinko, so that it could devote itself to bringing about a series of celebrations for the completion of the Sho-Hondo.
Myoshinko Pronounced Disqualified To Visit the Head Temple
The Soka Gakkai representatives and the Asais had as many as seven rounds of debate. While avoiding the implementation of Myoshinko’s radical activity plan and minimizing the confusion within Nichiren Shoshu, the Soka Gakkai fulfilled its responsibility to safely bring to an end the two-week long ceremonial events that started on October 1. What Yamazaki told me at that time is very interesting:
“High Priest Nittatsu will be in trouble if the Soka Gakkai alone continues to become big. His true desire is to check the extraordinary growth of the Soka Gakkai by using the existence of the Myoshinko group. He is scared because the Gakkai has grown so much beyond his expectation. Twenty years ago, the priesthood was so destitute. The priests owe so much to the Soka Gakkai, but they don’t appreciate the Gakkai much. That’s the way the priests are.”
The Soka Gakkai and the Myoshinko group were under the agreement that they would resume their debate concerning the significance of the Sho-Hondo. However, the Myoshinko repeated its heretical theory about the national sanctuary in its organ magazine.
In May 1973, the Administrative Office of Nichiren Shoshu issued a ban on the Myoshinko’s pilgrimage to the head temple, stating, “We can’t accept your visit to the head temple while you advocate the idea of national sanctuary in written form in opposition to Nichiren Shoshu’s official decision on this matter.” (from The Issue of Former Myoshinko)
However, the Myoshinko did not change its theory even after this. About a year later, the Myoshinko made another plea to the head temple that the group be granted the right to visit the head temple. In response, Nichiren Shoshu turned down the group’s request for the second time, stating, “Following the will of the high priest, we won’t allow you to visit the head temple as long as you uphold the idea of the national sanctuary as if it were a public opinion.” (from The Issue of Former Myoshinko)
Infuriated by High Priest Nittatsu’s guidance, the Asais threatened Nichiren Shoshu, stating, “We’ll resort to violence if you don’t grant us the unconditional right to visit the head temple. Once we resort to violence, you won’t know what will happen.” (from The Issue of Former Myoshinko)
In this vein, the Soka Gakkai moved to negotiate with the Myoshinko side about the concrete rule and schedule to follow.
Soka Gakkai Chief Legal Counselor Masatomo Yamazaki and Myoshinko’s Shoei Asai (the current president of the Kenshokai group) met at the Myokei Center in Myogadani, Tokyo, at 1:20 PM through 7 PM on May 13, 1973. The meeting was held to develop rules for the upcoming debate between Soka Gakkai and Myoshinko. Yamazaki reported to the Soka Gakkai Headquarters what Asai said at this meeting:
“In any case, the priesthood of the head temple is terrible. The high priest’s position around 1970 was, ‘Asai, you said it very well. Because of your appeal, the true intent of the head temple was protected. By rights, we agree on the idea of the national sanctuary. But this is not the right time for us to advocate it. Please continue to say what you have been advocating.’ Study Department Chief Abe’s position was, ‘Mr. Asai, what you say is correct. You’re saying what nobody in Nichiren Shoshu can. We appreciate you.’ They used to agitate us in that way, but now they’ve completely changed their position toward me. They look down on the way things are in secular world. And they are so manipulative. I feel they need to learn a lesson. They need to know how powerful we are in actuality. Otherwise, they will never reflect upon themselves.” (a recorded document)
“It is emotionally hard to meet with Gakkai people. Because of the trust I have for the Soka Gakkai, and because of the personal feelings I have toward the Soka Gakkai, I don’t feel like fighting against them. So, if possible, I don’t want to see the Gakkai people. But I can’t cop out, either. At any rate, I am tired. I can’t persevere any more. Even if somebody tells us to persevere some more, we can’t take it any longer.” (a recorded document)
“I have no ill feelings toward the Soka Gakkai. Actually, I respect them. However, we need to move on. I hope that the Gakkai will accept to debate with us.” (a recorded document)
Yamazaki comments on Asai’s attitude:
“His behavior was courteous. He was much quieter this time.” (a recorded document)
“At times, he was in tears. At times, he was bowing his head. He was listening to what we had to say.” (a recorded document)
However, when Mr. Einosuke Akiya, then the Vice President of the Soka Gakkai, met with Shoei Asai at Jozai-ji temple in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on May 24, Shoei Asai was very unilateral, reading in front of Mr. Akiya his “Request for a Public Debate,” and handing it to Mr. Akiya. Then, Asai stated, “We don’t care even if our action gets branded as irrational or opposed to a rule or to our original promise.” (from The Issue of Former Myoshinko) “You can either respond to us by saying our request is absurd or refuse to accept it.” (from The Issue of Former Myoshinko)
High Priest Nittatsu gave clear direction about this requested public debate, “Believers must never engage in a confrontation with one another by having a public debate.”
Attacking the Soka Gakkai Headquarters Building
The Asais focused their attack on the Soka Gakkai, because their aim was to oust the Soka Gakkai, especially President Ikeda. They were banking on the anti-Gakkai sentiment within Nichiren Shoshu. As I will articulate in Part 11, the statements High Priest Nittatsu made in those days were not consistent. In the months of May and June, he made anti-Gakkai remarks here and there. The move of the Asais was noticeably consistent with the high priest’s inner anti-Gakkai sentiments. The Asais seemed confident that they would not be expelled from Nichiren Shoshu despite their attacks on the Soka Gakkai.
On July 20, the Soka Gakkai side informed General Affairs Bureau Chief Eido Fujimoto that Myoshinko members would assemble at Meiji Park in Shibuya, Tokyo, on July 28, 1974. At the opening ceremony of the practice and study training meeting that was held prior to the Myoshinko’s assembly, the high priest, without referring to his own error, made the following remark:
“Although the head temple is secure, we are now in an unexpected situation in which we are getting a share of the influence arising from arguments between lay groups.” (August 1974 issue of Renge)
On July 28, the Myoshinko members, after conducting an outdoor meeting for the cause of Rissho Ankoku, put on a demonstration by marching to Yotsuya Station. They distributed their documents to the press and to Nichiren Shoshu temples. Because of the Myoshinko’s demonstration, Nichiren Shoshu’s internal strife was exposed to the public.
By launching an attack on the Soka Gakkai while observing subtle changes in the priesthood’s attitude toward the Soka Gakkai, the Asais made one fatal mistake. Because of the Myoshinko’s demonstration, High Priest Nittatsu could not put aside the issue of the Myoshinko as a mere confrontation between lay groups. In other words, his inability to control his believers became an issue in society. The high priest thus lost face, which led him to make a clear resolution for the first time to dispose of the Myoshinko.
Nevertheless, the Asais were hanging on to a ray of hope and kept focusing their attacks on the Soka Gakkai. They once said to Yamazaki, “It’s emotionally hard to meet with Gakkai people. Because of the trust I have for the Soka Gakkai, and because of the personal feelings I have toward the Soka Gakkai, I don’t feel like fighting against the Soka Gakkai.” (a recorded document) Yet now, for the sake of preserving their power within the group, they began zeroing in on the Soka Gakkai. Almost everyday throughout September, the Myoshinko sent its propaganda car to the area of the Soka Gakkai Headquarters building, repeating its provocative disparagement of the Soka Gakkai through a loud speaker.
And finally, around 6 PM on October 4, some seventy young members of the Myoshinko assaulted the Soka Gakkai Headquarters building. Insanity on the part of the Myoshinko was very serious at that time. They drove their propaganda car through the iron gate of the Headquarters building, damaging the building here and there. As a result, twelve Myoshinko members were arrested on the spot on account of their illegal intrusion into a building, destruction of materials in the building, violent activities, disrespectful conduct in a religious place, and illegal enforcement. Three of them were convicted and each of them was given a guilty sentence.
When investigated at the Yotsuya Police Station, Shoei Asai testified, “I’ve been telling them not to use violence. The Myoshinko position is and will be against violence. I’ll guide them in a manner that under any circumstances they should not resort to violence. Please understand my intent.” (from The Issue of Former Myoshinko)
Shoei Asai, while agitating his youthful followers on one hand, made sure that he himself would not be arrested on the other.
Making the Construction of the High Sanctuary Pending Is a Good Proposition to Nichiren Shoshu
Jikido Yagi, who sided with the Myoshinko, was expelled from Nichiren Shoshu in October 1974. Nichijin Matsumoto was also expelled from Nichiren Shoshu in December of the same year. Incidentally, Yagi used to be chief secretary to the 64th high priest, Nichijun. But under the reign of Nittatsu Hosoi, he was exiled to Yogyo-ji temple, a small local temple in Fujinomiya City. Never in the past in Nichiren Shoshu had a priest who was once a chief secretary of a high priest been assigned to a poor temple. For this reason, Yagi had developed a deep grudge against High Priest Nittatsu.
Before being expelled from Nichiren Shoshu, Nichijin Matsumoto was dismissed from his position of Chief Priest of Myoen-ji temple. On behalf of Matsumoto, Hosho Kubokawa became its chief priest while Wado Hamanaka became his assistant.
Hamanaka belonged to the first class of the young acolytes who were tonsured under High Priest Nittatsu. He was the head of all acolytes. Because of his eloquence and skills, he was dispatched to Myoen-ji temple. From this point onward, Hamanaka became close to Yamazaki in his dealings with the issue of the Myoshinko group.
Naturally, I too got acquainted with Hamanaka at that time, as I was engaged in handling the Myoshinko issue with Yamazaki. Yamazaki, at one point, cautioned me, “Wado is in a position to make a direct report to the high priest. You guys should be careful to never tell him inappropriate things.”
To recollect, it seems that Yamazaki kept us away from the high priest, as he wanted to instill only his information into the ears of the high priest.
Consequently, I did not talk to Hamanaka much.
By the way, why couldn’t High Priest Nittatsu present a clear definition of the Actual High Sanctuary of the True Teaching?At the beginning, when Nichiren Shoshu was engaged in a donation drive for the construction of the Sho-Hondo, the Sho-Hondo’s construction was defined as the construction of the substantial High Sanctuary. And just before its completion, the definition of the Sho-Hondo was modified to, “The Actual High Sanctuary of Modern Times,” and “A great edifice that should be the High Sanctuary of Honmon-ji Temple at the time of kosen-rufu,” thus giving posterity the job of deciding on the meaning of the substantial High Sanctuary.
What constitutes the Actual High Sanctuary of the True Teaching was at the core of the heritage of Nichiren Shoshu. That the high priest could not clearly define what constitutes the Actual High Sanctuary of the True Teaching indicates that the Actual High Sanctuary of the True Teaching might have faded away from the contents of the heritage of Nichiren Shoshu with the lapse of time, I wonder.
It will doubtlessly be beneficial to the priesthood if the construction of the Actual High Sanctuary of True Buddhism remains an eternal goal of Nichiren Shoshu. No matter what great lay leader may appear, the priesthood does not want to put him on the same level as Yashiro Kunishige, the recipient of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the True Teaching. This is because the priests know that the position of priesthood will be eternally secured by making a distinction between a remarkable lay leader and Yashiro Kunishige.
In 1998, Nikken ruined the Sho-Hondo, a crystallization of pure faith. His reason for doing so was his grudge against the Soka Gakkai nad especially President Ikeda. He couldn’t change the fact that President Ikeda initiated the vow to build the Actual High Sanctuary of the True Teaching. It is also a glorious fact that many Soka Gakkai members made an enormous amount of offerings in accord with their president’s pledge. A tangible structure will inevitably come to a ruin somehow, at one point in time, perhaps for a secular reason or simply with the lapse of time. Indestructible is the fortune of those who made their sincerest donations for the construction of the Sho-Hondo.
The “Ceremony in the Air” was conducted within the Treasure Tower that emerged in the 11th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Moreover, this Treasure Tower temporarily disappears in the 22nd chapter of the Lotus Sutra. However, a deeper analysis of this ceremony in the air reveals that those who have gathered for the ceremony have not actually dispersed yet. The same principle applies to the High Sanctuary of the True Teaching.
Today, Bonten and Taishaku visit the many community centers of the Soka Gakkai throughout Japan. They also visit the many facilities of the SGI throughout the world. The Three Great Secret Laws (the Object of Devotion of the True Teaching, the Invocation of the True Teaching, and the High Sanctuary of the True Teaching) have manifested themselves in the lives of the people of the entire world under the leadership of the three presidents of the Soka Gakkai. The teachings expounded by Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, have certainly begun to illuminate the darkness of the Latter Day of the Law.
Nichiren Daishonin states in his “Appeal to Ryusen-ji Temple”:
“Priest Gyochi illegally stripped Nisshu and Nichiben of the temple where they dwelt, making it impossible for them to give solemn prayers for the security of the nation. Not only that, Priest Gyochi accumulated evil deeds, annihilating the merits of the votaries of the Lotus Sutra and ousted them with fabricating falsehoods against them. His behavior is as evil as that of Devadatta during the time of Shakyamuni.” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 853)
Nikken Abe’s devilish behavior is no different in nature from that of Gyochi. By wiping out the accomplishments of Honorary President Ikeda and excommunicating the Soka Gakkai for various false reasons are the same acts as Gyochi. I am surprised to realize that what the Nikken sect, Masatomo Yamazaki, and others did against Mr. Ikeda exactly resembles what Devadatta did during the time of Shakyamuni.