The Source of Contributions to Soka Women’s High School
June 1973 was when complaints began to circulate from Fujinomiya about the land that was illegally appropriated by Taiseki-ji. In August, High Priest Nittatsu Hosoi noted that the priesthood was ignorant of secular matters and that the priesthood had better rely on the laity when it came to those issues. Later, he changed his mind completely in this respect, after an incident that took place in October of this year.
High Priest Nittatsu had promised President Ikeda that Taiseki-ji would contribute 200 million yen to the Soka Women’s High School (currently, the Kansai Soka High School). On October 13, 1979, the high priest conveyed to the Soka Gakkai through General Administrator Nichiji Hayase that, “We’ve taken 200 million yen out of the Sho-Hondo account.” (from a recorded document) In this way, High Priest Nittatsu made clear that he wouldn’t use Taiseki-ji’s regular account for this donation to the school. He didn’t want to make the 200 million yen contribution to the Soka Women’s High School using Taiseki-ji’s regular money.
Later, however, High Priest Nittatsu thought that he had made a poor decision, so he communicated to the Soka Gakkai on the morning of October 14 that he would put an equal amount of money back into the Sho-Hondo account, using money from Taiseki-ji’s regular account.
What actually happened was that the Soka Gakkai did not appreciate High Priest Nittatsu’s original decision at all. This is what prompted the high priest to change his mind. He went ahead and put the 200 million yen back into the Sho-Hondo account from the regular account.
On October 14, President Ikeda arrived at the head temple, and his car was parked east of the Sho-Hondo, where he spoke straight to High Priest Nittatsu:
“I won’t be able to trust you any more if you can so easily break your promise. From now on, I will handle any issue between us openly in front of others…” (from a recorded document)
“Please take the Gakkai seriously. Please don’t use the Gakkai as a means. Please don’t take advantage of the Gakkai. We all want to see your mercy.” (from a recorded document)
High Priest Nittatsu couldn’t appreciate what President Ikeda had said to him because he had said it in front of other people. He felt, “I was treated like a child in front of many people.” He kept on expressing this vexation to priests and their families for many years to come. Hearing such an emotional remark by the high priest, the priesthood and its families (not knowing about the promise he had made to donate the money) developed the misunderstanding that President Ikeda had forced the high priest to contribute the money to the Soka Women’s High School.
Nichiren Shoshu realized the inadequate action it took about the promised contribution of 200 million yen to the high school and felt it necessary to show its sincerity to the Soka Gakkai. So Nichiren Shoshu decided to present one billion yen to the Soka Gakkai for its effort to construct the Sho-Hondo and for its many years of commitment to promoting kosen-rufu. Moreover, Nichiren Shoshu issued a memo on October 17, 1973, saying that the Soka Gakkai could freely use the balance of the Sho-Hondo construction fund (376 million yen).
Even though Nichiren Shoshu had promised it would present one billion yen out of its utmost sincerity to the Soka Gakkai, its true intention was to cover up the narrow-mindedness shown in its previous attempt to draw 200 million yen out of the Sho-Hondo account. It was later shown that High Priest Nittatsu didn’t appreciate what happened around that time.
On December 12, 1973, High Priest Nittatsu expressed his agreement with the Soka Gakkai’s idea of founding an institution called the Nichiren Shoshu World Center (later called the Nichiren Shoshu International Center [NSIC]). On top of that, he agreed that Nichiren Shoshu would not make a Hokkeko organization abroad (from a recorded document), making clear Nichiren Shoshu’s position toward the kosen-rufu movement outside Japan.
The Administration of Nichiren Shoshu was very incompetent. It was not versed in Japan’s law at all, and it had made huge mistakes in acquiring farmland inappropriately and misusing public roads knowingly. It could have made serious mistakes abroad due to its ignorance of the “way of the world,” making much more trouble for lay believers. It is safe to say that only the Soka Gakkai can lead the way for world kosen-rufu because of its organizational capability and rich human resources. This was and is an objective truth.
High Priest’s Daughter Elopes with Young Priest
High Priest Nittatsu came to believe that the Soka Gakkai had begun to move in a direction where it would fully control Nichiren Shoshu, through its involvement in Taiseki-ji’s accounting matters and its plan to found the Nichiren Shoshu International Center.
As a matter of fact, in those days, High Priest Nittatsu had a serious family problem that had surfaced about a year ago. One of his daughters was the wife of Giko Hayase, the only director that Taiseki-ji had at that time. Giko Hayase was the nephew of Nichiji Hayase, the General Administrator of Nichiren Shoshu. This daughter of the high priest, who was about 40 years old, eloped with Yosai Yamada, a twenty-four year old priest who was the Chief Priest of Kankiryo temple in Nakano Ward, Tokyo.
Yamada insisted that he would quit being a priest so that he could stay with her. The disharmony between the married couple is said to have stemmed from Mr. Hayase’s promiscuous relationships with other women. This eloping incident could have turned out to be more than a mere personal matter. It could have destroyed the alliance of High Priest Nittatsu and General Administrator Hayase. It could have broken the balance between the Myokankai group (the high priest’s faction) and the Hokikai group (Hayase’s faction) within Nichiren Shoshu.
Whenever he visited the head temple, Jiun Sugano (the husband of another daughter of High Priest Nittatsu), used to stay at the Honju-bo lodging temple on the grounds of Taiseki-ji, whose chief priest was Giko Hayase. But he stayed away from Hayase’s temple after the latter’s divorce. Because of this, the Myokankai group’s priests chose not to contact Hayase any more.
High Priest Nittatsu was plagued by his daughter’s elopement. He was also concerned about losing his stability within Nichiren Shoshu. Perhaps because of his inner anguish around that time, the high priest gradually became shaky in his statements while losing the spirit of competence and compassion that he used to display in his character.
Much confusion ensued due to the high priest’s unstable emotions and inconsistent remarks. The fact that General Administrator Hayase, residing at Hodo-in temple in Tokyo, was serving as a communication pipeline between the Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu did not help High Priest Nittatsu, either. The high priest felt that Hayase had become too close to the Soka Gakkai, which prevented him from believing the Gakkai’s sincere words. The unbalanced mind of the high priest caused him to make devilish remarks that were critical of the Soka Gakkai.
High Priest Nittatsu stated at a meeting on March 27, 1974:
“We’ve been treated as fools, as foolish priests. No one can tell who’s absolutely correct. Are they correct in treating us like fools? Or are we wrong simply because we’ve been treated like fools? They may continue to treat us like fools if they want to. Persevering is the way of priesthood. Ours is the way of forbearance.” (Renge, April 1974 issue)
High Priest Nittatsu also stated at a meeting of the Myokankai group (a gathering of his immediate disciples) at the Grand Lecture Hall on March 31, 1974, “It is frightening to apply the Daishonin’s teachings based upon your individual thought.” (Renge, May 1974) With this statement, he implicitly criticized President Ikeda.
High Priest Nittatsu stated at the Grand Reception Hall in front of the Hokkeko members who were at the head temple on their pilgrimage, “There is no other true Buddha than Nichiren Daishonin during ten thousand years in this Latter Day.” (Renge, May 1974 issue) After saying so, he lectured:
“The point I’m making is based upon the teaching of Nichiren Shoshu. I’ve somehow heard that one organization is spreading the propaganda that a new True Buddha has made an advent in this world. Such a theory is totally wrong. Such a theory does not belong to the teaching of Nichiren Shoshu. Saying such a thing means you are no more believers of Nichiren Shoshu. I hope that you Hokkeko members will stop those who advocate such an incorrect doctrine. Doing so is your mission as Hokkeko members. You are the people who have a mission to protect Nichiren Shoshu. You truly believe in Nichiren Shoshu. It is a frightening thing to say that there is another True Buddha other than Nichiren Daishonin. Whenever you hear of such a new teaching, please say that it is an erroneous teaching to those who advocate it. I hope you’ll devote yourselves to correct faith. Kosen-rufu must be achieved, but achieving kosen-rufu based upon an incorrect teaching is meaningless. I hope that the Hokkeko members will stick with the heritage of the Hokkeko, sharing the same destiny with the head temple and your local temple. It is my sincere desire that you uphold such a correct attitude in faith.” (Renge, May 1974 issue)
These statements made by High Priest Nittatsu were based upon his illusion. The idea of “the Soka Gakkai president’s being the True Buddha” was a notion conjured up in his mind. The Hokkeko members’ progress in propagation had been much behind to that of the Soka Gakkai, and they felt they had been treated as second-class believers, despite the fact that they had been maintaining faith in the Daishonin’s Buddhism much longer than Gakkai members. They must have taken these statements of the high priest in a very literal manner.
Misunderstanding Soka Gakkai Intent behind the Establishment of Nichiren Shoshu International Center
High Priest Nittatsu could not honestly listen to what the Soka Gakkai had to say about the purpose and management of Nichiren Shoshu International Center, because he suspected that the Soka Gakkai would control Nichiren Shoshu through this institution.
On May 9, Soka Gakkai Vice President Hiroshi Hojo and Masatomo Yamazaki (Vice General Director at that time and also Chief Legal Counselor of the Soka Gakkai) had an audience with the high priest and discussed this new foundation. But High Priest Nittatsu could not listen to what the Gakkai had to say, and he made the following formidable statement:
“It is all right if you make an international center, but make it on your own. Separate Nichiren Shoshu from it. Please don’t involve us in it. You are saying you don’t need temples abroad. You will return our priests to Japan. You won’t need Nichiren Shoshu overseas. The Soka Gakkai will gain its strength, which has nothing to do with Nichiren Shoshu. Nichiren Daishonin may rejoice but it’s none of my business.” (from a recorded document)
Mr. Hojo replied, “You are not correct there, sir. We have no intention whatsoever to put Nichiren Shoshu under the control of the international center.” (from a recorded document)
But High Priest Nittatsu showed no sign that he understood the Gakkai’s explanation. The high priest went on to say:
“To begin with, your president disparaged me in front of the public. You remember what he said to me. He has completely put down the authority of the high priest. He wouldn’t say such a thing to the chief administrator of another sect. I put up with what he said, but I don’t see any reason why he had to say such a thing to me.” (from a recorded document)
In reply, Vice President Hojo said:
“You’re totally wrong. All he said to you was ‘Please cherish the Gakkai members who have been devoted to kosen-rufu. Please show them your mercy.’ Because you broke the promise that you personally made to him, he said that kind of thing before the public. What do you think, as the high priest, regarding the fact that the president has been unsparingly devoted to protecting the head temple?” (from a recorded document)
In response, High Priest Nittatsu just said, “I’ve been praying for him, for it’s my duty to do so.” (from a recorded document) Then, referring to the accounting matters of the head temple, the high priest said, “I am appreciative of the Soka Gakkai accountants who have been helping us in conjunction with the transaction of the property of the head temple. But they are also checking to see if Taiseki-ji has 1 billion yen in its regular account, aren’t they?” (from a recorded document)
High Priest Nittatsu presumed that the Gakkai, by sending its accountants to the head temple, was attempting to see if the head temple possessed 1 billion yen in its regular account. Vice President Hojo responded to this allegation, saying:
“You are totally wrong. First of all, we’ve sent you our accountants because you wanted our support. All we are doing is trying to protect the head temple because the head temple is being targeted in regard to the way it handled land transactions, together with the issue of the head temple’s misuse of the public roads.” (from a recorded document)
The high priest could not accept this rational explanation by Vice President Hojo. He still suspected that the accountant and lawyers that the Gakkai had sent to the head temple were really there to find out about Taiseki-ji’s wealth. In reality, their task was to straighten up the head temple’s accounting system – part of the great cause of protecting the head temple. High Priest Nittatsu voiced his suspicious ideas to Vice President Hojo. It follows that Nichiren Shoshu did not appreciate the Soka Gakkai at all for its sincere efforts to do aid the head temple. In effect, the Soka Gakkai was doing what the head temple was supposed to do – in order to take responsibility through its accounting system and asset record keeping system.
Actually, the Gakkai’s accountants and attorneys had to reconstruct each record almost from scratch, because in almost every instance Taiseki-ji’s records and the governmental records did not match. Taiseki-ji had been totally neglectful of the most fundamental paperwork, work that was a necessary responsibility of any religious corporation.
One of the most terrible instances was this: Taiseki-ji had a property of 500,000 tsubo or 408.4 acre, which the temple had illegally acquired. Taiseki-ji could not dispose of it by any means. Hence, Taiseki-ji lent a dependable entity some money so that it could buy the illegal land from Taiseki-ji. In this way, Taiseki-ji transferred the ownership of the problematic land to another entity, ordering it to cultivate the land. The Gakkai’s accountants and lawyers then had to make this entity pay the property tax on this land, using the money generated by cultivating it.
Ever since the indictment incident in June 1973, the Soka Gakkai had been devoted to dealing with the incident on behalf of the head temple. Not only that, the Gakkai was kind enough to do the paperwork that the head temple was responsible for as a religious incorporation. High Priest Nittatsu was on a totally different page, giving very little appreciation to the sincere efforts of the Soka Gakkai.
The Soka Gakkai first made huge donations for the construction of the Sho-Hondo, believing that it was the Actual High Sanctuary of True Buddhism. Nichiren Shoshu then changed its significance, leaving its definition to the posterity. Then the Soka Gakkai found Nichiren Shoshu in a position where it was to be indicted due to its illegal acquisition and use of the land on which the Sho-Hondo was built. These facts were enough to justify the Soka Gakkai’s indignation at Nichiren Shoshu. Instead, the Soka Gakkai persevered to protect the head temple no matter what, for the sake of maintaining harmony between priesthood and laity.
But the Soka Gakkai’s sincerity did not reach High Priest Nittatsu’s heart. And he misinterpreted the purpose of the establishment of Nichiren Shoshu International Center, saying, “The Soka Gakkai may gain strength, but it has nothing to do with Nichiren Shoshu. Nichiren Daishonin may be happy about it, but it has nothing to do with me.” (from a recorded document)
Mr. Hojo, an honest and straightforward man, could not tolerate such a statement by the high priest.
The High Priest Maliciously Changes the New Temple’s Name
Vice President Hojo wrote a report to President Ikeda about the audience with High Priest Nittatsu that he had with Yamazaki. This report was later revealed by Yamazaki as “Hojo Report on the Head Temple.” At the time, Yamazaki’s revelation added fuel to the reckless movement of the anti-Gakkai forces within Nichiren Shoshu. Since Nichiren Shoshu priests were not aware of the truth of the circumstance surrounding the report, they became infuriated by excerpts from it. Vice President Hojo wrote in the report to President Ikeda:
“During the audience I had at the head temple on the 9th, the contents of what the high priest said were awful. What he said was so awful that I doubted his faith. Definitely, he did not sound like a high priest.” (a memo dated May 10, 1974)
“It seems to me that the high priest exposed the essence of his life, which you perceived a long time ago. It was so awful. What a pity! I was compelled to feel that, ‘He does not care about kosen-rufu. He is only interested in the increase of the priesthood’s personal assets. They will be happy if only they can live richly so they can look down upon lay believers.’ In any case, since the high priest has no faith on the deepest level in his life, I have made a new determination to either use the priesthood effectively or fight against it, protecting the banner of the Gakkai, so that the Gakkai can survive. I feel I can emphathize with you in your utmost struggle with the priesthood.” (the same memo dated May 10, 1974)
“We cannot help but complete our task to help the head temple deal with the paperwork for its property issue. We had better withdraw from this matter after we submit to the head temple what it has to do from now on, in terms of its accounting system. I truly apologize to you for the way things have unfolded. I will be waiting for your further direction.” (the same memo dated May 10, 1974)
After reading this memo, President Ikeda met on May 12 with General Administrator Nichiji Hayase, Study Department Chief Shin’no Abe (Nikken), and General Affairs Bureau Chief Eido Fujimoto. The president said to them:
“I’ve heard from Hojo what was discussed during the audience of the day before yesterday. Please share my apology with the high priest for the matter that I got angry about.” (from a recorded document)
“Let’s continue to work on the accounting and property issues of the head temple, since they are related to the construction of the Sho-Hondo. We have no intention to investigate the accounting matters of the head temple. All we want to accomplish is to help the head temple get secure about its accounting area, so that we don’t have to suffer in the future.” (from the same recorded document)
“We will withdraw our letter of request regarding the creation of the International Center. When it comes to the promotion of global kosen-rufu, the high priest entrusted this task upon us on last October 12.” (from the same recorded document)
Following a report from General Administrator Hayase et al., High Priest Nittatsu stated, “We can’t help it, since we entrusted world kosen-rufu to the Gakkai. We may have to bear with it a little.”
President Ikeda’s sincerest explanation seems to have fallen short of cutting the roots of High Priest Nittatsu’s doubt of the Gakkai’s integrity.
On May 21, the high priest gave the name of Musho-zan Honin-ji to the temple that would be built near the campus of Soka University in Hachioji, Tokyo.
Originally, the Soka Gakkai had permission from High Priest Nittatsu to name this temple Soka-zan Rissho-ji. Forgetting about this, the high priest developed the misunderstanding that the Soka Gakkai became arrogant enough to give such a name to the new temple on its own. Hence, to embarrass the Soka Gakkai, he gave the above name to this new temple.
The Soka Gakkai did not express its disagreement to Nichiren Shoshu about the name for this new temple, however.
In the meantime, High Priest Nittatsu’s immediate disciples, who held anti-Gakkai sentiments in their hearts, spread the rumor that giving this name was a great cause for crushing the arrogance of the Soka Gakkai. Crowning the temple with the name of “Inanimate Mountain” — a temple that lay believers donated to Nichiren Shoshu — was an act of utter sarcasm on the part of the high priest.
High Priest Nittatsu stated at a meeting of the families of the priests on May 30:
“It has been widely said that not we priests but the lay believers who are devoted to Buddhist practice constitute a true sangha. Of course, it’s all right for them to say such a thing, for the sangha is a gathering of people who practice faith. But we priests have our own important roles. We have left our original homes to become priests. We have a mission to protect our temples.
“I hope you don’t get swayed by what lay believers say these days. I hope you will strengthen your faith with the feeling that we will forge on along our own path. I hope you will try your best to propagate the Law among those who come to your temple, or those who you encounter, or any possible individual with your own might. I hope you will develop the will to introduce as many people as possible to the Daishonin’s Buddhism.” (Renge, June 1974 issue)
“It Is Erroneous to Think You as Priests Are Greater Than Lay Believers Simply Because You Wear Robes”
High Priest Nittatsu also stated at another meeting of the families of the priests on 31st:
“A well-known person living in Fujinomiya is said to have mentioned that it would be a shame, for not only Taiseki-ji but also Fujinomiya, if Taiseki-ji (as has been said over many years) should become subordinate to the Gakkai. I was chagrined to hear that. I also feel we need to restate the greatness of being a priest. The Daishonin writes in ’The Benefit That Becoming a Priest Effects,’ ’Becoming a priest brings about immense benefit.’” (ditto)
Incidentally, this alleged Gosho, “The Benefit That Becoming a Priest Effects” was not written by Nichiren Daishonin.
The writing also reads, “No matter how ignorant you may be and no matter how you may slacken in your practice, even the Devil King will be frightened if only you wear a Buddhist robe as a tonsured priest.” Or “No matter now ignorant you may be, and no matter how you may slacken your practice, as long as your appearance is that of a priest, your family will rejoice and I am also very happy for you.”
Such absurd logic does not exist in the Daishonin’s teachings. Priests should struggle for kosen-rufu even harder than lay believers. Saying that just simply by wearing a robe, you are greater than lay believers run counters to the spirit of Buddhism.
In “The Fourteen Slanders,” Nichiren Daishonin states:
“Though a person may have been fortunate enough to be born as a human being and may have even entered the priesthood, if he fails to study the Buddha’s teaching and to refute its slanderers but simply spends his time in idleness and chatter, then he is no better than an animal depressed in priestly robes. He may call himself a priest and earn his livelihood as such, but in no way does he deserve to be regarded as a true priest. He is nothing but a thief who has stolen the title of priest. How shameful and frightening!” (WND, p. 760)
Nichiren Daishonin made a similar point in many different writings of his.
In light of Nichiren Daishonin’s authentic writings, “The Benefit That Becoming a Priest Effects” was obviously not written by him.
Out of his sense of distrust, High Priest Nittatsu emotionally spoke against the Soka Gakkai in front of a gathering of his immediate disciples and young priests, or in front of a gathering of Hokkeko members, or in front of the families of the priests, which implanted in their minds the seeds of enmity against the Soka Gakkai. His behavior was indeed inappropriate as a person who was responsible for the entire school of Nichiren Shoshu. In particular, young priests of the Myokankai group lacked understanding of the context in which the high priest’s statements fit — they began to think it important to revenge themselves for him.
Their way of thinking was upside down — what was to blame was Nichiren Shoshu. In June 1974, High Priest Nittatsu and President Ikeda were indicted in violation of the Agricultural Land Law and the Road Law, due to the head temple illegally acquiring farmlands for the construction of the Sho-Hondo. Because the Soka Gakkai had learned that the head temple would be indicted in violation of the Agriculture Land Law, it became necessary to examine the accounting system of Taiseki-ji and all the basic legal documents of the head temple. The property record book that Taiseki-ji kept and the governmental record did not match. Taiseki-ji had been neglecting the paperwork that was supposed to clearly keep records of the assets of the head temple. Also, the accounting system of the head temple was simply awful. The Soka Gakkai was desperately trying to put together the documents that Taiseki-ji needed for the legal battle it faced in its violation of the Agricultural Land Law.
Even though he was in charge of the entire school of Nichiren Shoshu, High Priest Nittatsu speculated that the Soka Gakkai would meddle with Taiseki-ji’s financial matters. He made emotionally charged statements against the Soka Gakkai in front of his disciples and their family members, while he was on the verge of being indicted. He made a major cause that would result in disunity between priesthood and laity.
High Priest Nittatsu’s Strange Words and Actions Disturb the Priesthood
On June 13, 1974, Yoshikazu Hirano, Soka Gakkai Pilgrimage Department Chief, met with Nichiko Urushibata, Chief Priest of Myoren-ji temple, a time-honored temple built on the grounds of the Nanjo family’s residence. At that time, Urushibata said to Hirano:
“The priest of the Myokankai group has been gaining strength. I am concerned that Nichiren Shoshu will operate based upon the power of some factions within the school.” (from a recorded document)
“The high priest is not really egocentric. He has been doing his job very honestly, but the Myokankai group’s members seem engaged in kicking out those priests connected with the faction of the high priest. What’s happening within this school is indeed lamentable.” (from the same recorded document)
“It is sad to see those who are skilled in political tactics get promoted, while those who say things in a sincere and straightforward manner are ignored. In any case, the executive priests can’t say what they think for fear of the high priest. It seems that they only care about themselves.” (from the same recorded document)
“Without President Ikeda, we could not have had the current reception hall and main temple of Myoren-ji. The head temple would not have done anything for us. I personally was not capable of building them. I am deeply indebted to President Ikeda for building such a wonderful reception hall and main temple.” (from the same recorded document)
On June 18, the “Hojo Report on the Issue of Nichiren Shoshu” was written. This report was addressed to President Ikeda who was fresh from his trip to Hong Kong and China for the promotion of world peace. The report begins with the following sentence:
“With a deep sense of apology to you who have just returned after opening the future of kosen-rufu on a grand scale, I regret that I have to report the following…”
In this memo, Vice President Hojo quotes a notable remark made by Eisai Takano (currently, Nichikai Takano), Chief Priest of Hongyo-ji temple in Sumida ward, Tokyo:
“Takano said, ‘My temple’s lay leaders came to see me after they returned from their pilgrimage to the head temple. They repeated something significant they had heard from the high priest. It was the idea of the president being the True Buddha.’ Takano responded to them, ’That kind of idea does not exist in the Gakkai. It can’t be. Don’t be swayed by the high priest’s remark. Our temple will go on exactly as it has been.’ After saying that, the lay leaders felt very secure.”
The Hojo Report also covered the following five points that Takano shared with Vice President Hojo:
“The general administrator was also at a loss as to what to do. He was saying that he would not allow the high priest’s remarks to be printed in Dai-Nichiren. I had Daibyakuho (Hokkeko’s organ) cut parts of the high priest’s statements. He can’t control the contents of Renge since it is published under the direct supervision of the high priest. He was quite at a loss about it.
“The high priest used to say things straight to Sensei. In recent years, however, he communicates with the general administrator. The high priest may be suspecting that the Soka Gakkai wants to have him resign and the general administrator become the next high priest.
“The Myokankai group is gaining strength. Those who don’t belong to this group feel dissatisfied in their hearts, but they don’t speak out their frustration. The way the high priest handles things is not fair. I shared my view with the high priest in vain. I’ve stopped attending the Assembly.
“When the high priest heard that Nichiren Shoshu International Center would be created and that President Ikeda would become its president, he asked if he would then be under President Ikeda. I wonder why the high priest thinks of such a thing. In no way does Sensei put down the high priest. The priesthood is really ignorant of what’s happening in the secular world, so Sensei will take responsibility for the overseas movement, which the high priest seemingly does not understand.
“The high priest was reportedly very intense at the meeting of the priests’ families on May 30. Those present seem to have been unable to understand what he was talking about. On one hand, the high priest said we should fight against the Gakkai. On the other hand, he said we should protect the temple. His points were not clear to those who listened to his speech.
“In the past, the high priest cut Renge-ji temple and Daijo-ji temple while protecting the Soka Gakkai. Now, he is saying something that is totally opposite, which is very troublesome.
“Even the Chugai Nippo praises Sensei so much. It’s no help that the high priest is the way he is now.” (excerpted from the Hojo Report on the Issue of Nichiren Shoshu)
Schism between Chief Administrator Hosoi and General Administrator Hayase
Based upon the information he got from Takano, Vice President Hojo analyzed the situation as follows:
“How the high priest feels is not temporary. He may not be aware that Nichiren Shoshu will get into a mess if he makes such statements. He may be thinking that the Gakkai will be in trouble if he continues to say such things. Nichiren Shoshu is now being run based upon the power of factions. Apparently, the high priest and the general administrator are vying with each other. In a long run, there will be no choice for us other than separating ourselves from Nichiren Shoshu.” (ditto)
“Strategically speaking, we would like to avoid the situation in which our ties with Nichiren Shoshu will be completely severed. We think we had better open a new path, while calming down the high priest’s abnormal mental condition, by widening our communication with Director Hayase (Yamatomo and Yahiro are in a position to rather easily contact him). However, we would like to fight a battle against Nichiren Shoshu with all our might when the time comes.” (ditto)
Anti-Gakkai priests took issue with this “Hojo Report on the Issue of Nichiren Shoshu,” (dated June 18, 1974) a few years later. However, one source of the information that the report was based upon was Takano, Chief Priest of Hongyo-ji. This report was written because Takano shared with Mr. Hojo the bizarre statements by High Priest Nittatsu.
Not only that, a few days before Vice President Hojo received this information, the high priest said to him, “The Soka Gakkai may gain strength, but it’s nothing to do with Nichiren Shoshu. Nichiren Daishonin may be happy about it, but it has nothing to do with me.” (from a recorded document)
So, it is very understandable that Mr. Hojo came up with the above analysis. And Vice President Hojo had a good view of the competition for power between the high priest and the general administrator.
Incidentally, it seems that the divorce between the chief administrator’s daughter and Giko Hayase had a strong impact upon the relationship between High Priest Nittatsu and General Administrator Hayase. Their relationship became unstable after the elopement. Perhaps High Priest Nittatsu had developed a grudge against General Administrator Hayase because of her divorce from Hayase’s nephew. As a result, the high priest became suspicious of the integrity of Hayase’s Hokikai group. The undercurrent of Nichiren Shoshu was so muddy that was beyond the perception of the Soka Gakkai.
On June 21, a new reception hall completion ceremony was held at Josen-ji temple in Mukojima, Tokyo. High Priest Nittatsu preached:
“The Lotus Sutra teaches that everybody, without any exception, will attain Buddhahood. We should never forget about this point. Having a biased idea that we don’t need this or that, or we don’t need priests disqualifies one from being a believer of Nichiren Shoshu. With this said, I conclude my congratulatory words today.” (from a recorded document)
On 27th of the same month, General Administrator Hayase said to Yamazaki at Daigan-ji temple:
“I can’t fathom where the high priest is at.” (from a recorded document)
“On May 12, I conveyed Sensei’s words to the high priest. With a cheerful expression, he listened to what I had to say. However, when he meets with somebody else, or in different situations, his attitude changes. This duality in his behavior has been consistently there.” (ditto)
“At one point I thought I had better quit from the position of general administrator.” (ditto)
“My disciples encourage me to quit. The director (Giko Hayase) also told me to do so. Everybody is concerned about me.” (ditto)
“The high priest is an emotional person, but something different from his emotions has been affecting him these days.” (ditto)
In response, Yamazaki said to General Administrator Hayase, “We have been protecting the head temple with a pure spirit. We have been looking upon the high priest as a Buddha.” (ditto)
General Administrator Hayase clearly responded, “Mr. Yamazaki, your view is wrong.”
In the previous year, 1973, Yamazaki had had the bitter experience of being given strict guidance from President Ikeda about his scheme to divide Rissho Kosei Kai. It was impossible that, under such circumstances, Yamazaki really considered High Priest Nittatsu a Buddha. Yamazaki’s purpose in this dialogue with the general administrator was to confirm that the latter had spiritually distanced himself from High Priest Nittatsu. Yamazaki must have vividly sensed that there was a schism running between the executives of Nichiren Shoshu.
Enmity Against the Soka Gakkai Seemed To Have Subsided for a While
On the 28th, the next day, General Administrator Hayase conveyed High Priest Nittatsu’s words to Yamazaki:
“As far as the Gakkai is concerned, please go ahead on your own as an independent religious corporation. The head temple will pursue its own way independently.” (from a recorded document)
“However, those Gakkai members who visit the head temple and each temple will be treated as our believers.” (ditto)
Perceiving internal instability in the mind of High Priest Nittatsu, the Myoshinko group intensified its attacks on the Soka Gakkai, which I described in Part 8. Indeed, the group began to be convinced that the high priest’s true heart is with it.
President Ikeda took action to solve the confusion. Despite the pessimistic contents of the Hojo Report, President Ikeda attempted to put the disturbance to rest by opening up his heart to High Priest Nittatsu. On July 6, President Ikeda met with High Priest Nittatsu, and said to him, “I am the way I am. You tend to forget things. And you get angry so easily.” (from a recorded document) The high priest’s doubts about the integrity of the Soka Gakkai was dispelled when he heard President Ikeda speak from his heart with sincerity and honesty.
On July 17, President Ikeda met with High Priest Nittatsu at the opening ceremony of Honin-ji temple in Hachioji, Tokyo. The high priest said to President Ikeda, “Let bygones be bygone.”
With that said by the high priest, it seemed that the unity of priesthood and laity was restored. But at the summer seminar held at the head temple on July 27, High Priest Nittatsu referred to the Myoshinko issue:
“The head temple is not in confusion, but there has been a dispute between the lay organizations, which has unexpectedly been affecting the head temple.” (Renge, August 1974 issue)
“We may be a small entity for kosen-rufu, which is OK with us. But the priesthood will lose sight of the correct teaching if you become too big and inflated in your spirit. Even if you spread the Law in society, if you stress society too much, you will have the correct teaching buried in society.” (ditto)
This summer seminar was conducted for acolytes. It was easily conceivable that this statement had a severe impact upon the future of Nichiren Shoshu.
Relationship between Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu Deteriorates to the Point Where It Becomes Unrepairable
On the same day, a guidance meeting was held at a conference room of the Grand Lecture Hall at the head temple – the topic was the current situation of Nichiren Shoshu. At this meeting, High Priest Nittatsu made reference to the Nichiren Shoshu International Center. His remarks were based on misunderstanding — in which he completely forgot giving permission to the Soka Gakkai on December 12, 1973, to establish this center. And ever since permission had been given, it was commonly understood that the high priest would be its honorary chairperson.
These are remarks made in those days by High Priest Nittatsu to the priests who held the title of teacher:
“Since last autumn up to this spring, the Soka Gakkai has been critical of the priesthood in various ways, and it seems that the Gakkai has been deviated from the traditional teachings of Nichiren Shoshu.” (from a document created by anti-Gakkai priests)
“When Vice President Hojo and Attorney Yamazaki visited me, I clearly told them that by making Nichiren Shoshu International Center you intend it to be on top of the Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu. I clearly disagreed upon this idea.” (ditto)
“Nichiren Shoshu is content to be small. We will forge on by sticking with the traditional teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Because of you, we have grown big, but even if we have to become smaller, we will have somebody else who can help us grow again. Saying I choose to protect Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, I clearly declined to accept the idea of making a Nichiren Shoshu International Center that will be placed on top of Nichiren Shoshu.” (ditto) (Author’s note: High Priest Nittatsu could not understand the purpose and structure of the International Center even when Vice President Hojo tried to explain them to him.)
“At that time Mr. Hojo said that unless you let us check your financial matters, we will part with you. He clearly said the Gakkai would bid farewell to Nichiren Shoshu.” (ditto) (Author’s note: No such statement was made according to every record the Gakkai possesses.)
“The Gakkai is adamant that it should investigate the financial matters of the head temple.” (ditto)
“The Gakkai’s chief accountant came with three or four staff to investigate the financial matters of the head temple. Since Nichiren Shoshu has hidden no money, they could not find any.” (ditto)
“Actually, they must have had nothing to examine.” (ditto)
“Then, the president wanted to see me on 6th of this month. I met with him in person.” (ditto)
“I became quiet after.” (ditto)
“I met with the president in person on the occasion of the completion ceremony of a temple near Soka University.” (ditto)
“I am thinking of working together with the Gakkai.” (ditto)
“I came to a general agreement with the president. We shook hands with each other with the common understanding that I would try my best to have the chief priest of each temple do his job sincerely and that the president could point out anything that was wrong with these priests’ speech and behavior. Thus, we agreed that we would work together.” (ditto)
“The lay leader of each temple is supposed to be designated by the chief priest. It would be wrong if the lay leader has the right to dismiss the chief priest. These basic principles have been distorted in Nichiren Shoshu in recent years.” (ditto)
“In actuality, I said at the priests’ families’ meeting in May that I would protect the head temple even if I may have to do so all by myself. I have been saying to those priests at the head temple that we will survive, even if we have to sever our ties with the Gakkai or to start farming the land on our own.“(ditto)
These remarks by High Priest Nittatsu had a decisive impact upon the lives of many priests. Nichiren Shoshu’s relationship with the Soka Gakkai became so bad that it reached the point where repairing it was seemingly impossible.
How Much Did High Priest Nittatsu Understand President Ikeda’s Passion for Kosen-rufu?
On August 4, President Ikeda visited the head temple to convey his true heart to dissolve the gap between Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai. What he did was exactly to wear the “armor of forbearance,” as expounded in the Lotus Sutra. He explained to the high priest about the International Center in the most polite manner. The high priest, finally understanding the purpose of the International Center, said to the president, “I now fully understand. If invited, I will attend the international conference to be held in Guam. I will accept the position of the International Center’s Honorary Chairperson.” (from a recorded document)
On August 6, Giko Hayase conveyed the following to the Soka Gakkai:
“I met with the high priest during the audience of August 4. He was in a great mood. He seemed relieved and satisfied.” (ditto)
“I had a hard time for the past six months. I was sandwiched between the high priest and the Soka Gakkai. We could not do anything great. The high priest had a hard time and became ill. It seems that Sensei alone can move the high priest. When we almost gave up, you took courageous action. The whole situation has greatly changed for the better.” (ditto)
“Mr. Abe says, ‘Now that I have been through such a difficult time, I can fully understand the struggles that the high priest has been though.’” (ditto)
However, those who heard what High Priest Nittatsu said in May and June and those who heard his statement at the teachers’ guidance meeting began to develop an anti-Gakkai unity nationwide. A swell of an anti-Gakkai movement was growing within Nichiren Shoshu.
The person who was most shocked at this was none other than High Priest Nittatsu. On August 20, he gave guidance to the nationwide regional chiefs’ meeting:
“Those young priests who took my statements in May and June too seriously and those who are swayed by the Myoshinko group may go rampant. We need to control their activities firmly. Otherwise, we will have a serious problem.“ (from a recorded document)
Under such circumstances, a strange thing happened. High Priest Nittatsu heard a rumor that Gakkai members in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, carried a Shinto shrine during a festival on August 4. Nichiren Shoshu asked the Soka Gakkai to investigate this matter, and the Gakkai checked it through its local organization. The truth was that even though the event was called a festival, it did not have any religious ramification. It was a community event. Women’s division members also participated in this event together with the fife and drum corps members. And the city presented a certificate of appreciation to the local organization of the Soka Gakkai. What was mistaken for a Shinto shrine during the Gakkai members’ performance was a float that some Gakkai members carried, a symbolic item that depicted the image of globalism.
Study Department Chief Abe (Nikken) reported this matter to the high priest, but the latter was not convinced by Abe’s report. The high priest complained, “Those performers were wearing attires that symbolized religious festivity.” (from a recorded document)
High Priest Nittatsu was upset that some Gakkai members put a decoration of prayer paper for the July 7 tanabata festival for an overseas pilgrimage during the summer course at the head temple. According to the high priest, having such a decoration is a slander of Buddhism. Then, how can the priesthood justify the “beans-scattering” ceremony they perform at the head temple annually in February? In this ceremony, priests scatter beans, shouting, “Fortune, come inside, and fortune come inside.” The priesthood claims that it doesn’t say, “Demons, go outside,” because there are no demons at the holy head temple. According to Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, chanting daimoku is the way to gain fortune, not by scattering beans. When the priesthood criticizes the lay believers’ behavior in line with the general customs in society as slanderous, we should know that a special type of mentality, a kind of discriminatory and condescending thought, that is growing within the minds of the priesthood.
On September 2, a communication conference was held at Sessen-bo lodging temple at the head temple with representatives from Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai in attendance. At that meeting, High Priest Nittatsu gave permission to the Soka Gakkai to have the Gohonzon enshrined at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters building carved into a wooden Gohonzon. On the next day, September 3, this matter was reported from Nichiren Shoshu to the Soka Gakkai. However, this matter became a big issue later, with some people claiming that “The Gakkai transcribed the Gohonzon into a wooden one at its own discretion” or “President Ikeda committed a major slander.” Because of this, quite a few Soka Gakkai members quit the Gakkai.
Likewise, on November 2, Study Department Chief Abe conveyed High Priest Nittatsu’s permission to the Soka Gakkai regarding the “Omamori Gohonzon in pendant style,” which the priesthood later took issue with, as an instance where the Gakkai did not seek guidance from the priesthood.
On January 26, 1975, the first world peace conference was held on Guam Island. Moved by President Ikeda’s passion for world kosen-rufu, 158 representatives from 51 countries gathered for this event. High Priest Nittatsu stated on that occasion, “The Daishonin says that the propagation of Buddhism hinges upon the time. But the time does not arrive by simply waiting for it. It is President Ikeda who created a great flow of the worldwide propagation of Buddhism. I am convinced that the True Buddha is deeply praising President Ikeda’s effort.” (Seikyo Shimbun, January 27, 1975)
He also stated, “President Ikeda has been spearheading the effort to generate a tide of world peace on earth. From today on, centering on President Ikeda, further your unity and advance toward the realization of world peace.” (ditto)
High Priest Nittatsu said this, but I wonder how truly he understood the passion of President Ikeda who was sparing nothing of his life to realize world kosen-rufu.