Matsuoka Queries

Open letter to Nikken Abe with 70 questions--Queries: 11–15

11. You may decide to reply (as you did in your letter dated December 13th, page 45) that

“the eye-opening ceremony is a matter of formality, in view of the four ways of preaching (Shi-shitsudan), so it will not be important how we conduct the ceremony, based on the suitable circumstances of the time.”

If this is your reply, then I ask you, what is, in this case, the fourth of the four ways of preaching?

Also, please present documentary proof from the writings of Nichiren Daishonin for your statement that the “high priest alone can conduct the ceremony for eye-opening of the Gohonzon.” If you will not answer my questions, using as an excuse that this is secret matter contained in the sole transmission of the heritage, I will consider such conduct to be against the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. This is particularly true because he wrote, “If there is no reasoning to support it, if they are simply claiming that ‘this very body is the Buddha’ without any justification, point out that it must then be the teaching of the heavenly devil” (WND, Vol. 2, p. 17); and “one should accept what is clearly stated in the text of the sutras, but discard anything that cannot be supported by the text” (WND, Vol. 1, p. 109).

Although you, Nikken, accuse my statements (which are based on my personal experience and my rational speculation) of being “absurd and with no basis in fact,” or “completely false,” you should still answer each question in detail. This is regarding the important matter of the eye-opening of the Gohonzon. If you give yourself airs and refuse to answer, then you should know that it is a great offense to despise and look down upon the Gohonzon.

I have already pointed out that many of the eye-opened Gohonzons were incinerated at Taiseki-ji, and I asked you several questions about this practice. You responded only to portions of my questions - therefore, I ask you again.

You claim that “Gohonzons which have accomplished their roles or services were ‘respectfully incinerated.’” Concerning this, I asked how “could Abe [Nikken] determine which Gohonzons have done their service and which have not?” Nikken’s answer reads: “the fact that they were returned to Taiseki-ji” signified “the services were done” (page 52 of the letter, dated December 13th, 2005).

If that is your position, then I ask you:

12. If you say that the Gohonzons have performed their service merely because they were returned to Taiseki-ji, then what on earth are the services of the Gohonzon? Have the recipients of these Gohonzons attained Buddhahood? You should clearly define what service the Gohonzon performs.

13. Gohonzons inscribed by the founder Nichiren and his direct disciple Nikko, as well as those transcribed by the successive high priests, were never regarded as “one that has done its service,” even after they were returned to the head temple. Rather, these Gohonzons have been considered treasures of the temple and they are still revered as objects of religious worship by the people. In terms of possessing the “Law and Soul” of the true Buddha, these returned wood-block Gohonzons are the same as ones transcribed by the successive high priests. So why do you claim that returned Gohonzons have “completed their services”? And why do you even make the statement that “respectfully incinerating the Gohonzons is the most appropriate ceremony”?

According to Nichiren Shoshu doctrine, all Gohonzons possess the “law and soul” of the true Buddha. These returned wood-block Gohonzons should be respectfully protected as treasures of the temple, just like the other Gohonzons. To do so would be to the “most appropriate ceremonial matter,” wouldn’t it?

14. Nikken, you claim that “the law and soul” of the returned Gohonzons “restitute to the Daishonin,” due to the high priest’s prayer at a midnight gongyo ceremony. As “documentary proof” to support this theory, you mention a passage from the Great Teacher Miao-lo, which reads: “one’s body and mind at a single moment pervade the entire realm of phenomena” (from WND, Vol. 2, p. 82). Nichiren Daishonin, however, never used this passage to teach a “theory of restitution of the law and soul” of the Gohonzon. I requested that you present me with documentary proof for this new “theory of the restitution of the law and soul” of the incinerated Gohonzons. You responded by dodging my question in a cowardly manner.

15. Another point is that, by referring to the true Buddha’s body and mind as “law and soul,” there is really no need to “restitute” the “law and soul” again, because this “law and soul” pervade the entire realm of the universe. Isn’t that right? One could further say that all people and all beings are part of the entire realm of the universe, and are originally encompassed within the law and soul of the true Buddha.

Once you absorb that fact, it is absurdly illogical to say that high priest alone possesses the law and soul of the true Buddha. That means that your doctrine of worshipping the high priest collapses. Nikken, are you following all this?