Matsuoka Queries

Open letter to Nikken Abe with 70 questions--Queries: 26–30

26. Nobuo Hikosaka (Nikken Abe) was born in December 19, 1922, at 16-5 Koume-cho, Mukoujima, Honjyo-ku, Tokyo; and his mother, Suma Hikosaka, registered his birth on January 12th of the next year.

However, Nobuo’s presumed father, Nikka Abe, acknowledged Nobuo as his son when the child was around 6 years old, on June 23rd, 1928.

Before this, Nobuo (Nikken) was treated as a out-of-wedlock or fatherless child.

Now, I would like to ask Nobuo Hikosaka (Nikken Abe) the following: Why your father didn’t acknowledge you right after your birth? Also, why did you initially become a disciple of Jido Sakurai, who came from same hometown, instead of becoming the disciple of Nikkai Abe, then the high priest of Nichiren Shoshu? You must answer this question, one that has troubled people within and without priesthood for many years—answer it in accord with reason, the way to feel the ice thaw in a flash of understanding.

My previous work, entitled “Ten Criticisms of Nikken Abe’s Doctrinal Issues” (hereafter called “Criticism on Nikken Doctrine”), includes a picture of the inside room at the Dai Nokotsu-do (charnel house) at Taiseki-ji temple.

Under the direction of Hosei Kawata (of Hoan-bo lodge) who was in charge of the charnel house at Taiseki-ji, the picture was taken by Yuchoku Okazaki (member of the Young Priests’ Association to Reform Nichiren Shoshu) while he was working at Taiseki-ji. The picture was one of many taken.

The reason why I bring up this issue again is to prove that the following statement is true: “Taiseki-ji packs too much of the believers’ remains into rice-bags or black vinyl bags. These bags are roughly left at the charnel house unattended.” These remains of believers were entrusted to you by the family members of the deceased. Previously, I asked Nikken “You were then chief executive of the Taiseki-ji. Will you take responsibility for this ill-treatment of the believers’ remains?” In reply, Nikken defiantly made appalling excuses, saying “you are trying to create the impression that the bag was poor condition without basis.” (a document dated December 13, 2005. page 121)

Nikken, don’t you have a trace of conscience? You must take a look at Document G of the “Criticism on Nikken Doctrine.” It shows bones falling out from the wet and broken rice bag. The top portion of the bag was randomly attached with brown or white duct tape. In another instance, a bag containing remains was bound tightly in the shape of a cross by vinyl straps, as if binding used newspapers.

Those who asked Taiseki-ji to handle the remains of their deceased relatives got upset when they saw this picture. Many families of the deceased filed suit and the Tokyo District Court ordered Taiseki-ji to pay punitive compensation on April 8th, 2003. Isn’t this right? This decision was upheld at the Supreme Court as well.

It is egregious that Nikken still defiantly describes these incidents as a “misunderstanding.” Moreover, I was struck speechless to hear Nikken state that “In order to deliver the remains (bones) safely, a special strong bag is required. That is the bag generally used for containing rice (ibid).”

I will ask Nikken the following:

27. In order to transport remains safely, it is common sense that one should avoid using a paper or vinyl bag. Nikken, why didn’t you direct the priests to use steel or ceramic boxes for transporting remains?

28. If you are so much concerned about “safety transportation,” then why were young, junior high school aged priests requested to work on incineration?

29. Why was a used rice bag selected for transportation of the remains? This conduct alone tramples on the feelings of the deceased’s family. Don’t you think so?

30. When the remains were delivered to charnel house, why were not the remains removed from bag and placed in a safe and courteous manner?

Nikken, as the chief executive of the Taiseki-ji temple at that time, you have the duty to take this matter seriously and respond to these queries.

In the document dated December 13th, 2005, Nikken boasted that “Compared to other Buddhist schools, the priests of Nichiren Shoshu are under much stricter rules. These include a strict prohibition of the hereditary transfer of the temple and so on.” Obviously false and self-serving statements such as this invite derisive laughter even among teacher priests within Nichiren Shoshu.

Currently in Nichiren Shoshu, hereditary transfer of the temples is openly conducted among powerful consanguinity or family groups. One such example is Nichinyo Hayase (the current high priest), who, prior to his inauguration as high priest, had the position of chief priest at Hodo-in temple, succeeding his father, Nichiji Hayase.