digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

This article is about the Japanese religious organization Soka Gakkai. For the international Buddhist organization founded by Daisaku Ikeda, see Soka Gakkai International.
Sōka Gakkai
Sanshokuki
Soka Gakkai flag
Formation 1930
Founders Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda
Type New religious movement
Headquarters Shinanomachi 32, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-8583, Japan
Membership
+12 million
President
Minoru Harada
Website www.sokanet.jp
Formerly called
Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai

Soka Gakkai (Japanese: 創価学会 Hepburn: Sōka Gakkai?) is a Japanese Buddhist religious movement based on the teachings of the 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren as set into motion by its first three presidents Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda. It is the largest of the Japanese new religions and holds the largest membership among Nichiren Buddhist groups. From 1952 to 1991 it shared an association with the Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist sect.[1] The Gakkai bases its teachings on the Lotus Sutra and places chanting "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō" at the center of devotional practice. The movement is involved in peace activism, education and politics.

The movement was founded by educators Makiguchi and Toda in 1930 and held its inaugural meeting in 1937.[2] It was disbanded during World War II when much of the leadership was imprisoned on charges of lèse-majesté. After the war it expanded from a pre-war estimate of 3,000 members to a claimed total of 750,000 households in 1958 through explosive recruitment, which shocked the Japanese establishment and media.[3][4][5] Further expansion of the movement was led by its third president Daisaku Ikeda. According to its own account, it has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world.

While Ikeda has been successful in moving the group toward mainstream acceptance, it is still widely viewed with suspicion in Japan and has found itself embroiled in public controversies,. especially in the first three decades following World War II.[3][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Contents

History[edit]

Makiguchi years: 1930-1944[edit]

Foundation[edit]

Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, First President of the Sōka Gakkai

In 1928, educators Tsunesaburō Makiguchi and Jōsei Toda, converted to Nichiren Buddhism. The Soka Gakkai officially traces its foundation to November 1930, when Makiguchi and Toda published the first volume of Makiguchi's magnum opus on educational reform, Sōka Kyōikugaku Taikei (創価教育学体系, The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy).[14][15]:49 The first general meeting of the organization, then under the name Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai (創価教育学会, lit. "Value Creating Educational Society"), did not take place until 1937.[16]

Makiguchi, who had turned to religion in mid-life, found much in Nichiren's teachings that lent support to his educational theories, though it has been argued that the Nichiren Shoshu sect's doctrines and rituals went against the grain of Makiguchi's modernist spirit.[4][17]:21–32 From the very first meeting, however, the main activity of the group seems to have been missionary work for Nichiren Shōshū, rather than propagating educational reform.[4] The membership eventually came to change from teachers interested in educational reform to people from all walks of life, drawn by the religious elements of Makiguchi's beliefs in Nichiren Buddhism.[18]:14

Repression during the war[edit]

The organization soon attracted the attention of the authorities. Makiguchi, as did Nichiren, attributed the political troubles Japan was experiencing to supposedly false religious doctrines that held sway. His religious beliefs motivated him to take a stand against the government, earning him a reputation as a political dissident.[18]:14–15 His main motivation was religious, not political; he had no tolerance for non-Nichiren doctrines.[19] He regarded Nichiren Buddhism as religious motivation for "active engagement to promote social good, even if it led to defiance of state authority."[20]

In 1942, a monthly magazine published by Makiguchi called Kachi Sozo (価値創造, "Creating values") was shut down by the government, after only nine issues had gone to press. In 1943, the group was instrumental in making the Nichiren Shōshū refuse to merge with the Nichiren Shū, per the Religious Organizations Law which had been established in 1939.[4] Later the same year, one zealous Tokyo member told a non-member that his daughter had died as punishment for not converting to Nichiren Shōshū. "The neighbor complained to the police, who arrested Jinno and a director of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai named Arimura "[21] While at least one scholar maintains that the actions of the group violated the government's commitment to religious freedom,[22] others note that this freedom required all religions to worship the emperor and to enshrine Shinto talismans, while spying on and "disrupting" religious gatherings.[21]

Makiguchi, Toda, and 19 other leaders of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai were arrested on July 6, 1943, on charges of breaking the Peace Preservation Law and lèse-majesté: for "denying the Emperor's divinity" and "slandering" the Ise Grand Shrine. The government had issued that a talisman from the Shinto shrine should be placed in every home and temple. While the Nichiren Shōshū priesthood had been prepared to accept the placing of a talisman inside its head temple, Makiguchi and the Gakkai leadership had openly refused.[4] One scholar claims that Makiguchi’s refusal of the talisman "had nothing to do with being disloyal to the emperor,"[23] while another scholar argues that Makiguchi "rejected completely the deification of the emperor."[24]

With its leadership decimated, the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai disbanded.[21][25] During interrogation, Makiguchi had insisted that "The emperor is an ordinary man ... the emperor makes mistakes like anyone else".[17]:40–41 The treatment in prison was harsh, and within a year, all but Makiguchi, Toda, and one more director had recanted and been released.[21] On November 18, 1944, Makiguchi died of malnutrition in prison, at the age of 73.

Toda years: 1945–1958[edit]

Jōsei Toda, second President of the Sōka Gakkai
Main article: Jōsei Toda

The reconstruction of the organization[edit]

Jōsei Toda was released from prison in 1945 and immediately set out to rebuild what had been lost during the war.[26]

The years after the war and the granting of religious freedom as a constitutional right became the "rush hour of the gods" according to McFarland. The Soka Gakkai was one of many new religious movements that appeared and, from an organization of approximately 500 families in 1951, the Soka Gakkai expanded rapidly in a decade's time and gained widespread public recognition.[27] The unprecedented growth of the Soka Gakkai stands out from the other new religions, due to both Toda's skill as an organizer and the social dislocation of the time.[28]

The groundwork for this accomplishment can be found in Toda's work during the years between his release from prison (1945) and his inauguration (1951). He officially re-established the organization, now under the shortened moniker Sōka Gakkai (lit. "Value-creation society"), integrated his prison awakenings into the doctrine of the Soka Gakkai, began locating members who had dispersed during the war, started a series of lectures on the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren's letters, undertook business ventures (largely unsuccessful) to provide a stream of revenue for the organization, provided personal encouragement to many members, launched a monthly study magazine Daibyaku Renge (大白蓮華?), and the newspaper Seikyo Shimbun, launched propagation efforts, and involved the active participation of youth including Daisaku Ikeda who was to become his right-hand man and successor.[29][30]

Brannen, a Christian missionary writing in 1969,[31] describes the Soka Gakkai's study program at this point as "the most amazing program of indoctrination Japan has ever seen." New members attended local study lectures, subscribed to weekly and monthly periodicals, studied Toda's commentaries on the Lotus Sutra, took annual study examinations, and were awarded titles for their achievements such as Associate Lecturer, Lecturer, Associate Teacher, or Teacher.[17]:142[32][33]:208 The main difference between the Gakkai examination system and that found in other areas of education is the object of the exercise is not the successful completion of an examination paper, but preparation for it by way of meetings in study discussion groups. "The tenor of the meetings is one of open discussion rather than didactic teaching…" Comments on Nichiren’s teachings are welcomed, "dictatorial edicts on moral behavior are not." [34]

"The Great Shakubuku March"[edit]

During his acceptance speech as second president in 1951, Toda placed a formidable challenge to the approximately 1500 congregated members: to convert 750,000 families before his death. He added: "If this goal is not realized while I am still alive, do not hold a funeral for me. Simply dump my remains in the bay at Shinagawa."[35]:285–286 In the ensuing period from 1951 to 1957, the organization doubled or tripled in size every year, published the first Nichiko Hori edition of Nichiren’s complete works, and fielded candidates in local political elections.[36][37]

Toda adopted a method of proselytizing based on Nichiren teachings on shakubuku (折伏), often translated character for character as "break and subdue (attachments to) inferior teachings"[38] or else as "forced conversion";[39] At least one scholar, however, disputes the appellation of "forced," writing that "When Charlemagne told the Saxons to be baptized or die, that was forced conversion. Sokagakkai members are said to warn potential converts of dire consequences if they fail to join up, but they do not have the power of life or death."[40] Shakubuku, essentially, is the more assertive of two different methods of proselytizing traditionally employed by Nichiren adherents, in which the proselytizer directly confronts a non-adherent about the falsity of their beliefs.

The approach to propagation appealed strongly to segments of the population that had been marginalized or dislocated after the war.[41] The press covered many extreme incidents of propagation but did not cover the many examples of conversion accomplished through "moral suasion."[42]

The Jozaiji temple.

Toda made both moderating and aggressive speeches about propagation. In a January 1954 speech Toda cautioned his followers to be sensible in their propagation efforts.[43] In October 1954, however, Toda made a speech to over 10,000 Gakkai members while mounted on a white horse, proclaiming: "We must consider all religions our enemies, and we must destroy them."[4][35]

The Sōka Gakkai first entered into politics in 1955.[44] According to Brannen, Toda's view was that following the teachings of Nichiren, the day was soon to come when the true teachings of the Gakkai would become the law of the State and when Sōka Gakkai became the ruling government, a "national altar" would be built at Mount Fuji.[45]

Toda's brand of shakubuku was of an unusually aggressive nature and would come to give Soka Gakkai a reputation of militancy and widespread criticism in the popular press and by other Buddhist sects.[5][11][46] A 1952 investigation by the Department of Justice resulted in a demand that Toda write a statement to the special investigations bureau that Soka Gakkai members would refrain from the illegal use of violence or threats in their proselytizing.[47]:217 A 1955 report, similar to others, described an incident in which an initially ambivalent woman relented only after members over several days warned of "some terrible calamity" if she did not join.[11]:104Threats of divine vengeance and bodily harm were frequent, and a child's illness or death could be attributed to not having already joined the Gakkai.[33]:199[48]:82 Local leadership would often destroy the household Shinto altars of new members.[4]

There are reports of isolated incidents of violence conducted by Soka Gakkai members but also directed toward them; they were sometimes chased away from the houses they surrounded.[35]:287[48]:49 The use of violence and intimidation as a part of the shakubuku campaign during The Great Propagation March has been dismissed by the Gakkai as "excessive zeal on the part of uneducated members," but evidence shows that much of it before 1967 was actually organized by its high-ranking leaders.[49]:74

Anne Mette Fisker-Nielsen has questioned whether forced activities alone could result in the continuous actions needed to sustain such a successful campaign.[50] Members attributed success to Toda's charisma and ability to inspire them personally.[51]

While shakubuku was a controversial practice, it was certainly successful: during Toda's presidency, the Gakkai's official ledgers count an increase from 3,000 households to the 750,000 that Toda had demanded at the outset of his presidency - thereby smoothly avoiding the need to meet Toda's request that his body should be dumped in Shinagawa bay.[35]:285–286 The accuracy of this figure was never confirmed by outside sources.[33]:199 Whether or not the 750,000 number was strictly true, the Gakkai's membership had certainly grown. Many of the new recruits had been found among the "downtrodden classes" in the larger urban areas who had sometimes been excluded from the benefits of the "upward swing" during the postwar reconstruction boom.[44]

Relationship with Nichiren Shoshu[edit]

Despite a 1952 confrontation with a priest that allegedly turned physical and got Toda banned temporarily from the head temple,[52][53] Nichiren Shoshu priests said they considered Toda the greatest among lay people and after his death they bestowed upon him the honorific name Chief of All Preachers of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke Kōsō Kōtō)[54] During Toda's presidency the Soka Gakkai donated temples to Nichiren Shoshu including the Grand Lecture Hall, dedicated on March 1958.[55]

Death and legacy[edit]

Toda died on April 2, 1958. The funeral was held at his home, but the coffin was afterwards carried past weeping, chanting crowds to the Ikebukuro temple Jozaiji, where he was buried.[17]:84 The then prime minister Nobusuke Kishi attended the funeral - something that scandalized "quite a few Japanese" but was a testament to how the Gakkai had grown to a force to be reckoned with under Toda.[56]:116[57]

Murata claims that for two years after Toda's death, there was a leadership vacuum and the Gakkai had no president, as it was unclear if anyone was able to replace him.[56]:118 Other scholars disagree, claiming Ikeda became the de facto leader of the Soka Gakkai right away. Three months after Toda's death Ikeda, at age 30, was appointed the organization's General Administrator, in 1959 he became the head of its board of directors, and, on May 3, 1960, its third president.[58][59]

Ikeda years: 1960–[edit]

Daisaku Ikeda, third President of the Soka Gakkai, 1961
Daisaku Ikeda Receiving "Leonardo Prize" in 2009 from Alexander Yakovlev

Jōsei Toda was succeeded as president in 1960 by the 32-year-old Daisaku Ikeda. Ikeda would come to be a moderating and secularizing force.[17]:77[56] Ikeda formally committed the organisation to the principles of free speech and freedom of religion and urged, from 1964, a gentler approach to proselytizing.[60][61] Under Ikeda's leadership, the organization expanded rapidly, both inside and outside Japan during the 1960s.

Whereas during Toda's presidency the Soka Gakkai grew from 3000 individuals to 750,000 households, within the first 16 months of Ikeda's presendency the organization grew from 1,300,000 to 2,110,000 members.[62] By 1967 it grew to 6,240,000 families according to its own reporting.[63] In 1968 over 8,000,000 people contributed to the construction of the Sho-Hondo. Between 1961 and 1968 the organization's Study Department (members who sit for graded examinations on doctrinal matters) grew from 40,000 to 1,447,000.[64] By 1968, under Ikeda's leadership, the daily Seikyo Shimbun newspaper attained a circulation of 3,580,000.[65] Today, it has a circulation of 5.5 million copies, making it Japan's third largest daily.[66]

International growth[edit]

In October 1960, five months after his inauguration, Ikeda and a small group of staff members visited the United States, Canada (Toronto),[67] and Brazil.[68] In the United States he visited Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, meeting with members, the vast majority Japanese war brides, at discussion and guidance meetings, setting up local organizations, and appointing leaders to take responsibility. He encouraged attendees to become good American citizens, learn English, and get driving licenses.[69]

Ikeda also expanded the scope and pattern of the Gakkai's activities. In 1961, at the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, Ikeda created an arm of the organization, the Culture Bureau, to accommodate nonreligious activities. It had departments for the study and discussion of Economics, Politics, Education, Speech, and, later in the year, the Arts.[70]

Ikeda and his team visited countries in Europe and Southeast Asia in 1961 and the Near and Middle East in 1962.[71] By 1967 Ikeda had completed 13 trips abroad to strengthen the overseas organizations.[72] Parallel to these efforts Ikeda attempted to find the universal aspects of Nichiren Buddhism stripped away from Japanese context.[73]

The Gakkai's first overseas mission, called "Nichiren Shoshu of America" (NSA), grew at "a remarkable rate" and claimed some 200,000 American adherents by 1970.[74] Ikeda founded Soka Junior and Senior High Schools in 1968 and Soka University in 1971.[75] "Soka Gakkai International" (SGI) was formally founded in 1975, on Guam.[76]

Founding of the Komeito[edit]

Main article: Komeito

In 1961 Soka Gakkai formed the "Komei Political League." In 1962 Ikeda stated that the Soka Gakkai would become a "third force" in the political world. Seven of its candidates were elected to the House of Councillors. In 1964 the Komeito (Clean Government Party) was formed by Ikeda. Over the course of several elections it became the third largest political party, typically amassing 10-15% of the popular vote.[77] The New Komeito Party was founded in 1998 and has been allied with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since 1999. In 2014 the New Komeito was renamed Komeito again.[78] Komeito generally supports the policy agenda of the LDP, including the reinterpretation of the pacifist Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, proposed in 2014 by LDP Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to allow "collective defense" and to fight in foreign conflicts.[79][80]

1969: Crisis and transformation[edit]

In 1969, a prominent university professor named Fujiwara Hirotatsu authored the book I Denounce Soka Gakkai (Soka Gakkai o kiru)[81] in which he severely criticized the Gakkai. The Gakkai and Kōmeitō attempted to use their political power to suppress its publication. When Fujiwara went public with the attempted suppression, the Soka Gakkai was harshly criticized in the Japanese media.[82]

In response, Ikeda made major shifts to the Gakkai's message.[83] He committed the organization to the rights of free speech and freedom of religion. Admitting that the organization had been intolerant and overly sensitive in the past, Ikeda called for moderating conversion activities, openness to other religious practices, and a democratization of the organization.[84] The Soka Gakkai's years of constant growth came to an end.[35]:295

On May 3, 1970 Ikeda issued a speech at the Soka Gakkai's 33rd general meeting which radically shifted the direction of the organization. He stated that Nichiren's message could be understood as absolute pacifism, the sanctity of human life, and respect for human dignity. The Soka Gakkai's role, transcending proselytizing, was to create a foundation of humanism in all aspects of society.[85]

In the 1970s Ikeda helped transition the Soka Gakkai from an internally-focused organization centered on its own membership growth to one adopting a focus on a motto of "Peace, Culture, and Education." On Oct. 12, 1972, at the official opening of the Shohondo at Taiseki-ji Ikeda announced the start of the Soka Gakkai's "Phase Two" which would shift direction from aggressive expansion to a movement for international peace through friendship and exchange.[86]

In the speech Ikeda also announced that Kōmeitō members who served in national and local assemblies would be removed from Soka Gakkai administrative posts.[87] Ikeda renounced any plans to create a "national ordination platform."[88]

Over the years the Soka Gakkai has matured under Ikeda's leadership and its values accord with progressive internationalism.[89]

"Citizen diplomacy" by Ikeda[edit]

Ikeda initiated a series of dialogues with prominent political, cultural, and academic figures which he labeled "citizen diplomacy." In 1970 he held a dialogue with Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi centered on East-West issues and future directions the world could take.[90] Ikeda conducted ten days of dialogue with Arnold J. Toynbee between 1972 and 1974 which resulted in the publicaton of the book "Choose Life."[91] In 1974 he conducted a dialogue with Andre Malraux.[92] Today, the number of his dialogues with scholars, leaders, activists etc. has reached 7,000.[93]

In 1974 Ikeda visited China, then the Soviet Union, and once again to China when he met with Zhou Enlai. In 1975 Ikeda met with then Secretary-General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim and United States Secretary of State Henry Kissenger.[90] Ikeda presented Waldheim with a petition, organized by Soka Gakkai youth, calling for nuclear abolition and signed by 10,000,000 people.[94]

Relationship with Nichiren Shoshu in the 1970s[edit]

The Shōhondō hall of the Taiseki-ji temple. Constructed in 1972, demolished in 1998.

In 1965, Ikeda announced plans to build a Shōhondō (正本堂, True Main Hall), at Taiseki-ji, the head temple of Shōshū, to house the dai-gohonzon (大御本尊), the mandala central to Nichiren Shoshu priests' doctrine. Soka Gakkai's fundraising for the building was extremely successful - eight million contributors donated more than 35.5 billion yen in a timespan of only four days in October 1965, perhaps making it the largest private fundraising project in Japan's history.[35]:289–293

Ikeda and Soka Gakkai represented the Shōhondō as a "virtual" honmon no kaidan (本門の戒壇, roughly great ordination platform), one of the "three great secret laws" whose construction would mark the completion of the entire nation's conversion to Nichiren's teachings. This led some Nichiren Shōshū lay groups to object that the building should not be constructed until after all of Japan had actually been converted to Nichiren Buddhism.[35]:289–293 When the Shōhondō was completed in 1972, the controversy about the timeliness of its construction heated up. Ikeda worked to improve the Gakkai's relationship with the priesthood, and when a Shōshū lay group called Myōshinkō protested against the Gakkai in 1974, they were expelled by Shōshū.[95] In 1976 the Nichiren Shōshū administration modified its liturgy to include a prayer for the success of the Soka Gakkai.[96] NOTE: the Soka Gakkai teaching of the significance of "kaidan" is that it is "any place where the Gohonzon is enshrined. . . with a vow to spread the Mystic Law".[97]

From 1977, Ikeda openly raised interpretations of Nichiren Buddhism that differed from Nichiren Shōshū doctrine. On January 17, 1977, Ikeda gave a speech called "Speaking on Views of Buddhist History" in which he stated that the Soka Gakkai’s neighborhood community centers served as the temples of the present era and that the Soka Gakkai had assumed the true priestly authority of this age.[98] In another essay titled "Lecture on the Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life" (Shōji ichidaiji ketsumyakushō kōgi), Ikeda disputed Nichiren Shōshū claims to an exclusive lineage going back to the founder Nichiren. Instead, he stated, individuals experience the same heritage of the Law through their Buddhist practice. Millions of copies of this essay were printed.[99]

Conflict with the Nichiren Shōshū priesthood[edit]

In the 1970s, Soka Gakkai had donated numerous buildings to Nichiren Shoshu besides the Shohondo.

By the late 70s there were a series of conflicts between the Soka Gakkai administration and Nichiren Shoshu. The series of speeches Ikeda gave in 1977, redefining the relationship between laity and clergy, alarmed elements of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and was a factor in Ikeda's resignation on April 24, 1979.[100] Ikeda retained only an honorary title but maintained the presidency of Soka Gakkai International. It seems likely the conflict with the Nichiren priesthood was behind Ikeda's departure, and it has been suggested that the Nichiren priesthood demanded Ikeda's resignation as a way to reassert its own authority and relevance.[95]

In July 1979, the head abbot of Nichiren Shōshū, Nittatsu Hosoi, died. A controversy arose among Nichiren Shōshū lay groups over the legitimacy of his successor, Nikken Abe. 200 monastic opponents of Abe and of Soka Gakkai eventually formed a group, Shōshinkai, which was soon expelled from Nichiren Shōshū.[101] Soka Gakkai supported Abe at this time.

As now honorary president of the Soka Gakkai, Ikeda functioned in a low profile for the second half of 1979. In 1980 he began to travel extensively as president of the Soka Gakkai International. In 1984 he was reappointed as chief lay representative on Nichiren Shoshu. Yet the reconciliation was still stormy under the surface. The Soka Gakkai had become deeply international in its perspective and the removal of Ikeda as president did not make the members docile.[102]

Schism and excommunication, 1990-1997[edit]

In 1991, Nichiren Shōshū administration published a list of points detailing their perceptions of Soka Gakkai deviation from Nichiren Shōshū doctrine. The priesthood also condemned Ikeda for abandoning the aggressive propagation style (shakubuku) that led to some social criticism of the lay group, though not the priesthood.[103] Nichiren Shoshu Soka Gakkai was no longer considered a lay group, or hokkekō, of Shōshū, and its leaders, including Ikeda, were expelled.[104][105]

The doctrinal dispute centered on interpretations of the meaning of the Three Jewels of Buddhism, in particular the "treasure of the Sangha", which according to Nichiren Shōshū refers to the Priesthood, while - according to the Soka Gakkai - anyone who practices Nichiren Buddhism is a member of the Sangha.[96] This dispute related to the concept of religious authority: "The priesthood claims that it is the sole custodian of religious authority and dogma, while the Soka Gakkai leadership argues that the sacred writings of Nichiren, not the priesthood, represent the ultimate source of authority, and that any individual with deep faith in Nichiren's teachings can reach enlightenment without the assistance of a priest."[106]

One of the deviations the priesthood objected to was Ikeda allowing members to sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" at meetings because it mentions God. Nichiren Shōshū, believing that Nichiren's authority was absolute, did not permit such Christian music.[107][108] Another problem was the concern of some priests that the Soka Gakkai was building community centers rather than temples.[109]

Some Japanese members of the Soka Gakkai left at this time, either because they were elderly and wanted priests to officiate at their funerals or they wanted to be able to go on pilgrimage to the head temple. A group left due to what they perceived as an "increasingly Ikeda-centered ethos"[35]:302 Most members stayed with the Soka Gakkai, however, and what they perceived as Ikeda's modernization of Buddhist ideas.[110]

In response to members leaving the organization to remain with Nichiren Shōshū, the Soka Gakkai initiated a "movement for leaving the confraternity" (脱講運動), aimed at drawing former members back to the organization. The Soka Gakkai encouraged members to chant for the self-destruction of "Nikken-shū" ("the Nikken sect", a name the movement applied to Nichiren Shōshū after the split) and began distributing the names of Shōshū temples across the country, holding regular prayer sessions to beseech the object of worship for aid in overthrowing (打倒 datō) Soka Gakkai's enemy.[35]:301–302

Households were allowed to belong to both organizations until 1997, when Shōshū excommunicated members of the Soka Gakkai.[104][105] In that year, Shōshū demolished the ¥35 billion Shōhondō building at Taiseki-ji. High Priest Nikken alleged that the reason for the demolition was corrosion caused by sea salt, but the architect of the Sho Hondo has said this had "no basis in fact", and the soundness of the building had been verified many times.[111]

There is evidence that Soka Gakkai was involved in fabricating evidence that the Shōshū administration had engaged in illicit conduct,[112] and in December 1999, Soka Gakkai was found guilty of libel against Nichiren Shōshū. The Soka Gakkai's official newspaper, the Seikyō Shinbun, had printed a doctored photo of Abe's 70th birthday party, claiming that it showed him cavorting with geisha.[113] Following the guilty verdict, the Seikyō Shinbun reported that it had been found innocent of all charges.[114][115]

Religious scholars have mixed opinions about the split. Ian Reader saw "corrupt and scandalous behavior on both sides."[112] But according to M. Bumann, Seager, Dobbeleare, Metraux, Hurst and others, "A spirit of openness, egalitarianism, and democratization pervaded the SG, embodying and giving new life to the idea of self-empowerment. In 1991, these liberalizing developments led to the split between the Japan-oriented, priestly Nichiren Shōshū and the lay-based, globalized SGI."[116] In an analysis of books studying the expansion of SGI after the split, Jane Hurst viewed the split as the result of: "lay members seeking religious support for their lives, priests seeking perpetuation of hierarchical institutions."[117]

In 2015 the official liturgy was revised to reflect Soka Gakkai teachings on the Gohonzon and on the place of the first three presidents in the development of kosen-rufu.[118] This was preceded by a revision to the Religious Tenets section of its Rules and Regulations, discarding references to the Nichiren Shoshu conception of the Object of Worship and of propagation. At that time the Soka Gakkai declared that Nichiren Shoshu "has no relation to the Soka Gakkai."[119]

Beliefs and practices[edit]

Further information: Nichiren Buddhism and Buddhist liturgy

The belief of the Soka Gakkai centers on recognizing that all life has dignity and has infinite potential and that the imminent "Buddhahood" existing in every person and can be awakened through the Buddhist practice ascribed by Nichiren.[120][121] Further, a person's social actions at every moment (the theory of the interdependence of life) can lead to soka, or the creation of value. Societal change is facilitated through "human revolution," a way of living in the world that creates value.[122][123][124][125][126] Many materials published by the Soka Gakkai convey the belief that members who share Nichiren's vow are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.[127][128][129][130]

The daily practice of Soka Gakkai members consists of chanting of daimoku to the Gohonzon with "earnest resolve" as well as the study of Nichiren Buddhism.[131] Rather than ceremonial daimoku (girei), Soka Gakkai members describe their chanting as "relentless daimoku" (tatakao daimoku) to the Gohonzon. The practice of chanting requires developing strong resolve to reveal inner "Buddhahood," applying the ideals of Buddhism to daily life, and determining to accomplish specific goals. These efforts are linked to proselytizing to spread the ideals of the Lotus Sutra and to thereby effect a spiritual and cultural change in society.[132] The practice also entails performing morning and evening gongyo, attending monthly discussion meetings, and fostering capable people.[133]

Gohonzon[edit]

Sōka Gakkai gohonzon

The Gohonzon Soka Gakkai members enshrine in their homes and centers is a transcription by the 18th century high priest Nichikan.[35] The characters down the middle of the scroll say "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" and "Nichiren". Immediately to the right and left are the names of Shakyamuni and Many Treasures (Taho) Buddha. On the corners are the names of protective deities from Buddhist mythology, and the remaining characters are names representing the various conditions of life.[134]

The Soka Gakkai teaches that by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon one fuses one's life with the ultimate reality of all things.[135] It is the member's faith and practice that causes the scroll to become a "happiness machine"[35]:289 that allows one to examine one's life, gain benefit and ultimately attain Buddhahood.[136]

Ikeda has written: "...the treasure tower is the great metaphor of the Lotus Sutra that represents the infinite potential for happiness within each individual's life, coextensive with the infinite cosmos. The treasure tower is synonymous with the Mystic Law, or the Gohonzon, or the Buddha nature inherent within each of us."[137] He also wrote: "In the Daishonin's Buddhism, the powers of the Buddha and the Law indicate those of the Gohonzon, since it embodies both the person and the Law. Only the powers of faith and practice can bring forth the powers of the Buddha and the Law, the limitless power of the Gohonzon."[138]

Josei Toda also taught that one must pray with the belief "that there is no distinction among the Gohonzon, Nichiren and you yourself."[139]

The Soka Gakkai has always believed that the efficacy of one's practice to the Gohonzon was free of dependence on clerical ritual, but refrained from expressing this while still connected to Nichiren Shōshū. Since 1991, however, the organization has taught openly that the Gohonzon is a reflection of the practitioner's own faith and practice.[140]

Chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo[edit]

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, called "the daimoku" literally means "devotion – mystic law (or ultimate reality) – lotus flower-teaching". In another sense, "myoho-renge" means "the mystic law of cause and effect".[141]

Soka Gakkai members chant the Daimoku to change their lives, including the environments in which they live.[142] The goal is to produce an inner change that becomes the motivator for social change. The Soka Gakkai teaches that chanting cannot be divorced from action.[143]

Soka Gakkai members believe that chanting releases the power of the universal life force inherent in life.[144] For some Soka Gakkai members, chanting for worldly benefits is a "first step" toward realizing the ultimate goal of Buddhahood. There is no separation between life in the world and the universal life of Buddhahood, chanting daimoku is meant to lead to effects in daily life[145] Thus, Buddhahood is experienced as the process of transforming, and as the actual transformation of, daily life.[146] Therefore, chanting daimoku is not approached as a passive exercise, as Soka Gakkai literature urges practitioners to have "conviction", tenacity and perseverance and to challenge problems.[147][148]

Faith, practice and study[edit]

The primary practice of the Soka Gakkai, like that of most Nichiren sects, is chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is the title of the Lotus Sutra, and simultaneously considered the Buddha nature inherent in life.[149] and the ultimate reality of existence.[150] The supplemental practice is the daily recitation of parts of the 2nd and 16th chapters of the Lotus Sutra. Unlike other Nichiren sects, the Soka Gakkai stresses that practicing for this enlightenment entails actual "engagement in the realities of daily life", while including the happiness of others in one's own practice.[151]

In addition, the Soka Gakkai publishes study materials, including the writings of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra, and has a well-developed program of study.[152] As a New Religion, Soka Gakkai practices Nichiren Buddhism as it has been expounded by its three founding presidents, and so also studies their speeches and writings, especially those of 3rd President Daisaku Ikeda. His novelized histories of the movement, The Human Revolution (and its sequel The New Human Revolution) have been said to have "canonical status" as it "functions as a source of inspiration and guidance for members".[153]

The Soka Gakkai practice also includes activities beyond the ritualistic, such as meetings, social engagement, and improving one's circumstances; these also have significance as religious activities in the Soka Gakkai.[154][155][156]

The practices to improve oneself while helping others, and the study of Buddhism, combine with "faith" in what the Soka Gakkai considers "the three basic aspects of Nichiren Buddhism".[157] Faith, as explained in a booklet given by SGI-USA to prospective new members, is an expectation that deepens with experience as one practices in the Soka Gakkai.[158]

The discussion meeting[edit]

Main article: Zadankai

According to Seager, "Gakkai meetings are formal liturgies" in that their format—"chanting, relatos, teachings, inspiring entertainment"—is identical from place to place.[159] McLaughlin says they are among the most important activities of the Soka Gakkai.[160]

At discussion meetings, participants are encouraged to take responsibility "for their own lives and for wider social and global concerns."[161] The format is an example of how the Soka Gakkai is able to "dispense with much of the apparatus of conventional church organization".[162]

Lotus Sutra[edit]

Main article: Lotus Sutra

The Lotus Sutra is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sutras, of uncertain authorship. The sutra presents itself as a discourse delivered by Gautama Buddha toward the end of his life. The oldest parts of its text were probably written down between 100 BC and 100 AD: most of the text had appeared by 200 AD.[163] While most Mahāyāna denominations regard the Lotus Sutra as important, a characteristic of Nichiren Buddhism is the elevation of the Lotus Sutra to the only true revelation of Buddhism. The sutra is the basis for the two central focuses in Nichiren Buddhist practice: the daimoku and the gohonzon.[74][153]

Nichiren taught that practicing the Lotus Sutra "address both the purification of the mind the purification of society", and that "only adherence to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra would prevent adversity".[164]

The Soka Gakkai veneration of the Lotus Sutra has been explained by Daisaku Ikeda: "The ideal of Mahayana Buddhism is the realization of happiness for oneself and for others. Nowhere is this more completely set out than in the Lotus Sutra, which recognizes the Buddha-nature in all people—women and men, those with formal education and those without…..the Lotus Sutra doesn't deny the value of worldly benefit. By allowing people to start to practice in expectation of such benefit, the teachings of the Lotus Sutra establish a way of life based on faith, and through this faith…we enter the path of wisdom. By believing in this sutra that teaches universal enlightenment and by purifying our mind, we are then able to bring our daily actions into harmony with the core spirit of Buddhism."[165]

The Soka Gakkai believes that Nichiren taught that the prosperity of society is linked to its regard for the Lotus Sutra, and that in modern terms this means its respect for the dignity of life.[166] One is considered to be practicing the Lotus Sutra when chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon.[167][168]


Proselytizing[edit]

At one time, the Soka Gakkai's expansion methods were controversial, as it employed a Buddhist method called shakubuku, translated as "break and subdue (attachments to inferior teachings)".[169] It is not "forced conversion", as some have alleged. "Although all critics of Sokagakkai express aversion to shakubuku, the method is not very different from that used in the West by Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, ‘Born-againChristians, ‘Moonies’ and others. Most Japanese sects practice aggressive proselytising, but not as successfully as Sokagakkai.".[170]

In 1970 Ikeda prescribed a more moderate approach, "urging its members to adopt an attitude of openness to others"; the method Soka Gakkai prefers since then is called shoju - "dialogue or conversation designed to persuade people rather than convert them", though this is often referred to still as "shakubuku spirit".[171] In 2014 the Soka Gakkai changed the "Religious Tenets" section of its Rules and Regulations as regards propagation. Formerly, the Tenets said the Soka Gakkai "would seek to realize its ultimate goal - the widespread propagation of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism throughout Jambudvipa (the world), thus fulfilling the Daishonin's mandate". The new version says "it shall strive, through each individual achieving their human revolution,to realize as its ultimate goal the worldwide propagation of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, thus fulfilling the Daishonin's mandate."[172] According to Soka Gakkai President Harada, "worldwide propagation" is a function of individuals undergoing positive change in their lives.[173]

Oneness of mentor and disciple[edit]

Chilson reports that "as Soka Gakkai's long-time leader, Ikeda is revered by Gakkai members."[174] The relationship between members and their mentors is referred to as "the oneness of mentor and disciple." Soka Gakkai members both in and outside Japan perceive Ikeda as their mentor and openly discuss this relationship. The mentor is to lead and thereby improve the lives of his disciples. The mentor's actions is seen as giving disciples confidence in their own unrealized potential. The role of disciples is seen as supporting their mentor and realizing his vision using their unique abilities and circumstances. The relationship is seen as non-hierarchical and mutually weighted. Disciples are encouraged to be active creators rather than passive followers.[175] Seager writes: "The oneness of the mentor-disciple relationship is described not in terms of demands and duties as many critics imagine it to be, but in terms of choice, freedom and responsibility. It is the disciple's choice and decision to follow the mentor's vision for their common goal. In response, it is the mentor's wish to raise and foster the disciple to become greater than the mentor.[17]:63

A predominant theme in Ikeda's writings is his relationship with Toda, thereby modeling for his followers the oneness of mentor and disciple. Chilson states, "There is no part of his life that he talks about more, or with more enthusiasm, than the years he spent with Toda."[176] Ikeda's published diary portrays him as an imperfect person who is completely dedicated to serving Toda as a disciple, creating an image of Ikeda for members who wish to become his disciple.[177]

Since the mid-1990s, the issue of the oneness of mentor and disciple has received more prominence in the Soka Gakkai. There is a strong emphasis on "cultivating all members... in discipleship" through forging "affective one-to-one relationships with Ikeda".[178]:70

Life force[edit]

While imprisoned, Josei Toda studied a passage for the Immeasurable meanings sutra (considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra) that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations – for example, that it is "neither being nor non-being, this nor that, square nor round". From this, he concluded that "Buddha" is life, or life force.[179][180]

The "philosophy of life" restates principles formulated by Nichiren:[181] "three thousand conditions in a single moment" (ichinen sanzen), and "observing one's own mind" (kanjin)[182]

The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai's conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren's teachings. "Our health, courage, wisdom, joy, desire to improve, self-discipline, and so on, could all be said to depend on our life force," Ikeda says.[183]

Toda considered that the concept of "Buddha as life (force) means that Buddhism entails transforming society.[184] According to religious historian Susumu Shimazono, Ikeda says "Faith is firm belief in the universe and the life force. Only a person of firm faith can lead a good and vigorous life. . . Buddhist doctrine is a philosophy that has human life as its ultimate object, and our Human Revolution movement is an act of reform aimed at opening up the inner universe, the creative life force within each individual, and leading to human freedom."[185]

Soka Gakkai teaches that this "self-induced change in each individual" – which it refers to as "human revolution"—is what leads to happiness and peace[186] While older schools taught the attainment of Buddhahood in this life through the Gohonzon, they did not tie this to social engagement. Toda's conception of life force and human revolution means that one attain Buddhahood "through engagement in the realities of daily life, through attaining benefits and happiness that involve all of life, and through extending this happiness to others."[187]

Five "Eternal Guidelines" of Faith[edit]

In late 1957, then Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda proclaimed 3 "Eternal Guidelines of Faith" in order to impress on the growing membership that the purpose of their faith was to effect change in their lives. In 2003, Ikeda added two more guidelines. The Five Guidelines of Faith are:

  • Faith for a harmonious family;
  • Faith for each person to become happy;
  • Faith for surmounting obstacles;
  • Faith for health and long life; and
  • Faith for absolute victory.[188]


Differences from Nichiren Shoshu[edit]

Between 1952[189] and 1991 Soka Gakkai was a lay group, or Hokkekō in Nichiren Shōshū. The split was to a degree caused by disagreements over the interpretation of Nichiren teachings.[190] While the two movements still share some ritual elements,[191] the Soka Gakkai did change some practices to "reflect the changes of the late twentieth century,"[192] and their own approach to kosen-rufu, or widespread propagation.[193]

The Soka Gakkai practices Nichiren’s teachings as adapted and applied by its three founding presidents: Makiguchi, Toda and Ikeda.[194] Nichiren’s basic practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (called "daimoku") to a mandala Nichiren inscribed called "Gohonzon" is shared by other Nichiren sects including Nichiren Shoshu; but in the Soka Gakkai, the expectations and goals of the practice are unique.[195] For the Soka Gakkai, practice affords "a ritual response" to one's desire to improve one's life and circumstances; but chanting is "not an empty ritual, but a means of focusing one's attention on one's own contribution to problem areas in one's life, and thereby a means of realizing potential responses."[196][197]

These interpretations of Nichiren's teachings arise first from Makiguchi’s theory of value creation. From its onset the Soka Gakkai was interested in religion providing "personal gain" for adherents; but "personal advantage as defined by Makiguchi, however, is not a narrow self-interest, but rather something that might be called enlightened self-interest. It is never in conflict with the public good."[198] Secondly, the Soka Gakkai's beliefs and practices arise from Toda’s insights that "Buddha is life (or life force)" and "we are bodhisattvas entrusted with worldwide propagation of the Mystic Law."[199]

Ikeda developed these teachings in a way they could take hold in countries outside of Japan, and developed its social agenda.[200] Ikeda has produced certain writings which have acquired a canonical status within Sōka Gakkai, such as Ikeda's book "Human Revolution," which in some ways sets it apart from Nichiren Shoshu,[153] which in turn sets itself apart from the Soka Gakkai by maintaining that only a priest can be a "Bodhisattva of the Earth."[201]

The Soka Gakkai teaches that it is possible to attain enlightenment without the assistance of traditional temples and without a system of priesthood, for any person with deep faith in Nichiren's teachings.[202]

Peace activities[edit]

Gymnastic formation by the Brazil SGI team at Rio de Janeiro, on October 30, 2011. Performance art is one of Soka Gakkai's peace activities.

The group's peace activities can however be traced back to the Toda era - at an athletic meeting in 1957, Toda called for a complete ban on nuclear weapons. A 1975 petition drive against nuclear weapons by the Gakkai's youth division garnered 10 million signatures, and was handed over to the United Nations.[203][204]:84

Soka Gakkai considers dance and other performance art to be a major aspect of its peace activities. The members in Singapore also participate in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony[205] and the 2015 Southeast Asian Games Opening Ceremony.[206] The members also participate in the national day parade in Singapore[207][208] and Malaysia.[209]

Culture of peace[edit]

The Soka Gakkai was included in a collective Buddhist response to UNESCO's "Declaration on the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace," established in Barcelona in December 1994. The Soka Gakkai's contribution to building a culture of peace is summarized by person-to-person diplomacy, the promotion of small community discussion meetings with egalitarian mores reflecting the Lotus tradition, the promotion of the values of compassion, wisdom, and courage to promote action to nurture world citizenship, and participation in cultural events to foster the culture of peace.[210] Peace and human rights activists such as Dr. Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who partnered with the Soka Gakkai in various exhibits and presentations, praise the organization's efforts.[211]

Each year, Ikeda publishes a peace proposal which examines global challenges in the light of Buddhist teachings and suggests specific actions to further peace and human security. The proposals are specific and wide-ranging, covering topics as constructing a culture of peace, promoting the development of the United Nations, nuclear disarmament, the prohibition of child soldiers, the empowerment of women, the promotion of educational initiatives in schools such as human rights and sustainable development education, and calls to reawaken the human spirit and individual empowerment.[212] The complete texts of recent proposals are available at the SGI website.[213] Olivier Urbain, Director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, has published a compilation of topical excerpts from past proposals, with a focus on the role of the United Nations.[214]

Establishment of institutions[edit]

The Soka Gakkai has established multiple institutions and research facilities to promote its values of peace. The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (founded in 1962), among other goals, clarifies the essence of Buddhism to peace studies. The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue (founded in 1993 as the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century), promotes dialogue between scholars and activists to prevent war and promote respect for life.[215] The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research (founded in 1996) conducts peace-oriented international policy research through international conferences and frequent publications.[216][217] The Amazon Ecological Research Center (founded by Ikeda in 1992) outside Manaus, Brazil has pioneered reforestation, the creation of a regional seed bank and experiments in agroforestry.[218]

Criticisms of the Soka Gakkai's promotion of pacifism[edit]

Soka Gakkai's pacifist stand has however been questioned for the group's support to the non-pacifist political party Komeito, without denying that the group is very active in "trying to establish the basis for world peace".[204]:84 In Japan, there is a widespread negative perception of SGI's pacifist movement, which is considered to be mere public relations for the group.[7] Scholar Brian Victoria characterizes Soka Gakkai's pacifist activism as a "recruiting tactic", noting in particular Komeito's support for revising the Constitution of Japan.[19]

Support for the Soka Gakkai's promotion of pacifism[edit]

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling has praised Daisaku Ikeda specifically for his work to foster a lasting worldwide peace.[219]

Dr. Lawrence Carter, the chaplain at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, considers the Soka Gakkai an important ally in getting the message of civil rights and non-violence to cultures beyond those that are Christian. He has said that Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai, with activities such as Victory Over Violence, have helped in his work to "revive the King legacy."[220]

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish rights organization, has also worked with the Soka Gakkai. Rabbi Abraham Cooper headed its efforts in the Pacific Rim, and in co-operation with the Soka Gakkai opened a Japanese version of the Center's Holocaust exhibit. Cooper said the organization's involvement actually improved the exhibit, and that through the Soka Gakkai, the Wiesenthal Center has found more partners in Japan.[221]

Organization[edit]

Soka Gakkai's Tokyo headquarters

Formally, the Soka Gakkai International is the umbrella organization for all national organizations, while Soka Gakkai by itself refers to the Japanese arm. Soka Gakkai maintains an international political presence as a registered non-governmental organization with the United Nations.[35]:273

The basic functional organizational unit is the Block – a group of members in a neighborhood who meet regularly for discussion, study and encouragement. A number of Blocks form a District, and Districts are grouped into Chapters. From there the Soka Gakkai is organized into Areas, Regions, Prefectures and, finally, Territories – all under the umbrella of the national organization. Discussion and study meetings, the basic organizational activities, are conducted mainly at the Block level, though there are occasional meetings held at every level.[222]

SGI has been in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1983. As an NGO working with the United Nations, SGI has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament, human rights and sustainable development.[223]

Membership[edit]

Soka Gakkai has, together with its international offshoot Soka Gakkai International (SGI), been described as "the world's largest Buddhist lay group and America's most diverse".[224] Soka Gakkai International claims a total of over 12 million adherents.[225] The majority of these belong to the Japanese organization, whose official membership count is 8.27 million households.[226] According to statistics from the Agency for Cultural Affairs (a body of the Japanese Ministry of Education), the Japanese organization had 5.42 million individual members in 2000.[227]

A study in Europe found that most of new members joined because of the personalities of the people they met within the organization; but the biggest reason for continuing is the positive changes they see in their own lives.[228]

List of presidents[edit]

  1. Tsunesaburō Makiguchi (18 November 1930 – 2 May 1944)
  2. Jōsei Toda (3 May 1951 – 2 May 1960)
  3. Daisaku Ikeda (3 May 1960 – 24 April 1979)(Honorary president 1979–present)
  4. Hiroshi Hōjō (北条浩) (24 April 1979 – 18 July 1981)
  5. Einosuke Akiya (18 July 1981 – 9 November 2006)[229]
  6. Minoru Harada (9 November 2006 – present)[229]

Affiliated K-12 educational institutions[edit]

Several educational institutions were either founded by the Soka Gakkai or were inspired by the educational writings of the Soka Gakkai's three presidents.[230][231]

Kindergartens[edit]

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Tokyo Soka Elementary School - Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan, founded in 1978
  • Kansai Soka Elementary School - Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, founded in 1982
  • Fang Zhao-ling Soka Elementary School - Guangdong, China, founded in 2001
  • Xuan-tang Soka Elementary School - Guangdong,China, founded in 2003[237]
  • Brazil Soka School - São Paulo, Brazil, founded in 2003[238]

Junior and senior high schools[edit]

Affiliated institutions of higher learning[edit]

Junior colleges[edit]

Soka University[edit]

Main article: Sōka University

Soka University is a private university located in Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan founded in 1969. The school was opened to undergraduate students in 1971, while a graduate school was opened in 1975.

Soka University of America[edit]

The Soka University of America is a private university founded in 1987, located in Aliso Viejo, California, with $1,457,298,476 on assets in the year 2014 and 412 undergraduate students.[240] While the university claims to be secular and independent of Soka Gakkai, it is largely funded by Soka Gakkai .[241] Currently it is reported that "the school maintains no religious affiliation." [242]

Educational research institutes[edit]

The Soka Gakkai sponsors The Institute for the Study of Soka Education, a research institution to study the founding principles and results of the above schools.[243] In addition, the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue, located in Boston, studies and publishes works about humanistic education.[244]

Research institutes[edit]

The Soka Gakkai sponsors several research institutes:

  • Amazon Ecological Conservation Center - Manaus, Brazil, founded in 1992
  • The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue - Boston, United States, founded in 1993

Economic and Social Influence[edit]

The Soka Gakkai possesses considerable economic and social influence in Japan. The Soka Gakkai now owns most of the land around Shinanomachi Station in Shinjuku, Tokyo. This includes the offices of its newspaper, the Seikyo Shimbun, which has a readership base of 5.5 million.[245] Forbes magazine estimated that the organization has an income of at least $1.5 billion per year.[246] Religion scholar Hiroshi Shimada has estimated the wealth of the Soka Gakkai at ¥500 billion.[247]

The Soka Gakkai uses its financial resources for the maintenance of its own structures and organization and also for a number of civic activities. It is a non-governmental organization of the United Nations and has participated in many activities and exhibitions in conjunction with the UN.[248][249] It has sponsored exhibits such as "A Culture of Peace For Children", which was featured in the lobby of the UN Building in New York[250] and "Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our World".[251] Soka Gakkai also contributes to The Earth Charter Initiative with the "Seeds of Change" exhibit, "a ‘map’ showing the way towards a sustainable lifestyle".[252]

The Soka Gakkai's subsidiary organizations also have social influence. The Min-on Concert Association is a subsidiary of the Soka Gakkai which Ikeda established in 1963. It claims to sponsor over 1100 concerts each year.[253] It has sponsored tours by international artists such as the La Scala Opera Company, about which Ikeda told Min-on’s director that he "wanted average Japanese people to see first class art, even if we lost a lot of money".[254] Ikeda also founded the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in 1983. It houses collections of western and oriental art, and has participated in exchanges with museums around the world.[255]

SGI's president, Daisaku Ikeda, has been described by journalist Teresa Watanabe as one of the most powerful and enigmatic individuals in Japan.[256] Journalist Michelle Magee describes Ikeda as a "charismatic leader" who can display a violent temper in private.[257] According to religious scholar Jane Hurst, there is no indication he has exploited his position[258] and his home has been described as "modest".[259]

Japanese politics[edit]

See also: Komeito

Humanitarian work[edit]

The Soka Gakkai also conducts humanitarian aid projects in disaster stricken regions. As an organization it is not only dedicated to personal spiritual development but also to engaged community service. After the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Soka Gakkai facilities became shelters for the displaced and storage centers for food and supplies for the victims. The relief effort also included community support by youth groups, global fundraising for the victims, and spiritual support.[262] SGI-Chile members collected supplies to deliver to a relief center after the country's 2014 earthquake.[260]

SGI has been in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1983. As an NGO working with the United Nations, SGI has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament, human rights and sustainable development.[223]

Media coverage[edit]

There is a "fractured view" of the Soka Gakkai in Japan. On the one hand it is seen as a politically and socially engaged movement;[261][262] on the other, it is still widely viewed with suspicion by Japanese.[263][264] James R. Lewis claims the Soka Gakkai's perception has suffered from sensationalist and often irresponsible treatment by the media even though the group has matured into a responsible member of society.[9] Other scholars reject the cult label.[265][266] Some scholars who utilize the Bryan R. Wilson typology of newly emerging denominations categorize it as "gnostic-manipulationist", a category of teachings holding that the world can improve as people master the right means and techniques to overcome their problems.[267][268][269][270]

Mainstream coverage in Japan[edit]

According to Anne Mette Fisker-Nielsen, "Soka Gakkai's relentless, but highly successful, proselytizing in the 1950s stirred up fear in wider society. Soka Gakkai was portrayed by the mass media as aggressive and some members were reported to have resorted to violence to remove objects of other religious worship from the home of new adherents, although it is difficult to find evidence....The organization was widely portrayed as a 'conglomeration of lower social elements' (quoted in White 1970: 6), by that presumably meaning that most members were poor."[271]

Today, Soka Gakkai is rarely criticized in mainstream news media. Ikeda occasionally contributes editorials to major newspapers, which also print reports on Gakkai business. since the Komeito Party joined the ruling government coalition in 1999, widespread criticism by the media of the Soka Gakkai has abated and the Soka Gakkai is gaining acceptance as part of the Japanese mainstream.[272]

Tabloid coverage in Japan[edit]

Soka Gakkai has long been a subject of criticism in the Japanese weekly news/magazine press. Press criticism of the Soka Gakkai should be seen against the backdrop of negative press coverage of new religious movements in general.[273]

Media criticism of the Soka Gakkai, or at least the New Komeito Party, has abated since it became a coalition partner to the LPD.[274]

Academic research[edit]

There is a varied body of scholarly examination of the Soka Gakkai, representing approaches from a number of academic disciplines. Clarke's bibliography on Japanese new religious movement contains the most exhaustive collection of academic research about the Soka Gakkai.[275]

Cult appellation[edit]

Especially in the early postwar decades, the Soka Gakkai found itself embroiled in controversy and appellations of "cult" and "cult of personality" have become attached to it.[276] Its rapid expansion in the 1950s and 1960s went against the grain of traditional Japanese mores and this resulted in the public’s perception of the organization as being outside of the mainstream.[277] Among Japanese, public suspicion about the Soka Gakkai continues despite active efforts of the organization to attain mainstream acceptance.[278] However, since the Komeito Party joined the ruling government coalition in 1999, widespread criticism by the media of the Soka Gakkai has abated and the Soka Gakkai is gaining acceptance as part of the Japanese mainstream.[272][279]

Views of Ikeda's role in the mentor and disciple relationship have been complicated by the Soka Gakkai's involvement in Japanese politics. Levi McLaughlin notes oh "a decisive transformation from an organization run by Ikeda to a group dedicated to Ikeda".[178]:69 According to Jane Hurst, Ikeda has not exploited his position in the Gakkai's international organization, instead taking initiative to democratize and decentralize it.[258]

Charges of "cult" and "cult of personality"[4] have largely resulted from negative and distorted media coverage.[280] Scholarly research has also often been prejudicial.[281] The rapid and unconventional growth of the Soka Gakkai in the 1950s and 1960s caused alarm in established Japanese power structures and this became reflected in English-language research in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[282][283][284][285] Concern that the organization had fascist potential was discounted by the White study, "The Sokagakkai and Mass Society."[286][287]

In the early 1970s the "anti-cult movement" (ACM) began to take form in the United States,[288] and Europe.[289] Whereas Western New Religious Movement scholarship has strongly debunked the underlying theory of cults,[290][291][292][293] in Japan scholars have been "muted almost to the point of non-existence" in questioning the anti-cult movement which has, among other accusations, tried to associate the Soka Gakkai with Aum Shinrikyo after the poison gas attack carried out by the latter.[294]

Newer scholarship has generally eschewed the Soka Gakkai’s cult appellation, noting the organization’s maturation, progressive qualities, and its calls to its membership to be excellent citizens.[295][296][297]

Critics have described the prominent and central role played by Ikeda within the Soka Gakkai as a personality cult.[298] However, within the Soka Gakkai, the relationship of members and Ikeda is called "the oneness of mentor and disciple."[299]

A similar relationship is prominent in Vajrayana Buddhism and traditional Vedic culture. The role of the mentor is to open a path and protect disciples; the role of disciples is to actualize the mentor’s teachings in society, grow into self-reliance, and surpass the mentor’s accomplishments.[300][301][302] Strand states that this relationship should be distinguished from uncritical veneration or charismatic religious leadership.[303]

A large part of the lore within the Soka Gakkai is that Ikeda modeled the oneness of mentor and disciple relationship through his efforts to actualize the visions of his mentor, Josei Toda. Soka Gakkai members perceive the relationship as mutually interdependent and not hierarchical.[304]

International perception[edit]

In 1998, the final paper of the Select (Enquete) Commission of the German Parliament on new religions and ideological communities came to the conclusion that, due to its connection to the Soka Gakkai, which is significant and controversial elsewhere, the German branch (SGI-D) is "latently problematic" even though it was inconspicuous at that time.[305] Seiwert[306] condemned the methodology and political intrigue surrounding this committee's work and final report and pointed out that in 1999 the new government coalition ignored the policy recommendations of the committee.[307] Despite the fact that the majority of the commission were critics of new religious movements, the commission concluded that new religions and ideological communities presented no threat to the state or society.[308]

The Soka Gakkai of the Republic of Cuba (SGRC) attained juridical recognition in 2007, following an official visit of Daisaku Ikeda in 1996. It has a membership of approximately 500 individuals spread throughout most of the country's provinces.[309]

In 2008, Ikeda was a recipient of the Order of Friendship, a state-issued award of the Russian Federation bestowed on foreign nationals whose work, deeds and efforts were aimed at the betterment of relations with the Russian Federation and its people.[310]

In July 2000, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform disclosed that a private investigator hired by Soka Gakkai had illegally stolen National Crime Information Center records pertaining to the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. The committee expressed concern that no arrests were made.[311] But by 2015 the Soka Gakkai constituent organization in the United States (SGI-USA) spearheaded the first "Buddhist Leaders' Summit" at the White House which was attended by 125 leaders and teachers from 63 different Buddhist communities and organizations.[312]

In 2012, President Ma Ying-jeou of The Republic of China (Taiwan) commended the Taiwan Soka Association for many years of effort in the areas of public welfare, education, and religious teaching. He pointed out that it had received from the Taiwanese government numerous awards such as "National Outstanding Social Organization Award," the "Award for Contribution to Social Education," and "Outstanding Religious Organization Award."[313]

In 2015 Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi signed an agreement that recognizes the Soka Gakkai as a "Concordat" (It: "Intesa")that recognizes the religious organization with the special status of advisor to the government on certain religious matters. Eleven other religious denominations share this status.[314]

Among the European new religious movements, the European Soka Gakkai organization is one of the most active participants in dialogues with the European Commission's Bureau of European Policy Advisors.[315]

While they are not all formally affiliated with the Soka Gakkai, there are a number of overseas institutions that perceived to be associated with the Soka Gakkai, or with Ikeda. These include the Ikeda Peace Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Toda Institute of Oriental Philosophy in Hawaii; and educational institutions in the United States, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia and China.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The Pioneer Days". Nichiren Shoshu Temple. Retrieved October 5, 2015. 
  2. ^ Jacqueline I. Stone , Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism (Studies in East Asian Buddhism), University of Hawaii Press 2003,ISBN 978-0824827717, page 454.
  3. ^ a b Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin, eds. (2010). Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 2656–2659. ISBN 978-1598842036. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Kisala, Robert (2004). "Soka Gakkai: Searching for the Mainstream". In Lewis, James R.; Aagaard Petersen, Jesper. Controversial New Religions. Oxford University Press. pp. 139–152. 
  5. ^ a b Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael, eds. (2006). Introduction to new and alternative religions in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-275-98712-4. 
  6. ^ Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, "Soka Gakkai International" in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. "Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai's charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement's public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai's political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement's history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history."
  7. ^ a b Wellman, Jr., James K.; Lombardi, Clark B. (eds.). Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0199827756.  "When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs, over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its "peace movement" is little more than promotional propaganda. The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members, were related members, or were friends of members."
  8. ^ Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8. Since its founding in the 1930s, the SG has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination. 
  9. ^ a b Lewis, James R. (2003). Scholarship and the Delegitimation of Religion in Legitimating new religions ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 217–218. ISBN 978-0813533247.  ""For over half a century, one of the most controversial new religions in Japan has been Soka Gakkai. Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society, its ongoing connection with reformist political activity served to keep it in the public eye. Until relatively recently, it also had a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage. Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion, some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai--critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by efforts to delegitimate Soka Gakkai by portraying it as deluded, wrong, and/or socially dangerous....Soka Gakkai also spread to the United States and Europe, where it aroused controversy as a result of its intense proselytizing activities. Although it was never as controversial as groups like the Hare Krishna Movement or the Unification Church, Soka Gakkai—which in the United States went under the name Nichiren Shoshu of America after Soka Gakkai broke with Nichiren Shōshū—was not infrequently stereotyped as a brainwashing cult, particularly by anti-cult authors."
  10. ^ Beasley, W.G., ed. (1977). Modern Japan: aspects of history, literature, and society. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 190–196. ISBN 0-520-03495-3. 
  11. ^ a b c Brannen, Noah (1968). Sōka Gakkai: Japan's militant Buddhists. John Knox Press. pp. 80, 101. 
  12. ^ Hunt, Arnold D. (1975). Japan's militant Buddhism: a survey of the Soka Gakkai movement. Salisbury East, S. Aust.: Salisbury College of Advanced Education. pp. 1–13. ISBN 0909383065. 
  13. ^ Kitagawa, Joseph M. (1990). Religion in Japanese history ([Reprint]. ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 329–330. ISBN 978-0231028387. 
  14. ^ Clarke, Peter, ed. (2008). Encyclopedia of new religious movements (1. publ. ed.). London: Routledge. p. 594. ISBN 978-0415453837. 
  15. ^ Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator: revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0318-6. 
  16. ^ Levi McLaughlin, Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions, Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion, ISBN 978 90 04 23435 2, page 282
  17. ^ a b c d e f Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. Berkeley [u.a.]: Univ. of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  18. ^ a b Hammond, Phillip E.; Machacek, David W. (1999). Soka Gakkai in America: accommodation and conversion (Reprinted. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198293897. 
  19. ^ a b Victoria, Brian (2014). "Sōka Gakkai Founder, Makiguchi Tsunesaburō, A Man of Peace?". Asia-Pacific Journal 12 (37). 
  20. ^ Watanabe, Takesato. "The Movement and the Japanese Media." In Machacek and Wilson, eds. Global Citizens, p. 221. OUP. ISBN 0199240396.
  21. ^ a b c d Robert L. Ramseyer. "The Soka Gakkai". In Beardsley, Richard K., editor, Studies in Japanese culture I. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965. p. 156
  22. ^ Thomas, Jolyon Baraka (2014). Japan's Preoccupation with Religious Freedom (Ph.D.). Princeton University. p. 281. 
  23. ^ Victoria, Brian (2001). "Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?". Journal of Global Buddhism 2. ISSN 1527-6457. Makiguchi made this clear when he told the police: ‘The Sun Goddess is the venerable ancestress of our Imperial Family, her divine virtue having been transmitted to each successive emperor who ascended the throne up to and including the present emperor. Thus has her virtue been transformed into the August Virtue of His Majesty which, shining down on the people, brings them happiness. ... In light of this, who is there, apart from His Majesty, the Emperor himself, to whom we should reverently pray?' 
  24. ^ Miyata, Koichi (2002). "Critical Comments on Brian Victoria’s "Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?"". Journal of Global Buddhism 3. ISSN 1527-6457. Victoria quotes a reference by Makiguchi to ‘praying’ to the emperor. He could hardly, however, have been more distorting in selecting the passage he quoted, deliberately excluding the following extract, in bold: ‘The august virtue of His Majesty the Emperor is manifested in the security and happiness of the people, through the organs of his civil and military officials. Should these be deficient in some way, the people can petition him through the Diet or other bodies. In light of this, who is there, apart, from His Majesty, the Emperor himself, to whom we should reverently pray?’ (‘Pray’ is Victoria’s translation; ‘beseech’ is probably more accurate in this context.) 
  25. ^ Laderman, Gary; León, Luis, eds. (2003). Religion and American cultures. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.]: ABC- CLIO. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-57607-238-7. 
  26. ^ Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's New Buddhism: An Objective Account of Soka Gakkai. New York & Tokyo: Walker/Weatherhill. p. 89. ISBN 0834800403. Toda 'was burning with a desire for vengeance--not against the militarist government of Japan but against an invisible enemy who had caused his own suffering of more than two years as well as his teacher's death in jail and agony to tens of millions of his fellow countrymen.' 
  27. ^ Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 104–5. ISBN 0834803186. 
  28. ^ Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 108–9. ISBN 0834803186. 
  29. ^ Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 91–3. ISBN 0834803186. 
  30. ^ Offner, Clark B. (1963). Modern Japanese Religions: With Special Emphasis Upon Their Doctrines of Healing. New York: Twayne Publishers. pp. 101–102. 
  31. ^ Mendel Jr., Douglas. "Book Reviews". The Journal of Politics. Cambridge University. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  32. ^ Brannen, Noah S. (1968). Soka Gakkai: Japan's Militant Buddhists. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press. p. 143. Once a year the education department gives examinations and awards students with the four successive ranks of Associate Lecturer, Lecturer, Associate Teacher, or Teacher. Every member is expected to take the exams. In a study-conscious society and examination-oriented national system of education, Soka Gakkai's indoctrination program is manifestly compatible with the climate. 
  33. ^ a b c McFarland, H. Neill (1967). Rush Hour of the Gods. New York: Macmillan. 
  34. ^ Fowler, Jeaneane and Merv (2009). Chanting in the Hillsides. Great Britain: Sussex Academic Press. p. 155. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. ISBN 9004234365. 
  36. ^ Montgomery, Daniel, Fire in the Lotus, (1991). Mandala, an imprint of Grafton Books. p. 186 and p. 189, ISBN 978-1-85274-091-7
  37. ^ Nakano, Tsuyoshi. "Religion and State." In Tamaru, Norioshi and David Reid, eds. 1996. Religion in Japanese Culture: Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World. Tokyo: Kodansha, International. ISBN 4-7700-2054-6. P. 125.
  38. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". In Prohl, Inken; Nelson, John. Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions. Leiden: Brill. p. 272. ISBN 9789004234352. 
  39. ^ Moos, Felix (March 1963). "Religion and Politics in Japan: The Case of the Soka Gakkai" (PDF). Asian Survey. doi:10.1525/as.1963.3.3.01p1616c. Retrieved 6 December 2013. .
  40. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (1991). Fire In The Lotus. Mandala, an imprint of Grafton Books. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-85274-091-7. 
  41. ^ McLaughlin (2012):278-279. "Sõka Gakki was driven forward by adherents who came to the group from the fringes of modern Japanese society. They were attracted to the Gakkai in part because it addressed them in an educational idiom, promising access to legitimate and legitimizing practices associated with a pedagogical framework. This was crucial in Japan of the mid—twentieth century, a society obsessed by standards imposed by educational systems, whose members were quick to judge one another based on perceived levels of cultural sophistication. The Value Creation Study Association appealed to the people postwar Japan as a forum for the socially disenfranchised to study, to learn, to prove themselves within meritocratic institutions modeled on the mainstream schools and other educational establishments in which they otherwise had few chances to participate. Soka Gakkai's academic idiom that appealed to so many in postwar Japan speaks not only to members' desire to realize legitimacy through educational pursuits; the group also appeals to members' aspirations to join Japan's social elite....Soka Gakkai is proof that the socially disenfranchised need not sit idle; they are aware of what they lack, and, when organized en masse and inspired by the possibilities of upward social mobility, they themselves create the institutions that grant social mobility— political parties, newspapers, study circles, schools, museums, organizations for the performing arts, and opportunities for musical training. They create alternative means of reaching for the social legitimacy that remains out of their reach in mainstream society, of securing recognition ordinarily granted by the central institutions of the modern nation; they create groups like Soka Gakkai."
  42. ^ Brannen (1968), pp. 100-101.
  43. ^ Brannen (1968), pp. 102.
  44. ^ a b Aruga, Hiroshi. "Sōka Gakkai and Japanese Politics," in Machacek, David and Bryan Wilson, eds, Global Citizens: The Sōka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 104-114
  45. ^ Brannen, Noah (September 1962). "The Teachings of Sōka Gakkai". Contemporary Religions in Japan 3: 249. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  46. ^ Doherty, Jr., Herbert J. (Winter 1963). "Soka Gakkai: Religions and Politics in Japan". The Massachusetts Review 4 (2). JSTOR 25079014. 
  47. ^ Heine, Steven, ed. (2003). Buddhism in the modern world : adaptations of an ancient tradition ([Reprint.]. ed.). New York [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-19-514697-2. 
  48. ^ a b White, James W. (1970). The Sōkagakkai and mass society. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804707282. 
  49. ^ Naylor, Christina (March 1991). "Nichiren, Imperialism, and the Peace Movement". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 18 (1). 
  50. ^ Fisker-Nielsen, Anne Mette (2012). Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito. London: Routledge. (Japan Anthropology Workshop Series), p. 23
  51. ^ Maria Immacolata, Macioti; Capozi (translator), Richard M. (2002). The Buddha within ourselves : blossoms of the Lotus Sutra. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 113. ISBN 0761821899. 
  52. ^ Daniel B. Montgomery: Fire in the Lotus, Mandala 1991, S. 186-187 In April 1952 Taiseki-ji and other Nichiren temples throughout the land were celebrating the 700th anniversary of the founder’s first proclamation of the Daimoku, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. ... At Taiseki-ji four gala days were planned. The first two were to be managed by the sect’s official laymen’s association, called Hokkeko. The last two days were for Sokagakkai. ... The Hokkeko was bringing 2,500 members, and he [Toda] would muster 4,000 from his one-year-old society. He also saw an opportunity to avenge his two years of imprisonment during the war ... Forty-seven leaders of the Youth Division, one of whom was Daisaku Ikeda, worked out a systematic plan to locate Ogasawara and bring him to judgement. … The young men immediately challenged him to debate his views. … What happened next is not clear. According to Ikeda, Toda reasoned calmly with Ogasawara, demanding an apology, while the old man ‘drolled out of the mouth’ and ‘howled like a rabid dog’. But Murata claims that Toda told him in an interview that he struck the priest ‘twice’ (96). In any case, Ogasawara would not be intimidated, and would admit to nothing. … They carried him out into the temple grounds, shouting through megaphones, ‘This is Jimon Ogasawara, a parasite in the lion’s body, gnawing at Nichiren Shoshu … They tagged him with a placard reading. ‘Racoon Monk’, and bore him to the grave of Makiguchi.
  53. ^ Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's new Buddhism: an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0834800403, Page 96-97
  54. ^ Brannen (1968), p. 158
  55. ^ Brannen (1968), p. 164.
  56. ^ a b c Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's new Buddhism: an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  57. ^ Orient/West 7 (7–11). 1962. 
  58. ^ McLaughlin (2012), p. 292
  59. ^ White (1970), p. 44
  60. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0520245778. 
  61. ^ Kiong, Tong Chee (2007). Rationalizing religion : religious conversion, revivalism, and competition in Singapore society ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Leiden: Brill. p. 141. ISBN 9789004156944. [Ikeda] turned down the idea of shakubuku or aggressive proselytization for shoju a more gentle and persuasive conversion. 
  62. ^ Offner, Clark B.; Straelen, H. Van (1963). Modern Japanese Religions: With Special Emphasis Upon Their Doctrines of Healing. New York: Twayne Publ. p. 102. 
  63. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 124,127. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  64. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 144. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  65. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 145. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  66. ^ Matsutani, Minoru (2014), Soka Gakkai keeps religious, political machine humming, Tokyo, Japan: Japan Times 
  67. ^ Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1st publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780313324918. 
  68. ^ Hefferan, edited by Tara; Adkins,, Julie; Occhipinti, Laurie (2009). Bridging the gaps : faith-based organizations, neoliberalism, and development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. p. 182. ISBN 9780739132876. 
  69. ^ Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1st publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. pp. 128–30. ISBN 9780313324918. 
  70. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 125. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  71. ^ Dehn, Ulrich (2011). Staemmler, Birgit; Dehn, Ulrich, eds. Establishing the revolutionary : an introduction to new religions in Japan. Berlin: Lit. p. 207. ISBN 9783643901521. 
  72. ^ Urbain, Olivier (2013). Daisaku Ikeda and dialogue for peace. London: I.B. Tauris. pp. 22–3. ISBN 9780857722690. 
  73. ^ Strand, Clark. "Interview: Faith in Revolution". Tricycle. Retrieved Jan 2, 2015. I have felt a powerful responsibility to universalize and ensure the long-term flourishing of the teachings. Just weeks before he died in April 1958, Mr. Toda called me to his side and told me that he had dreamed of going to Mexico, that there were people there waiting to learn about Buddhism. In terms of the teachings, I have tried to separate out those elements in the traditional interpretation of Nichiren Buddhism that are more reflective of Japanese cultural and historical contingencies than they are of the underlying message. To this end I have continued to engage in dialogue with a wide range of people around the world in order to refine and universalize the expression of my ideas. Because I am convinced that all cultures and religions are expressions of deep human truths, I have regularly referenced philosophical traditions other than Buddhism, bringing in the ideas and insights of literature, art, science, and medicine, and sharing the inspiring words and insights of thinkers from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds with people, including the membership of the Soka Gakkai. 
  74. ^ a b Neusner, Jacob, ed. (2003). World religions in America: an introduction (3. ed.). Louisville, Ky. ;London: Westminster John Knox. p. 166. ISBN 978-0664224752. 
  75. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 146–147. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  76. ^ Marshall, Katherine (2013). Global institutions of religion ancient movers, modern shakers. London: Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 9781136673443. 
  77. ^ Carlile, Masumi Junnosuke ; translated by Lonny E. (1995). Contemporary politics in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 397–8. ISBN 9780520058545. 
  78. ^ New Komeito changes name back to Komeito
  79. ^ "MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: Local New Komeito officials oppose collective self-defense". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 2014-07-27. 
  80. ^ NYT, 2015
  81. ^ Fujiwara, Hirotatsu ; translated by Worth C Grant (1970). What shall we do about this Japan:I denounce Soka Gakkai. Nisshin Hodo Co. ISBN 9110135502. 
  82. ^ Carlile, Masumi Junnosuke ; translated by Lonny E. (1995). Contemporary politics in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 398. ISBN 9780520058545. 
  83. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 97–8. ISBN 9780520245778. Ikeda took [the free speech issue] seriously and made it the starting point for a process of critical self-examination that resulted in his once again re-creating the Gakkai....The free speech issue gave him a platform from which to make shifts in emphasis of such magnitude that some members recall that it took them a year or more to grasp his intent fully. 
  84. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780520245778. 'We must take the lessons of this incident deeply to heart and must absolutely not make the same mistake again,' he said. 
  85. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 97–8. ISBN 9780520245778. Ikeda's 1970 speech marked a watershed between the shakubuku-driven activism of the early days and the ore moderate, secularizing style that would become a hallmark of his presidency. It also marked his coming into his own as a teacher at the age of forty-two--still young by Japanese standards--as he began to articulate clearly the basic principles of his emergent globalizing and universalizing Buddhist Humanism. 
  86. ^ "Profile: Soka Gakkai". THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITY PROJECT (WRSP). Virginia Commonwealth University. On October 12, 1972, during ceremonies marking the opening of the completed Shōhondō at Taisekiji, Ikeda delivered a speech announcing the start of Sōka Gakkai's "Phase Two," describing a turn away from aggressive expansion toward envisioning the Gakkai as an international movement promoting peace through friendship and cultural exchange. 
  87. ^ Nakano, Tsuyoshi. "Religion and State". In: Tamura, Noriyoshi and David Reed, eds. 1996. Religion in Japanese Culture: Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World. Tokyo: Kodansha International, p. 127.
  88. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". In Prohl, Inken; Nelson, John. Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions. Leiden: Brill. p. 295. ISBN 9789004234352. 
  89. ^ Buck, Christopher (2015). God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America. Educator's International Press. p. 275. ISBN 9781891928154. Daisaku Ikeda...has transformed the materialistic promises of SGI practices into socialpreises that all can respect. Ikeda has almost single-handedly matured SGI....These sacralized secular values are characteristic of progressive internationalism. 
  90. ^ a b Teranashi, Hirotomo (2013). Urbain, Olivier, ed. Daisaku Ikeda and Dialogue for Peace. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9780857734136. 
  91. ^ Toynbee, Arnold; Ikeda, Daisaku; Gage, Richard L. (Ed.) (2007). Choose life : a dialogue. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9781845115951. 
  92. ^ Malraux, Andre and Ikeda, Daisaku. Ningen kakumei to ningen no joken (Changes Within: Human Revolution vs. Human Condition) Tokyo: Ushio Shuppansha Tokyo 1976
  93. ^ Goulah, Jason (2013), Dialogic Practice in Education., London/New York: In Urbain, Olivier. Daisaku Ikeda and Dialogue for Peace, p. 83 
  94. ^ Nanda, Ved P. (2009). Krieger, David, ed. The challenge of abolishing nuclear weapons. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 9781412815178. 
  95. ^ a b Daniel A. Metraux. "Why Did Ikeda Quit?" Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, vol. 7, no. 1 (March 1980): 56.
  96. ^ a b Jane Hurst. "A Buddhist Reformation in the 20th Century: Causes and Implications of the Conflict between the Soka Gakkai and the Nichiren Shoshu Priesthood".
  97. ^ "The Three Great Secret Laws". Living Buddhism 19 (10): 41. October 2015. 
  98. ^ McLaughlin, Levi. "Soka Gakkai in Japan". p. 18. 
  99. ^ "Profile: Soka Gakkai". THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITY PROJECT (WRSP). Virginia Commonwealth University. 
  100. ^ Dehn, Ulrich (2011). Staemmler, Birgit, ed. Soka Gakkai. Berlin: Lit. p. 208. ISBN 978-3643901521. The then Söka Gakkai president Ikeda in a series of messages and speeches in 1976 and 1977 defined the roles and functions of Söka Gakkai in a way which made the priesthood of the Nichiren Shöshü appear to be no longer necessary. According to Ikeda, it were not the priestly robes, bare heads and ordination which mattered at rites and ceremonies but the proper heart and mind and the readiness to help people to overcome suffering. The centres of Söka Gakkai were, according to Ikeda. the temples of present times. The Nichiren Shöshü priests were felt to be arrogant and dominant: vice versa Nichiren Shöshü felt this to be a 'hostile takeover' by people who were not skilled for the religious job and functions. The conflict in this hotter phase lasted for almost 15 years, and Ikeda was urged to leave the post of Söka Gakkai president in 1979. 
  101. ^ Fire in The Lotus, Daniel B. Montgomery, Mandala 1991, 1991, p. 200
  102. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". In Prohl, Inken; Nelson, John. Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions. Leiden: Brill. p. 300. ISBN 9789004234352. By and large, Nichiren Shöshü did not see Gakkai members transform into faithful temple parishioners after Ikeda became Honorary President. Instead, (Gakkai adherents continued to organize in the thousands to revere Ikeda as the leader of an increasingly outward-looking movement that was growing rapidly distant from its lay Buddhist roots. By the mid-1980s, the Nichiren Shöshü priesthood found itself the uncomfortable elderly companion of a dynamic international organization led by a globe-trotting public intellectual who was beginning to speak more often about the Enlightenment of European philosophy than the enlightenment promised by Nichiren Buddhist doctrine. 
  103. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 12. Other criticisms were more fundamental. For example, the president was criticized for having abandoned shakubuku as a method of proselytism in favor of the shoju method. 
  104. ^ a b Chronology of events according to "Association of Youthful Priests Dedicated to the Reformation of Nichiren Shoshu". [1]
  105. ^ a b Chronology of events according to Nichiren Shoshu
  106. ^ The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1992 - 19/4, The Dispute between Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu D. Metraux, p. 326
  107. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 11. 
  108. ^ Seagar, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. 
  109. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 129. 
  110. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. Members who believed priests to be essential to their spirituality stayed with Nichiren Shoshu, but most remained within the Gakkai, their loyalties tied to Ikeda and his modernist Buddhism. 
  111. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 136. 
  112. ^ a b Reader, Ian. "Review of "A Time to Chant" by Wilson and Dobbelaere". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 22 (1): 223. 
  113. ^ Shimbun Akahata Tokubetsu Shuzaihan (2000). Seikyō ittai: Kōmeitō, Sōka Gakkai seiken sanka o tou 3. Shin-Nihon Shuppansha. pp. 58–9. ISBN 4406027378. 
  114. ^ Seikyo Shinbun, December 7, 1999 『創価学会全面勝訴』
  115. ^ 山田, 直樹 (27 November 2004). "新「創価学会」を斬る【第4回】". 週刊新潮. 
  116. ^ "Martin Baumann Book Review of Hugh Seager - JGB Volume 7". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  117. ^ Hurst, Jane. "Book Review". Journal of Global Buddhism V. 3 2002. 
  118. ^ Harada, Minoru (11 December 2015). "A World Religion". World Tribune 4044: 6. 
  119. ^ Harada, Minoru (12 December 2014). "Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism". World Tribune 4004: 2–3. All Gohonzon—script or character mandalas of the Ten Worlds—inscribed by the Daishonin himself for all humanity, as well as transcriptions thereof, are equally the object of devotion of the essential teaching, embodying the fundamental Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo chanted to the object of devotion of the essential teaching is the daimoku [invocation] of the essential teaching, and the place where that daimoku is chanted is the sanctuary of the essential teaching. "The revision makes it clear that we of the Soka Gakkai have faith in this. 
  120. ^ Strand, Clark (2008). "Faith in Revolution: An Interview with Daisaku Ikeda". Tricycle. Winter. To chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is to call out the name of the Buddha-nature within us and in all living beings. It is an act of faith in this universal Buddhanature, an act of breaking through the fundamental darkness of life—our inability to acknowledge our true enlightened nature. It is this fundamental darkness, or ignorance, that causes us to experience the cycles of birth and death as suffering. When we call forth and base ourselves on the magnificent enlightened life that exists within each of us without exception, however, even the most fundamental, inescapable sufferings of life and death need not be experienced as pain. Rather, they can be transformed into a life embodying the virtues of eternity, joy, true self, and purity. 
  121. ^ Susumu, Shimazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. Crossroads Publishing. p. 439. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. Therefore, when you sit before the Gohonzon and believe there is no distinction among the Gohonzon, Nichiren and you yourself, …the great life force of the universe becomes your own life force and gushes forth. 
  122. ^ Fisker-Nielsen, Anne-Mette (2013). Religion and politics in contemporary japan : soka gakkai youth and komeito. [S.l.]: Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 9780415744072. Ikeda’s reading of Nichiren always returns to this point of seeing the potential of "Buddhahood" present in each person, in each social action and at each moment (the theory of ichinen sanzen). Emphasizing the potentially positive and mutually beneficial outcome to any situation is the basis for the concept of soka, creation of value, which is the name of the organization. The most fundamentals idea is that to facilitate social change it is necessary to develop a way of being in the world that creates value. The daily morning and evening chanting of daimoku and the study of Nichiren Buddhism is advocated as the practice for such self-development… 
  123. ^ Macioti, Maria Immacolata; Capozzi (tr), Richard (2002). The Buddha within ourselves : blossoms of the Lotus Sutra. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 73. ISBN 0-7618-2189-9. It is a matter of a "human revolution" that begins with the individual, etends to the family, and then, if possible, spreads to entire nations; social peace would come about as the summation of many single "human revolutions." 
  124. ^ Strand, Clark (2014). Waking the Buddha : how the most dynamic and empowering Buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Santa Monica, CA: Middleway Press. p. 25. ISBN 9780977924561. "From the beginning, the Soka Gakkai's approach to Buddhism was focused on the fundamental dignity of human life--affirming it, protecting it, and convincing others to do the same. 
  125. ^ Bocking, Brian. "Soka Gakkai". Overview of World Religions. University of Cumbria, Division of Religion and Philosophy, Philtar (Philosophy, Theology and Religion). Central to Soka Gakkai's philsophy are the ideas of 'human revolution' (i.e. personal and social transformation) and the Tendai concept of 'one thought, three thousand worlds'. According to Soka Gakkai, human beings can change themselves, and through changing themselves change the world. Change for the better is brought about by chanting the powerful daimoku or title of the Lotus Sutra 'nam-myoho-renge-kyo'. The effect of chanting this phrase, which embodies the essence of the enlightened mind of the Buddha, is radically to elevate one's mental and spiritual state within the 3,000 possible states of mind, which range from the experience of hell to perfect supreme enlightenment. Since 'body and mind are not two' (i.e. they are a unity), the transformation of the 'inner' or mental state is reflected in transformed behaviour and therefore social influence. If enough people practice daimoku whole societies and eventually the whole world will be transformed. 
  126. ^ Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. p. 127. ISBN 9780313324918. 
  127. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (2009). The heritage of the ultimate law of life. Santa Monica, Calif.: World Tribune Press. pp. 16–19. ISBN 9781938252280. The Soka Gakkai is a gathering of Bodhisattvas of the Earth that was founded by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, mentor and disciple, and accords with the Buddha's decree. 
  128. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (2013). The Heart of the Lotus Sutra. World Tribune Press. p. 133. ISBN 0967469759. All those who spread Buddhism in the defiled world of the Latter Day as Nichiren Daishonin taught are, without exception, Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In this day and age, SGI members match the Sutra's description of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth perfectly. 
  129. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (2012). The Opening of the Eyes. Santa Monica, CA: World Tribune Press. p. 168. ISBN 9781935523345. I have no doubt that Nichiren, too, would praise the unceasing acts of compassion our intrepid Bodhisattvas of the Earth perform daily in every land. 
  130. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (2013). The Human Revolution, Vol 24. Santa Monica, CA: World Tribune Press. pp. 146–157. ISBN 9780915678563. 
  131. ^ Buck, Christopher (2015). God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America. Educator's International Press. p. 275. ISBN 9781891928154. with "earnest resolve" SGI Buddhists chant in order to reveal the innate Buddhahood each human being may potentially realize 
  132. ^ . p. 47.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  133. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (August 2015). "The Two Kinds of Faith". Living Buddhism: 39. Those who believe firmly in the Mystic Law and steadfastly exert themselves in faith, practice and study—that is, doing morning and evening gongyo, attending discussion meetings, talking to friends about Nichiren Buddhism, studying Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, fostering capable people and so on—are champions of faith and genuine Buddhist disciples. 
  134. ^ Bauman, Melton, Martin, Gordon (ed.). Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices. p. 2658. ISBN 978-1598842036. 
  135. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 21–22. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. 
  136. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). The Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. p. 13. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. Certainly new members begin their practice in front of a white wall since, according to Nichiren, the Gohonzon truly exists only inside an individual and can be found only through faith. 
  137. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (2003). Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death - and everything in between. Middleway Press. p. 185. ISBN 0-9723267-0-7. 
  138. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (1979). Selected Lectures on the Gosho. Nichiren Shoshu International Center. pp. 61–62. ISBN 4-88872-003-7. 
  139. ^ Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. p. 439. 
  140. ^ Hurst, Jane (2000). Macachek and Wilson, ed. "A Buddhist Reformation in the Twentieth Century" in Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. To the Soka Gakkai, the split from the priesthood resulted in an incredible sense of freedom. They are free to express what they have always believed - that the power of the Gohonzon is separate from any priestly authority and that the Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon for all people throughout the world... 
  141. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). The Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 20–26. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. 
  142. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. The Soka Gakkai. p. 26. 
  143. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Change Starts From Prayer". Living Buddhism 18 (9): 56–57. 
  144. ^ Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. p. 437. 
  145. ^ Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. pp. 446–447. 
  146. ^ Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. p. 447. 
  147. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Change Starts From Prayer". Living Buddhism 18 (9): 57–59. 
  148. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (December 3, 2004). "Prayer". World Tribune: 8. Prayer is the courage to persevere. It is the struggle to overcome our own weakness and lack of confidence in ourselves. 
  149. ^ Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. They cpuild, in Anaekei's words, 'restore a primeval connection with the eternal Buddha' 
  150. ^ Melton and Baumann (2010). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices (2nd ed.). p. 2658. ISBN 978-1598842036. By chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo one forms a connection with the ultimate reality that pervades the universe 
  151. ^ Shimazono, Susumu (1999). "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism". In Takeuchi, Yoshinori. Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world i. Crossroad Publishing. p. 451. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. 
  152. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2003). "Faith and Practice: Bringing Religion, Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai". Social Science Japan Journal 6 (2): 19. 
  153. ^ a b c Cornille, C. (1998). "Canon formation in new religious movements: the case of the Japanese New Religions". In van der Kooij, A. Canonization and decanonization : papers presented to the international conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden 9-10 January 1997. Leiden: Brill. pp. 283–287. ISBN 9004112464. 
  154. ^ Strand, Clark (2014). Waking the Buddha. Middleway Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1. Middleway Press is a division of SGI-USA 
  155. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 59. 
  156. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2003). "Faith and Practice: Bringing Religion, Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai". Social Science Japan Journal 6 (2): 6–7. 
  157. ^ Yatomi, Shin (2006). Buddhism In A New Light. World Tribune Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-932911-14-5. World Tribune Press is a division of SDGI-USA 
  158. ^ The Winning Life. World Tribune Press. 1998. p. 12. 
  159. ^ Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, The Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  160. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. p. 272. ISBN 9004234365. 
  161. ^ Fowler, Jeanne and Merv (2009). Chanting In The Hillsides. Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-84519-258-7. 
  162. ^ Wilson, Bryan (2000). "The British Movement and Its Members". In Machacek and Wilson. Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 358. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. Liberated from ecclesiastical restraints, Soka Gakkai is enabled to present itself as a much more informed, relaxed and spontaneous worshipping fellowship. In a period when democratic, popular styles have displaced or largely discredited hierarchic structures, the typical meetings of Soka Gakkai reflect the style and form increasingly favored by the public at large. 
  163. ^ Williams, Paul (1989). Mahāyāna Buddhism: the doctrinal foundations. Routledge. p. 142. ISBN 9780415356534. 
  164. ^ Green, Paula (2000). Queen, Christopher, ed. "Walking for Peace" in Engaged Buddhism in the West. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 130. ISBN 0-86171-159-9. 
  165. ^ Strand, Clark (2008). "Faith in Revolution". Tricycle (Wunter). Retrieved 2014-09-11. 
  166. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (November 2014). "The Teachings for Victory". Living Buddhism 18 (11): 33. Nichiren points out the one factor that determines the direction of not only each individual but also of the nation and society as a whole: that is, whether people are enemies of the Lotus Sutra or whether they have faith in the Lotus Sutra. If we express this in contemporary terms, it means that everything depends on whether the principles of respect for the dignity of life and respect for human beings taught in the Lotus Sutra become the spirit of the age... 
  167. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "The Significance of the Expedient Means and Life Span Chapters". Living Buddhism 18 (9): 52–53. 
  168. ^ "Upholding Faith In The Lotus Sutra". Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism Library. Retrieved 2014-11-03. This Gohonzon is the essence of the Lotus Sutra and the eye of all the scriptures. 
  169. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. p. 277. ISBN 9004234365. 
  170. ^ Daniel B. Montgomery: Fire in the Lotus, Mandala 1991, S. 185-186
  171. ^ Seagar, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. pp. 97,169–170. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  172. ^ Harada, Minoru (December 12, 2014). "Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism". World Tribune: 2. 
  173. ^ Harada, Minoru (December 12, 2014). "Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism". World Tribune: 5. 
  174. ^ Chilson, Clark (2014). "Cultivating Charisma: Ikeda Daisaku's Self Presentations and Transformational Leadership." Journal of Global Buddhism, Vol. 15., p. 67
  175. ^ Chilson, p. 69
  176. ^ Chilson, p. 68
  177. ^ Chilson, pp. 74-5
  178. ^ a b McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Did Aum Change Everything? What Soka Gakkai Before, During, and After the Aum Shinrikyo Affair Tells Us About the Persistent "Otherness" of New Religions in Japan, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39 (1): 51–75. Archived from the original on 2013-12-23. 
  179. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  180. ^ Tamaru, Noriyoshi. Macachek and Wilson, ed. "The Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective" in Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 
  181. ^ Tamaru, Noriyoshi. Global Citizens. p. 34. 
  182. ^ Shimazono, Susume (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world i. Crossroad Publishing. p. 438. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. 
  183. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Winning In Life With Daimoku". Living Buddhism: 51. 
  184. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 53. 
  185. ^ Shimazono, Susumu. Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. p. 436. 
  186. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 9, 70. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. 
  187. ^ Susumu, Shinazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea and Japan in the Modern World. Crossroads Publishing. p. 451. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. 
  188. ^ "Buddhist Concepts". Living Buddhism 18 (12): 8. December 2014. 
  189. ^ http://www.nst.org/sgi-faqs/the-history-of-the-relationship-between-nichiren-shoshu-and-the-soka-gakkai/1-the-pioneer-days/
  190. ^ Hurst, Jane (1998). Prebish and Tanaka, ed. "Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai in America: The Pioneer Spirit" in The Faces of Buddhism In America. University Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0520213012. The major causes of the split were conflicting claims to authority between the Soka Gakkai and pristhood leaders, their relative positions of power, disagreements over the interpretation of Nichiren Daishonin's teachings, and certain financial issues. 
  191. ^ Hurst, Jane (2000). Machacek and Wilson, ed. Buddhist Reformation in the 20th Century. Oxford University. pp. 67–68. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 
  192. ^ Hurst, Jane. A Buddhist Reformation in the Twentieth Century, in Global Citizens. p. 70. Soka Gakkai emerged at a time of great cultural, economic and technological change. The changes they have brought to the practice of Nichiren's Buddhism are a reflection of the changes of the late twentieth century. 
  193. ^ Hurst, Jane. A Buddhist Reformation, in Global Citizens. p. 77. ...the priesthood just did not share Soka Gakkai's vision of how to accomplish kosen-rufu. 
  194. ^ Tamaru, Noriyoshi (2000). Machacek and Wilson, ed. Soka Gakkai In Historcal Perspective: in Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. pp. 32–34. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 
  195. ^ Tamaru, Nariyoshi (2000). Macachek and Wilson, ed. Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective in Global Citizens - the Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World. Oxford University Press. pp. 28, 30. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 28: "...this alliance between an essentially clerical organization and a new lay movement has been somewhat precarious from the very beginning." 30: "Thus, the fundamentally intellectual-ideological vein that distinguishes Soka Gakkai from other groups...was nurtured in the process of its formation." 
  196. ^ Machacek and Wilson (2000). Gloobal Citizens: The Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement In The World. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 
  197. ^ Tamaru, Yoriyoshi. "Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective" in Global Citizens. p. 32. 
  198. ^ Ramseyer, Robert (1965). "The Soka Gakkai: Militant Religion on the March". Studies in Japanese Culture 1: 160. For Makiguchi, the object of worship is not the Lord, the Ruler, to whom absolute loyalty is given, but rather a tool to be used for personal gain. The allegiance which must be given to religion is always a qualified allegiance, qualified because it is contingent on receiving some benefit from the religion. 
  199. ^ Susumu, Shimazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. Crossroads Publishing. p. 437. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. 
  200. ^ Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  201. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. ...laypeople, such as members of the Gakkai, can be followers of the bodhisattvas of earth *sic), but cannot be among the bodhisattvas themselves, because that status is reserved for priests. 
  202. ^ The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1992 - 19/4, D. Metraux, p. 326
  203. ^ Richard H. Seager, Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism, University of California Press:2006, p. 83
  204. ^ a b Kisala, Robert (2000). Prophets of peace: Pacifism and cultural identity in Japan's new religions. Honolulu, HI, USA: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0824822675. 
  205. ^ Cultural performances and the youth of Soka Singapore, 26ff
  206. ^ "28th SEA Games Opening Ceremony to Break Records with Spectacular Show". 
  207. ^ "NDP 2014 Show - The show is testimony to how everyday Singaporeans can come together to create something extraordinary...". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  208. ^ "Giving back to society in more ways than one". 
  209. ^ "SGM Participates in 57th National Day Celebrations". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  210. ^ David W. Chappell, "Introduction," in David W. Chappell (ed.), Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures of Peace, Wisdom Publications: 1999, pp. 22-23
  211. ^ Seager. Encountering the DSharma. pp. 175–181. 
  212. ^ Anwarul K. Chowdhury, "Introduction," Olivier Urbain (ed), A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda's Proposals to the UN. IB Tauris, 2013, ISBN 978-1780768403, pp. xi-xiv
  213. ^ "Proposals". www.sgi.org. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  214. ^ Olivier Urbain (ed), A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda's Proposals to the UN. IB Tauris, 2013, ISBN 978-1780768403
  215. ^ Karel Dobbelaere, "Toward a Pillar Organization?" in Global Citizens, Machacek and Wilson (eds.), pp. 243, 250
  216. ^ "Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  217. ^ Seager, p. 107
  218. ^ Seagar, Richard (2006), Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism, University of California Press, p. 192 
  219. ^ Pauling, Linus. A Lifelong Quest For Peace. Jones and Bartllett. p. ix. ISBN 978-0867202786. For decades Daisaku Ikeda has "been working to achieve the goals of disarmament, world understanding, and universal peace. 
  220. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. pp. 176–177. 
  221. ^ Seager. Encountering the Dharma. pp. 180–181. 
  222. ^ "Organization Chart". Sokanet. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  223. ^ a b UNODA, update (18 March 2014). "UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Meets Youth Representatives of Soka Gakkai Japan and of SGI-USA Engaged in Disarmament Issues". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  224. ^ Strand, Clark (2008). "Faith in Revolution". Tricycle Magazine 4. 
  225. ^ Soka Gakkai International. "What is SGI?". sgi.org. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  226. ^ "概要". SOKAnet 創価学会公式サイト. Soka Gakkai. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  227. ^ "わが国における主な宗教団体名". 文化庁. 1995-12-31. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  228. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. p. 38. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. 
  229. ^ a b "Minoru Harada appointed as Soka Gakkai President". Soka Gakkai International. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  230. ^ "創価学園 SOKA GAKUEN". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  231. ^ "An Educational Legacy - Daisaku Ikeda Website". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  232. ^ "sapporo soka kindergarten". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  233. ^ "Hong Kong Soka Kindergarten : HKSGI". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  234. ^ "Soka Kindergarten". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  235. ^ "Tadika Seri Soka". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  236. ^ "Soka Happiness Kindergarten Opens in South Korea - Daisaku Ikeda Website". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  237. ^ "Hope Primary Schools". 
  238. ^ "Brazil Soka School's First Entrance Ceremony - SGI Quarterly". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  239. ^ "Soka Ikeda College of Arts and Science - Chennai". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  240. ^ "Soka University of America". National Center for Charitable Statistics. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  241. ^ Pyle, Amy (17 November 1991). "Various Soka Groups Appear Linked". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  242. ^ "Best Colleges - U.S. News Ranking". U.S. News and World report Education. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  243. ^ http://www.soka.ed.jp/kyoiku/e_kyoiku/e_k0002.htm
  244. ^ http://www.ikedacenter.org/
  245. ^ Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8. 
  246. ^ Benjamin Fulford; David Whelan (9 June 2006). "Sensei's World". Forbes. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  247. ^ Matsutani, Minoru (2 December 2008). "Soka Gakkai keeps religious, political machine humming". The Japan Times. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  248. ^ "U.N. and NGO Links". Soka Gakkai International. Retrieved 14 November 2015. SGI works closely with other organizations which share the same goals at the national and international levels. At the grassroots, SGI groups partner with local community organizations and educational institutions to raise awareness of issues such as nuclear abolition and sustainable living, and empower individuals to contribute to building a culture of peace. 
  249. ^ Sato, Aoi. "UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Meets Youth Representatives of Soka Gakkai Japan and of SGI-USA Engaged in Disarmament Issues". United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  250. ^ "‘CULTURE OF PEACE’ EXHIBIT, HIGHLIGHTING CONTRIBUTIONS OF BOTH ORDINARY AND RENOWNED PEACE-BUILDERS, TO OPEN ON 4 FEBRUARY". United Nations. February 2004. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  251. ^ Jaura, Ramesh. "Hiroshima and Nagasaki Beckon Nuke Free World". Other news. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  252. ^ "Seeds of Change: The Earth Charter & Human Potential - exhibition". The Earth Charter Initiative. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  253. ^ http://www.min-on.org
  254. ^ Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8. 
  255. ^ Karel Dobbelaere, "Toward a Pillar Organization?" in Global Citizens, Machacek and Wilson (eds.), page=245
  256. ^ Watanabe, Teresa. "Japan's Crusader or Corrupter?". L.A. Times. Retrieved 3 December 2013. He is, by some accounts, the most powerful man in Japan--and certainly one of the most enigmatic: Daisaku Ikeda, leader of the nation's largest religious organization, has been condemned and praised as a devil and an angel, a Hitler and a Gandhi, a despot and a democrat. 
  257. ^ Magee, Michelle (December 27, 1995). "Japan Fears Another Religious Sect". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  258. ^ a b Hurst, Jane (2000). Machacek and Wilson, ed. "A Buddhist Reformation In The Twentieth Century" in Global Citizens. Oxford University. p. 89. Rather than giving in to the temptation to exploit his power as the leader of a now 12 million member organization, Mr. Ikeda has instead worked to see that the organization has become more democratic.... Power in the SGI has not stayed centered in Japan but has spread throughout the world... 
  259. ^ Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8. 
  260. ^ "Yes, Religion Can still be a force for good in the world: Here are 100 examples how". Huffington Post. 
  261. ^ Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. Since its founding in the 1930s, the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination. 
  262. ^ Takesato Watanabe, "The Movement and the Japanese Media" in David Machacek and Bryan Wilson (eds.), Global Citizens, Oxford University Press, 2000. "The Soka Gakkai is exceptional in that no other large Japanese religious organization engages in both social and political issues—from the promotion of human rights to the protection of the environment and abolition of nuclear weapons—as actively as it does." (p. 217)
  263. ^ Wellman, Jr., James K.; Lombardi, Clark B. (eds.). Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0199827756.  "When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs, over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its "peace movement" is little more than promotional propaganda. the few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members, were related members, or were friends of members."
  264. ^ Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, "Soka Gakkai International" in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. "Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai's charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement's public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai's political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement's history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history."
  265. ^ Macioti, p. 124. "It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a "sect." It is not a small, two-faced cult, characterized by obscure and hidden agendas. Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations, all of which are engaged in promoting culture, and raising interest around the theme of values—and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation."
  266. ^ O'Brien, Barbara. "Soka Gakkai International: Past, Present, Future". About Religion. You can find diverse definitions of "cult," including some that say "any religion other than mine is a cult." You can find people who argue all of Buddhism is a cult. A checklist created by Marcia Rudin, M.A., a founding director of the International Cult Education Program, seems more objective. I have no personal experience with SGI, but over the years I've met many SGI members. They don't seem to me to fit the Rudin checklist. For example, SGI members are not isolated from the non-SGI world. They are not anti-woman, anti-child, or anti-family. They are not waiting for the Apocalypse. I do not believe they use deceptive tactics to recruit new members. Claims that SGI is bent on world domination are, I suspect, a tad exaggerated. 
  267. ^ Bryan Wilson, Religion in Secular Society. Penguin, 1969
  268. ^ Bryan Wilson, Magic and the Millennium, Heinemann, London, 1973, pp. 18-30
  269. ^ Wallis, Roy (1976). The road to total freedom: a sociological analysis of Scientology. London: Heinemann Educational. p. 156. ISBN 0-435-82916-5. 
  270. ^ Glock, Charles Y.; Bellah, Robert N., eds. (1976). The New religious consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-520-03083-4. 
  271. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012) "Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito," Routledge, p. 52.
  272. ^ a b Metraux, Daniel (2012). Wellman, James K.; Lombardi, Clark B., eds. Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 266. ISBN 9780199827749. Throughout the 195os, the Soka Gakkai was a relatively radical movement that remained outside mainstream Japanese society, but since the foundation of the Komeito in the 1960s, it has considerably moderated its activities and has become a very mainstream movement, especially after the Komeito joined the coalition government in 1999. 
  273. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012) "Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito," Routledge, pp. 7-9
  274. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, pp. 65-66.
  275. ^ Clarke, Peter (2013). "Bibliography of Japanese New Religious Movements." Routledge.
  276. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 9780520245778. Since its founding in the £9305, the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination. To varying degrees this fractured view has followed the movement overseas, where, despite its success at globalization, it has had to contend with both the legacy of Japanese militarism in Asia and the concerns of observers in the West that the movement was in some way an Asian cult. 
  277. ^ Watanabe, Adam Gamble & Takesato (2004). A public betrayed : an inside look at Japanese media atrocities and their warnings to the West. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub. p. 216. ISBN 9780895260468. Given the predilection of many Japanese for accepting multiple religions, as well as the Japanese cultural tendency to avoid confrontation, it is no surprise that the Soka Gakkai's proselytizing was viewed negatively by much of mainstream Japanese society. Although the group had stopped this methodology by the 1980s and has focused ever since on 'sharing Buddhism in natural, socially accepted ways,' it has been unable to completely shake the negative images from these efforts. Also during its early years, the group attracted many impoverished Japanese, people who did not work for large companies or belong to national unions. This earned it the added reputation of being a 'gathering of poor people.' The label was used derisively, but the Soka Gakkai welcomed it as a slogan that reflected its philosophy of embracing all people, especially the poor and suffering. Although the current membership represents a broad cross section of Japanese society, the early taint of being outside the mainstream remains. 
  278. ^ Kisala, Robert (2004). Petersen, Jesper Aagaard; Lewis, James R., eds. Controversial new religions ([Reprint.] ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195156836. In conclusion I think we would have to say that although the group has made considerable efforts to become more mainstream, as long as it is perceived to be more concerned with political power and prestige than with the spiritual quest it will continue to be the object of popular suspicion. 
  279. ^ Lewis, James R. (2014). Cults: A Reference and Guide. Routledge. p. 164. ISBN 9781317545132. Soka Gakkai has been attacked in Japan because of its support of political activity that challenges the ruling coalition. Exploiting the negative public reaction to AUM Shinrikyo—the Japanese religious group responsible for the 1995 poison gas attack in the Tokyo subway system—the LDP (the Liberal Democratic Party, which has always been the dominant party in the ruling coalition) attempted to weaken its principal political rival, the New Frontier Party, which Soka Gakkai supported. In particular, the LDP engaged in a campaign to portray Soka Gakkai as being incompatible with the principles of democracy. In 1999, however, the LDP did an abrupt about face, and allied itself with the New Komeito Party, the party supported by Soka Gakkai. Unsurprisingly, the media assault on Soka Gakkai subsequently evaporated. 
  280. ^ Watanabe, Takesato (2003). Machacek, David; Wilson, Bryan, eds. Global citizens : the Soka Gakkai Buddhist movement in the world (Reprinted. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 213–290. ISBN 0199240396. The distortions generated in the reportage of the Soka Gakkai, the largest religious organization in Japan, as well as its virtual dismissal by the Japanese mainstream media, are shaped by the following causes: (1) a power structure which derives legitimacy through preservation of the imperial system; (2) the scope and scale of the Soka Gakkai’s political influence; (3) its history of defiance and autonomy; (4) the Japanese media’s dependence on large corporate advertisers; (5) the existence of media companies such as Bungei Shunju and Shichosa, which maintain collusive ties to the state; (6) the uncompromising religious convictions of the Soka Gakkai and social disapproval of its initial period of aggressive proselytizing; (7)media coverage of Soka Gakkai’s vast financial resources; (8) the framework of social intolerance in Japan; (9) the proliferation of media stereotypes; and (10) the inadequacy of media relations skills and training employed by the Soka Gakkai as a social entity. 
  281. ^ Lewis, James R. (July 2000). "Sect-Bashing in the Guise of Scholarship: A Critical Appraisal of Select Studies of Soka Gakkai" (PDF). Marburg Journal of Religion 5 (1). Retrieved 11 September 2015. For half a century, one of the most controversial new religions on the Japanese scene has been Soka Gakkai. (Like many other groups characterized as new religions, this organization is a revitalization of a traditional religion rather than a truly "new" religious form.) Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society, its ongoing connection with reformist political activity has served to keep it in the public eye. It also continues to have a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage. Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion, some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai--critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by the task of condemning Soka Gakkai as deluded, wrong and/or socially dangerous. 
  282. ^ McFarland, H. Neill (1967). Rush Hour of the Gods. New York: Macmilla
  283. ^ Brannen, Noah S. (1968). Soka Gakkai: Japan's Militant Buddhists. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press.
  284. ^ Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's new Buddhism: an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0834800403.
  285. ^ Fujiwara, Hirotatsu ; translated by Worth C Grant (1970). What shall we do about this Japan:I denounce Soka Gakkai. Nisshin Hodo Co. ISBN 9110135502
  286. ^ White, James W. (1970). The Sōkagakkai and mass society. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804707282.
  287. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780520939042. Writing at a time when memories of the rise of fascism in Europe were fresh and a premium had been placed on the stability of Japan, White examines the motives of the movement’s members and analyzes its structure and ideology. Writing also at a time when Ikeda was just coming into his own as a mature leader, White draws conclusions that, while measured, cautious, and qualified, essentially cleared the movement of critics’ most significant charges. 
  288. ^ Swatos, William H. , Jr.; Kvisto, Peter (1998). Encyclopedia of religion and society. Walnut Creek, Calif. [u.a.]: AltaMira Press. p. 27. ISBN 9780761989561. 
  289. ^ Shupe, Anson D.; Bromley, David G. (1994). Anti-cult movements in cross cultural perspective. New York [u.a.]: Garland. ISBN 9780815314288. 
  290. ^ Shupe, Anson; Darnell, Susan E. (2008). Agents of discord deprogramming, pseudo-science, and the American anticult movement. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412808873. 
  291. ^ Lewis, James R. (2014). Cults: A Reference and Guide. Routledge. ISBN 1317545133. 
  292. ^ Wilson, Bryan (2000). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 371–372. "It is common practice for the media, in their assault on new religions, to lump them together as ‘sects’ or ‘cults’, using these designations as openly pejorative terms. Even when these categories are divested of their derogatory connotations, however, and the terms are employed in accordance with ethically neutral standards of academic analysis, there are not grounds for applying them to Soka Gakkai…  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  293. ^ Dellwing, Michael (2014). The Death and Resurrection of Deviance: Current Ideas and Research. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137303806. 
  294. ^ Reader, Ian; Robbins, Thomas (2004). Lucas, Phillip C.; Robbins, Thomas, eds. New religious movements in the twenty-first century : legal, political, and social challenges in global perspective. New York: Routledge. pp. 197–199. ISBN 9780415965767. 
  295. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520939042. Newer scholarship, such as Global Citizens: The Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World or "The Soka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" praises the movement for its progressive values and its members' sense of civic duty. Older articles and books, by contrast, are consistently preoccupied with a varied array of virulent charges. 
  296. ^ Itoh, Mayumi (2014). Hrebenar, Ronald J.; Nakamura, Akira, eds. Party Politics in Japan: Political Chaos and Stalemate in the 21st Century. Routledge. ISBN 9781317745969. Shemada notds that the deep anti-Soka Gakkai allergy in Japanese society-at-large has weakened in recent years, as the members have stopped the aggressive membership drives it deployed in the past. Shemada argues that this means the Soka Gakkai has been firmly established in society. 
  297. ^ Macioti, p. 124. "It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a ‘sect.’ It is not a small, two-faced cult, characterized by obscure and hidden agendas. Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations, all of which are engaged in promoting culture, and raising interest around the theme of values—and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation."
  298. ^ Metraux, Daniel A. (2014). Cherry, Stephen M.; Ebaugh, Helen Rose, eds. Global religious movements across borders : sacred service. Burlington: Ashgate. p. 84. ISBN 9781409456872. Critics have described the relationship of Soka Gakkai members to Daisaku Ikeda as a personality cult as his writings and activities are at the center of the movement. The adoration that many Soka Gakkai members have for Ikeda has raised many eyebrows. Ikeda is clearly admired by Soka Gakkai members not only in Japan but also in foreign chapters as well. Critics compare this practice to a personality cult. Whether this criticism is warranted or not, the fact remains that Ikeda's articles, lectures, study sessions, activities, and even his photography dominate Soka Gakkai publications often at the expense of news about other organizational members or activities. 
  299. ^ "The Oneness of Mentor and Disciple". Soka Gakkai International: Buddhism in Action for Peace. 
  300. ^ Wallace, B. Alan; Wilhelm, Steven (1996). Tibetan Buddhism : from the ground up ; a practical approach for modern life ([3. Aufl.]. ed.). Boston, Mass.: Wisdom Publ. pp. 88–89. ISBN 9780861710751. 
  301. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 9780520245778. It's really the disciple's choice and decision to follow his mentor's vision. In response, it is the mentor's wish to raise and foster that disciple so that he can become a greater person than the mentor himself. His wish is to pull him up to where he is or even to surpass him. It is the right spirit of the disciple to earnestly absorb as much as possible from the mentor. 
  302. ^ Lickerman, Alex (2011-12-04). "How and Why to Find a Mentor". Psychology Today. 
  303. ^ Strand, Clark (2014). Waking the Buddha: how the most dynamic and empowering Buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Santa Monica, CA: Middleway Press. p. 25. ISBN 9780977924561. pages 127-129, 147, 162-163
  304. ^ Chilson, Clark (2014). "Cultivating Charisma: Ikeda Daisaku’s Self Presentations and Transformational Leadership". Journal of Global Buddhism 15: 69. In the Gakkai today, few issues, if any, receive more attention than the mentor-disciple relationship. Ikeda and Gakkai members say the relationship is so close as to be indivisible (shitei funi). The mentor is concerned with improving the lives of his disciples. Or, as the January 2010 Sōka Gakkai International Quarterly puts it, the mentor gives disciples "confidence in their own unrealized possibilities" and "is focused on the empowerment of others" (p. 28). Disciples support their mentor and his vision using their unique abilities. They are not passive followers of the mentor; in fact simple followers are not good disciples because they do not adequately seek ways to use their own individual talents to help realize their mentor’s vision. Good disciples protect and promote the mentor’s vision, with which they identify. Today Gakkai members both in and outside Japan commonly refer to Ikeda as their mentor. They often speak of the oneness of the mentor-disciple relationship (shitei funi), and some members say the relationship exceeds all others. They describe the relationship not as hierarchical but one in which there is mutual giving. Both the mentor and disciple are ideally selfless in their devotion to each other. 
  305. ^ Endbericht der Enquete-Kommission Sogenannte Sekten und Psychogruppen, Page.105 (PDF; 6,5 MB)|quote=Some groups have little significance nationally, they are not involved locally in any serious political controversy and/or have attracted little public censure. Nevertheless, they remain a latent problem through being linked to international organisations that are significant and controversial elsewhere. One such example came to light at the hearing of Soka Gakkai, which in Germany is a fairly inconspicuous group of about 3,000 people, but is highly significant in Japan, the United States, etc. (Translated at http://www.csj.org/infoserv_articles/german_enquete_commission_report.htm)
  306. ^ https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubert_Seiwert
  307. ^ Seiwert, Hubert (2004). Richardson, James T., ed. Regulating Religion Case Studies from Around the Globe. Boston, MA: Springer US. pp. 85–102. ISBN 9781441990945. 
  308. ^ Schoen, Brigitte (2004). Lucas, Phillip Charles; Robbins, Thomas, eds. New Religious Movements in the 21st Century. Routledge. pp. 89–90. ISBN 9781135889012. As the commission was initiated at the request of ciritics of new religions, and as the majority of the commission's members can be counted among critics, the commission's results were all the more surprising. It concluded that at present new religions and ideological communities and psychotherapy groups presented no danger to state and society or to socially relevant areas. 
  309. ^ Rodrigues Plasencia, Girardo (2014). Soka Gakkai in Cuba: Glocalization Modes and Religious Conversion Processes in a Japanese Religion (PDF). Dissertation: Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. 
  310. ^ "SGI President Awarded Russian Federation Order of Friendship". PR Newswirre. 
  311. ^ Felonies and Favors: A Friend of the Attorney General Gathers Information from the Justice Department. United States House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, July 27, 2000
  312. ^ Simmer-Brown, Acharya Judith (May 17, 2015). "Shambhala Visits the White House". Shambhala Times Community News Magazine. 
  313. ^ "President Ma meets Japan's Soka Gakkai International Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda". Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan). Republic of China (Taiwan). 
  314. ^ Introvigne, Massimo. "Italy signs Concordat with Soka Gakkai". Cesnur.org. CESNUR: Centro Studi sulle Nuovi Religioni. 
  315. ^ Leustean, Lucian N.; Madeley, John T.S.; Pastorelli, Sabrina (2013). Religion, Politics and Law in the European Union. Routledge. pp. 189–195. ISBN 9781317990802. 

References[edit]

  • Sōka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion By Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek. London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-829389-5
  • "The Sōka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" by Daniel A. Metraux in Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King, eds. SUNY Press, 1996.
  • The New Believers: A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions. David V Barrett. Octopus Publishing Group, 2003
  • The Lotus and the Maple Leaf: The Sōka Gakkai in Canada by Daniel A. Metraux (University Press of America, 1996)
  • Fundamentals of Buddhism (second edition) by Yasuji Kirimura (Nichiren Shōshū International Center [now SGI], 1984). ISBN 4-88872-016-9
  • Sōka Gakkai kaibō ("Dissecting Sōka Gakkai") by the editors of Aera (Asahi Shimbun, 2000). ISBN 4-02-261286-X (Japanese)
  • A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West. Adam Gamble & Takesato Watanabe. Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004. ISBN 0-89526-046-8
  • (SERA) Southeast Review of Asian Studies 29 (2007). "Religion, Politics, and Constitutional Reform in Japan," by Daniel Metraux, 157-72.
  • Westward Dharma: Buddhism beyond Asia. Charles S. Prebish and Martin Baumann, eds. 2002.
  • Igami, Minobu. 1995. Tonari no Sōka Gakkai [The Sōka Gakkai Next Door], Tokyo: Takarajima.
  • Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Asia. By Juliana Finucane, R. Michael Feener, Page 103-122.

Further reading[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Strand, Clark: Waking the Buddha - how the most dynamic and empowering buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Strand examines how the Soka Gakkai, based on the insight that "Buddha is life", has evolved a model in which religion serves the needs of its practitioners, rather than the practitioners adhering to dogma and traditions for their own sake. Middleway Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1
  • Editors of AERA: Sōkagakkai kaibai (創価学会解剖: "Dissecting Sōkagakkai"). Asahi Shimbun-sha, October 1995. ISBN 978-4-02-261286-1. AERA is a weekly investigative news magazine published by one of Japan's leading news organizations; this book attempts to present a dry, fair assessment of Sōkagakkai and Daisaku Ikeda and contains several interviews with Gakkai leaders.
  • Shimada, Hiroki: Sōkagakkai no jitsuryoku (創価学会の実力: "The true extent of Sōkagakkai's power"). Shinchosha, August 2006. ISBN 4-02-330372-0. Argues that the Sōka Gakkai is not (or is no longer) as powerful as many of its opponents fear, and that it is losing ground internally as all but the most dedicated are turned off by the leadership and fewer members need the organization for social bonding. Also notes that it is becoming more like a civic rather than a religious organization, and that inactive members don't resign because they want to avoid the ostracism and harassment that can result.
  • Shimada, Hiroki: Kōmeitō vs. Sōkagakkai (公明党vs.創価学会: "The Kōmeitō and the Sōka Gakkai"). Asahi Shinsho, June 2007. ISBN 978-4-02-273153-1. Describes the relationship between Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai and the development of their history. Touches on the Sōka Gakkai–Nichiren Shōshū split, describing it as the result of a power struggle and financial constraints, as well as on the organized harassment of opponents by Sōka Gakkai members, the organization's use of its media vehicles to vilify opponents, and Ikeda's demand for unquestioning loyalty.
  • Taisekiji: Shoshū Hashaku Guide (Jp: 諸宗破折ガイド: "Guide to refuting [erroneous teachings of] other schools"). 2003 (no ISBN); pp. 160–164. Published by the Buddhist school formerly associated with Sōka Gakkai and presents details of Sōka Gakkai's gradual distortion of the school's teachings and reasons for its severing of ties.
  • Tamano, Kazushi: Sōkagakkai no Kenkyū (創価学会の研究: "Research on the Sōkagakkai"). Kodansha Gendai Shinsho, 2008. ISBN 978-4-06-287965-1. This book is an attempt to review scholarly studies of Sōka Gakkai from the 1950s to the 1970s and shifts in perceptions of the organization as journalists took over from scholars. Tamano takes the perspective of a social scientist and describes Sōka Gakkai as a socio-political phenomenon. He is also somewhat critical of some views Shimada expressed in the latter's recent publications.
  • Yamada, Naoki: Sōkagakkai towa nanika (創価学会とは何か: "Explaining Sōkagakkai"). Shinchosha, April 2004. ISBN 4-10-467301-3
  • Yano, Jun'ya: Kuroi Techō—Sōka Gakkai "Nihon Senryō Keikaku" no Zen Kiroku (黒い手帳 創価学会「日本占領計画」の全記録: "My black notebooks: a complete record of Sōka Gakka's 'Operation Occupy Japan'"). Kodansha, February 2009. ISBN 978-4-06-215272-3. Yano is a former secretary-general of Kōmeitō.
  • Yano, Jun'ya: "Kuroi Techō" Saiban Zen Kiroku (「黒い手帳」裁判全記録: "The whole record of the trials concerning 'My black notebooks'"). Kodansha, 7/2009. ISBN 978-4-06-215637-0.

News media (websites)[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soka_Gakkai — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

4059 news items

 
PR Newswire (press release)
Mon, 25 Jan 2016 21:03:45 -0800

TOKYO, Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In his annual peace proposal released on January 26, titled "Universal Respect for Human Dignity: The Great Path to Peace," Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, calls ...

Economic Times

Economic Times
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 03:48:45 -0800

Khattar also visited to the headquarters of the Soka Gakkai, Tokyo. Soka Gakkai is a Japanese religious movement based on Nichiren Buddhism and the teachings of the organisation's first three consecutive presidents Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda ...
 
Nikkei Asian Review
Mon, 25 Jan 2016 12:37:30 -0800

Komeito's base of grassroots support, the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, helped get out the vote. Early voting was roughly double that of the 2012 poll. Sakima's opponent, Keiichiro Shimura, billed himself as a big-tent candidate supported by ...
 
Times of India
Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:15:00 -0800

Panaji: India has all the laws in place, but we are lagging behind because implementation of those laws is going wrong, opined the regional plan task force head, Edgar Ribeiro. He was speaking at the Seeds of Hope exhibition, organized by Soka Gakkai ...
 
The Japan Times
Tue, 18 Aug 2015 02:14:29 -0700

A growing number of members at Soka Gakkai, Japan's largest lay Buddhist group and the main supporter of ruling coalition member Komeito, are publicly criticizing the party for supporting controversial security legislation that will allow the Self ...

Mainichi Daily News

Mainichi Daily News
Wed, 16 Sep 2015 01:37:30 -0700

The flags represent Soka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist organization that backs ruling coalition partner Komeito. The protesting members have voiced doubts about the party's support of the bills and say they want Komeito to return to its position as a party of ...
 
Mainichi Daily News
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:07:18 -0700

Some local assembly members who belong to the lay-Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai are turning their back on Komeito, which has been keeping in step with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) over controversial security-related legislation.
 
Financial Express
Mon, 25 Jan 2016 11:17:25 -0800

A big part of my weekends includes my Buddhist practice, as I am part of the Bharat Soka Gakkai which includes meeting co-members for study sessions or chanting. 4. The toys. I am not really a person who loves gadgets but I cannot do without my iPhone 6.
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight