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Switch to Forum Live View What does Nichiren Shu say of the Soka Gakkai?
9 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2008 - 8:01PM #1
sgi_chris
Posts: 124
I was wondering about Nichiren Shu's position on the Soka Gakkai? Just wondering what the traditional differences there are to the Shu school of True Buddhism.
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9 years ago  ::  Dec 07, 2008 - 2:56AM #2
austex
Posts: 88
As far as I know, there is no position.  The only people in Nichiren Shu that I've ever heard bring up Soka Gakkai are former SGI members.

As far as differences between Nichiren Shu and SGI go, my understanding is that there are three major ones:  1) Nichiren Shu does not recognize Nichiren as the "Buddha of the Latter Day"; we regard him as an incarnation of Jogyo Bodhisattva; 2) we don't recognize the Dai-Gohonzon; 3) we don't accept the position that Nichiren appointed Nikko Shonin as his sole successor, nor do we believe that the other disciples "betrayed" Nichiren.  The lineages of all of Nichiren's disciples who left lineages (including Nikko) are represented within Nichiren Shu.

Also, there are lots of little differences - for example, we don't typically chant nearly as fast as folks in SGI, and we don't only chant chapters 2 and 16.  And we use drums. :) There are some other traditional Buddhist practices, such as ritual copying of the Sutra (shakyo) and sung prayers/hymns (shomyo), and silent meditation which are present in Nichiren Shu - I know they don't have that in SGI, and I'm not sure about Nichiren Shoshu.  And we celebrate traditional Buddhist holidays like Jodo-e (Buddha's Birthday) and Nirvana Day, that they don't do in SGI.

My involvement with SGI was limited to reading some of their literature and attending one meeting in about 1998, but my impression is that Nichiren Shu is much more "religious" than SGI, in that it has more of the trappings of traditional (Buddhist) religion.

--Mark
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9 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2008 - 8:29PM #3
Livindesert
Posts: 21
"Nichiren Shu is much more "religious" than SGI"

I would like you to expand on this a bit. "religious" can have very different meanings.
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9 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2008 - 10:40PM #4
austex
Posts: 88

Livindesert wrote:

"Nichiren Shu is much more "religious" than SGI"

I would like you to expand on this a bit. "religious" can have very different meanings.



Nichiren Shu services (especially in temples) seem more "ceremonial" - with the priests, the drums, and the sung prayers, etc.  It reminds me a little of going to Mass, just in terms of the general vibe.  Hope that makes some sense.

--Mark

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9 years ago  ::  Dec 11, 2008 - 12:57PM #5
sgi_chris
Posts: 124
I explains alot, thanks. I just didn't know to much about the Shu practice(s).

Thanks for the info.

-Chris
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9 years ago  ::  Dec 25, 2008 - 5:35AM #6
Sokaphil
Posts: 1
[QUOTE=austex;948593]Nichiren Shu services (especially in temples) seem more "ceremonial" - with the priests, the drums, and the sung prayers, etc.  It reminds me a little of going to Mass, just in terms of the general vibe.  Hope that makes some sense.

--Mark[/QUOTE]

I think the most important difference is that Shu is temple-monkish or monastic oriented while SGI is an engaged Buddhism into the real world working for peace in the society..
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9 years ago  ::  Dec 25, 2008 - 9:21AM #7
Engyo
Posts: 138
[QUOTE=Sokaphil;976965]I think the most important difference is that Shu is temple-monkish or monastic oriented while SGI is an engaged Buddhism into the real world working for peace in the society..[/QUOTE]
Good morning, Phil -

Do you see those two things as somehow mutually exclusive?  If you do, could you please elaborate on why they might be?
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9 years ago  ::  Dec 25, 2008 - 10:10AM #8
Livindesert
Posts: 21
They are definately not mutually exlusive in my view (I am a Gakkai member). I do think that some western people come to Buddhism for the cool Kung fu mystic atmosphere that they are not getting through "traditional channels". Now Since the Gakkai has almost none of this these people are not likely to join it. I remember a conversation on a Tibetian forum where a Lama decided to forgo any Tibetian cultural garb and practice because the new western members were more caught up in that than in the Dharma.
Of course having a full time monastic who can go out into the community full time and work is always a great thing and would be an upside to monastics as they could focus full time on peoples needs.
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9 years ago  ::  Dec 25, 2008 - 7:54PM #9
Livindesert
Posts: 21
Of course funeral Buddhism run like this http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/f … 582794.stm
is probably not as engaged in society.
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9 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2008 - 8:07AM #10
Engyo
Posts: 138
[QUOTE=Livindesert;977813]Of course funeral Buddhism run like this http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/f … 582794.stm
is probably not as engaged in society.[/QUOTE]Hi, LID & all -

I think one has to take into account that this is in Japan, and the macro changes ongoing in Japanese society.  These began 140 years ago during the Meiji restoration, took on new momentum after WWII, and are still continuing today.  Some of those changes are only being truly felt in the countryside within the last few decades.

This situation does not really apply outside of Japan, and I think that Nichiren Buddhism practiced outside of Japan is different than the way it is practiced in Japan, no matter what school or organization we wish to discuss.
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