Ted Morino: "After Shakyamuni's death, his followers split into two groups. One group was the Therevada school [Teaching of the Elders], which consisted of old conservative monks emphasizing monastic practice and strict adherence to precepts and literal interpretation of doctrine. This school was later introduced to Sri Lanka and became known as Southern Buddhism or Hinayana Buddhism. Another group was established around the first century BC and the beginning of the first century AD, by believers who were dissatisfied with what they saw as the self-complacency and monastic elitism of the earlier schools. The new group aimed at the salvation of all people based upon the bodhisattva practice, and called their teaching the Mahayana school. Coincidently, it was the time when Jesus apeared in Jerusalem and emphasized the salvation of all people through his bodhisattva-like behavior. The Lotus sutra was compiled by the Mahayana group.
Mark: Ted Morino, echoing his mentor Daisaku Ikeda, praises the early lay movement led by Mahadeva, in order to deprecate and diminish the Buddhist order of elders [monks]. The inference is that the Soka Gakkai's “glorious achievments” in this era can be likened to those of the early Buddhist lay movement and can be contrasted to the inglorious failures of Nichiren priests and the early Buddhist monastics [elders]. Another purpose of his essay is to rationalize the acceptance of alms by laymen. Still another purpose is to put into doubt the preaching of the Lotus Sutra by Shakyamuni Buddha, a particularly devious and insidious assertion, in light of Nichiren Daishonin’s and Tientai’s teachings and the latest scholarship.
Daisaku Ikeda and Ted Morino are wrong in light of history, actual facts, and the opinion of Nichiren Daishonin.
The actual Buddhist heros of that era were, in fact, the group composed of elders [monks].
The relation of the Soka Gakkai to early Buddhist history:
The idea of professional Buddhists was taken up as early as the second Buddhist council. One group argued that it was OK to accept monetary donations and the other group believed it would corrupt the Sangha. Guess who won out? Right, those who argued for accepting money won out after purportedly bribing the groups from the west, north, and the local monks. Anyway, the group who argued against taking money was banished, ended up in Kashmir, and became known as the Sarvisthatins. Mahayana probably arose from the influence of the Sarvisthatins (the non-money acceptors) in Kashmir. The money accepting monks became known as the Madhyamika which was led by Mahadeva who persecuted the Sarvisthatins. Daisaku Ikeda lavishes praise on Mahadeva and his movement in his book, “Buddhism the First Millenium.” Nichiren Daishonin, on the other hand, writes:
“Beside them, evil men such as Devadatta and Kokalika are as nothing. In fact they are in a class with Mahadeva and the Great Arrogant Brahman. And those who put faith in the teachings of such men— they too are a fearful lot indeed.” — Repaying Debts of Gratitude
He also states:
“True priests are those who are honest and who desire little and yet know satisfaction” — The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood
How far Daisaku Ikeda and the high salaried Soka Gakkai leaders have strayed from the true spirit of Buddhism and Nichiren Daishonin!
Ted: It is conceivable that this new group, who aimed to revolutionize the conservative teachings of the elite Theravada School, must have met numerous persecutions. The persecutions befalling the votary of the Lotus Sutra as described in the 13th and 20th Chapters of the Lotus Sutra, and repeated emphasis to persevere against these persecutions, may be the accounts of their own experiences. In other words, Lotus Sutra had been kept added with new experiences and interpretations.”
Mark: The Sarvisthatin elders of Kashmir suffered a myriad of persecutions at the hands of the Mahadevan lay group. All faithful Buddhist practitioners suffer persecutions at the hands of the corrupt, whether these enemies of Buddhism be laymen, laywomen, monks, or nuns. However, this has nothing to do with the origin of the Lotus Sutra [from the golden mouth of Shakyamuni Buddha]. He puts forth a particularly weak argument here, citing the false history and imaginary persecutions of the lay believers at the hands of the monks. SGI is always making up history to suit its evil self-serving agenda, so we shouldn’t be surprised.
To say that Shakyamuni Buddha was no stranger to persecution is an understatement. Shakyamuni Buddha suffered more persecutions than the entire Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai in their scurrilous seven hundred year history. You would think that Ted Morino never heard of the Nine Great Persecutions of Shakyamuni. Of course, it is impossible that he doesn’t know the Nine Great Persecutions but it is inconvenient for his false argument that other(s) than Shakyamuni composed and preached the Lotus Sutra. Ted Morino and the other leaders of the Soka Gakkai will fall into the Hell of Incessent Suffering for far longer than those who persecuted Bodhisattva Neverdespise.