"I am on the verge of dismantling my altar and burning my Gohonzon but before I do could you please answer some questions:"
Question: Nichiren said that other forms of Buddhism had lost their power to help/save/enlighten the people. What did he base this on?
Answer: He based this on three things: Scriptures such as the Daijuku Sutra (Sutra of the Great Assembly), Shugo Sutra (Sutra of Protection), Maya Sutra, Lotus Sutra and Nirvana Sutra; theoretical considerations, such as the relative profundity of the various teachings; and most importantly, an observation and correct appreciation of the actual events of the time and insight into the past and future.
Question: What separates *your* branch of Nichiren Buddhism from the others? (Please, no name calling here. What are the *doctrinal* or *practical* differences?)
Answer: "Our founder, the orthodox teacher Nichiju, took the Sutra text and Nichiren's Letters as absolute and proclaimed the Succession Through the Scrolls of the Sutra (kyogan sojo), spreading the teaching with the cry, "I adhere directly to Nichiren Daishonin'. The Lotus Sutra and writings of Nichiren are our doctrine.
Other lineages have manufactured forgeries and called them "Letters" of Nichiren Shonin, Minobu which put together the Letter to Lord Hakii (Hakii done gosho) and the Taisekiji faction which forged the Two Successions (Nika sojo), the Selection on the Sublimity of the Original Cause (Hon'in myo sho), and the Selection of the Hundred and Six (Hyaku rokka sho) and others should die of shame before the Patriarch Nichiren Shonin.
It is assertive propagation while undergoing persecution and beatings for the sake of thr Dharma by the Nichiju lineage since the founder, the Orthodox Teacher Nichiju, such as: The Onin Persecution when the Third Abbot of the Head Temple Myomanji, Nichinin, Nichijitsu and others spread the teaching unfazed by the torture of boiling water; the assertive transmission of the Way by the tenth Abbot Nichijun; the heroic deeds of Nittai in establishing the seven Hokke villages despite various persecutions; Nichigen, the twenty-sixth Abbot's persecution at Azuchi castle; and especially the twenty-seventh Abbot Nikkyo who continued to perform the forceful practices of the Lotus Sutra despite the amputation of his ears and nose and the killing of his young disciples, having incurred the animosity of the Tokugawa Shogunate; and the successive generations of Nikkyo, who day and night suffered persecution after persecution, oppression after oppression for the sake of the Dharma. They were beheaded, imprisoned, burned, and sent into distant exile on foreboding islands for twenty or thirty years and their martyrs' blood flowed as their noble lives were extinguished. Those of Nikkyo's lineage were contemptuously named the "New Disciples" by the general public but they themselves named themselves, "The Congregation of the Orthodoxy of the Original Doctrine" and "Those of the Right Old Doctrine of Nichiju". They [as we] boast[ed] that "we are in the direct lineage of Nichiren Daishonin but unfortunately, unlike us, they were forced underground in order to keep the fire of the faith going.
The people of the Right Old Doctrine in order to continue the Right Faith (sho shin) secretly founded the Daimoku Confraternity (called the Confraternity of the Daimoku of Inner Realization: Naisho Daimoku ko) and expounded the doctrine centered on the biographical traditions of the Three Teachers (Lord Shakya, Nichiren Daishonin, and Nichiju).
It is this very fact that through the storms of religious persecution and suppression lasting three hundred tempestuous years they endured without falling into local folk religion but kept the doctrine that is a living example of the Succession Through the Scrolls of Sutra. It is something we boast of to other lineages and religions." -- Above answer taken from and slightly edited The Tradition and Doctrine of the Kempon Hokke sect by Tetsuju Kobota
Question: In *your personal view*, is there room for other Buddhist beliefs and practices? I'm curious here about personal insights, not the official party line.
Answer: For better or worse, there will be other Buddhist beliefs and practices far into the foreseeable future but eventually, all the people will chant Namu Myoho renge kyo and worship the Eternal Buddha (Gohonzon). The Buddha's disciples will spread the Law in the manner most appropriate to the time. We refute the provisional teachings while praising the true teachings.
Question: For the warring factions: is there any way to sincerely pray for the benefit of "the other side and is it possible to accept your differences and pray for peace at the same time? I ask these last questions because I am on the verge of dismantling my altar and burning my Gohonzon. The pure hatred I read here has me searching for another branch of Buddhism that's a little more, ya know, Buddhist.
Answer: We pray for others constantly but if erroneous beliefs are permitted and are allowed to spread, Buddhism will be lost and all the people on earth will suffer.
If it is a Nichiren Shoshu or an SGI Gohonzon that you intend to burn, as long as it is done respectfully and from a faith and understanding centered around the world of Buddha rather than the worlds of anger (hatred) and stupidity (ignorance), you will benefit from your decision. Then you can request a valid object of worship from us, as long as you continue to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo, have faith in the Eternal Buddha, and in the Sangha of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. I would maintain my altar and remove any objects associated with Taisekeji/SGI, cranes, pictures of Ikeda, High Priest memorabilia, etc.
Question:Any suggestion for another branch of Buddhism that's a little more, ya know, Buddhist?
Answer: Only the Nichiren Lotus Sutra faith leads to Buddhahood.
Question: Will Buddhism survive in America given the loud in-fighting between and among the various Nichiren sects? (Here again, an explanation. Many Americans are seeking a spiritual path, and Buddhism seems to be a trendy place to be these days (thanks largely to Hollywood). The Nichiren sects seem most interested in gaining converts. Therefore, I fear that many Americans will have their first quest for inner peace answered by a call to war. While I recognize (and sincerely appreciate) the many benefits of this practice, I have been driven away by the constant fighting and name-calling. These petty squabbles will be forgotten in a very few years' time; what will the people then say of Nichiren Buddhism's power to help/save/enlighten?)
Answer: This Saha World is the Eternal Buddha Realm. It is forever. What matters is how many people you yourself teach to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo with the same faith as Nichiren.