SGI-USA Study Curriculum
AN EXPLANATION OF NIKKO SHONIN'S 26 ADMONITIONS
The following is part of a speech by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda:
What is the standard that the followers of Nikko Shonin,
the heirs to the true lineage of Nichiren Daishonin, must
observe? Needless to say, it is articles of warning that
the second high priest set down on the thirteenth day
of the first month of the third year of the Genko era
(1333). These are the admonitions that Nikko Shonin, at
age 88, gave to his disciples, one month before his death.
For what purpose did he write down these warning articles?
In the preface, he states: "I will here set forth
some articles for the sake of later students of Buddhism.
This is solely because I treasure the [Daishonin's] golden
words regarding kosen-rufu" (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1617).
Again, in the concluding passage, he writes, "I
have set forth these 26 articles for the sake of the eternal
salvation and protection of humankind." (GZ, 1619)
Until the moment of his death, Nikko Shonin's life blazed
with the great wish to accomplish kosen-rufu and lead
all people to happiness-to realize the Daishonin's decree.
Herein lies the original spirit of the correct school
[of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism] .
Again, in the concluding passage, Nikko Shonin strictly
warns: "Those who violate even one of these articles
cannot be called disciples of Nikko." (Ibid.).
These articles of warning were originally intended for
priests. Nonetheless, we in the SGI, awakened [to our
mission] as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, have strictly put
President Toda composed and dedicated the following poem
You, young people,
engraving in your hearts
the twenty-six precepts,
dedicate your lives
to the path of the Mystic Law.
The "twenty-six precepts" in this poem refers
to Nikko Shonin's twenty-six warning articles. President
Toda urged young people to struggle for kosen-rufu, just
as the second high priest admonished, with the spirit
of not begrudging their lives.
Now, I would like to read and explain each of the individual
1. The doctrines
of the Fuji school must not differ in the least from the
teachings of the late master.
The Fuji school is the line of Nikko Shonin's followers.
The "late master" is Nichiren Daishonin.
One can sense the profound spirit of Nikko Shonin in
his having made this the first warning article. To not
differ in the least from the teachings of the Daishonin-this
is the most basic essential of the correct school. This
passage is documentary proof of [what it means to have]
a direct connection with the Daishonin. It is the foundation
of the correct school. Today, only the SGI practices and
abides by this admonition.
The Nikken sect teaches that "one must not differ
from Nikken"-not that "one must not differ from
the Daishonin." The foundation is erroneous. Far
from "not differing in the least," the Nikken
sect is acting completely contrary to the Daishonin's
teachings. Specific examples of this are well known to
all of you.
2. The doctrines of the five senior priests differ
in every regard from the teachings of the late master.
The true nature of the five senior priests is revealed
by their betrayal of the master. The members of the Nikken
sect are the Latter Day followers of the five senior priests.
It must be concluded that each of the doctrines established
by the Nikken sect in recent times, including their alteration
of the doctrine of the three treasures, differs in every
regard from the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and Nikko
The five senior priests criticized the correct teachings
of Nikko Shonin; they claimed that he was "establishing
a different teaching and had lost the Way." The priesthood
[of the Nikken sect], while deeply immersed in its own
slander of the Law, vilifies the correct practice of the
SGI. On this point as well, the actions of the priesthood
perfectly mirror those of the five senior priests.
3. There will [in the future] appear persons who
slander our school, saying that the Gosho are forged writings.
You must not associate with such evil priests.
It was Nikko Shonin who treasured the Daishonin's writings,
giving them the honorific appellation Gosho, which literally
means the "honorable writings." In addition
to lecturing on the Gosho himself, he collected the Daishonin's
writings and left behind many copies in his own hand for
To treasure and base oneself on the Gosho - this is the
prime foundation for and the essential spirit of the followers
of Nikko Shonin.
The five senior priests disregarded many Gosho, including
most of the Daishonin's letters, on account of their being
written in a mixture of Chinese characters and Japanese
phonetic syllabary. They also slandered Nikko Shonin for
revering the Daishonin's writings as "Gosho"
and for delivering lectures on them. They went so far
as to bleach the paper on which the Daishonin had written
certain Gosho [so that it could be reused for other purposes],
or else consigned them to flames. Further, they labeled
as forged writings and repudiated those Gosho that showed
their own ideas in a disadvantageous light.
Nichiko, the fifty-ninth high priest, once commented:
"In deprecating the Gosho, [the five senior priests]
certainly were guilty of turning their backs on the master."
The Soka Gakkai published the Nichiren Daishonin Gosho
Zenshu (Collected Writings of Nichiren Daishonin) with
the editorial supervision of Nichiko, and we have applied
ourselves to strict Buddhist study with discipline like
that of master swordsman. We take pride in the fact that,
as followers inheriting the true legacy of Nikko Shonin,
we have made the Gosho our foundation.
The priesthood is so determined to establish the high
priest as the foundation that it has distorted the true
path. It has even gone so far as to advance the peculiar
claim that "to make the Gosho the foundation is egotistic."
As I will explain later, making the high priest of the
time the foundation itself amounts to betraying
Nikko Shonin's articles of warning. Article 3 states that
one must not associate with, nor follow such evil priests.
4. Those who produce forged writings and say that
they are Gosho, or who practice with the view that the essential
and theoretical teachings [of the Lotus Sutra] are the same,
are parasites in the lion's body.
Nikko Shonin says that there will appear evil priests
who use forged writings to suit their needs, who fail
to distinguish between the theoretical and essential teachings
and who practice false teachings.
Before and during World War II, there was a priest in
Nichiren Shoshu who advocated the false doctrine of shimpon
busshaku, which asserts that the Buddha of absolute
freedom is a manifestation of the Shinto deity (the Sun
Goddess). Even after the war, the priesthood, rather than
taking this evil priest to task, instead took punitive
action against the Soka Gakkai, which had confronted him
for his offenses.
The five senior priests and their modern-day counterparts,
unaware of the most pro-
found concepts of the essential teaching (i.e., the Daishonin's
Buddhism) and theoretical teaching (i.e., Shakyamuni's
Buddhism), could not revere Nichiren Daishonin as the
original Buddha. Today, the members of the Nikken sect,
while claiming that they have inherited the tradition
of Nikko Shonin, base themselves on Nikken rather than
the Daishonin. Truly, they are "parasites in the
lion's body" of the Daishonin's Buddhism.
5. You should refrain from indulging in poetry
or non-Buddhist works, or from engaging in idleness and
chatter without [having the aim of] rebuking slander.
The Daishonin states: "Though one may have been
fortunate enough to be born as a human being... if he
fails to study Buddhism and to refute its slanderers but
simply spends his time in idleness and chatter, then he
is no better than an animal dressed in priestly robes."
Many priests, freely using lay followers' offerings and
failing to carry out the practice of propagation, have
succumbed to sensual pleasures. While living in the lap
of luxury, they have whittled away their time in "idleness
and chatter" and indulged in the crass amusements
of the nouveau riche. The Daishonin says that while donning
the garments of teachers of the Law, inwardly such priests
6. Lay believers should be strictly prohibited
from visiting [heretical] temples and shrines. Moreover,
priests should not visit slanderous temples or shrines,
which are inhabited by demons, even if only to have a look
around. To do so would be a pitiful violation [of the Daishonin's
Buddhism]. This is not my own personal view: it wholly derives
from the sutras [of Shakyamuni] and the writings [of Nichiren
The SGI has all along strictly condemned slander, exactly
as Nikko Shonin admonishes; this is a fact that is known
to all. President Makiguchi's death in prison ultimately
resulted from his refusal to compromise with slander.
By contrast, as successive revelations have made clear,
the priesthood has become mired in slander.
The current high priest set up a family tombstone in
the cemetery of a Zen temple, even conducting a ceremony
to consecrate it there, and then left the temple grounds
without refuting the mistaken views of the Zen priests,
only to go on to a banquet. This shows just how erroneous
the priesthood's faith is.
Nichiko once remarked, "A person who puts on a show
of strictly refuting slander while inwardly guilty of
accommodating slander is a monster."
Even well after the war had ended, Shinto talismans and
other slanderous objects of worship continued to exist
in Nichiren Shoshu temples-from local branch temples to
the head temple itself. It was due to the efforts of Soka
Gakkai members that these slanderous objects were discarded.
Members from the early days can readily attest to this.
The Soka Gakkai instructed the priesthood to discard
the slanderous objects of worship. It was due to the Soka
Gakkai that Nichiren Shoshu was revived as the orthodox
school of Nichiren Daishonin and Nikko Shonin.
7. Disciples of ability should be allowed to devote
themselves to the study of the Gosho and other doctrines
of Buddhism, without being pressed to perform miscellaneous
services for their teachers.
This is the spirit of selecting and raising capable people.
The Daishonin's way of training his disciples is not an
authoritarian system of apprenticeship. What is important
is that each person be enabled to manifest his or her
abilities fully and freely and carry out activities for
the sake of the Law and kosen-rufu.
The priesthood, instead of warmly raising people, forces
people into submission, and capable people are systematically
oppressed through harassment and violence reminiscent
of the old Japanese army. Such practices represent a fearful
deviation from Nikko Shonin's articles of warning.
8. Those of insufficient learning who are bent
on obtaining fame and fortune are not qualified to call
themselves my followers.
The Daishonin refers to priests who merely seek profit
and others' reverence, while not practicing properly themselves,
as "priests with the hearts of dogs" (MW-4,
93), or "Law-devouring hungry spirits" (ibid.).
Nichiko once decried conditions within the priesthood
stating- "The passage at the end of the Jigage
(verse) section of the 'Juryo,' or 16th
Chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads, '[This is my constant
thought:] How I can cause all living beings, to quickly
This refers to the immense compassion of the original
Buddha who is continually active over the three existences.
"However, the desire that ceaselessly preoccupies
the priests of these degenerate times over the three existences
is, 'How can I increase my wealth and quickly become rich?'
It is truly deplorable to hear such things."
In view of his declaration that such priests "are
not qualified to call themselves my followers,"
Nikko Shonin would certainly excommunicate the present
priesthood. This is all too clear.
9. Until they are well versed in the difference
between the provisional and true teachings, followers of
later generations should visit this temple, setting aside
the debt of gratitude they owe to their parents and teachers,
and undertake various studies in order to free themselves
[from the sufferings of birth and death] and attain the
The purpose for visiting the head temple is to contemplate
and gain freedom from the sufferings of birth and death
and to attain the Way of the Buddha. It is so that, with
earnest devotion to Buddhist practice, one may sever one's
attachments to the secular world and wholeheartedly devote
oneself to "various studies." In essence, it
is to learn correct faith.
Yet the head temple today, much to the contrary, is even
more occupied with secular concerns than lay persons in
Priests marry and have families [although celibacy is
the traditional practice of Buddhist priests, as is indicated
in Article 25] and there is no serious study of any kind.
Pervaded by an air of discrimination and violence, it
has become a place where the faith of acolytes is destroyed
and corrupt priests are nurtured.
10. Unless you have a thorough understanding of,
and firm faith in, the teachings [of Nichiren Daishonin],
you should not study T'ien-t'ai's doctrines.
While Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is concerned with
"actuality," T'ien-t'ai's doctrine is concerned
with "theory." It was the five senior priests
who, failing to realize the monumental difference between
the actual teaching and the theoretical (a difference
comparable to 'that between heaven and earth'), called
themselves "disciples of T'ien-t'ai" [when pressured
by the Kamakura government after the Daishonin's death].
If one delves into the doctrines of T'ien-t'ai before
one has a profound grasp of the Daishonin's Buddhism,
there is a danger that one may lose one's bearings and
deviate from the path of correct faith.
Such admonitions notwithstanding, at the head temple,
priests who have not yet made a thorough study of the
Gosho, lecture haphazardly on T'ien-t'ai doctrine. Moreover,
priests' lack of earnestness in studying the Gosho itself
runs counter to this article.
11. Followers of this school should engrave the
teachings of the Gosho in their lives and thereby inherit
the ultimate principles expounded by the master. Then, if
they have any leisure time, they should inquire into the
doctrine of the T'ien-t'ai school.
The sixty-fifth high priest, Nichijun, clarified that
this article is an admonishment of the tendency then prevalent
to consider the Daishonin's teachings from the standpoint
of T'ien-t'ai's doctrine. He made the point as follows,
"The Daishonin's teachings are determined in every
respect by the Daishonin's Gosho."
Here, Nichijun stresses the importance of basing ourselves
on the Gosho.
Nikko Shonin states that his followers should "engrave
the teachings of the Gosho in their lives" and "inherit
the ultimate principles from the master."
The members of the Nikken sect have engraved not even
a single word nor phrase of the Gosho in their lives.
What's more, they have completely desecrated the path
of master and disciple between themselves and Nichiren
Daishonin and Nikko Shonin as well as the path of master
and disciple between themselves and preceding high priests.
Their actions epitomize the betrayal of the master. The
Nikken sect on the most fundamental level goes against
Nikko Shonin's admonition, "Followers of this school
... should inherit the ultimate principles expounded by
12. You should be inclined to engage in discussion
or deliver lectures [on Buddhism], and you should refrain
from pursuing secular concerns.
We can interpret this as an admonition to continually
seek the Buddhist Way, persevere in our practice and study
of Buddhism and advance toward kosen-rufu.
Yet I wonder if there is anyone in the Nikken sect who
is inclined to engage in earnest discussion or deliver
lectures on the Law.
Neither spreading the teachings to others nor talking
about Buddhism among themselves, they are a gathering
of "Law-devouring hungry spirits." This is the
reality of the present priesthood; it has completely turned
its back on Nikko Shonin's admonitions.
13. Until kosen-rufu
is achieved, propagate the Law to the full extent of your
ability without begrudging your life.
This admonition, termed by Nichiko the "principle
for all generations to come" and the "first
principle of eternal importance," is the unchanging
standard that is the most crucial and pivotal of the twenty-six
The sixty-sixth high priest, Nittatsu, once remarked:
"It is Soka Gakkai members who, embodying the spirit
of spreading the teachings even at the cost of their lives,
are safeguarding Buddhism, protecting the Dai-Gohonzon
of the high sanctuary and carrying out the practice of
propagation for the sake of the eternal transmission of
"At the same time, by overcoming all manner of persecutions
by slanderous people, Soka Gakkai members are carrying
out the practice of the "six difficult and nine easy
acts"1 with their
lives, and accomplishing kosen-rufu in the Latter Day
of the Law."
It is the SGI that is putting this admonition into practice.
Our history is a golden record of our efforts to put this
admonition into practice.
While the SGI has always put kosen-rufu first, the priesthood
has always placed its own self-preservation above all
else, thereby hindering the progress of kosen-rufu.
Where in the priesthood can one find people spreading
the teachings "without begrudging their lives?"
In stark contrast, not only do its members lead indulgent
lives, but they are even seeking to destroy the SGI and
to bring the flow of kosen-rufu to a halt. Such priests
are enemies of the True Law and enemies of Nikko Shonin.
Without defeating these enemies of the Buddha, realizing
the kosen-rufu of the True Law will be impossible. Therefore,
just as Nikko Shonin admonishes, we must continue to pursue
them without begrudging our lives. A person who does so
will accumulate tremendous benefit.
14. As for practitioners who treasure the Law more
highly than their own lives, even if they are but humble
teachers of the Law, you must hold them in great esteem,
revering them as you would the Buddha.
Articles 14, 15, and 16 concern faith, practice, and
With these three admonitions, Nikko Shonin teaches that
faith is concerned with the individual's practice and
real ability. It is not a person with outward status or
position but one who is actually spreading the teachings
and advancing kosen-rufu who should be respected.
Article 14 admonishes us that we should revere as a Buddha
those who spread the teachings without begrudging their
This is an anecdote I have mentioned before, but a television
program once aired footage of a woman Soka Gakkai member
propagating this Buddhism, making her a target of ridicule.
Nittatsu explained that he was so moved at viewing the
TV program that he cried and bowed his head to the woman,
"because I saw in this poor woman a noble Buddha
working to save the people."
Nittatsu also once remarked, "The offense of those
who speak ill of and obstruct the votaries of the Lotus
Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law-we who embrace faith
in the Daishonin's Buddhism - is in fact more serious
than the offense of Devadatta, who for a long time bore
great malice toward Shakyamuni in his actions, words,
The phrase practitioners who treasure the Law more highly
than their own lives refers to SGI members. Who apart
from SGI members could it possibly indicate? The
offense of evil priests who disdain and seek to plunge
respectable SGI members into difficulties far exceeds
that of Devadatta.
15. You should revere a teacher of the Law who
engages in its propagation as a sacred priest, even though
he may be your junior.
As the testimony of priests who have severed ties with
the head temple makes clear, discrimination along hierarchical
lines pervades the priesthood to an extreme degree.
The current priesthood is totally out of accord with
Nikko Shonin's admonition that per-
sons excelling in faith and practice should be respected,
even though they may be of low rank or junior in age or
The SGI, by contrast, treasures those who practice in
earnest, even though they may have joined only recently,
prays for their growth and seeks to give them guidance
and training in faith. For precisely this reason, we have
succeeded in creating a steady stream of capable people
for kosen-rufu and have raised many young successors.
The appellation a teacher of the Law who engages in its
propagation refers to the SGI. However, inspired by contempt
for the SGI, the priesthood excommunicated us.
16. Even though they may be lowly, you should deeply
respect and regard as your teachers those whose understanding
of Buddhism surpasses your own.
Sessen Doji learned the Law from a lowly demon. Herein
lies the Buddhist spirit of seeking the Law.
This spirit, too, is entirely lacking in the priesthood,
which is dominated by authoritarian and discriminatory
The SGI is an organization where people study together
and support one another in seeking the Law--irrespective
of social standing, profession, or age-as members of the
Soka family. Further, it is a realm where seniors may
apply themselves to raising their juniors, burning with
a sense of responsibility to enable them to become more
capable than they are themselves.
It is a world of equality; a world where one's real ability
counts; a world based on the Law.
17. Do not follow even the high priest if he goes
against the Buddha's Law and propounds his own views.
Nikko Shonin strictly warns that we must not follow a
high priest who undermines Buddhism and the Law.
Nikko Shonin's inclusion of this article among the twenty-six
admonitions clearly demonstrates that he did not think
that the high priest was infallible.
On the contrary, we can infer that Nikko Shonin was concerned
about the emergence of the kind of high priests who should
not be followed. For this reason, we have refused to follow
Nikken, who propounds his own views, and we have strictly
taken him to task for his slander of the Law; in so doing,
we have been carrying out a practice that exactly accords
with the admonitions of Nikko Shonin.
President Toda once wrote:
In June 1943, Soka Gakkai leaders were ordered
to the head temple. The Rev. Jikai Watanabe, on behalf
of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood, suggested that the
Soka Gakkai direct its members to temporarily accept
the Shinto talisman [to appease the authorities]. This
suggestion was made with the current and retired high
priests on hand as witnesses.
Again, in the "Twenty-six Admonitions of Nikko,"
Nikko Shonin states that we should not follow even the
high priest if he goes against the Buddha's Law and
propounds his own views. In this spirit, President Makiguchi
flatly refused to accept the Shinto talisman and then
left the head temple. (from "The History and
Conviction of the Soka Gakkai")
It is precisely because President Makiguchi refused to
go along with the authorities, persevered in following
the true teaching, and stood by the admonitions of Nikko
Shonin to the end that the path of kosen-rufu was not
Again (in August 1951), shortly after his inauguration
as the second Soka Gakkai president, Josei Toda spoke
"At this time 700 years after the founding
of true Buddhism, the entire body of Nichiren Shoshu
believers amounts to a mere 10 or 20,000 households
throughout the country. The present reality shames us
before the two masters [Nichiren Daishonin, founder
of true Buddhism, and Nikko Shonin, founder of the Head
My heart is filled with trepidation at the thought
of how the two masters would decry this situation and
take us to task were they here today. My sense of unworthiness
and shame pains me mentally and physically..."
It is truly most unfortunate that at such a time as this
there should be some in the priesthood who obstruct the
advance of propagation out of senseless feelings of jealousy.
President Toda felt personally responsible for kosen-rufu.
He stood up alone in the vanguard and took direct leadership
of the propagation campaign.
However, far from cooperating with the Soka Gakkai, the
priesthood at the time refused to show any understanding
whatsoever. In addition, some priests, succumbing to irrational
feelings of jealousy, actively obstructed efforts to propagate
For President Makiguchi, too, the lack of understanding
and obstructive actions of priests had been a constant
source of irritation. And, in the end, he died in prison
as a result of the priesthood's betrayal.
President Toda continued: "The long tradition of
this school (Nichiren Shoshu), dating back 700 years,
is on the one hand noble and pure, truly something that
is worthy of respect. Nevertheless, it is bound to be
plagued by 'mice and stray cats.' But eventually it will
be rid of them, so there is nothing to worry about."
Sadly, the priesthood today has been overrun "by
mice and stray cats." Odious priests, who prey on
the Daishonin's Buddhism like so many stray cats and hungry
mice and spend their time frantically jostling for offerings,
must be driven off from the world of faith directed toward
And what in fact has happened is that these corrupt priests,
finding it impossible to remain in the pure world of kosen-rufu,
have left it of their own accord.
18. Even if a view
is set forth unanimously by a conference [of believers],
the high priest should repudiate it if it goes against the
This warning article is paired with Article 17. The phrase
if he [it] goes against the Buddha's Law is found in both.
The basic point is that truth or falsity should be determined
neither by authority (i.e., by the high priest) nor by
the weight of the view of the multitude (i.e., by a conference
of believers). In all matters, what counts most is whether
something accords with the correct Buddhist teaching.
And it goes without saying that the Daishonin's golden
words are the standard to be used in making any such determination.
In using his authority as high priest in an attempt to
crush the correct views of the believers based on the
Gosho, Nikken is going completely against this admonition.
19. Black robes should
not be worn [by priests].
Since the time of Nichiren Daishonin, it has been part
of the code of the Fuji school that priests should wear
robes of a light-grey color [contrary to the black robes
worn by priests of other sects]. In the first place, the
reason for this was to protect the correct teaching. A
sutra passage states, "Wearing black robes is slanderous;
those who do so will certainly fall into hell."
By admonishing priests to wear garments different in
color from those of the priests of other sects, Nikko
Shonin taught that they should always conduct themselves
in a manner befitting followers of Nichiren Daishonin.
Being immediately recognizable as priests of the Fuji
school they would have to be careful to conduct themselves
properly and in an upright manner. The spirit of this
warning article is that followers of the Fuji school,
as the Daishonin's followers, should be careful to ensure
that their conduct and their faith are free of any blemish.
However, priests of the Nikken sect change their priestly
robes to be less conspicuous in their immoral pursuits,
with some going so far as to use pseudonyms to further
conceal their identity.
The conduct of Nichiren Shoshu priests has become so
deplorable that light-grey robes have now come to symbolize
the height of priestly decadence. How Nikko Shonin would
deplore the current state of affairs.
20. Jikitotsu should not be worn [by priests].
Jikitotsu are ornamental garments, pleated from the waist
down, that are generally worn by priests of other sects.
Nikko Shonin admonishes that priests must not wear ornate
robes, but should be simple in their attire.
Thus, even though he may not be wearing a jikitotsu per
se, a priest who wears such costly and luxurious robes
as Nikken does is going completely against the spirit
of this admonition.
21. You should not sit together with slanderers
of the Law [at religious ceremonies] for fear of suffering
the same punishment as they.
In October 1922, a Nichiren Shoshu high priest (the fifty-seventh,
Nissho) sat down together with the high priests of the
Nichiren sect (Minobu school), the Kempon Hokke sect and
other schools of the Nichiren sect and read the "Juryo"
chapter and chanted daimoku in a ceremony led by the high
priest of the Minobu school.
This high priest had joined representatives of other
Nichiren schools in petitioning the government to grant
the Daishonin the title of "Great Teacher (Daishi)."
They gathered at a ceremony held to commemorate the conferral
of the title of "Great Teacher of the Establishment
of the True Teaching (Rissho Daishi)." [By joining
the leaders of these heretical sects in this undertaking,]
this high priest, in stark contrast with the conduct of
the Daishonin, sought to ingratiate himself with the authorities.
After this, there was also a high-ranking priest (the
sixtieth high priest, Nichikai, Nikken's father) who drafted
a memorandum stating that the Daishonin's sacred tomb
was at Minobu and submitted it to the government authorities.
Trampling on the sublime spirit of Nikko Shonin, who
departed from Minobu [because of slander], these former
high priests aligned themselves with the slanderers of
Minobu. By acting in such a manner, they incurred the
same offense as the Minobu school; they committed great
22. You must not accept offerings from slanderers
of the Law.
To accept offerings made by slanderers is to condone
their slander. The result of accepting offerings from
slanderers, as with the previous warning article, is that
one suffers the same retribution as they.
For this reason, priests who do not refute the mistaken
views of lay followers who enshrine slanderous objects
of worship, yet accept offerings from such followers,
are turning their backs on this admonition.
Also, after the war, to increase the revenues of the impoverished
head temple, the priesthood at one time planned to follow the
example of other slanderous temples and turn Taiseki-ji into
a tourist site. It was President Toda who stopped them from
doing so. Thus the Soka Gakkai saved the priesthood from accepting
the offerings of nonbelievers.
In light of this warning article, the contradictions
in the priesthood's stance, in accusing the Soka Gakkai
of slander while at the same time accepting the donations
of Soka Gakkai members and living in temples donated by
the Soka Gakkai, become apparent. In short, their true
motive lies not in abiding by Nikko Shonin's admonitions
but in amassing wealth; they have not the slightest interest
in the distinction between correct and erroneous Buddhist
teachings. Some people even believe that money is the
current priesthood's object of worship.
23. Carrying a sword or staff in order to protect
the Buddhist Law is permissible. However, [weapons] should
not be worn when presiding over religious services, though
accompanying priests may be permitted to carry them [to
protect themselves and others].
Nichiko commented on this warning article, saying, "This
article applied to weapons of self-defense during certain
periods of social unrest and turmoil in feudal times."
We should ponder the solemn spirit of Nikko Shonin conveyed
by the clause "in order to protect the Buddhist Law."
No matter "how dangerous the circumstances, to protect
the Buddhist Law, we must not begrudge our lives."
The SGI has persevered in protecting the Buddhist Law
while undergoing great persecutions to pioneer kosen-rufu
in the midst of the harsh realities of society. In this
sense, we have truly put the spirit of this admonition
By contrast, the members of the priesthood, having completely
relied on the SGI's efforts to protect Buddhism and Nichiren
Shoshu, have grown decadent. They know nothing of the
spirit to protect the Buddhist Law. All that concerns
them is their own base self-preservation.
24. [At religious ceremonies] young acolytes should
not occupy seats lower than those of high-ranking lay followers.
Nikko Shonin instructs priests on the fundamental attitude
they must take. He says that priests must not flatter
or curry favor with lay followers who lack faith, even
if they be of high social standing, because to do so would
amount to degrading the Law.
In explaining this warning article, Nichiko once pointed
out: "During times of strife, the warrior was all-powerful.
In religious circles, the ordinary non-ranking priests
faced poverty and hardships in their daily lives; therefore
they tended to show the powerful feudal clans special
treatment, which led the warrior to grow arrogant."
Simply put, though they might be impoverished, priests
must not court money. Placing Buddhism above the mundane
concerns of their daily lives, priests must possess the
dignity to win the respect of lay followers. They should
respect not people of high standing or power but people
of faith. This is the spirit that Nikko Shonin stresses
in this article.
However, not only have the members of the Nikken sect
gone money-mad, but taking advantage of the respect and
reverence that SGI members showed them, they discriminated
against and looked down on lay followers.
Furthermore, they have denigrated and persecuted the
SGI -- a most praiseworthy organization of faith made
up of ordinary people who have no special standing in
They are going completely against Nikko Shonin's admonition
to make Buddhism the standard and not to fawn upon people
of high standing.
25. My disciples
should conduct themselves as holy priests, patterning their
behavior after that of the late master. However, even if
a high priest or a priest striving for practice and understanding
should temporarily deviate from [the principle of] sexual
abstinence, he may still be allowed to remain in the priesthood
[as a common priest without rank].
This admonition is clear documentary proof that Nichiren
Daishonin and Nikko Shonin absolutely prohibited priests
The term holy priests, which may also be interpreted
as pure priests, denotes priests who refrain from marrying
and eating meat. That Nichiren Daishonin himself had neither
wife nor children, nor ate meat, is clear from the Gosho
passage, "I, Nichiren, have neither wife nor children,
nor do I eat fish or fowl" (MW-5,
Again, to his follower Sairen-bo, he wrote: "Even
a priest who belongs to one of the provisional sects should
do so [observe the precepts not to marry or eat meat].
It goes without saying that it applies even more so to
a practitioner of the True Law" (Gosho Zenshu, p.
Nichiko, touching on this admonition, once remarked:
"I see the present situation as a temporary anomaly...
Eventually and as a natural development, I pray, we will
reform ourselves and return to the conditions that prevailed
during the time of our founder, Nichiren Daishonin, and
Nikko Shonin, who succeeded him and established the head
temple." [Nichiko himself observed the precept of
celibacy throughout his life.]
Based on the premise that a priest who has relations
with a woman should by rights be defrocked and made to
return to secular life, Nikko Shonin here stipulates that,
in the event that a high priest temporarily deviates from
the principle of sexual abstinence, his rank should be
reduced to that of common priest.
Nichiko comments on this admonition, "It can only
be interpreted as meaning that the person should lose
the position of high priest and descend to a low status."
Far from "temporarily deviating" Nikken, by
his repeated shameless conduct and the fact that he is
married, has long continued to defile the character of
the school and bring disgrace upon the chair of the high
priest. Nikko Shonin clearly directs that such a person
should be removed from his post and stripped of his rank.
Those who go against this admonition are traitors of Nikko
26. You should treasure those practitioners who
are skilled in difficult debate, just as the late master
The phrase skilled in difficult debate is from a passage
of the "Yujutsu" (Emerging from the Earth) chapter
of the Lotus Sutra. These are words spoken in praise of
the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
Nichiren Daishonin devoted himself to raising people
of outstanding ability, comparable to those described
in this sutra passage. For example, in a doctrinal debate
with a scholar of the Tendai sect, the Daishonin appointed
Nichimoku to represent him. To the astonishment of many,
the youthful Nichimoku completely refuted the learned
There are many masters of propagation in the SGI who
have developed formidable skill in difficult debate. All
along, we have highly praised, respected, and honored
the courageous practitioners of kosen-rufu who refute
false teachings and spread the true teaching, thereby
leading people to take faith in the Gohonzon. This is
the tradition of the SGI.
For this reason, while spreading the True Law throughout
the world, we have been able to prosper along with the
Without people who spread the Law, kosen-rufu would never
be anything more than an empty dream. In this final admonition,
Nikko Shonin reiterates the point that those who spread
the Law should be treasured.
The Nikken sect, however, looked down on, used, and ultimately
excommunicated the Soka Gakkai - an order of emissaries
of the original Buddha and practitioners of propagation.
In reading each of these warning articles, it becomes
clear that the present priesthood has gone against every
one of Nikko Shonin's admonitions and trampled on their
Nikko Shonin states, "Those who violate even one
of these articles cannot be called disciples of Nikko."
This is the strictness of the path of master and disciple.
The priesthood, which has violated not one but every article,
is an "anti-Nichiren Daishonin" and "anti-Nikko
Shonin" group who has separated itself from the lifeline
of the True Law.
Today, there is no legitimate body apart from the SGI,
no body that inherits and carries on the correct teaching
and practice directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin
and Nikko Shonin. In light of Nikko Shonin's articles
of warning, in light of the Gosho, and in light of the
reality of worldwide kosen-rufu, this is something that
no one can deny.
The priesthood recovered its legitimacy thanks to the
Soka Gakkai. The Soka Gakkai made Nichiren Shoshu the
correct school (shoshu) again. However, by excommunicating
the Soka Gakkai, the priesthood has of its own accord
completely cut itself off from the world of correct faith.
Without the Soka Gakkai, it has become a heretical school.
The SGI is the order of the original Buddha. Those who
advance together with the SGI will definitely enter the
path of attaining Buddhahood. Their lives will be bathed
in great benefit and fortune over the three existences.
- Six difficult and nine easy acts: A series of comparisons
set forth by Shakyamuni in "The Emergence of the
Treasure Tower" (eleventh) chapter of the Lotus
Sutra to show how difficult it will be to embrace
the sutra in the evil age after his death. (Refer to A
Dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts, p. 400-01.)
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