1 – Ex-communication or expel
Nichiren Shoshu: In 1990, they ex-communicated SGI, over 10 millions practitioners worldwide. No gohonzon and no more visits to the Head Temple Dai-Gohonzon. The reason given for ex-communication was that the SGI violate the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and encourages the singing of Christian songs, praising Christian’s God, like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
SGM: Today, SGM ex-communicated those who are associated with Nichiren Shu members or priests. SGM call it expel, which is essentially the same thing. No more attending SGM’s events or meetings and SGM leaders were told to cut off all ties and communication with them. Failing which, you may risk being terminated as a leader. The reason given was that… can’t remember exactly what the reason was. Nothing official or printed is issued. Even those expelled were in the dark. SGM top leaders prefer stealth mode now. All we have is a photograph of them with some priests, allegedly anti-Gakkai, and is deemed sufficient grounds for expel.
2 – The High Priest is absolute and infallible
Nichiren Shoshu: The position of priests is superior to laity. The High priest, needless to say, is seated at the top of the food chain. It is not right to criticize the High Priest because he is always right. He received the pure lineage from each successive high priests all the way from the very source, Nichiren Daishonin himself.
SGM: We must obey and listen to the General Director. He is trusted and handpicked by President Ikeda. Criticising the General Director would mean that one is more clever than President Ikeda. Failure to obey would mean going against President Ikeda. It is great slander to criticise or talk bad about the General Director. Anyone who disagree with the General Director is to be shown the door. This was told to all leaders, in no uncertain terms, in a State Representatives Meeting, over 200 people, by a Vice General Director last year.
3 – Gokuyo – monetary contribution
Nichiren Shoshu: Members are encouraged to contribute money to accumulate good fortune. The more one contribute, the faster your karma will be cleanse. Contribution must be done with sincerity and gratitude.
How much greater still will be the blessings of those human beings who rejoice at this tablet, touch it with their hands, or gaze upon it with their eyes! I believe that, because of the benefit derived from your erecting this wooden tablet, your deceased parents must be illuminating the path to the pure land as brilliantly as would the sun and moon in the heavens. Reply to Nakaoki
Nichiren Shoshu priests used this gosho passage to encouraged their members to purchase memorial tablets, toba, so that their deceased will be blessed with good fortune. This is a major source of income for them.
SGM: Members are encouraged to contribute money to accumulate good fortune. The more one contribute, the more one will receive in return. Contribution must be done with sincerity and gratitude.
The General Director used these two arguments to encouraged SGM members to contribute.
- On the Gohonzon it is inscribed, ‘Those who make offerings [to the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra] will enjoy good fortune surpassing the ten honorable titles [of the Buddha
- Tokusho Doji who offered a mud pie to Sakyamuni, was later reborn as King Ashoka
To just stress on money contribution alone will change one’s karma is wrong and encourages superstitious faith, not correct faith. No different from Nichiren Shoshu.
3.1 – More on Gokuyo
Nichiren Shoshu: To transform heavy karma, the best way is to do huge money contribution. Encourage to take out personal loan to contribute, refinance house, etc.
SGM: Sai lang. (Cantonese origin, often used in poker game – meaning all in, or show hands.)
4 – No right to ask how the organisation’s money is being used
Nichiren Shoshu: No accounts was make public. Members are not allowed to ask any questions regarding how the money is being spend. We see lavish lifestyles of professional priests in Japan, living in luxury condominiums, members of exclusive golf clubs and often patronise expensive geisha nightclubs. When these were exposed by tabloids in Japan, the Nichiren Shoshu priests simply brushed it off and say that laity has no rights to ask question about how the priests lead their personal lives.
SGM: No receipts were given for decades for New Year and Chinese New Year gongyo meeting’s contribution. Even with the scandal in Johor three years ago on mishandling of members’ contribution, these no-receipts form of contribution continues. There was no way of knowing if these money were being bank into SGM’s account or go into individual pockets. Is each dollar of this sincere offerings being properly accounted for and steps taken to prevent abuse, or is it being counted by a single individual in a closed room? Is it wrong to ask?
This year, 2017, contributors who wanted a receipt on New Year’s contribution can put a tick on the slip and it will be sent to them. This practice of giving receipts for those who ask for it and not others totally miss the point of accountability and proper practice.
5 – Funeral matters (This is almost similar)
Nichiren Shoshu: The funeral ceremony must be presided over by priests, as much as possible. It is more proper to leave these matters to the professionals.
SGM: Leaders are forbidden to attend funerals of NBA family members funeral. Not sure what the punishment/consequences will be. And don’t even talk about organising the ceremony for them. SGM will not provide Gohonzon if the ceremony is not conducted by SGM sanctioned leaders. It’s totally cold and inhumane. If you resigned, or terminated or expelled, you will be treated worse than non-members.
p.s. SGM 2018 WD Activity directions – in fostering youth – ensuring that each and every youth must do gokuyo (contribution). Why suddenly so open and explicit about gokuyo, sound almost desperate? This is starting to be more blatant than Nichiren Shoshu.