First off, thank you for the series of videos on YouTube, as a new pupil of Nichiren Buddhism your clear explanations are very helpful to me. I noticed that some of them were recorded in 2009.
My name is Marcel Berkien, from Rotterdam the Netherlands. Not entirely new to buddhism (mainly Tibetan forms and later also embraced Zen practice). A long time ago, I came across Nichiren Shoshu buddhism and learned about the chanting practice. More recently, I joined a SGI group in Rotterdam and have a sturdy confidence about being on the right track.
However, I did come across some information about the quarrel within the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu. It did startle me a bit, but still very much would like to continue practicing.
I do not mean to be nosy, but in the clip about the Gohonzon (2009) you mentioned being a couple of months into the practice and received the Gohonzon only "some weeks ago".
How have you been doing since then? How much of the controversion between Nichiren Shoshu and Nichiren Daishoning influenced you and your practice? And how does one obtain a Gohonzon to chant to at home? Is that a kind of automated process from SGI or likewise? Or should you apply for one? Please forgive me if these are silly or puny questions, but I am quite new to this and the information on the Internet is scattered at best.
If you have the time, I'd very much like to hear from you and thank you warmly in advance.
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Thank you for your letter. It is a pleasure to hear from you, and that you found my videos useful. Yes, they are quite old now, and I have been practicing for over 5 years.
I also heard a lot about the squabbles in the beginning, between the SGI and the Nichiren Sects. Let me summarise the whole process for you.
The temple wanted to maintain control over the Gohonzon and the law, they created things like "Opening of the eyes ceremony" which was meant to activate the Gohonzon, you had to go through this ceremony. Which, in itself is stupid, as you know the Gohonzon exists within our lives, and it is not an external talisman with magical powers.
The physical Gohonzon acts as a point of focus that reminds us why we are practicing, Nichiren created it for people to be able to practice.
The other sects of Nichiren Buddhism, constantly cast slander and hatred towards the SGI, as they feel that the SGI went against the Temple. But this was because of the way the priests were behaving, they were abusing their position.
Just like when Nichiren was a young man in Japan, he saw how the authorities were abusing their power, he spoke out against it, back then, they tried to kill him for speaking his mind.
Here is something from my blog http://www.nichirenletters.com/2010/12/what-is-real-difference-between-temple.html which explains a few of the difference between the TEMPLE and the SGI.
Essentially, at the centre of this disagreement is pure ego. Most of the men involved in this, lost sight of why we practice and the whole point of why Buddhism exists.
It is sad that everyone feels they need to have their own 'club' or sect, as no-one can agree on the "correct" way to practice, or who's Gohonzon is the right Gohonzon.
But the correct way is beautifully simple. Faith (in your life and your potential) Study (Nichirens Letters, Daisku Ikedas lectures and writings, Buddhist Sutras, and anything else to expand your mind and help you grow as a person) and the daily practice of chanting nam myoho renge kyo ( The ritual that functions as a process of becoming and transforming)
I have been doing really well since 2009 and I am very happy in my life, I have had my challenges, like everyone else, but I feel much more positive about the future than I have ever before.
To get a Gohonzon, you must study, learn about it first, learn about its history, then when you feel you are ready, speak to your district leader and you can receive one.
In the UK, we have a ceremony and it is given as a gift, I am not sure what happens in your country, you would need to contact your local SGI.
In summary. Try to avoid the childish squabbles people get into, it is playground really.
Focus on peoples actions, remember that the SGI is just made up of people, with all the faults and strengths of the whole of humanity.
Do not judge the entire movement of people, based on the actions of a few.
We exists as a movement to help spread the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism, so that people can find the courage and strength from within to develop lasting happiness from within their own lives, by helping people learn how to talk to each other.
Dialogue, which is key in our discussion meetings is the secret ingredient for our organisation, its the focus of all our work.
As we find peace within our communities, this peace spreads across the globe.
Peace and happiness, that is our goal. Nothing more.
Nam myoho renge kyo
Thursday, 26 September 2013
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