SGI Buddhism and New Age Teachings

New Age teachings are popular among seekers of alternative practices of spirituality in various Western societies.  On this subject, SGI Vice President Akiya (1992) stated:

“New Age teachings are generally harmless and can be beneficial, if we clearly understand that they are provisional or partial.  Buddhist practice is daily life itself, and that includes alternative therapy etc.  The danger lies in the temptation to regard these practices as absolute truth. 

A healer, astrologer or clairvoyant can see only our karma at this time.  They cannot change it or prevent it from changing, as we are the one who make new causes.  And as members ourselves we need to ensure that we do not give the appearance of following an alternative practice in preference of the Lotus Sutra”.

(New Age Teachings, UK Express, November 1992)

While the intention of many New Age seekers is pure in itself, a widely spread tendency however, involves New Age practices with beliefs in the value of precious stones and crystals – as having powers of “purification” or “healing”.  Nichiren Buddhism denies that any external agency - such as stones, crystals, or other items including statues - has any power to influence the course of our practice based on inner determination for self-development. 

Our psychological hardships are not aliments requiring “healing” - but phases in the process of our development.  Hardships and problems in our life are the tools and opportunities by  which we can transform our karma into personal mission - to achieve inner peace and happiness for self and others.

Chanting the Daimoku and the concept of Chakra

In New Age teachings, the Chakras are usually referred to as energy circles - located in the physical body:

“The Sanskrit word Chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. There are seven main chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head”.

This view, however, restricts the “chakras” to the Body, and does not mention the mental power in the life of individual, while in Nichiren Buddhism, the focus is on the Oneness of Body and Mind.

The seven characters of Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo express the fusion of the individual’s spiritual devotion (Na Mu) with the individual’s physical reality - being the Mystic law or the five characters of Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo:

“ Buddhism teaches that the body of each of us is the entity of the Buddha, that it is the Treasure Tower.  In the Ongi Kuden (record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings) Nichiren Daishonin says: ”With regard to the five characters of Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo, [the character] Myo is the head, Ho is the neck, Ren is the chest, Ge is the belly, and Kyo is the legs.  He further states: ”The Treasure Tower is nothing other than the five characters of Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo.  According to the Lotus Sutra, the Treasure Tower represents all living beings”. 

When we dedicate our life, body and mind, to the True Law, our entire being will shine as a Treasure Tower of the Mystic Law, and will enjoy both mental and physical health.”

From the May 26 1996 issue of Seiko Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai newspaper.