The Three Opponents of SGI

A historical record is available - through the writings of Nichiren - of the strong opposition he faced during his propagation of the teachings of the Lotus Sutra.  SGI carries on the teachings of Nichiren humanism, and inevitably the opposition Nichiren faced.

SGI goals (expounded in its Charter ) - are strongly opposed by certain trends found in every society.  For example, the Charter’s emphasis that SGI teachings are based on Humanism and World Citizenship - and this triggers rejection and strong opposition by narrow-minded nationalists, and right wing fanatics and racists:

1/    The racist forces, whether in Japan or elsewhere, will be always at odds with the concepts of humanism, equality of people and the aspiration for global citizenship.  History is a witness to this situation.  During the II World War, the Japanese nationalist authorities banned the Soka Gakkai and imprisoned its leaders. The war ended but the arrogant nationalist sentiments did not just vanish from Japan after the war, and animosity against SGI continued to take various forms. 

Ikeda mentioned that:

            “There is no such thing as a special kind of human being.

            To assume an elitist air is the behaviour of fanatics.

            We have no room for such people in the SGI”. Page 10, Faith into Action.

2/   The priesthood.  Fanatic priests regard themselves as “spirituality experts” - higher in position than ordinary people. Motivated by authoritarianism and the tendency for domination over ordinary people, they naturally become fierce opponents to SGI movement.  The priesthood demand from ordinary believers of “absolute obedience” to the authority of the High Priest was rejected by SGI as based on arrogance and contradiction to Nichiren Buddhism.

3/  The ill-informed : Some institutions and journalists, affected by rumours against SGI (spread by the religious and nationalist fanatics) join in blindly opposing the humanistic teachings of SGI.  This group of opponents to SGI are basically driven by what superficial tabloid media presentation offer.  Some traditional Buddhist temples share also their objections and disagreement with SGI Buddhism - (a reminder of the situation faced by Nichiren, when he challenged traditional beliefs with the revolutionary concepts of the Lotus Sutra).

The significance of opposition to SGI

According to Nichiren Buddhism, when one stands up with a true cause - then one is certain to meet opposition.  The Lotus Sutra predicts that the “Three Powerful Enemies” would inevitably appear when its true teachings are propagated.  Nichiren considered the fierce opposition he faced as a proof of being the genuine messenger, or the votary of the true teachings.

While the priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu temple enjoyed comfort of good relations with government authorities during the war - the Soka Gakkai was persecuted. 

Buddhism teaches the principle of “Inseparability of opposing phenomena”.  As history records, Shakyamuni’s life was inseparable from Devadatta’s jealousy, and Nichiren’s life was a manifestation of standing up against attacks from various sides.  In this perspective, it is in the normal course of events that SGI is opposed by the forces found in society, which are based on authoritarianism and the tendency to suppress the growth and development of ordinary people. 

It is possible to know the true identity of a person or an organisation from the quality of those who oppose and those who support.  There is an outstanding and overwhelming support to SGI by many cultural and humanistic institutions world wide.   


Back to: Is SGI a Cult?