Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cult?

Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cult?

Postby Rokushu » Thu May 08, 2014 2:51 pm

Hi all, just curious, I recently met a member of a Buddhist group calling itself Kempon Hokke Shu. Is anybody familiar with this group? Personally, I've never heard of this sect, do they have many members? Any members on this forum? The bloke struck me as a bit odd, seemed a bit obsessed about the importance of joining a sect to be Buddhist and why his group was right and others wrong, I found his approach quite novel and almost comical. He kept criticizing other Nichiren groups as "false" or somehow inferior to his own, saying his was better and that I should join, like Buddhism is a sect or something? I asked him some questions, but he seemed very determined to convince me of the significance of this great sect (how many members? he wouldn't say) When I asked too many questions, he became a bit belligerent in a manner very unbecoming a Buddhist, I have never met another Buddhist who behaved in this manner (ok, maybe some members of SGI, are they related? He kept mentioning SGI obsessively), but why the need to promote ones own sect or seek to convince others? I am used to evangelical Christian fundamentalists doing this, but this was my first time having a Buddhist make such a pitch. Are these KHS folks legit? This bloke didn't impress me and made me feel this sect is a bunch of odd-balls and nerdy arrogant freaks, but maybe bad first impression? Anybody having experiences with this group, I'd like to hear from you. Thanks!
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Fri May 09, 2014 12:24 am

Define "legitimate". Personally I do not think an org needs to "go back" to anything, as long as your practice or try to practice as much as you can correctly, it does not matter what party you join. There are I bet good people in the KHS, and bad people. I have a somewhat negative impression of them, I can't think of the correct word but somewhere between "fundamentalist" or "extremist" but to a much smaller effect of those words. That is my limited exposure to them, I have had internet communications with a priest of the org.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby theanarchist » Fri May 09, 2014 12:53 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:Define "legitimate". Personally I do not think an org needs to "go back" to anything, as long as your practice or try to practice as much as you can correctly, it does not matter what party you join..



Yeah, let's go and become scientologists.... Doesn't matter what party we join

:rolling:
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Fri May 09, 2014 1:02 am

I doubt it can be said that scientologists practice correctly.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby rory » Fri May 09, 2014 3:14 am

Illaraza who posts here was a member of Kempon Hokke Shu and I was too. We both left for differing reasons. His was that they weren't 'pure' enough (feel free to ask him). Mine was due to the infighting and the priest not really dealing well with gay people (he assured us we'd be born in the 'right' sex next birth *sigh*).

As for an historical registered sect Kempon Hokke Shu absolutely is. Here is a concise and factual wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kempon_Hokke
(I always do my homework).

My new sect is rather new, started in the 19th century, but there is a head temple, priests and proper training. it's the 9th biggest Nichiren Sect in Japan. All this is important to me (though others may differ and that's fine too).

This also a good factual wikipedia link of traditional and non-traditional Nichiren sects
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichiren_B ... st_schools

I hope this is helpful to you, feel free to ask more questions, people are very helpful here.
with gassho
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Rokushu » Fri May 09, 2014 11:22 am

So presumably a member of this sect thinks it would be necessary, or at least very beneficial, to be a "member" of a certain "sect" of the Dharma? Lord Buddha only established 1 Dharma, he never mentioned sects or sectarianism that I am aware. I do believe that there are many paths on the Dharma way, be it Mahayana, Theravada, Tibetan or whatever, each are on different paths or journeys to truth.Maybe some are better, I honestly don't know and never felt one was better than the other, maybe different people find one or another useful at different points in their lives. I always appreciated Buddhism as a "no club to join" type religion, taking refuges and precepts very personal, naturally from a teacher and a lineage is very advantageous regardless of path. But the idea of joining a sect, or feeling that a particular group is superior, I mean to each their own but it doesn't really appeal to me. Are there any famous enlightened masters or practitioners in KHS who have attained the way, who are highly respected in Buddhist circles as Dharma teachers? I am open to new ideas so I'd check it out.
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Fri May 09, 2014 11:50 pm

Pardon me, did something I say imply we need to be in the right party? I said quite the opposite. I think correct practice counts, there is NO correct "sect", at all, there never was, and there never will be. The Buddha taught one vehicle, the ekayana. Those who devote to the Lotus Sutra are just on a faster track, and one can practice correctly in the SGI, Nichiren shu, Shoshu, or KHS or whatever. Nichiren Buddhism is the best form of Buddhism in my opinion, which is why I have taken it up, but other Buddhists are on the same vehicle.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Masaru » Sat May 10, 2014 8:41 pm

Why are we throwing around the word "cult?"
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sat May 10, 2014 11:54 pm

Perhaps it would help this thread if the honorable rokushu defined what he or she means by "cult". Keeping in mind the impracticality of dictionary definitions for words with a great potential of charged emotion.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Masaru » Sun May 11, 2014 1:41 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:Perhaps it would help this thread if the honorable rokushu defined what he or she means by "cult". Keeping in mind the impracticality of dictionary definitions for words with a great potential of charged emotion.


I think that would be very helpful. I know of a certain religious organization that throws that word around quite a bit, and yet they are known for attempting to control every aspect of their adherents lives'. They forbid birth control, condemn homosexuals, practice ritual human cannibalism, pray to macabre displays of human mutilation, inflict pain and injury on themselves as an act of devotion and condone pederasty among their religious teachers. Yet, they are one of the largest, or perhaps still the largest religious organization in the world. Weird.
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sun May 11, 2014 4:42 am

In addition, I am very curious what people believe constitutes a legitimate Buddhist sect.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Masaru » Sun May 11, 2014 10:16 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:In addition, I am very curious what people believe constitutes a legitimate Buddhist sect.


It's all about the relics. If you have at least one, you are a bona fide Buddhist disciple who has received Dharma transmission and may start your own school. But, if you can collect all of the Buddha relics in the world, you will be able to summon blue medicine Buddha from deep within the planet who will then give teachings, act to end crime, and stop environmental degradation with assistance from the spirit of the Earth...
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sun May 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Masaru wrote:
Myoho-Nameless wrote:In addition, I am very curious what people believe constitutes a legitimate Buddhist sect.


It's all about the relics. If you have at least one, you are a bona fide Buddhist disciple who has received Dharma transmission and may start your own school. But, if you can collect all of the Buddha relics in the world, you will be able to summon blue medicine Buddha from deep within the planet who will then give teachings, act to end crime, and stop environmental degradation with assistance from the spirit of the Earth...

Sounds like a plot to another Indiana Jones. film
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Masaru » Sun May 11, 2014 9:55 pm

Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Masaru wrote:
Myoho-Nameless wrote:In addition, I am very curious what people believe constitutes a legitimate Buddhist sect.


It's all about the relics. If you have at least one, you are a bona fide Buddhist disciple who has received Dharma transmission and may start your own school. But, if you can collect all of the Buddha relics in the world, you will be able to summon blue medicine Buddha from deep within the planet who will then give teachings, act to end crime, and stop environmental degradation with assistance from the spirit of the Earth...

Sounds like a plot to another Indiana Jones. film


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Above: Medicine Buddha sporting traditional Himalayan mullet.

While I don't think SGI qualified as being what Americans and many Westerners would consider a cult 8-5 or so years ago when I was a member, (or even before that point,) illaraza would be right in assigning that label to them insofar as their adoration of Ikeda has gradually grown from mere mentor reverence to something akin to messianic adoration. Combined with the fact that they have also gradually given more emphasis to his works and teaching over those of their original Taiseki-ji lineage, the Nichiren lineage, and even the Buddhist lineage itself, I have to side with illaraza in his assertion that the direction and present orientation of the organization's leaders is non-Buddhist.

When it comes down to it, KHS and their Western offshoot are scriptural Buddhists. SGI is not a scriptural Buddhist organization, and their doctrine that "the Lotus Sutra has lost its power in the Latter Day" is enough to undercut any claims or lip service made by their leaders to the contrary. SGI can more easily be called a cult than KHS or similar Buddhist groups practicing along orthodox lines.
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Mon May 12, 2014 3:31 am

What do you think has caused them to deviate so? If you have any ideas?
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby rory » Mon May 12, 2014 4:43 am

Wow SGI says the Lotus Sutra has lost its power.....I'm really shocked; then why do they chant Daimoku? This is really surprising to me. I know they were very Ikeda-ish & personally viewed them as rather neo-Buddhist but denying the Lotus Sutra is a big deal..
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Mon May 12, 2014 5:04 am

I have heard the SGI in Japan is beginning to fracture as well. I wonder how this will affect the SGI abroad....If the LS has no power, what are they?
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Rokushu » Mon May 12, 2014 8:33 am

Sorry, Myoho-Nameless, I didn't mean to sound like YOU meant that there is a "right" sect that one should join, but I have heard people say this. True, the world "cult" can have different meanings to different people, and sometimes people use it in a perjorative way (not my intention btw). Good question, what makes a sect "legitimate", but better still, why have sects at all? And some believe that there is a "best" form of Buddhism? So, for example, somebody would say that Nichiren Buddhism (generally, not a particular sect) is superior to other forms of Buddhism? This too sounds a bit sectarian, "ours is the best", or at the very least "yours is fine, but ours is better/faster/superior(in some way)". I find this kind of thinking hard to follow, but to each their own. So you would say that joining a group like Soka Gakkai is fine too? Some very nice folks and I try to avoid speaking badly about any religion, Buddhist or otherwise (is SGI the former or the latter?) but my feeilng when I went to a meething was that of a self-help group, and yes, it does help people, but is it Buddhism that is helping them, or the group? Is it any different from AA or a motivational speaker? Not to say it's bad, but it just doesn't appeal to me from a Buddhist perspective. But it must work for some people, otherwise they wouldn't have millions of followers I suppose.
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Rokushu » Mon May 12, 2014 8:36 am

Another interesting question, is there such a thing as "heresy" or "blasphemy" in Buddhism? Can anybody really say this? It would be very unusual to hear this kind of speech from most (any) Buddhists I know from any tradition. But is there? If I said that the historical Buddha wasn't really the true Buddha, but my guru or teacher or the founder of my "sect" was in fact the eternal Buddha (or implied so) would I be crossing a line? Or is Buddhism "anything goes" and this would be perfectly acceptable?
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Re: Is Kempon Hokke Shu a legitimate Buddhist sect, or a cul

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Mon May 12, 2014 5:42 pm

Rokushu wrote:Sorry, Myoho-Nameless, I didn't mean to sound like YOU meant that there is a "right" sect that one should join, but I have heard people say this. True, the world "cult" can have different meanings to different people, and sometimes people use it in a perjorative way (not my intention btw). Good question, what makes a sect "legitimate", but better still, why have sects at all? And some believe that there is a "best" form of Buddhism? So, for example, somebody would say that Nichiren Buddhism (generally, not a particular sect) is superior to other forms of Buddhism? This too sounds a bit sectarian, "ours is the best", or at the very least "yours is fine, but ours is better/faster/superior(in some way)". I find this kind of thinking hard to follow, but to each their own. So you would say that joining a group like Soka Gakkai is fine too? Some very nice folks and I try to avoid speaking badly about any religion, Buddhist or otherwise (is SGI the former or the latter?) but my feeilng when I went to a meething was that of a self-help group, and yes, it does help people, but is it Buddhism that is helping them, or the group? Is it any different from AA or a motivational speaker? Not to say it's bad, but it just doesn't appeal to me from a Buddhist perspective. But it must work for some people, otherwise they wouldn't have millions of followers I suppose.


As for sounding sectarian, I was recently on another thread, one that deals with the issue if celibacy, and (apart from feeling like my views were being deliberately miss-characterized, though I hope just misunderstood) I decided to jump ship because of fundamental disagreements on what it means to be an awakened being, the word I used was "sectarian", though I was thinking more like how each and every individual is it's own species biologically from a technical standpoint, I do not pretend to represent a sect, how could I when within the framework of nichiren Buddhism I do not belong to any sub sect? But my view that an awakened being can have a sex life, or not, and still be an awakened being, stemmed from a difference in belief about the nature of awakening. Sectarian.

Although I do like reading about sectarian differences, and reading them as they happen, because one can learn a lot from that, I do not personally like being involved with them myself, not to say it has NEVER happened in the course of my Buddhist life.

Sectarianism exists in Buddhism because an attitude of "whatever floats your boat" historically was not the norm, at least it would seem as such. The Buddha lived and taught for 45 years, dying at the age of 79 or 80. He was not crucified at 33. We have received therefore a massive number of teachings, the flowery number given is 85 thousand sutras. And they would appear to not always be consistent. This is why sects exist. In fact, the same sect can be different in different countries. We Nichiren Buddhists are often in strong disagreement with the Pure Land stance that people cannot become enlightened in this life, but can only hope for a rebirth in the Pure Land. Now in the modern age Nichiren Buddhism is in contact with Pure Land as it exists from outside Japan, and those Pure Landers are all like "um....that is NOT how WE practice Pure Land". Buddhism is then full of differing opinions about the proper way to practice Buddhism, so sectarian differences are going to crop up. Nichiren was in fact often telling people the way they were practicing Buddhism was wrong for the day and age in which we/they lived. Reconciling this. with the Lotus Sutra's indication that all of this was really just one vehicle, ekayana, is something I have not yet done personally. I am an ignorant, stupid wordling whose saving grace is devotion to the LS. I wish I could say more. :shrug: Well, Tian Tai/Chi I was instrumental in putting all the Buddhist teachings in their place, denoting their purpose and importance in relation to each other, and I think gave a purpose to all Buddhist practices. Nichiren took that and condensed it to one Buddhist practice.

I have no experience with the SGI, but of their "they seem to be happy" factor I would ask the same question as you did, is it the "Buddhism" doing it? I do however, as of now at least, believe that one is legitimately Buddhist because of their Buddhist practice, not because of the organization they belong to. You can belong to the "right" one, like Masaru says KHS is legit in his view, and still practice incorrectly. Or theoretically you could belong to an org that is not legitimate, and practice, study, and have correct faith.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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