tkp67 wrote: ↑Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:28 pm
One can practice forceful practice using a line of questioning/reasoning. One can make a point compassionately, taking some of the sting out of the force. Doesn't mean one need be any less persistent in one's efforts. What seed does one seek to sow?
Seeds without peer.
It is important to determine how and when the gentle [shoju] and forceful preaching [shakubuku] methods are to be performed. Nichiren writes:
"There are monks who preach the Dharma in various ways, but still they are not able to utter 'the lion's roar' and refute evil persons who deny the Dharma. Monks of this kind can bring no merit either to themselves or to the populace. You should realize that they are in fact shirkers and idlers. Though they are careful in observing the precepts and maintain spotless conduct, you should realize that they are incapable of attaining Buddhahood." (Opening of the Eyes)
The SGI, the Nichiren Shu, and the Nichiren Shoshu argue that the shoju method is the predominant preaching method to be employed at this time in the USA because the USA is merely a passively evil country:
"When the country is full of ignorant or evil persons, then shoju is the primary method to be applied, as described in the Anrakugyo chapter. But at a time when there are many persons of perverse views who slander the Law, then shakubuku should come first, as described in the Fukyo chapter." (ibid)
"...This is because there are two kinds of countries, the country that is passively evil, and the kind that actively seeks to destroy the Law. We must consider carefully to which category Japan at the present time belongs."(ibid).
They cite as proof that the USA is merely passively evil because we are allowed to practice and spread the True Law throughout the United States.
On the other hand, Nichiren teaches in the Gift of Rice:
"The sixth volume of the Lotus Sutra reads, 'No affairs of life or work are in any way different from the ultimate reality'"
"The true path of life lies in the affairs of this world."
Here are some ways the USA is actively evil: 1). It is engaged in war after war. 2). It has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. 3). It is the greatest source of global pollution. 4). It is the most glaring example of greed is good and other perverse views 5). It is the most powerful Christian country in the world. Since, at the very least, the USA has killed, is killing, and will kill many potential votaries of the Lotus Sutra, it actively seeks to destroy the Law.
Nichiren teaches that, if we are incapable of uttering the lion's roar, we will fail to attain Buddhahood.
"When the time is right to propagate the supreme teaching, the provisional teachings become enemies. If they are a source of confusion, they must be thoroughly refuted from the standpoint of the true teaching. Of the two types of practice, this is shakubuku, the practice of the Lotus Sutra. With good reason, T-ien-t'ai stated: 'The practice of the Lotus Sutra is shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines.' The four easy practices in the Anrakugyo chapter are shoju. To carry them out in this age would be as foolish as sowing seeds in winter and expecting to reap the harvest in spring." (On Practicing the Buddha's Teachings)
There are three aspects to attaining Buddhahood through the power of the Lotus Sutra. The first is faith, the second is practice, and the third is study. Practice encompasses practice for oneself and practice for others. There are two methods of practice for others, the shoju method (gentle approach) and the shakabuku method (forceful approach). We can liken the two approaches to the gentle compassion of a mother and the strict compassion of a father. If a child's problem behavior is not overly serious the mother, through gentle caring and guidance can assist the child. If a child's problem behavior is totally out of control, the child carrying a gun to school, for example, the strict and stern admonishments of a father is appropriate to alter the destructive course of the child. The two methods of propagation are like this.
In the world, during the times of Shoho (~ 3000-2000 years ago) and Zoho (~ 2000-1000 years ago), society and individuals (as a whole) exhibited only mildly abherent and abhorant behaviors, so the shoju method was the principle and appropriate method to employ to awaken the people. From approximately 1000 years ago to the present, individuals and society became so steeped in the Three Poisons (Anger, Avarice and Stupidity) that shakabuku became the principle and appropriate method of propagation.
Now, in widely propagating the Buddhist teachings and bringing salvation to all people, one must first take into consideration the teaching, the capacity of the people, the time, the country, and the sequence of propagation. The reason is as follows. In terms of the time, there are the periods of the Former, the Middle, and the Latter Days of the Law, and in terms of the teachings, there are the Hinayana and the Mahayana doctrines. In terms of the practices to be adopted, there are shoju and shakubuku. It is a mistake to practice shakubuku at a time when shoju is called for, and equally erroneous to practice shoju when shakubuku is appropriate. The first thing to be determined, therefore, is whether the present period is the time for shoju or the time for shakubuku.
“Shoju is to be practiced when throughout the entire country only the Lotus Sutra has spread, and when there is not even a single misguided teacher expounding erroneous doctrines. At such a time, one may retire to the mountain forests, practice meditation, or carry out the five, the six, or the ten practices. But the time for shakubuku is very different from this. It is a time when many different sutras and teachings spring up here and there like so many orchids and chrysanthemums, when the various schools command a large following and enjoy renown, when truth and error stand shoulder to shoulder, and when Mahayana and Hinayana dispute which is superior. At such a time, one must set aside all other affairs and devote one’s attention to rebuking slander of the correct teaching. This is the practice of shakubuku.
“If, failing to understand this principle, one were to practice shoju or shakubuku at an inappropriate time, then not only would one be unable to attain Buddhahood, but one would fall into the evil paths. This is firmly laid down in the Lotus and Nirvana sutras, and is also clearly stated in the commentaries by T’ien-t’ai and Miao-lo. It is, in fact, an important principle of Buddhist practice.
“We may compare these two kinds of practice to the two ways of the civil and the military used in governing a nation. There is a time when military measures should take precedence, and a time when civil measures ought to be emphasized. When the world is at peace and calm prevails within the country, then civil measures should take precedence. But when the barbarian tribes to the east, south, west, and north, fired by wild ambitions, rise up like hornets, then military measures should come first.
Though one may understand the importance of both civil and military arts, if one does not understand the time, donning armor and taking up weapons when all countries are calm and peaceful and there is no trouble anywhere throughout the world, then one’s actions will be wrong. On the other hand, one who lays aside one’s weapons on the battlefield when enemies are marching against one’s ruler and instead takes up a writing brush and inkstone is likewise failing to act in accordance with the time.
“The methods of shoju and shakubuku are also like this. When the correct teaching alone is propagated and there are no erroneous doctrines or misguided teachers, then one may enter the deep valleys and live in quiet contentment, devoting one’s time to reciting and copying the sutra and to the practice of meditation. This is like taking up a writing brush and inkstone when the world is at peace. But when there are provisional schools or slanderers of the correct teaching in the country, then it is time to set aside other matters and devote oneself to rebuking slander. This is like taking up weapons on the battlefield.
“Therefore, the Great Teacher Chang-an in his commentary on the Nirvana Sutra states: ‘In past times the age was peaceful, and the Law spread throughout the country. At that time it was proper to observe the precepts and not to carry staves. But now the age is perilous, and the Law is overshadowed. Therefore, it is proper to carry staves and to disregard the precepts. If both past and present were perilous times, then it would be proper to carry staves in both periods. And if both past and present were peaceful times, then it would be proper to observe the precepts in both of them. You should let your choices be fitting and never adhere solely to one or the other.’ The meaning of this passage of commentary is perfectly clear.
“In past times the world was honest, people were upright, and there were no erroneous teachings or erroneous doctrines. Therefore, one could behave in a proper manner and carry out one’s religious practices peacefully and amicably. There was no need to take up staves and berate others, no occasion to attack erroneous teachings.
“But the present age is a defiled one. Because the minds of people are warped and twisted, and provisional teachings and slander alone abound, the correct teaching cannot prevail. In times like these, it is useless to practice the reading, reciting, and copying [of the Lotus Sutra] or to devote oneself to the methods and practices of meditation. One should practice only the shakubuku method of propagation, and if one has the capacity, use one’s influence and authority to destroy slander of the correct teaching, and one’s knowledge of the teachings to refute erroneous doctrines.
“As we have seen, it is said that one should let one’s choices be fitting and never adhere solely to one or the other. Therefore, we must look at the world today and consider whether ours is a country in which only the correct doctrine prevails, or a country in which erroneous doctrines flourish." -- A Sage and an Unenlightened Man
"Shoju is to practiced when throughout the entire country only the Lotus Sutra has spread, and when there is not even a single misguided teacher expounding erroneous doctrines.
We live in a horrendous time.
In his treatise, The Establishment of the Right Law to Save the Country, Nichiren states:
"We should rather eliminate heretical teachings than perform ten thousand prayers."
"But the present age is a defiled one. Because the minds of people are warped and twisted, and provisional teachings and slander alone abound, the True Law cannot prevail. In times like these, it is useless to practice the reading, reciting and copying [of the Lotus Sutra] or to devote oneselves to the methods and practices of meditation. One should practice ONLY shakabuku, and if one has the capacity, use his influence and authority to destroy slander of the Law, and his knowledge of teachings to refute erroneous doctrines."(ibid).
The Daishonin states in another Gosho, "All teachings are ultimately the revelation of Buddhist truth". Shakabuku is the method for refuting teachings when they are a source of slander or confusion. Included among these teachings are the the omniscience of science and Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and occult theology. All these teachings lead to suffering and their adherents all assert that their teachings are equal or superior to those of the Lotus Sutra. These teachings and their adherents must be taken severely to task, as Aryasinha did, even at the cost of his life. Do you think Aryasinha lost his life for practicing shoju?
There is a balance between the preservation of the purity of the teachings and a liberal interpretation of the teachings in order to convince others to convert. If you compromise the teachings in your eagerness to be everything to everybody, you end up being nothing to nobody. in effect you are doing neither shoju nor shakabuku but merely destroying the teachings. Is this not the case with the Soka Gakkai and the Nichiren Shu today?
In those few cases when a person is either readily amenable to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra or when a Lotus Sutra adherent's faith and practice is basically correct and one's faults are not overly serious, no strict admonishments are necessary. In this case, the shoju method may be employed. Having faith in Jesus while praying to the Gohonzon, is a serious transgression. Another example is studying the Human Revolution at the expense of studying the Lotus Sutra.
Speaking about Brahamanism, Nichiren writes:
"Erroneous teachings such as these are too numerous to be counted. Their adherents pay as much respect and honor to the teachers who propounded them as the various deities pay to the God Taishaku or the court ministers pay to the ruler of the empire But not a single person who adheres to these ninety five higher or lower teachings ever escape from the cycle of birth and death." (Opening of the Eyes)
In reference to Taoists he declares:
"But since such a man knows nothing about the past or the future, he can not assist his parents, his sovereign or his teacher in making provisions for their future lives, and he is therefore guilty of failing to repay the debt he owes them. Such a person is not a true wise man or sage."(ibid)
We would never employ gentle practices with the Hindu or Taoist adherents, why should we with Christian adherents?
The Lotus Sutra states, "In the whole universe there are not even two vehicles, how much less a third."(LS Ch. 2).
Nichiren Daishonin was a very strict teacher out of great compassion for humanity. In one of his Five Major Writings, "Establishing the Right Law to Save the Country", he teaches that the cause of personal, societal, and environmental problems are mistaken ideas, false views, false religions, and false beliefs. He asserted, whether to use one or the other methods (gentle or assertive), depends not on the inborn capacity of the individual, not on the land, and not on the order of propagation [of the teachings] but rather on the time and the teachings themselves. During the Former and Middle Days, one gained emancipation through shoju but today in Mappo, the defiled degenerate age, one gains emancipation through the shakabuku method. Only the most powerful medicine will do for the most serious illnesses: Nuclear weapons, war having killed hundreds of millions of people in the twentieth century alone, pollution, famine, , massive earthquakes, floods, nuclear accidents, new deadly strains of disease, the destruction of the rain forests, massive and growing dead zones in the sea..., problems one would expect to encounter in this Defiled Age. Nichiren Daishonin taught these are caused by the rampancy of misleading philosophies and religions incapable of transforming the Three Poisons [Greed, Anger, and Animality] into the Three Noble Attributes of the Buddha, Dharma Body, wisdom, and emancipation.
Nichiren performed the forceful practices towards all save for his own faithful disciples and believers. The heretical sectarians of his day and even some of his "adherents" arrogantly admonished him to cease and desist, that his methods were too confrontational, too difficult to practice. In response to such criticism, he wrote:
"Though I may be a person of little ability, I have reverently given myself to the study of the Mahayana. A blue fly, if it clings to the tail of a thoroughbred horse, can travel ten thousand miles....I was born as the son of the one Buddha, Shakyamuni and I serve the king of scriptures, the Lotus Sutra. How could I observe the decline of the Buddhist Law and not be filled with emotions of pity and distress." (Establishing the Right Law for the Peace of the Land)
The provisional Buddhist teachings have sprouted here and there like so many weeds, even in the United States. There are more than one thousand provisional Buddhist denominations and permutations and their evil doctrines are embraced by millions of believers or supporters. Even worse, radical Christian fundamentalism and Bibleism is spreading to all corners of the heartland, its adherents actively working to stifle the sowing of the seeds of Myoho and to destroy our basic human rights of free speech and freedom of religion.
Let us forcefully awaken them to the best of our ability, teaching them of the manifest evil of their misguided beliefs and the workings of the Law of Cause and Effect. It is not the time to employ the gentle practices. We must assiduously practice shakabuku.