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Wikipedia

Soka Gakkai

This article is about the Japanese religious organization Soka Gakkai. For the international Buddhist organization founded by Daisaku Ikeda, see Soka Gakkai International.

Soka Gakkai (Japanese:創価学会, Hepburn: Sōka Gakkai, "Value-Creation Society") is a Japanese Buddhist religious movement based on the teachings of the 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren as taught by its first three presidents Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda. It is the largest of the Japanese new religions and claims the largest membership among Nichiren Buddhist groups. “The organization bases its teachings on Nichiren's interpretation of the Lotus Sutra and places chanting "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō" at the center of devotional practice. The organization promotes its goals as supporting "peace, culture, and education".

Sōka Gakkai

Contents

The belief of the Soka Gakkai centers on recognizing that all life has dignity with infinite inherent potential; this immanent "Buddhahood" exists in every person and can be awakened through the Buddhist practice prescribed by Nichiren. Further, a person's social actions at every moment can lead to soka, or the creation of value (the theory of the interdependence of life). Societal change is facilitated through "human revolution", a way of living in the world that creates value.

The doctrine of the Soka Gakkai derives from Nichiren, who promulgated the Lotus Sutra as he perceived its application to the epoch in which he and people today live. Soka Gakkai gives significance to Nichiren's writings, as Gosho, and Soka Gakkai refers to the collection of Nichiren's writings that was compiled by Nichiko Hori and Jōsei Toda, published as 'Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Zenshu' in 1952 (and later officially published an English translation, "The writing of Nichiren Daishonin", and in several other languages based on the collection).

The principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena

T’ien-t’ai (538–597), Chinese Buddhist scholar who upheld the Lotus Sutra, developed a theoretical system to describe the infinite interconnectedness of life translated as "the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena" or "three thousand realms in a single moment of life" (Japanese: ichinen sanzen). This theory demonstrates that the entire phenomenal world exists in a single moment of life. Soka Gakkai members believe that because Nichiren made actualizing this possible by inscribing Gohonzon and teaching the invocation, their prayers and actions can in a single moment pierce through limitations.

"Life force" and "Human Revolution"

While imprisoned, Josei Toda studied a passage from the Immeasurable meanings sutra (considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra) that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations – for example, that it is "neither being nor non-being, this nor that, square nor round". From this, he concluded that "Buddha" is life, or life force.

The "philosophy of life" restates principles formulated by Nichiren: "three thousand conditions in a single moment" (ichinen sanzen), and "observing one's own mind" (kanjin)

The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai's conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren's teachings. "Our health, courage, wisdom, joy, desire to improve, self-discipline, and so on, could all be said to depend on our life force", Ikeda says.

Toda considered that the concept of "Buddha as life (force) means that Buddhism entails transforming society. Ikeda has been quoted as saying "Faith is firm belief in the universe and the life force. Only a person of firm faith can lead a good and vigorous life ... Buddhist doctrine is a philosophy that has human life as its ultimate object, and our Human Revolution movement is an act of reform aimed at opening up the inner universe, the creative life force within each individual, and leading to human freedom."

Soka Gakkai teaches that this "self-induced change in each individual"—which Josei Toda began referring to as "human revolution"—is what leads to happiness and peace. While older schools taught the attainment of Buddhahood in this life through the Gohonzon, they did not tie this to social engagement. Toda's conception of life force and human revolution means that one attains Buddhahood "through engagement in the realities of daily life, through attaining benefits and happiness that involve all of life, and through extending this happiness to others".

Oneness of mentor and disciple

The Soka Gakkai liturgy refers to all of its first three presidents—Tsunesabura Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda—as "the eternal mentors of kosen-rufu", and "Soka Gakkai's long-time leader, Ikeda is revered by Gakkai members". The relationship between members and their mentors is referred to as "the oneness of mentor and disciple". The mentor is to lead and thereby improve the lives of his disciples. The mentor's actions is seen as giving disciples confidence in their own unrealized potential. The role of disciples is seen as supporting their mentor and realizing his vision using their unique abilities and circumstances. The relationship is seen as non-hierarchical and mutually weighted. Disciples are encouraged to be active creators rather than passive followers. Seager writes: "The oneness of the mentor-disciple relationship is described not in terms of demands and duties as many critics imagine it to be, but in terms of choice, freedom and responsibility. It is the disciple's choice and decision to follow the mentor's vision for their common goal. In response, it is the mentor's wish to raise and foster the disciple to become greater than the mentor.: 63

Since the mid-1990s, the issue of the oneness of mentor and disciple has received more prominence in the Soka Gakkai. There is a strong emphasis on "cultivating all members ... in discipleship" through forging "affective one-to-one relationships with Ikeda".: 70

"On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land"

Nichiren wrote a treatise "On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land" in 1260 CE and submitted it to the regent. Soka Gakkai members believe that it is one of his most important writings. In it, he claimed that the source of the natural disasters Japan faced at that time was due to the weakened spirit of its people, caused by attachments to religions that disavow the primacy of the people themselves. He called for the leaders and people to base their spiritual life on the Lotus Sutra, "the correct teaching", which would, in turn, lead to "the peace of the land".: 61–62

Ikeda has said, "Nichiren stressed the need to spread the correct teaching and firmly establish the philosophical principles of Buddhism in the heart of each individual." Hence, "establishing the correct teaching" is the Soka Gakkai's religious mission, while "establishing the peace of the land" is its social mission.

Reading this writing largely influenced Makiguchi to embrace Nichiren Buddhism; at his first meeting, Ikeda decided to make Toda his mentor after hearing the latter lecture on this writing. Soka Gakkai members believe "the peace of the land" depends on transforming the heart and mind of one individual at a time, affirming the basic good within all people, respecting human dignity and the sanctity of life, and valuing dialogue. Furthermore, Soka Gakkai members believe these principles must become the spiritual foundation for peace in society and require joining forces with like-minded individuals and organizations.

Five "Eternal Guidelines of Faith"

In 1957, former Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda proclaimed three "Eternal Guidelines of Faith". In 2003, third President Daisaku Ikeda added two more guidelines. The Five Guidelines of Faith are:

  1. Faith for a harmonious family;
  2. Faith for each person to become happy;
  3. Faith for surmounting obstacles;
  4. Faith for health and long life;
  5. Faith for absolute victory.

Relation to the Lotus Sutra

Soka Gakkai members pray to Nichiren's Gohonzon (see section on Gohonzon), which "embodies Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the essence of the Lotus Sutra". The Gohonzon includes the Sutra's teaching that all life inherently possesses dignity when "illuminated by the light of the Mystic Law". (The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon p 832), and depicts the ceremony in which bodhissatvs embrace "their mission to teach and preach to suffering people the path to happiness and freedom".

The Soka Gakkai's history is closely intertwined with the study of the Lotus Sutra. Josei Toda began the postwar reconstruction by lecturing on the sutra, the study of which led to what Soka Gakkai considers his enlightenment (see "Life Force and Human Revolution") After the Soka Gakkai's excommunication by Nichiren Shōshū, Daisaku Ikeda conducted dialogue sessions on the Lotus Sutra which resulted in the publication of a six-volume work called The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra. The Soka Gakkai also sponsored the Burton Watson translation of the Lotus Sutra as well as several international exhibitions about the Lotus Sutra.: xxxiii–xxxiv Ikeda has referenced the Lotus Sutra in many of the annual peace proposals he submits to the United Nations. He compared the awakening of women mentored by Wangari Maathai to the essence of the Lotus Sutra, "a transformation from individuals seeking salvation to individuals taking action to help others free themselves from suffering.": 157–158

Karma (as "changing karma into mission")

The concept of karma is based on the law of causality. It refers to consequences created through one's actions, words or thoughts. Early Buddhism and as Professor Ved Nanda explains Hindus believe to redress karma accumulated over the course of many eons, one must be reincarnated numerous times. The concept of karma then often became a source of despair as well as a tool for Buddhist clergy to instill fear and guilt in the minds of believers. Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism, however, believes that the fundamental cause for revealing the ultimate potential of life, or Buddha nature, can diminish the influence of negative karma in the present lifetime.

Ikeda explains that negative karma is subsumed in the world of Buddhahood and is purified by its power. Importantly, Soka Gakkai members believe effects are determined simultaneously with causes, though they remain latent until the right external influences bring them to fruition. Soka Gakkai Buddhism teaches that even the most stubborn karma can be overcome as one reveals one's Buddha nature in this lifetime. Thus, karma becomes a source of hope and mission rather than despair.

The practice of Soka Gakkai members is directed to "oneself and others".

Chanting

The words Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (also called Daimoku) is the main practice of the organization, which is claimed to express the true nature of life through cause and effect.

The believers of the organization chant these words reputed to change their lives, including the natural environments in which they live. Accordingly, the intended goal is to produce an internal change that serves as the motivator for external social change. Furthermore, the organization teaches that chanting cannot be divorced from action.

Soka Gakkai members believe that chanting releases the power of the universal life force inherent in life. For some members, chanting for material benefits is a first step toward realizing the ultimate goal of Buddhahood. It further claims that there is no separation between life in the world and the universal life of Buddhahood, and leads to effects in daily life Thus, Buddhahood is expressed to be as the process of transforming, and as the actual transformation of, daily life. Therefore, chanting is not approached as a passive exercise, as Soka Gakkai literature urges practitioners to have "conviction", tenacity and perseverance and to challenge their personal problems.

Gohonzon

The Gohonzon Soka Gakkai members enshrine in their homes and centers is a transcription by the 26th High Priest Nichikan Shonin. The central main syllabary of characters reads Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (Kanji: 南 無 妙 法 蓮 華 經). The lower portion reads "Nichi-Ren" (Kanji: 日 蓮). On the corners are the names of the Four Heavenly Kings from Buddhist cosmology, and the remaining characters are names of Buddhist deities reputed to represent the various conditions of life.

The organization teaches that in contrast to worshiping the Buddha or Dharma as anthropomorphized personifications, Nichiren deliberately made a calligraphic mandala, rather than Buddhist statues as the central object of devotion. American author, Richard Seager explains the following:

"...In total, it is not a sacred image in the traditional sense but an abstract representation of a universal essence or principle.Nichiren wrote: "I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart." He further stated: "Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo."

The Soka Gakkai often uses Nichiren's metaphor of a mirror to explain its faith in the Gohonzon. The Gohonzon "reflects life's innate enlightened nature and cause it to permeate every aspect of member's lives". Members chant to the Gohonzon "to reveal the power of their own enlightened wisdom and vow to put it to use for the good of themselves and others". The organization teaches that a member is considered to be practicing the Lotus Sutra when chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon.

Faith, practice, and study

The primary practice of the Soka Gakkai, like that of most Nichiren sects, is chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is the title of the Lotus Sutra, and simultaneously considered the Buddha nature inherent in life. and the ultimate reality of existence. The supplemental practice is the daily recitation of parts of the 2nd and 16th chapters of the Lotus Sutra. Unlike other Nichiren sects, the Soka Gakkai stresses that practicing for this enlightenment entails actual "engagement in the realities of daily life", while including the happiness of others in one's own practice.

Believers claim that the Lotus Sutra contains principles or teachings that are not readily apparent. Furthermore, the organization claims that Nichiren revealed these teachings as The ”Three Great Secret Laws” namely the following:.

  1. The “Object of Devotion” (Gohonzon mandala) used and designated by the Soka Gakkai organization
  2. The incantation (of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo) by united SGI believers
  3. The sanctuary or place where Buddhism is practiced.

In addition, the Soka Gakkai publishes study materials, including the writings of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra, and has a well-developed program of study. Its series of study examinations reflects its roots as an educational reform society. As a New Religion, Soka Gakkai practices Nichiren Buddhism as it has been expounded by its three founding presidents, and so also studies their speeches and writings, especially those of 3rd President Daisaku Ikeda. His novelized histories of the movement, The Human Revolution (and its sequel The New Human Revolution) have been said to have "canonical status" as it "functions as a source of inspiration and guidance for members". Study meetings are held monthly. "The tenor of the meetings is one of open discussion rather than didactic teaching…" Discussions on Nichiren's teachings are welcomed, "dictatorial edicts on moral behavior are not."

The Soka Gakkai practice also includes activities beyond the ritualistic, such as meetings, social engagement, and improving one's circumstances; these also have significance as religious activities in the Soka Gakkai.

The practices to improve oneself while helping others, and the study of Buddhism, combine with "faith" in what the Soka Gakkai considers "the three basic aspects of Nichiren Buddhism" - faith, practice and study. Faith, as explained in a booklet given by SGI-USA to prospective new members, is an expectation that deepens with experience as one practices in the Soka Gakkai.

Discussion meetings

Main article: Zadankai

Gakkai meetings have been called "formal liturgies" in that their format—"chanting, relatos (experiences), teachings, inspiring entertainment"—is identical from place to place. Discussion meetings are among the most important activities of the Soka Gakkai. Professor of philosophy at Virginia Tech University Jim Garrison writes that John Dewey’s belief “that the heart and guarantee of democracy is in free gatherings of neighbors and friends in the living rooms of houses and apartments to converse freely with one another.” Garrison points out that the Soka Gakkai grew out of precisely such gatherings. "Soka Gakkai discussion meetings are a wonderful example of grass-roots democracy."

At discussion meetings, participants are encouraged to take responsibility "for their own lives and for wider social and global concerns". The format is an example of how the Soka Gakkai is able to "dispense with much of the apparatus of conventional church organization".

Proselytizing

At one time, the Soka Gakkai's expansion methods were controversial, as it employed a Buddhist method called shakubuku, a term employed by Nichiren, translated as "break and subdue (attachments to inferior teachings)."

The reason for propagation, as explained by Josei Toda, is "not to make the Soka Gakkai larger but for you to become happier ... There are many people in the world who are suffering from poverty and disease. The only way to make them really happy is to shakubuku them."

In 1970 Ikeda prescribed a more moderate approach, "urging its members to adopt an attitude of openness to others"; the method Soka Gakkai prefers since then is called shoju - "dialogue or conversation designed to persuade people rather than convert them", though this is often referred to still as "shakubuku spirit." In 2014 the Soka Gakkai changed the "Religious Tenets" section of its Rules and Regulations as regards propagation. Formerly, the Tenets said the Soka Gakkai "would seek to realize its ultimate goal - the widespread propagation of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism throughout Jambudvipa (the world), thus fulfilling the Daishonin's mandate." The new version says "it shall strive, through each individual achieving their human revolution, to realize as its ultimate goal the worldwide propagation of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, thus fulfilling the Daishonin's mandate." According to Soka Gakkai President Harada, "worldwide propagation" is a function of individuals undergoing positive change in their lives. The belief of the Soka Gakkai, then, is that propagation activities give meaning both to the activity itself and to the personal lives of its members.

The following are categorized records of the first three presidents of the organization, their leadership and list of contributions.

Makiguchi years: 1930–44

Foundation

Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, first President of the Sōka Gakkai

In 1928, educators Tsunesaburō Makiguchi and Jōsei Toda both converted to Nichiren Buddhism. The Soka Gakkai officially traces its foundation to November 1930, when Makiguchi and Toda published the first volume of Makiguchi's magnum opus on educational reform, Sōka Kyōikugaku Taikei (創価教育学体系, The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy).: 49 The first general meeting of the organization, then under the name Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai (創価教育学会, "Value Creating Educational Society"), took place in 1937.

The membership eventually came to change from teachers interested in educational reform to people from all walks of life, drawn by the religious elements of Makiguchi's beliefs in Nichiren Buddhism.: 14 The group had a focus on proselytization growing from an attendance of 60 people at its first meeting to about 300 at its next meeting in 1940.

Repression during the war

Makiguchi, as did Nichiren, attributed the political troubles Japan was experiencing to supposedly false religious doctrines that held sway. His religious beliefs motivated him to take a stand against the government, earning him a reputation as a political dissident.: 14–15 He regarded Nichiren Buddhism as religious motivation for "active engagement to promote social good, even if it led to defiance of state authority". The organization soon attracted the attention of the authorities.

In 1943, the group was instrumental in forcing Nichiren Shōshū to refuse a government-sponsored mandate to merge with Nichiren Shū, per the Religious Organizations Law which had been established in 1939. As the war progressed, the government had ordered that a talisman from the Shinto shrine should be placed in every home and temple. While the Nichiren Shōshū priesthood had been prepared to accept the placing of a talisman inside its head temple, Makiguchi and the Gakkai leadership had openly refused. During his prison interrogation by the Special Higher Police, Makiguchi claimed that his group had destroyed at least 500 of these amulets, a seditious act in those days.

In 1942, a monthly magazine published by Makiguchi called Kachi Sōzō (価値創造, "Creating values") was shut down by the government, after only nine issues. Makiguchi, Toda, and 19 other leaders of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai were arrested on July 6, 1943, on charges of breaking the Peace Preservation Law and lèse-majesté: for "denying the Emperor's divinity" and "slandering" the Ise Grand Shrine. The details of Makiguchi's indictment and subsequent interrogation were covered in July, August, and October (1943) classified monthly bulletins of the Special Higher Police.

With its leadership decimated, the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai disbanded. During interrogation, Makiguchi had insisted that "The emperor is an ordinary man ... the emperor makes mistakes like anyone else".: 40–41 The treatment in prison was harsh, and within a year, all but Makiguchi, Toda, and one more director had recanted and been released. On November 18, 1944, Makiguchi died of malnutrition in prison, at the age of 73.

Toda years: 1945–1958

Jōsei Toda, second President of the Sōka Gakkai
Main article: Jōsei Toda

Jōsei Toda was released from prison on July 3, 1945, after serving two years of imprisonment on the charges of lèse majesté. His health had been severely compromised and businesses destroyed. He immediately set out to rebuild the organization that had been repressed and dismantled by the government during the war. From this start, Toda served as the link between the movement's founder, Makiguchi, and Ikeda, who led its international evangelism.

The reconstruction of the organization

While imprisoned, Toda studied a passage for the Immeasurable meanings sutra (considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra) that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations – for example, that it is "neither being nor non-being, this nor that, square nor round". From this, he concluded that "Buddha" is life, or life force.

The "philosophy of life" restates principles formulated by Nichiren: "three thousand conditions in a single moment" (ichinen sanzen), and "observing one's own mind" (kanjin)

The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai's conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren's teachings. "Our health, courage, wisdom, joy, desire to improve, self-discipline, and so on, could all be said to depend on our life force," Ikeda says.

The groundwork for the organization's growth can be found in Toda's work during the years between his release from prison (1945) and his inauguration (1951). He officially re-established the organization, now under the shortened moniker Sōka Gakkai ("Value-creation society"), integrated his prison awakenings into the doctrine of the Soka Gakkai, began locating members who had dispersed during the war, started a series of lectures on the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren's letters, undertook business ventures (largely unsuccessful) to provide a stream of revenue for the organization, provided personal encouragement to many members, launched a monthly study magazine Daibyaku Renge (大白蓮華), and the newspaper Seikyo Shimbun, launched propagation efforts, and involved the active participation of youth including Daisaku Ikeda who was to become his right-hand man and successor.

Brannen, a Christian missionary writing in 1969, describes the Soka Gakkai's study program at this point as "the most amazing program of indoctrination Japan has ever seen". New members attended local study lectures, subscribed to weekly and monthly periodicals, studied Toda's commentaries on the Lotus Sutra, took annual study examinations, and were awarded titles for their achievements such as Associate Lecturer, Lecturer, Associate Teacher, or Teacher.: 142: 208

"The Great Propagation Drive"

During "The Great Propagation Drive" of 1951–58 the Soka Gakkai doubled and tripled in size each year, resulting in a claimed membership of 750,000 families.: 303

The drive began with the 1951 inauguration speech of Josei Toda when he assumed the presidency of the organization. Before 1,500 assembled members, Toda resolved to convert 750,000 families before his death. The goal was attained several months before Toda's death.: 285–286 The accuracy of this figure was never confirmed by outside sources.: 199 The primary vehicle of the propagation efforts were small group discussion meetings.: 252 The driving force behind the drive were the efforts of Daisaku Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai Youth Division.: 81: 285–286 Segments of the Japanese population that had been marginalized or dislocated after the war were highly attracted to the movement. The success of the propagation efforts rocked traditional Japanese society; the press covered many extreme incidents of propagation but did not cover the many examples of conversion accomplished through "moral suasion."

There are several competing narratives that attempt to explain how the Soka Gakkai was able to achieve this rapid growth. One narrative portrays a drive powered by the "seemingly unlimited enthusiasm" of its members: 199 that was masterminded by Toda and channeled by his younger followers.: 41 The organization's own publications articulate this narrative. Ikeda explained his own efforts to introduce others to the Soka Gakkai. Ikeda gives accounts of how the momentum for propagation was created in Kamata (1952): 636 and Bunkyo (1953).: 877–883 In his autobiographical novel The Human Revolution, Ikeda discusses in detail how the propagation efforts unfolded in the Osaka-Kansai region (1956).: 1305–1422 Common to all three accounts were efforts sparked by individual members who enjoyed their practice, long-standing efforts to build friendships, home visitation, small group meetings, and the "guidance" provided by Toda. The resulting enthusiasm of members had an explosive effect. Seager: 57–59, 80, 99–101 and Strand: 129–130 document support for this narrative.

A second narrative examines the Soka Gakkai's expansion through a sociological lens. White, in the first English-language sociological work on the Soka Gakkai, attributes the growth, cohesion, and sustainability of the organization to the organizational skills of its leaders, its system of values and norms that match the individual needs of members, and its ability to adapt to changing times.: 42–56 According to Dator, the organizational structure of the Soka Gakkai, which values individual participation within small heterogeneous groups and parallel peer associations by age, gender, and interests, fulfills members' socio-psychological needs.

A third narrative tracks criticisms of the Soka Gakkai in the popular press and by other Buddhist sects. This narrative implies that the propagation efforts succeeded through intimidating and coercive actions committed by Soka Gakkai members: 80, 101: 217 such as the practice then of destroying the household Shinto altars of new members. There were reports of isolated incidents of violence conducted by Soka Gakkai members but also incidents directed toward them.: 49: 287 Fisker-Nielsen doubts whether claimed tactics such as coercion and intimidation could satisfactorily explain the ongoing success of Soka Gakkai's campaigns.

All scholars agree on the effectiveness of Toda and Ikeda's leadership throughout the Great Propagation Drive. Strand calls Toda "the most innovative, most dynamic, most successful religious leader of his day". More than charismatic or persuasive, he was effective due to his deep personal conviction that only the Soka Gakkai could renew a society in despair.: 83–85 He used both aggressive hyperbole and melodrama while at the same time cautioning overzealous followers to be sensible in their propagation efforts.: 102 Ikeda was the operational head of the propagation efforts, serving as a charter member of the executive staff of the Youth Division (1951) and later as Chief of Staff (1954).: 44

Death and legacy

Toda died on April 2, 1958. The funeral was held at his home, but the coffin was afterwards carried past weeping, chanting crowds to the Ikebukuro temple Jozaiji, where he was buried.: 84 The then prime minister Nobusuke Kishi attended the funeral - something that scandalized "quite a few Japanese" but was a testament to how the Gakkai had grown to a force to be reckoned with under Toda.: 116

Murata claims that for two years after Toda's death, there was a leadership vacuum and the Gakkai had no president, as it was unclear if anyone was able to replace him.: 118 Other scholars disagree, claiming Ikeda became the de facto leader of the Soka Gakkai right away. Three months after Toda's death Ikeda, at age 30, was appointed the organization's General Administrator, in 1959 he became the head of its board of directors, and, on May 3, 1960, its third president.

Ikeda years: 1960–

Daisaku Ikeda, third President of the Soka Gakkai, 2010
Daisaku Ikeda receiving "Leonardo Prize" in 2009 from Alexander Yakovlev

Jōsei Toda was succeeded as president in 1960 by the 32-year-old Daisaku Ikeda. Ikeda would come to be a moderating and secularizing force.: 77 Ikeda formally committed the organisation to the principles of free speech and freedom of religion and urged, from 1964, a gentler approach to proselytizing. Under Ikeda's leadership, the organization expanded rapidly, both inside and outside Japan during the 1960s.

Within the first 16 months of Ikeda's presendency the organization grew from 1,300,000 to 2,110,000 members. By 1967 it grew to 6,240,000 families according to its own reporting. In 1968 over 8,000,000 people contributed to the construction of the Sho-Hondo. Between 1961 and 1968 the organization's Study Department (members who sit for graded examinations on doctrinal matters) grew from 40,000 to 1,447,000. By 1968, under Ikeda's leadership, the daily Seikyo Shimbun newspaper attained a circulation of 3,580,000. Today, it has a circulation of 5.5 million copies, making it Japan's third largest daily.

International growth

In October 1960, five months after his inauguration, Ikeda and a small group of staff members visited the United States, Canada (Toronto), and Brazil. In the United States he visited Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, meeting with members, the vast majority Japanese war brides, at discussion and guidance meetings, setting up local organizations, and appointing leaders to take responsibility. He encouraged attendees to become good American citizens, learn English, and get driving licenses.

Ikeda also expanded the scope and pattern of the Gakkai's activities. In 1961 Ikeda created an arm of the organization, the Culture Bureau, to accommodate nonreligious activities. It had departments for the study and discussion of Economics, Politics, Education, Speech, and, later in the year, the Arts.

Ikeda and his team visited countries in Europe and Southeast Asia in 1961 and the Near and Middle East in 1962. By 1967 Ikeda had completed 13 trips abroad to strengthen the overseas organizations. Parallel to these efforts Ikeda attempted to find the universal aspects of Nichiren Buddhism stripped away from Japanese context.

The Gakkai's first overseas mission, called "Nichiren Shoshu of America" (NSA), grew rapidly and claimed some 200,000 American adherents by 1970. Ikeda founded Soka Junior and Senior High Schools in 1968 and Soka University in 1971. "Soka Gakkai International" (SGI) was formally founded in 1975, on Guam.

Founding of the Komeito

Main article: Komeito

In 1961 Soka Gakkai formed the "Komei Political League". Seven of its candidates were elected to the House of Councillors. In 1964 the Komeito (Clean Government Party) was formed by Ikeda. Over the course of several elections it became the third largest political party, typically amassing 10–15% of the popular vote. The New Komeito Party was founded in 1998 and has been allied with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since 1999. Religious scholar and political analyst Masaru Sato explains that there is nothing surprising about Komeito becoming a member of a ruling coalition as the Soka Gakkai has become a world religion (as SGI) and history shows a link between ruling coalitions and world religions. He explains that in postwar Japan there were two major parties, the Liberal Democratic Party representing financial interests and large corporations and the Japan Socialist Party largely advocating the interests of labor unions. There was no single party that represented people who belonged to neither such as shop owners, housewives, etc. Until the appearance of the Komeito Party, such people were left on the sidelines. In 2014 the New Komeito was renamed Komeito again. Komeito generally supports the policy agenda of the LDP, including the reinterpretation of the pacifist Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, proposed in 2014 by LDP Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to allow "collective defense" and to fight in foreign conflicts.

1969: Crisis and transformation

In 1969, a prominent university professor named Fujiwara Hirotatsu authored the book I Denounce Soka Gakkai (Soka Gakkai o kiru) in which he severely criticized the Gakkai. The Gakkai and Kōmeitō attempted to use their political power to suppress its publication. When Fujiwara went public with the attempted suppression, the Soka Gakkai was harshly criticized in the Japanese media.

In response, Ikeda made major shifts to the Gakkai's message. He committed the organization to the rights of free speech and freedom of religion. Admitting that the organization had been intolerant and overly sensitive in the past, Ikeda called for moderating conversion activities, openness to other religious practices, and a democratization of the organization. The Soka Gakkai's years of constant growth came to an end.: 295

On May 3, 1970, Ikeda gave a speech at the Soka Gakkai's 33rd general meeting which radically shifted the direction of the organization. He stated that Nichiren's message could be understood as absolute pacifism, the sanctity of human life, and respect for human dignity.

In the 1970s Ikeda helped transition the Soka Gakkai from an internally focused organization centered on its own membership growth to one adopting a focus on a motto of "Peace, Culture, and Education". On October 12, 1972, at the official opening of the Shohondo at Taiseki-ji Ikeda announced the start of the Soka Gakkai's "Phase Two" which would shift direction from aggressive expansion to a movement for international peace through friendship and exchange.

In the speech Ikeda also announced that Kōmeitō members who served in national and local assemblies would be removed from Soka Gakkai administrative posts. Ikeda renounced any plans to create a "national ordination platform".

Over the years the Soka Gakkai has matured under Ikeda's leadership and its values accord with progressive internationalism.

"Citizen diplomacy" by Ikeda

Ikeda initiated a series of dialogues with prominent political, cultural, and academic figures which he labeled "citizen diplomacy". In 1970 he held a dialogue with Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi centered on East-West issues and future directions the world could take. Ikeda conducted ten days of dialogue with Arnold J. Toynbee between 1972 and 1974 which resulted in the publication of the book "Choose Life". In 1974 he conducted a dialogue with André Malraux. Today, the number of his dialogues with scholars, leaders, activists and others has reached 7,000.

In 1974 Ikeda visited China, then the Soviet Union, and once again to China when he met with Zhou Enlai. In 1975 Ikeda met with then Secretary-General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim and United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Ikeda presented Waldheim with a petition, organized by Soka Gakkai youth, calling for nuclear abolition and signed by 10,000,000 people.

In 1990, the Nichiren Shōshū administration excommunicated the Soka Gakkai with which it had been affiliated since 1952. In response, the Soka Gakkai countered by outlining Nichiren Shoshu's deviation from their own interpretation of Nichiren's doctrines, along with accusations of simony and hedonism among its ranking priests. The sect also condemned Ikeda for abandoning the aggressive propagation style (shakubuku) that led to some social criticism of the lay group, though not the priesthood.

The priesthood further accused the organization of impiety and sacrilegious behavior, citing the song Ode to Joy along with the promotion of its musical performance, The Ninth Symphony as evidence for non-Buddhist teachings.

In 2014, the Soka Gakkai rewrote its bylaws to reflect that it no longer had any relationship with Nichiren Shoshu or its doctrine.

A "Soka Spirit website established in the 1990s that criticizes Nichiren Shoshu is still active.

Further information: Humanism

The Soka Gakkai practices what has been called "Soka Humanism", which it attributes to Lotus Sutra teaching that the "Buddha is life itself".

Accordingly, the organization also claims that the goal of human activity and religion is the welfare of human beings. Daisaku Ikeda writes:

"Nichiren Buddhism is about human beings . . . The human being is most important. Nationality, social position, ideology -- none of that matters. The human being is the foundation." Nichiren wrote "if you think the law is outside yourself . . it is an inferior teaching." The movement is seen as the basis for a global "intellectual humanism" movement, espousing "sympathetic action" of removing suffering and imparting joy. Epp says of Ikeda "He always shows concern for 'the human element', which allows him to avoid proselytizing; he does not “indulge in ritualistic phrases”; (p. 71) and “. . . man’s wholeness and happiness are absolutely central” to his philosophy.

In May 1970, Daisaku Ikeda clarified the Soka Gakkai's role, transcending proselytizing, was to create a foundation of humanism in all aspects of society. In addition, the cultural endeavors of the Soka Gakkai are viewed by its adherents as expressions of Buddhist humanism and are aligned to creating a peaceful and more humane society.

In the 1970s, the Soka Gakkai began to re-conceptualize itself as an organization promoting the theme of "Peace, culture, and education."

In later years, the three themes were institutionalized within the 1995 charter of the Soka Gakkai International.

Peace activities

The group's peace activities can be traced back to the Toda era – at an athletic meeting in 1957, Toda called for a complete ban on nuclear weapons. A 1975 petition drive against nuclear weapons by the Gakkai's youth division garnered 10 million signatures, and was handed over to the United Nations.: 84

Culture of peace

The Soka Gakkai was included in a collective Buddhist response to UNESCO's "Declaration on the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace", established in Barcelona in December 1994. The Soka Gakkai's contribution to building a culture of peace is summarized by person-to-person diplomacy, the promotion of small community discussion meetings with egalitarian mores reflecting the Lotus tradition, the promotion of the values of compassion, wisdom, and courage to promote action to nurture world citizenship, and participation in cultural events to foster the culture of peace. Peace and human rights activists such as Dr. Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who partnered with the Soka Gakkai in various exhibits and presentations, praise the organization's efforts.

Support of United Nations

SGI has been in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1983. As an NGO working with the United Nations, SGI has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament, human rights and sustainable development.

Each year, Ikeda publishes a peace proposal which examines global challenges in the light of Buddhist teachings. The proposals are specific and wide-ranging, covering topics as constructing a culture of peace, promoting the development of the United Nations, nuclear disarmament, the prohibition of child soldiers, the empowerment of women, the promotion of educational initiatives in schools such as human rights and sustainable development education, and calls to reawaken the human spirit and individual empowerment. The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research has published a compilation of topical excerpts.

Exhibitions

The Soka Gakkai uses its financial resources for a number of civic activities. As a non-governmental organization of the United Nations, it has participated in many activities and exhibitions in conjunction with the UN.

The Soka Gakkai has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament, human rights and sustainable development. It has sponsored exhibits such as "A Culture of Peace For Children", which was featured in the lobby of the UN Building in New York and "Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our World". Soka Gakkai also contributed to The Earth Charter Initiative with the "Seeds of Change" exhibit, "a 'map' showing the way towards a sustainable lifestyle".

SGI promotes environmental initiatives through educational activities such as exhibitions, lectures and conferences, and more direct activities such as tree planting projects and those of its Amazon Ecological Conservation Center run by SGI in Brazil. One scholar cites Daisaku Ikeda, SGI's president, to describe such initiatives as a Buddhist-based impetus for direct public engagement in parallel with legal efforts to address environmental concerns. In India, Bharat Soka Gakkai (SGI in India) debuted the traveling exhibit "Seeds of Hope", a joint initiative of SGI and Earth Charter International. At the exhibit opening in Panaji, the Indian state capital of Goa, regional planning head Edgar Ribeiro spoke of lagging efforts to implement environmental laws and that: "Only a people's movement can take sustainability forward." In Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College President Datuk Dr Tan Chik Heok said that this exhibition helped "to create the awareness of the power of a single individual in bringing about waves of positive change to the environment, as well as the society."

Establishment of institutions

The Soka Gakkai has established multiple institutions and research facilities to promote its values of peace. The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (founded in 1962), among other goals, clarifies the essence of Buddhism to peace studies.

The Amazon Ecological Research Center (founded by Ikeda in 1992) outside Manaus, Brazil has pioneered reforestation, the creation of a regional seed bank and experiments in agroforestry.

The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue (founded in 1993 as the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century), promotes dialogue between scholars and activists to prevent war and promote respect for life.

The Toda Peace Institute (formerly called the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research) (founded in 1996) conducts peace-oriented international policy research through international conferences and frequent publications.

Responses to the organization

Soka Gakkai's pacifist stand has been questioned, along with the group's support of Komeito, without denying that the group is very active in "trying to establish the basis for world peace".: 84 In Japan, there is a widespread negative perception of SGI's pacifist movement, which is considered to be mere public relations for the group.

Nobel Peace and Chemistry Prize winner Linus Pauling has praised Daisaku Ikeda specifically for his work to foster a lasting worldwide peace.

Dr. Lawrence Carter, the chaplain at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, considers the Soka Gakkai an important ally in getting the message of civil rights and non-violence to cultures beyond those that are Christian. He has said that Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai, with activities such as Victory Over Violence, have helped in his work to "revive the King legacy".

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish rights organization, has also worked with the Soka Gakkai. Rabbi Abraham Cooper headed its efforts in the Pacific Rim, and in co-operation with the Soka Gakkai opened a Japanese version of the Center's Holocaust exhibit. Cooper said the organization's involvement actually improved the exhibit, and that through the Soka Gakkai, the Wiesenthal Center has found more partners in Japan.

Cultural activities

Gymnastic formation by the Brazil SGI team at Rio de Janeiro, on October 30, 2011. Performance art is one of Soka Gakkai's peace activities.

The Soka Gakkai sponsors many cultural activities for its membership as well as the general public.

Cultural institutions

The Soka Gakkai's subsidiary organizations also have a social presence. The Min-On Concert Association is a subsidiary of the Soka Gakkai which Ikeda established in 1963. It claims to sponsor over 1100 concerts each year. It has sponsored tours by international artists such as the La Scala Opera Company, about which Ikeda told Min-On's director that he "wanted average Japanese people to see first class art, even if we lost a lot of money".

Ikeda also founded the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in 1983. It houses collections of western and oriental art, and has participated in exchanges with museums around the world.

Performance art

Soka Gakkai considers dance and other genres of performance art to be a major aspect of its peace activities. It has a long tradition of "culture festivals," originating in the 1950s, which take the form of group gymnastics (through its world-famous gymnastic formations), marching bands, traditional ensembles, orchestras, ballet, or choral presentations. The Soka Gakkai perceives these activities as vehicles for its members to experience the skills of cooperating with others, opportunities to engage in the personal discipline that performing arts provide, and occasions to overcome obstacles and to undertake one's own "human revolution." They enhance peer networks and understanding of and commitment to the goals of the organization. In addition, they are viewed as expressions of Buddhist humanism and are aligned to the Soka Gakkai's ideals about creating a peaceful and more humane society.

The tradition, which began in Japan, has been copied in other Soka Gakkai organizations in the world.

The organization's musical and dance wings are organized into ensembles or groups in the local and national levels and are categorized as:

Educational activities

Main article: Soka School System

The educational activities of the Soka Gakkai are often subsumed under the title of Soka education. Several educational institutions were either founded by the Soka Gakkai or were inspired by the educational writings of the Soka Gakkai's three presidents.

Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu (Kosen-rufu Daiseido)
Soka Gakkai's Tokyo headquarters

Formally, the Soka Gakkai International is the umbrella organization for all national organizations, while Soka Gakkai by itself refers to the Japanese arm. Soka Gakkai maintains an international political presence as a registered non-governmental organization with the United Nations.: 273

The basic functional organizational unit is the Block – a group of members in a neighborhood who meet regularly for discussion, study and encouragement. A number of Blocks form a District, and Districts are grouped into Chapters. From there the Soka Gakkai is organized into Areas, Regions, Prefectures and, finally, Territories – all under the umbrella of the national organization. Discussion and study meetings, the basic organizational activities, are conducted mainly at the Block level, though there are occasional meetings held at every level.

Membership

Soka Gakkai has, together with its international offshoot Soka Gakkai International (SGI), been described as "the world's largest Buddhist lay group and America's most diverse". Soka Gakkai International claims a total of over 12 million adherents. The majority of these belong to the Japanese organization, whose official membership count is 8.27 million households.

In a 1996 NHK survey, it was found that Soka Gakkai adherent made up somewhere around 3.2% of the Japanese population, or somewhere around 4 million individuals. According to statistics from the Agency for Cultural Affairs (a body of the Japanese Ministry of Education), the Japanese organization had 5.42 million individual members in 2000.

A study in Europe found that most of new members joined because of the personalities of the people they met within the organization; but the biggest reason for continuing is the positive changes they see in their own lives.

List of Soka Gakkai presidents

The following are the list of the presidents of the Soka Gakkai:

  1. Tsunesaburō Makiguchi – (18 November 1930 – 18 November 1944)
  2. Jōsei Toda – (3 May 1951 – 2 April 1958)
  3. Daisaku Ikeda – (3 May 1960 – 24 April 1979) + (Honorary President of the Soka Gakkai International: 1979 – Incumbent)
  4. Hiroshi Hōjō – (24 April 1979 – 18 July 1981)
  5. Einosuke Akiya – (18 July 1981 – 9 November 2006)
  6. Minoru Harada – (9 November 2006 – incumbent)

The Soka Gakkai's newspaper, the Seikyo Shimbun, has a readership base of 5.5 million. Forbes magazine estimated that the organization has an income of at least $1.5 billion per year. Religion scholar Hiroshi Shimada has estimated the wealth of the Soka Gakkai at ¥500 billion.

SGI's president, Daisaku Ikeda, has been described by journalist Teresa Watanabe as one of the most powerful and enigmatic individuals in Japan. A 1995 San Francisco SFGate article describes Ikeda as a "charismatic leader" who can display a violent temper in private. According to religious scholar Jane Hurst, there is no indication he has exploited his position and his home has been described as "modest".

Japanese politics

See also: Komeito

Humanitarian work

The Soka Gakkai conducts humanitarian aid projects in disaster stricken regions. As an organization it is not only dedicated to personal spiritual development but also to engaged community service. After the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Soka Gakkai facilities became shelters for the displaced and storage centers for food and supplies for the victims. The relief effort also included community support by youth groups, global fundraising for the victims, and spiritual support. SGI-Chile members collected supplies to deliver to a relief center after the country's 2014 earthquake.

Public perception

Today, Soka Gakkai is rarely criticized in mainstream news media. Ikeda occasionally contributes editorials to major newspapers, which also print reports on Gakkai business. Since the Komeito Party joined the ruling government coalition in 1999, widespread criticism by the media of the Soka Gakkai has abated and the Soka Gakkai is gaining acceptance as part of the Japanese mainstream. There has been a "fractured view" of the Soka Gakkai in Japan. On the one hand it is seen as a politically and socially engaged movement; on the other, it is still viewed with suspicion by some Japanese. James R. Lewis claims the Soka Gakkai's perception has suffered from sensationalist and often irresponsible treatment by the media even though the group has matured into a responsible member of society. Other scholars reject the cult label. Some scholars who utilize the Bryan R. Wilson typology of newly emerging denominations categorize it as "gnostic-manipulationist", a category of teachings holding that the world can improve as people master the right means and techniques to overcome their problems. According to Anne Mette Fisker-Nielsen, "Soka Gakkai's relentless, but highly successful, proselytizing in the 1950s stirred up fear in wider society. Soka Gakkai was portrayed by the mass media as aggressive even violent – although it is difficult to find evidence." Throughout the 1950s, the Soka Gakkai was a relatively radical movement that remained outside mainstream Japanese society, but since the foundation of the Komeito in the 1960s, it has considerably moderated its activities and has become a very mainstream movement, especially after the Komeito joined the coalition government in 1999.

Soka Gakkai has long been a subject of criticism in the Japanese weekly tabloid news/magazine press. Press criticism of the Soka Gakkai should be seen against the backdrop of negative press coverage of new religious movements in general. It is important to understand that Japanese journalism is unlike that of the West. Scholars point out that less than two percent of journalists in Japan have degrees in journalism. That plus feeble libel laws leave little recourse for the victims of malicious defamation. Associate Professor of Religion at Hamilton College, Richard Seager writes that it is time to cease being overly intrigued by the Soka Gakkai’s history of controversy. “Over the course of a relatively short period, the Soka Gakkai moved from the margins of Japanese society into its mainstream.”

Cult appellation

During the early postwar decades, the Soka Gakkai found itself embroiled in various controversies and appellations of "cult" and "cult of personality" have become attached to it. Claims of personality adulation towards Daisaku Ikeda is among the centerpoint of criticism from outsiders and former practitioners of the organization. Some criticism are also sourced from its former affiliate, Nichiren Shoshu who shared the same negative sentiment in 28 November 1991 citing claims of heresy. Nevertheless, in accordance to the organization's views, these charges have largely resulted from both negative and distorted media coverage.

Newer scholarship has generally refuted the Soka Gakkai's former cult appellation, noting the organization's maturation, progressive qualities, and its calls to its membership to be excellent citizens. Criticism of the organization continues to exist, to which the organization describes its vision and structure as a continuing work of humanistic progress and continuous improvement.

International perception

The Republic of Uruguay honored the 25th anniversary of the SGI's founding with a commemorative postage stamp. The stamp was issued on October 2, the anniversary of SGI President Ikeda's first overseas journey in 1960.

In 2005, National Youth Council of Singapore award the youth of Soka Gakkai in Singapore for their "community and youth services" work.

The Soka Gakkai of the Republic of Cuba (SGRC) attained juridical recognition in 2007, following an official visit of Daisaku Ikeda in 1996. It has a membership of approximately 500 individuals spread throughout most of the country's provinces.

In 2008, Ikeda was a recipient of the Order of Friendship, a state-issued award of the Russian Federation bestowed on foreign nationals whose work, deeds and efforts were aimed at the betterment of relations with the Russian Federation and its people.

In 2012, President Ma Ying-jeou of The Republic of China (Taiwan) commended the Taiwan Soka Association for many years of effort in the areas of public welfare, education, and religious teaching. He pointed out that it had received from the Taiwanese government numerous awards such as "National Outstanding Social Organization Award", the "Award for Contribution to Social Education", and "Outstanding Religious Organization Award".

In 2015, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi signed an agreement that recognizes the Soka Gakkai as a "Concordat" (It: "Intesa") that grants the religions status in "a special 'club' of denominations consulted by the government in certain occasions, allowed to appoint chaplains in the army - a concordat is not needed for appointing chaplains in hospitals and jails - and, perhaps more importantly, to be partially financed by taxpayers' money." Eleven other religious denominations share this status. In the same year, the Soka Gakkai constituent organization in the United States (SGI-USA) spearheaded the first "Buddhist Leaders' Summit" at the White House which was attended by 125 leaders and teachers from 63 different Buddhist communities and organizations.

In India the Soka Gakkai is associated with a renewed interest in Buddhism among urban, upper middle class, English-speaking youth.

Among the European new religious movements, the European Soka Gakkai organization is one of the most active participants in dialogues with the European Commission's Bureau of European Policy Advisors.

While they are not all formally affiliated with the Soka Gakkai, there are a number of overseas institutions that perceived to be associated with the Soka Gakkai, or with Ikeda. These include the Ikeda Peace Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Toda Institute of Oriental Philosophy in Hawaii; and educational institutions in the United States, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia and China.

  1. "At a Glance". Soka Global (SGI). n.d. Retrieved28 January 2021.
  2. Jacqueline I. Stone, Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism (Studies in East Asian Buddhism), University of Hawaii Press 2003, ISBN 978-0824827717, page 454.
  3. Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin, eds. (2010). Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 2656–2659. ISBN 978-1598842036.
  4. Kisala, Robert (2004). "Soka Gakkai: Searching for the Mainstream". In Lewis, James R.; Aagaard Petersen, Jesper (eds.). Controversial New Religions. Oxford University Press. pp. 139–152.
  5. Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael, eds. (2006). Introduction to new and alternative religions in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-275-98712-1.
  6. Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, "Soka Gakkai International" in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. "Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai's charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement's public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai's political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement's history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history."
  7. Wellman, Jr., James K.; Lombardi, Clark B., eds. (2012-08-16).Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0199827756. "When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs, over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its 'peace movement' is little more than promotional propaganda. The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members, were related members, or were friends of members."
  8. Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8. Since its founding in the 1930s, the SG has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination.
  9. Lewis, James R. (2003). Scholarship and the Delegitimation of Religion in Legitimating new religions ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 217–218. ISBN 978-0813533247. ""For over half a century, one of the most controversial new religions in Japan has been Soka Gakkai. Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society, its ongoing connection with reformist political activity served to keep it in the public eye. Until relatively recently, it also had a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage. Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion, some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai--critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by efforts to delegitimate Soka Gakkai by portraying it as deluded, wrong, and/or socially dangerous. ... Soka Gakkai also spread to the United States and Europe, where it aroused controversy as a result of its intense proselytizing activities. Although it was never as controversial as groups like the Hare Krishna Movement or the Unification Church, Soka Gakkai—which in the United States went under the name Nichiren Shoshu of America after Soka Gakkai broke with Nichiren Shōshū—was not infrequently stereotyped as a brainwashing cult, particularly by anti-cult authors."
  10. Beasley, W. G., ed. (1977). Modern Japan: Aspects of History, Literature, and Society. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 190–196. ISBN 978-0-520-03495-2.
    Hunt, Arnold D. (1975). Japan's Militant Buddhism: A Survey of the Soka Gakkai Movement. Salisbury East, S. Aust.: Salisbury College of Advanced Education. pp. 1–13. ISBN 978-0909383060.
    Kitagawa, Joseph M. (1990). Religion in Japanese history ([Reprint]. ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 329–330. ISBN 978-0231028387.
  11. Brannen, Noah (1968). Sōka Gakkai: Japan's militant Buddhists. John Knox Press.
  12. Hurst, Jane (2000). Macachek and Wilson (ed.). A Buddhist Reformation In the 20th Century. Oxford University Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-19-924039-6.
  13. Strand, Clark (2008). "Faith in Revolution: An Interview with Daisaku Ikeda". Tricycle. Winter. To chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is to call out the name of the Buddha-nature within us and in all living beings. It is an act of faith in this universal Buddhanature, an act of breaking through the fundamental darkness of life—our inability to acknowledge our true enlightened nature. It is this fundamental darkness, or ignorance, that causes us to experience the cycles of birth and death as suffering. When we call forth and base ourselves on the magnificent enlightened life that exists within each of us without exception, however, even the most fundamental, inescapable sufferings of life and death need not be experienced as pain. Rather, they can be transformed into a life embodying the virtues of eternity, joy, true self, and purity.
  14. Susumu, Shimazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi (ed.). "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. Crossroads Publishing. p. 439. ISBN 978-0-8245-1595-9. Therefore, when you sit before the Gohonzon and believe there is no distinction among the Gohonzon, Nichiren and you yourself, ... the great life force of the universe becomes your own life force and gushes forth.
  15. Fisker-Nielsen, Anne-Mette (2013). Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito. [S.l.]: Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-415-74407-2. Ikeda's reading of Nichiren always returns to this point of seeing the potential of "Buddhahood" present in each person, in each social action and at each moment (the theory of ichinen sanzen). Emphasizing the potentially positive and mutually beneficial outcome to any situation is the basis for the concept of soka, creation of value, which is the name of the organization. The most fundamentals idea is that to facilitate social change it is necessary to develop a way of being in the world that creates value. The daily morning and evening chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the study of Nichiren Buddhism is advocated as the practice for such self-development…
  16. Macioti, Maria Immacolata; Capozzi (tr), Richard (2002). The Buddha within ourselves : blossoms of the Lotus Sutra. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-7618-2189-2. It is a matter of a "human revolution" that begins with the individual, etends to the family, and then, if possible, spreads to entire nations; social peace would come about as the summation of many single "human revolutions".
  17. Strand, Clark (2014). Waking the Buddha : how the most dynamic and empowering Buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Santa Monica, CA: Middleway Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1. "From the beginning, the Soka Gakkai's approach to Buddhism was focused on the fundamental dignity of human life--affirming it, protecting it, and convincing others to do the same.
  18. Bocking, Brian. "Soka Gakkai". Overview of World Religions. University of Cumbria, Division of Religion and Philosophy, Philtar (Philosophy, Theology and Religion). Central to Soka Gakkai's philosophy are the ideas of 'human revolution' (i.e. personal and social transformation) and the Tendai concept of 'one thought, three thousand worlds'. According to Soka Gakkai, human beings can change themselves, and through changing themselves change the world. Change for the better is brought about by chanting the powerful daimoku ("great invocation") – 'Nam-myoho-renge-kyo'. The effect of chanting this phrase, which embodies the essence of the enlightened mind of the Buddha, is radically to elevate one's mental and spiritual state within the 3,000 possible states of mind, which range from the experience of hell to perfect supreme enlightenment. Since 'body and mind are not two' (i.e. they are a unity), the transformation of the 'inner' or mental state is reflected in transformed behaviour and therefore social influence. If enough people practice, whole societies and eventually the whole world will be transformed.
  19. Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-313-32491-8.
  20. Buck, Christopher (2015). God and Apple Pie. Kingston, NY: Educator's International Press. p. 274. ISBN 978-1-891928-15-4.
  21. “Go” is an honorific prefix and “sho” means writings; thus, literally, honorable writings.
  22. "The writings of Nichiren Daishonin".
  23. "Three Thousand Realms in a Single Moment of Life". Soka Gakkai International. 24 August 2020. Retrieved28 January 2021.
  24. Seager, Richard (2006-03-16). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
  25. Tamaru, Noriyoshi (2000). Macachek and Wilson (ed.). "The Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective" in Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-19-924039-5.
  26. Tamaru, Noriyoshi. Global Citizens. p. 34.
  27. Shimazono, Susume (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi (ed.). "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world i. Crossroad Publishing. p. 438. ISBN 978-0-8245-1595-9.
  28. Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Winning In Life With Daimoku". Living Buddhism: 51.
  29. Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 53.
  30. Shimazono, Susumu. Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. p. 436.
  31. "Human Revolution". www.joseitoda.org.
  32. Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 9, 70. ISBN 978-1-56085-153-0.
  33. Susumu, Shinazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi (ed.). Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea and Japan in the Modern World. Crossroads Publishing. p. 451. ISBN 978-0-8245-1595-9.
  34. The Liturgy of the Soka Gakkai International. SGI-USA. 2015. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-935523-81-9.
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  92. Wilson, Bryan (2000). "The British Movement and Its Members". In Machacek and Wilson (ed.). Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 358. ISBN 978-0-19-924039-5. Liberated from ecclesiastical restraints, Soka Gakkai is enabled to present itself as a much more informed, relaxed and spontaneous worshipping fellowship. In a period when democratic, popular styles have displaced or largely discredited hierarchic structures, the typical meetings of Soka Gakkai reflect the style and form increasingly favored by the public at large.
  93. McLaughlin, Levi (2012). Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. p. 277. ISBN 978-9004234369.
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  112. Murata, Kiyoaki (1969).Japan's New Buddhism: An Objective Account of Soka Gakkai. New York & Tokyo: Walker/Weatherhill. p. 89. ISBN 978-0834800403. Toda 'was burning with a desire for vengeance--not against the militarist government of Japan but against an invisible enemy who had caused his own suffering of more than two years as well as his teacher's death in jail and agony to tens of millions of his fellow countrymen.'
  113. Palmer, A. (2012). Buddhist Politics: Japan's Clean Government Party. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 6. ISBN 978-9401029964. Toda's experience in prison had also been one of much suffering, including (it is reported) malnutrition, tuberculosis, asthma, heart trouble, diabetes, hemorrhoids and rheumatism. Besides breaking him physically, his imprisonment and the war had destroyed him financially.
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  119. Brannen, Noah S. (1968). Soka Gakkai: Japan's Militant Buddhists. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press. p. 143. Once a year the education department gives examinations and awards students with the four successive ranks of Associate Lecturer, Lecturer, Associate Teacher, or Teacher. Every member is expected to take the exams. In a study-conscious society and examination-oriented national system of education, Soka Gakkai's indoctrination program is manifestly compatible with the climate.
  120. White, James W. (1970). The Sōkagakkai and mass society. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804707282.
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  123. Montgomery, Daniel, Fire in the Lotus, (1991). Mandala, an imprint of Grafton Books. p. 186 and p. 189, ISBN 978-1-85274-091-7|quote=Toda stated in his speech, "If this goal is not realized while I am still alive, do not hold a funeral for me. Simply dump my remains in the bay at Shinagawa."
  124. Nakano, Tsuyoshi. "Religion and State." In Tamaru, Norioshi and David Reid, eds. 1996. Religion in Japanese Culture: Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World. Tokyo: Kodansha, International. ISBN 4-7700-2054-6. P. 125.
  125. McLaughlin (2012):278–279. "Sõka Gakki was driven forward by adherents who came to the group from the fringes of modern Japanese society. They were attracted to the Gakkai in part because it addressed them in an educational idiom, promising access to legitimate and legitimizing practices associated with a pedagogical framework. This was crucial in Japan of the mid—twentieth century, a society obsessed by standards imposed by educational systems, whose members were quick to judge one another based on perceived levels of cultural sophistication. The Value Creation Study Association appealed to the people postwar Japan as a forum for the socially disenfranchised to study, to learn, to prove themselves within meritocratic institutions modeled on the mainstream schools and other educational establishments in which they otherwise had few chances to participate. Soka Gakkai's academic idiom that appealed to so many in postwar Japan speaks not only to members' desire to realize legitimacy through educational pursuits; the group also appeals to members' aspirations to join Japan's social elite. ... Soka Gakkai is proof that the socially disenfranchised need not sit idle; they are aware of what they lack, and, when organized en masse and inspired by the possibilities of upward social mobility, they themselves create the institutions that grant social mobility— political parties, newspapers, study circles, schools, museums, organizations for the performing arts, and opportunities for musical training. They create alternative means of reaching for the social legitimacy that remains out of their reach in mainstream society, of securing recognition ordinarily granted by the central institutions of the modern nation; they create groups like Soka Gakkai."
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  143. Kiong, Tong Chee (2007). Rationalizing religion : religious conversion, revivalism, and competition in Singapore society ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Leiden: Brill. p. 141. ISBN 9789004156944. [Ikeda] turned down the idea of shakubuku or aggressive proselytization for shoju a more gentle and persuasive conversion.
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  155. Strand, Clark. "Interview: Faith in Revolution". Tricycle. RetrievedJan 2, 2015. I have felt a powerful responsibility to universalize and ensure the long-term flourishing of the teachings. Just weeks before he died in April 1958, Mr. Toda called me to his side and told me that he had dreamed of going to Mexico, that there were people there waiting to learn about Buddhism. In terms of the teachings, I have tried to separate out those elements in the traditional interpretation of Nichiren Buddhism that are more reflective of Japanese cultural and historical contingencies than they are of the underlying message. To this end I have continued to engage in dialogue with a wide range of people around the world in order to refine and universalize the expression of my ideas. Because I am convinced that all cultures and religions are expressions of deep human truths, I have regularly referenced philosophical traditions other than Buddhism, bringing in the ideas and insights of literature, art, science, and medicine, and sharing the inspiring words and insights of thinkers from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds with people, including the membership of the Soka Gakkai.
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  166. Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 97–8. ISBN 9780520245778. Ikeda took [the free speech issue] seriously and made it the starting point for a process of critical self-examination that resulted in his once again re-creating the Gakkai. ... The free speech issue gave him a platform from which to make shifts in emphasis of such magnitude that some members recall that it took them a year or more to grasp his intent fully.
  167. Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780520245778. 'We must take the lessons of this incident deeply to heart and must absolutely not make the same mistake again,' he said.
  168. "Profile: Soka Gakkai". THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITY PROJECT (WRSP). Virginia Commonwealth University. On October 12, 1972, during ceremonies marking the opening of the completed Shōhondō at Taisekiji, Ikeda delivered a speech announcing the start of Sōka Gakkai's "Phase Two", describing a turn away from aggressive expansion toward envisioning the Gakkai as an international movement promoting peace through friendship and cultural exchange.
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  171. Buck, Christopher (2015). God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America. Educator's International Press. p. 275. ISBN 9781891928154. Daisaku Ikeda...has transformed the materialistic promises of SGI practices into socialpreises that all can respect. Ikeda has almost single-handedly matured SGI. ... These sacralized secular values are characteristic of progressive internationalism.
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  191. Lebron, Robyn E. (2012). Searching for spiritual unity...can there be common ground? : a basic internet guide to forty world religions & spiritual practices. Bloomington, Ind.: Crossbooks Publishing. p. 424. ISBN 9781462712625. The SGI shall contribute to peace, culture, and education for the happiness and welfare of all humanity based on the Buddhist respect for the sanctity of human life.
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  219. Cultural performances and the youth of Soka Singapore, 26ff
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  246. Magee, Michelle (December 27, 1995). "Japan Fears Another Religious Sect". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved7 December 2013.
  247. Hurst, Jane (2000). Machacek and Wilson (ed.). "A Buddhist Reformation In The Twentieth Century" in Global Citizens. Oxford University. p. 89. Rather than giving in to the temptation to exploit his power as the leader of a now 12 million member organization, Mr. Ikeda has instead worked to see that the organization has become more democratic.... Power in the SGI has not stayed centered in Japan but has spread throughout the world...
  248. Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8.
  249. "Yes, Religion Can still be a force for good in the world: Here are 100 examples how". Huffington Post.Missing or empty |url= ()
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  251. name="Oxford University Press">Metraux, Daniel (2012). Wellman, James K.; Lombardi, Clark B. (eds.).Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 266. ISBN 9780199827749.
  252. Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. Since its founding in the 1930s, the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination.
  253. Takesato Watanabe, "The Movement and the Japanese Media" in David Machacek and Bryan Wilson (eds.), Global Citizens, Oxford University Press, 2000. "The Soka Gakkai is exceptional in that no other large Japanese religious organization engages in both social and political issues—from the promotion of human rights to the protection of the environment and abolition of nuclear weapons—as actively as it does." (p. 217)
  254. Wellman, Jr., James K.; Lombardi, Clark B., eds. (2012-08-16).Religion and Human Security: A Global Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0199827756. "When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs, over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its "peace movement" is little more than promotional propaganda. The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members, were related members, or were friends of members."
  255. Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, "Soka Gakkai International" in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. "Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai's charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement's public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai's political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement's history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history."
  256. Macioti, p. 124. "It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a "sect." It is not a small, two-faced cult, characterized by obscure and hidden agendas. Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations, all of which are engaged in promoting culture, and raising interest around the theme of values—and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation."
  257. O'Brien, Barbara. "Soka Gakkai International: Past, Present, Future". About Religion. You can find diverse definitions of "cult", including some that say "any religion other than mine is a cult". You can find people who argue all of Buddhism is a cult. A checklist created by Marcia Rudin, M.A., a founding director of the International Cult Education Program, seems more objective. I have no personal experience with SGI, but over the years I've met many SGI members. They don't seem to me to fit the Rudin checklist. For example, SGI members are not isolated from the non-SGI world. They are not anti-woman, anti-child, or anti-family. They are not waiting for the Apocalypse. I do not believe they use deceptive tactics to recruit new members. Claims that SGI is bent on world domination are, I suspect, a tad exaggerated.
  258. Bryan Wilson, Religion in Secular Society. Penguin, 1969
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  260. Wallis, Roy (1976). The road to total freedom: a sociological analysis of Scientology. London: Heinemann Educational. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-435-82916-2.
  261. Glock, Charles Y.; Bellah, Robert N., eds. (1976). The New religious consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-520-03083-1.
  262. Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012) "Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito", Routledge, p. 52.
  263. Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012) "Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito", Routledge, pp. 7–9
  264. Gamble, Adam. (2004).A public betrayed : an inside look at Japanese media atrocities and their warnings to the West. Watanabe, Takesato, 1944-, 渡辺, 武達(1944- ). Washington, D.C.: Regnery Pub. ISBN 0-89526-046-8. OCLC 55534997.
  265. Seager, Richard (2006), Encountering the Dharma, Berkeley: University of California Press, p. 209
  266. Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 9780520245778. Since its founding in the £9305, the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into alarge, politically active, and very well established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination. To varying degrees this fractured view has followed the movement overseas, where, despite its success at globalization, it has had to contend with both the legacy of Japanese militarism in Asia and the concerns of observers in the West that the movement was in some way an Asian cult.
  267. Watanabe, Takesato (2003). Machacek, David; Wilson, Bryan (eds.). Global citizens : the Soka Gakkai Buddhist movement in the world (Reprinted. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 213–290. ISBN 978-0199240395. The distortions generated in the reportage of the Soka Gakkai, the largest religious organization in Japan, as well as its virtual dismissal by the Japanese mainstream media, are shaped by the following causes: (1) a power structure which derives legitimacy through preservation of the imperial system; (2) the scope and scale of the Soka Gakkai's political influence; (3) its history of defiance and autonomy; (4) the Japanese media's dependence on large corporate advertisers; (5) the existence of media companies such as Bungei Shunju and Shichosa, which maintain collusive ties to the state; (6) the uncompromising religious convictions of the Soka Gakkai and social disapproval of its initial period of aggressive proselytizing; (7)media coverage of Soka Gakkai's vast financial resources; (8) the framework of social intolerance in Japan; (9) the proliferation of media stereotypes; and (10) the inadequacy of media relations skills and training employed by the Soka Gakkai as a social entity.
  268. Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520939042. Newer scholarship, such as Global Citizens: The Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World or "The Soka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" praises the movement for its progressive values and its members' sense of civic duty. Older articles and books, by contrast, are consistently preoccupied with a varied array of virulent charges.
  269. Itoh, Mayumi (2014). Hrebenar, Ronald J.; Nakamura, Akira (eds.). Party Politics in Japan: Political Chaos and Stalemate in the 21st Century. Routledge. ISBN 9781317745969. Shemada notds that the deep anti-Soka Gakkai allergy in Japanese society-at-large has weakened in recent years, as the members have stopped the aggressive membership drives it deployed in the past. Shemada argues that this means the Soka Gakkai has been firmly established in society.
  270. Macioti, p. 124. "It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a ‘sect.’ It is not a small, two-faced cult, characterized by obscure and hidden agendas. Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations, all of which are engaged in promoting culture, and raising interest around the theme of values—and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation."
  271. "Sello - 1975-2000 Soka Gakkai Internacional 25º Aniversario". Correo Uruguayo. Retrieved3 February 2016.
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  278. Simmer-Brown, Acharya Judith (May 17, 2015). "Shambhala Visits the White House". Shambhala Times Community News Magazine.
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  • Sōka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion By Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek. London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-829389-5
  • "The Sōka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" by Daniel A. Metraux in Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King, eds. SUNY Press, 1996.
  • The New Believers: A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions. David V Barrett. Octopus Publishing Group, 2003
  • The Lotus and the Maple Leaf: The Sōka Gakkai in Canada by Daniel A. Metraux (University Press of America, 1996)
  • Fundamentals of Buddhism (second edition) by Yasuji Kirimura (Nichiren Shōshū International Center [now SGI], 1984). ISBN 4-88872-016-9
  • Sōka Gakkai kaibō ("Dissecting Sōka Gakkai") by the editors of Aera (Asahi Shimbun, 2000). ISBN 4-02-261286-X (Japanese)
  • A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West. Adam Gamble & Takesato Watanabe. Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004. ISBN 0-89526-046-8
  • (SERA) Southeast Review of Asian Studies 29 (2007). "Religion, Politics, and Constitutional Reform in Japan," by Daniel Metraux, 157–72.
  • Westward Dharma: Buddhism beyond Asia. Charles S. Prebish and Martin Baumann, eds. 2002.
  • Igami, Minobu. 1995. Tonari no Sōka Gakkai [The Sōka Gakkai Next Door], Tokyo: Takarajima.
  • Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Asia. By Juliana Finucane, R. Michael Feener, pages 103 122.
  • Neo Yeow Ann Aaron "Studying Soka: Buddhist Conversionn And Religious Change In Singapore"(PDF).

Books

  • Strand, Clark: Waking the Buddha - how the most dynamic and empowering buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Strand examines how the Soka Gakkai, based on the insight that "Buddha is life", has evolved a model in which religion serves the needs of its practitioners, rather than the practitioners adhering to dogma and traditions for their own sake. Middleway Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1
  • Editors of AERA: Sōkagakkai kaibai (創価学会解剖: "Dissecting Sōkagakkai"). Asahi Shimbun-sha, October 1995. ISBN 978-4-02-261286-1. AERA is a weekly investigative news magazine published by one of Japan's leading news organizations; this book attempts to present a dry, fair assessment of Sōkagakkai and Daisaku Ikeda and contains several interviews with Gakkai leaders.
  • Shimada, Hiroki: Sōkagakkai no jitsuryoku (創価学会の実力: "The true extent of Sōkagakkai's power"). Shinchosha, August 2006. ISBN 4-02-330372-0. Argues that the Sōka Gakkai is not (or is no longer) as powerful as many of its opponents fear, and that it is losing ground internally as all but the most dedicated are turned off by the leadership and fewer members need the organization for social bonding. Also notes that it is becoming more like a civic rather than a religious organization, and that inactive members don't resign because they want to avoid the ostracism and harassment that can result.
  • Shimada, Hiroki: Kōmeitō vs. Sōkagakkai (公明党vs.創価学会: "The Kōmeitō and the Sōka Gakkai"). Asahi Shinsho, June 2007. ISBN 978-4-02-273153-1. Describes the relationship between Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai and the development of their history. Touches on the Sōka Gakkai–Nichiren Shōshū split, describing it as the result of a power struggle and financial constraints, as well as on the organized harassment of opponents by Sōka Gakkai members, the organization's use of its media vehicles to vilify opponents, and Ikeda's demand for unquestioning loyalty.
  • Tamano, Kazushi: Sōkagakkai no Kenkyū (創価学会の研究: "Research on the Sōkagakkai"). Kodansha Gendai Shinsho, 2008. ISBN 978-4-06-287965-1. This book is an attempt to review scholarly studies of Sōka Gakkai from the 1950s to the 1970s and shifts in perceptions of the organization as journalists took over from scholars. Tamano takes the perspective of a social scientist and describes Sōka Gakkai as a socio-political phenomenon. He is also somewhat critical of some views Shimada expressed in the latter's recent publications.
  • Yamada, Naoki: Sōkagakkai towa nanika (創価学会とは何か: "Explaining Sōkagakkai"). Shinchosha, April 2004. ISBN 4-10-467301-3
  • Yatomi, Shin: Buddhism In A New Light. Examines Soka Gakkai interpretations of Buddhist concepts. World Tribune Press, 2006. ISBN 978-1-932911-14-5
  • Muwwakkil, Zakiya N. (January 2010). "Sacred gospel and the Soka Gakkai: Correlating Black liberation theology and Buddhist humanism---Implications for religious education and the alleviation of African American ethnic suffering". Etd Collection for Fordham University: 1–185.

News media (websites)

Soka Gakkai
Soka Gakkai Language Watch Edit This article is about the Japanese religious organization Soka Gakkai For the international Buddhist organization founded by Daisaku Ikeda see Soka Gakkai International Soka Gakkai Japanese 創価学会 Hepburn Sōka Gakkai Value Creation Society is a Japanese Buddhist religious movement based on the teachings of the 13th century Japanese priest Nichiren as taught by its first three presidents Tsunesaburō Makiguchi Jōsei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda It is the largest of the Japanese new religions and claims the largest membership among Nichiren Buddhist groups The organization bases its teachings on Nichiren s interpretation of the Lotus Sutra and places chanting Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō at the center of devotional practice The organization promotes its goals as supporting peace culture and education 1 Sōka Gakkai創価学会Soka Gakkai flagFormationNovember 18 1930FoundersTsunesaburō Makiguchi Jōsei TodaTypeNew religious movementHeadquarters 160 8583 Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Ku Shinanomachi 信濃町 32Membership 12 millionPresidentMinoru HaradaWebsitewww wbr sokanet wbr jpFormerly calledSōka Kyōiku Gakkai 創価教育学会 The movement was founded by educators Makiguchi and Toda on 18 November 1930 and held its inaugural meeting in 1937 2 It was disbanded during the Second World War when much of the leadership was imprisoned for violations of the 1925 Peace Preservation Law and charges of lese majeste After the war it expanded to a claimed total of 750 000 households in 1958 through explosive recruitment held to be unprecedented in Japanese media 3 4 5 Further expansion was led by its former third president Daisaku Ikeda According to its own account has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world Moving the group toward mainstream acceptance the organization is still viewed with suspicion in Japan and has found itself embroiled in public controversies especially in the first three decades following World War II 3 6 7 8 9 10 11 From 1952 to 1991 it was affiliated with the Nichiren Shōshu Buddhist sect 12 Komeito a political party closely aligned with Soka Gakkai and founded by elements of its lay membership entered a coalition agreement with the Liberal Democratic Party in 1999 and is currently a junior partner in government Contents 1 Beliefs 1 1 The principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena 1 2 Life force and Human Revolution 1 3 Oneness of mentor and disciple 1 4 On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land 1 5 Five Eternal Guidelines of Faith 1 6 Relation to the Lotus Sutra 1 7 Karma as changing karma into mission 2 Practices 2 1 Chanting 2 2 Gohonzon 2 3 Faith practice and study 2 4 Discussion meetings 2 5 Proselytizing 3 History 3 1 Makiguchi years 1930 44 3 1 1 Foundation 3 1 2 Repression during the war 3 2 Toda years 1945 1958 3 2 1 The reconstruction of the organization 3 2 1 1 The Great Propagation Drive 3 2 1 2 Death and legacy 3 3 Ikeda years 1960 3 3 1 International growth 3 3 2 Founding of the Komeito 3 3 3 1969 Crisis and transformation 3 3 4 Citizen diplomacy by Ikeda 4 Former relations with the Nichiren Shoshu sect 5 Soka Humanism 6 Peace culture and education 6 1 Peace activities 6 1 1 Culture of peace 6 1 2 Support of United Nations 6 1 3 Exhibitions 6 1 4 Establishment of institutions 6 1 5 Responses to the organization 6 2 Cultural activities 6 2 1 Cultural institutions 6 2 2 Performance art 6 3 Educational activities 7 Organization 7 1 Membership 7 2 List of Soka Gakkai presidents 8 Economic and social influence 8 1 Japanese politics 8 2 Humanitarian work 8 3 Public perception 8 3 1 Cult appellation 8 3 2 International perception 9 See also 10 Notes 11 References 12 Further reading 12 1 Books 12 2 News media websites 13 External linksBeliefsThe belief of the Soka Gakkai centers on recognizing that all life has dignity with infinite inherent potential this immanent Buddhahood exists in every person and can be awakened through the Buddhist practice prescribed by Nichiren 13 14 Further a person s social actions at every moment can lead to soka or the creation of value the theory of the interdependence of life Societal change is facilitated through human revolution a way of living in the world that creates value 15 16 17 18 19 The doctrine of the Soka Gakkai derives from Nichiren who promulgated the Lotus Sutra as he perceived its application to the epoch in which he and people today live 20 Soka Gakkai gives significance to Nichiren s writings as Gosho 21 and Soka Gakkai refers to the collection of Nichiren s writings that was compiled by Nichiko Hori and Jōsei Toda published as Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Zenshu in 1952 and later officially published an English translation The writing of Nichiren Daishonin 22 and in several other languages based on the collection The principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena T ien t ai 538 597 Chinese Buddhist scholar who upheld the Lotus Sutra developed a theoretical system to describe the infinite interconnectedness of life translated as the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena or three thousand realms in a single moment of life Japanese ichinen sanzen This theory demonstrates that the entire phenomenal world exists in a single moment of life Soka Gakkai members believe that because Nichiren made actualizing this possible by inscribing Gohonzon and teaching the invocation their prayers and actions can in a single moment pierce through limitations 23 Life force and Human Revolution While imprisoned Josei Toda studied a passage from the Immeasurable meanings sutra considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations for example that it is neither being nor non being this nor that square nor round From this he concluded that Buddha is life or life force 24 25 The philosophy of life restates principles formulated by Nichiren 26 three thousand conditions in a single moment ichinen sanzen and observing one s own mind kanjin 27 The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai s conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren s teachings Our health courage wisdom joy desire to improve self discipline and so on could all be said to depend on our life force Ikeda says 28 Toda considered that the concept of Buddha as life force means that Buddhism entails transforming society 29 Ikeda has been quoted as saying Faith is firm belief in the universe and the life force Only a person of firm faith can lead a good and vigorous life Buddhist doctrine is a philosophy that has human life as its ultimate object and our Human Revolution movement is an act of reform aimed at opening up the inner universe the creative life force within each individual and leading to human freedom 30 Soka Gakkai teaches that this self induced change in each individual which Josei Toda began referring to as human revolution is what leads to happiness and peace 31 32 While older schools taught the attainment of Buddhahood in this life through the Gohonzon they did not tie this to social engagement Toda s conception of life force and human revolution means that one attains Buddhahood through engagement in the realities of daily life through attaining benefits and happiness that involve all of life and through extending this happiness to others 33 Oneness of mentor and disciple The Soka Gakkai liturgy refers to all of its first three presidents Tsunesabura Makiguchi Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda as the eternal mentors of kosen rufu 34 and Soka Gakkai s long time leader Ikeda is revered by Gakkai members 35 The relationship between members and their mentors is referred to as the oneness of mentor and disciple The mentor is to lead and thereby improve the lives of his disciples The mentor s actions is seen as giving disciples confidence in their own unrealized potential The role of disciples is seen as supporting their mentor and realizing his vision using their unique abilities and circumstances The relationship is seen as non hierarchical and mutually weighted Disciples are encouraged to be active creators rather than passive followers 36 Seager writes The oneness of the mentor disciple relationship is described not in terms of demands and duties as many critics imagine it to be but in terms of choice freedom and responsibility It is the disciple s choice and decision to follow the mentor s vision for their common goal In response it is the mentor s wish to raise and foster the disciple to become greater than the mentor 37 63 Since the mid 1990s the issue of the oneness of mentor and disciple has received more prominence in the Soka Gakkai There is a strong emphasis on cultivating all members in discipleship through forging affective one to one relationships with Ikeda 38 70 On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land Nichiren wrote a treatise On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land in 1260 CE and submitted it to the regent Soka Gakkai members believe that it is one of his most important writings In it he claimed that the source of the natural disasters Japan faced at that time was due to the weakened spirit of its people caused by attachments to religions that disavow the primacy of the people themselves He called for the leaders and people to base their spiritual life on the Lotus Sutra the correct teaching which would in turn lead to the peace of the land 39 61 62 Ikeda has said Nichiren stressed the need to spread the correct teaching and firmly establish the philosophical principles of Buddhism in the heart of each individual Hence establishing the correct teaching is the Soka Gakkai s religious mission while establishing the peace of the land is its social mission 40 Reading this writing largely influenced Makiguchi to embrace Nichiren Buddhism at his first meeting Ikeda decided to make Toda his mentor after hearing the latter lecture on this writing Soka Gakkai members believe the peace of the land depends on transforming the heart and mind of one individual at a time affirming the basic good within all people respecting human dignity and the sanctity of life and valuing dialogue Furthermore Soka Gakkai members believe these principles must become the spiritual foundation for peace in society and require joining forces with like minded individuals and organizations 41 42 Five Eternal Guidelines of Faith In 1957 former Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda proclaimed three Eternal Guidelines of Faith In 2003 third President Daisaku Ikeda added two more guidelines The Five Guidelines of Faith are Faith for a harmonious family Faith for each person to become happy Faith for surmounting obstacles Faith for health and long life Faith for absolute victory 43 Relation to the Lotus Sutra Soka Gakkai members pray to Nichiren s Gohonzon see section on Gohonzon which embodies Nam myoho renge kyo the essence of the Lotus Sutra 44 The Gohonzon includes the Sutra s teaching that all life inherently possesses dignity when illuminated by the light of the Mystic Law 45 The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon p 832 and depicts the ceremony in which bodhissatvs embrace their mission to teach and preach to suffering people the path to happiness and freedom 46 The Soka Gakkai s history is closely intertwined with the study of the Lotus Sutra Josei Toda began the postwar reconstruction by lecturing on the sutra the study of which led to what Soka Gakkai considers his enlightenment see Life Force and Human Revolution After the Soka Gakkai s excommunication by Nichiren Shōshu Daisaku Ikeda conducted dialogue sessions on the Lotus Sutra which resulted in the publication of a six volume work called The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra 47 The Soka Gakkai also sponsored the Burton Watson translation of the Lotus Sutra as well as several international exhibitions about the Lotus Sutra 48 xxxiii xxxiv 49 Ikeda has referenced the Lotus Sutra in many of the annual peace proposals he submits to the United Nations He compared the awakening of women mentored by Wangari Maathai to the essence of the Lotus Sutra a transformation from individuals seeking salvation to individuals taking action to help others free themselves from suffering 50 157 158 Karma as changing karma into mission The concept of karma is based on the law of causality It refers to consequences created through one s actions words or thoughts Early Buddhism and as Professor Ved Nanda explains Hindus believe to redress karma accumulated over the course of many eons one must be reincarnated numerous times 51 The concept of karma then often became a source of despair as well as a tool for Buddhist clergy to instill fear and guilt in the minds of believers Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism however believes that the fundamental cause for revealing the ultimate potential of life or Buddha nature can diminish the influence of negative karma in the present lifetime 52 Ikeda explains that negative karma is subsumed in the world of Buddhahood and is purified by its power 53 Importantly Soka Gakkai members believe effects are determined simultaneously with causes though they remain latent until the right external influences bring them to fruition Soka Gakkai Buddhism teaches that even the most stubborn karma can be overcome as one reveals one s Buddha nature in this lifetime Thus karma becomes a source of hope and mission rather than despair 54 55 PracticesThe practice of Soka Gakkai members is directed to oneself and others 56 Chanting The words Nam myoho renge kyo also called Daimoku is the main practice of the organization which is claimed to express the true nature of life through cause and effect 57 The believers of the organization chant these words reputed to change their lives including the natural environments in which they live 58 Accordingly the intended goal is to produce an internal change that serves as the motivator for external social change Furthermore the organization teaches that chanting cannot be divorced from action 59 Soka Gakkai members believe that chanting releases the power of the universal life force inherent in life 60 For some members chanting for material benefits is a first step toward realizing the ultimate goal of Buddhahood It further claims that there is no separation between life in the world and the universal life of Buddhahood and leads to effects in daily life 61 Thus Buddhahood is expressed to be as the process of transforming and as the actual transformation of daily life 62 Therefore chanting is not approached as a passive exercise as Soka Gakkai literature urges practitioners to have conviction tenacity and perseverance and to challenge their personal problems 63 64 Gohonzon The Gohonzon Soka Gakkai members enshrine in their homes and centers is a transcription by the 26th High Priest Nichikan Shonin 65 The central main syllabary of characters reads Namu Myoho Renge Kyo Kanji 南 無 妙 法 蓮 華 經 The lower portion reads Nichi Ren Kanji 日 蓮 On the corners are the names of the Four Heavenly Kings from Buddhist cosmology and the remaining characters are names of Buddhist deities reputed to represent the various conditions of life 66 The organization teaches that in contrast to worshiping the Buddha or Dharma as anthropomorphized personifications Nichiren deliberately made a calligraphic mandala rather than Buddhist statues as the central object of devotion 67 American author Richard Seager explains the following In total it is not a sacred image in the traditional sense but an abstract representation of a universal essence or principle 68 Nichiren wrote I Nichiren have inscribed my life in sumi ink so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart 69 He further stated Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who chant Nam myoho renge kyo 70 The Soka Gakkai often uses Nichiren s metaphor of a mirror to explain its faith in the Gohonzon The Gohonzon reflects life s innate enlightened nature and cause it to permeate every aspect of member s lives Members chant to the Gohonzon to reveal the power of their own enlightened wisdom and vow to put it to use for the good of themselves and others 71 The organization teaches that a member is considered to be practicing the Lotus Sutra when chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to the Gohonzon 72 73 Faith practice and study The primary practice of the Soka Gakkai like that of most Nichiren sects is chanting Nam myoho renge kyo which is the title of the Lotus Sutra and simultaneously considered the Buddha nature inherent in life 74 and the ultimate reality of existence 75 The supplemental practice is the daily recitation of parts of the 2nd and 16th chapters of the Lotus Sutra Unlike other Nichiren sects the Soka Gakkai stresses that practicing for this enlightenment entails actual engagement in the realities of daily life while including the happiness of others in one s own practice 76 Believers claim that the Lotus Sutra contains principles or teachings that are not readily apparent Furthermore the organization claims that Nichiren revealed these teachings as The Three Great Secret Laws namely the following 77 The Object of Devotion Gohonzon mandala used and designated by the Soka Gakkai organization The incantation of Nam myoho renge kyo by united SGI believers The sanctuary or place where Buddhism is practiced 78 In addition the Soka Gakkai publishes study materials including the writings of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra and has a well developed program of study 79 Its series of study examinations reflects its roots as an educational reform society 80 As a New Religion Soka Gakkai practices Nichiren Buddhism as it has been expounded by its three founding presidents and so also studies their speeches and writings especially those of 3rd President Daisaku Ikeda His novelized histories of the movement The Human Revolution and its sequel The New Human Revolution have been said to have canonical status as it functions as a source of inspiration and guidance for members 81 Study meetings are held monthly The tenor of the meetings is one of open discussion rather than didactic teaching Discussions on Nichiren s teachings are welcomed dictatorial edicts on moral behavior are not 82 The Soka Gakkai practice also includes activities beyond the ritualistic such as meetings social engagement and improving one s circumstances these also have significance as religious activities in the Soka Gakkai 83 84 85 The practices to improve oneself while helping others and the study of Buddhism combine with faith in what the Soka Gakkai considers the three basic aspects of Nichiren Buddhism faith practice and study 86 Faith as explained in a booklet given by SGI USA to prospective new members is an expectation that deepens with experience as one practices in the Soka Gakkai 87 Discussion meetings Main article Zadankai Gakkai meetings have been called formal liturgies in that their format chanting relatos experiences teachings inspiring entertainment is identical from place to place 88 Discussion meetings are among the most important activities of the Soka Gakkai 89 Professor of philosophy at Virginia Tech University Jim Garrison writes that John Dewey s belief that the heart and guarantee of democracy is in free gatherings of neighbors and friends in the living rooms of houses and apartments to converse freely with one another Garrison points out that the Soka Gakkai grew out of precisely such gatherings Soka Gakkai discussion meetings are a wonderful example of grass roots democracy 90 At discussion meetings participants are encouraged to take responsibility for their own lives and for wider social and global concerns 91 The format is an example of how the Soka Gakkai is able to dispense with much of the apparatus of conventional church organization 92 Proselytizing At one time the Soka Gakkai s expansion methods were controversial as it employed a Buddhist method called shakubuku a term employed by Nichiren translated as break and subdue attachments to inferior teachings 93 94 95 The reason for propagation as explained by Josei Toda is not to make the Soka Gakkai larger but for you to become happier There are many people in the world who are suffering from poverty and disease The only way to make them really happy is to shakubuku them 96 In 1970 Ikeda prescribed a more moderate approach urging its members to adopt an attitude of openness to others the method Soka Gakkai prefers since then is called shoju dialogue or conversation designed to persuade people rather than convert them though this is often referred to still as shakubuku spirit 97 In 2014 the Soka Gakkai changed the Religious Tenets section of its Rules and Regulations as regards propagation Formerly the Tenets said the Soka Gakkai would seek to realize its ultimate goal the widespread propagation of Nichiren Daishonin s Buddhism throughout Jambudvipa the world thus fulfilling the Daishonin s mandate The new version says it shall strive through each individual achieving their human revolution to realize as its ultimate goal the worldwide propagation of Nichiren Daishonin s Buddhism thus fulfilling the Daishonin s mandate 98 According to Soka Gakkai President Harada worldwide propagation is a function of individuals undergoing positive change in their lives 99 The belief of the Soka Gakkai then is that propagation activities give meaning both to the activity itself and to the personal lives of its members 100 HistoryThe following are categorized records of the first three presidents of the organization their leadership and list of contributions 101 Makiguchi years 1930 44 Main article Tsunesaburō Makiguchi Foundation Tsunesaburō Makiguchi first President of the Sōka Gakkai In 1928 educators Tsunesaburō Makiguchi and Jōsei Toda both converted to Nichiren Buddhism The Soka Gakkai officially traces its foundation to November 1930 when Makiguchi and Toda published the first volume of Makiguchi s magnum opus on educational reform Sōka Kyōikugaku Taikei 創価教育学体系 The System of Value Creating Pedagogy 102 103 49 The first general meeting of the organization then under the name Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai 創価教育学会 Value Creating Educational Society took place in 1937 104 The membership eventually came to change from teachers interested in educational reform to people from all walks of life drawn by the religious elements of Makiguchi s beliefs in Nichiren Buddhism 105 14 The group had a focus on proselytization growing from an attendance of 60 people at its first meeting to about 300 at its next meeting in 1940 106 Repression during the war See also Japanese dissidence in 20th century Imperial Japan Makiguchi as did Nichiren attributed the political troubles Japan was experiencing to supposedly false religious doctrines that held sway His religious beliefs motivated him to take a stand against the government earning him a reputation as a political dissident 105 14 15 He regarded Nichiren Buddhism as religious motivation for active engagement to promote social good even if it led to defiance of state authority 107 The organization soon attracted the attention of the authorities In 1943 the group was instrumental in forcing Nichiren Shōshu to refuse a government sponsored mandate to merge with Nichiren Shu per the Religious Organizations Law which had been established in 1939 4 As the war progressed the government had ordered that a talisman from the Shinto shrine should be placed in every home and temple While the Nichiren Shōshu priesthood had been prepared to accept the placing of a talisman inside its head temple Makiguchi and the Gakkai leadership had openly refused 4 During his prison interrogation by the Special Higher Police Makiguchi claimed that his group had destroyed at least 500 of these amulets a seditious act in those days 108 In 1942 a monthly magazine published by Makiguchi called Kachi Sōzō 価値創造 Creating values was shut down by the government after only nine issues Makiguchi Toda and 19 other leaders of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai were arrested on July 6 1943 on charges of breaking the Peace Preservation Law and lese majeste for denying the Emperor s divinity and slandering the Ise Grand Shrine The details of Makiguchi s indictment and subsequent interrogation were covered in July August and October 1943 classified monthly bulletins of the Special Higher Police 109 With its leadership decimated the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai disbanded 110 111 During interrogation Makiguchi had insisted that The emperor is an ordinary man the emperor makes mistakes like anyone else 37 40 41 The treatment in prison was harsh and within a year all but Makiguchi Toda and one more director had recanted and been released 110 On November 18 1944 Makiguchi died of malnutrition in prison at the age of 73 Toda years 1945 1958 Jōsei Toda second President of the Sōka Gakkai Main article Jōsei Toda Jōsei Toda was released from prison on July 3 1945 after serving two years of imprisonment on the charges of lese majeste His health had been severely compromised and businesses destroyed He immediately set out to rebuild the organization that had been repressed and dismantled by the government during the war 112 113 From this start Toda served as the link between the movement s founder Makiguchi and Ikeda who led its international evangelism 114 The reconstruction of the organization While imprisoned Toda studied a passage for the Immeasurable meanings sutra considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations for example that it is neither being nor non being this nor that square nor round From this he concluded that Buddha is life or life force 24 25 The philosophy of life restates principles formulated by Nichiren 26 three thousand conditions in a single moment ichinen sanzen and observing one s own mind kanjin 27 The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai s conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren s teachings Our health courage wisdom joy desire to improve self discipline and so on could all be said to depend on our life force Ikeda says 28 The groundwork for the organization s growth can be found in Toda s work during the years between his release from prison 1945 and his inauguration 1951 He officially re established the organization now under the shortened moniker Sōka Gakkai Value creation society integrated his prison awakenings into the doctrine of the Soka Gakkai began locating members who had dispersed during the war started a series of lectures on the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren s letters undertook business ventures largely unsuccessful to provide a stream of revenue for the organization provided personal encouragement to many members launched a monthly study magazine Daibyaku Renge 大白蓮華 and the newspaper Seikyo Shimbun launched propagation efforts and involved the active participation of youth including Daisaku Ikeda who was to become his right hand man and successor 115 116 Brannen a Christian missionary writing in 1969 117 describes the Soka Gakkai s study program at this point as the most amazing program of indoctrination Japan has ever seen New members attended local study lectures subscribed to weekly and monthly periodicals studied Toda s commentaries on the Lotus Sutra took annual study examinations and were awarded titles for their achievements such as Associate Lecturer Lecturer Associate Teacher or Teacher 37 142 118 208 119 The Great Propagation Drive During The Great Propagation Drive of 1951 58 the Soka Gakkai doubled and tripled in size each year resulting in a claimed membership of 750 000 families 120 303 The drive began with the 1951 inauguration speech of Josei Toda when he assumed the presidency of the organization Before 1 500 assembled members Toda resolved to convert 750 000 families before his death The goal was attained several months before Toda s death 121 285 286 The accuracy of this figure was never confirmed by outside sources 118 199 The primary vehicle of the propagation efforts were small group discussion meetings 122 252 The driving force behind the drive were the efforts of Daisaku Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai Youth Division 120 81 121 285 286 123 124 Segments of the Japanese population that had been marginalized or dislocated after the war were highly attracted to the movement 125 126 The success of the propagation efforts rocked traditional Japanese society the press covered many extreme incidents of propagation but did not cover the many examples of conversion accomplished through moral suasion 127 There are several competing narratives that attempt to explain how the Soka Gakkai was able to achieve this rapid growth One narrative portrays a drive powered by the seemingly unlimited enthusiasm of its members 118 199 that was masterminded by Toda and channeled by his younger followers 120 41 The organization s own publications articulate this narrative Ikeda explained his own efforts to introduce others to the Soka Gakkai Ikeda gives accounts of how the momentum for propagation was created in Kamata 1952 128 129 636 and Bunkyo 1953 129 877 883 130 In his autobiographical novel The Human Revolution Ikeda discusses in detail how the propagation efforts unfolded in the Osaka Kansai region 1956 129 1305 1422 Common to all three accounts were efforts sparked by individual members who enjoyed their practice long standing efforts to build friendships home visitation small group meetings and the guidance provided by Toda 131 The resulting enthusiasm of members had an explosive effect Seager 37 57 59 80 99 101 and Strand 132 129 130 document support for this narrative A second narrative examines the Soka Gakkai s expansion through a sociological lens White in the first English language sociological work on the Soka Gakkai attributes the growth cohesion and sustainability of the organization to the organizational skills of its leaders its system of values and norms that match the individual needs of members and its ability to adapt to changing times 120 42 56 According to Dator the organizational structure of the Soka Gakkai which values individual participation within small heterogeneous groups and parallel peer associations by age gender and interests fulfills members socio psychological needs 133 A third narrative tracks criticisms of the Soka Gakkai in the popular press and by other Buddhist sects This narrative implies that the propagation efforts succeeded through intimidating and coercive actions committed by Soka Gakkai members 5 11 80 101 134 135 217 such as the practice then of destroying the household Shinto altars of new members 4 There were reports of isolated incidents of violence conducted by Soka Gakkai members but also incidents directed toward them 120 49 121 287 Fisker Nielsen doubts whether claimed tactics such as coercion and intimidation could satisfactorily explain the ongoing success of Soka Gakkai s campaigns 136 All scholars agree on the effectiveness of Toda and Ikeda s leadership throughout the Great Propagation Drive Strand calls Toda the most innovative most dynamic most successful religious leader of his day More than charismatic or persuasive he was effective due to his deep personal conviction that only the Soka Gakkai could renew a society in despair 132 83 85 He used both aggressive hyperbole and melodrama 4 121 while at the same time cautioning overzealous followers to be sensible in their propagation efforts 11 102 Ikeda was the operational head of the propagation efforts serving as a charter member of the executive staff of the Youth Division 1951 and later as Chief of Staff 1954 120 44 137 Death and legacy Toda died on April 2 1958 The funeral was held at his home but the coffin was afterwards carried past weeping chanting crowds to the Ikebukuro temple Jozaiji where he was buried 37 84 The then prime minister Nobusuke Kishi attended the funeral something that scandalized quite a few Japanese but was a testament to how the Gakkai had grown to a force to be reckoned with under Toda 138 116 139 Murata claims that for two years after Toda s death there was a leadership vacuum and the Gakkai had no president as it was unclear if anyone was able to replace him 138 118 Other scholars disagree claiming Ikeda became the de facto leader of the Soka Gakkai right away Three months after Toda s death Ikeda at age 30 was appointed the organization s General Administrator in 1959 he became the head of its board of directors and on May 3 1960 its third president 140 141 Ikeda years 1960 Daisaku Ikeda third President of the Soka Gakkai 2010 Daisaku Ikeda receiving Leonardo Prize in 2009 from Alexander Yakovlev Jōsei Toda was succeeded as president in 1960 by the 32 year old Daisaku Ikeda Ikeda would come to be a moderating and secularizing force 37 77 138 Ikeda formally committed the organisation to the principles of free speech and freedom of religion and urged from 1964 a gentler approach to proselytizing 142 143 Under Ikeda s leadership the organization expanded rapidly both inside and outside Japan during the 1960s Within the first 16 months of Ikeda s presendency the organization grew from 1 300 000 to 2 110 000 members 144 By 1967 it grew to 6 240 000 families according to its own reporting 145 In 1968 over 8 000 000 people contributed to the construction of the Sho Hondo Between 1961 and 1968 the organization s Study Department members who sit for graded examinations on doctrinal matters grew from 40 000 to 1 447 000 146 By 1968 under Ikeda s leadership the daily Seikyo Shimbun newspaper attained a circulation of 3 580 000 147 Today it has a circulation of 5 5 million copies making it Japan s third largest daily 148 International growth Main article Soka Gakkai International In October 1960 five months after his inauguration Ikeda and a small group of staff members visited the United States Canada Toronto 149 and Brazil 150 In the United States he visited Honolulu San Francisco Seattle Chicago New York Washington DC and Los Angeles meeting with members the vast majority Japanese war brides at discussion and guidance meetings setting up local organizations and appointing leaders to take responsibility He encouraged attendees to become good American citizens learn English and get driving licenses 151 Ikeda also expanded the scope and pattern of the Gakkai s activities In 1961 Ikeda created an arm of the organization the Culture Bureau to accommodate nonreligious activities It had departments for the study and discussion of Economics Politics Education Speech and later in the year the Arts 152 Ikeda and his team visited countries in Europe and Southeast Asia in 1961 and the Near and Middle East in 1962 153 By 1967 Ikeda had completed 13 trips abroad to strengthen the overseas organizations 154 Parallel to these efforts Ikeda attempted to find the universal aspects of Nichiren Buddhism stripped away from Japanese context 155 The Gakkai s first overseas mission called Nichiren Shoshu of America NSA grew rapidly and claimed some 200 000 American adherents by 1970 156 Ikeda founded Soka Junior and Senior High Schools in 1968 and Soka University in 1971 157 Soka Gakkai International SGI was formally founded in 1975 on Guam 158 Founding of the Komeito Main article Komeito In 1961 Soka Gakkai formed the Komei Political League Seven of its candidates were elected to the House of Councillors In 1964 the Komeito Clean Government Party was formed by Ikeda Over the course of several elections it became the third largest political party typically amassing 10 15 of the popular vote 159 The New Komeito Party was founded in 1998 and has been allied with the Liberal Democratic Party LDP since 1999 Religious scholar and political analyst Masaru Sato explains that there is nothing surprising about Komeito becoming a member of a ruling coalition as the Soka Gakkai has become a world religion as SGI and history shows a link between ruling coalitions and world religions He explains that in postwar Japan there were two major parties the Liberal Democratic Party representing financial interests and large corporations and the Japan Socialist Party largely advocating the interests of labor unions There was no single party that represented people who belonged to neither such as shop owners housewives etc Until the appearance of the Komeito Party such people were left on the sidelines 160 In 2014 the New Komeito was renamed Komeito again 161 Komeito generally supports the policy agenda of the LDP including the reinterpretation of the pacifist Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan proposed in 2014 by LDP Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to allow collective defense and to fight in foreign conflicts 162 163 1969 Crisis and transformation In 1969 a prominent university professor named Fujiwara Hirotatsu authored the book I Denounce Soka Gakkai Soka Gakkai o kiru 164 in which he severely criticized the Gakkai The Gakkai and Kōmeitō attempted to use their political power to suppress its publication When Fujiwara went public with the attempted suppression the Soka Gakkai was harshly criticized in the Japanese media 165 In response Ikeda made major shifts to the Gakkai s message 166 He committed the organization to the rights of free speech and freedom of religion Admitting that the organization had been intolerant and overly sensitive in the past Ikeda called for moderating conversion activities openness to other religious practices and a democratization of the organization 167 The Soka Gakkai s years of constant growth came to an end 121 295 On May 3 1970 Ikeda gave a speech at the Soka Gakkai s 33rd general meeting which radically shifted the direction of the organization He stated that Nichiren s message could be understood as absolute pacifism the sanctity of human life and respect for human dignity In the 1970s Ikeda helped transition the Soka Gakkai from an internally focused organization centered on its own membership growth to one adopting a focus on a motto of Peace Culture and Education On October 12 1972 at the official opening of the Shohondo at Taiseki ji Ikeda announced the start of the Soka Gakkai s Phase Two which would shift direction from aggressive expansion to a movement for international peace through friendship and exchange 168 In the speech Ikeda also announced that Kōmeitō members who served in national and local assemblies would be removed from Soka Gakkai administrative posts 169 Ikeda renounced any plans to create a national ordination platform 170 Over the years the Soka Gakkai has matured under Ikeda s leadership and its values accord with progressive internationalism 171 Citizen diplomacy by Ikeda Ikeda initiated a series of dialogues with prominent political cultural and academic figures which he labeled citizen diplomacy In 1970 he held a dialogue with Richard von Coudenhove Kalergi centered on East West issues and future directions the world could take 172 Ikeda conducted ten days of dialogue with Arnold J Toynbee between 1972 and 1974 which resulted in the publication of the book Choose Life 173 In 1974 he conducted a dialogue with Andre Malraux 174 Today the number of his dialogues with scholars leaders activists and others has reached 7 000 175 In 1974 Ikeda visited China then the Soviet Union and once again to China when he met with Zhou Enlai In 1975 Ikeda met with then Secretary General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim and United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger 172 Ikeda presented Waldheim with a petition organized by Soka Gakkai youth calling for nuclear abolition and signed by 10 000 000 people 176 Former relations with the Nichiren Shoshu sectIn 1990 the Nichiren Shōshu administration excommunicated the Soka Gakkai with which it had been affiliated since 1952 In response the Soka Gakkai countered by outlining Nichiren Shoshu s deviation from their own interpretation of Nichiren s doctrines along with accusations of simony and hedonism among its ranking priests The sect also condemned Ikeda for abandoning the aggressive propagation style shakubuku that led to some social criticism of the lay group though not the priesthood 177 The priesthood further accused the organization of impiety and sacrilegious behavior citing the song Ode to Joy along with the promotion of its musical performance The Ninth Symphony as evidence for non Buddhist teachings 178 In 2014 the Soka Gakkai rewrote its bylaws to reflect that it no longer had any relationship with Nichiren Shoshu or its doctrine 99 A Soka Spirit website established in the 1990s that criticizes Nichiren Shoshu is still active 179 Soka HumanismFurther information Humanism The Soka Gakkai practices what has been called Soka Humanism which it attributes to Lotus Sutra teaching that the Buddha is life itself 180 181 Accordingly the organization also claims that the goal of human activity and religion is the welfare of human beings Daisaku Ikeda writes Nichiren Buddhism is about human beings The human being is most important Nationality social position ideology none of that matters The human being is the foundation 182 Nichiren wrote if you think the law is outside yourself it is an inferior teaching 183 The movement is seen as the basis for a global intellectual humanism movement espousing sympathetic action of removing suffering and imparting joy 184 Epp says of Ikeda He always shows concern for the human element which allows him to avoid proselytizing he does not indulge in ritualistic phrases p 71 and man s wholeness and happiness are absolutely central to his philosophy 185 In May 1970 Daisaku Ikeda clarified the Soka Gakkai s role transcending proselytizing was to create a foundation of humanism in all aspects of society 186 In addition the cultural endeavors of the Soka Gakkai are viewed by its adherents as expressions of Buddhist humanism and are aligned to creating a peaceful and more humane society 187 188 189 Peace culture and education In the 1970s the Soka Gakkai began to re conceptualize itself as an organization promoting the theme of Peace culture and education 190 In later years the three themes were institutionalized within the 1995 charter of the Soka Gakkai International 191 Peace activities The group s peace activities can be traced back to the Toda era at an athletic meeting in 1957 Toda called for a complete ban on nuclear weapons A 1975 petition drive against nuclear weapons by the Gakkai s youth division garnered 10 million signatures and was handed over to the United Nations 192 193 84 Culture of peace The Soka Gakkai was included in a collective Buddhist response to UNESCO s Declaration on the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace established in Barcelona in December 1994 The Soka Gakkai s contribution to building a culture of peace is summarized by person to person diplomacy the promotion of small community discussion meetings with egalitarian mores reflecting the Lotus tradition the promotion of the values of compassion wisdom and courage to promote action to nurture world citizenship and participation in cultural events to foster the culture of peace 194 Peace and human rights activists such as Dr Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who partnered with the Soka Gakkai in various exhibits and presentations praise the organization s efforts 195 Support of United Nations SGI has been in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1983 As an NGO working with the United Nations SGI has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament human rights and sustainable development 196 Each year Ikeda publishes a peace proposal which examines global challenges in the light of Buddhist teachings The proposals are specific and wide ranging covering topics as constructing a culture of peace promoting the development of the United Nations nuclear disarmament the prohibition of child soldiers the empowerment of women the promotion of educational initiatives in schools such as human rights and sustainable development education and calls to reawaken the human spirit and individual empowerment 197 The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research has published a compilation of topical excerpts 198 Exhibitions The Soka Gakkai uses its financial resources for a number of civic activities As a non governmental organization of the United Nations it has participated in many activities and exhibitions in conjunction with the UN 199 200 The Soka Gakkai has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament human rights and sustainable development 196 It has sponsored exhibits such as A Culture of Peace For Children which was featured in the lobby of the UN Building in New York 201 and Nuclear Arms Threat to Our World 202 Soka Gakkai also contributed to The Earth Charter Initiative with the Seeds of Change exhibit a map showing the way towards a sustainable lifestyle 203 SGI promotes environmental initiatives through educational activities such as exhibitions lectures and conferences and more direct activities such as tree planting projects and those of its Amazon Ecological Conservation Center run by SGI in Brazil 204 One scholar cites Daisaku Ikeda SGI s president to describe such initiatives as a Buddhist based impetus for direct public engagement in parallel with legal efforts to address environmental concerns 205 In India Bharat Soka Gakkai SGI in India debuted the traveling exhibit Seeds of Hope a joint initiative of SGI and Earth Charter International At the exhibit opening in Panaji the Indian state capital of Goa regional planning head Edgar Ribeiro spoke of lagging efforts to implement environmental laws and that Only a people s movement can take sustainability forward 206 In Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman University College President Datuk Dr Tan Chik Heok said that this exhibition helped to create the awareness of the power of a single individual in bringing about waves of positive change to the environment as well as the society 207 Establishment of institutions The Soka Gakkai has established multiple institutions and research facilities to promote its values of peace The Institute of Oriental Philosophy 208 founded in 1962 among other goals clarifies the essence of Buddhism to peace studies The Amazon Ecological Research Center founded by Ikeda in 1992 outside Manaus Brazil has pioneered reforestation the creation of a regional seed bank and experiments in agroforestry 209 The Ikeda Center for Peace Learning and Dialogue founded in 1993 as the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century promotes dialogue between scholars and activists to prevent war and promote respect for life 210 The Toda Peace Institute formerly called the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research founded in 1996 conducts peace oriented international policy research through international conferences and frequent publications 211 212 Responses to the organization Soka Gakkai s pacifist stand has been questioned along with the group s support of Komeito without denying that the group is very active in trying to establish the basis for world peace 193 84 In Japan there is a widespread negative perception of SGI s pacifist movement which is considered to be mere public relations for the group 7 Nobel Peace and Chemistry Prize winner Linus Pauling has praised Daisaku Ikeda specifically for his work to foster a lasting worldwide peace 213 Dr Lawrence Carter the chaplain at the Martin Luther King Jr International Chapel at Morehouse College considers the Soka Gakkai an important ally in getting the message of civil rights and non violence to cultures beyond those that are Christian He has said that Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai with activities such as Victory Over Violence have helped in his work to revive the King legacy 214 The Simon Wiesenthal Center an international Jewish rights organization has also worked with the Soka Gakkai Rabbi Abraham Cooper headed its efforts in the Pacific Rim and in co operation with the Soka Gakkai opened a Japanese version of the Center s Holocaust exhibit Cooper said the organization s involvement actually improved the exhibit and that through the Soka Gakkai the Wiesenthal Center has found more partners in Japan 215 Cultural activities Gymnastic formation by the Brazil SGI team at Rio de Janeiro on October 30 2011 Performance art is one of Soka Gakkai s peace activities The Soka Gakkai sponsors many cultural activities for its membership as well as the general public Cultural institutions The Soka Gakkai s subsidiary organizations also have a social presence The Min On Concert Association is a subsidiary of the Soka Gakkai which Ikeda established in 1963 It claims to sponsor over 1100 concerts each year 216 It has sponsored tours by international artists such as the La Scala Opera Company about which Ikeda told Min On s director that he wanted average Japanese people to see first class art even if we lost a lot of money 217 Ikeda also founded the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in 1983 It houses collections of western and oriental art and has participated in exchanges with museums around the world 218 Performance art Soka Gakkai considers dance and other genres of performance art to be a major aspect of its peace activities It has a long tradition of culture festivals originating in the 1950s which take the form of group gymnastics through its world famous gymnastic formations marching bands traditional ensembles orchestras ballet or choral presentations The Soka Gakkai perceives these activities as vehicles for its members to experience the skills of cooperating with others opportunities to engage in the personal discipline that performing arts provide and occasions to overcome obstacles and to undertake one s own human revolution They enhance peer networks and understanding of and commitment to the goals of the organization In addition they are viewed as expressions of Buddhist humanism and are aligned to the Soka Gakkai s ideals about creating a peaceful and more humane society 187 188 189 The tradition which began in Japan has been copied in other Soka Gakkai organizations in the world 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 The organization s musical and dance wings are organized into ensembles or groups in the local and national levels and are categorized as Women s Corps of Drums Marching bands Kotekitai Corps of the SG Marching Bands Concert Bands Taiyo Ongakutai Bands of the SG Drum and Bugle Corps Symphony Orchestras Pop bands Traditional groups Male female mixed choirs Youth Dance groups Adult dance groups ballet ensembles Gymnastic formation groups all male mixed Educational activities Main article Soka School System The educational activities of the Soka Gakkai are often subsumed under the title of Soka education Several educational institutions were either founded by the Soka Gakkai or were inspired by the educational writings of the Soka Gakkai s three presidents 232 233 Organization Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen rufu Kosen rufu Daiseido Soka Gakkai s Tokyo headquarters Formally the Soka Gakkai International is the umbrella organization for all national organizations while Soka Gakkai by itself refers to the Japanese arm Soka Gakkai maintains an international political presence as a registered non governmental organization with the United Nations 121 273 The basic functional organizational unit is the Block a group of members in a neighborhood who meet regularly for discussion study and encouragement A number of Blocks form a District and Districts are grouped into Chapters From there the Soka Gakkai is organized into Areas Regions Prefectures and finally Territories all under the umbrella of the national organization Discussion and study meetings the basic organizational activities are conducted mainly at the Block level though there are occasional meetings held at every level 234 Membership Soka Gakkai has together with its international offshoot Soka Gakkai International SGI been described as the world s largest Buddhist lay group and America s most diverse 235 Soka Gakkai International claims a total of over 12 million adherents 236 The majority of these belong to the Japanese organization whose official membership count is 8 27 million households 237 In a 1996 NHK survey it was found that Soka Gakkai adherent made up somewhere around 3 2 of the Japanese population or somewhere around 4 million individuals 238 According to statistics from the Agency for Cultural Affairs a body of the Japanese Ministry of Education the Japanese organization had 5 42 million individual members in 2000 239 A study in Europe found that most of new members joined because of the personalities of the people they met within the organization but the biggest reason for continuing is the positive changes they see in their own lives 240 List of Soka Gakkai presidents The following are the list of the presidents of the Soka Gakkai Tsunesaburō Makiguchi 18 November 1930 18 November 1944 Jōsei Toda 3 May 1951 2 April 1958 Daisaku Ikeda 3 May 1960 24 April 1979 Honorary President of the Soka Gakkai International 1979 Incumbent Hiroshi Hōjō 24 April 1979 18 July 1981 Einosuke Akiya 18 July 1981 9 November 2006 241 Minoru Harada 9 November 2006 incumbent 241 Economic and social influenceThe Soka Gakkai s newspaper the Seikyo Shimbun has a readership base of 5 5 million 242 Forbes magazine estimated that the organization has an income of at least 1 5 billion per year 243 Religion scholar Hiroshi Shimada has estimated the wealth of the Soka Gakkai at 500 billion 244 SGI s president Daisaku Ikeda has been described by journalist Teresa Watanabe as one of the most powerful and enigmatic individuals in Japan 245 A 1995 San Francisco SFGate article describes Ikeda as a charismatic leader who can display a violent temper in private 246 According to religious scholar Jane Hurst there is no indication he has exploited his position 247 and his home has been described as modest 248 Japanese politics See also Komeito Humanitarian work The Soka Gakkai conducts humanitarian aid projects in disaster stricken regions As an organization it is not only dedicated to personal spiritual development but also to engaged community service After the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan Soka Gakkai facilities became shelters for the displaced and storage centers for food and supplies for the victims The relief effort also included community support by youth groups global fundraising for the victims and spiritual support SGI Chile members collected supplies to deliver to a relief center after the country s 2014 earthquake 249 Public perception Today Soka Gakkai is rarely criticized in mainstream news media Ikeda occasionally contributes editorials to major newspapers which also print reports on Gakkai business Since the Komeito Party joined the ruling government coalition in 1999 widespread criticism by the media of the Soka Gakkai has abated and the Soka Gakkai is gaining acceptance as part of the Japanese mainstream 250 251 There has been a fractured view of the Soka Gakkai in Japan On the one hand it is seen as a politically and socially engaged movement 252 253 on the other it is still viewed with suspicion by some Japanese 254 255 James R Lewis claims the Soka Gakkai s perception has suffered from sensationalist and often irresponsible treatment by the media even though the group has matured into a responsible member of society 9 Other scholars reject the cult label 256 257 Some scholars who utilize the Bryan R Wilson typology of newly emerging denominations categorize it as gnostic manipulationist a category of teachings holding that the world can improve as people master the right means and techniques to overcome their problems 258 259 260 261 According to Anne Mette Fisker Nielsen Soka Gakkai s relentless but highly successful proselytizing in the 1950s stirred up fear in wider society Soka Gakkai was portrayed by the mass media as aggressive even violent although it is difficult to find evidence 262 Throughout the 1950s the Soka Gakkai was a relatively radical movement that remained outside mainstream Japanese society but since the foundation of the Komeito in the 1960s it has considerably moderated its activities and has become a very mainstream movement especially after the Komeito joined the coalition government in 1999 Soka Gakkai has long been a subject of criticism in the Japanese weekly tabloid news magazine press Press criticism of the Soka Gakkai should be seen against the backdrop of negative press coverage of new religious movements in general 263 It is important to understand that Japanese journalism is unlike that of the West Scholars point out that less than two percent of journalists in Japan have degrees in journalism That plus feeble libel laws leave little recourse for the victims of malicious defamation 264 Associate Professor of Religion at Hamilton College Richard Seager writes that it is time to cease being overly intrigued by the Soka Gakkai s history of controversy Over the course of a relatively short period the Soka Gakkai moved from the margins of Japanese society into its mainstream 265 Cult appellation During the early postwar decades the Soka Gakkai found itself embroiled in various controversies and appellations of cult and cult of personality have become attached to it Claims of personality adulation towards Daisaku Ikeda is among the centerpoint of criticism from outsiders and former practitioners of the organization Some criticism are also sourced from its former affiliate Nichiren Shoshu who shared the same negative sentiment in 28 November 1991 citing claims of heresy 266 Nevertheless in accordance to the organization s views these charges 4 have largely resulted from both negative and distorted media coverage 267 Newer scholarship has generally refuted the Soka Gakkai s former cult appellation noting the organization s maturation progressive qualities and its calls to its membership to be excellent citizens 268 269 270 Criticism of the organization continues to exist to which the organization describes its vision and structure as a continuing work of humanistic progress and continuous improvement International perception The Republic of Uruguay honored the 25th anniversary of the SGI s founding with a commemorative postage stamp The stamp was issued on October 2 the anniversary of SGI President Ikeda s first overseas journey in 1960 271 In 2005 National Youth Council of Singapore award the youth of Soka Gakkai in Singapore for their community and youth services work 272 The Soka Gakkai of the Republic of Cuba SGRC attained juridical recognition in 2007 following an official visit of Daisaku Ikeda in 1996 It has a membership of approximately 500 individuals spread throughout most of the country s provinces 273 In 2008 Ikeda was a recipient of the Order of Friendship a state issued award of the Russian Federation bestowed on foreign nationals whose work deeds and efforts were aimed at the betterment of relations with the Russian Federation and its people 274 In 2012 President Ma Ying jeou of The Republic of China Taiwan commended the Taiwan Soka Association for many years of effort in the areas of public welfare education and religious teaching He pointed out that it had received from the Taiwanese government numerous awards such as National Outstanding Social Organization Award the Award for Contribution to Social Education and Outstanding Religious Organization Award 275 In 2015 Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi signed an agreement that recognizes the Soka Gakkai as a Concordat It Intesa that grants the religions status in a special club of denominations consulted by the government in certain occasions allowed to appoint chaplains in the army a concordat is not needed for appointing chaplains in hospitals and jails and perhaps more importantly to be partially financed by taxpayers money Eleven other religious denominations share this status 276 277 In the same year the Soka Gakkai constituent organization in the United States SGI USA spearheaded the first Buddhist Leaders Summit at the White House which was attended by 125 leaders and teachers from 63 different Buddhist communities and organizations 278 In India the Soka Gakkai is associated with a renewed interest in Buddhism among urban upper middle class English speaking youth 279 Among the European new religious movements the European Soka Gakkai organization is one of the most active participants in dialogues with the European Commission s Bureau of European Policy Advisors 280 While they are not all formally affiliated with the Soka Gakkai there are a number of overseas institutions that perceived to be associated with the Soka Gakkai or with Ikeda These include the Ikeda Peace Institute in Cambridge Massachusetts the Toda Institute of Oriental Philosophy in Hawaii and educational institutions in the United States Brazil Singapore Malaysia and China See alsoReligion in Japan Buddhism in JapanNotes At a Glance Soka Global SGI n d Retrieved 28 January 2021 Jacqueline I Stone Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism Studies in East Asian Buddhism University of Hawaii Press 2003 ISBN 978 0824827717 page 454 a b Melton J Gordon Baumann Martin eds 2010 Religions of the world a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices 2nd ed Santa Barbara California ABC CLIO pp 2656 2659 ISBN 978 1598842036 a b c d e f Kisala Robert 2004 Soka Gakkai Searching for the Mainstream In Lewis James R Aagaard Petersen Jesper eds Controversial New Religions Oxford University Press pp 139 152 a b Gallagher Eugene V Ashcraft W Michael eds 2006 Introduction to new and alternative religions in America Westport Conn Greenwood Press ISBN 978 0 275 98712 1 Phillip E Hammond and David W Machacek Soka Gakkai International in J Gordon Melton Martin Baumann eds Religions of the World A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices ABC CLIO 2010 p 2658 Daisaku Ikeda b 1928 Soka Gakkai s charismatic third president led the international growth of the movement Although Ikeda and his successor Einosuke Akiya have gone to great lengths to improve the movement s public image suspicion remains Soka Gakkai s political involvement through the organ of the Komeito a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States Europe and South America the movement s history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history a b Wellman Jr James K Lombardi Clark B eds 2012 08 16 Religion and human security a global perspective New York Oxford University Press p 272 ISBN 978 0199827756 When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its peace movement is little more than promotional propaganda The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members were related members or were friends of members Seagar Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda the Soka Gakkai and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism University of California Press p xii ISBN 978 0 52024577 8 Since its founding in the 1930s the SG has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view Over the course of its history however it has also grown into a large politically active and very well established network of institutions whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan On one hand it is seen as a highly articulated politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace On the other it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination a b Lewis James R 2003 Scholarship and the Delegitimation of Religion in Legitimating new religions Online Ausg ed New Brunswick N J Rutgers University Press pp 217 218 ISBN 978 0813533247 For over half a century one of the most controversial new religions in Japan has been Soka Gakkai Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society its ongoing connection with reformist political activity served to keep it in the public eye Until relatively recently it also had a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by efforts to delegitimate Soka Gakkai by portraying it as deluded wrong and or socially dangerous Soka Gakkai also spread to the United States and Europe where it aroused controversy as a result of its intense proselytizing activities Although it was never as controversial as groups like the Hare Krishna Movement or the Unification Church Soka Gakkai which in the United States went under the name Nichiren Shoshu of America after Soka Gakkai broke with Nichiren Shōshu was not infrequently stereotyped as a brainwashing cult particularly by anti cult authors Beasley W G ed 1977 Modern Japan Aspects of History Literature and Society Berkeley University of California Press pp 190 196 ISBN 978 0 520 03495 2 Hunt Arnold D 1975 Japan s Militant Buddhism A Survey of the Soka Gakkai Movement Salisbury East S Aust Salisbury College of Advanced Education pp 1 13 ISBN 978 0909383060 Kitagawa Joseph M 1990 Religion in Japanese history Reprint ed New York Columbia University Press pp 329 330 ISBN 978 0231028387 a b c Brannen Noah 1968 Sōka Gakkai Japan s militant Buddhists John Knox Press Hurst Jane 2000 Macachek and Wilson ed A Buddhist Reformation In the 20th Century Oxford University Press p 70 ISBN 0 19 924039 6 Strand Clark 2008 Faith in Revolution An Interview with Daisaku Ikeda Tricycle Winter To chant Nam myoho renge kyo is to call out the name of the Buddha nature within us and in all living beings It is an act of faith in this universal Buddhanature an act of breaking through the fundamental darkness of life our inability to acknowledge our true enlightened nature It is this fundamental darkness or ignorance that causes us to experience the cycles of birth and death as suffering When we call forth and base ourselves on the magnificent enlightened life that exists within each of us without exception however even the most fundamental inescapable sufferings of life and death need not be experienced as pain Rather they can be transformed into a life embodying the virtues of eternity joy true self and purity Susumu Shimazono 1999 Yoshinori Takeuchi ed Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality Later China Korea Japan and the Modern world Crossroads Publishing p 439 ISBN 978 0 8245 1595 9 Therefore when you sit before the Gohonzon and believe there is no distinction among the Gohonzon Nichiren and you yourself the great life force of the universe becomes your own life force and gushes forth Fisker Nielsen Anne Mette 2013 Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito S l Routledge p 46 ISBN 978 0 415 74407 2 Ikeda s reading of Nichiren always returns to this point of seeing the potential of Buddhahood present in each person in each social action and at each moment the theory of ichinen sanzen Emphasizing the potentially positive and mutually beneficial outcome to any situation is the basis for the concept of soka creation of value which is the name of the organization The most fundamentals idea is that to facilitate social change it is necessary to develop a way of being in the world that creates value The daily morning and evening chanting of Nam myoho renge kyo and the study of Nichiren Buddhism is advocated as the practice for such self development Macioti Maria Immacolata Capozzi tr Richard 2002 The Buddha within ourselves blossoms of the Lotus Sutra Lanham University Press of America p 73 ISBN 978 0 7618 2189 2 It is a matter of a human revolution that begins with the individual etends to the family and then if possible spreads to entire nations social peace would come about as the summation of many single human revolutions Strand Clark 2014 Waking the Buddha how the most dynamic and empowering Buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion Santa Monica CA Middleway Press p 25 ISBN 978 0 9779245 6 1 From the beginning the Soka Gakkai s approach to Buddhism was focused on the fundamental dignity of human life affirming it protecting it and convincing others to do the same Bocking Brian Soka Gakkai Overview of World Religions University of Cumbria Division of Religion and Philosophy Philtar Philosophy Theology and Religion Central to Soka Gakkai s philosophy are the ideas of human revolution i e personal and social transformation and the Tendai concept of one thought three thousand worlds According to Soka Gakkai human beings can change themselves and through changing themselves change the world Change for the better is brought about by chanting the powerful daimoku great invocation Nam myoho renge kyo The effect of chanting this phrase which embodies the essence of the enlightened mind of the Buddha is radically to elevate one s mental and spiritual state within the 3 000 possible states of mind which range from the experience of hell to perfect supreme enlightenment Since body and mind are not two i e they are a unity the transformation of the inner or mental state is reflected in transformed behaviour and therefore social influence If enough people practice whole societies and eventually the whole world will be transformed Morgan Diane 2004 The Buddhist experience in America 1 publ ed Westport Conn u a Greenwood Press p 127 ISBN 978 0 313 32491 8 Buck Christopher 2015 God and Apple Pie Kingston NY Educator s International Press p 274 ISBN 978 1 891928 15 4 Go is an honorific prefix and sho means writings thus literally honorable writings The writings of Nichiren Daishonin Three Thousand Realms in a Single Moment of Life Soka Gakkai International 24 August 2020 Retrieved 28 January 2021 a b Seager Richard 2006 03 16 Encountering the Dharma University of California Press p 48 ISBN 978 0 520 24577 8 a b Tamaru Noriyoshi 2000 Macachek and Wilson ed The Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective in Global Citizens Oxford University Press p 37 ISBN 978 0 19 924039 5 a b Tamaru Noriyoshi Global Citizens p 34 a b Shimazono Susume 1999 Yoshinori Takeuchi ed Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality Later China Korea Japan and the Modern world i Crossroad Publishing p 438 ISBN 978 0 8245 1595 9 a b Ikeda Daisaku September 2014 Winning In Life With Daimoku Living Buddhism 51 Seager Richard Encountering the Dharma p 53 Shimazono Susumu Buddhist Spirituality Later China Korea Japan and the Modern world p 436 Human Revolution www joseitoda org Dobbelaere Karel 1998 Soka Gakkai Signature Books pp 9 70 ISBN 978 1 56085 153 0 Susumu Shinazono 1999 Yoshinori Takeuchi ed Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality Later China Korea and Japan in the Modern World Crossroads Publishing p 451 ISBN 978 0 8245 1595 9 The Liturgy of the Soka Gakkai International SGI USA 2015 p 18 ISBN 978 1 935523 81 9 Chilson Clark 2014 Cultivating Charisma Ikeda Daisaku s Self Presentations and Transformational Leadership Journal of Global Buddhism Vol 15 p 67 Chilson p 69 a b c d e f Seager Richard Hughes 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda Soka Gakkai and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism Berkeley u a Univ of California Press ISBN 978 0 520 24577 8 McLaughlin Levi 2012 Did Aum Change Everything What Soka Gakkai Before During and After the Aum Shinrikyo Affair Tells Us About the Persistent Otherness of New Religions in Japan Japanese Journal of Religious Studies Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39 1 51 75 Archived from the original on 2013 12 23 Ikeda Daisaku Abdurrahman Wahid 2015 The Wisdom of Tolerance I B Tauris ISBN 978 1 78453 091 4 Ikeda Daisaku September 2016 The Aim of Nichiren Buddhism is Kosen rufu Living Buddhism 20 9 52 Ikeda Daisaku January 2016 On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land Living Buddhism 31 43 On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land Living Buddhism 82 87 July 2011 Buddhist Concepts Living Buddhism 18 12 8 December 2014 The Liturgy of the Soka Gakkai International SGIUSA 2015 p 18 ISBN 978 1 935523 84 0 Nichiren 1999 The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Tokyo Soka Gakkai p 832 The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon Seagar Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Berkeley CA University of California Press p 33 ISBN 978 0 520 24577 8 The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra I VI Daisaku Ikeda Website www daisakuikeda org Watson Burton translator 2009 The Lotus sutra and its opening and closing sutras Tokyo Soka Gakkai ISBN 978 4 412 01409 1 Exhibitions The Institute of Oriental Philosophy n d Retrieved 28 January 2021 Urbain Olivier ed 2014 A forum for peace Daisaku Ikeda s proposals to the UN London I B Tauris ISBN 978 1 78076 840 3 Nanda and Ikeda Ved and Daisaku 2015 Our World to Make Cambridge MA Dialogue Path Press p 94 Yatomi Shin 2006 Buddhism in a New Light Santa Monica World Tribune Press p 164 ISBN 9781932911145 Ikeda Sato and Morinaka Daisaku Katsuji and Masaaki 2004 The World of Nichiren Daishonin s Writings vol 3 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Soka Gakkai Malaysia p 62 Fowler Jeaneane and Merv 2009 Chanting in the Hillsides Portland Oregon Sussex Academic Press p 190 Ikeda Daisaku September 2016 Bodhisattvas of the Earth Emerging in a Steady Stream SGI USA Living Buddhism p 6 But Mr Toda taught us that we had chosen to be born in those challenging circumstances in order to lead others who were suffering to enlightenment We could therefore overcome even the harshest karma and in fact change it into a mission to help everyone become happy Dobbelaere Karel 1998 Soka Gakkai Signature Books p 27 ISBN 1 56085 153 8 Dobbelaere Karel 1998 The Soka Gakkai Signature Books pp 20 26 ISBN 978 1 56085 153 0 Dobbelaere Karel The Soka Gakkai p 26 Ikeda Daisaku September 2014 Change Starts From Prayer Living Buddhism 18 9 56 57 Susume Shimazono Yoshinori Takeuchi ed The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality p 437 Susume Shimazono Yoshinori Takeuchi ed The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality pp 446 447 Susume Shimazono Yoshinori Takeuchi ed The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality p 447 Ikeda Daisaku September 2014 Change Starts From Prayer Living Buddhism 18 9 57 59 Ikeda Daisaku December 3 2004 Prayer World Tribune 8 Prayer is the courage to persevere It is the struggle to overcome our own weakness and lack of confidence in ourselves Seagar Richard 2012 Buddhism in America New York Columbia University Press p 131 ISBN 9780231108683 Bauman Melton Martin Gordon ed 2010 Religions of the world a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices p 2658 ISBN 978 1598842036 Morino Ted 2001 World Tribune Santa Monica World Tribune Press p 2 Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Berkeley University of California Press p 33 Nichiren 1999 The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Santa Monica SGI USA Study Department p 412 Nichiren 1999 The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Santa Monica SGI USA Study Department p 832 SGI USA Study Department 2013 An Introduction to Buddhism Santa Monica World Tribune Press p 32 Ikeda Daisaku September 2014 The Significance of the Expedient Means and Life Span Chapters Living Buddhism 18 9 52 53 Upholding Faith In The Lotus Sutra Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism Library Retrieved 2014 11 03 This Gohonzon is the essence of the Lotus Sutra and the eye of all the scriptures Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma University of California Press p 17 ISBN 978 0 520 24577 8 They cpuild in Anaekei s words restore a primeval connection with the eternal Buddha Melton and Baumann 2010 Religions of the World A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices 2nd ed p 2658 ISBN 978 1598842036 By chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra Nam Myoho Renge Kyo one forms a connection with the ultimate reality that pervades the universe Shimazono Susumu 1999 Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism In Takeuchi Yoshinori ed Buddhist Spirituality Later China Korea Japan and the Modern world i Crossroad Publishing p 451 ISBN 978 0 8245 1595 9 Murata Kiyoaki 1969 Japan s New Buddhism New York Weatherhill Inc p 51 Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Berkeley University of California Press pp 32 33 McLaughlin Levi 2003 Faith and Practice Bringing Religion Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai Social Science Japan Journal 6 2 19 doi 10 1093 ssjj 6 2 161 Bocking Brian 1994 Of priests protests and Protestant Buddhism The case of the Soka Gakkai In Clarke Peter B Somers Jeffrey eds Japanese new religions in the West Sandgate Folkestone Kent Eng Japan Library pp 122 123 ISBN 978 1873410240 Cornille C 1998 Canon formation in new religious movements the case of the Japanese New Religions In van der Kooij A ed Canonization and decanonization papers presented to the international conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions LISOR held at Leiden 9 10 January 1997 Leiden Brill pp 283 287 ISBN 978 9004112469 Fowler Jeaneane and Merv 2009 Chanting in the Hillsides Great Britain Sussex Academic Press p 155 Strand Clark 2014 Waking the Buddha Middleway Press pp 58 59 ISBN 978 0 9779245 6 1 Middleway Press is a division of SGI USA Dobbelaere Karel Soka Gakkai p 59 McLaughlin Levi 2003 Faith and Practice Bringing Religion Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai Social Science Japan Journal 6 2 6 7 doi 10 1093 ssjj 6 2 161 Yatomi Shin 2006 Buddhism In A New Light World Tribune Press p 6 ISBN 978 1 932911 14 5 World Tribune Press is a division of SDGI USA The Winning Life World Tribune Press 1998 p 12 Seagar Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda The Soka Gakkai and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism University of California Press p 201 ISBN 978 0 520 24577 8 McLaughlin Levi 2012 Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions Brill p 272 ISBN 978 9004234369 Garrison Jim 2009 John Dewey in the 21st Century Cambridge Dialogue Path Press pp 161 217 Fowler Jeanne and Merv 2009 Chanting In The Hillsides Brighton and Portland Sussex Academic Press p 85 ISBN 978 1 84519 258 7 Wilson Bryan 2000 The British Movement and Its Members In Machacek and Wilson ed Global Citizens Oxford University Press p 358 ISBN 978 0 19 924039 5 Liberated from ecclesiastical restraints Soka Gakkai is enabled to present itself as a much more informed relaxed and spontaneous worshipping fellowship In a period when democratic popular styles have displaced or largely discredited hierarchic structures the typical meetings of Soka Gakkai reflect the style and form increasingly favored by the public at large McLaughlin Levi 2012 Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions Brill p 277 ISBN 978 9004234369 McLaughlin Levi 2012 Soka Gakkai in Japan In Prohl Inken Nelson John eds Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions Leiden Brill p 272 ISBN 9789004234352 Sins and Sinners Perspectives from Asian Religions BRILL 2012 08 17 p 133 ISBN 9789004232006 Seagar Richard 2012 Buddhism In America New York Columbia University Press p 96 ISBN 978 0 231 15973 9 Seagar Richard Hughes 2006 Encountering the Dharma University of California Press pp 97 169 170 ISBN 978 0 520 24577 8 Harada Minoru December 12 2014 Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism World Tribune 2 a b Harada Minoru December 12 2014 Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism World Tribune 5 Seagar page 96 Lee Jonathan H X Matsuoka Fumitaka Yee Edmond Nakasone Ronald Y eds 2015 Asian American Religious Cultures ABC CLIO p 828 ISBN 9781598843316 Clarke Peter ed 2008 Encyclopedia of new religious movements 1 publ ed London Routledge p 594 ISBN 978 0415453837 Bethel Dayle M 1994 Makiguchi the value creator revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai 1st paperback ed New York Weatherhill ISBN 978 0 8348 0318 3 Levi McLaughlin Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion ISBN 978 90 04 23435 2 page 282 a b Hammond Phillip E Machacek David W 1999 Soka Gakkai in America accommodation and conversion Reprinted ed Oxford u a Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0198293897 Kisala pp 141 142 Watanabe Takesato The Movement and the Japanese Media In Machacek and Wilson eds Global Citizens p 221 OUP ISBN 0199240396 Strand p 33 Detainment and Tsunesaburo Makiguchi Website www tmakiguchi org a b Robert L Ramseyer The Soka Gakkai The neighbor complained to the police who arrested Jinno and a director of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai named Arimura In Beardsley Richard K editor Studies in Japanese culture I Ann Arbor University of Michigan Press 1965 p 156 Laderman Gary Leon Luis eds 2003 Religion and American cultures Santa Barbara Calif u a ABC CLIO p 61 ISBN 978 1 57607 238 7 Murata Kiyoaki 1969 Japan s New Buddhism An Objective Account of Soka Gakkai New York amp Tokyo Walker Weatherhill p 89 ISBN 978 0834800403 Toda was burning with a desire for vengeance not against the militarist government of Japan but against an invisible enemy who had caused his own suffering of more than two years as well as his teacher s death in jail and agony to tens of millions of his fellow countrymen Palmer A 2012 Buddhist Politics Japan s Clean Government Party Springer Science amp Business Media p 6 ISBN 978 9401029964 Toda s experience in prison had also been one of much suffering including it is reported malnutrition tuberculosis asthma heart trouble diabetes hemorrhoids and rheumatism Besides breaking him physically his imprisonment and the war had destroyed him financially Foster Rebecca Review of Clark Strand s Waking the Buddha Foreword Reviews Bethel Dayle M 1994 Makiguchi the value creator revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai 1st paperback ed New York Weatherhill pp 91 3 ISBN 978 0834803183 Offner Clark B 1963 Modern Japanese Religions With Special Emphasis Upon Their Doctrines of Healing New York Twayne Publishers pp 101 102 Mendel Jr Douglas Book Reviews The Journal of Politics Cambridge University Retrieved 19 July 2015 a b c McFarland H Neill 1967 Rush Hour of the Gods New York Macmillan Brannen Noah S 1968 Soka Gakkai Japan s Militant Buddhists Richmond VA John Knox Press p 143 Once a year the education department gives examinations and awards students with the four successive ranks of Associate Lecturer Lecturer Associate Teacher or Teacher Every member is expected to take the exams In a study conscious society and examination oriented national system of education Soka Gakkai s indoctrination program is manifestly compatible with the climate a b c d e f White James W 1970 The Sōkagakkai and mass society Stanford Calif Stanford University Press ISBN 9780804707282 a b c d e f McLaughlin Levi 2012 Soka Gakkai in Japan Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions Brill ISBN 978 9004234369 Stone Jacqueline 1994 Rebuking the Enemies of the Lotus Nichirenist Exclusivism in Historical Perspective PDF Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 21 2 3 231 259 Montgomery Daniel Fire in the Lotus 1991 Mandala an imprint of Grafton Books p 186 and p 189 ISBN 978 1 85274 091 7 quote Toda stated in his speech If this goal is not realized while I am still alive do not hold a funeral for me Simply dump my remains in the bay at Shinagawa Nakano Tsuyoshi Religion and State In Tamaru Norioshi and David Reid eds 1996 Religion in Japanese Culture Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World Tokyo Kodansha International ISBN 4 7700 2054 6 P 125 McLaughlin 2012 278 279 Soka Gakki was driven forward by adherents who came to the group from the fringes of modern Japanese society They were attracted to the Gakkai in part because it addressed them in an educational idiom promising access to legitimate and legitimizing practices associated with a pedagogical framework This was crucial in Japan of the mid twentieth century a society obsessed by standards imposed by educational systems whose members were quick to judge one another based on perceived levels of cultural sophistication The Value Creation Study Association appealed to the people postwar Japan as a forum for the socially disenfranchised to study to learn to prove themselves within meritocratic institutions modeled on the mainstream schools and other educational establishments in which they otherwise had few chances to participate Soka Gakkai s academic idiom that appealed to so many in postwar Japan speaks not only to members desire to realize legitimacy through educational pursuits the group also appeals to members aspirations to join Japan s social elite Soka Gakkai is proof that the socially disenfranchised need not sit idle they are aware of what they lack and when organized en masse and inspired by the possibilities of upward social mobility they themselves create the institutions that grant social mobility political parties newspapers study circles schools museums organizations for the performing arts and opportunities for musical training They create alternative means of reaching for the social legitimacy that remains out of their reach in mainstream society of securing recognition ordinarily granted by the central institutions of the modern nation they create groups like Soka Gakkai Aruga Hiroshi Sōka Gakkai and Japanese Politics in Machacek David and Bryan Wilson eds Global Citizens The Sōka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World Oxford Oxford University Press pp 104 114 Brannen 1968 pp 100 101 Ikeda Daisaku February 7 8 2012 The February Campaign of the New Era Translated and reprinted in Living Buddhism February 2016 Seikyo Shimbun a b c Ikeda Daisaku 2004 The human revolution Abridged ed Santa Monica Calif World Tribune Press ISBN 978 0915678778 Ikeda Daisaku 2003 06 20 Awakening to Our Missions PDF World Tribune p 2 Maria Immacolata Macioti Capozi translator Richard M 2002 The Buddha within ourselves blossoms of the Lotus Sutra Lanham University Press of America p 113 ISBN 978 0761821892 a b Strand Clark 2014 Waking the Buddha how the most dynamic and empowering Buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion Santa Monica CA Middleway Press ISBN 9780977924561 https nirc nanzan u ac jp nfile 3150 Doherty Jr Herbert J Winter 1963 Soka Gakkai Religions and Politics in Japan The Massachusetts Review 4 2 281 286 JSTOR 25079014 Heine Steven ed 2003 Buddhism in the modern world adaptations of an ancient tradition Reprint ed New York u a Oxford Univ Press ISBN 978 0 19 514697 4 Fisker Nielsen Anne Mette 2012 Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito London Routledge Japan Anthropology Workshop Series p 23 Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Berkeley California University of California p 100 a b c Murata Kiyoaki 1969 Japan s new Buddhism an objective account of Soka Gakkai 1st ed New York Weatherhill ISBN 978 0834800403 Orient West 7 7 11 1962 CS1 maint untitled periodical link McLaughlin 2012 p 292 White 1970 p 44 Seager Richard Hughes 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda Soka Gakkai and the globalization of Buddhist humanism Berkeley University of California Press p 97 ISBN 978 0520245778 Kiong Tong Chee 2007 Rationalizing religion religious conversion revivalism and competition in Singapore society Online Ausg ed Leiden Brill p 141 ISBN 9789004156944 Ikeda turned down the idea of shakubuku or aggressive proselytization for shoju a more gentle and persuasive conversion Offner Clark B Straelen H Van 1963 Modern Japanese Religions With Special Emphasis Upon Their Doctrines of Healing New York Twayne Publ pp 102 Ikeda Kiyoaki Murata foreword by Daisaku 1969 Japan s new Buddhism an objective account of Soka Gakkai 1st ed New York Weatherhill p 124 127 ISBN 978 0834800403 Ikeda Kiyoaki Murata foreword by Daisaku 1969 Japan s new Buddhism an objective account of Soka Gakkai 1st ed New York Weatherhill p 144 ISBN 978 0834800403 Ikeda Kiyoaki Murata foreword by Daisaku 1969 Japan s New Buddhism An Objective Account of Soka Gakkai 1st ed New York Weatherhill p 145 ISBN 978 0834800403 Matsutani Minoru 2014 Soka Gakkai keeps religious political machine humming Tokyo Japan Japan Times Morgan Diane 2004 The Buddhist experience in America 1st publ ed Westport Conn u a Greenwood Press p 128 ISBN 9780313324918 Hefferan edited by Tara Adkins Julie Occhipinti Laurie 2009 Bridging the gaps faith based organizations neoliberalism and development in Latin America and the Caribbean Lanham MD Lexington Books p 182 ISBN 9780739132876 CS1 maint extra text authors list link Morgan Diane 2004 The Buddhist experience in America 1st publ ed Westport Conn u a Greenwood Press pp 128 30 ISBN 9780313324918 Ikeda Kiyoaki Murata foreword by Daisaku 1969 Japan s new Buddhism an objective account of Soka Gakkai 1st ed New York Weatherhill p 125 ISBN 978 0834800403 Dehn Ulrich 2011 Staemmler Birgit Dehn Ulrich eds Establishing the revolutionary an introduction to new religions in Japan Berlin Lit p 207 ISBN 9783643901521 Urbain Olivier 2013 Daisaku Ikeda and dialogue for peace London I B Tauris pp 22 3 ISBN 9780857722690 Strand Clark Interview Faith in Revolution Tricycle Retrieved Jan 2 2015 I have felt a powerful responsibility to universalize and ensure the long term flourishing of the teachings Just weeks before he died in April 1958 Mr Toda called me to his side and told me that he had dreamed of going to Mexico that there were people there waiting to learn about Buddhism In terms of the teachings I have tried to separate out those elements in the traditional interpretation of Nichiren Buddhism that are more reflective of Japanese cultural and historical contingencies than they are of the underlying message To this end I have continued to engage in dialogue with a wide range of people around the world in order to refine and universalize the expression of my ideas Because I am convinced that all cultures and religions are expressions of deep human truths I have regularly referenced philosophical traditions other than Buddhism bringing in the ideas and insights of literature art science and medicine and sharing the inspiring words and insights of thinkers from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds with people including the membership of the Soka Gakkai Neusner Jacob ed 2003 World religions in America an introduction 3rd ed Louisville Ky London Westminster John Knox p 166 ISBN 978 0664224752 Ikeda Kiyoaki Murata foreword by Daisaku 1969 Japan s new Buddhism an objective account of Soka Gakkai 1st ed New York Weatherhill pp 146 147 ISBN 978 0834800403 Marshall Katherine 2013 Global institutions of religion ancient movers modern shakers London Routledge p 107 ISBN 9781136673443 Carlile Masumi Junnosuke translated by Lonny E 1995 Contemporary politics in Japan Berkeley University of California Press pp 397 8 ISBN 9780520058545 Sato Masaru 2017 A Transforming Force Japan Daisanbunmei sha Inc pp 81 82 30 New Komeito changes name back to Komeito MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT Local New Komeito officials oppose collective self defense Asahi Shimbun Archived from the original on 2014 07 27 Soble Jonathan 2015 07 16 Japan Moves to Allow Military Combat for First Time in 70 Years The New York Times Fujiwara Hirotatsu translated by Worth C Grant 1970 What shall we do about this Japan I denounce Soka Gakkai Nisshin Hodo Co ISBN 978 9110135505 Carlile Masumi Junnosuke translated by Lonny E 1995 Contemporary politics in Japan Berkeley University of California Press p 398 ISBN 9780520058545 Seager Richard Hughes 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda Soka Gakkai and the globalization of Buddhist humanism Berkeley University of California Press pp 97 8 ISBN 9780520245778 Ikeda took the free speech issue seriously and made it the starting point for a process of critical self examination that resulted in his once again re creating the Gakkai The free speech issue gave him a platform from which to make shifts in emphasis of such magnitude that some members recall that it took them a year or more to grasp his intent fully Seager Richard Hughes 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda Soka Gakkai and the globalization of Buddhist humanism Berkeley University of California Press p 97 ISBN 9780520245778 We must take the lessons of this incident deeply to heart and must absolutely not make the same mistake again he said Profile Soka Gakkai THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITY PROJECT WRSP Virginia Commonwealth University On October 12 1972 during ceremonies marking the opening of the completed Shōhondō at Taisekiji Ikeda delivered a speech announcing the start of Sōka Gakkai s Phase Two describing a turn away from aggressive expansion toward envisioning the Gakkai as an international movement promoting peace through friendship and cultural exchange Nakano Tsuyoshi Religion and State In Tamura Noriyoshi and David Reed eds 1996 Religion in Japanese Culture Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World Tokyo Kodansha International p 127 McLaughlin Levi 2012 Soka Gakkai in Japan In Prohl Inken Nelson John eds Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions Leiden Brill p 295 ISBN 9789004234352 Buck Christopher 2015 God amp Apple Pie Religious Myths and Visions of America Educator s International Press p 275 ISBN 9781891928154 Daisaku Ikeda has transformed the materialistic promises of SGI practices into socialpreises that all can respect Ikeda has almost single handedly matured SGI These sacralized secular values are characteristic of progressive internationalism a b Teranashi Hirotomo 2013 Urbain Olivier ed Daisaku Ikeda and Dialogue for Peace I B Tauris ISBN 9780857734136 Toynbee Arnold Ikeda Daisaku Gage Richard L Ed 2007 Choose life A Dialogue London I B Tauris ISBN 9781845115951 CS1 maint extra text authors list link Malraux Andre and Ikeda Daisaku Ningen kakumei to ningen no joken Changes Within Human Revolution vs Human Condition Tokyo Ushio Shuppansha Tokyo 1976 Goulah Jason 2013 Dialogic Practice in Education London New York In Urbain Olivier Daisaku Ikeda and Dialogue for Peace p 83 Nanda Ved P 2009 Krieger David ed The challenge of abolishing nuclear weapons New Brunswick N J Transaction Publishers p 97 ISBN 9781412815178 Dobbelaere Karel Soka Gakkai p 12 Other criticisms were more fundamental For example the president was criticized for having abandoned shakubuku as a method of proselytism in favor of the shoju method McLaughlin Levi Faith and Practice Bringing Religion Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai Social Science Japan Journal http sokaspirit org wp content uploads 2013 12 4 journey same reason pdf Strand Clark 2014 Waking the Buddha Santa Monica CA Middleway Press p 74 ISBN 978 0 9779245 6 1 Seager Richard 2012 Buddhism In America New York Columbia University Press p 92 ISBN 978 0 231 15973 9 Ikeda Daisaku August 2018 The Focus of Nichiren Buddhism Is Human Bengs Living Buddhism 22 8 61 Nichiren 1999 Major Writings Vol 1 Tokyo Soka Gakkai p 3 Spariosu Mihai 2012 Exploring Humanity Inter cultural Perspectives On Humanism National Taiwan University Press p 14 ISBN 978 3 8471 0016 4 Epp Robert 1992 Buddhism Today A Collection of Views From Contemporary Scholars Institute of Oriental Philosophy pp 72 73 Seager Richard Hughes 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda Soka Gakkai and the globalization of Buddhist humanism Berkeley University of California Press pp 97 8 ISBN 9780520245778 Ikeda s 1970 speech marked a watershed between the shakubuku driven activism of the early days and the more moderate secularizing style that would become a hallmark of his presidency It also marked his coming into his own as a teacher at the age of forty two still young by Japanese standards as he began to articulate clearly the basic principles of his emergent globalizing and universalizing Buddhist Humanism a b Laderman Gary Leon Luis 2014 12 17 Religion and American cultures tradition diversity and popular expression Laderman Gary 1962 Leon Luis D 1965 Second ed Santa Barbara California p 68 ISBN 9781610691109 OCLC 897907045 a b The Future of new religious movements Bromley David G Hammond Phillip E New Ecumenical Research Association Unification Theological Seminary Macon Ga Mercer University Press 1987 p 159 ISBN 978 0865542372 OCLC 15081992 CS1 maint others link a b Japan s Demographic Revival Rethinking Migration Identity And Sociocultural Norms Nagy Stephen Robert World Scientific 2015 p 153 amp 154 ISBN 9789814678896 CS1 maint others link Seager Richard 2014 Laderman Gary Leon Luis eds Religion and American Cultures Tradition Diversity and Popular Expression 2nd Edition ABC CLIO p 68 ISBN 9781610691109 Lebron Robyn E 2012 Searching for spiritual unity can there be common ground a basic internet guide to forty world religions amp spiritual practices Bloomington Ind Crossbooks Publishing p 424 ISBN 9781462712625 The SGI shall contribute to peace culture and education for the happiness and welfare of all humanity based on the Buddhist respect for the sanctity of human life Richard H Seager Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda Soka Gakkai and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism University of California Press 2006 p 83 a b Kisala Robert 2000 Prophets of peace Pacifism and cultural identity in Japan s new religions Honolulu HI USA University of Hawai i Press ISBN 978 0824822675 David W Chappell Introduction in David W Chappell ed Buddhist Peacework Creating Cultures of Peace Wisdom Publications 1999 pp 22 23 Seager Encountering the Dharma pp 175 181 a b UNODA update 18 March 2014 UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Meets Youth Representatives of Soka Gakkai Japan and of SGI USA Engaged in Disarmament Issues Retrieved 24 March 2014 Anwarul K Chowdhury Introduction Olivier Urbain ed A Forum for Peace Daisaku Ikeda s Proposals to the UN IB Tauris 2013 ISBN 978 1780768403 pp xi xiv Olivier Urbain ed A Forum for Peace Daisaku Ikeda s Proposals to the UN IB Tauris 2013 ISBN 978 1780768403 U N and NGO Links Soka Gakkai International Retrieved 14 November 2015 SGI works closely with other organizations which share the same goals at the national and international levels At the grassroots SGI groups partner with local community organizations and educational institutions to raise awareness of issues such as nuclear abolition and sustainable living and empower individuals to contribute to building a culture of peace Sato Aoi UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Meets Youth Representatives of Soka Gakkai Japan and of SGI USA Engaged in Disarmament Issues United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs Retrieved 15 November 2015 CULTURE OF PEACE EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTING CONTRIBUTIONS OF BOTH ORDINARY AND RENOWNED PEACE BUILDERS TO OPEN ON 4 FEBRUARY United Nations February 2004 Retrieved 15 November 2015 Jaura Ramesh Hiroshima and Nagasaki Beckon Nuke Free World Other news Retrieved 14 November 2015 Seeds of Change The Earth Charter amp Human Potential exhibition The Earth Charter Initiative Retrieved 15 November 2015 Dessi Ugo 2013 Greening Dharma Contemporary Japanese Buddhism and Ecology Journal for the Study of Religion Nature and Culture 7 3 339 40 doi 10 1558 jsrnc v7i3 334 Retrieved March 2 2016 Dessi Ugo 2013 Greening Dharma Contemporary Japanese Buddhism and Ecology Journal for the Study of Religion Nature and Culture 7 3 334 355 doi 10 1558 jsrnc v7i3 334 Retrieved March 2 2016 Ribeiro Edgar 2016 02 12 Edgar Riberio pushes for mapping Goa Times of India Retrieved 2016 03 02 Sowing the seeds of hope The Star online 2014 11 16 Retrieved 2016 03 02 The Institute of Oriental Philosophy Seagar Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda the Soka Gakkai and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism University of California Press p 192 Karel Dobbelaere Toward a Pillar Organization in Global Citizens Machacek and Wilson eds pp 243 250 Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research Retrieved 27 February 2015 Seager p 107 Pauling Linus 1992 A Lifelong Quest For Peace Jones and Bartllett p ix ISBN 978 0867202786 For decades Daisaku Ikeda has been working to achieve the goals of disarmament world understanding and universal peace Seager Richard Encountering the Dharma pp 176 177 Seager Encountering the Dharma pp 180 181 Min On Concert Association www min on org Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma University of California Press p 105 ISBN 978 0 52024577 8 Karel Dobbelaere Toward a Pillar Organization in Global Citizens Machacek and Wilson eds page 245 Cultural performances and the youth of Soka Singapore 26ff 28th SEA Games Opening Ceremony to Break Records with Spectacular Show NDP 2014 Show The show is testimony to how everyday Singaporeans can come together to create something extraordinary Retrieved 27 February 2015 Seow Bei Yi 2015 11 25 Giving back to society in more ways than one The Straits Times Community engagement aspirations and the youth of Soka Singapore SGM Participates in 57th National Day Celebrations Retrieved 27 February 2015 Soka Gakai s Merdeka show features multi cultural performances Shimmering splendour The Straits Times 10 August 2018 Lim Min Zhang 2 August 2019 Making their voices heard at NDP s first rap hip hop segment The Straits Times Look out for street performances by Soka Gakkai at i City tomorrow 40 000 at colourful N Day countdown Ng Ka 2018 A New Home for New Immigrants A Case Study of the Role of Soka Gakkai in the Integration of Japanese and Mainland Chinese Immigrants in Hong Kong Religions 9 11 336 doi 10 3390 rel9110336 hdl 10069 38710 Qing Ang Lim Jessie Iau Jean 21 August 2021 NDP 2021 A parade to lift spirits The Straits Times 創価学園 SOKA GAKUEN Retrieved 27 February 2015 An Educational Legacy Daisaku Ikeda Website Retrieved 27 February 2015 Organization Chart Sokanet Retrieved 26 October 2015 Strand Clark 2008 Faith in Revolution Tricycle Magazine 4 A Global Organization Soka Global SGI n d Retrieved 28 January 2021 概要 SOKAnet 創価学会公式サイト Soka Gakkai Retrieved 17 December 2013 Religion in Japan by prefecture 1996 English language bar table わが国における主な宗教団体名 文化庁 1995 12 31 Retrieved 2013 11 01 Dobbelaere Karel 1998 Soka Gakkai Signature Books p 38 ISBN 978 1 56085 153 0 a b Minoru Harada appointed as Soka Gakkai President Soka Gakkai International Retrieved 3 January 2014 Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma University of California Press p 7 ISBN 978 0 52024577 8 Benjamin Fulford David Whelan 9 June 2006 Sensei s World Forbes Retrieved 4 December 2013 Matsutani Minoru 2 December 2008 Soka Gakkai keeps religious political machine humming The Japan Times Retrieved 6 December 2013 Watanabe Teresa 1996 03 15 Japan s Crusader or Corrupter Los Angeles Times Retrieved 3 December 2013 He is by some accounts the most powerful man in Japan and certainly one of the most enigmatic Daisaku Ikeda leader of the nation s largest religious organization has been condemned and praised as a devil and an angel a Hitler and a Gandhi a despot and a democrat Magee Michelle December 27 1995 Japan Fears Another Religious Sect San Francisco Chronicle Retrieved 7 December 2013 Hurst Jane 2000 Machacek and Wilson ed A Buddhist Reformation In The Twentieth Century in Global Citizens Oxford University p 89 Rather than giving in to the temptation to exploit his power as the leader of a now 12 million member organization Mr Ikeda has instead worked to see that the organization has become more democratic Power in the SGI has not stayed centered in Japan but has spread throughout the world Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma University of California Press p 23 ISBN 978 0 52024577 8 Yes Religion Can still be a force for good in the world Here are 100 examples how Huffington Post Missing or empty url help Mette Fisker Nielsen pp 65 66 name Oxford University Press gt Metraux Daniel 2012 Wellman James K Lombardi Clark B eds Religion and human security a global perspective New York Oxford University Press p 266 ISBN 9780199827749 Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda the Soka Gakkai and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism University of California Press p xii ISBN 978 0 520 24577 8 Since its founding in the 1930s the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view Over the course of its history however it has also grown into a large politically active and very well established network of institutions whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan On one hand it is seen as a highly articulated politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace On the other it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination Takesato Watanabe The Movement and the Japanese Media in David Machacek and Bryan Wilson eds Global Citizens Oxford University Press 2000 The Soka Gakkai is exceptional in that no other large Japanese religious organization engages in both social and political issues from the promotion of human rights to the protection of the environment and abolition of nuclear weapons as actively as it does p 217 Wellman Jr James K Lombardi Clark B eds 2012 08 16 Religion and Human Security A Global Perspective New York Oxford University Press p 272 ISBN 978 0199827756 When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its peace movement is little more than promotional propaganda The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members were related members or were friends of members Phillip E Hammond and David W Machacek Soka Gakkai International in J Gordon Melton Martin Baumann eds Religions of the World A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices ABC CLIO 2010 p 2658 Daisaku Ikeda b 1928 Soka Gakkai s charismatic third president led the international growth of the movement Although Ikeda and his successor Einosuke Akiya have gone to great lengths to improve the movement s public image suspicion remains Soka Gakkai s political involvement through the organ of the Komeito a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States Europe and South America the movement s history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history Macioti p 124 It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a sect It is not a small two faced cult characterized by obscure and hidden agendas Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations all of which are engaged in promoting culture and raising interest around the theme of values and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation O Brien Barbara Soka Gakkai International Past Present Future About Religion You can find diverse definitions of cult including some that say any religion other than mine is a cult You can find people who argue all of Buddhism is a cult A checklist created by Marcia Rudin M A a founding director of the International Cult Education Program seems more objective I have no personal experience with SGI but over the years I ve met many SGI members They don t seem to me to fit the Rudin checklist For example SGI members are not isolated from the non SGI world They are not anti woman anti child or anti family They are not waiting for the Apocalypse I do not believe they use deceptive tactics to recruit new members Claims that SGI is bent on world domination are I suspect a tad exaggerated Bryan Wilson Religion in Secular Society Penguin 1969 Bryan Wilson Magic and the Millennium Heinemann London 1973 pp 18 30 Wallis Roy 1976 The road to total freedom a sociological analysis of Scientology London Heinemann Educational p 156 ISBN 978 0 435 82916 2 Glock Charles Y Bellah Robert N eds 1976 The New religious consciousness Berkeley University of California Press p 200 ISBN 978 0 520 03083 1 Mette Fisker Nielsen Anne 2012 Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito Routledge p 52 Mette Fisker Nielsen Anne 2012 Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito Routledge pp 7 9 Gamble Adam 2004 A public betrayed an inside look at Japanese media atrocities and their warnings to the West Watanabe Takesato 1944 渡辺 武達 1944 Washington D C Regnery Pub ISBN 0 89526 046 8 OCLC 55534997 Seager Richard 2006 Encountering the Dharma Berkeley University of California Press p 209 Seager Richard Hughes 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda Soka Gakkai and the globalization of Buddhist humanism Berkeley University of California Press p xii ISBN 9780520245778 Since its founding in the 9305 the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view Over the course of its history however it has also grown into alarge politically active and very well established network of institutions whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan On one hand it is seen as a highly articulated politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace On the other it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination To varying degrees this fractured view has followed the movement overseas where despite its success at globalization it has had to contend with both the legacy of Japanese militarism in Asia and the concerns of observers in the West that the movement was in some way an Asian cult Watanabe Takesato 2003 Machacek David Wilson Bryan eds Global citizens the Soka Gakkai Buddhist movement in the world Reprinted ed Oxford u a Oxford Univ Press pp 213 290 ISBN 978 0199240395 The distortions generated in the reportage of the Soka Gakkai the largest religious organization in Japan as well as its virtual dismissal by the Japanese mainstream media are shaped by the following causes 1 a power structure which derives legitimacy through preservation of the imperial system 2 the scope and scale of the Soka Gakkai s political influence 3 its history of defiance and autonomy 4 the Japanese media s dependence on large corporate advertisers 5 the existence of media companies such as Bungei Shunju and Shichosa which maintain collusive ties to the state 6 the uncompromising religious convictions of the Soka Gakkai and social disapproval of its initial period of aggressive proselytizing 7 media coverage of Soka Gakkai s vast financial resources 8 the framework of social intolerance in Japan 9 the proliferation of media stereotypes and 10 the inadequacy of media relations skills and training employed by the Soka Gakkai as a social entity Seager Richard Hughes 2006 Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda Soka Gakkai and the globalization of Buddhist humanism Berkeley Calif University of California Press ISBN 9780520939042 Newer scholarship such as Global Citizens The Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World or The Soka Gakkai Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society praises the movement for its progressive values and its members sense of civic duty Older articles and books by contrast are consistently preoccupied with a varied array of virulent charges Itoh Mayumi 2014 Hrebenar Ronald J Nakamura Akira eds Party Politics in Japan Political Chaos and Stalemate in the 21st Century Routledge ISBN 9781317745969 Shemada notds that the deep anti Soka Gakkai allergy in Japanese society at large has weakened in recent years as the members have stopped the aggressive membership drives it deployed in the past Shemada argues that this means the Soka Gakkai has been firmly established in society Macioti p 124 It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a sect It is not a small two faced cult characterized by obscure and hidden agendas Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations all of which are engaged in promoting culture and raising interest around the theme of values and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation Sello 1975 2000 Soka Gakkai Internacional 25º Aniversario Correo Uruguayo Retrieved 3 February 2016 Singapore Youth Awards Rodrigues Plasencia Girardo 2014 Soka Gakkai in Cuba Glocalization Modes and Religious Conversion Processes in a Japanese Religion PDF Dissertation Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University SGI President Awarded Russian Federation Order of Friendship PR Newswirre President Ma meets Japan s Soka Gakkai International Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda Office of the President Republic of China Taiwan Republic of China Taiwan Religion in the Italian Constitution Georgetown University Retrieved 10 August 2015 Istituto Buddista Italiano Soka Gakkai Governo Italiano Retrieved 14 August 2015 Simmer Brown Acharya Judith May 17 2015 Shambhala Visits the White House Shambhala Times Community News Magazine Prasad Pallavi May 10 2017 A Millennial Take on Buddha Meet India s New Age Buddhists The Quint Leustean Lucian N Madeley John T S Pastorelli Sabrina 2013 Religion Politics and Law in the European Union Routledge pp 189 195 ISBN 9781317990802 ReferencesSōka Gakkai in America Accommodation and Conversion By Phillip E Hammond and David W Machacek London Oxford University Press ISBN 0 19 829389 5 The Sōka Gakkai Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society by Daniel A Metraux in Engaged Buddhism Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia Christopher S Queen and Sallie B King eds SUNY Press 1996 The New Believers A survey of sects cults and alternative religions David V Barrett Octopus Publishing Group 2003 The Lotus and the Maple Leaf The Sōka Gakkai in Canada by Daniel A Metraux University Press of America 1996 Fundamentals of Buddhism second edition by Yasuji Kirimura Nichiren Shōshu International Center now SGI 1984 ISBN 4 88872 016 9 Sōka Gakkai kaibō Dissecting Sōka Gakkai by the editors of Aera Asahi Shimbun 2000 ISBN 4 02 261286 X Japanese A Public Betrayed An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West Adam Gamble amp Takesato Watanabe Regnery Publishing Inc 2004 ISBN 0 89526 046 8 SERA Southeast Review of Asian Studies 29 2007 Religion Politics and Constitutional Reform in Japan by Daniel Metraux 157 72 Westward Dharma Buddhism beyond Asia Charles S Prebish and Martin Baumann eds 2002 Igami Minobu 1995 Tonari no Sōka Gakkai The Sōka Gakkai Next Door Tokyo Takarajima Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Asia By Juliana Finucane R Michael Feener pages 103 122 Neo Yeow Ann Aaron Studying Soka Buddhist Conversionn And Religious Change In Singapore PDF Further readingBooks Strand Clark Waking the Buddha how the most dynamic and empowering buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion Strand examines how the Soka Gakkai based on the insight that Buddha is life has evolved a model in which religion serves the needs of its practitioners rather than the practitioners adhering to dogma and traditions for their own sake Middleway Press 2014 ISBN 978 0 9779245 6 1 Editors of AERA Sōkagakkai kaibai 創価学会解剖 Dissecting Sōkagakkai Asahi Shimbun sha October 1995 ISBN 978 4 02 261286 1 AERA is a weekly investigative news magazine published by one of Japan s leading news organizations this book attempts to present a dry fair assessment of Sōkagakkai and Daisaku Ikeda and contains several interviews with Gakkai leaders Shimada Hiroki Sōkagakkai no jitsuryoku 創価学会の実力 The true extent of Sōkagakkai s power Shinchosha August 2006 ISBN 4 02 330372 0 Argues that the Sōka Gakkai is not or is no longer as powerful as many of its opponents fear and that it is losing ground internally as all but the most dedicated are turned off by the leadership and fewer members need the organization for social bonding Also notes that it is becoming more like a civic rather than a religious organization and that inactive members don t resign because they want to avoid the ostracism and harassment that can result Shimada Hiroki Kōmeitō vs Sōkagakkai 公明党vs 創価学会 The Kōmeitō and the Sōka Gakkai Asahi Shinsho June 2007 ISBN 978 4 02 273153 1 Describes the relationship between Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai and the development of their history Touches on the Sōka Gakkai Nichiren Shōshu split describing it as the result of a power struggle and financial constraints as well as on the organized harassment of opponents by Sōka Gakkai members the organization s use of its media vehicles to vilify opponents and Ikeda s demand for unquestioning loyalty Tamano Kazushi Sōkagakkai no Kenkyu 創価学会の研究 Research on the Sōkagakkai Kodansha Gendai Shinsho 2008 ISBN 978 4 06 287965 1 This book is an attempt to review scholarly studies of Sōka Gakkai from the 1950s to the 1970s and shifts in perceptions of the organization as journalists took over from scholars Tamano takes the perspective of a social scientist and describes Sōka Gakkai as a socio political phenomenon He is also somewhat critical of some views Shimada expressed in the latter s recent publications Yamada Naoki Sōkagakkai towa nanika 創価学会とは何か Explaining Sōkagakkai Shinchosha April 2004 ISBN 4 10 467301 3 Yatomi Shin Buddhism In A New Light Examines Soka Gakkai interpretations of Buddhist concepts World Tribune Press 2006 ISBN 978 1 932911 14 5 Muwwakkil Zakiya N January 2010 Sacred gospel and the Soka Gakkai Correlating Black liberation theology and Buddhist humanism Implications for religious education and the alleviation of African American ethnic suffering Etd Collection for Fordham University 1 185 News media websites Celebrating in Earnest Buddhists Mark the Start of a New Year With Joy and a Strong Sense of Purpose by Michelle Boorstein The Washington Post January 1 2008 Koichi Miyata Soka University Department of Humanities Critical Comments on Brian Victoria s Engaged Buddhism A Skeleton in the Closet External linksSoka Gakkai International SOKAnet Sōka Gakkai s official website in Japanese Lecture by Levi McLaughlin on SGI Princeton University Soka Spirit published by SGI USA Soka Gakkai published by The World Religions amp Spirituality Project WRSP Ikeda Center for Peace Learning and Dialogue Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Fired staff speak out about Japanese politics 1 07 00 Seikyo Shimbun Documentary on Soka Gakkai Embattled Buddhists Under the Rising Sun Buddhist in America Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Soka Gakkai amp oldid 1050163838, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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