6. Converting Others To The HBS Religion (Kyoke)
Priest:Kyoke is a practice of converting others to the true faith of the HBS religion through education, influence, and resolution of doubts. Incidentally, on what religious teachings does HBS base its faith?
Q:Isn't it the Lotus Sutra?
A:Yes. The Lotus Sutra is our basic text. Please explain the fundamental basis of faith that Shakyamuni Buddha elucidated in the Lotus Sutra.
Q:We believe he taught it on the basis that there is no discrimination between people and to create a person who possesses a sympathetic soul of compassion and mercy. It is, namely, a Bodhisattva, isn't it?
A:Yes. Shakyamuni Buddha did not provide us with the Odaimoku or the teachings of the Lotus Sutra to satisfy his personal gain or greed. The aim of the Lotus Sutra was to build Bodhisattvas that can spread the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. What type of person is referred to as Bodhisattvas? The following Instructive Poem stated:
“Bodhisattvas, regardless of whether they are laymen or priests,
Are persons who help others".
How can one help? It is stated:
“A parishioner that endeavors to convert others
Is a Bodhisattva".
A parishioner cannot help others by their own power. They need the aid of the Gohonzon. Converting others to the HBS religion is to have them practice the chanting of the Odaimoku of the Lotus Sutra.
Q:Proselytism is a very important practice to realize the intentions of Shakymuni Buddha and Nichiren Shonin, isn't it?
The shortest path to receive merits:
Q:It seems that we, ordinary people, are practicing the faith to gain personal merits rather than endeavoring to convert others to the religion of HBS.
A: The following Instructive Poems is intended for those persons:
“By bestowing merits and virtues on others,
Its reward will be returned to you.
When endeavoring to aid others,
It is also upon one's own body.
Upon converting others,
the merits of good deeds will be returned to you.
You will be happy and so will they."
It is said that the practice of converting others will benefit you as well as the converted. Its merits will be returned to you. Why is this the shortest path to gain protection?
Q:Isn't it because it is the main objective of the Buddha and Great Master Nichiren?
A:Yes. That is known as:“The correspondence between the Buddha's power and man's receptivity (Kanno Dokyo)". When the power of the Gohonzon, the Buddha power embodied in the Gohonzon, the power of the Odaimoku and the power of faith of the practitioners all come together, phenomenal merits will appear.
One must adjust the channel to that of the Buddha and Great Master Nichiren. If not, the correspondence between the powers of the Buddha or Great Master Nichiren and man's receptivity will not be accomplished. What then is the spirit of the Lotus Sutra and Buddha's true objective? It was stated:
“To spread the five words of the Odaimoku
Is the true objective of the Lotus Sutra"
The core of the teachings of the Lotus Sutra is to chant, Namumyohorengekyo, by oneself and to spread it to others. This is the only religion that can fulfill the will of the Buddha and Great Master Nichiren. Therefore, a person having the soul to convert others was elucidated as follows:
“Having a soul to pray for assistance to convert others
Its wishes will be contained in the prayer.
It is a grateful law in aiding others
As one's wishes are contained therein"
Explanation:By proselytizing, your own wishes will unknowingly be granted to you through the correspondence between the Buddha's power and man's receptivity.
Preparations required to convert others:
A:Can you elaborate on the steps to be taken to convert others?
Q:Is it to firmly offer a prayer asking for assistance before the Gohonzon?
A:Yes. To convert others cannot be accomplished by one's own power or ability. First of all, a petition must be offered to the Gohonzon asking for assistance and to pray day and night.
Q:We ask the Gohonzon for a “fulfillment of our earnest wishes" or “recovery from illness" without any hesitation, yet when it comes to converting others, we usually forget to offer a prayer don't we?
A:One should not neglect to offer a prayer to the Gohonzon to convert others and to pray on a daily basis. However, before approaching a person whom you wish to convert, pray at your home or at the temple's altar. In doing so:
“By the power of the Odaimoku
One can help others through their effort"
Q:Isn't it important to persuade as many people as possible with perseverance? Some people say, “I cannot think of anyone that I can attempt to convert".
A:Such people should examine carefully some of their associates. There must be someone among them that needs a prayer of “sowing the seeds of Buddhahood" into their soul. An Instructive Poems says:
“While having a conversation of current topics
Use it as a key to convert others"
Take an opportunity to convert others during conversations with neighbors or friends.
Q:There are times when an opportunity arises to persuade others to this religion but to accomplish it is extremely difficult.
A:It may be difficult to come out directly and ask, “Would you be interested in becoming a practitioner of the HBS religion?" But undoubtedly, there are many other ways one can approach a person.
Q:Some people have a misconception that they should do it alone when attempting to convert others, but shouldn't it be done through mutual cooperation with other parishioners?
A:Attempting to convert another requires a case-by-case technique. A parishioner should carefully assess the facts and circumstances of the individual before approaching the individual by themselves or with other parishioners. The following is an Instructive Poem, which outlines the basic knowledge that one must have to convert others;
“Do not attempt to spread the law by definition.
Just to chant is important,
And to receive merits is important"
In order to be successful in converting others, one must maintain simplicity. It cannot be accomplished by defining complicated teachings of Buddhist doctrines. The power to convert others is to have one imitate them by chanting the Odaimoku and to have them receive merits. An Instructive Poem states:
“People of this world who are grateful
Through persuasion, the law will spread"
Attaching provisions to convert others is forbidden. As stated in the following Instructive Poem, doing so always fails:
“Do not attach bargaining points
Because people despise this
Only sow genuine religious seeds"
Q:People who are good at converting others share the same characteristics. They are kind and considerate, aren't they?
A:Yes. They have “an atmosphere of a good parishioner of HBS" They are neither eloquent nor have a high social status, yet, strangely, they have a knack of converting others to the religion.
Nissen Shonin stated:
“A model parishioner who has a reputation of aiding others
Will attract others to the HBS religion"
Nichiren affiliated sects:
There are approximately 40 Nichiren affiliated sects that take into account the flow of Nichiren Shonin's teachings. If the Shinto religious sect are included, the number of sects that chant the Odaimoku is even larger. There are some new religious sects founded after World War II that chant the Odaimoku, but they preach questionable Teachings superstition and vulgar beliefs that are not expounded in Nichiren Shonin's teachings. Following are various traditional religious sects that have been in existence from ancient times:
a). Nichiren Shu. Their main temple is Kuonji Temple in Mt. Minobu
b). Nichiren Sho Shu, the parent body of Sokka Gakkai.
c). Kenpon Hokke Shu.
d). Hokke Shu
e). Hommon Hokke Shu
The above mentioned sects and others have strayed away from one or more of the teachings of Nichiren Shonin. Consequently, based on the following reasons they are not considered to be true religious sects.
l. Degrading the Doctrine.
Nichiren Shonin clearly elucidated in his writing, “A Treatise Revealing the Spiritual Contemplation and the Object of Worship" (Kanjin Honzon Sho), that the object of worship is bound only by the Primordial Eight Chapters (Hommon Happon) of the Lotus Sutra". However, some of the sects maintain that the Provisional Section (Shakumoh) and the Primordial Sections (Hommon) are equal. Some only persist that Chapter 16, “The Life-span of the Tathagata" is important. That is a mistaken viewpoint.
2. Reciting the Lotus Sutra.
Nichiren Shonin stated:“Uphold the Odaimoku exclusively and chant it without paying attention to other passages. Reciting the Lotus Sutra is not permitted". However, some sects hold in contempt the chanting of the Odaimoku and places emphasis on reciting the Lotus Sutra in a singsong manner.
3. Random Enshrinement:
In contrast to the teachings of Nichiren Shonin that the Odaimoku is the sole object of worship, some sects display icons of other Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Guardian Kings of Heaven. Such an act is slandering the Dharma. Other Nichiren affiliated sects display many different kinds of figures, such as Daikoku Ten, Bishamon Ten, Kishimojin and Inari to suit their whims.
4. Merit Transference.
They forget about Buddhism's true intention and Nichiren Shonin's teachings about Bodhisattva practices. Other sects' main objectives are engagement in merit transference and funeral services only.
Nissen Shonin's Instructive Verse elucidated:“Do not be mislead or be confused by sects that call themselves as Nichiren Sect. That is not a true Nichren Shu Sect". This phrase does not mean one should directly give all his attention to embracing the Lotus Sutra and to studying it thoroughly from Chapter 1 to 28. It means one should uphold the Odaimoku exclusively without paying attention to other passages in the Lotus Sutra and to recite it in its entirety is prohibited.
Soka Gakkai (S.G.I):
Among the newly formed religious groups, Soka Gakkai was criticized for its back-handed activities and cult-like practices, but it grew into a mammoth religious group.
Soka Gakhai, formerly known as Soka Academic Institute, first began its activities as an academic group founded by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi in the Taisho Era (1920) in Japan. Later, it was integrated into the Nichiren Sho Shu Sect and began it's religious activities as a lyman group.
In 1900, the Nichiren Sho Shu Sect separated from the Hommon Shu Sect that followed the teachings of Nikko Shonin, one of the six senior disciples of Nichiren Shonin.
It was a small and weak religious group that consisted of approximately 20,000 members in the Taisho Era. Moreover, when the Gakkai's internal affairs led by Makiguchi became degenerated, it instantly began to fall into a fix of hatred. For a while, Nichiren Sho Shu Sect lent Soka Gakkai a space under their “eaves", but the latter eventually stole the whole house.
Soka Gakkai without reserve declared publicly that other sects are heretical religion, but examining Soka Gakkai objectively it can be seen that it has the following shortcomings.
(1). They assert only the Odaimoku of Chapter 16, “The Life Span of the Tathagata". That is a mistaken viewpoint. It is in direct contrast to the teaching of Nichiren Shonin who asserted that the Odaimoku is restricted to the Primordial Eight Chapters (Hommon Happon) of the Lotus Sutra.
(2). Initially, Soka Gakkai maintained that the original and true Scripture was the wooden Mandala displayed at the Fuji Taisekiji Temple given to Yashiro Kunishige by Nichiren Shonin. Among Japanese scholars of religion, Yashiro Kunishige is a fictitious person. Later, it became apparent through the scholars' researches that the wooden mandala was an imitation. Some officials within Soka Gakkai claimed:
“We had been fooled by Daisaku Ikeda" about the wooden mandala.
(3). They claimed the only successor of Nichiren Shonin was Nikko Shonin. Historical facts, however, do not support that belief. It can be said that it was selfwilled and for self-praise only.
(4). It can be said that Soka Gakkai of today is a political group rather than a religious organization. Their motive to engage in missionary work is to broaden their political territory. They have misinterpreted Nichiren Shonin's spirit by moving into a direction most hated by Nichiren Shonin. To gain political power (influence) was contrary to Nichiren Shonin's desire.
Explain the above-mentioned items to former Soka Gakkai's members when you are introducing them to the HBS religion.
Christianity is a traditional religion that was founded about 2,000 year ago by Jesus Christ. It is one of the three greatest religions in the world besides Buddhism and Islam.
Their figure of worship is God who is said to have created the world in six days.
However, following are some inconsistent views elucidated in the Bible:
(1). Christianity views conflict with the “Theory of Evolution" that was established by the scientific community.
(2). If all existences, including human beings, were the creation of God and if he is truly almighty and filled with compassion, why did he not create a peaceful world without evils and sufferings. Christianity elucidates that God created human beings modeled after Him, but in that case why are the people too greedy and ignorant? It can be said that the world of human beings is full of strife and impiety. It can be said that God is not a God of love but a God of misfortunes.
Christianity espouses that the evil world of human beings was caused by Adam and Eve's degeneration. If so, why did he create them in the first place? What would be their answer?
There is much to learn from the activities of Christian organizations and on the part of its parishioners, but it can be said that Christianity is not a true religion that can relieve sufferings from humanity. It is full of discrepancies and lacks the most important factor, The Object of Worship.
Nichiren Shonin, when calmly sitting at the site of his execution in Tatsunokuchi, he smiled and expressed “joy of being executed". But, by some miracle occurrence the executioner was unable to behead him. On the other hand, Christ at time of his execution shouted in a tragic voice, “God, are you deserting me?
Tell the people who seek membership in HBS about the differences between Buddhism and Christianity; that Jesus was executed whereas Nichiren Shonin was saved from being executed.
General rules of subduing when converting people of other religious sects:
First of all, be careful in your choice of words. No matter how wrong other religions may be, the person engaged in it is devoted. Thus, it is not advisable to unilaterally criticize the religion of others. Do it in a fashion that will not hurt their pride.
Secondly, to menbers of other religion, acknowledge their merits. However, the finer points of the HBS religion should also be explained to them.
To take an attitude of impartiality is advisable. On the other hand, be adamant about expressing the differences between the religion of HBS and other religions that are engaged in superstition and vulgarity.
To members of other religions that resort to reasons that “my religion also provides benefits", acknowledge it by saying that it alright. However, explain to them that HBS provides salvation to all mankind and will eradicate sins accumulated from the past life and can take a meritorious soul into the future world is through its practices in this present world.
Nissen Shonin's Instructive Poem:
“When attempting to convert others
Speak softly and avoid aggressive expressions
Do it in a fashion whereby they will be able to understand it"
Superior Points of HBS
When talking to members of another religion, point out the following factors that the religion of the Lotus Sutra is superior in comparison to other religions.
Firstly, to people that are not practicing the faith of Buddhism, emphasize the teachings of salvation for the three worlds (past, present and future) elucidated in the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra. That is, eradication of one's sins from the past world and to receive beneficial changes from a fixed destiny in this present world and to obtain salvation of the spirit for the future world. This is only expounded in Buddhism.
When talking to others, determine if their religion expounds the salvation for the three worlds. If not, use it as a basis for attempting to convert others to the HBS religion. To members who rely upon the sutras of other Buddhist religions, tell them that there are various types of teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha like there are various kinds of glasswares and pottery. But to that end, emphasize that the Lotus Sutra is the most supreme and true teaching and, naturally, it awardes merits to its diligent practitioners.
Some people misunderstand that Nichiren Shonin is the sole preacher who believes that the Lotus Sutra is supreme. To those people, explain that the various Buddhist sutras of other religion elucidated piecemeal Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment, but the Lotus Sutra contains the complete composite teaching of Shakyamuui Buddha. Thus, the Lotus Sutra has been highly respected by many masters, such as Tendai Daishi, Dengyo Daishi, Shotoku Taishi and other highly regarded saints before Nichiren Shonin's appearance.
Lastly, explain to members of other Nichiren sects that HBS is the only sect that preaches the true teachings of the Lotus Sutra inherited from Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren Shonin.
Use as reference the aforementioned clauses about Nichiren Sects and Soka Gakkai when speaking to others about the HBS religion.
Nichiren Shonin's Instruction:
“Shakyamuni Buddha stated that, among the many teachings, the Lotus Sutra is the most important teaching. I, Nichiren, established this sect based on the Lotus Sutra. Thus, the sect should be called, Busturyu Shu."