This is a reply I took from the Kempon Hokke public forum. “Frank” apparently is a FWP reader and complained on the board regarding Mark Rogow’s post, since taken off of the blog.
This brings up some interesting things about Kempon Hokke, for which I hold not criticism for their history, tradition or teachings. It’s the people, and by people I mean Graham Lamont and Mark Rogow, because they’re the only two, constituting the entire Kempon Hokke sect in the US.
Gentleman, you are both truly tribal in the deepest, most fundamental sense. For years I have head Mr. Lamont express his deep-seated “US vs. THEM” psyche. “Those people”, “Them” all meaning SGI.
Graham, I know nothing I say will ever penetrate your injured cult-damaged psyche (the damage done unto him by a myriad of Gakkai culties through the years) but we are not the FLDS. We don’t live in a compound. All of us are more or less invested in our SGI activities to different degrees, some very little. Many of us are sincerely looking for a deeper connection with Nichiren’s Buddhism
We’re not finding it with you bud. You’re offensive, you’re a fundamentalist in the worst sense of the word, and more so, you’re really not a nice guy.
Your interpersonal communication skills suck. You use terms that offend, and you point them to everyone and anyone who has any connection to SGI labeling us slanderers and non-believers incapable of ever accepting the truth. Did it ever occur to you that it’s your delivery that makes “the truth” undeliverable?
Through the years I have studied and read your essays and your books constantly reminding myself you’re not a hellfire Christian, you’re suppose to be a Nichiren Buddhist.
I know I know, you alone have the truth. YOU are right, we are deluded. You alone will attain enlightenment, we will all go to hell.
Graham, the real problem is you’re a horrible communicator, and no one would want to be around you or anyone who talks like you. With you it’s not about doctrine, or correct interpretation or translation, its PERSONAL.
Let me clarify this, at least to my readers. I don’t know you personally, but what you write and how you write it is offensive and ugly. I know you think that all that matters is “being right” but that’s not how the real world works. If you can’t convey your message in a way that people can hear, there is no message, right OR wrong.
Funny, I wonder if being “right” all the time excuses you from good social behavior?
“I wish Mr. Rogow would stop trying to do battle with these people.
I did not introduce the Kempon Hokke into this country to convert the unconvertible icchantikas of the Fuji-ha. It’s a hopeless task and they must bear their karma since they will never repent in this world system.
If this “Frank” rejects the idea of “hell fire” then he rejects Nichiren Shonin since any study of Nichiren Shonin’s works would clearly demonstrate that the fear of hell fire is one of his major themes. (In general, fear of falling to “hell” was quite widespread among medieval Japanese Buddhists and, indeed, among many Buddhists now, except for the cocktail party Zennicks, who have succeeded in removing any original meaning in Buddhism to please themselves!)
Hell fire, in any case, is not the same as the eternal damnation preached by the evangelical icchantikas in this country; “hell” (jigoku) is actually purgatory, a place to wipe out by experiencing specific suffering proportional to the karmic offence or sin. No one is ever completely rejected in Buddhism. If Devadatta was given the prophecy of Supreme Buddhahood, even members of twisted evil sects such as the Fuji-ha.
This is the age of struggle, the age of the Latter Dharma, the age of shakubuku (breaking and subduing) in which we should vigorously press the true Dharma and point out the errors of wrong teachings. But this need only done thrice and then even a sage may retire. How much less those of us who are not sages. I have told Mr. Rogow this. He does not have the scholarly training to do this work beyond a simple level and he is preaching to icchantikas who, in the words of the Daihatsunehangy? (Great Parinirvana Sutra), do not believe, hear or discriminate. So there is no more obligation by Mr. Rogow to try to convert these people. In practical terms, Fuji-ha members will almost never really convert; they are unbelievers and truth-deniers.
As to the pseudo-compliment, “I know Kempon Hokke is a better sect than this.”, it is an attempt to flatter by a person who appears to know nothing of our history.
The great martyr Nikkyo displayed at the risk of his life in 1597 a banner against the other sects; he in turn was merely following a final directive of our master Nichiju who urged ‘The various sects are the root cause of falling to hell and the Hokke Sect alone shall attain Buddhahood.’ And Nichiju was following Nichiren Shonin’s admonition In this age, rather than retreating to a quiet life of seclusion, one should boldly proclaim: “The other sutras have no Attaining of the Way and are the fundamental source of dropping to the hells; the Lotus Sutra alone is the Dharma for attaining Buddhahood!” Nyosetsu shugy? sh? (STN, v. 1, 736) So what more do you want.
So why not argue with these people: Mr. Rogow is not sufficiently trained; I am trained but the people at these websites understand nothing, are stubborn and refuse the proofs of the scripture. This attitude I have found to be universal. The Buddha Shakya’s Golden Words mean nothing to these people and the instructions of Nichiren Shonin, Lord Shakya’s own messenger, are ignored when they clash with these people’s desires.
The kind of expression which is being complained of here by a Gakkai member is precisely the kind of remark that the Gakkai has been known to use repeatedly in the past. (I know many cases where they used to scare people if something bad happened. I remember one case in this country where they threatened a woman with a leg injury that her leg would fall off if the didn’t join the Gakkai at once.) So when the Gakkai complains this way about such remarks, its pure hypocrisy! Note the site says it is Buddhism with an attitude but when they get a dose of attitude they can’t take it and try to complain to Rev. Tsuchiya.
Mr. Rogow has used this kind of argument because it’s the very kind of argument he learned in the Gakkai. Since neither such an argument nor textual proofs will work on these people, I urge Mr. Rogow to stop visiting such sites. Mr. Rogow to his great credit has stated the Truth of the Dharma already and that is enough. Please remember the example of Shijo Kingo, a faithful but hot-headed believer whom Nichiren Shonin had to restrain. I cannot order Mr. Rogow to stop (the Kempon Hokke is not a totalitarian mass movement as the Gakkai is) but I urge him to stop wasting his time on these people; they will not repent and leave their errors and so Mr. Rogow cannot save them from their terrible fate hereafter. “
All this being said, Mr. Lamont has an interesting point – we call ourselves “Buddhism with Attitude” but can we take it when it comes?