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?
Rev. Greg

This is a reprint from something that was written on another forum. I though it appropriate as we seem to have a wave of true fundamentalism on FWP right now. Most people think of fundamentalism in terms of religion, specifically Christianity or Muslim, but fundamentalism is a human function.
It’s curious to me that people like this could claim divine punishment in a largely Christian nation. I think the Born-agains and Evangelicals would disagree with this, and perhaps another post currently showing on FWP.
Once a fundie, always a fundie. Once a cultie ALWAYS a cultie. Many of those who once drank the koolaid forever lament it and will never be free.
It’s just an energy taking thing to continue, I really have no
concept of what you people seem to be ‘debating’ about.
What “Scholarly” community did you refer to? What I found amusing is
that Ikeda ranted for so long about his “Historic” meeting with the
now deceased Arnold Tornybee,[and now deceased Carl Sagan, and new
deceased.....etc. Everyone who ever met him is 'now deceased'.] -
that the biographer hardly gives Ikeda a paragraph of a 900 plus page
authentic biography – which is a completely different concept to
former NSA believers who simply gobbled up Ikedaisms through book
sales and memorized them until nothing else would fit into their
heads. My practice of over 25 years has helped me to see the forest
for the trees. After the 1992 split, America has had nothing but
hardships, we owe nothing to those people of the SGI. We can thank
them for Katrina, flooding all throughout the mid-west, Missouri
Flooding, Tennesse Tornadoes, including the unprecidented flooding in
England, where virtually everyone gave up their practice to follow
that person, and so forth. Everywhere where there are temple members
as well as correct Gohonzon, is relative calm, normal weather while
elsewhere is a mess. The inability for Ikeda to accept “Guidance”
from the High Priest, while they so quickly dispensed same to
thousands of people daily without regard to personal circumstances
tells me, and others, that he felt he was above listening to anyone
else but himself. One of the first great splits in Nichiren Shoshu
was when the Five Senior Priests left Minobu to do their own thing.
They established their own school and wore purple robes, whereas,
Nikko decided to stay and carry out the Daishonin’s written will.
It’s really a question of choice to follow one creed over another.
For decades fanatics defended Ikeda’s every word and movement;
running around wearing little two-way radios – taking care
of ‘traffic control’ calling him Sensai and bowing and scraping at
the mere mention of his words. Members were encouraged to ‘memorize’
President Ikeda’s words and quote him, we watched as male and female
members of NSA stumbled over his concepts using pidgin to talk to one
another until finally, after all of that crap and almost having to
sing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – a completely Christian performance -
it was time to say so long. In the 10 years that I practiced with
NSA I had gone on nearly every major Convention, but was never
allowed to go on a Tozan as all seats were reserved for the so-
called “Leaders”. When the leaders of the 21st Century in NSA
stumbled and fell; I was able to attend all temple activities and
interesting was finally able to attend Tozan on several occassions.
If you want to sit at your stupid computer and call Taisekiji names,
while at the same time calling yourself a scholar then I’m sorry, you
will have to find a different audience for your outpourings.

I just came in from my cold windy coastal back yard. Around to the back of my home I planted the giant Japanese Vivax bamboo. The plot where the bamboo is planted is not huge, but nonetheless significant for sitting by, and listening to the wind blow through. Wind blown bamboo, along with my collection of wind chimes, makes for a nice backdrop for study.
I’m studying Living Buddhism, Mar-Apr 2008, section (12), page 64 which is the study for April. It’s amazing to me how dualistic SGI can be at times. As others have noticed our study lectures are really quite high level, especially in contrast to past era’s Gakkai study efforts.
“Earthly desires are enlightenment, and the sufferings of birth and death are Nirvana” is the overriding theme of this section. I’ve been fortunate to have a WD member come into my district that has stepped up to become our study liaison. She presents very mainstream views on the material at district meetings, which leaves me free to present what I want to present. Without her I find myself grudgingly having to represent the party line more than I am comfortable with.
My Gakkai Buddhism is a Buddhism of partial omission. I simply omit cultism when I run head-long into it. In my area there is virtually none of this function, at least in view of my personal sensitivity.
I believe that the Buddhism of the Soka Gakkai is valid, and real. It’s easy to discard something that appears brand new (in the Buddhist-anthropological time line anyway). This is an important point about our Buddhism.
Mahayana, in terms of scholarship and research, did not come into being until long after the death of Shakyamuni Buddha.
This is a hard thing to grasp as Nichiren fully bases his entire life’s work on the Lotus Sutra as the Buddha’s final and ultimate teaching.
The reality remains that Buddhism can certainly not be viewed as being limited only to “the Buddha”. The teachings of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni continued to evolve and develop long after his passing. In fact it continues to develop today. This is perfectly acceptable to myself in light of the vast socio-political changes through centuries of human devolvement. We simply live in a vastly more complex and complicated world today than that of Nichiren, and certainly then that of prehistoric India.
The Buddhism of the Soka Gakkai remains, in my opinion, the newest and most applicable evolution of those teachings for today’s world, at least the omitted Buddhism of the Soka Gakkai.
What I define as the omitted Buddhism of the Soka Gakkai is primarily our tradition of practice. What I omit is the parts I simply don’t understand, which is the emerging dark cultism of M/D and exclusivism.
Enough has been written about the M/D thing, so let me elaborate on my idea of exclusivism. What I mean is our “we are number one!” mentality. Page 65 of the Living Buddhism states “The Soka Gakkai alone has inherited the ultimate law of life and death from Nichiren, correctly upholding and practicing his teaching and spreading it widely throughout the world in accord with his instructions”.
I have my own personal feelings and beliefs regarding this hard-lined stance. First, I know a lot more about other Nichiren sects than the SGI wishes I or any other member did, which makes it difficult to subscribe to such an exclusive belief.
This paragraph is italicized for the simple reason that it contains two key principles;
1) “belief”
2) “exclusive”
Number one addresses how I feel about much of the cultism that is emerging from SGI. It’s one thing to sincerely believe SGI is the one and only Nichiren sect fulfilling Nichiren’s will. As a personal conviction, epiphany or inspiration, this belief creates powerful images and feelings. As a published doctrine, it’s ugly.
Ugly – “Displeasing to the eye; unsightly. Repulsive or offensive; objectionable: an ugly remark”.
This kind of exclusive group doctrine has not played out well for the Jews. I’m at a loss as to why we continue to push this agenda, in public, for all to see. It’s the kind of thinking that is acceptable among the Japanese perhaps, but not throughout the free world.
I object. I will continue to object. My objection has nothing to do with my personal opinion of whether or not this claim is true, rather with the reality that we, as a Buddhist lay organization, shouldn’t be talking like that. For one thing, there is no metric available to prove it, and therefore it remains a belief, not a fact.
Our cult brothers the Scientologists at least have a metric to gauge one’s progress toward “clear”. They have their E-METER used in their practice of auditing, or “clutching the cans” as I have heard it called. We have no “B-METER” or Bodhisattva-of-the-Earth meter or any other method of proving our claims as fact.
I want the SGI to stop talking like we are the Jewish Buddhists. Please.
Number two is that ugly word exclusive;
Exclusive – Excluding or tending to exclude: exclusive barriers. Not allowing something else; incompatible: mutually exclusive conditions.
This is what we are becoming – exclusive. In western thinking exclusive usually denotes something valuable, such as an “exclusive club”. What good is a club that lets just anyone in? As Woody Allen once said, “I would never want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member”. Exclusive can be a powerful marketing tool, but for the Buddhism of ultimate human freedom, it blows.
We’re Buddhists, not the Freemasons. We should be inclusive, at least in some ways, or to some degree. Instead SGI, in my opinion, is becoming exclusive.
I don’t know why these things are happening. Perhaps we are losing members to the temple groups of Nichiren Shoshu. Problem is, the more we behave like we are, the more we will lose. “Anyone can join” you say? True, but if you aren’t with us, you’re against us.
MY Buddhism omits these ugly things, and so I won’t discuss them at the next study meeting – this Saturday.
My Buddhism is what I believe to be the real Buddhism of the Soka Gakkai. It’s the Buddhism of daily practice. It’s the Buddhism of “Earthly desires are enlightenment, and the sufferings of birth and death are Nirvana”. The SGI’s Buddhism is the Buddhism for those who never desired to be Buddhists, rather just wanted to chant to be happy. THAT’S what I mean by inclusive Buddhism. Anyone can chant. Simply stated, this is the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra appropriate for our current age, an age of global universalism, the Buddhism for one world.
Rev. Greg
P.S. I’m still not signing.