Nichiren does indeed clarify his non-violent stance in Establishing the Correct Law for the Peace of the Land:
Nichijew, he establishes his INTOLERANT stance - from that same Gosho:"If you wish to bring about the tranquility of the empire as soon as possible, first of all, you had better put a ban on the slanderers of the True Dharma throughout the nation.
You, my guest, have seen clear statements in the Nirvana Sutra outlawing slanderers of the True Dharma. Yet you ask me such a question. Is it because you don't understand them, or is it because you don't know the reason for them? What the Nirvana Sutra means is not that we should outlaw disciples of the Buddha at all but that we should solely chastise slanderers of the True Dharma.
Those who wish to uphold the True Dharma should arm themselves with swords, bows and arrows, and halberds, instead of observing the five precepts (against killing, stealing, adultery, lying, and drinking alcohol), and keeping propriety. ... Therefore, those laymen who wish to defend the True Dharma should arm themselves with swords and sticks in order to defend it just as King Virtuous (who killed numerous monks) did.
One who kills an ant will fall into the three evil realms (hell, the realm of hungry spirits, and that of beasts and birds [[i]aka hell, hunger, and animality[/i]]) without fail, but one who eliminates a slanderer of the True Dharma will reach the stage of non-regression, and eventually will attain Buddhahood. ... King Virtuous, who killed slanderers to defend the True Dharma, was reborn in this world as Shakyamuni Buddha.
On the other hand, if he accuses the destroyer of the dharma, chases him out, or punishes him strictly, such a man is My disciple, one who truly hears Me.
King Siladitya of ancient India was a sage who protected Buddhism. Punishing only the ringleader, the king spared the lives of other members who rebelled against him, banishing them from his kingdom. Emperor Hsuan-tsung of T'ang China was a wise ruler who protected Buddhism. He executed 12 Taoist masters, eliminating enemies of the Buddha and restoring Buddhism.
If you wish to bring about peace in our country and pray for happiness in this life, as well as in the future, then waste no time. Think hard and take the necessary measures to thoroughly deal with slanderers of the True Dharma.
Is it not the best way to prevent calamities from overtaking the land to ban the one evil teaching, the source of all the troubles, instead of having various devotional services?
Slanderers of the True Dharma will be suffering in a large hell due to their cumulative evil karma of destroying the True Dharma. ... When their serious crime is reduced and they are allowed to be reborn in the human world, they will be born in the family of the blind, outcasts, or base people who clean toilets and bury dead bodies. Or they will be born without eyes, mouth, ears, or hands functioning properly."
What a horrid, judgmental, arrogant
man!! Look how he blames the poor, the destitute, and the handicapped for causing their own problems because of evil behavior from previous lifetimes! Do you think this is an appropriate perspective for a modern person to hold? Notice that Nichiren defines "slanderers of the True Dharma" as "anyone who preferred a different flavor of Buddhism." Naturally, "the True Dharma" meant "Nichiren's own interpretation." Nichiren obviously wished harm on the competition; he just wanted OTHER PEOPLE to do it. He wants fascism - he wants the government to adopt and enforce his own personal intolerant attitude (and make him famous in the process).
Let's face it - all this talk of "devils" and "protective gods" and "omens" is clearly primitive superstition. The country of Japan has obviously survived to this day, despite Nichiren's dire warnings that it would be utterly destroyed unless the WHOLE COUNTRY converted en masse to his own preferred religion! This alone proves that Nichiren, aside from being completely intolerant, was just plain *wrong* :)
What you need to realize is that there are a *lot* of Buddhists who regard the Lotus Sutra and Nirvana Sutra, both referenced above, to be late and unreliable. There is no sign of either before the late 1st Century CE (which is why they share the same intolerant focus with Christianity). Think about that for a moment - if the Lotus Sutra were, indeed, Shakyamuni Buddha's "highest teaching", the one he spent the final 8 years of his life expounding (until he expounded the Nirvana Sutra last but we don't care about that), WHY did it take some 6 CENTURIES for anyone to bother to write it down? Accepting the 5th Century BCE dates for Shakyamuni Buddha's lifetime as fact, of course. The Nirvana Sutra is unknown before the 2nd Century CE.
Why do you suppose that, in these two sutras, the Buddha does an about-face from his previous generous, magnanimous, completely pacifist stance? That the Buddha should tell people to *IGNORE* the precepts already established, in favor of violence against fellow human beings? Does that not concern you? One of the sutras the SGI does not want you to read is the Kalama Sutra (thought I recommend it highly: Read the Kalama Sutra by clicking here!
) Here is a summary of the main points:“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
Often referred to as "The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry", this fits with the character of the Buddha AND with the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, whereas all that more modern, intolerant content does not.
Judging something to be "good" or "bad" is evidence of *attachment* and *delusion*, because we all know there's nothing inherently "good" or "bad." Even the SGI acknowledges this. The SGI also acknowledges #3 of the Four Noble Truths: "Attachment leads to suffering." So lip service is paid to "attachment is bad". But all of this "evil priests" "slanderers of the True Dharma" etc. - it's completely based in attachments and delusions! Nichiren wanted to bend reality to his will - a most UN-enlightened, UN-Buddhist attitude - and sought to persuade, even pressure and coerce, others to agree with him. This is not Buddhist behavior! It is disrespectful and arrogant, which are both the antithesis of Buddhism! The Buddha was able to see from the perspective of eternity, and knew that each person was already doing his best, so the best course of action was to accept and encourage each person, trusting that, in the fullness of time, he would walk his own path as only he could. The Buddha never presumed to tell other people what to do - when you see people ordering other people to do this or that, it should be a flashing red light that what you're reading or hearing is *NOT* Buddhism!
Nichiren was all in a kerfuffle over what he perceived as the imminent destruction of Japan. Japan was not destroyed. Japan continues to this day! Nichiren was clearly deluded, and I don't think we need to pay any more attention to him or his fascist, intolerant, medieval views. We've outgrown them, and we've progressed beyond that point (hopefully). We live in a pluralistic society where the government guarantees basic protections under the law to all citizens, a policy that Nichiren would fight tooth and nail against. There are so many religions that it has become clear that religious belief is like visiting a buffet - you are free to take whatever you like, whatever appeals to you, and pass the rest on by. But you are not allowed to choose for anyone else! You can pass on the whole darn buffet if you like - so what? The supernatural does not exist. Superstitions are primitive manifestations of fear and ignorance. There is no "magic" out there, no "curses", no dire demonic threats waiting to rain down on the unwary. You can practice Buddhism if you like; you can quit at any time; and you can ignore it if it doesn't appeal to you! The Buddha acknowledged this - that is why he made it clear that he taught "A way" - not "THE way." There is *no* "THE way." Everyone will choose something different - one size fits all actually fits none. Any religion that presents itself as "one size fits all" proves with that premise that it is wrong.
"Nichiren does indeed clarify his non-violent stance in Establishing the Correct Law for the Peace of the Land: the giving of alms to slanderous monks is forbidden in the sutra teachings."
Those who believe in "the sutra teachings" I'm sure behave to the best of their ability according to their understanding of the sutra's teachings. Their interpretation may not agree with Nichiren's interpretation of the sutra teachings in question, of course. Do you *REALLY* think the government shouldlegislate which religious organizations are allowed to accept donations? Nichiren did! He frequently petitioned the government to take action against other sects of Buddhism (on his own behalf and for his own benefit - he wished to be The Only Government-Approved Priest and Religion)! If our government were to enact a policy where no one is allowed to give donations to the SGI, would you feel that was "not intolerant"? If there were legal punishment associated with such a ban (it wouldn't be much of a ban without teeth, right?), would you consider that "non-violent"? Or would you think it was all *fine*, so long as the banned/persecuted religion wasn't your own?
Just a few thoughts.