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A Profile of Soka Gakkai

Article Index
A Profile of Soka Gakkai
Nichiren Buddhism
Theology - Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shoshu vs. Other Nichiren Sects
The Lotus Sutra and the Nichiren Buddhism
Founding of Soka
Ikeda and His
Political Activities
New Single-Seat Constituency System
Revision to the 1951
Religious Corporation Law
Ikeda Avoids the Call to Testify
Recent Political Development
Claim of Kechi-myaku (True Inheritors)
Seattle Scandal
Demolition of the Sho-hon-do
Ordinary Members

Re-arranged by T.

George Orwell (1903-1950) once said, 'Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proven innocent' (Reflections on Gandhi, 1950) while Albert Einstein (1879-1955) said, 'Great Spirits Have Always Encountered Violent Objections From Mediocre Minds.' Please therefore do not read this as an attack on anyone, while comments, corrections and amplifications are welcome.

1. Introduction

Soka (Soka means to create value; , association), is a unique phenomenon in modern Japanese history. As the largest Buddhist organisation in Japan, it has also evoked much controversy.

Internationally, Soka is acclaimed as an open, constructive religious body and its supreme leader, Ikeda Daisaku (1928- ), is praised as an educator, thinker and pacifist. Domestically, Soka is condemned as a self-righteous cult, intolerant of other religions. Ikeda himself is portrayed as a tyrant, slanderer and despot.

These two conflicting perceptions were better summed up in The Los Angeles Times (15 Mar 96) : '... perhaps no other figure in Japan today presents such a puzzle of conflicting perceptions. Ikeda resembles a prism, reflecting people's greatest hopes and worst fears...'

On the Internet, there are an average of 100 postings each day in Newsgroup's alt.religion.buddhism.nichiren; and there are also several anti-Soka sites on the Web, such as http://coyote.accessnv.com/tamonten. But for non-Japanese to understand the Soka , one has to surmount the surrounding linguistic wall and the cultural gap first, and this article attempts to present a profile of the organisation, through the examination of its historical development, its motivations, its agenda and its activities.