"The Buddha and Devadatta are like a form and its shadow-in lifetime after lifetime, they are never separated. Prince Shotoku and his archenemy Moriya appeared at the same time, like the blossom and the calyx of the lotus. If there exists a votary of the Lotus Sutra, then the three types of enemies are bound to exist as well."(Opening of the Eyes, by Nichiren Daishonin).1 (Kaimoku Sho)
The "Devadatta" was the enemy of the Buddha who tried to oppose Shakyamuni and caused suffering for those he touched. Many people, see the principle of "devadatta" in opponants around them or in ambitious persons among their groups. Thus Devadatta has become the archetype for the sort of "evil" person whom is akin to the devil. But the truth is that the story of "devadatta" is meant to warn us about urges as universal and as old as humanity and ourselves. We can see "devadatta like" behavior around us, but it is most dangerous when we are the ones manifesting it.
And accusing folks of being "devadatta" is a dangerous thing. Because it often masks the same kind of behavior in the accuser that the accuser maintains is present in the accused. This is expecially true in the various stories being passed around regarding the friends and enemies of the Sokagakkai. Each of the stories gets curiouser and curiouser as one investigates them. And often one finds, in the end that one is chosing among prevaracators with no assurances that any of them are telling the truth. The "Yamazaki" story is a key example of this.
- For more on the philosophical subjects follow these links:
- Devadatta, and Fundamental Darkness.
- Other stories of treachery and conflict:
- Sanmibo Nichijo, six priests
Nevertheless, this page is devoted to a gallery of "rogues" and alleged rogues. There have been many teachers who have caused trouble for believers either intentionally or by fallout from more personal disputes. Sometimes the troubles were in the relationships between the teachers. Nikko Shonin for instance, was involved in a succession dispute with his rivals. Chigaku Tanaka taught things that were used by the nationalists to undermine Nichiren Buddhism from within. The founders of the Gakkai, each had to face people who opposed them. So it should only be expected that the movement today should face the same kind of troubles.
Unfortunately the Japanese seem very good at generating such "devadatta" types. As we shall see, folks like this guy "Yamazaki" are legion in Japan. It seems that these folks can't become a "loyal opposition" or express disagreements without drawing swords. They go strait from fawning synchophancy to trying to slit throats. And often times they seem to be launching their attacks before the declaration of war is issued and while they are still protesting freindship and loyalty.
When we hear stories about various "traitors" in relationship to the issues between the Gakkai and its earstwhile Fuji School parent religion Nichiren Shoshu (called Temple issue or Soka Spirit) we should reflect that the people who are described as being "like Devadatta" are following a paradigm of treachery and political infighting that to them seems normal. Often they are playing a deep game for stakes that might not be in their surface words. If we are taken in by them we may develope a deeply distorted understanding of what has been happening.
In our own time, nastiness has indeed once again broken out. And you hear constant stories about this or that person being "evil", "vile" or corrupt. One of the favorite stories on this is the one in which certain former Gakkai leaders are given the blame for "causing" trouble between the priests and the Gakkais back in the 70's. In the official version of the story, Yamazaki or others are all evil vile and corrupt and devious, while the other leaders, priests, and the Gakkai itself were innocent of doing anything wrong. Yet, while the stories have had some of the same bad-guys as main characters, since the 70's, the details of the stories have changed so much through the past 30 years that the present story is almost unrecognizable when compared against the stories told 20 or thirty years ago.
When I first wrote this web page I was familiar with some of these stories. But since then I've come into contact with other stories that cast doubt on those stories I heard. And the actual picture becomes not only more complex, but proof that not only was Yamazaki a bit devious, but so are the people who tell the stories about Yamazaki. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
The most hated man in the Sokagakkai.html">Sokagakkai is probably a fellow named "Yamazaki". He was once a YMD leader and became an attourney for the Gakkai during the 70's. He is credited with a lot of nasty things on his road to personal ambition. He is portrayed by some Gakkai leaders as if he were the devil incarnate, a genuine "Devadatta". Richard Yoshimachi, for one, gives him credit for much of the maneuvering between the priesthood and the Sokagakkai.html">Gakkai that led to President Ikeda's resignation in 1979.
There is no doubt about his part in some of these events. But the real story is much "curiouser." For one thing he had as his ally Mr. Takashi Harashima, former chief of the Soka Gakkai study department and chief of the Soka Gakkai Doctrinal Bureau, who was a top leader during most of the 70's. And his ability to make mischief was abetted by the deep deception being perpetrated by the Gakkai which did not want to advertise it's disagreements with Nichiren Shoshu or it's criticisms of the priesthood, or it's own financial dealings. For instance the "Shoshinkai" people translated an article that was written in 1980. And one of their apologists writes: Quoting the October 27, 1980 Seikyo Shimbun:"The true reason for the current conflicts can be found in the persons of Mr. Masatomo Yamazaki, who was the senior legal advisor for the Soka Gakkai, and Mr. Takashi Harashima, former chief of the Soka Gakkai study department and chief of the Soka Gakkai Doctrinal Bureau."The so-called outspoken priests within Nichiren Shoshu were for the most part duped by Yamazaki's scheming. Since Yamazaki sham has been exposed, let us carry out the policy of the Soka Gakkai without any more doubts."Carrying that argument a step further, the Soka Gakkai explained to it's membership that it paid Yamazaki 300 million yen (approximately $1.3 million) to keep the unity between the priesthood and the laity. Not to acquiese to his "blackmail," according to the Soka Gakkai, would have resulted in his exposing top secret of the organization and consequently thrown the entire movement into discord.The Soka Gakkai leaders go on to explain why they paid off Yamazaki with the exorbitant sum of 300 million yen. They say, in essence, that he threatened to give sensitive information to the mass media, which directly touched on some affairs he was involved in as a senior lawyer for the Soka Gakkai. Without a doubt, this information would also incriminate Soka Gakkai International President Daisaku Ikeda in scandalous activities.Thus, the organization quickly realized such exposure was likely to rekindle problems between them and the priesthood. Its leaders concluded that they had no choice but to pay the 300 million yen.It is never necessary to pay even one penny to maintain true unity between the priesthood and the laity. on the other hand, even if the Soka Gakkai pays one billion dollars, true unity cannot be achieved as long as its present policies continue.
Now this doesn't contradict Richard Yoshimachi's thesis much. But it does shed light on that thesis in the light of later behavior (since 1991). It appears that Yamazaki was able to extort money from the Gakkai, not because he had lies to share with the priesthood, with the Kenshokai (then known as Myshinkai). This article was penned largely as an attack on the Shoshinkai group, which was attacking both the Gakkai and NST at the time. Later, the priesthood would seize on the same allegations to attack the Gakkai, while the Gakkai would come out in the open with their complaints about the priesthood. Yamazaki was not the "cause" of these things, but simply taking advantage of them!
So when Richard tells us that He was instrumental in much of the pivotal parts of the dispute between the Sokagakkai.html">Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu in the 70's, and has also been influential in developments leading up to the "split" in 1990/1991 and beyond.1 Yoshimachi is telling us half-truths.
Thus these assertions don't really establish righteousness on the part of the Gakkai. Telling the world that a particular person is a devil doesn't make angels of the folks who are fighting him. They don't give us a white/black situation. Yamazaki was at one time a syncophantic supporter of President Ikeda and is credited with some of the early hero worship and rumors that President Ikeda is the "real" true Buddha. In doing this he was abetted by Harashima and others who later turned on the Gakkai, but also by others who are still top leaders. Even Yoshimachi tells us that he didn't turn on the Gakkai until after he won an important lawsuit on their behalf with the "Myoshinkai" that allowed the Sho-Hondo to be named the Sho-Hondo. The various leaders who helped develop this notion had some 15 years to work during which time no one said a word against it. It became such general currency among the youth division that when it was repudiated it went "underground" among them, only to resurface in the late 1990's as these members became confident that most of us SGI members had stayed with SGI, that NST was no longer a major threat, and thus they could speak freely of their unadulterated opinion that Ikeda is the real true Buddha. When I first created this page, that was still an embattled minority opinion, but since then the Gakkai has put Ikeda into our prayers and established him as an "honored founder", reflecting this hero worship created by Harashima and Yamazaki back in the 60's in order to promote their power over the members.
Thus many of our present leaders, who were youth back then, were in a very real sense disciples of Harayama, Fukushima, and Yamazaki. The leaders may have repudiated their theories but their disciples have carried on with them.
Yamazaki was up to dishonest mischief making. He portrayed himself as a disciple of Ikeda while seeking to build his own "coalition" and secretely undermining the organization. By advancing notions of the infallibility of the mentor, he could claim to understand the "mentor" and thus claim authority for himself. He wasn't really a disciple of Ikeda this was just a "banner" under which he could pursue his own aims. He and people like him, precisely because they are (or seem to be) the syncophantic followers of Ikeda they would portray themselves as, are actually "parasites in the lion's body."
Yamazaki is now officially in the "anti-Gakkai" camp and appears to be leading much of the opposition to the Sokagakkai.html">Gakkai in Japan. However, to me he did more damage when he and Harashima claimed to be loyal SGI leaders and were getting Kudos for their efforts. For a "devil" and Devadatta he doesn't seem to have profited as much as he intended. He ended up in jail for a while. People like him are creating mischief all over the world in the name of their "mentor."
Those who follow the same path as Yamazaki, feign loyalty to the organization and "believe" in their teacher out of ambition and fear of standing out if they disagree with him. In that they advance the identical theories as Yamazaki, they are disciples of him. If his early notions were repudiated by his later actions, these original theories still have currency in the leadership. The idea that Yamazaki's betrayal is proof of the righteousness of the organization has the flaw that he was very much a product of the organization and these theories from prior to his betrayal of the Gakkai are the theories of the current Gakkai. He betrayed the Gakkai for money and power, not out of religious conviction. How many people leading the Gakkai are doing the same thing while pretending to be it's upholders?
There is no question but that Yamazaki has disciples in the Sokagakkai international. Indeed judging from the behavior of the younger generation of leaders, it would seem there are many more "Yamazaki's awaiting in the wings." The same sort of flattering, deceitful, and twisted behavior that subordinates of Ikeda manifested in the sixties and 70's when Yamazaki was their avowed champion, are still being manifested. You still have people equating the third president with the Buddha, and advancing theories that would keep him as a universal mentor long after his passing. and it also has much currency with other leaders. I wouldn't have believed it, but I've had to deal with such lies as people insisting that I was with this group or another when I wasn't, or people who miscast what someone was saying because they didn't agree with them and couldn't refute them honestly. (See personal.html for examples of the personal nature and dishonesty of some of these "disciples of Yamazaki."
This effort to make a man (President Ikeda) who can't possibly personally guide all of us members of the Sokagakkai.html">Gakkai, into a kind of "media mentor" is the same kind of B.S. that he and his ilk were perpetuating in the 70's. They insist that a living mentor is superior to a dead mentor, and that would be true if he actually had the time to mentor very many people. If we are seeking heros, we can admire almost anyone from afar.
Fukushima was a youth division leader and a vice President of the Sokagakkai who made a number of "anti-priest" statements in the 70's that directly led to President Ikeda's resignation and apology at that time. He later quit the Gakkai and led an opposition to President Ikeda.
Hirotatsu Fujiwara is a professor who wrote a book called "I denounce the Ikeda Sokagakkai in 1969." It seems to have been written by (or with the help of) Yakimasa Fujiwara, who had once been one of President Ikeda's fellow Youth Division leaders. In the late 50's both were considered Josei Toda's proteges. Both Yakimasa and Daisaku Ikeda were sickly young men, but Daisaku Ikeda became President in 1960, and after initially treating Yakimasa as a brother, eventually managed to alienate him. Whether from jealousy or genuine outrage, Yakimasa seems to have written a book or cooperated with Hirotatsu. Using Yakimasa Fujiwara's experiences (if they aren't the same person), Hirotatsu wrote a book fairly dripping with venom. The Gakkai tried to prevent it's publishing, and that led to a mini-controversy itself. There was a brief period of time when there were translations available of passages on the internet. It drips with comparisons with Nazis, etceteras. Not exactly objective materials, but there are some interesting observations and comments if one can wade through all the filth without getting any in ones mouth. I understand Yakimasa is dead. I see references to Hirotatsu in fairly recent news reports, so he seems to be alive.
Evidently this guy was one of the first leaders of the Komeito. when he retired he seems to also have had a major grudge against our third president. It is alleged that he "plotted to assassinate him." Some retirement that is.
Manuel Noriega sits in a federal prison. Nobody from the Gakkai seems to want to remember this, but for a brief period of time he actually practiced Buddhism. He was also practicing Voodooism, and I suspect he got the two religions mixed up in his mind. President Ikeda visited him, and Mr. Williams treated him as a friend. Of course, Mr. Bush Senior once was a friend with him too, so it is unfair to attack them for this. I wish Mr. Noriega well, I hope he is still chanting Daimoku at least occassionally and that he gets out of jail soon. He was not the only one responsible for corruption in Panama, and it didn't end when we sent in the Marines. His principle crime seems to have been angering George Bush.
Nobuhira is actually two people. The man is one who sued President Ikeda for having an affair with or harrassing his wife. The woman is his wife, who went public with sordid details of her relationship with President Ikeda. He lost his suit, he lost countersuits against him. He also went to jail. The whole thing is rather sordid. Members of the Gakkai, believing that Nichiren Shoshu was behind Nobuhira, went to great lengths to prove that the priests were corrupt.
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For more on all this garbage [if you aren't already nauseous] follow these links: