"Dedicated to those Soka Gakkai Members who wish to know the truth"
"Gakkai Funerals" are Bizarre!
Proper Funeral Services Performed By Nichiren Shoshu Priests Since the Daishonin's Era
Gakkai funerals are conducted by the Gakkai members without a priest in attendance. It is the Gakkai "leader," not the priests, who lead the recitation of the sutra and chanting of Daimoku. There is no special funeral Gohonzon (Doshimandala). Only the counterfeit katagi honzon (woodblock print honzon) manufactured by the Soka Gakkai is brought to and utilized at the funeral hall. Also, the deceased's secular name is written on his / her family memorial tablet instead of a posthumous Buddhist name. This current way of conducting a Soka Gakkai funeral is referred to as a "Gakkai Funeral," "Friend Funeral," or "Comrade Funeral."
For the Soka Gakkai members who threaten to leave the organization if priests are not available to conduct funerals, fake priests have been secured. These "priests" are actually failed priests, who have once again donned priests' robes. In spite of being individuals who dropped out of the priesthood to escape the life of strict austerity or who as young boys returned to secular life, the Gakkai "priests" sometimes charge outrageous sums of money for their "services."
Shoshu, a priest conducts a funeral ceremony as the envoy of Nichiren Daishonin. On that occasion a special funeral Gohonzon, Doshimandala, is enshrined and a posthumous Buddhist name is bestowed, respectfully leading the deceased to enlightenment. Recently, however, the Soka Gakkai abuses Nichiren
Shoshu saying that funeral services conducted by Nichiren Shoshu are heretical activities which have nothing to do with the Daishonin's teaching. The Gakkai's three main claims are:
1. It is not true that Nichiren Shoshu priests carried out funeral services during the Daishonin's era.
2. Giving posthumous Buddhist names was started by the prominent Buddhist sects during the Edo period for the purpose of making money. This custom was adopted by Nichiren Shoshu.
3. A special funeral Gohonzon, Doshimandala, is slanderous.
Their first criticism is ridiculous. It is clear from "The Record of the Founder's Passing" that proper funeral services have been conducted since the Daishonin's era. In addition, a Gosho given to Toki Jonin by the Daishonin states, "Your mother's ashes were placed in front of the Gohonzon, then you put your palms together and deeply bowed. The Buddhist services were conducted after which, you returned home without incident." This means that upon his mother's death, Toki Jonin carried his mother's ashes from Shimofusa to Mt. Minobu to visit the Daishonin who then conducted a funeral service for her.
As stated above, in "Reply to Lord Sone," Nikko Shonin says that he will conduct a funeral by sending one of his disciple priests. "Reply to Lord Sone" (Original writing stored at Hotta Myohonji Temple) "I have no words to express the deep sorrow I feel regarding the death of the nursing mother of Lord Ichio. Tomorrow I will dispatch one of my disciples to conduct the funeral services. On that occasion, let us offer our sincerest memorial prayers to the Gohonzon of Nichiren Daishonin in which the deceased took faith. January 17, Byakuren (Signature)" ("Reply to Lord Sone")
|According to this writing of Nikko Shonin, a priest should be dispatched and funeral performed under his leadership. (Complete Work of Successive High Priests, Volume 1, page 153)|
The next point regards whether or not the custom of bestowing a posthumous Buddhist name or "Kai-myo," was initiated in the Edo period. The Gakkai's assertion is totally false because posthumous Buddhist names were already in use during the Daishonin's era. First such examples are the Daishonin's father and mother who were given the posthumous Buddhist names, "Myonichi" and "Myoren" respectively. The Ikeda Soka Gakkai attempts to obscure this point saying, "They are actually 'Ho-myo,' posthumous Buddhist names." A "Kai-myo," posthumous Buddhist name, is usually given to someone who entered the priesthood. It is synonymous with "Ho-myo," as is explained in "The Great Dictionary of Buddhist Philosophy" published by the Soka Gakkai.
Finally, with regard to the special funeral Gohonzon, Soka Gakkai claims that the special funeral Gohonzon is something that was turned into Katagi based on a couterfeit Honzon developed by a heretical branch of Nichiren-shu for use in funeral services, and that it contains characters such as "Godomyokan" which are not described in the Gosho, which, they say, makes it different from the Daishonin's Gohonzon. This is a very good example of the great slander that unqualified people make when they interfere in matters related to the inscription of the Gohonzon. The 26th High Priest Nichikan Shonin, whom the Soka Gakkai claims to revere as having a special lineage from the Daishonin, also has transcribed the Doshi-Gohonzon on which "Godomyokan" and others are written. Moreover, the characters "Godomyokan" do appear in the Gosho. It would be wise for the Soka Gakkai to not speak of matters about which they are ignorant.
According to the golden words of the Daishonin, "The excellent master, supreme Law and outstanding disciples─these three elements together enable the fulfillment of our prayers." (Gosho page 1314) This means that enlightenment becomes possible only when the Gohonzon (the supreme Law), faith in the Gohonzon (outstanding disciples) and the leadership of the priests (excellent masters) are combined together. The Soka Gakkai uses rhetoric to denigrate Nichiren Shoshu's funeral services, which have been executed with these three essential elements combined. At the same time, Soka Gakkai has now come up with its own self-serving funeral system. The Daishonin would never approve of such a thing. We feel it is proper to say that the Gakkai Funeral Ceremony is the surest and most direct path to Hell.