Nichiren Buddhist
Organization Comparison Chart
This is a chart designed to show the differences between the religious teachings propagated by America's most well-known sects of Nichiren Buddhism.
This chart is currently under construction, so please be careful not to trip over the mess.

Check the checkboxes in the menu box below to see the answers to from other organizations or from Nichiren.
Then be sure to scroll to the right in order to see answers from everyone you selected.

 
Topic: Core Values
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren
What is the primary function of the organization, its mission or purpose for existence?
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The first article on our charter is first on purpose. All other points exist in support to article 1, which is," The Goal Is Enlightenment.  We declare that each and every individual who practices in strict accordance with the Lotus Sutra will quickly attain enlightenment."
NBAA Charter
As stated on SGI's charter, and reinforced in the charter preamble and the points on the rest of the charter, "SGI shall contribute to peace, culture and education for the happiness and welfare of all humanity based on Buddhist respect for the sanctity of life."
SGI Charter
From their website, "The ultimate goals are the attainment of enlightenment by the individual and, through widely spreading true Buddhism, the establishment of a purified and peaceful world where all people can enjoy happy lives together."
reference
From their website: "We vow to the Buddha and Nichiren Shonin that we will strive to engender peace within ourselves and throughout the world by disseminating the teaching expounded in the Lotus Sutra."
reference
Chant to the Gohonzon, believe exclusively in the Lotus Sutra, believe in and follow Shakyamuni of the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, teach others to do likewise, practice religious refutation.
KHS Charter
If we were to discard everything extraneous from Nichiren Buddhism and keep only the essentials, what would they be?
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  1. There's a unique subjective experience attained through chanting Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, or possibly more largely Buddhist meditation in general, that's life-alteringly powerful. This experience is enhanced and grows more intense the more diligent and focused your practice.
  2. Chanting Namu-myoho-renge-kyo has benefit not acquired through other kinds of meditation, like breath meditation.
  3. Nichiren emphasized passion, energy, integrity, vigorousness, and a quixotesque-change-the-world drive over the more gentle, peaceful, go-with-the-flow, yin-and-yang, everything-is-going-just-the-way-it's-meant-to attitude of other kinds of Buddhism.
  4. Compassion. Chanting for the enlightenment of others even to the point of putting your life on the line for it. Even if people are going to kill you for it, you still devote your life to the enlightenment of other people. That's how intent you are on leading people to enlightenment.
  5. The philosophy contained within each word of Namu, Myoho, Renge, and Kyo and the meaning of combining them into a statement and asserting that statement aloud.
  6. The deeper meaning hidden in the Ten Factors. The spiritual essence of the teaching. The explanation of spirituality contained within it. The unification of the spiritual and the physical, thus leading to the conclusion that inanimate objects have a spiritual dimension and thus can be Buddhas. The meaning this has for us attaining Buddhahood.
  7. The three proofs and shakubuku. In other words, basing our religious views on evidence and reason and using intellectual debate to determine which views can withstand testing and the application of reason and evidence. It means to stick to honesty and integrity even in the face of a world that largely opposes the application of evidence, reason, intelligent debate, as well as passion, and energy, to religion, and will in some cases go so far as to kill people for suggesting we do that.
When making decisions about which Nichiren organization one ought to support, if any, what is the most important thing one ought to consider?
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No matter whether it's Buddhism or non-Buddhism or an entire religion or just an aspect of it, the only matter to be considered is whether the teaching in question will lead each individual practitioner toward Buddhahood or away from it. It's all about the individual's attainment of Buddhahood.
"President Ikeda is correct teacher of Nichiren Daishonin's teaching in the contemporary world. The most obvious fact in this regard is that he and the members, Bodhisattvas of the Earth one and all, have spread the Gohonzon, the embodiment of Nichiren's life, to 192 countries and territories around the world with literally millions, millions of members showing tremendous actual proof of benefit in their lives and spreading waves of peace around the world. This cannot be denied, even by the most prolific propagandists. In fact, the SGI organization represents a great hope to leading intellectuals, scholars, and leaders throughout the world. To slander President Ikeda and this harmonious body of practitioners of the true teaching, comprised of over 12 million Buddha's and bodhisattvas, is tantamount to becoming the enemy of Nichiren Daishonin the Buddha of the Latter Day and all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the universe. The gravity of this sin is beyond imagination." ~ Mark Koral
"Twenty-sixth High Priest Nichikan Shonin teaches in 'The Meaning Hidden in the Depths' (Montei hichin-sho): 'It is because Mt. Fuji is the origin of kosen-rufu. What is meant by the origin? It is the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching.' (Six-Volume Writings, p. 68) This guidance clearly teaches that embracing the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, enshrined at Head Temple Taisekiji, leads to kosen-rufu. Sixty-sixth High Priest Nittatsu Shonin admonished the Gakkai for its deviation in the following way: 'If a doctrine other than the teachings of Nichiren Shoshu is propagated throughout the entire world, it cannot be regarded as kosen-rufu.' (Dai-Nichiren, August 1974, p. 20) The very mission of propagating the Daishonin’s Buddhism sits on the shoulders of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and laity alone.
"We are far more concerned about quality and preserving the correct teachings than we are with numbers. The spread of the true teachings will last as long as the Latter Day, for ten thousand years and more and the number of faithful believers, according to Nichiren [at least for the foreseeable future], will be less than the amount of dirt that can fit on a fingernail."

~Mark Rogow
Do you regard anyone as a Buddha other than Shakyamuni? Who?
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Yes. Nichiren, of course. Probably Shijo Kingo and Nikko. We consider SGI President Daisaku Ikeda to have been a Buddha at times. We have personally known many people in our lifetime that we have considered a Buddha. Sometimes it's evident in the things one says or writes but most of the time it's displayed in their life conditions, especially when chanting. We don't think of Buddhahood as a fixed state but rather as a life condition achieved through diligent practice that waxes and wanes as one's practice waxes and wanes.

Everyone is trying to answer who the teacher of Buddhism is that everyone should rely upon. Our answer is that it's the deepest teaching you can find out there or a manifestation of or variation on that teaching. Chant. Attain Buddhahood. Then find the teaching that reveals the deepest aspects of your Buddha nature. That's the true Buddha. Sometimes it's President Ikeda. Sometimes it's the Nichiren Shoshu priests. Sometimes it's another Buddhist you know who reminds you of that life condition you once attained. Sometimes it's you talking to someone else. Yes, the true Buddha could be you! Not all of the time, just when you attain Buddhahood and try to get others to do the same, but still. There it is.

"At the start I took a vow, hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us"
~ Expedient Means chapter of the Lotus Sutra

"NamMyohoRengeKyo is the eternal state of Buddhahood, which materializes in any human being who is devoted to the Law. This interpretation regards both Shakyamuni and Nichiren as manifestations of the Eternal Buddhahood, and opens the way for all people attain the same state of Buddhahood. The eternal Buddha is the highest state of life, and can be manifested by men and women without restriction."

SGI's perspective, as expressed here comes eerily close to our own chart and includes our own interpretation of the Lotus Sutra. Maybe that's not too odd. But they still have a kink to work out. It's revealed in the following quote:

"Attaining Buddhahood is possible for all people, but each would have own [sic] mission and horizon of responsibility. We cannot be some one else or have a mission as huge as that of Shakyamuni or Nichiren, nonetheless a human being can manifest eternal [sic] state of Buddhahood through own [sic] mission in daily life." http://www.sokahumanism.com/nichiren-buddhism/The_Eternal_Buddha.html

How could each person have his own mission if Buddhahood "materializes in any human being who is devoted to the Law"? Wouldn't their mission thus be "devotion to the Law"? Why can't a person have a mission as huge as Shakyammuni or Nichiren? Aren't all of us responsible for the propagation of Buddhism and the enlightenment of the planet?

The real reason they bring up "mission" is because they're trying to figure out a way to square their view that all people can be Buddhas on the level of Shakyamuni or Nichiren with an attempt to get everyone to follow President Ikeda. His mission is to be the mentor, and everyone else's mission is to follow. They use different language but end up in a similar place as other Nichiren sects: While everyone can be Buddhas, there is only one True Buddha. The only difference is that in SGI, it isn't Nichiren or Shakyamuni. It's the SGI Presidents.

There is the matter of the Original Buddha versus other Buddhas. The Original Buddha is Shakyamuni of the 16th Chapter. [NBAA Note: There are differing definitions of what is meant by "Shakyamuni of the 16th Chapter." We define it as Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, whereas Nichiren Shu defines it as the person, Shakyamuni, when he taught the 16th chapter. So, in other words, Shakyamuni of the 16th chapter to Nichiren Shu is just Shakyamuni.] Shakyamuni is the one they revere as the teacher of the people of this planet and this age. No one can usurp that position. While we can become Buddhas, we cannot be the teacher of this planet and this age. In other words, people may attain Buddhahood, but no one can ever become as enlightened as Shakyamuni. Not you or even the priests of Nichiren Shu. Not even Nichiren. No one.
Topic: Basic Practice
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren
Topic: Stance on Teachers
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren
Topic: Advanced/Dedicated Practitioner Instruction
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren
Topic: Propagation (shoju and shakubuku)
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren
Topic: Superstitions
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren
Topic: Democracy
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren
Topic: Doctrine
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren
Topic: Other Stuff
Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiren Shu
Kempon Hokke Shu
Nichiren