Soka Gakkai (Japanese: 創価学会 Hepburn: Sōka Gakkai, "Value-Creation Society") is a Japanese Buddhist religious movement based on the teachings of the 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren as taught by its first three presidents Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda. It is the largest of the Japanese new religions and holds the largest membership among Nichiren Buddhist groups. "The Gakkai" bases its teachings on Nichiren's interpretation of the Lotus Sutra and places chanting "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō" at the center of devotional practice. The organization promotes its goals as supporting "peace, culture, and education".
Soka Gakkai flag
|Formation||November 18, 1930|
|Type||New religious movement|
Japan, Tokyo Shinjuku-Ku, Shinanomachi (信濃町) 32
|Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai (創価教育学会)|
The movement was founded by educators Makiguchi and Toda on 18 November 1930, and held its inaugural meeting in 1937. It was disbanded during World War II when much of the leadership was imprisoned on the Peace Preservation Law violations and charges of lèse-majesté. After the war it expanded from a pre-war estimate of 3,000 members to a claimed total of 750,000 households in 1958 through explosive recruitment, which shocked the Japanese establishment and media. Further expansion of the movement was led by its third president Daisaku Ikeda. According to its own account, it has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world.
While Ikeda has been successful in moving the group toward mainstream acceptance, it is still widely viewed with suspicion in Japan and has found itself embroiled in public controversies, especially in the first three decades following World War II. From 1952 to 1991, it shared an association with the Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist sect. Komeito, a centre-right political party closely aligned with Soka Gakkai, joined the ruling government coalition in 1999.
The belief of the Soka Gakkai centers on recognizing that all life has dignity with infinite inherent potential; this immanent "Buddhahood" exists in every person and can be awakened through the Buddhist practice prescribed by Nichiren. Further, a person's social actions at every moment can lead to soka, or the creation of value (the theory of the interdependence of life). Societal change is facilitated through "human revolution", a way of living in the world that creates value.
The doctrine of the Soka Gakkai derives from Nichiren, who promulgated the Lotus Sutra as he perceived its application to the epoch in which he and people today live. Soka gakkai gives a significance on Nichiren's writings, as Gosho, and Soka Gakkai refers to the collection of Nichiren's writings that was compiled by Nichiko Hori and Jōsei Toda, published as 'Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Zenshu' in 1952 (and later officially published an English translation, "The writing of Nichiren Daishonin", and in several other languages based on the collection).
The principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena
T’ien-t’ai (538–597), Chinese Buddhist scholar who upheld the Lotus Sutra, developed a theoretical system to describe the infinite interconnectedness of life translated as "the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena" or "three thousand realms in a single moment of life" (Japanese: ichinen sanzen). This theory demonstrates that the entire phenomenal world exists in a single moment of life. Soka Gakkai members believe that because Nichiren made actualizing this possible by inscribing Gohonzon and teaching the invocation, their prayers and actions can in a single moment pierce through chains of limitations.
"Life force" and "Human Revolution"
While imprisoned, Josei Toda studied a passage from the Immeasurable meanings sutra (considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra) that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations – for example, that it is "neither being nor non-being, this nor that, square nor round". From this, he concluded that "Buddha" is life, or life force.
The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai's conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren's teachings. "Our health, courage, wisdom, joy, desire to improve, self-discipline, and so on, could all be said to depend on our life force", Ikeda says.
Toda considered that the concept of "Buddha as life (force) means that Buddhism entails transforming society. According to religious historian Susumu Shimazono, Ikeda says "Faith is firm belief in the universe and the life force. Only a person of firm faith can lead a good and vigorous life ... Buddhist doctrine is a philosophy that has human life as its ultimate object, and our Human Revolution movement is an act of reform aimed at opening up the inner universe, the creative life force within each individual, and leading to human freedom."
Soka Gakkai teaches that this "self-induced change in each individual"—which Josei Toda began referring to as "human revolution"—is what leads to happiness and peace. While older schools taught the attainment of Buddhahood in this life through the Gohonzon, they did not tie this to social engagement. Toda's conception of life force and human revolution means that one attain Buddhahood "through engagement in the realities of daily life, through attaining benefits and happiness that involve all of life, and through extending this happiness to others".
Oneness of mentor and disciple
The Soka Gakkai liturgy refers to all of its first three presidents—Tsunesabura Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda—as "the eternal mentors of kosen-rufu". Chilson reports that "as Soka Gakkai's long-time leader, Ikeda is revered by Gakkai members". The relationship between members and their mentors is referred to as "the oneness of mentor and disciple". The mentor is to lead and thereby improve the lives of his disciples. The mentor's actions is seen as giving disciples confidence in their own unrealized potential. The role of disciples is seen as supporting their mentor and realizing his vision using their unique abilities and circumstances. The relationship is seen as non-hierarchical and mutually weighted. Disciples are encouraged to be active creators rather than passive followers. Seager writes: "The oneness of the mentor-disciple relationship is described not in terms of demands and duties as many critics imagine it to be, but in terms of choice, freedom and responsibility. It is the disciple's choice and decision to follow the mentor's vision for their common goal. In response, it is the mentor's wish to raise and foster the disciple to become greater than the mentor.:63
Since the mid-1990s, the issue of the oneness of mentor and disciple has received more prominence in the Soka Gakkai. There is a strong emphasis on "cultivating all members ... in discipleship" through forging "affective one-to-one relationships with Ikeda".:70
"On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land"
Nichiren wrote a treatise "On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land" in 1260 and submitted it to the regent. Soka Gakkai members believe that it is one of his most important writings. In it he claimed that the source of the natural disasters Japan faced at that time was due to the weakened spirit of its people, caused by attachments to religions that disavow the primacy of the people themselves. He called for the leaders and people to base their spiritual life on the Lotus Sutra, "the correct teaching", which would, in turn, lead to "the peace of the land".:61–62
Ikeda has said, "Nichiren stressed the need to spread the correct teaching and firmly establish the philosophical principles of Buddhism in the heart of each individual." Hence, "establishing the correct teaching" is the Soka Gakkai's religious mission, while "establishing the peace of the land" is its social mission.
Reading this writing largely influenced Makiguchi to embrace Nichiren Buddhism; at his first meeting Ikeda decided to make Toda his mentor after hearing the latter lecture on this writing. Soka Gakkai members believe "the peace of the land" depends on transforming the heart and mind of one individual at a time, affirming the basic good within all people, respecting human dignity and the sanctity of life, and valuing dialogue. Furthermore, Soka Gakkai members believe these principles must become the spiritual foundation for peace in society and require joining forces with like-minded individuals and organizations.
Five "Eternal Guidelines of Faith"
In late 1957, then Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda proclaimed three "Eternal Guidelines of Faith" in order to impress on the growing membership that the purpose of their faith was to effect change in their lives. In 2003, Ikeda added two more guidelines. The Five Guidelines of Faith are:
- Faith for a harmonious family;
- Faith for each person to become happy;
- Faith for surmounting obstacles;
- Faith for health and long life; and
- Faith for absolute victory.
Relation to the Lotus Sutra
Soka Gakkai members pray to Nichiren's Gohonzon (see section on Gohonzon), which "embodies Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the essence of the Lotus Sutra". The Gohonzon includes the Sutra's teaching that all life inherently possesses dignity when "illuminated by the light of the Mystic Law". (The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon p 832), and depicts the ceremony in which bodhissatvs embrace "their mission to teach and preach to suffering people the path tp happiness and freedom".
The Soka Gakkai's history is closely intertwined with the study of the Lotus Sutra. Josei Toda began the postwar reconstruction by lecturing on the sutra, the study of which led to what Soka Gakkai considers his enlightenment (see "Life Force and Human Revolution") After the Soka Gakkai's excommunication by Nichiren Shōshū, Daisaku Ikeda conducted dialogue sessions on the Lotus Sutra which resulted in the publication of a six-volume work called The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra. The Soka Gakkai also sponsored the Burton Watson translation of the Lotus Sutra as well as several international exhibitions about the Lotus Sutra.:xxxiii-xxxiv Ikeda has referenced the Lotus Sutra in many of the annual peace proposals he submits to the United Nations. He compared the awakening of women mentored by Wangari Maathai to the essence of the Lotus Sutra, "a transformation from individuals seeking salvation to individuals taking action to help others free themselves from suffering.":157–158
Karma (as "changing karma into mission")
The concept of karma is based on the law of causality. It refers to consequences created through one's actions, words or thoughts. Early Buddhism and as Professor Ved Nanda explains Hindus believe to redress karma accumulated over the course of many eons, one must be reincarnated numerous times. The concept of karma then often became a source of despair as well as a tool for Buddhist clergy to instill fear and guilt in the minds of believers. Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism, however, believes that the fundamental cause for revealing the ultimate potential of life, or Buddha nature, can diminish the influence of negative karma in the present lifetime.
Ikeda explains that negative karma is subsumed in the world of Buddhahood and is purified by its power. Importantly, Soka Gakkai members believe effects are determined simultaneously with causes, though they remain latent until the right external influences bring them to fruition. Soka Gakkai Buddhism teaches that even the most stubborn karma can be overcome as one reveals one's Buddha nature in this lifetime. Thus, karma becomes a source of hope and mission rather than despair.
The Lotus Sutra contains principles or teachings that are not readily apparent. What distinguishes Nichiren is that he revealed these teachings as The Three Great Secret Laws and based his teachings on them. They are: the Object of Worship (The Gohonzon); the incantation ("daimoku", or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo); and the sanctuary, or place where Nichiren's Buddhism is practiced.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, called "the daimoku" literally means "devotion – mystic law (or ultimate reality) – lotus flower-teaching". In another sense, "myoho-renge" means "the mystic law of cause and effect".
Soka Gakkai members chant to change their lives, including the environments in which they live. The goal is to produce an inner change that becomes the motivator for social change. The Soka Gakkai teaches that chanting cannot be divorced from action.
Soka Gakkai members believe that chanting releases the power of the universal life force inherent in life. For some Soka Gakkai members, chanting for worldly benefits is a "first step" toward realizing the ultimate goal of Buddhahood. There is no separation between life in the world and the universal life of Buddhahood, chanting Naam-myoho-renge-kyo is meant to lead to effects in daily life Thus, Buddhahood is experienced as the process of transforming, and as the actual transformation of, daily life. Therefore, chanting is not approached as a passive exercise, as Soka Gakkai literature urges practitioners to have "conviction", tenacity and perseverance and to challenge problems.
The Gohonzon Soka Gakkai members enshrine in their homes and centers is a transcription of the mandala inscribed by Nichiren. The characters down the middle of the scroll say "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" and "Nichiren". On the corners are the names of protective deities from Buddhist mythology, and the remaining characters are names representing the various conditions of life.
In contrast to worshiping the Buddha or Law as externals, Nichiren made a written mandala, not a Buddhist statue, the central object of devotion. Richard Seager explains "In total, it is not a sacred image in the traditional sense but an abstract representation of a universal essence or principle. Nichiren wrote, "I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart." He further stated: "Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who chant Nam- myoho-renge-kyo."  The Soka Gakkai often uses Nichiren's metaphor of a mirror to explain its faith in the Gohonzon. The Gohonzon "reflects life's innate enlightened nature and cause it to permeate every aspect of member's lives". Members chant to the Gohonzon "to reveal the power of their own enlightened wisdom and vow to put it to use for the good of themselves and others".
Faith, practice, and study
The primary practice of the Soka Gakkai, like that of most Nichiren sects, is chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is the title of the Lotus Sutra, and simultaneously considered the Buddha nature inherent in life. and the ultimate reality of existence. The supplemental practice is the daily recitation of parts of the 2nd and 16th chapters of the Lotus Sutra. Unlike other Nichiren sects, the Soka Gakkai stresses that practicing for this enlightenment entails actual "engagement in the realities of daily life", while including the happiness of others in one's own practice.
In addition, the Soka Gakkai publishes study materials, including the writings of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra, and has a well-developed program of study. As a New Religion, Soka Gakkai practices Nichiren Buddhism as it has been expounded by its three founding presidents, and so also studies their speeches and writings, especially those of 3rd President Daisaku Ikeda. His novelized histories of the movement, The Human Revolution (and its sequel The New Human Revolution) have been said to have "canonical status" as it "functions as a source of inspiration and guidance for members". Study meetings are held monthly. "The tenor of the meetings is one of open discussion rather than didactic teaching…" Discussions on Nichiren's teachings are welcomed, "dictatorial edicts on moral behavior are not."
The Soka Gakkai practice also includes activities beyond the ritualistic, such as meetings, social engagement, and improving one's circumstances; these also have significance as religious activities in the Soka Gakkai.
The practices to improve oneself while helping others, and the study of Buddhism, combine with "faith" in what the Soka Gakkai considers "the three basic aspects of Nichiren Buddhism" - faith, practice and study. Faith, as explained in a booklet given by SGI-USA to prospective new members, is an expectation that deepens with experience as one practices in the Soka Gakkai.
The discussion meeting
According to Seager, "Gakkai meetings are formal liturgies" in that their format—"chanting, relatos (experiences), teachings, inspiring entertainment"—is identical from place to place. McLaughlin says they are among the most important activities of the Soka Gakkai.
At discussion meetings, participants are encouraged to take responsibility "for their own lives and for wider social and global concerns". The format is an example of how the Soka Gakkai is able to "dispense with much of the apparatus of conventional church organization".
The reason for propagation, as explained by Josei Toda, is "not to make the Soka Gakkai larger but for you to become happier ... There are many people in the world who are suffering from poverty and disease. The only way to make them really happy is to shakubuku them."
In 1970 Ikeda prescribed a more moderate approach, "urging its members to adopt an attitude of openness to others"; the method Soka Gakkai prefers since then is called shoju - "dialogue or conversation designed to persuade people rather than convert them", though this is often referred to still as "shakubuku spirit." In 2014 the Soka Gakkai changed the "Religious Tenets" section of its Rules and Regulations as regards propagation. Formerly, the Tenets said the Soka Gakkai "would seek to realize its ultimate goal - the widespread propagation of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism throughout Jambudvipa (the world), thus fulfilling the Daishonin's mandate." The new version says "it shall strive, through each individual achieving their human revolution, to realize as its ultimate goal the worldwide propagation of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, thus fulfilling the Daishonin's mandate." According to Soka Gakkai President Harada, "worldwide propagation" is a function of individuals undergoing positive change in their lives. The belief of the Soka Gakkai, then, is that propagation activities give meaning both to the activity itself and to the personal lives of its members.
Examination on Nichiren Buddhism and Soka Gakkai
Soka Gakkai and some international branches have held an examination which aims to deepen the practices of Soka Gakkai as to understand their background theoretical rationale embedded in Nichiren's teachings, as well as the history of Soka Gakkai, in particular, the life of the three presidents. This examination encourages members to do practices based on Soka Gakkai's guideline "Faith, practice, and study" well balanced.
The examination offers several levels (but the higher levels of examination have been held occasionally). The most basic (easiest) examination is called "Ninyo shiken". Soka Gakkai has widely encouraged to take the Ninyo shiken for young and/or early career members, and also opens for the non-members who are interested in Soka Gakkai and/or Nichiren Buddhism/philosophy.
In terms of more difficult levels over the Ninyo shiken, young division members in particular are encouraged to challenge the difficult, but profound part of Nichiren's theory. This tradition can be seen in the president Toda and Ikeda who themselves taught the most challenging part of the writings to university division members such as The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings (Ongi kuden) and Treaties on One Hundred and Six Matters (Hyaku-roku-ka-sho).
The examination asks a part or the whole of several (generally 2 to 4 per an exam) texts of Nichiren's writings based on their difficulties. The selected writings for the exam, including five major writings, are below:
- On Establishing the Correct teaching for the Peace of the Land (Rissho Ankoku Ron)
- The Opening of the Eyes (Kaimoku-sho)
- The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind (Kanjin-no Honzon-sho)
- The Selection of the Time (Senji-sho)
- On Repaying Debts of Gratitude (Ho'on-sho)
- The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings (Ongi kuden)
- On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime (Isshō jōbutsu shō)
- The True Aspect of All Phenomena (Shohō jissō shō)
- The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life (Shōji ichidaiji kechimyaku shō)
- The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra (Shuju onfurumai gosho)
- Letter from Sado (Sado gosho)
- Letter to the Brothers (Kyōdai shō)
Makiguchi years: 1930–44
In 1928, educators Tsunesaburō Makiguchi and Jōsei Toda, converted to Nichiren Buddhism. The Soka Gakkai officially traces its foundation to November 1930, when Makiguchi and Toda published the first volume of Makiguchi's magnum opus on educational reform, Sōka Kyōikugaku Taikei (創価教育学体系, The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy).:49 The first general meeting of the organization, then under the name Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai (創価教育学会, "Value Creating Educational Society"), took place in 1937.
Makiguchi, who had turned to religion in mid-life, found much in Nichiren's teachings that lent support to his educational theories.:21–32 His thinking gradually came to merge educational and religious reform. The membership eventually came to change from teachers interested in educational reform to people from all walks of life, drawn by the religious elements of Makiguchi's beliefs in Nichiren Buddhism.:14 The group had a focus on proselytization growing from an attendance of 60 people at its first meeting to about 300 at its next meeting in 1940.
Repression during the war
Makiguchi, as did Nichiren, attributed the political troubles Japan was experiencing to supposedly false religious doctrines that held sway. His religious beliefs motivated him to take a stand against the government, earning him a reputation as a political dissident.:14–15 He regarded Nichiren Buddhism as religious motivation for "active engagement to promote social good, even if it led to defiance of state authority". The organization soon attracted the attention of the authorities.
In 1943, the group was instrumental in forcing Nichiren Shōshū to refuse a government-sponsored mandate to merge with Nichiren Shū, per the Religious Organizations Law which had been established in 1939. As the war progressed, the government had ordered that a talisman from the Shinto shrine should be placed in every home and temple. While the Nichiren Shōshū priesthood had been prepared to accept the placing of a talisman inside its head temple, Makiguchi and the Gakkai leadership had openly refused. During his prison interrogation by the Special Higher Police, Makiguchi claimed that his group had destroyed at least 500 of these amulets, a seditious act in those days.
In 1942, a monthly magazine published by Makiguchi called Kachi Sōzō (価値創造, "Creating values") was shut down by the government, after only nine issues had gone to press. Makiguchi, Toda, and 19 other leaders of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai were arrested on July 6, 1943, on charges of breaking the Peace Preservation Law and lèse-majesté: for "denying the Emperor's divinity" and "slandering" the Ise Grand Shrine.
With its leadership decimated, the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai disbanded. During interrogation, Makiguchi had insisted that "The emperor is an ordinary man ... the emperor makes mistakes like anyone else".:40–41 The treatment in prison was harsh, and within a year, all but Makiguchi, Toda, and one more director had recanted and been released. On November 18, 1944, Makiguchi died of malnutrition in prison, at the age of 73.
The details of Makiguchi's indictment and subsequent interrogation were covered in July, August, and October (1943) classified monthly bulletins of the Special Higher Police. However, some historians have differing interpretations about Makiguchi's resistance to the government. Ramseyer postulated in 1965 that Makiguchi attracted the attention of the government's Special Police due to the aggressive propagation efforts of some of his followers. Other scholars, examining both Makiguchi's indictment and his interrogation records, point to his consistent opposition to the existing government.
Toda years: 1945–1958
Jōsei Toda was released from prison on July 3, 1945, after serving two years of imprisonment on the charges of lèse majesté. His health had been severely compromised and businesses destroyed. He immediately set out to rebuild the organization that had been repressed and dismantled by the government during the war. From this start Toda served as the link between the movement's founder, Makiguchi, and Ikeda who led its international evangelism.
The reconstruction of the organization
With the postwar granting of religious freedom and the separation of church and state as constitutional rights, Japan witnessed the "rush hour of the gods" according to McFarland. The Soka Gakkai was one of many new religious movements that appeared and, from an organization of approximately 500 families in 1951, the Soka Gakkai expanded rapidly in a decade's time and gained widespread public recognition. The uSoka Gakkai's growth far outpaced that of other new religions, due to both Toda's skill as an organizer and the social dislocation of the time.
While imprisoned, Toda studied a passage for the Immeasurable meanings sutra (considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra) that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations – for example, that it is "neither being nor non-being, this nor that, square nor round". From this, he concluded that "Buddha" is life, or life force.
The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai's conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren's teachings. "Our health, courage, wisdom, joy, desire to improve, self-discipline, and so on, could all be said to depend on our life force," Ikeda says.
The groundwork for the organization's growth can be found in Toda's work during the years between his release from prison (1945) and his inauguration (1951). He officially re-established the organization, now under the shortened moniker Sōka Gakkai ("Value-creation society"), integrated his prison awakenings into the doctrine of the Soka Gakkai, began locating members who had dispersed during the war, started a series of lectures on the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren's letters, undertook business ventures (largely unsuccessful) to provide a stream of revenue for the organization, provided personal encouragement to many members, launched a monthly study magazine Daibyaku Renge (大白蓮華), and the newspaper Seikyo Shimbun, launched propagation efforts, and involved the active participation of youth including Daisaku Ikeda who was to become his right-hand man and successor.
Brannen, a Christian missionary writing in 1969, describes the Soka Gakkai's study program at this point as "the most amazing program of indoctrination Japan has ever seen". New members attended local study lectures, subscribed to weekly and monthly periodicals, studied Toda's commentaries on the Lotus Sutra, took annual study examinations, and were awarded titles for their achievements such as Associate Lecturer, Lecturer, Associate Teacher, or Teacher.:142:208
"The Great Propagation Drive"
During "The Great Propagation Drive" of 1951–58 the Soka Gakkai doubled and tripled in size each year, resulting in a claimed membership of 750,000 families.:303
The drive began with the 1951 inauguration speech of Josei Toda when he assumed the presidency of the organization. Before 1,500 assembled members, Toda resolved to convert 750,000 families before his death. The goal was attained several months before Toda's death.:285–286 The accuracy of this figure was never confirmed by outside sources.:199 The primary vehicle of the propagation efforts were small group discussion meetings.:252 The driving force behind the drive were the efforts of Daisaku Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai Youth Division.:81:285–286  Segments of the Japanese population that had been marginalized or dislocated after the war were highly attracted to the movement. The success of the propagation efforts rocked traditional Japanese society; the press covered many extreme incidents of propagation but did not cover the many examples of conversion accomplished through "moral suasion."
There are several competing narratives that attempt to explain how the Soka Gakkai was able to achieve this rapid growth. One narrative portrays a drive powered by the "seemingly unlimited enthusiasm" of its members:199 that was masterminded by Toda and channeled by his younger followers.:41 The organization's own publications articulate this narrative. Ikeda explained his own efforts to introduce others to the Soka Gakkai. Ikeda gives accounts of how the momentum for propagation was created in Kamata (1952):636 and Bunkyo (1953).:877–883 In his autobiographical novel The Human Revolution, Ikeda discusses in detail how the propagation efforts unfolded in the Osaka-Kansai region (1956).:1305–1422 Common to all three accounts were efforts sparked by individual members who enjoyed their practice, long-standing efforts to build friendships, home visitation, small group meetings, and the "guidance" provided by Toda. The resulting enthusiasm of members had an explosive effect. Seager:57–59, 80, 99–101 and Strand:129–130 document support for this narrative.
A second narrative examines the Soka Gakkai's expansion through a sociological lens. White, in the first English-language sociological work on the Soka Gakkai, attributes the growth, cohesion, and sustainability of the organization to the organizational skills of its leaders, its system of values and norms that match the individual needs of members, and its ability to adapt to changing times.:42–56 According to Dator, the organizational structure of the Soka Gakkai, which values individual participation within small heterogeneous groups and parallel peer associations by age, gender, and interests, fulfills members' socio-psychological needs.
A third narrative tracks criticisms of the Soka Gakkai in the popular press and by other Buddhist sects. This narrative implies that the propagation efforts succeeded through intimidating and coercive actions committed by Soka Gakkai members:80, 101:217 such as the practice then of destroying the household Shinto altars of new members. There were reports of isolated incidents of violence conducted by Soka Gakkai members but also incidents directed toward them.:49:287 Fisker-Nielsen doubts whether claimed tactics such as coercion and intimidation could satisfactorily explain the ongoing success of Soka Gakkai's campaigns.
All scholars agree on the effectiveness of Toda and Ikeda's leadership throughout the Great Propagation Drive. Strand calls Toda "the most innovative, most dynamic, most successful religious leader of his day". More than charismatic or persuasive, he was effective due to his deep personal conviction that only the Soka Gakkai could renew a society in despair.:83–85 He used both aggressive hyperbole and melodrama while at the same time cautioning overzealous followers to be sensible in their propagation efforts.:102 Ikeda was the operational head of the propagation efforts, serving as a charter member of the executive staff of the Youth Division (1951) and later as Chief of Staff (1954).:44
Death and legacy
Toda died on April 2, 1958. The funeral was held at his home, but the coffin was afterwards carried past weeping, chanting crowds to the Ikebukuro temple Jozaiji, where he was buried.:84 The then prime minister Nobusuke Kishi attended the funeral - something that scandalized "quite a few Japanese" but was a testament to how the Gakkai had grown to a force to be reckoned with under Toda.:116
Murata claims that for two years after Toda's death, there was a leadership vacuum and the Gakkai had no president, as it was unclear if anyone was able to replace him.:118 Other scholars disagree, claiming Ikeda became the de facto leader of the Soka Gakkai right away. Three months after Toda's death Ikeda, at age 30, was appointed the organization's General Administrator, in 1959 he became the head of its board of directors, and, on May 3, 1960, its third president.
Ikeda years: 1960–
Jōsei Toda was succeeded as president in 1960 by the 32-year-old Daisaku Ikeda. Ikeda would come to be a moderating and secularizing force.:77 Ikeda formally committed the organisation to the principles of free speech and freedom of religion and urged, from 1964, a gentler approach to proselytizing. Under Ikeda's leadership, the organization expanded rapidly, both inside and outside Japan during the 1960s.
Whereas during Toda's presidency the Soka Gakkai grew from 3000 individuals to 750,000 households, within the first 16 months of Ikeda's presendency the organization grew from 1,300,000 to 2,110,000 members. By 1967 it grew to 6,240,000 families according to its own reporting. In 1968 over 8,000,000 people contributed to the construction of the Sho-Hondo. Between 1961 and 1968 the organization's Study Department (members who sit for graded examinations on doctrinal matters) grew from 40,000 to 1,447,000. By 1968, under Ikeda's leadership, the daily Seikyo Shimbun newspaper attained a circulation of 3,580,000. Today, it has a circulation of 5.5 million copies, making it Japan's third largest daily.
In October 1960, five months after his inauguration, Ikeda and a small group of staff members visited the United States, Canada (Toronto), and Brazil. In the United States he visited Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, meeting with members, the vast majority Japanese war brides, at discussion and guidance meetings, setting up local organizations, and appointing leaders to take responsibility. He encouraged attendees to become good American citizens, learn English, and get driving licenses.
Ikeda also expanded the scope and pattern of the Gakkai's activities. In 1961, at the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, Ikeda created an arm of the organization, the Culture Bureau, to accommodate nonreligious activities. It had departments for the study and discussion of Economics, Politics, Education, Speech, and, later in the year, the Arts.
Ikeda and his team visited countries in Europe and Southeast Asia in 1961 and the Near and Middle East in 1962. By 1967 Ikeda had completed 13 trips abroad to strengthen the overseas organizations. Parallel to these efforts Ikeda attempted to find the universal aspects of Nichiren Buddhism stripped away from Japanese context.
The Gakkai's first overseas mission, called "Nichiren Shoshu of America" (NSA), grew rapidly and claimed some 200,000 American adherents by 1970. Ikeda founded Soka Junior and Senior High Schools in 1968 and Soka University in 1971. "Soka Gakkai International" (SGI) was formally founded in 1975, on Guam.
Founding of the Komeito
In 1961 Soka Gakkai formed the "Komei Political League". Seven of its candidates were elected to the House of Councillors. In 1964 the Komeito (Clean Government Party) was formed by Ikeda. Over the course of several elections it became the third largest political party, typically amassing 10–15% of the popular vote. The New Komeito Party was founded in 1998 and has been allied with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since 1999. Religious scholar and political analyst Masaru Sato explains that there is nothing surprising about Komeito becoming a member of a ruling coalition as the Soka Gakkai has become a world religion (as SGI) and history shows a link between ruling coalitions and world religions. He explains that in postwar Japan there were two major parties, the Liberal Democratic Party representing financial interests and large corporations and the Japan Socialist Party largely advocating the interests of labor unions. There was no single party that represented people who belonged to neither such as shop owners, housewives, etc. Until the appearance of the Komeito Party, such people were left on the sidelines. In 2014 the New Komeito was renamed Komeito again. Komeito generally supports the policy agenda of the LDP, including the reinterpretation of the pacifist Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, proposed in 2014 by LDP Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to allow "collective defense" and to fight in foreign conflicts.
1969: Crisis and transformation
In 1969, a prominent university professor named Fujiwara Hirotatsu authored the book I Denounce Soka Gakkai (Soka Gakkai o kiru) in which he severely criticized the Gakkai. The Gakkai and Kōmeitō attempted to use their political power to suppress its publication. When Fujiwara went public with the attempted suppression, the Soka Gakkai was harshly criticized in the Japanese media.
In response, Ikeda made major shifts to the Gakkai's message. He committed the organization to the rights of free speech and freedom of religion. Admitting that the organization had been intolerant and overly sensitive in the past, Ikeda called for moderating conversion activities, openness to other religious practices, and a democratization of the organization. The Soka Gakkai's years of constant growth came to an end.:295
On May 3, 1970, Ikeda issued a speech at the Soka Gakkai's 33rd general meeting which radically shifted the direction of the organization. He stated that Nichiren's message could be understood as absolute pacifism, the sanctity of human life, and respect for human dignity. The Soka Gakkai's role, transcending proselytizing, was to create a foundation of humanism in all aspects of society.
In the 1970s Ikeda helped transition the Soka Gakkai from an internally focused organization centered on its own membership growth to one adopting a focus on a motto of "Peace, Culture, and Education". On October 12, 1972, at the official opening of the Shohondo at Taiseki-ji Ikeda announced the start of the Soka Gakkai's "Phase Two" which would shift direction from aggressive expansion to a movement for international peace through friendship and exchange.
In the speech Ikeda also announced that Kōmeitō members who served in national and local assemblies would be removed from Soka Gakkai administrative posts. Ikeda renounced any plans to create a "national ordination platform".
Over the years the Soka Gakkai has matured under Ikeda's leadership and its values accord with progressive internationalism.
"Citizen diplomacy" by Ikeda
Ikeda initiated a series of dialogues with prominent political, cultural, and academic figures which he labeled "citizen diplomacy". In 1970 he held a dialogue with Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi centered on East-West issues and future directions the world could take. Ikeda conducted ten days of dialogue with Arnold J. Toynbee between 1972 and 1974 which resulted in the publication of the book "Choose Life". In 1974 he conducted a dialogue with André Malraux. Today, the number of his dialogues with scholars, leaders, activists and others has reached 7,000.
In 1974 Ikeda visited China, then the Soviet Union, and once again to China when he met with Zhou Enlai. In 1975 Ikeda met with then Secretary-General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim and United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Ikeda presented Waldheim with a petition, organized by Soka Gakkai youth, calling for nuclear abolition and signed by 10,000,000 people.
Peace, culture, and education
Starting in the mid-1970s the Soka Gakkai began to reconceptualize itself as an organization promoting the theme of "peace, culture, and education." The three themes were concretized in the 1995 charter of the Soka Gakkai International.
The group's peace activities can be traced back to the Toda era – at an athletic meeting in 1957, Toda called for a complete ban on nuclear weapons. A 1975 petition drive against nuclear weapons by the Gakkai's youth division garnered 10 million signatures, and was handed over to the United Nations.:84
Culture of peace
The Soka Gakkai was included in a collective Buddhist response to UNESCO's "Declaration on the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace", established in Barcelona in December 1994. The Soka Gakkai's contribution to building a culture of peace is summarized by person-to-person diplomacy, the promotion of small community discussion meetings with egalitarian mores reflecting the Lotus tradition, the promotion of the values of compassion, wisdom, and courage to promote action to nurture world citizenship, and participation in cultural events to foster the culture of peace. Peace and human rights activists such as Dr. Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who partnered with the Soka Gakkai in various exhibits and presentations, praise the organization's efforts.
Support of United Nations
SGI has been in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1983. As an NGO working with the United Nations, SGI has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament, human rights and sustainable development.
Each year, Ikeda publishes a peace proposal which examines global challenges in the light of Buddhist teachings. The proposals are specific and wide-ranging, covering topics as constructing a culture of peace, promoting the development of the United Nations, nuclear disarmament, the prohibition of child soldiers, the empowerment of women, the promotion of educational initiatives in schools such as human rights and sustainable development education, and calls to reawaken the human spirit and individual empowerment. The complete texts of recent proposals are available at the SGI website. The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research has published a compilation of topical excerptss.
The Soka Gakkai uses its financial resources for a number of civic activities. As a non-governmental organization of the United Nations since 1983, it has participated in many activities and exhibitions in conjunction with the UN.
The Soka Gakkai has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament, human rights and sustainable development. It has sponsored exhibits such as "A Culture of Peace For Children", which was featured in the lobby of the UN Building in New York and "Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our World". Soka Gakkai also contributed to The Earth Charter Initiative with the "Seeds of Change" exhibit, "a 'map' showing the way towards a sustainable lifestyle".
SGI promotes environmental initiatives through educational activities such as exhibitions, lectures and conferences, and more direct activities such as tree planting projects and those of its Amazon Ecological Conservation Center run by SGI in Brazil. One scholar cites Daisaku Ikeda, SGI's president, to describe such initiatives as a Buddhist-based impetus for direct public engagement in parallel with legal efforts to address environmental concerns. In India, Bharat Soka Gakkai (SGI in India) debuted the traveling exhibit "Seeds of Hope", a joint initiative of SGI and Earth Charter International. At the exhibit opening in Panaji, the Indian state capital of Goa, regional planning head Edgar Ribeiro spoke of lagging efforts to implement environmental laws and that: "Only a people's movement can take sustainability forward." In Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College President Datuk Dr Tan Chik Heok said that this exhibition helped "to create the awareness of the power of a single individual in bringing about waves of positive change to the environment, as well as the society."
Establishment of institutions
The Soka Gakkai has established multiple institutions and research facilities to promote its values of peace. The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (founded in 1962), among other goals, clarifies the essence of Buddhism to peace studies.
The Amazon Ecological Research Center (founded by Ikeda in 1992) outside Manaus, Brazil has pioneered reforestation, the creation of a regional seed bank and experiments in agroforestry.
The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue (founded in 1993 as the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century), promotes dialogue between scholars and activists to prevent war and promote respect for life.
The Toda Peace Institute (formerly called the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research) (founded in 1996) conducts peace-oriented international policy research through international conferences and frequent publications.
Responses to the organisation
Soka Gakkai's pacifist stand has been questioned, along with the group's support of Komeito, without denying that the group is very active in "trying to establish the basis for world peace".:84 In Japan, there is a widespread negative perception of SGI's pacifist movement, which is considered to be mere public relations for the group.
Dr. Lawrence Carter, the chaplain at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, considers the Soka Gakkai an important ally in getting the message of civil rights and non-violence to cultures beyond those that are Christian. He has said that Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai, with activities such as Victory Over Violence, have helped in his work to "revive the King legacy".
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish rights organization, has also worked with the Soka Gakkai. Rabbi Abraham Cooper headed its efforts in the Pacific Rim, and in co-operation with the Soka Gakkai opened a Japanese version of the Center's Holocaust exhibit. Cooper said the organization's involvement actually improved the exhibit, and that through the Soka Gakkai, the Wiesenthal Center has found more partners in Japan.
The Soka Gakkai sponsors many cultural activities for its membership as well as the general public.
The Soka Gakkai's subsidiary organizations also have a social presence. The Min-On Concert Association is a subsidiary of the Soka Gakkai which Ikeda established in 1963. It claims to sponsor over 1100 concerts each year. It has sponsored tours by international artists such as the La Scala Opera Company, about which Ikeda told Min-On's director that he "wanted average Japanese people to see first class art, even if we lost a lot of money".
Soka Gakkai considers dance and other performance art to be a major aspect of its peace activities. The members in Singapore also participate in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony and the 2015 Southeast Asian Games Opening Ceremony. The members also participate in the national day parade in Singapore and Malaysia.
The educational activities of the Soka Gakkai are often subsumed under the title of "Soka education". Several educational institutions were either founded by the Soka Gakkai or were inspired by the educational writings of the Soka Gakkai's three presidents.
- Sapporo Soka Kindergarten - Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, founded in 1976
- Hong Kong Soka Kindergarten - Hong Kong, founded in 1992
- Singapore Soka Kindergarten - Singapore, founded in 1993
- Malaysia Soka Kindergarten (Tadika Seri Soka) - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, founded in 1995
- Brazil Soka Kindergarten - São Paulo, Brazil, founded in 2001
- Soka Happiness Kindergarten - Dongjak District, Seoul, South Korea, founded in 2008
- Tokyo Soka Elementary School - Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan, founded in 1978
- Kansai Soka Elementary School - Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, founded in 1982
- Fang Zhao-ling Soka Elementary School - Guangdong, China, founded in 2001
- Xuan-tang Soka Elementary School - Guangdong, China, founded in 2003
- Brazil Soka School - São Paulo, Brazil, founded in 2003
Junior and senior high schools
- Soka Gakuen Tokyo Campus - Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan, founded in 1968
- Soka Gakuen Kansai Campus - Katano, Osaka, Japan, founded in 1973
- Soka Women's College - Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan, founded in 1985
- Soka Ikeda College of Art and Science for Women - Tamil Nadu, India, founded in 2000
The Soka University of America is a private university founded in 1987, located in Aliso Viejo, California, with $1,457,298,476 on assets in the year 2014 and 412 undergraduate students. While the university claims to be secular and independent of Soka Gakkai, it is largely funded by Soka Gakkai . Currently it is reported that "the school maintains no religious affiliation".
Educational research institutes
The Soka Gakkai sponsors The Institute for the Study of Soka Education, a research institution to study the founding principles and results of the above schools. In addition, the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue, located in Boston, studies and publishes works about humanistic education.
The Soka Gakkai sponsors several research institutes:
- The Institute of Oriental Philosophy - Japan, founded in 1962
- Amazon Ecological Conservation Center - Manaus, Brazil, founded in 1992
- The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue - Boston, United States, founded in 1993
- The Toda Peace Institute (formerly called the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research) - Japan, founded in 1996
Formally, the Soka Gakkai International is the umbrella organization for all national organizations, while Soka Gakkai by itself refers to the Japanese arm. Soka Gakkai maintains an international political presence as a registered non-governmental organization with the United Nations.:273
The basic functional organizational unit is the Block – a group of members in a neighborhood who meet regularly for discussion, study and encouragement. A number of Blocks form a District, and Districts are grouped into Chapters. From there the Soka Gakkai is organized into Areas, Regions, Prefectures and, finally, Territories – all under the umbrella of the national organization. Discussion and study meetings, the basic organizational activities, are conducted mainly at the Block level, though there are occasional meetings held at every level.
Soka Gakkai has, together with its international offshoot Soka Gakkai International (SGI), been described as "the world's largest Buddhist lay group and America's most diverse". Soka Gakkai International claims a total of over 12 million adherents. The majority of these belong to the Japanese organization, whose official membership count is 8.27 million households. According to statistics from the Agency for Cultural Affairs (a body of the Japanese Ministry of Education), the Japanese organization had 5.42 million individual members in 2000.
A study in Europe found that most of new members joined because of the personalities of the people they met within the organization; but the biggest reason for continuing is the positive changes they see in their own lives.
List of presidents
- Tsunesaburō Makiguchi (18 November 1930 – 2 May 1944)
- Jōsei Toda (3 May 1951 – 2 May 1960)
- Daisaku Ikeda (3 May 1960 – 24 April 1979)(Honorary president 1979–present)
- Hiroshi Hōjō (北条浩) (24 April 1979 – 18 July 1981)
- Einosuke Akiya (18 July 1981 – 9 November 2006)
- Minoru Harada (9 November 2006 – present)
The Soka Gakkai's newspaper, the Seikyo Shimbun, has a readership base of 5.5 million. Forbes magazine estimated that the organization has an income of at least $1.5 billion per year. Religion scholar Hiroshi Shimada has estimated the wealth of the Soka Gakkai at ¥500 billion.
SGI's president, Daisaku Ikeda, has been described by journalist Teresa Watanabe as one of the most powerful and enigmatic individuals in Japan. A 1995 San Francisco SFGate article describes Ikeda as a "charismatic leader" who can display a violent temper in private. According to religious scholar Jane Hurst, there is no indication he has exploited his position and his home has been described as "modest".
The Soka Gakkai also conducts humanitarian aid projects in disaster stricken regions. As an organization it is not only dedicated to personal spiritual development but also to engaged community service. After the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Soka Gakkai facilities became shelters for the displaced and storage centers for food and supplies for the victims. The relief effort also included community support by youth groups, global fundraising for the victims, and spiritual support. SGI-Chile members collected supplies to deliver to a relief center after the country's 2014 earthquake.
Today, Soka Gakkai is rarely criticized in mainstream news media. Ikeda occasionally contributes editorials to major newspapers, which also print reports on Gakkai business. Since the Komeito Party joined the ruling government coalition in 1999, widespread criticism by the media of the Soka Gakkai has abated and the Soka Gakkai is gaining acceptance as part of the Japanese mainstream. There has been a "fractured view" of the Soka Gakkai in Japan. On the one hand it is seen as a politically and socially engaged movement; on the other, it is still viewed with suspicion by some Japanese. James R. Lewis claims the Soka Gakkai's perception has suffered from sensationalist and often irresponsible treatment by the media even though the group has matured into a responsible member of society. Other scholars reject the cult label. Some scholars who utilize the Bryan R. Wilson typology of newly emerging denominations categorize it as "gnostic-manipulationist", a category of teachings holding that the world can improve as people master the right means and techniques to overcome their problems. According to Anne Mette Fisker-Nielsen, "Soka Gakkai's relentless, but highly successful, proselytizing in the 1950s stirred up fear in wider society. Soka Gakkai was portrayed by the mass media as aggressive even violent – although it is difficult to find evidence." Throughout the 1950s, the Soka Gakkai was a relatively radical movement that remained outside mainstream Japanese society, but since the foundation of the Komeito in the 1960s, it has considerably moderated its activities and has become a very mainstream movement, especially after the Komeito joined the coalition government in 1999.
Soka Gakkai has long been a subject of criticism in the Japanese weekly tabloid news/magazine press. Press criticism of the Soka Gakkai should be seen against the backdrop of negative press coverage of new religious movements in general.
Media criticism of the Soka Gakkai, or at least the New Komeito Party, has abated since it became a coalition partner to the LPD.
There is a varied body of scholarly examination of the Soka Gakkai, representing approaches from a number of academic disciplines. Clarke's bibliography on Japanese new religious movement contains the most exhaustive collection of academic research about the Soka Gakkai.
Especially in the early postwar decades, the Soka Gakkai found itself embroiled in controversy and appellations of "cult" and "cult of personality" have become attached to it. Its rapid expansion in the 1950s and 1960s went against the grain of traditional Japanese mores and this resulted in the public's perception of the organization as being outside of the mainstream. Among Japanese, public suspicion about the Soka Gakkai continues despite active efforts of the organization to attain mainstream acceptance. However, since the Komeito Party joined the ruling government coalition in 1999, widespread criticism by the media of the Soka Gakkai has abated and the Soka Gakkai is gaining acceptance as part of the Japanese mainstream.
Charges of "cult" and "cult of personality" have largely resulted from negative and distorted media coverage. As the coincidence with the issues by Aum Shinrikyo (1995), the term "cult" is widespread very quickly by media throughout Japan, and many religious groups became to be called as a cult from that time, without detailed investigations on these groups but based on intuition (weirdness) that citizens had. Scholarly research has also often been prejudicial. The rapid and unconventional growth of the Soka Gakkai in the 1950s and 1960s caused alarm in established Japanese power structures and this became reflected in English-language research in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Concern that the organization had fascist potential was discounted by the White study, "The Sokagakkai and Mass Society".
Newer scholarship has generally eschewed the Soka Gakkai's cult appellation, noting the organization's maturation, progressive qualities, and its calls to its membership to be excellent citizens.
In 1998, the final paper of the Select (Enquete) Commission of the German Parliament on new religions and ideological communities came to the conclusion that, due to its connection to the Soka Gakkai, which is significant and controversial elsewhere, the German branch (SGI-D) is "latently problematic" even though it was inconspicuous at that time. Seiwert condemned the methodology and political intrigue surrounding this committee's work and final report and pointed out that in 1999 the new government coalition ignored the policy recommendations of the committee. Despite the fact that the majority of the commission were critics of new religious movements, the commission concluded that new religions and ideological communities presented no threat to the state or society.
In July 2000, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform disclosed that a private investigator hired by Soka Gakkai had illegally stolen National Crime Information Center records pertaining to the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. The committee expressed concern that no arrests were made. The Republic of Uruguay honored the 25th anniversary of the SGI's founding with a commemorative postage stamp. The stamp was issued on October 2, the anniversary of SGI President Ikeda's first overseas journey in 1960.
The Soka Gakkai of the Republic of Cuba (SGRC) attained juridical recognition in 2007, following an official visit of Daisaku Ikeda in 1996. It has a membership of approximately 500 individuals spread throughout most of the country's provinces.
In 2008, Ikeda was a recipient of the Order of Friendship, a state-issued award of the Russian Federation bestowed on foreign nationals whose work, deeds and efforts were aimed at the betterment of relations with the Russian Federation and its people.
In 2012, President Ma Ying-jeou of The Republic of China (Taiwan) commended the Taiwan Soka Association for many years of effort in the areas of public welfare, education, and religious teaching. He pointed out that it had received from the Taiwanese government numerous awards such as "National Outstanding Social Organization Award", the "Award for Contribution to Social Education", and "Outstanding Religious Organization Award".
In 2015, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi signed an agreement that recognizes the Soka Gakkai as a "Concordat" (It: "Intesa") that grants the religions status in "a special 'club' of denominations consulted by the government in certain occasions, allowed to appoint chaplains in the army - a concordat is not needed for appointing chaplains in hospitals and jails - and, perhaps more importantly, to be partially financed by taxpayers' money." Eleven other religious denominations share this status. In the same year, the Soka Gakkai constituent organization in the United States (SGI-USA) spearheaded the first "Buddhist Leaders' Summit" at the White House which was attended by 125 leaders and teachers from 63 different Buddhist communities and organizations.
In India the Soka Gakkai is associated with a renewed interest in Buddhism among urban, upper middle class, English-speaking youth.
Among the European new religious movements, the European Soka Gakkai organization is one of the most active participants in dialogues with the European Commission's Bureau of European Policy Advisors.
While they are not all formally affiliated with the Soka Gakkai, there are a number of overseas institutions that perceived to be associated with the Soka Gakkai, or with Ikeda. These include the Ikeda Peace Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Toda Institute of Oriental Philosophy in Hawaii; and educational institutions in the United States, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia and China.
Relationship with Nichiren Shoshu
President Toda's linking of Makiguchi's progressive ideals and Nichiren Shōshū institutions created an immensely effective, if inherently unstable alliance, which resulted in periodic outbreaks of tension between the priesthood and the laity. Other scholars have observed that it is no surprise that a culturally conservative Japanese priesthood built on ideas of hierarchy, ritual, and traditional custom should conflict with a global lay movement built on ideas of egalitarianism, active faith, and rational adaption to the modern world would be unsustainable.
During World War II, the Japanese government demanded that all citizens display a Shinto talisman that paid homage to the Emperor. The Nichiren Shoshu high priest and his clergy were willing to abide by this decree, but Makiguchi resolutely refused. Even when summoned to Taiseki-ji and ordered to obey he still refused. The priesthood's response was to ban Makiguchi and Soka Gakkai members from the head temple. A few weeks later Makiguchi and 20 top leaders of the lay organization were arrested. In 1944 Makiguchi died in prison at age 73.
Despite a 1952 confrontation with a priest that allegedly turned physical and got Toda banned temporarily from the head temple, Nichiren Shoshu priests said they considered Toda the greatest among lay people and after his death they bestowed upon him the honorific name Chief of All Preachers of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke Kōsō Kōtō) During Toda's presidency the Soka Gakkai donated temples to Nichiren Shōshū including the Grand Lecture Hall, dedicated in March 1958.
By the late 1970s there was a series of conflicts between the Soka Gakkai administration and Nichiren Shoshu. The series of speeches Ikeda gave in 1977, redefining the relationship between laity and clergy, alarmed elements of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and was a factor in Ikeda's resignation on April 24, 1979. Ikeda retained only an honorary title but maintained the presidency of Soka Gakkai International. It seems likely the conflict with the Nichiren priesthood was behind Ikeda's departure, and it has been suggested that the Nichiren priesthood demanded Ikeda's resignation as a way to reassert its own authority and relevance.
As now honorary president of the Soka Gakkai, Ikeda functioned in a low profile for the second half of 1979. In 1980 he began to travel extensively as president of the Soka Gakkai International. In 1984 he was reappointed as chief lay representative on Nichiren Shoshu. Yet the reconciliation was still stormy under the surface. The Soka Gakkai had become deeply international in its perspective and the removal of Ikeda as president did not make the members docile.
In 1991, Nichiren Shōshū administration published a list of points detailing their perceptions of Soka Gakkai deviation from Nichiren Shōshū doctrine. The priesthood also condemned Ikeda for abandoning the aggressive propagation style (shakubuku) that led to some social criticism of the lay group, though not the priesthood. Nichiren Shoshu Soka Gakkai was no longer considered a lay group, or hokkekō, of Shōshū, and its leaders, including Ikeda, were expelled. The priest also used Ikeda’s reverence of the Ode to Joy and his promotion of its performance, Ninth Symphony as evidence for non-Buddhist teachings.
Religious scholars have mixed opinions about the split. Ian Reader saw "corrupt and scandalous behavior on both sides." But according to M. Bumann, Seager, Dobbeleare, Metraux, Hurst and others, "A spirit of openness, egalitarianism, and democratization pervaded the SG, embodying and giving new life to the idea of self-empowerment. In 1991, these liberalizing developments led to the split between the Japan-oriented, priestly Nichiren Shōshū and the lay-based, globalized SGI". In an analysis of books studying the expansion of SGI after the split, Jane Hurst viewed the split as the result of: "lay members seeking religious support for their lives, priests seeking perpetuation of hierarchical institutions."
The split was to a degree caused by disagreements over the interpretation of Nichiren teachings. While the two movements still share some ritual elements, the Soka Gakkai did change some practices to "reflect the changes of the late twentieth century," and their own approach to kosen-rufu, or widespread propagation.
These interpretations of Nichiren's teachings arise first from Makiguchi's theory of value creation. From its onset the Soka Gakkai was interested in religion providing "personal gain" for adherents; but "personal advantage as defined by Makiguchi, however, is not a narrow self-interest, but rather something that might be called enlightened self-interest. It is never in conflict with the public good." Secondly, the Soka Gakkai's beliefs and practices arise from Toda's insights that "Buddha is life (or life force)" and "we are bodhisattvas entrusted with worldwide propagation of the Mystic Law."
Ikeda developed these teachings in a way they could take hold in countries outside of Japan, and developed its social agenda. Ikeda has produced certain writings which have acquired a canonical status within Sōka Gakkai, such as Ikeda's book "Human Revolution," which in some ways sets it apart from Nichiren Shōshū, which in turn sets itself apart from the Soka Gakkai by maintaining that only a priest can be a "Bodhisattva of the Earth".
The Soka Gakkai teaches that it is possible to attain enlightenment without the assistance of traditional temples and without a system of priesthood, for any person with deep faith in Nichiren's teachings.
- "History of the Soka Gakkai". SGI Quarterly. Soka Gakkai International.
- Jacqueline I. Stone, Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism (Studies in East Asian Buddhism), University of Hawaii Press 2003, ISBN 978-0824827717, page 454.
- Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin, eds. (2010). Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 2656–2659. ISBN 978-1598842036.
- Kisala, Robert (2004). "Soka Gakkai: Searching for the Mainstream". In Lewis, James R.; Aagaard Petersen, Jesper. Controversial New Religions. Oxford University Press. pp. 139–152.
- Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael, eds. (2006). Introduction to new and alternative religions in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-275-98712-4.
- Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, "Soka Gakkai International" in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. "Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai's charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement's public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai's political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement's history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history."
- Wellman, Jr., James K.; Lombardi, Clark B. (eds.). Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0199827756. "When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs, over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its 'peace movement' is little more than promotional propaganda. The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members, were related members, or were friends of members."
- Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8.
Since its founding in the 1930s, the SG has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination.
- Lewis, James R. (2003). Scholarship and the Delegitimation of Religion in Legitimating new religions ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 217–218. ISBN 978-0813533247. ""For over half a century, one of the most controversial new religions in Japan has been Soka Gakkai. Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society, its ongoing connection with reformist political activity served to keep it in the public eye. Until relatively recently, it also had a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage. Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion, some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai--critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by efforts to delegitimate Soka Gakkai by portraying it as deluded, wrong, and/or socially dangerous. ... Soka Gakkai also spread to the United States and Europe, where it aroused controversy as a result of its intense proselytizing activities. Although it was never as controversial as groups like the Hare Krishna Movement or the Unification Church, Soka Gakkai—which in the United States went under the name Nichiren Shoshu of America after Soka Gakkai broke with Nichiren Shōshū—was not infrequently stereotyped as a brainwashing cult, particularly by anti-cult authors."
- Beasley, W. G., ed. (1977). Modern Japan: Aspects of History, Literature, and Society. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 190–196. ISBN 0-520-03495-3.
Hunt, Arnold D. (1975). Japan's Militant Buddhism: A Survey of the Soka Gakkai Movement. Salisbury East, S. Aust.: Salisbury College of Advanced Education. pp. 1–13. ISBN 0909383065.
Kitagawa, Joseph M. (1990). Religion in Japanese history ([Reprint]. ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 329–330. ISBN 978-0231028387.
- Brannen, Noah (1968). Sōka Gakkai: Japan's militant Buddhists. John Knox Press.
- "The Pioneer Days". Nichiren Shoshu Temple. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
- Strand, Clark (2008). "Faith in Revolution: An Interview with Daisaku Ikeda". Tricycle. Winter.
To chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is to call out the name of the Buddha-nature within us and in all living beings. It is an act of faith in this universal Buddhanature, an act of breaking through the fundamental darkness of life—our inability to acknowledge our true enlightened nature. It is this fundamental darkness, or ignorance, that causes us to experience the cycles of birth and death as suffering. When we call forth and base ourselves on the magnificent enlightened life that exists within each of us without exception, however, even the most fundamental, inescapable sufferings of life and death need not be experienced as pain. Rather, they can be transformed into a life embodying the virtues of eternity, joy, true self, and purity.
- Susumu, Shimazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. Crossroads Publishing. p. 439. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1.
Therefore, when you sit before the Gohonzon and believe there is no distinction among the Gohonzon, Nichiren and you yourself, ... the great life force of the universe becomes your own life force and gushes forth.
- Fisker-Nielsen, Anne-Mette (2013). Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito. [S.l.]: Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-415-74407-2.
Ikeda's reading of Nichiren always returns to this point of seeing the potential of "Buddhahood" present in each person, in each social action and at each moment (the theory of ichinen sanzen). Emphasizing the potentially positive and mutually beneficial outcome to any situation is the basis for the concept of soka, creation of value, which is the name of the organization. The most fundamentals idea is that to facilitate social change it is necessary to develop a way of being in the world that creates value. The daily morning and evening chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the study of Nichiren Buddhism is advocated as the practice for such self-development…
- Macioti, Maria Immacolata; Capozzi (tr), Richard (2002). The Buddha within ourselves : blossoms of the Lotus Sutra. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 73. ISBN 0-7618-2189-9.
It is a matter of a "human revolution" that begins with the individual, etends to the family, and then, if possible, spreads to entire nations; social peace would come about as the summation of many single "human revolutions".
- Strand, Clark (2014). Waking the Buddha : how the most dynamic and empowering Buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Santa Monica, CA: Middleway Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1.
"From the beginning, the Soka Gakkai's approach to Buddhism was focused on the fundamental dignity of human life--affirming it, protecting it, and convincing others to do the same.
- Bocking, Brian. "Soka Gakkai". Overview of World Religions. University of Cumbria, Division of Religion and Philosophy, Philtar (Philosophy, Theology and Religion).
Central to Soka Gakkai's philosophy are the ideas of 'human revolution' (i.e. personal and social transformation) and the Tendai concept of 'one thought, three thousand worlds'. According to Soka Gakkai, human beings can change themselves, and through changing themselves change the world. Change for the better is brought about by chanting the powerful daimoku ("great invocation") – 'Nam-myoho-renge-kyo'. The effect of chanting this phrase, which embodies the essence of the enlightened mind of the Buddha, is radically to elevate one's mental and spiritual state within the 3,000 possible states of mind, which range from the experience of hell to perfect supreme enlightenment. Since 'body and mind are not two' (i.e. they are a unity), the transformation of the 'inner' or mental state is reflected in transformed behaviour and therefore social influence. If enough people practice, whole societies and eventually the whole world will be transformed.
- Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-313-32491-8.
- Buck, Christopher (2015). God and Apple Pie. Kingston, NY: Educator's International Press. p. 274. ISBN 978-1-891928-15-4.
- “Go” is an honorific prefix and “sho” means writings; thus, literally, honorable writings.
- "The writings of Nichiren Daishonin".
- "Three Thousand Realms in a Single Moment of Life". Soka Gakkai International Buddhism in Action for Peace.
- Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
- Tamaru, Noriyoshi. Macachek and Wilson, ed. "The Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective" in Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-19-924039-6.
- Tamaru, Noriyoshi. Global Citizens. p. 34.
- Shimazono, Susume (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world i. Crossroad Publishing. p. 438. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Winning In Life With Daimoku". Living Buddhism: 51.
- Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 53.
- Shimazono, Susumu. Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. p. 436.
- Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 9, 70. ISBN 1-56085-153-8.
- Susumu, Shinazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea and Japan in the Modern World. Crossroads Publishing. p. 451. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1.
- The Liturgy of the Soka Gakkai International. SGI-USA. 2015. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-935523-81-9.
- Chilson, Clark (2014). "Cultivating Charisma: Ikeda Daisaku's Self Presentations and Transformational Leadership". Journal of Global Buddhism, Vol. 15., p. 67
- Chilson, p. 69
- Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. Berkeley [u.a.]: Univ. of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
- McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Did Aum Change Everything? What Soka Gakkai Before, During, and After the Aum Shinrikyo Affair Tells Us About the Persistent "Otherness" of New Religions in Japan, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. 39 (1): 51–75. Archived from the original on 2013-12-23.
- Ikeda, Daisaku; Abdurrahman, Wahid (2015). The Wisdom of Tolerance. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-78453-091-4.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2016). "The Aim of Nichiren Buddhism is Kosen-rufu". Living Buddhism. 20 (9): 52.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (January 2016). "On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land". Living Buddhism: 31–43.
- "On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land". Living Buddhism. SGI-USA: 82–87. July 2011.
- "Buddhist Concepts". Living Buddhism. 18 (12): 8. December 2014.
- The Liturgy of the Soka Gakkai International. SGIUSA. 2015. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-935523-84-0.
- Nichiren (1999). The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin. Tokyo: Soka Gakkai. p. 832.
The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon
- Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
- http://www.daisakuikeda.org/sub/books/books-by-category/buddhist-philosophy/wisdom_lotus_sutra.html. Missing or empty
- Watson, Burton (translator) (2009). The Lotus sutra : and its opening and closing sutras. Tokyo: Soka Gakkai. ISBN 978-4-412-01409-1.
- Urbain, Olivier, ed. (2014). A forum for peace : Daisaku Ikeda's proposals to the UN. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-78076-840-3.
- Nanda and Ikeda, Ved and Daisaku (2015). Our World to Make. Cambridge, MA: Dialogue Path Press. p. 94.
- Yatomi, Shin (2006). Buddhism in a New Light. Santa Monica: World Tribune Press. p. 164.
- Ikeda, Sato and Morinaka, Daisaku, Katsuji and Masaaki (2004). The World of Nichiren Daishonin's Writings vol. 3. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Soka Gakkai Malaysia. p. 62.
- Fowler, Jeaneane and Merv (2009). Chanting in the Hillsides. Portland, Oregon: Sussex Academic Press. p. 190.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2016). "Bodhisattvas of the Earth Emerging in a Steady Stream". SGI-USA. Living Buddhism. p. 6.
But Mr. Toda taught us that we had chosen to be born in those challenging circumstances in order to lead others who were suffering to enlightenment. We could, therefore, overcome even the harshest karma, and, in fact, change it into a mission to help everyone become happy.
- Murata, Kiyoaki (1969), Japan's New Buddhism, New York: Weatherhill, Inc., p. 51
- Seager, Richard (2006), Encountering the Dharma, Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 32–33
- Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). The Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 20–26. ISBN 1-56085-153-8.
- Dobbelaere, Karel. The Soka Gakkai. p. 26.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Change Starts From Prayer". Living Buddhism. 18 (9): 56–57.
- Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. p. 437.
- Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. pp. 446–447.
- Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. p. 447.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Change Starts From Prayer". Living Buddhism. 18 (9): 57–59.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (December 3, 2004). "Prayer". World Tribune: 8.
Prayer is the courage to persevere. It is the struggle to overcome our own weakness and lack of confidence in ourselves.
- Seagar, Richard (2012). Buddhism in America. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780231108683.
- Bauman, Melton, Martin, Gordon (ed.). Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices. p. 2658. ISBN 978-1598842036.
- Morino, Ted (2001), World Tribune, Santa Monica: World Tribune Press, p. 2
- Seager, Richard (2006), Encountering the Dharma, Berkley: University of California Press, p. 33
- Nichiren (1999), The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Santa Monica: SGI-USA Study Department, p. 412
- Nichiren (1999), The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Santa Monica: SGI-USA Study Department, p. 832
- SGI-USA Study Department (2013), An Introduction to Buddhism, Santa Monica: World Tribune Press, p. 32
- Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "The Significance of the Expedient Means and Life Span Chapters". Living Buddhism. 18 (9): 52–53.
- "Upholding Faith In The Lotus Sutra". Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism Library. Retrieved 2014-11-03.
This Gohonzon is the essence of the Lotus Sutra and the eye of all the scriptures.
- Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
They cpuild, in Anaekei's words, 'restore a primeval connection with the eternal Buddha'
- Melton and Baumann (2010). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices (2nd ed.). p. 2658. ISBN 978-1598842036.
By chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo one forms a connection with the ultimate reality that pervades the universe
- Shimazono, Susumu (1999). "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism". In Takeuchi, Yoshinori. Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world i. Crossroad Publishing. p. 451. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1.
- McLaughlin, Levi (2003). "Faith and Practice: Bringing Religion, Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai". Social Science Japan Journal. 6 (2): 19.
- Cornille, C. (1998). "Canon formation in new religious movements: the case of the Japanese New Religions". In van der Kooij, A. Canonization and decanonization : papers presented to the international conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden 9–10 January 1997. Leiden: Brill. pp. 283–287. ISBN 9004112464.
- Fowler, Jeaneane and Merv (2009). Chanting in the Hillsides. Great Britain: Sussex Academic Press. p. 155.
- Strand, Clark (2014). Waking the Buddha. Middleway Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1.
Middleway Press is a division of SGI-USA
- Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 59.
- McLaughlin, Levi (2003). "Faith and Practice: Bringing Religion, Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai". Social Science Japan Journal. 6 (2): 6–7.
- Yatomi, Shin (2006). Buddhism In A New Light. World Tribune Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-932911-14-5.
World Tribune Press is a division of SDGI-USA
- The Winning Life. World Tribune Press. 1998. p. 12.
- Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, The Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
- McLaughlin, Levi (2012). Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. p. 272. ISBN 9004234365.
- Fowler, Jeanne and Merv (2009). Chanting In The Hillsides. Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-84519-258-7.
- Wilson, Bryan (2000). "The British Movement and Its Members". In Machacek and Wilson. Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 358. ISBN 0-19-924039-6.
Liberated from ecclesiastical restraints, Soka Gakkai is enabled to present itself as a much more informed, relaxed and spontaneous worshipping fellowship. In a period when democratic, popular styles have displaced or largely discredited hierarchic structures, the typical meetings of Soka Gakkai reflect the style and form increasingly favored by the public at large.
- McLaughlin, Levi (2012). Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. p. 277. ISBN 9004234365.
- McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". In Prohl, Inken; Nelson, John. Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions. Leiden: Brill. p. 272. ISBN 9789004234352.
- Seagar, Richard (2012). Buddhism In America. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-231-15973-9.
- Seagar, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. pp. 97,169–170. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
- Harada, Minoru (December 12, 2014). "Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism". World Tribune: 2.
- Harada, Minoru (December 12, 2014). "Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism". World Tribune: 5.
- "Buddhist Study Exams Held in Asia, Latin America and Oceania".
- Daisaku, Ikeda. New Human Revolution, vol 6, vol 8.
- Summaries on the major writings can be read on https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/T/58
- Soka Gakkai's version uses the title: The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind Established in the Fifth Five-Hundred-Year Period after the Thus Come One’s Passing (Nyorai metsugo gogohyakusai ni hajimu kanjin no honzon shō)
- SGI-USA Essentials Exam Part 2. SGI USA. 2016. pp. 31–33.
- Lee, Jonathan H. X.; Matsuoka, Fumitaka; Yee, Edmond; Nakasone, Ronald Y., eds. (2015). Asian American Religious Cultures. ABC-CLIO. p. 828. ISBN 9781598843316.
- Clarke, Peter, ed. (2008). Encyclopedia of new religious movements (1. publ. ed.). London: Routledge. p. 594. ISBN 978-0415453837.
- Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator: revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0318-6.
- Levi McLaughlin, Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions, Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion, ISBN 978 90 04 23435 2, page 282
- Hammond, Phillip E.; Machacek, David W. (1999). Soka Gakkai in America: accommodation and conversion (Reprinted. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198293897.
- Kisala, pp. 141–142
- Watanabe, Takesato. "The Movement and the Japanese Media". In Machacek and Wilson, eds. Global Citizens, p. 221. OUP. ISBN 0199240396.
- Strand, p. 33
- Robert L. Ramseyer. "The Soka Gakkai". "The neighbor complained to the police, who arrested Jinno and a director of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai named Arimura." In Beardsley, Richard K., editor, Studies in Japanese culture I. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965. p. 156
- Laderman, Gary; León, Luis, eds. (2003). Religion and American cultures. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.]: ABC- CLIO. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-57607-238-7.
- Thomas, Jolyon Baraka (2014). Japan's Preoccupation with Religious Freedom (Ph.D.). Princeton University. p. 281.
- English, Fenwick W. (2015). Poliner Shapiro, Joan, ed. The Transformational Leader as a Thought Criminal. Routledge. pp. 37–41. ISBN 9781135037802.
|last1=in Editors list (help)
- Miyata, Koichi (2002). "Critical Comments on Brian Victoria's "Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?"". Journal of Global Buddhism. 3: 79–85.
Victoria quotes a reference by Makiguchi to ‘praying’ to the emperor. He could hardly, however, have been more distorting in selecting the passage he quoted, deliberately excluding the following extract, in bold: ‘The august virtue of His Majesty the Emperor is manifested in the security and happiness of the people, through the organs of his civil and military officials. Should these be deficient in some way, the people can petition him through the Diet or other bodies. In light of this, who is there, apart, from His Majesty, the Emperor himself, to whom we should reverently pray?’ (‘Pray’ is Victoria's translation; ‘beseech’ is probably more accurate in this context.)
- Bethel, Dayle M. (2003). "Two Views of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi's Attitude toward Japanese Militarism and Education". The Journal of Oriental Studies. 12: 208.
- Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's New Buddhism: An Objective Account of Soka Gakkai. New York & Tokyo: Walker/Weatherhill. p. 89. ISBN 0834800403.
Toda 'was burning with a desire for vengeance--not against the militarist government of Japan but against an invisible enemy who had caused his own suffering of more than two years as well as his teacher's death in jail and agony to tens of millions of his fellow countrymen.'
- Palmer, A. (2012). Buddhist Politics: Japan's Clean Government Party. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 6. ISBN 9401029962.
Toda's experience in prison had also been one of much suffering, including (it is reported) malnutrition, tuberculosis, asthma, heart trouble, diabetes, hemorrhoids and rheumatism. Besides breaking him physically, his imprisonment and the war had destroyed him financially.
- Foster, Rebecca. "Review of Clark Strand's Waking the Buddha". Foreword Reviews.
- McFarland, H. Neill (1967). Rush Hour of the Gods. New York: Macmillan.
- Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 104–5. ISBN 0834803186.
- Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 108–9. ISBN 0834803186.
- Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 91–3. ISBN 0834803186.
- Offner, Clark B. (1963). Modern Japanese Religions: With Special Emphasis Upon Their Doctrines of Healing. New York: Twayne Publishers. pp. 101–102.
- Mendel Jr., Douglas. "Book Reviews". The Journal of Politics. Cambridge University. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Brannen, Noah S. (1968). Soka Gakkai: Japan's Militant Buddhists. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press. p. 143.
Once a year the education department gives examinations and awards students with the four successive ranks of Associate Lecturer, Lecturer, Associate Teacher, or Teacher. Every member is expected to take the exams. In a study-conscious society and examination-oriented national system of education, Soka Gakkai's indoctrination program is manifestly compatible with the climate.
- White, James W. (1970). The Sōkagakkai and mass society. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804707282.
- McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. ISBN 9004234365.
- Stone, Jacqueline (1994). "Rebuking the Enemies of the Lotus: Nichirenist Exclusivism in Historical Perspective" (PDF). Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. 21/2-3: 231–259.
- Montgomery, Daniel, Fire in the Lotus, (1991). Mandala, an imprint of Grafton Books. p. 186 and p. 189, ISBN 978-1-85274-091-7|quote=Toda stated in his speech, "If this goal is not realized while I am still alive, do not hold a funeral for me. Simply dump my remains in the bay at Shinagawa."
- Nakano, Tsuyoshi. "Religion and State." In Tamaru, Norioshi and David Reid, eds. 1996. Religion in Japanese Culture: Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World. Tokyo: Kodansha, International. ISBN 4-7700-2054-6. P. 125.
- McLaughlin (2012):278–279. "Sõka Gakki was driven forward by adherents who came to the group from the fringes of modern Japanese society. They were attracted to the Gakkai in part because it addressed them in an educational idiom, promising access to legitimate and legitimizing practices associated with a pedagogical framework. This was crucial in Japan of the mid—twentieth century, a society obsessed by standards imposed by educational systems, whose members were quick to judge one another based on perceived levels of cultural sophistication. The Value Creation Study Association appealed to the people postwar Japan as a forum for the socially disenfranchised to study, to learn, to prove themselves within meritocratic institutions modeled on the mainstream schools and other educational establishments in which they otherwise had few chances to participate. Soka Gakkai's academic idiom that appealed to so many in postwar Japan speaks not only to members' desire to realize legitimacy through educational pursuits; the group also appeals to members' aspirations to join Japan's social elite. ... Soka Gakkai is proof that the socially disenfranchised need not sit idle; they are aware of what they lack, and, when organized en masse and inspired by the possibilities of upward social mobility, they themselves create the institutions that grant social mobility— political parties, newspapers, study circles, schools, museums, organizations for the performing arts, and opportunities for musical training. They create alternative means of reaching for the social legitimacy that remains out of their reach in mainstream society, of securing recognition ordinarily granted by the central institutions of the modern nation; they create groups like Soka Gakkai."
- Aruga, Hiroshi. "Sōka Gakkai and Japanese Politics," in Machacek, David and Bryan Wilson, eds, Global Citizens: The Sōka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 104–114
- Brannen (1968), pp. 100–101.
- Ikeda, Daisaku. "Our Courageous Propagation of Buddhism SGI President Ikeda's Essay Series, Thoughts on The New Human Revolution by Myo Goku". Seikyo Shimbun.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (Feb 7, 2012; Feb 8, 2012). "The February Campaign of the New Era" (Translated and reprinted in Living Buddhism, February 2016). Seikyo Shimbun. Check date values in:
- Ikeda, Daisaku (2004). The human revolution (Abridged ed.). Santa Monica, Calif.: World Tribune Press. ISBN 0915678772.
- Ikeda, Daisaku (2003-06-20). "Awakening to Our Missions" (PDF). World Tribune. p. 2.
- Maria Immacolata, Macioti; Capozi (translator), Richard M. (2002). The Buddha within ourselves : blossoms of the Lotus Sutra. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 113. ISBN 0761821899.
- Strand, Clark (2014). Waking the Buddha : how the most dynamic and empowering Buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Santa Monica, CA: Middleway Press. ISBN 9780977924561.
- Doherty, Jr., Herbert J. (Winter 1963). "Soka Gakkai: Religions and Politics in Japan". The Massachusetts Review. 4 (2). JSTOR 25079014.
- Heine, Steven, ed. (2003). Buddhism in the modern world : adaptations of an ancient tradition ([Reprint.]. ed.). New York [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-19-514697-2.
- Fisker-Nielsen, Anne Mette (2012). Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito. London: Routledge. (Japan Anthropology Workshop Series), p. 23
- Seager, Richard (2006), Encountering the Dharma, Berkeley, California: University of California, p. 100
- Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's new Buddhism: an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0834800403.
- Orient/West. 7 (7–11). 1962.
- McLaughlin (2012), p. 292
- White (1970), p. 44
- Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0520245778.
- Kiong, Tong Chee (2007). Rationalizing religion : religious conversion, revivalism, and competition in Singapore society ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Leiden: Brill. p. 141. ISBN 9789004156944.
[Ikeda] turned down the idea of shakubuku or aggressive proselytization for shoju a more gentle and persuasive conversion.
- Offner, Clark B.; Straelen, H. Van (1963). Modern Japanese Religions: With Special Emphasis Upon Their Doctrines of Healing. New York: Twayne Publ. p. 102.
- Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 124,127. ISBN 978-0834800403.
- Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 144. ISBN 978-0834800403.
- Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's New Buddhism: An Objective Account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 145. ISBN 978-0834800403.
- Matsutani, Minoru (2014), Soka Gakkai keeps religious, political machine humming, Tokyo, Japan: Japan Times
- Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1st publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780313324918.
- Hefferan, edited by Tara; Adkins,, Julie; Occhipinti, Laurie (2009). Bridging the gaps : faith-based organizations, neoliberalism, and development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. p. 182. ISBN 9780739132876.
- Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1st publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. pp. 128–30. ISBN 9780313324918.
- Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 125. ISBN 978-0834800403.
- Dehn, Ulrich (2011). Staemmler, Birgit; Dehn, Ulrich, eds. Establishing the revolutionary : an introduction to new religions in Japan. Berlin: Lit. p. 207. ISBN 9783643901521.
- Urbain, Olivier (2013). Daisaku Ikeda and dialogue for peace. London: I.B. Tauris. pp. 22–3. ISBN 9780857722690.
- Strand, Clark. "Interview: Faith in Revolution". Tricycle. Retrieved Jan 2, 2015.
I have felt a powerful responsibility to universalize and ensure the long-term flourishing of the teachings. Just weeks before he died in April 1958, Mr. Toda called me to his side and told me that he had dreamed of going to Mexico, that there were people there waiting to learn about Buddhism. In terms of the teachings, I have tried to separate out those elements in the traditional interpretation of Nichiren Buddhism that are more reflective of Japanese cultural and historical contingencies than they are of the underlying message. To this end I have continued to engage in dialogue with a wide range of people around the world in order to refine and universalize the expression of my ideas. Because I am convinced that all cultures and religions are expressions of deep human truths, I have regularly referenced philosophical traditions other than Buddhism, bringing in the ideas and insights of literature, art, science, and medicine, and sharing the inspiring words and insights of thinkers from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds with people, including the membership of the Soka Gakkai.
- Neusner, Jacob, ed. (2003). World religions in America: an introduction (3. ed.). Louisville, Ky. ;London: Westminster John Knox. p. 166. ISBN 978-0664224752.
- Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 146–147. ISBN 978-0834800403.
- Marshall, Katherine (2013). Global institutions of religion ancient movers, modern shakers. London: Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 9781136673443.
- Carlile, Masumi Junnosuke ; translated by Lonny E. (1995). Contemporary politics in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 397–8. ISBN 9780520058545.
- Sato, Masaru (2017). A Transforming Force. Japan: Daisanbunmei-sha, Inc. pp. 81–82, 30.
- New Komeito changes name back to Komeito
- "MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: Local New Komeito officials oppose collective self-defense". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 2014-07-27.
- NYT, 2015
- Fujiwara, Hirotatsu ; translated by Worth C Grant (1970). What shall we do about this Japan:I denounce Soka Gakkai. Nisshin Hodo Co. ISBN 9110135502.
- Carlile, Masumi Junnosuke ; translated by Lonny E. (1995). Contemporary politics in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 398. ISBN 9780520058545.
- Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 97–8. ISBN 9780520245778.
Ikeda took [the free speech issue] seriously and made it the starting point for a process of critical self-examination that resulted in his once again re-creating the Gakkai. ... The free speech issue gave him a platform from which to make shifts in emphasis of such magnitude that some members recall that it took them a year or more to grasp his intent fully.
- Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780520245778.
'We must take the lessons of this incident deeply to heart and must absolutely not make the same mistake again,' he said.
- Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 97–8. ISBN 9780520245778.
Ikeda's 1970 speech marked a watershed between the shakubuku-driven activism of the early days and the more moderate, secularizing style that would become a hallmark of his presidency. It also marked his coming into his own as a teacher at the age of forty-two--still young by Japanese standards--as he began to articulate clearly the basic principles of his emergent globalizing and universalizing Buddhist Humanism.
- "Profile: Soka Gakkai". THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITY PROJECT (WRSP). Virginia Commonwealth University.
On October 12, 1972, during ceremonies marking the opening of the completed Shōhondō at Taisekiji, Ikeda delivered a speech announcing the start of Sōka Gakkai's "Phase Two", describing a turn away from aggressive expansion toward envisioning the Gakkai as an international movement promoting peace through friendship and cultural exchange.
- Nakano, Tsuyoshi. "Religion and State". In: Tamura, Noriyoshi and David Reed, eds. 1996. Religion in Japanese Culture: Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World. Tokyo: Kodansha International, p. 127.
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- Buck, Christopher (2015). God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America. Educator's International Press. p. 275. ISBN 9781891928154.
Daisaku Ikeda...has transformed the materialistic promises of SGI practices into socialpreises that all can respect. Ikeda has almost single-handedly matured SGI. ... These sacralized secular values are characteristic of progressive internationalism.
- Teranashi, Hirotomo (2013). Urbain, Olivier, ed. Daisaku Ikeda and Dialogue for Peace. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 9780857734136.
- Toynbee, Arnold; Ikeda, Daisaku; Gage, Richard L. (Ed.) (2007). Choose life: A Dialogue. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9781845115951.
- Malraux, Andre and Ikeda, Daisaku. Ningen kakumei to ningen no joken (Changes Within: Human Revolution vs. Human Condition) Tokyo: Ushio Shuppansha Tokyo 1976
- Goulah, Jason (2013), Dialogic Practice in Education., London/New York: In Urbain, Olivier. Daisaku Ikeda and Dialogue for Peace, p. 83
- Nanda, Ved P. (2009). Krieger, David, ed. The challenge of abolishing nuclear weapons. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 9781412815178.
- Seager, Richard (2014). Laderman, Gary; León, Luis, eds. Religion and American Cultures: Tradition, Diversity, and Popular Expression, 2nd Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. 68. ISBN 9781610691109.
- Lebron, Robyn E. (2012). Searching for spiritual unity...can there be common ground? : a basic internet guide to forty world religions & spiritual practices. Bloomington, Ind.: Crossbooks Publishing. p. 424. ISBN 9781462712625.
The SGI shall contribute to peace, culture, and education for the happiness and welfare of all humanity based on the Buddhist respect for the sanctity of human life.
- Richard H. Seager, Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism, University of California Press:2006, p. 83
- Kisala, Robert (2000). Prophets of peace: Pacifism and cultural identity in Japan's new religions. Honolulu, HI, USA: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0824822675.
- David W. Chappell, "Introduction", in David W. Chappell (ed.), Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures of Peace, Wisdom Publications: 1999, pp. 22–23
- Seager. Encountering the Dharma. pp. 175–181.
- UNODA, update (18 March 2014). "UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Meets Youth Representatives of Soka Gakkai Japan and of SGI-USA Engaged in Disarmament Issues". Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Anwarul K. Chowdhury, "Introduction," Olivier Urbain (ed), A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda's Proposals to the UN. IB Tauris, 2013, ISBN 978-1780768403, pp. xi-xiv
- "Proposals". www.sgi.org. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- Olivier Urbain (ed), A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda's Proposals to the UN. IB Tauris, 2013, ISBN 978-1780768403
- "U.N. and NGO Links". Soka Gakkai International. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
SGI works closely with other organizations which share the same goals at the national and international levels. At the grassroots, SGI groups partner with local community organizations and educational institutions to raise awareness of issues such as nuclear abolition and sustainable living, and empower individuals to contribute to building a culture of peace.
- Sato, Aoi. "UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Meets Youth Representatives of Soka Gakkai Japan and of SGI-USA Engaged in Disarmament Issues". United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
- "'CULTURE OF PEACE' EXHIBIT, HIGHLIGHTING CONTRIBUTIONS OF BOTH ORDINARY AND RENOWNED PEACE-BUILDERS, TO OPEN ON 4 FEBRUARY". United Nations. February 2004. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
- Jaura, Ramesh. "Hiroshima and Nagasaki Beckon Nuke Free World". Other news. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
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- Dessì, Ugo (2013). "'Greening Dharma': Contemporary Japanese Buddhism and Ecology". JSRNC. Equinox Publishing, Ltd. 7 (3): 340. doi:10.1558/jsrnc.v7i3.334. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- Ribeiro, Edgar (2016-02-12). "Edgar Riberio pushes for mapping Goa". Times of India. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
- "Sowing the seeds of hope". The Star online. 2014-11-16. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
- "The Institute of Oriental Philosophy".
- Seagar, Richard (2006), Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism, University of California Press, p. 192
- Karel Dobbelaere, "Toward a Pillar Organization?" in Global Citizens, Machacek and Wilson (eds.), pp. 243, 250
- "Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research". Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- Seager, p. 107
- Pauling, Linus. A Lifelong Quest For Peace. Jones and Bartllett. p. ix. ISBN 978-0867202786.
For decades Daisaku Ikeda has "been working to achieve the goals of disarmament, world understanding, and universal peace.
- Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. pp. 176–177.
- Seager. Encountering the Dharma. pp. 180–181.
- Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8.
- Karel Dobbelaere, "Toward a Pillar Organization?" in Global Citizens, Machacek and Wilson (eds.), page=245
- Cultural performances and the youth of Soka Singapore, 26ff
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- "Soka University of America". National Center for Charitable Statistics. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
- Pyle, Amy (17 November 1991). "Various Soka Groups Appear Linked". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
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- "Organization Chart". Sokanet. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Strand, Clark (2008). "Faith in Revolution". Tricycle Magazine. 4.
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- "概要". SOKAnet 創価学会公式サイト. Soka Gakkai. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "わが国における主な宗教団体名". 文化庁. 1995-12-31. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. p. 38. ISBN 1-56085-153-8.
- "Minoru Harada appointed as Soka Gakkai President". Soka Gakkai International. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8.
- Benjamin Fulford; David Whelan (9 June 2006). "Sensei's World". Forbes. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Matsutani, Minoru (2 December 2008). "Soka Gakkai keeps religious, political machine humming". The Japan Times. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Watanabe, Teresa. "Japan's Crusader or Corrupter?". L.A. Times. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
He is, by some accounts, the most powerful man in Japan--and certainly one of the most enigmatic: Daisaku Ikeda, leader of the nation's largest religious organization, has been condemned and praised as a devil and an angel, a Hitler and a Gandhi, a despot and a democrat.
- Magee, Michelle (December 27, 1995). "Japan Fears Another Religious Sect". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Hurst, Jane (2000). Machacek and Wilson, ed. "A Buddhist Reformation In The Twentieth Century" in Global Citizens. Oxford University. p. 89.
Rather than giving in to the temptation to exploit his power as the leader of a now 12 million member organization, Mr. Ikeda has instead worked to see that the organization has become more democratic.... Power in the SGI has not stayed centered in Japan but has spread throughout the world...
- Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8.
- "Yes, Religion Can still be a force for good in the world: Here are 100 examples how". Huffington Post.
- name="Oxford University Press">Metraux, Daniel (2012). Wellman, James K.; Lombardi, Clark B., eds. Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 266. ISBN 9780199827749.
- Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
Since its founding in the 1930s, the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination.
- Takesato Watanabe, "The Movement and the Japanese Media" in David Machacek and Bryan Wilson (eds.), Global Citizens, Oxford University Press, 2000. "The Soka Gakkai is exceptional in that no other large Japanese religious organization engages in both social and political issues—from the promotion of human rights to the protection of the environment and abolition of nuclear weapons—as actively as it does." (p. 217)
- Wellman, Jr., James K.; Lombardi, Clark B. (eds.). Religion and Human Security: A Global Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0199827756. "When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs, over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its "peace movement" is little more than promotional propaganda. The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members, were related members, or were friends of members."
- Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, "Soka Gakkai International" in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. "Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai's charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement's public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai's political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement's history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history."
- Macioti, p. 124. "It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a "sect." It is not a small, two-faced cult, characterized by obscure and hidden agendas. Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations, all of which are engaged in promoting culture, and raising interest around the theme of values—and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation."
- O'Brien, Barbara. "Soka Gakkai International: Past, Present, Future". About Religion.
You can find diverse definitions of "cult", including some that say "any religion other than mine is a cult". You can find people who argue all of Buddhism is a cult. A checklist created by Marcia Rudin, M.A., a founding director of the International Cult Education Program, seems more objective. I have no personal experience with SGI, but over the years I've met many SGI members. They don't seem to me to fit the Rudin checklist. For example, SGI members are not isolated from the non-SGI world. They are not anti-woman, anti-child, or anti-family. They are not waiting for the Apocalypse. I do not believe they use deceptive tactics to recruit new members. Claims that SGI is bent on world domination are, I suspect, a tad exaggerated.
- Bryan Wilson, Religion in Secular Society. Penguin, 1969
- Bryan Wilson, Magic and the Millennium, Heinemann, London, 1973, pp. 18–30
- Wallis, Roy (1976). The road to total freedom: a sociological analysis of Scientology. London: Heinemann Educational. p. 156. ISBN 0-435-82916-5.
- Glock, Charles Y.; Bellah, Robert N., eds. (1976). The New religious consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-520-03083-4.
- Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012) "Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito", Routledge, p. 52.
- Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012) "Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito", Routledge, pp. 7–9
- Mette Fisker-Nielsen, pp. 65–66.
- Clarke, Peter (2013). Bibliography of Japanese New Religious Movements. Routledge.
- Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 9780520245778.
Since its founding in the £9305, the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination. To varying degrees this fractured view has followed the movement overseas, where, despite its success at globalization, it has had to contend with both the legacy of Japanese militarism in Asia and the concerns of observers in the West that the movement was in some way an Asian cult.
- Watanabe, Adam Gamble & Takesato (2004). A public betrayed : an inside look at Japanese media atrocities and their warnings to the West. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub. p. 216. ISBN 9780895260468.
Given the predilection of many Japanese for accepting multiple religions, as well as the Japanese cultural tendency to avoid confrontation, it is no surprise that the Soka Gakkai's proselytizing was viewed negatively by much of mainstream Japanese society. Although the group had stopped this methodology by the 1980s and has focused ever since on 'sharing Buddhism in natural, socially accepted ways,' it has been unable to completely shake the negative images from these efforts. Also during its early years, the group attracted many impoverished Japanese, people who did not work for large companies or belong to national unions. This earned it the added reputation of being a 'gathering of poor people.' The label was used derisively, but the Soka Gakkai welcomed it as a slogan that reflected its philosophy of embracing all people, especially the poor and suffering. Although the current membership represents a broad cross section of Japanese society, the early taint of being outside the mainstream remains.
- Kisala, Robert (2004). Petersen, Jesper Aagaard; Lewis, James R., eds. Controversial new religions ([Reprint.] ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195156836.
In conclusion I think we would have to say that although the group has made considerable efforts to become more mainstream, as long as it is perceived to be more concerned with political power and prestige than with the spiritual quest it will continue to be the object of popular suspicion.
- Metraux, Daniel (2012). Wellman, James K.; Lombardi, Clark B., eds. Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 266. ISBN 9780199827749.
Throughout the 1950s, the Soka Gakkai was a relatively radical movement that remained outside mainstream Japanese society, but since the foundation of the Komeito in the 1960s, it has considerably moderated its activities and has become a very mainstream movement, especially after the Komeito joined the coalition government in 1999.
- Lewis, James R. (2014). Cults: A Reference and Guide. Routledge. p. 164. ISBN 9781317545132.
Soka Gakkai has been attacked in Japan because of its support of political activity that challenges the ruling coalition. Exploiting the negative public reaction to AUM Shinrikyo—the Japanese religious group responsible for the 1995 poison gas attack in the Tokyo subway system—the LDP (the Liberal Democratic Party, which has always been the dominant party in the ruling coalition) attempted to weaken its principal political rival, the New Frontier Party, which Soka Gakkai supported. In particular, the LDP engaged in a campaign to portray Soka Gakkai as being incompatible with the principles of democracy. In 1999, however, the LDP did an abrupt about face, and allied itself with the New Komeito Party, the party supported by Soka Gakkai. Unsurprisingly, the media assault on Soka Gakkai subsequently evaporated.
- Watanabe, Takesato (2003). Machacek, David; Wilson, Bryan, eds. Global citizens : the Soka Gakkai Buddhist movement in the world (Reprinted. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 213–290. ISBN 0199240396.
The distortions generated in the reportage of the Soka Gakkai, the largest religious organization in Japan, as well as its virtual dismissal by the Japanese mainstream media, are shaped by the following causes: (1) a power structure which derives legitimacy through preservation of the imperial system; (2) the scope and scale of the Soka Gakkai's political influence; (3) its history of defiance and autonomy; (4) the Japanese media's dependence on large corporate advertisers; (5) the existence of media companies such as Bungei Shunju and Shichosa, which maintain collusive ties to the state; (6) the uncompromising religious convictions of the Soka Gakkai and social disapproval of its initial period of aggressive proselytizing; (7)media coverage of Soka Gakkai's vast financial resources; (8) the framework of social intolerance in Japan; (9) the proliferation of media stereotypes; and (10) the inadequacy of media relations skills and training employed by the Soka Gakkai as a social entity.
- Sakai, Noboru (2017). "The Roots of the Contemporary Image of Japanese Cults". Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies. 17.
- Lewis, James R. (July 2000). "Sect-Bashing in the Guise of Scholarship: A Critical Appraisal of Select Studies of Soka Gakkai" (PDF). Marburg Journal of Religion. 5 (1). Retrieved 11 September 2015.
For half a century, one of the most controversial new religions on the Japanese scene has been Soka Gakkai. (Like many other groups characterized as new religions, this organization is a revitalization of a traditional religion rather than a truly "new" religious form.) Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society, its ongoing connection with reformist political activity has served to keep it in the public eye. It also continues to have a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage. Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion, some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai--critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by the task of condemning Soka Gakkai as deluded, wrong and/or socially dangerous.
- McFarland, H. Neill (1967). Rush Hour of the Gods. New York: Macmilla
- Brannen, Noah S. (1968). Soka Gakkai: Japan's Militant Buddhists. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press.
- Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's new Buddhism: an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0834800403.
- Fujiwara, Hirotatsu ; translated by Worth C Grant (1970). What shall we do about this Japan:I denounce Soka Gakkai. Nisshin Hodo Co. ISBN 9110135502
- White, James W. (1970). The Sōkagakkai and mass society. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804707282.
- Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780520939042.
Writing at a time when memories of the rise of fascism in Europe were fresh and a premium had been placed on the stability of Japan, White examines the motives of the movement's members and analyzes its structure and ideology. Writing also at a time when Ikeda was just coming into his own as a mature leader, White draws conclusions that, while measured, cautious, and qualified, essentially cleared the movement of critics' most significant charges.
- Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520939042.
Newer scholarship, such as Global Citizens: The Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World or "The Soka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" praises the movement for its progressive values and its members' sense of civic duty. Older articles and books, by contrast, are consistently preoccupied with a varied array of virulent charges.
- Itoh, Mayumi (2014). Hrebenar, Ronald J.; Nakamura, Akira, eds. Party Politics in Japan: Political Chaos and Stalemate in the 21st Century. Routledge. ISBN 9781317745969.
Shemada notds that the deep anti-Soka Gakkai allergy in Japanese society-at-large has weakened in recent years, as the members have stopped the aggressive membership drives it deployed in the past. Shemada argues that this means the Soka Gakkai has been firmly established in society.
- Macioti, p. 124. "It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a ‘sect.’ It is not a small, two-faced cult, characterized by obscure and hidden agendas. Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations, all of which are engaged in promoting culture, and raising interest around the theme of values—and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation."
- Endbericht der Enquete-Kommission Sogenannte Sekten und Psychogruppen, Page.105 (PDF; 6,5 MB)|quote=Some groups have little significance nationally, they are not involved locally in any serious political controversy and/or have attracted little public censure. Nevertheless, they remain a latent problem through being linked to international organisations that are significant and controversial elsewhere. One such example came to light at the hearing of Soka Gakkai, which in Germany is a fairly inconspicuous group of about 3,000 people, but is highly significant in Japan, the United States, etc. (Translated at http://www.csj.org/infoserv_articles/german_enquete_commission_report.htm)
- Seiwert, Hubert (2004). Richardson, James T., ed. Regulating Religion Case Studies from Around the Globe. Boston, MA: Springer US. pp. 85–102. ISBN 9781441990945.
- Schoen, Brigitte (2004). Lucas, Phillip Charles; Robbins, Thomas, eds. New Religious Movements in the 21st Century. Routledge. pp. 89–90. ISBN 9781135889012.
As the commission was initiated at the request of ciritics of new religions, and as the majority of the commission's members can be counted among critics, the commission's results were all the more surprising. It concluded that at present new religions and ideological communities and psychotherapy groups presented no danger to state and society or to socially relevant areas.
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- Simmer-Brown, Acharya Judith (May 17, 2015). "Shambhala Visits the White House". Shambhala Times Community News Magazine.
- Prasad, Pallavi (May 10, 2017). "A Millennial Take on Buddha: Meet India's New-Age Buddhists". The Quint.
- Leustean, Lucian N.; Madeley, John T.S.; Pastorelli, Sabrina (2013). Religion, Politics and Law in the European Union. Routledge. pp. 189–195. ISBN 9781317990802.
- Seager, Richard (2012). Buddhism in America. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 97.
- Wilson and Dobbelaere, Bryan and Karel (1994). A Time to Chant. Great Britain: Oxford University Press. pp. 243–4.
- Montgomery, Daniel (1991). Fire in the Lotus. London: Mandala. p. 182.
- Daniel B. Montgomery: Fire in the Lotus, Mandala 1991, S. 186–187 In April 1952 Taiseki-ji and other Nichiren temples throughout the land were celebrating the 700th anniversary of the founder's first proclamation of the Daimoku, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. ... At Taiseki-ji four gala days were planned. The first two were to be managed by the sect's official laymen's association, called Hokkeko. The last two days were for Sokagakkai. ... The Hokkeko was bringing 2,500 members, and he [Toda] would muster 4,000 from his one-year-old society. He also saw an opportunity to avenge his two years of imprisonment during the war ... Forty-seven leaders of the Youth Division, one of whom was Daisaku Ikeda, worked out a systematic plan to locate Ogasawara and bring him to judgement. … The young men immediately challenged him to debate his views. ... What happened next is not clear. According to Ikeda, Toda reasoned calmly with Ogasawara, demanding an apology, while the old man 'drolled out of the mouth' and 'howled like a rabid dog'. But Murata claims that Toda told him in an interview that he struck the priest 'twice' (96). In any case, Ogasawara would not be intimidated, and would admit to nothing. ... They carried him out into the temple grounds, shouting through megaphones, 'This is Jimon Ogasawara, a parasite in the lion's body, gnawing at Nichiren Shoshu ... They tagged him with a placard reading. 'Racoon Monk', and bore him to the grave of Makiguchi.
- Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's New Buddhism: An Objective Account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0834800403, pp. 96–97
- Brannen (1968), p. 158
- Brannen (1968), p. 164.
- Dehn, Ulrich (2011). Staemmler, Birgit, ed. Soka Gakkai. Berlin: Lit. p. 208. ISBN 978-3643901521.
The then Söka Gakkai president Ikeda in a series of messages and speeches in 1976 and 1977 defined the roles and functions of Söka Gakkai in a way which made the priesthood of the Nichiren Shöshü appear to be no longer necessary. According to Ikeda, it were not the priestly robes, bare heads and ordination which mattered at rites and ceremonies but the proper heart and mind and the readiness to help people to overcome suffering. The centres of Söka Gakkai were, according to Ikeda. the temples of present times. The Nichiren Shöshü priests were felt to be arrogant and dominant: vice versa Nichiren Shöshü felt this to be a 'hostile takeover' by people who were not skilled for the religious job and functions. The conflict in this hotter phase lasted for almost 15 years, and Ikeda was urged to leave the post of Söka Gakkai president in 1979.
- Daniel A. Metraux. "Why Did Ikeda Quit?" Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, vol. 7, no. 1 (March 1980): 56.
- McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". In Prohl, Inken; Nelson, John. Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions. Leiden: Brill. p. 300. ISBN 9789004234352.
By and large, Nichiren Shöshü did not see Gakkai members transform into faithful temple parishioners after Ikeda became Honorary President. Instead, (Gakkai adherents continued to organize in the thousands to revere Ikeda as the leader of an increasingly outward-looking movement that was growing rapidly distant from its lay Buddhist roots. By the mid-1980s, the Nichiren Shöshü priesthood found itself the uncomfortable elderly companion of a dynamic international organization led by a globe-trotting public intellectual who was beginning to speak more often about the Enlightenment of European philosophy than the enlightenment promised by Nichiren Buddhist doctrine.
- Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 12.
Other criticisms were more fundamental. For example, the president was criticized for having abandoned shakubuku as a method of proselytism in favor of the shoju method.
- Chronology of events according to "Association of Youthful Priests Dedicated to the Reformation of Nichiren Shoshu". 
- Chronology of events according to Nichiren Shoshu
- "Faith and Practice: Bringing Religion, Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai".
- Reader, Ian. "Review of "A Time to Chant" by Wilson and Dobbelaere". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. 22 (1): 223.
- "Martin Baumann Book Review of Hugh Seager - JGB Volume 7". Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- Hurst, Jane. "Book Review". Journal of Global Buddhism V. 3 2002.
- Hurst, Jane (1998). Prebish and Tanaka, ed. "Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai in America: The Pioneer Spirit" in The Faces of Buddhism In America. University Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0520213012.
The major causes of the split were conflicting claims to authority between the Soka Gakkai and pristhood leaders, their relative positions of power, disagreements over the interpretation of Nichiren Daishonin's teachings, and certain financial issues.
- Hurst, Jane (2000). Machacek and Wilson, ed. Buddhist Reformation in the 20th Century. Oxford University. pp. 67–68. ISBN 0-19-924039-6.
- Hurst, Jane. A Buddhist Reformation in the Twentieth Century, in Global Citizens. p. 70.
Soka Gakkai emerged at a time of great cultural, economic and technological change. The changes they have brought to the practice of Nichiren's Buddhism are a reflection of the changes of the late twentieth century.
- Hurst, Jane. A Buddhist Reformation, in Global Citizens. p. 77.
...the priesthood just did not share Soka Gakkai's vision of how to accomplish kosen-rufu.
- Ramseyer, Robert (1965). "The Soka Gakkai: Militant Religion on the March". Studies in Japanese Culture. 1: 160.
For Makiguchi, the object of worship is not the Lord, the Ruler, to whom absolute loyalty is given, but rather a tool to be used for personal gain. The allegiance which must be given to religion is always a qualified allegiance, qualified because it is contingent on receiving some benefit from the religion.
- Susumu, Shimazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. Crossroads Publishing. p. 437. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1.
- Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8.
- Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130.
...laypeople, such as members of the Gakkai, can be followers of the bodhisattvas of earth *sic), but cannot be among the bodhisattvas themselves, because that status is reserved for priests.
- The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1992 - 19/4, D. Metraux, p. 326
- Sōka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion By Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek. London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-829389-5
- "The Sōka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" by Daniel A. Metraux in Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King, eds. SUNY Press, 1996.
- The New Believers: A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions. David V Barrett. Octopus Publishing Group, 2003
- The Lotus and the Maple Leaf: The Sōka Gakkai in Canada by Daniel A. Metraux (University Press of America, 1996)
- Fundamentals of Buddhism (second edition) by Yasuji Kirimura (Nichiren Shōshū International Center [now SGI], 1984). ISBN 4-88872-016-9
- Sōka Gakkai kaibō ("Dissecting Sōka Gakkai") by the editors of Aera (Asahi Shimbun, 2000). ISBN 4-02-261286-X (Japanese)
- A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West. Adam Gamble & Takesato Watanabe. Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004. ISBN 0-89526-046-8
- (SERA) Southeast Review of Asian Studies 29 (2007). "Religion, Politics, and Constitutional Reform in Japan," by Daniel Metraux, 157–72.
- Westward Dharma: Buddhism beyond Asia. Charles S. Prebish and Martin Baumann, eds. 2002.
- Igami, Minobu. 1995. Tonari no Sōka Gakkai [The Sōka Gakkai Next Door], Tokyo: Takarajima.
- Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Asia. By Juliana Finucane, R. Michael Feener, pages 103 122.
- Neo Yeow Ann Aaron "Studying Soka: Buddhist Conversionn And Religious Change In Singapore" (PDF).
- Strand, Clark: Waking the Buddha - how the most dynamic and empowering buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Strand examines how the Soka Gakkai, based on the insight that "Buddha is life", has evolved a model in which religion serves the needs of its practitioners, rather than the practitioners adhering to dogma and traditions for their own sake. Middleway Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1
- Editors of AERA: Sōkagakkai kaibai (創価学会解剖: "Dissecting Sōkagakkai"). Asahi Shimbun-sha, October 1995. ISBN 978-4-02-261286-1. AERA is a weekly investigative news magazine published by one of Japan's leading news organizations; this book attempts to present a dry, fair assessment of Sōkagakkai and Daisaku Ikeda and contains several interviews with Gakkai leaders.
- Shimada, Hiroki: Sōkagakkai no jitsuryoku (創価学会の実力: "The true extent of Sōkagakkai's power"). Shinchosha, August 2006. ISBN 4-02-330372-0. Argues that the Sōka Gakkai is not (or is no longer) as powerful as many of its opponents fear, and that it is losing ground internally as all but the most dedicated are turned off by the leadership and fewer members need the organization for social bonding. Also notes that it is becoming more like a civic rather than a religious organization, and that inactive members don't resign because they want to avoid the ostracism and harassment that can result.
- Shimada, Hiroki: Kōmeitō vs. Sōkagakkai (公明党vs.創価学会: "The Kōmeitō and the Sōka Gakkai"). Asahi Shinsho, June 2007. ISBN 978-4-02-273153-1. Describes the relationship between Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai and the development of their history. Touches on the Sōka Gakkai–Nichiren Shōshū split, describing it as the result of a power struggle and financial constraints, as well as on the organized harassment of opponents by Sōka Gakkai members, the organization's use of its media vehicles to vilify opponents, and Ikeda's demand for unquestioning loyalty.
- Tamano, Kazushi: Sōkagakkai no Kenkyū (創価学会の研究: "Research on the Sōkagakkai"). Kodansha Gendai Shinsho, 2008. ISBN 978-4-06-287965-1. This book is an attempt to review scholarly studies of Sōka Gakkai from the 1950s to the 1970s and shifts in perceptions of the organization as journalists took over from scholars. Tamano takes the perspective of a social scientist and describes Sōka Gakkai as a socio-political phenomenon. He is also somewhat critical of some views Shimada expressed in the latter's recent publications.
- Yamada, Naoki: Sōkagakkai towa nanika (創価学会とは何か: "Explaining Sōkagakkai"). Shinchosha, April 2004. ISBN 4-10-467301-3
- Yatomi, Shin: Buddhism In A New Light. Examines Soka Gakkai interpretations of Buddhist concepts. World Tribune Press, 2006. ISBN 978-1-932911-14-5
- "Sacred gospel and the Soka Gakkai: Correlating Black liberation theology and Buddhist humanism---Implications for religious education and the alleviation of African American ethnic suffering".
News media (websites)
- "Celebrating in Earnest: Buddhists Mark the Start of a New Year With Joy and a Strong Sense of Purpose" by Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, January 1, 2008
- Koichi Miyata, Soka University, Department of Humanities "Critical Comments on Brian Victoria's "Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?"
- Soka Gakkai International
- SOKAnet - Sōka Gakkai's official website (in Japanese)
- Lecture by Levi McLaughlin on SGI, Princeton University
- Soka Spirit, published by SGI-USA
- Soka Gakkai, published by The World Religions & Spirituality Project (WRSP)
- Ikeda Center for Peace Learning and Dialogue
- Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
- Fired staff speak out about Japanese politics 1:07:00
- Seikyo Shimbun
- Documentary on Soka Gakkai "Embattled Buddhists: Under the Rising Sun"
- Buddhist in America