Rise of the Soka Gakkai International
In accordance with the spirit of our first president, Mr. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, and the second president, our teacher, Josei Toda, who had loyally dedicated themselves to the head temple, I, representing the entire membership of our organization, pledge even greater loyalty to His Excellency. Soka Gakkai is the greatest ally of the masses. Our enemies are the evil religions. Evil religions drive people to hell. True Buddhism makes Buddhas out of all people. Nichiren Daishonin said the source of all unhappiness and misfortunes of people is evil religion. It was our teacher, Mr. Josei Toda, who repeated this great saying.Ikeda continued his predecessor's effort to contribute new facilities to Taisekiji. Through the donations of millions of dollars by Soka Gakkai members, the Grand Reception Hall was built in 1964. In 1965, over 8 million dollars were raised in four days for the building of a Grand Main Temple (Sho-Hondo) where the Daigohonzon of Taisekiji could be displayed for pilgrims from all over the world. The Grand Main Temple was finally completed in 1972. The Grand Main Temple was the largest religious structure in the world and would receive more than 3.5 million pilgrims a year.
With the great spirit of this teacher of ours for destroying the evil religions, we, his pupils must once again fiercely attack them. (Murata, pp. 118-9)
The Sho-Hondo is the actual High Sanctuary of True Buddhism (ji no kaidan) of this time, which contains the significance described in On the Three Great Secret Laws and the Minobu Transfer Document. The Sho-Hondo is a supreme edifice that should be the High Sanctuary of Honmon-ji (Temple of True Buddhism) at the time of kosen-rufu. (Issues Vol. 3, p.132)So as early as 1965, the view that the Precept Platform of the Essential Teaching had to be established by the government had changed. By 1972, it was the official view of the Soka Gakkai and the Nichiren Shoshu that the Precept Platform of the Essential Teaching had been established with the completion of the Sho-Hondo and the enshrinement of the Dai-Gohonzon within it. The government mandate was no longer required. In fact, the previous goal of converting the entire Japanese nation in order to get a mandate from the people had also been changed. In it's place was the concept of the "300,000 of Shravasti" (Jap: Shae no san-oku). The "300,000 of Shravasti" referred to the one-third of the population of the kingdom of Shravasti which took faith in the Buddha's teachings when the Buddha lived and taught there. In Ikeda's own words:
The membership of our association now far exceeds five million families [as of July 1965]. There is a formula called Shae no san-oku concerning the country of Shae, which was known in the Buddha's lifetime as the country most closely related to him in all of India. That is to say, in the Shae of those years, one-third of its people saw and heard the Buddha and believed in him. Another one-third saw the Buddha but did not hear him preach. The remaining one-third, it is said, neither saw nor heard the Buddha.Aside from religion and politics, Ikeda also expanded the Soka Gakkai's involvement in culture and education. Beginning in 1964, the Soka Gakkai began establishing elementary schools, primary schools, and secondary schools. Soka University was founded in 1971 and Soka University of America in 1987. The interest in education and the application of Makiguchi's educational theories were very much in keeping with the Soka Gakkai's origins. In addition, the Soka Gakkai founded the Min'on Concert Association and the Min'en Theatrical Association. Over the years, the Soka Gakkai would sponsor or begin many other cultural and educational projects and exhibits.
If we are to apply this formula to our program of kosen rufu and of realizing obutsu myogo, it would mean as follows: if one-third of the population of Japan became members of Soka Gakkai and another third, though not gaining our faith, supported Komeito, and the remaining third opposed espousing our faith, it would mean virtual kosen rufu. We can realize obutsu myogo by attaining a Shae no san-oku [in Japan]... (Murata, pp. 130-131)
Therefore to embrace the Gohonzon inscribed and transmitted by the successive high priests is the correct way of faith and becomes the basis for Kechimyaku in the more general sense. We wish to confirm here the difference between the specific transmission of the Law and the general lifeblood of faith. (as translated in the World Tribune, February 5, 1979)The priesthood, however, were further angered in 1978 when the Soka Gakkai allegedly made unauthorized copies of the Gohonzon for their community centers. The Soka Gakkai insists to this day that they had received approval from Nittatsu for them. In any case, seven of eight were returned except for one that Nittatu's granted them permission to keep at Soka Gakkai Headquarters. On November 11 of that year at a leaders meeting at Taisekiji, Hiroshi Hojo, the general director, made the following statement:
In this vein, we, the Soka Gakkai, frankly admit the next two points: 1) The fundamental principles that the Soka Gakkai must follow through as the lay organization of Nichiren Shoshu were somehow disregarded during the last several years in its orientation, in its direction of advance and in its application of Nichiren Daishonin's teachings. 2) The attitude the Soka Gakkai took toward Nichiren Shoshu last year was out of bounds. We, executives of the Soka Gakkai, deeply apologize for these two points. (World Tribune, February 5, 1979)The Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and its original lay organization, the Hokkeko, however, were still not satisfied with the Soka Gakkai's apologies and were not convinced that the Soka Gakkai had changed its attitudes. In March 1979, the Hokkeko began pressuring Ikeda to resign as chief lay representative of Nichiren Shoshu. In April, Ikeda stepped down as president of Soka Gakkai and as chief lay representative of Nichiren Shoshu. In his place, Hiroshi Hojo became the fourth president of the Soka Gakkai. Ikeda, however, became the honorary president of Soka Gakkai and the president of Soka Gakkai International. In May at the 40th Soka Gakkai Headquarters general meeting, Nittatsu delivered a speech of reconciliation and a plea for cooperation and harmony between the Soka Gakkai and the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and the Hokkeko. In July, Nittatsu passed away and by August Nikken Abe had become the 67th High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu.