MISCONCEPTIONS OF UNITY AND FAITH IN THE ABSENCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
July 4, 2001
This essay will make an overall inquiry into the consequences and effects when such systems exist in a religious institution that suppress and deny the fundamental rights of its members in an era where these rights are essential to peoples enlightenment. The question, that if a true unity can be achieved based on the spirit and teachings of Nichiren Daishonin without such ideals in place in our organization, will be analyzed. Further probes will cover what happens to the faith, the people and their organization when such principles are absent. The final question that is, how can such pure hearted members who have been protecting the organization for over thirty years, be suddenly ostracized and demonized by the leaders and members alike for demanding accountability and asserting their fundamental rights, will be answered. The conclusion of this article will present solutions for change based on a quote form the Gosho by Nichiren Daishonin, guidance by President Makiguchi and President Ikeda, a final comment by Dr. Martin Luther King followed by a conclusion .
To give substance to this inquiry I now will present three quotes: one from Nichiren Daishonin one from Mr. Makiguchi and others from President Ikeda. It will become apparent that the combination of these three guidance's can only mean the total empowerment of the membership to directly participate in the affairs of the organization and have the power to hold the leaders directly accountable to them.
1 Nichiren Daishonin states: "Not even the treasures of the entire universe can equal the value of a single human life".
2. "Mr. Makiguchi insisted that the constituent members of a body or organization must direct the actions of the leaders."
3. President Ikeda says in his dialogue with Bryan Wilson:
.President Ikeda also states: "The people are the sovereign" and that the ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence are "...principles that stand in perfect consonance with the spirit of Mahayana Buddhism".
My only comment is that President Ikeda's speech came about 50 years after Makiguchi's guidance and Japan has now has taken the lead toward an empowerment system of control of the organization by the members while SGI-USA whose culture and society has embraced such a system over 200 years ago has done nothing to change it's outdated system. While it's understandable in Japan that such a process might have to have taken longer because of their traditions, there is no excuse that a system of empowerment should not have happened in the SGI-USA many years earlier. At the same time, a system of empowerment of the members in Japan obviously might be completely different in it's scope and structure from the SGI-USA's organization in the land based on the American tradition of full empowerment of the people from it's inception. Why as an American, who has lived in a society where we have always been free to assert our inalienable rights, are we still forced to embrace an archaic system that would be totally contrary to our cultural inheritance? What are the leaders in the SGI thinking? United States exported democratic ideals to Japan after the war, some 60 years ago. In this present day, no faith, no person, no organization can stand above the fundamental rights of the people and represent the teaching of the True Buddha. The timing of such a system without these rights are devastating to its members, especially because the birth of freedom activates the circumstance for the completion of the law and its propagation. Thus revealing the nature and true propose of Nichiren Daishonin's appearance as the True Buddha in the latter day of the law.
THE ORIGIN OF DEMOCRATIC IDEALS
Thomas Jefferson stated
that the reason that America was going to war with England was because the people had no rights in holding the leaders accountable and had no power in dismissing them no matter how despicable their actions might
be. Because only the leaders could police the leaders of the crown, their own positions were secured only if they were willing to
maintain such a unified front to cover for each other, no matter how devious the actions of their fellow leaders might
be. This was the only accepted process of gaining control and
maintaining order at that time. This led to the loss of people's fundamental rights, the
basis of their freedom. How serious are the consequences of losing your inalienable rights. Patrick Henry stated
regarding this matter "give me liberty or give me death".
Life and faith have no meaning without them.
Presently the worlds secular systems are now changing into organizations of democracy through direct accountability of the leaders by the people, as mentioned in the essay Victorious America. This is leading to the of elimination of tyrannies and monarchies worldwide. Those that are not changing are finding themselves increasingly at odds with the international community. Unfortunately this movement for fundamental rights and accountability in major religious institutions is almost negligible and very similar to actions in cults where the members are demonized by the leaders when they try to assert their fundamental rights. What becomes the common theme in these religious institutions is the elimination of the fundamental rights of the members by their leaders in the name of protecting the reputation of the organization and preserving the faith. These leaders have historically become an omnipotent and elite class. Thus any unity which is achieved without this cornerstone of democratic ideals in place is nothing other than a place where the membership is subservient to the leaders. I repeat, there can be no unity based on democratic ideals without direct accountability of the leaders to the people that must be in place within the organizational guidelines, that specify these rights and procedures to be taken by the membership that is to be ratified by them.
Now to the prime point of this article. What happens when the cornerstone for democratic ideals is absent from our institution? How does it effect faith? How does it effect the members?
WHEN THIS CORNERSTONE IS MISSING IN A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION WHAT EFFECT DOES THIS HAVE ON FAITH?
This one action, this cornerstone, (ACCOUNTABILITY) that Jefferson describes is the source of the democratic ideal. It is the cornerstone because it is the origin, the prime action that provides the catalyst from which all democratic ideals flow and become a reality. If this cornerstone is eliminated form the equation, all fundamental rights cease to exist. They are rendered useless because they cannot be acted upon by the people to hold those that would deny or trample on their rights directly accountable to them. The democratic ideal can only be initiated and ignited by this action or the people cannot be fully empowered to maintain and protect their fundamental rights. This is the eternal mandate of the people. If they lose this, they lose the basis of their individual integrity and freedom.
This action is the direct link to the universal integrity of the Law and justice of humankind and the peoples empowerment. It is a faucet that must never be permitted to be shut off by any person, any group, or religious or secular institution, especially those that are in essence supposed to represent the people's best interests. If they are permitted to do so even in the name of the most noble goals, the yoke of democratic ideals will be broken and the flow of any type of democratic process will cease and be eliminated by leaders who replace these actions with control and compliance of the members to reach all objectives. When this happens, the direct accountability of the leaders is eliminated and the objectives become suspect no matter how noble they may be. This is simply the establishment of absolute power by eliminating fundamental rights. This sequence and the process of eliminating peoples rights have been secured through a consistent blueprint of deception throughout human history. This is an historical fact for all to witness, so it can be prevented from ever gaining a foothold from the present time forth. It is simply the edifice of suppression. In common terms it is permitting the fox to watch over the chicken coop. Thus there are no democratic ideals without the leaders direct accountability to the members and the full empowerment of the members to assert and enforce them.
Thus the statement as quoted from President Ikeda, that democratic ideals "stand in perfect consonance with the spirit of Mahayana Buddhism" would be erroneous in a Buddhist organization that eliminated this cornerstone (accountability) as the basis of its organizational structure from within. Such an organization cannot represent Buddhist doctrine because the use of faith and its purpose will become compromised by such a structure. Faith gives us the strength to carry out these ideals. Having faith empowers people to have the courage to fight for their fundamental rights when they are denied. These rights can never be separated from faith because it is the guiding force of faith. It is only this union, the integration of such noble ideals with the absolute power of faith that a true alliance is formed, providing a dynamo which has the power to ignite the noble principles of our faith to their fullest capacity. With this formula in place the ideal that faith equals daily life becomes a true reality producing the unending chain reaction needed to achieve world peace. Without this cornerstone in place in our religious organization, the function and purpose of faith can only be used as a tool to keep people subservient to the authorities, thus dismantling the functions of faith by defaulting on its purpose. Such an omission renders the faith inferior. No faith, no person, no institution, stands above the fundamental rights of the people.
The standard for eternal life and enlightenment of a true teaching and faith, are based on the true battle against evil which has at it root, the sole purpose and function of destroying freedom of expression causing immobility in the face of evil actions through the elimination of inalienable rights. The soul of Nichiren's heart and the main function of propagating Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is to elevate the life condition of the individual where integrity plays the central role in ones existence, thus producing a citizenry that is more active in protecting the fundamental rights and democratic ideals for themselves and others in the societies where they live. This is the gateway to justice, the essence of True Buddhism. President Ikeda says that faith is supposed to support democratic ideals. Without fundamental rights there are no democratic ideals. Any organization which uses faith as a means to deny the people their rights is holding both the faith and its members hostage, preventing the unleashing of the dynamic power to reform society and create world peace, the ultimate goal.
Thus when a religious organization eliminates this cornerstone in their own system, they are in essence eliminating this cornerstone from the ultimate pool of wisdom that faith contains, which is the guiding force that is the essential ingredient for protecting the faith and people. This would be complete disrespect to Nichiren Daishonins life. In chanting to the Gohonzon how could the people incorporate these principles and tap their source and use them to protect the organization if they have been denied these rights by the leaders and the organization itself, who have in essence eliminated their use from the ultimate pool of wisdom of the Gohonzon. By doing so, the faith has been compromised. Thus, those in charge are free to control and set the boundaries of the members rights, thus putting them in the position of avoiding their own accountability. In essence, they have denied the people full empowerment within the organization.
This poses the greatest threat to the individuals integrity because now their practice is void of fundamental freedoms in the organization they embrace because it has been eliminated both by the organization and through the perversion of the faith. Thus by doing this, the leaders have betrayed and deceived the membership of the true purpose of practice, which is to empower them. Instead, they end up depriving them of the wonderful treasure and the power contained in storehouse of faith to do true human revolution. So, in essence they have locked the doors to the Treasure Tower. When there are no fundamental rights in an organization, the faith is always manipulated by the leadership to put the people in compliance to support such a structure. The faith now becomes a tool used by the leadership to silence the people and establish their own absolute power.
Are these rights in place in the SGI-USA today?
Frankly what we are witnessing is a system in the SGI-USA where there is nothing stated by word or mandate to protect the membership from the abuse of authoritarian power or challenge or ratify any overall organizational decisions. Instead the bylaws are written and ratified by the top leaders exclusively with no established provisions for the membership to challenge or participate in any such proceedings when it comes to major policy making decisions. This leaves the members open to actions of the leadership to take total control over them. The SGI-USA has no procedures or by-laws that directly gives the members the power to respond and hold their leaders directly accountable to them, thus eliminating any action to protect themselves and the organization from the abuse of unethical leaders. This responsibility has been denied to us and put totally in the hands of the leaders. Then how could the SGI-USA be the cornerstone of democratic ideals and still be in compliance with the statement that President Ikeda made about Mahayana Buddhism and democratic ideals?
Faith can never be represented in such a way that it would suppress the fundamental rights of the believers in the organization that represents the faith of absolute freedom. Fundamental rights are the sacred properties of the human condition that defines our humanity. If an organization manipulates faith in this way to strip humanity of these fundamental rights, it is no longer an organization of faith, especially that of True Buddhism. Fundamental rights and freedom are not political tools, they are inalienable rights, the essence which defines our humanity and compassion.
Those that say fundamental rights are secular rights and are therefore political and have no place in an organization of faith, I will say to you, those that would deny the people these rights are indulging in the highest order of political subterfuge themselves. Fundamental rights are the absolute standard for human dignity, it is an essential part of ultimate wisdom. Thus by denying them, you are stripping the faith and its people of their integrity. We can never rest while the organization embraces a structure that represents the True Buddha's teachings this way. It would be similar to asserting that Daibadatta represented Shakyamuni's teachings.