Can someone please provide a quote from a Sutra (preferable a mahayana sutra) or the Gosho that says they are wrong?
We have statues of Gandhi at SUA at at SUJ there are many statues including, if I'm not wrong, one of either Toda or Makiguchi (NO?) I'm sure after President Ikeda passes away many people will want to put up statues of President Ikeda.
Personally I don't care for statues and I don't have one nor want one. .
Hi Timmy___Good point. It would be great, if it were acceptable to have a carven image of Nichiren Daishonin. I'd be the first one in line. Of course like you said, wer'e not praying to them. In the video it did in my perception suggest that's what we Nichiren Buddhists perhaps do. What-ever. Whatcha-gonna do. I will follow a certain guideline, given to me however about using MissTurner as an example of a correct Nichiren Buddhist practicioner, how could I do otherwise, really. (too bad for me and the ladies who always responded so positively at the mention of lovely, vibrant and strong sister Tina Turner) Anyway my choice. (for all I know however T.T. may be receiving tremendous benfits and perhaps even praise from the buddhas through-out the universe, what the heck do I know. Have a nice Week. Say hello to your warm and friendly mom, and Heil. How's Allen by the way?
Thank you for writing a thorough reply. As I said, I never have wanted or owned a Buddha statue and actually in my 30-plus years of practice in Southern California the issue has never came up when I was around (at least I never heard the issue come up). I have actually never known a member or guest who owned them or wanted to own them. So maybe my circumstance is unique, but I was asking more for new members who maybe never heard any gosho or sutra on this issue. I must have missed your post where you sited gosho or sutra passages, and I've been reading the gosho for many years and I must have just forgot reading about it (or missed it). My only recall of the issue was in the early human revolution volume 3 or 4 I'm thinking. I read them in 1994, so I can't recall now and I might just be imagining what it said. I do recall that Toda said he read the full Lotus Sutra in prison and he felt he was wrong for doing that. I thought he also said he had a buddha statue in prison that he felt he was wrong for keep. But I better go back and find that volume and make sure my memory isn't failing me. I also only remember reading a gosho about opening the eyes of wooden objects (where one of the members asks Nichiren about the issue), but it's been a long time since I read that gosho and I don't remember that he said we should have them.
I fully agree with what you say on we shouldn't financially support the making of statues of "Buddha" especially a Buddhist organization that is not practicing correctly. I also felt weird giving my money to see the temples in Kyoto. Even though I did it mostly as a student of history not as a person trying to learn about Buddhism through these monuments (which I don't think have anything to do with Buddhism now).
I did like going up on Mt Hiei, because Nichiren studied there even though I realize that all of the temples he studying in were burned down in the 1500s by the Shogun's warriors.
Yes I read the Lotus Sutra translated by Burton Watson (very good) and the first few volumes of President Ikeda dialogue on them (I need to get the rest) then donated them to the Orange County library system, not thinking I would ever leave Orange County or not have access to such great libraries. I do now read volume one all the time. I've been trying to get the volume II and the new Orally Translated Teaching, but I need to go to the US to get them, because they charge more than the price of the volumes to ship them to Japan, from the SGI USA website at least (I'm trying to find another location to get them). I should get my family members in the US to buy them for me and send them to me. My next goal! OK I will study more. I'm always asked to give the gosho studies now in Niigata, so it always makes me study, which is good as it's been my goal to write a screen play on Nichiren's life (a lot more study needed!!!).
Zichi___Can't really understand "some" of your concerns (but hey, that's o.k.). We all know Buddhist statues are not for worshipping in the time of Mappo. (I have no need for reminders) That's pretty clear to all or most Sgi members, I'm pretty sure. Having a garden statue of a wise looking Buddha (find the fat belly smiling Chinese Buddhist statues truly a gross mis-representation of Buddhism, but hey that's just the way I see it) in my back yard that I picked up at the Home depot would not concern me in the least. To the western eye it represents a person of wisdom compassion, and pacifism, so I always gathered anyway? I find it to be a rather fine image of what wonderfull qualities humans potentially possess. I'm rather proud of the wise image of Buddha actually. It's certainly a more pleasing image to "look at" than a poor suffering soul hanging, nailed to a cross. I concur with you that they should not be in any way equated to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, so I'm with ya there all the way pal. Have a nice-week-end. Herb P.S. As I am in peoples homes every day, I find on occasion people with statues of Buddha in their living room. I think to myself "this person at least is looking "east" ," far east" that is. The South-East asian areas of worship in the home, where Buddha is worshipped saddens my heart deeply in the moment sometimes,when I have to walk past. Don't know" exactly" why, it just does. Anyway find this topic interesting. There's no need in my opinion for it it to get "heated up". Later Zich
The Lotus Sutra states, to not build places and images after his passing, but people never listen. 'Depend upon the Law and not upon Persons,' was the personal admonishment of Shakyamuni Buddha to Anannda upon the Buddha's deathbed inquiry.
Nichiren had a personal statue of Shakyamuni Buddha for his personal encouragement, but Nichiren states, 'this is my device' [referring to the Gohonzon], and writes Nikko Shonin to tell him, 'he left his copy of the Lotus Sutra',[ Gohonzon]
Nichiren sees the Gohonzon as the embodiment of all the Buddha's teachings throughout the many lifetimes of the Buddha.
A statue is a distraction, in my opinion, as is Shakyamuni Buddha's.
Patrick____Just "curious" what might be your" take" on the( volume 2 Gosho, page 354)., and your above referances? Just curious. Never personally had any interest in bowing before statues, but do find the image of buddha very dignified and nice to "look at", and like I said would have no problem with a garden buddha. I see them all over Orange County. No big deal. Not that you suggested such, but I see no reason to "freak" out (lol) whenever I see a beutifull statue of Shakymuni. It's just an image. The soka has a beutifull staue of Gandhi. Really, what's so terrible about an image of Shakymuni (for looking at) I however personally did not approve of the video as it sends a confusing message to perhaps millions in one swoop. Bad, very bad in "my opinion". I Would not want my friends, that know that I'm a buddhist, think that I'm chanting NMHRGK to a statue. It would mis-represent my personel character and my religion.
This Gosho; Concerning the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha you refer to, is a gosho regarding a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha made by Toki Jonin, specifically refers to a statue made by Toki Jonin, as Nichiren made a statue of Shakyamuni himself.
Toki Jonin was a young disciple of Nichiren's and was exhibiting his understanding of Buddhism to his mentor, Nichiren. How does that have any specific reference to this question of purchasing a statue or observing a statue of Shakyamuni in a garden or elsewhere?
As the gosho background states, "The Daishonin's intention may have been not only to encourage his disciple, but also to teach him the true concept of the Buddha." (WND V.II p.355)
If purchasing a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha achieves the above result, that would be considered practice by Nichiren's intent, otherwise it is just another choice we make in life.
I offered above to not confuse Nichiren's Gohonzon and a statue of Shakyamuni, or even the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren is quite clear on this, regarding the practice of his Buddhism of chanting Nam myoho renge kyo to the Gohonzon, as the SGI practices.
You referred to 'putting up statues', which is ambiguous to me, so I took 'putting up' to mean 'on your alter.'
My wife buys and collects Buddha statues all the time. Friends and peers give them to me, as well. I assume it is because they believe it is the thing to do. I take the statues out of compassion and find a place in my home or office for them along with the rest of our collectibles. they lead to great conversations.
Just offering my understanding of our practice of Nichiren's Buddhism.
Dear Patrick_______It appears to me that we are on the same page concerning statues, except for some minor differences, which I'd like to "gab" with you about a little further, if you would like to continue. (ain't necessary) . Before I offer my next reference to you (you seem like a well read Buddhist member, or so it appears to me) I need to know where I said anything of "putting up statues" in this whole Buddhist statue theme????? I looked and looked and find no such thing said by me. (no big deal) but if you could point me "there" perhaps I could offer a clarification. Later Your Gakkai brother in O.C.
I just think we need to develop the confidence that despite other practices (we ourselves practiced or did) a new member who comes along, we have to stop 'foisting' our adversarial relationship (our own karmic baggage usually) on them (the new members) especially about 'forbidding' them to have buddhist statues in their respective homes or dwelling place. Eespecially us in the U.S. Yes, there are 'conventions' we do follow. We don't 'worship' or have a Buddha near our butusudans because it detracts the believer from fully understanding that a Buddha is nothing more than a human being or themselves, their true self.
Whenever I talk to young people at the Navy base, I show them slide show pictures of the members and explain that if they want to know what a Buddha looks like, it's NOT that particular statue with impossible anatomical features and a result of the HIndu-Greek influence (Bactrian culture, polytheistic) that encouraged statues 300 or 400 years after Shakyamuni Buddha passed away, so nobody really knew what he looked like. Through the pictures of members, I show them that Buddhism is not some kind of zooby, alien or foreign religion that centers itself on statues or fictional images of a Buddha. I tell them: "To think of a Buddha, think of them as people like yourselves."
It's NOT the statues that is the problem, it's the fact that we may be unable or have NOT understood enough the tenets of our own buddhist practice. Shakubuku is based on the spirit of ultimate tolerance and respect -- just as Bodhisattva Never Despising (considered the model of Buddhist believers in the Lotus Sutra) did in his lifelong practice of bowing and telling everyone he met that he 'respected' them and declaring to them that someday they would attain enlightenment. To bluntly assume that just because somebody has a Buddhist statue, that they are somehow committing slander, is or would be disrespectful and arrogant of us to think or suggest so. I take it on faith that there are strange practices in Japan (people who chant Nam myoho renge kyo to images of foxes for instance) that 'detract' from what practicing Buddhism is all about and we have to do what we can to help or help them realize the power of the Gohonzon which is in their own lives. . . We're most of us are NOT in Japan, and most people have never encountered Buddhism other than this or that buddha statue (which they aesthetically just liked) at some store in Chinatown they picked up or somebody gave to them.
I respect what theJapanese pioneers and long-time practitioners with their efforts in raising most of us in leanring how to practice correctly. IN most cases, with hindsight, I can to some considerable degree now understand better what they tried to do but what came through more was their sincerity and care and their never-ending encourage to 'chant' through what doubts I had. IF you also remember or studied the 'Four Dictums' that Nichiren took upon himself to take on the major Buddhist sects of his day who discarded or disdained the Lotus Sutra - that ultimately their practices (Shingon/True Word - magic, Jodo - belief in superior deity, Precepts school - strict emphasis on rules/commandments, Zen - denial of ALL sutras or the word and teachings of Shakyamuni) truly disrespected the dignity and truth of the Law of Life that permeates reality and the life of the ordinary human being.