Let me make this point clear and I make no apology and I do not bite my tongue; many of the Japanese Priest and Japanese people who come to America need to take a course in "Cultural Diversity." Today we live in a changing world and we live in a changing society that is not just Black, White, American, Japanese, African, European, Asian, we are a global family, we as humans should respect each other. Black people in Buddhism reprimand white people, but they let Japanese SGI leaders and Japanese Priest off the hook in the name of "Religion." Japanese intimidate Americans in the name of Buddhism, they dominate and intimidate with fear. Study the teachings and make them live up to the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. In Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism if a Priest is wrong they put fear in members minds that they are slandering and they will suffer difficult times and accuse members of slandering even if they bring up true facts like; asking about history and being ignored or accused of being racist. The Nichiren Shoshu Priest impose an ancient Japanese Past on Americans that is outright racist. If you are naive to think they are not racist ask them about the "Black Buddhist Past" and you will learn just how racist many Japanese people are including Nichiren Shoshu Priest.
Nichiren Daishonin writes in the Gosho "The true aspect of all phenomena; "There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women. Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku." Further Nichiren Daishonin writes; "Take these teachings to heart, and always remember that believers in the Lotus Sutra should absolutely be the last to abuse one another." I was reading the Hokkeko Handbook written by Rev. Yuzui Murata and there was something about the spirit of the handbook that made me feel uncomfortable. Rev. Murata was my Chief Priest in Chicago and for all of the time he was our Priest he never visited our home once in almost ten years. I asked him about the historical Buddhist statue in the ancient Japanese capital of Nara Japan at a Buddhist meeting and he disregarded my question and told me that he does not deal with Racism. This statue is the largest and oldest wooden Buddhist statue in the world and this is a Japanese Historical monument and this Priest disregarded answering a historical question. Priest are always quick to point out what Nichiren Daishonin instruct lay people to do but, when you study the Gosho he cleverly omitted things that the Priest should do.
In the Japanese culture they have a practice whereas no answer is your answer. This is what I will tell any Japanese Priest; the practice of giving an answer by not answering is a Japanese practice, however we in America treat such practices as insulting. Further such practices goes against the spirit of the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. The Gosho is a collection of writings where Nichiren Daishonin taught Buddhism and most of the Gosho are letters where Nichiren Daishonin answered questions of his disciples. I have written several letters to Rev. Shoshin Iwaki and I forward my letters to Rev. Taishin Takano chief Priest of Nichiren Shoshu Temples in America. In America when you put a question to writing it is our culture and formality to answer a letter, however when dealing with Japanese it is their culture to ignore your question. What they call Japanese culture we call racism. Let me make this point clear; my chief Priest Rev. Shingi Iwaki has ignored several letters that I have written him. This Priest is so despicable, he comes to Memphis, Tennessee and he conspires with other members not to inform me that he is coming to Memphis. . In our changing society when letters are ignored we take to the Internet and blog our concerns. In 1991 I wrote my concerns to the SGI and when they refused to answer my letters for many years I took up to the Internet. Recently I wrote letters to Nichiren Shoshu and they too choose to ignore our concerns so we respond by placing our concerns over the Internet.
I explained to the young Priest that in America we were like a stew, potatoes remain potatoes, carrots remain
carrots, beans remain beans. Although we were American we all have different cultures and I asked the Priest
to learn about and respect all cultures. (My experience with working with Japanese is that they simply do not
respect or recognize Black culture. Such a lack of respect is called racism and we African/Americans must demand that Japanese respect us. We are the people who will teach the Black community about Buddhism. We should demand that our children have the opportunity to also be a Nichiren Shoshu Priest.
This is a scene of me in Japan in 2001 at the exchange meeting between American members, some Japanese members and some young Japanese Priest. Rev. Kwabe and Rev. Takahashi were the interpreters for the Meeting. My aim was to help make the meeting real by bringing up real issues. The first question was asked by the Young Japanese Priest, they asked was there anything we Americans would like them to prepare for?
This is a photograph of the young Japanese Priest. One young Priest in the group I video interviewed him with his
mother when this Priest was 14 years old today this young man at the time of this posting will be 28 years old. I was very happy to see the young Priest again and he was happy to see me. The Japanese in the meeting belonged to a local temple. There were no real discusson and hard hitting questions at this exchange meeting. We must hold everyone accountable as the Daishonin writes the fourteen slander apply equally to the Priesthood and laity. If we laity allow the Priesthood to disregard the law than we to are guilty of slander. What you have in Japan are young Priest who know only Buddhism these young Priest will come to America not understanding the culture, they have no background of American culture and history and they come and direct lives of American people. I explained to Rev. Shingi Iwaki at the Myogyoji Temple in Chicago that his actions are racist and insensitive to me as a Black man and what he is imposing is not Buddhism but only a Japanese culture and the idea of imposing a culture on another is racism. I believe that my African/American son should have just as much an opportunity to be a Priest as any Japanese Child. I believe that we should have Black Priest in Nichiren Shoshu.
Buddhist members check this out; in the Gosho "The Fourteen Slanders" Nichiren Daishonin writes;
” Since these fourteen slanders apply equally to priesthood and laity, you must be on guard against them.
It is interesting that Nichiren Daishonin called the Priesthood first, but Nichiren Daishonin says that the fourteen slander apply "EQUALLY" to the Priesthood and laity. Many Priest in America ram Buddhism down our throats like the fourteen slanders apply only to lay people and this is why they get away with so much nonsense of intimidating members and acting high and mighty like they are "Gods."
This is hilarious to me; Japanese have this practice of giving you an answer by not answering. This practice was effective in the old days, but in the days of the Internet we can fight racism, ignorance and disrespect with the Internet. This Proud Black Buddhist website gets over 125,000 visits a year. Japanese can choose to ignore my letters, but my letters will not be ignored ,because thousands of people will learn about the machinations of Japanese people and Americans will fight and stand up for justice. It will not only be me as a Black man fighting against injustice, history has shown that Whites joined the fight as well as others. Buddhism in America can be corrected but we must first root out the racism in Buddhism. It is time that Black people have a greater say about Buddhism in America. We are Buddhist and we must be respected.
The best way to challenge Japanese Racism is to learn Black history and develop a positive sense of yourself. I added a study of Ethiopia that will help. Click on Picture