| Nichiren, the founder of this religion, embarked on a journey with
a revolutionary new concept. That is the unthinkable act of demanding
that a religion be true in order to practice it. People in this day
and age shy away from the idea that any religion might be true. Again
and again we are confronted with religions that defy logic and reasoning.
We know of hundreds, if not thousands, of religions that dont
have any evidence of their validity, deny scientific truths, dont
do what they claim, deceive people, and sometimes cause destruction
in society. If someone claims that their religion is the ultimate
truth, we shun them because we fear that they may do something like
cause a crusade, blow up buildings, stop the progression of science,
or some other thing that we associate with people of devout beliefs.
So many false religions have created a hysteria about religion
in this society. This is unfortunate. Because of all of these incorrect
religions, people no longer look for or find truth. They have become
apathetic about the matter. They think that whatever they believe
is okay as long as they dont believe in it too strongly or
have too much confidence in it. Society has even taken this to the
point that no one is allowed to openly discuss religion with anyone
else. In this way, no one looks for the truth and no one finds the
truth unless by accident. Even priests have given way to the influence
of those who would say that there is no true religion.
If you can, leave your prejudices from your past experiences with
false religions behind. Imagine, if you will, what a true religion
would be like if there were such a thing. Lets embark on a
whole new journey with a whole new perspective.
A true religion would be kind of like a science. It would make
sense given what we know about the world. It would actually do what
it says it will do in every single situation without failing once.
It would actually help its practitioners. It would change peoples
lives in a clearly visible way.
Now imagine the practitioners of that religion. How can people
that have direct experience with a truth not have complete confidence
in it? If a child sees that every time he throws a rock in a pond
waves ripple out from the spot where the rock fell, would he believe
someone who told him that throwing rocks in ponds doesnt cause
ripples? With anything in life, if something happens to you in a
predictable way and it also happens to others around you in the
same way, how could you not believe the truth of it? It is the same
with religion. A person who actually sees a religion predictably
work every time for every one will grow to have total confidence
in the validity of the religion. A person who practices a correct
religion grows to have total confidence in it as they see it working
in spite of their previous doubts. If a person doesnt have
complete confidence in something, it may be because they believe
in something that isnt true and they know it.
Given the presumption that there is a true religion, we propose
that freedom of speech among religions take precedence. In a search
for a correct religion, we should all be open to listening to debates
and discussions between religious leaders. We should try to discover
who is right and who is wrong. A true religion will be able to break
through the dogma and senselessness of a false teaching. In this
way we can all discover the truth of life for ourselves and change
the world for the better.
We believe that a religion that spreads itself through the use
of violence and aggression and then stops spoken comparison of religions
is not a true religion at all. A true religion doesnt fear
reasoning. It doesnt fear arguing. It can stand on its
own merit like scientists arguing a new hypothesis. Eventually we
can all find out whats really true if we can discuss it. Only
teachers of false, misleading teachings fear open dialogue, and
especially debate, about religion. Dont fall for their tricks.
There is a correct religion out there and its up to us to
continually search for it until we find it.
At the same time, people need to avoid prejudice in all of its
forms. That means that if we see that a religion doesnt work
or doesnt make sense, we should be okay with discarding and
realize that the truth is out there waiting for us. That also means
that we should avoid the prejudice that there is no correct teaching
or that we shouldnt offend people by arguing with them in
search of the truth. We need to be courageous and bold if we, as
a society, are to figure out what is real and what is erroneous.
Nichiren, an extreme optimist, set out on just the same journey.
At a time and place where the religious leaders and the people were
saying that all religion is the same and equal, he set out looking
for the truth. He could plainly see that the religions that were
popular at the time were not helping the people. He determined to
himself to find a way to help people change their lives into lives
of fortune and happiness. He devoted his life to this task and completed
This book is in no way a complete analysis of the teachings of
Nichiren. It is really just the tip of the iceberg. We took the
most basic concepts and put them in this book to get you started.
Even having said this, we know that there will be people who will
read this book and assume that they know everything there is to
know about this philosophy. These are people of overwhelming arrogance.
We strongly encourage people who want to truly understand Nichiren
to follow the practice outlined in this book and continue to study
Nichirens own writings.
This is undeniably the most profound teaching available to mankind.
People look for religions that are readily understandable. We hope
you wont do that. Teachings that are quick and easy to understand
are not profound, and they are also not complete. This philosophy
is easy to explain at an elementary level to get people started.
However, the depth required to really understand the essential nature
of life takes years and years to grasp. Not a single person in history
has ever been able to grasp the phenomenon of life through intellectual
pursuits or even years of deep meditation. So a combination of study
and correct practice are required to fully understand the depth
of a religion such as this one.
Before you get frustrated, though, remember that the journey introduced
here is to find a correct religion, not to find an easy, shallow
one. We can absolutely guarantee that Nichiren Buddhism is the ultimate
truth in life and it will completely change your life. This is not
a game. This is real. This is your life.