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Anonymous Reverend


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Miscellaneous (Unpublished)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): n.d.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is family background, e.g., geography, culture, language, religion or lack thereof?

Anonymous Reverend: My parents, my father and mother, both from Japan. So, it is totally Japanese. Of course, they were born in Japan. I have a father, mother, and two younger brothers. My father, he became a Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect priest when he was 12.

My mother was a Nichiren Shōshū believer. They got married. They had three brothers. My brother is a Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect priest. So, Nichiren Shōshū is establishment by Nichiren. He is also Japanese.

It is almost 800 years ago. His teaching is based on the Lotus Sūtra taught by Shakyamuni Buddha in India. So, following the Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism, but the Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism based on Lotus Sūtra’s teaching, why use the Lotus Sūtra?

Because Shakyamuni Buddha taught in Lotus Sūtra. The Lotus Sūtra is his true purpose of his teaching. Nichiren Daishonin followed the Lotus Sūtra teaching in this era. In original Buddhism, Shakyamuni Buddha taught his teaching affecting next to 2,000 from his era.

So, Shakyamuni Buddha was born almost 3,000 years ago. So, from now, almost 3,000 years ago, he taught that there would be a new Buddha for this world using this Lotus Sūtra. Prediction, he did.

Nichiren Daishonin competed with the prediction and realized: he is the Buddha of this era. That’s why he established this Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect continuing until now. My father is a Nichiren Shōshū Buddhsim sect priest. My mother is a Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect believer.

That means that they pass this down to the children. My two brothers and I became Nichiren Shōshū priest. Our whole family is Nichiren Shōshū believers. That’s my background.

Jacobsen: Following from the last question, how have these factors influenced personal life and views? Some which you have touched on in the previous response.

Anonymous Reverend: Because my father is a priest of Nichiren Shōshū. He teaches many things to me. Of course, it is based on Buddhism’s teaching. I remember once him teaching me, “You should think of the next three steps for any occasion.” If you think, for example, of a conversation, and if you say something, he will say a response.

So, I should say something based on the answer. Every time, we should think of the three steps in the near future. Then you will, naturally, follow the proper way. It is why the Buddhism idea, especially in Buddhism idea with cause and effect.

If you make some cause, it will have some effect. That effect also becomes the future causing into more effects. My father, every time, taught about the three steps to think about with decisions.

My view has many influences from Buddhism teachings. One point in Buddhism. It teaches oneness of the individual, the environment, and the neighbourhood. If you focus too much on yourself, if you ruin a relationship, then it is not making a good result.

Of course, you are important, yourself, as an individual. But also, you should be polite with others. Then you will be making more comfortable the environment for you. It will bring many benefits to you.

Not only, like, selfish, but be polite with others. That is what Buddhism teaches too. Many of my personal views or ideas consist of Buddhism teachings.

Jacobsen: As a reverend of the Nichiren Shōshū Temple, what tasks and responsibilities come with the position?

Anonymous Reverend: Priest means becoming a disciple of the High Priest of the Nichiren Shōshū Temple. Only one person can be the High Priest for Nichiren Daishonin. Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect founded and then passed down to 67 high priests.

I am his discipline (67th High Priest for Nichiren Shōshū). My purpose is protecting this Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect. One idea is propagating Nichiren Shōshū teaching to others.

I think it is part of my work as a priest. One more thing, I am the Chief Priest of this Nichiren Shōshū Temple in Vancouver. I have to protect in running this temple. I am kind of the owner of the temple and protector of the worship in this temple.

It is to protect this temple. Another important mission is guiding or teaching, or educating, or encouraging, the Nichiren Shōshū Temple’s members. As a Chief Priest, I will conduct the morning and evening service every day [Ed. I was permitted to sit in the member seats and watch one of the services with Reverend Kurosawa and his assistant performing the service.]

I will have ceremony for the weekend. Also, I will teach to members the Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect. The teaching is about the faith and practice of Nichiren Shōshū. Especially for faith and practice, it is important to practice yourself, not only the priest.

All members are required to do the morning and evening service daily, and to chant, “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō.” Also, another point, our Buddhism, the important point of the practice is teaching to others.

It is an important practice. I encourage our members to try to teach or tell others about our Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect. If you can teach to many members, then that person will become new Nichiren Shōshū believer.

In that way, somehow, in the end, we can spread Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect. We can achieve world peace through propagating Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect. As a Nichiren Shōshū Chief Priest, my mission is like that.

Jacobsen: Religions and ways of life, or both, come with a view on life following through the practices. What is the outlook on life for the Nichiren Shōshū Temple sect of Buddhism?

Anonymous Reverend: I think it is a little similar with members. We teach to members, as Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist. Of course, we require daily doing faith and practice. You should see this as a way of life, as a Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist.

Of course, it is morning and evening service daily. The idea is because through the service. You should pray to the Buddha for a safe day in the morning. Then after finishing the day, at the evening service, you should pay debt of gratitude to the Buddha.

It should make proper scheduling for your daily schedule. It will bring you a more proper lifestyle. Also, as a Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist, our purpose is propagating Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect to the whole world.

It is aiming at world peace. Why does world peace need propagating? Because if everyone’s idea is different, of course, they will fight each other on ideas [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Anonymous Reverend: In Buddhism, of course, as you know, we shouldn’t kill people. In Buddhism, because Shakyamuni Buddha, you shouldn’t kill people. We completely follow this way. You cannot kill people.

This will get you bad karma. It will, somehow, come back you, because you made a bad karma. In general, people, why do they think we shouldn’t kill people? Because many people will say, “Because it is set by law.” Why does law say that?

Because of other common things. People thinking that we shouldn’t kill people. It means: if the majority people thinking, “We can’t kill people,” then it becomes law in the community. It means people’s common sense will make the law, not law making the people’s common sense.

Where is the common sense from? We are thinking of the religious teaching. We are bringing the people for common sense. I think following Buddhism’s teachings will propagate to people proper common sense.

That’s why if everyone has proper humanity sense. If that’s getting majority, then, following that, our environment too; that means, this society, community, or this city. If all over the world, then it will achieve world peace.

Jacobsen: As I experienced, what does a community event, service, or ritual look like? 

Anonymous Reverend: Community event, as a temple, we provide everyday service [Laughing].  Every Sunday, we are conducting the ceremony. Mainly, it is for members. It is open for any community person.

But if you want to join, then you can come any time [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Anonymous Reverend: Also, particularly, we have an open house every second Saturday of each month. We invite a community sit-in, or we are posting on the internet or somewhere for an open house. At the open house, we some class.

For example, next month, we have food art demonstration.

Jacobsen: It sounds delicious:

Anonymous Reverend: [Laughing] it is cultural class every month. We have it. Next month, we will have origami. Do you know origami?

Jacobsen: Yes, some of these things are extraordinary.

Anonymous Reverend: We have something every month for fun. The purpose is teaching art or teaching to people what we are as a Buddhism temple in here. Also, sometimes, we have a talk event, a speaker. Once, I had one on Broadway, in one of the libraries in Vancouver.

I had a talk event. I talked about the seed of happiness through the Buddhism teaching. Once, I had a similar event at the Bowen Island with some of our members – maybe 10 or 20. Also, I am remembering the Springtime.

Every year, as you can see, you can bus into Surrey City Centre. They have a curriculum about learning about religions. In one of their programs, they have to do the visiting some temples there and then make a report.

This year, 3 or 4 students separated and came into our temple. They visited and joined our service. I think that they made a report for that. It is [Laughing] a community event, I think.

Jacobsen: How is the integration with the larger culture of British Columbia for Nichiren Shōshū Temple?

Anonymous Reverend: The culture in Vancouver area, or in British Columbia. It is very open, their mind. I think that’s because many of the residents here; they are immigrated from different countries. Canada had this celebration of 150 years not too long ago.

Jacobsen: Only a 1-year difference between Canada as a modern state and Japan as a modern state.

Kurosawa: It is very new. Many people have different backgrounds. Many immigrants make this community in Vancouver or British Columbia. It means that they have to live together with different ideas and backgrounds.

It means that they cannot bring only their own ideas or own cultures to others. So, people have to accept each other, especially the differences. We should understand the differences. When I or our members try to teacher to the people, they are listening about our Buddhism.

Even if they come from a different background, of course, I don’t think the Buddhism background is the main here. Most is Christian. But they listen about the Buddhism and try to understand.

They try to understand our Buddhism. I think that is very positive, how they open to the ideas. It is very important to tell people of our faith and practice, our Buddhism. Canada is very important for us, this environment. I think even the majority of the background is Christianity. But now, they are getting more variety and different kinds of background.

Still, there is a big opportunity for us to propagate and spread our Buddhism. I am feeling this is a good environment for Buddhism too.

Jacobsen: What are some joint activities with other faith/non-faith groups in the larger community?

Anonymous Reverend: There’s no specific yearly event or something. But I talked about the speaking engagement. We, sometimes, talk about having the community event in the temple, library, or somewhere.

Of course, that’s SFU students. I try to contact with UBC. They have some religious group. It is a Centre for Buddhist Studies. It was to speak on campus. It is in-progress. It is not something that we have done in full yet.

It is to see if students are interested in coming out and speaking. It is growing every year [Laughing]. I am sure there will be one.

Jacobsen: For those who are reading this, as a side note, this is the only Nichiren Shōshū temple of this sect in Canada.

Anonymous Reverend: Yes, if I may comment, it is the Japan head temple [Laughing].

Jacobsen: There are over 600 temples.

Anonymous Reverend: Every temple is regulated by the head temple. We can ask the head temple, officially. They have a department as an organization for the Nichiren Shōshū Temple. In North America, we have 6 temples.

There are so many other countries with Nichiren Shōshū temples. It is similar in Japan with its largest in Tokyo with 10,000. In Taipei, in Taiwan, they have the biggest membership with the 20,000 members.

They have so many members and so many strong believers. They have so much experience.

Jacobsen: If I remember in the English translation of the prayer book today, there was one statement about “True Buddhism.” Does this particular sect represented through the temple, and yourself, consider this the true practice and the true Buddhism?

Anonymous Reverend: We call this teaching the true Buddhism because we completely follow the teaching of Buddhism. That’s our logic. Because our founder Nichiren Daishonin teaches everything follows the Lotus Sūtra.

Why following everything with the Lotus Sūtra and not the previous sutras? Shakyamuni Buddha taught this is the true purpose of his teaching, which means that if we follow Buddhism or Shakyamuni Buddha. It means following Lotus Sūtra.

Not as many kinds of sutras, even though, he taught 1,000 to 10,000 sutras in his 40 years teaching. He said this Lotus Sūtra is the true teaching. In this following the Lotus Sūtra as the true teaching, we say this is the Former, Middle, and Latter Day of the Law.

It was also set by Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha Era and the next 1,000 years is called Former Day of the Law. The next 1,000 years is called the Middle Day of the Law. The next 1,000 years called the Latter Day of the Law.

It is his prediction. Nichiren Shōshū Daishonin come and match with the prediction’s conditions. He realizes that he, himself, is the next era’s Buddha. He established the reliance on the Lotus Sūtra and teaching with a little adjustment for our era’s conditions.

That’s why we are thinking these teachings are the true Buddhism teaching because we know many other Buddhism sects. They are following their own sutras. Their sutra is true teaching. But it is not much for us.

Because Shakyamuni Buddha taught to many people. It is not many people’s teaching to just get the sutra, as historical. That sutra is not for that person, for different people, and at that time. If following that sutra, like a similar idea is a doctor giving a prescription to the patient to take a medicine, then it will go down.

But we cannot take other people’s medicine. We should take for us – a proper prescription. Shakyamuni Buddha also taught this Lotus Sūtra is useful after those 2,000 years. It means the Lotus Sūtra can only be our prescription as a Buddhism teaching.

That’s why we particularly call the Lotus Sūtra the true teaching.

Anonymous Reverend: Any final feelings or thoughts in conclusion?

Anonymous Reverend: As a conclusion, it is important, for us, to propagate our Buddhism and to ensure Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism sect teaching will help people be happy because through proper Buddhism practice. You can overcome negative karma.

You can raise your life condition. If many people understand the proper view of humanity through Buddhism teaching, then society will get more peaceful minds. Then our final aim and goal is propagating our Buddhism, and the appearance of world peace.

So, of course, many religious teachings, there are so many teachings trying to teach people how to solve problems. We have to face many problems or obstacles, simply living our lives. Buddhism teaches because of this world condition or this humanity condition. It is a lower level, so not our mistake.

The world is a condition as aging is a condition. We have to accept this world is full of suffering. You have to face suffering once you are born into this world, e.g., getting illness even as you try to get healthy.

Even a very healthy person, they can get a cold. Even in the end, you have to accept your passing. Everyone will die; you will die. Everyone has that kind of condition with good karma. But people following good karma without understanding the idea.

People cannot just follow. In Buddhism, we teach that we can change our karma through faith and practice. Which means, if we can provide that opportunity to many people, you can change something in your life.

It will be better for many people to get opportunity, even a little bit. If you have an opportunity to get a little bit better life condition, it is not only learning through study or something. You have to experience that.

Because knowledge is not enough for changing your actual life. You have to take action after you learn something. Buddhist teaching, especially Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist sect teaching. You have to take action, not just get knowledge.

If you take action, then you can change your lifestyle. Many people change to a better way. It can ensure world peace is truly possible to achieve.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time.

Anonymous Reverend: Thank you so much, it is a good opportunity for me.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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