Nichidatsu Fujii on Ignorant Monks

Ignorant Monks

July 21, 1955

Excerpt from The Ill-informed

by the Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii

One should not needlessly speak knowingly about the Dharma when not prompted, or even with some fraction of knowledge. Even to those who inquire, do not respond on the teachings if the questioner holds anger in his heart and is pointlessly and combatively attempting to argue with the teachings merely for argument sake. One should also not preach the Dharma to those who are not joyous at hearing the Dharma. The reason (Na-mu Myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo) is called the essence of the Dharma of Mysteries is because it ought not to be indiscriminately expounded upon.

There is no benefit in expounding the Dharma to the unenlightened in the Era of Declined Law, particularly to those with erroneous distorted views. All we should do is to chant Na-mu Myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo, bow and show reverence, and walk away. When confronted with groundless arguments, abuse and violence by arrogant and conceited minds, it is wise not to confront them, but rather to avoid them and to run far away. If all we do is to bow, show veneration, chant Na-mu Myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo and move away to avoid confrontation, the four kinds of arrogant people will invariably revile us as ignorant monks and despise us.

In the past Era of Declined Law of the Tathagata King Awe-inspiring Voice, the Bodhisattva Who Never Despises was abused and called an ignorant monk by arrogant monks and others. Maha Bodhisattva Nichiren also writes in the Ongiguden,"Those like myself are also spoken ill and called ignorant by arrogant monks and others." When we are reviled as ignorant monks we are following in the footsteps of these predecessor sages, and it is by no means a shame. Rather, monks and nuns who are not reviled as ignorant monks, and become wise scholarly monks, who behave as though they are knowledgeable of the teachings, should be ashamed as disciples of Maha Bodhisattva Nichiren.

(Translation by Yumiko Miyazaki on 10/29/03)

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