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Soka Gakkai (創価学会, lit., "Value-Creation Society") and/or Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a lay Buddhist movement linking more than 12 million people around the world, and is currently described as ”the most diverse”  and “the largest Lay Buddhist movement in the world”' Members of the SGI integrate their Buddhist practice into their daily lives, following the Lotus Sutra based teachings of Nichiren, a 13th-century Japanese Buddhist priest. Founded by educator Tsunesaburō Makiguchi in 1930, the organization was suppressed during World War II for its opposition to the Japanese government’s consolidation of religious groups. A significant comrade of Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda, who was released from prison in July 1945, took a leading role of responsibility for the organisation. In the following years, starting from 1951, he reformed the membership base of Soka Gakkai's 3,000 families to include more than 750,000 families before his death in 1958.
Further expansion of the movement was led by its third president Daisaku Ikeda, who founded the Soka Gakkai International on January 26, 1975 on the island of Guam The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) currently consists of 84 constituent organizations and has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories worldwide.
SGI has established schools inside and outside Japan  including universities, Min-On Music Association, Fuji Art Museum  Toda Institute for Global Peace and The Institute of Oriental Philosophy. In 1981 the Soka Gakkai was registered as an NGO at the United Nations.
The growth of SGI membership has been attributed in part to the organization's tradition of small group, neighborhood and local community discussion meetings.
The Soka Gakkai was founded as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (創価教育学会, lit. "Value Creating Educational Society") on 18 November 1930, by Tsunesaburō Makiguchi and his colleague Josei Toda, as a society of reformist educators. Makiguchi defined the term ‘Value Creation’ in his major work Soka Kyoiku Taikei :” ‘so’ which means creation, and ‘ka’ which means value – form a key concept. Creation of Value is part and parcel of what it means to be a human being...The highest object of life is happiness which is creation of value”..
The first general meeting of the organisation took place in 1937 and "the membership began to change from teachers interested in education reform to people from all walks of life, drawn by the religious elements of Makiguchi’s beliefs in Nichiren Shoshu, a controversial sect known for being militant, puritanical, and even militaristic.
With the rise of the military government free thought was restricted and members of secret police attended Soka Kyoiku Gakkai’s group meetings. Makiguchi published “Kachi Sozo” (Creating value) monthly magazine, however the military government “did not approve of the material printed in kachi sozo and the publication was suspended in 1942” . Next, the military government banned the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai : “The Japanese government decimated the Soka Gakkai's pre-World War II membership by jailing much of its leadership because of the Soka Gakkai's refusal to support the war effort or to obey laws pertaining to the control of religious organizations”. One source mentions that in 1943, it was reported that a Tokyo member of the Gakkai told a non-member that his daughter had died as punishment for not converting to Nichiren Shōshū, and that this prompted a government investigation of the group. Other sources attribute the government’s investigation of the group to its rejection of the government’s policy: “Makiguchi defied the wartime government policy of religious control, which sought to enforce the observance of state Shinto” 
Makiguchi believed that "Japan would only prosper once the state recognized Nichiren's teachings as the only correct faith.", and his beliefs were interpreted as being in conflict with the military government's commitment to religious freedom.
The military government ordered Nichiren Shoshu to enshrine Shinto talismans of the Imperial shrine but Makiguchi rejected Nichiren Shoshu acceptance of the authorities demand: “In 1943 Makiguchi was brought before a Buddhist priest and was commanded to accept an amulet of the Sun Goddess and affirm his belief in the divinity of the emperor. When he refused, he was arrested as a "thought criminal,"”. On July 6, 1943, Makiguchi and Toda were arrested and “charged with lèse-majesté : affronting the dignity of the sovereign by denying emperor’s divinity, and with slandering the shrine of Ise,charges that amount to blasphemy and treason”.
During interrogation Makiguchi insisted that ‘’ The emperor is an ordinary man...the emperor makes mistakes like anyone else”. On November 18, 1944, Makiguchi died in prison of malnutrition, at the age of 73.
During the period of imprisonment with his mentor, Toda experienced a profound spiritual insight about his mission to rid society of misery through spreading the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Toda was released from prison in 1945 and, after World War II ended, he rebuilt the organization as a religious movement of social reform, renaming it the Sōka Gakkai. Conflict with Nichiren Shoshu soon emerged as priests demanded Toda’s obedience to their authority, and in 1952, the priesthood banned Toda from entering the head temple, after his youth members protested against a priest who cooperated with the military authorities during the war.
Toda’s uncompromising views created widespread opposition, and the Gakkai's teachings became more restrictive,: “Neither communism nor capitalism can solve all the problems of all men. Only the philosophy of the Soka Gakkai which embraces and harmonizes both the materialism of communism and the idealism of the free world can do this”. In October 1954, Toda made a speech to over 10,000 Gakkai members while mounted on a white horse, saying, "We must consider all religions our enemies, and we must destroy them.". Toda was widely criticized, with the Soka Gakkai accusing other religions as being false: “To tell people to await some future or heavenly happiness …is the way of false religion which cannot produce results because it is false”.
By mid-1950s, a major conflict between the Soka Gakkai and the Japanese Communist Party took place and escalated in Yibari coal mines, as the Gakkai began advocating against Marxism. Union leaders took notice and began fierce counter-arguments, including threats and intimidation”., but the union finally backed down.
Toda followed a strict form of proselytizing called shakubuku which literally means “ break illusions and subdue attachment to error or evil”. For Toda, shakubuku was “the means to create a world in which the sufferings epitomised by the recent war could not happen again.”  However shakubuku, was also perceived as a form of evangelism that included "cajolery and intimidation", was dubbed "militant" and widely criticized in the popular press and, remarkably, by other Buddhist sects. Some sources describe a1964 "forced conversion" session, in which Gakkai members would surround a home and yell and make noise for hours until the residents came out and agreed to join. Threats of divine vengeance and bodily harm were frequent, and a child's illness or death could be attributed to lack of Gakkai membership. Local leadership would often destroy the ancestral altars of new members. There was infrequent violence, and also violent actions against Soka Gakkai members “Members campaigned from door to door, and veteran adherents from Toda era speak of being driven away from houses by residents who doused them with water and pelted them with stones”.
In August 1952, when the Religious Corporation Law came into effect, the Soka Gakkai was legally registered as a religious corporate body, and “Toda was required to deliver in writing a statement to the effect that members would refrain from illegal use of violence or threats in conducting shakubuku” . The accusations of the shakubuku way of intimidation for following false religions “are now dismissed as excessive zeal on the part of uneducated members, but, as Murakami and others have shown, much of it has been organized by high-ranking leaders. .
In developing the organization, Toda focused on study “The Study department became central to the organisation by providing systematic courses and graduated exams on doctrines and the Lotus Sutra”  One source mentions that lower ranking members were no longer allowed access to more difficult books, while another states that “Nichiren Gosho and the ten worlds are central to Gakkai philosophy which is taught in graded classes first developed in Japan in the '50s under Toda” 
With the rapid increase in membership, Toda “…focused on ‘cultural activities’ aimed at winning broad-based support…in particular Toda decided that Soka Gakkai should enter the political area”, and the Sōka Gakkai first entered into politics in 1955 Toda’s view was that according to the teachings of Nichiren, the day was soon to come when the true teachings of the Gakkai would become the law  of the State and when Sōka Gakkai became the ruling government, a "national altar" would be built at Mount Fuji., however, other sources state that: “Toda’s rhetoric of the fusion of Buddhism and government had little to do with the nation-state”, and his vision was that “ prosperity and happiness should be obtained on both an individual and societal level”. ”. Another indication of voicing political views was Toda's declaration in 1957 for abolishing of all nuclear weapons, and “During the final year of his life, as the Cold war deepened, he placed increasing emphasis on peace”. Under Toda's leadership from 1951, when he became the second president, until his death in 1958, Sōka Gakkai membership grew from 3,000 to 750,000 households.
Jōsei Toda was succeeded as president in 1960 by the 32-year-old Daisaku Ikeda, who presented a more moderate secularising style of Soka Gakkai activities and “offered apologies for its mistakes in the past. He formally committed the organisation to the principles of free speech and freedom of religion”. Ikeda softened the organisation’s 'shakubuku' activity : “Shakubuku should be bright, enjoyable and relaxed” and, from 1964 on, urged a gentler approach to proselytizing.
In 1964, Ikeda founded the political party Kōmeitō ("Clean Government Party"), and by 1969 it became Japan's third largest political party. In 1970, Ikeda clarified the Soka Gakkai stance on its political involvement, announcing that "Kōmeitō members of national and local assemblies will be removed from Soka Gakkai administrative posts."
Under Ikeda's leadership, the organization expanded both inside and outside Japan, with the establishment of a series of institutions to help build solidarity for peace, in the fields of culture and the arts, peace research and education. The Soka Gakkai opened two universities as well as elementary and middle school system, a museum, a music association and peace institutes. Ikeda began an extremely successful international expansion of the group, establishing the Soka Gakkai International in 1975, and leading the organization to became the largest lay organization of Nichiren Buddhist practitioners and the most diverse: " with 12 million members in 192 countries, SGI is the world's largest Buddhist lay group and the largest, most ethnically diverse Buddhist school in America…”
When Ikeda became president, Ikeda set about building the foundations of an international movement, traveling overseas to meet and encourage the first pioneer Soka Gakkai members outside of Japan. The SGI under his leadership has emerged as one of the largest and most dynamic Buddhist movements in the world, including the countries in North America, South America, Australia and parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, fostering and promoting grassroots activities in areas such as nuclear weapons abolition, sustainability and human rights education and cultural exchange. Ikeda has cultivated good relationships with other religious groups around the world as well as world leaders and policymakers. He also initiated a wave of dialogue with intellectual figures around the world starting in 1970 with British historian A. Toynbee : “I agree with Soka Gakkai on religion as the most important thing in human life, and on opposition to militarism and war.”. Ikeda was further invited to lecture on the organisation’s view of Buddhism by various universities around the world.
Another form of expansion of the SGI was the engagement with the U.N. as a NGO in 1981, and its yearly presentation of Peace Proposals: “The U.N. is the only forum where all nations can gather to seek solutions to the pressing problems facing our world. As a citizen of our world, I consider it only natural that we should support the U.N., so that it can fulfill its potential for peace”.
Ikeda was severely criticized by the administration of Nichiren Shoshu for doctrinal and organisational matters, including his plans for building of culture centers to be used for both cultural and religious activities  and in 1979 the priesthood demanded his resignation from presidency, becoming since then a honorary president of the Soka Gakkai. A further conflict with the priesthood emerged in early 1990s leading to complete separation of the SGI form Nichiren Shoshu priesthood.
Separation from the priesthood
The Soka Gakkai had long been at odds with Nichiren Shōshū administration over various issues, notably the erection of the national altar. Ikeda worked to improve the relationship with the Priesthood, and an anti-Gakkai group was excommunicated from Nichiren Shōshū in 1974. In 1976, the relationships improved and Nichiren Shōshū administration modified its liturgy to include a prayer for the success of the Soka Gakkai.
In 1978, however Nichiren Shōshū discovered that the Gakkai had made its own wooden Gohonzon without prior permission from the Priesthood. A major dispute was carried out in private while the public image remained cheery. The essence of tension was about the role of priests and lay believers: "..the priesthood claims that the Soka Gakkai is a subsidiary organization working on behalf of Nichiren Shoshu, while the Soka Gakkai has always regarded itself as a truly independent organization that has its own direct spiritual mandate from Nichiren. The result has been occasional tension between the two groups".
In 1979, the prayer for the success of the Soka Gakkai was removed from Nichiren Shoshu liturgy and tension increased together with the increased popularity of Ikeda, and the priesthood finally demanded his resignation as president of Soka Gakkai. Ikeda resigned retaining only an honorary title but maintaining presidency of Soka Gakkai International.
A conflict emerged in 1989 after lay members complained of high costs of fees demanded by priests for social ceremonies, and the Soka Gakkai asked Nichiren Shoshu to lower these fees. Nichiren Shōshū's administration refused this request, and further tension emerged with disagreements on various doctrinal issues, deepening the conflict between the priesthood and laity, a situation which many paralleled to the Protestant Reformation.
The doctrinal dispute centered on interpretations of the meaning of the Three Jewels of Buddhism, in particular the Treasure of the Sangha, which according to Nichiren Shōshū refers to the Priesthood, while - according to the Soka Gakkai - anyone who practices true Buddhism, is a member of the Sangha. This disagreement reflected on the interpretation of the state of Bodhisattva: “….laypeople, such as members of the Gakkai, can be followers of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, but cannot be among the Bodhisattvas themselves, because that status is reserved for priests” . The dispute about the Three Treasures related to the concept of religious authority: "The priesthood claims that it is the sole custodian of religious authority and dogma, while the Soka Gakkai leadership argues that the sacred writings of Nichiren, not the priesthood, represent the ultimate source of authority, and that any individual with deep faith in Nichiren’s teachings can enlightenment without the assistance of a priest".
Another doctrinal dispute related to the concept of the “Heritage of the Law”, viewed by Nichiren Shoshu as a transmission of the Dharma to each successive High Priest, while the Soka Gakkai teaches that the Heritage of the Law is the mission of ordinary laypeople.
In 1991 the dispute became an official schism when Nichiren Shoshu administration issued a list of objections criticizing the Soka Gakkai teachings and activities including criticizing lay believers for performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony - which lyrics include reference to gods - as being non-Buddhist. The priesthood also “refused to issue Objects of Devotion, to new members”,  and finally excommunicated the whole organization.
According to Prof. M. Bumann, of the University of Lucerne, Switzerland, the cause of the split was the friction between hierarchical tradition and democratic modernity: "A spirit of openness, egalitarianism, and democratization pervaded the SG, embodying and giving new life to the idea of self-empowerment. In 1991, these liberalizing developments led to the split between the Japan-oriented, priestly Nichiren Shoshu and the lay-based, globalized SGI".. In an analysis of books studying the expansion of SGI after the split, Prof. Jane Hurst of Gallaudet University viewed the split as the result of: "lay members seeking religious support for their lives, priests seeking perpetuation of hierarchical institutions".
Sources of Beliefs and World View
The beliefs, religious practice and social orientation of the Soka Gakkai movement derive from the Lotus Sutra based teachings of the thirteenth-century Buddhist monk Nichiren In the movement's formative years, Makiguchi and Toda found resonance between their ideas on education and the Nichiren's emphasis on individual empowerment, inner transformation and spirit of activism as key to social reform.
While Nichiren "did not argue that working for social betterment in and of itself constitutes an essential part of Buddhist practice,", "he claimed that an individuals' faith, practice and his empowerment carried profound consequences for the society and the world at large" combined with Makiguchi's educational theory of value-creation (Jp. Soka) was integral to Makiguchi's view of "religion as being not separate from, but identical with, the actual life of individuals in society, so that the efforts to create values in mundane life obtained a religious foundation, peace and prosperity of a nation."
As Dayle M. Bethel says of Makiguchi's thinking: "Makiguchi held not only that working for gain is an entirely proper and honorable pursuit, but that it is a responsibility of each individual, as a creator of value, to work for gain in such a way as to contribute to the welfare of both himself and his society."
Credited with rebuilding the Soka Gakkai after World War II as a distinctly religious movement, Toda emphasized the pragmatic orientation of his predecessor's theory of value and Nichiren Buddhist practice as the path to individual happiness. To this Toda added his theory of life-force, according to which "the immediate attainment of Buddhahood means salvation through engagement in the realities of daily life, through attaining benefits and happiness that involve all of life, and through extending this happiness to others."
Since the movement's international expansion beginning in the 1960s and extension of social and cultural activities beginning in the 1970s, Ikeda expanded his predecessor's ideas of "human revolution" and "engaging with the world, rather than liberation from it", emphasizing, in the words of one observer, a "humanistic activism" as both the religious and social aims of Nichiren Buddhism. Other observers of Ikeda's thinking use his term Buddhist humanism, describing it as "a spirituality that rests on the pillars of peace, culture, and education."
Practice and activities
Individual practice entails chanting Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō daily and reciting excerpts from the 'Expedient Means' (方便品 Hōben pon) (2nd) and the 'Life Span of the Thus Come One' (如来寿量品 Nyorai Juryō hon ) (16th) chapters of the Lotus Sutra; studying the life and works of Nichiren; and sharing with others a Nichiren Buddhist view of life and living. Faith refers to the motivation or commitment which gives rise to practice and study, as described in Nichiren's writings:
"Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere yourself; you must also teach others. Both practice and study arise from faith. Teach others to the best of your ability, even if it is only a single sentence or phrase."
The majority of Nichiren's teachings have been compiled in The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, volumes I and II, and The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings. These are translations of the Japanese volume Nichiren Daishōnin gosho zenshū (日蓮大聖人御書全集) (The complete works of Nichiren Daishonin), compiled by 59th Nichiren Shōshū High Priest Nichiko Hori and published by Soka Gakkai in 1952. Companion study materials include the Lotus Sutra, the writings of Daisaku Ikeda, and other writers and scholars of the Lotus Sutra and of Nichiren Buddhism. http://www.AmericanGongyo.org is a Free site that teaches SGI Nichiren Buddhist Gongyo in true tutorial form.
How individuals can apply Buddhism to the challenges of daily life and society is the central focus of gatherings most often held at the local community level.Their practice focuses on the process of ongoing inner transformation and empowerment known as human revolution. Members of Soka Gakkai and SGI claim that chanting energizes and refreshes the practitioner both spiritually and mentally, making him or her happier, wiser, more compassionate, more productive and more prosperous. Scholarly interviews with SGI members form the basis of the conclusion that "SGI members in Cambodia and elsewhere feel a strong sense of empowerment – that all members must assume responsibility for their lives and have the power to change their destinies through their own actions."
Teachings and philosophy
There are several Buddhist schools which follow the basic practice of Nichiren Buddhism consisting of chanting the phrase Nam(u)-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, and revering the mandala Object of Devotion, the Gohonzon. Another similarity in the rituals practiced by these schools is including recitation of parts of the Lotus Sutra, however in arrangements which can vary from a school to another. SGI practice is based on Nichiren’s recommendation to recite parts of the 2nd and 16th Chapters of the Lotus Sutra, supplementing the chanting of the Daimoku.
The Object of Devotion
The Object of Devotion in SGI is the mandala Gohonzon :“the Gohonzon reflects Nichiren's life-state: Buddhahood”. Other Nichiren schools employ statue of Shakyamuni Buddha or a combination of statues and mandala Gohonzon - as their Object of Devotion. Buddha statues are not used for prayers in SGI practice. However, SGI members have focused more on individual inner transformation to the higher state of life which could reveal happiness, wisdom, purity, compassion, and courage on daily basis. According Nichiren Daishonin, "Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo."  After the excommunication (1991) and the Priesthood's refusal to confer the Object of Devotion on SGI members (unless they associated themselves with a Nichiren Shōshū temple) - many new members had to practice without the Gohonzon. This situation prompted chief priest Rev. Sendo Narita of Joen-Ji temple, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, to secede (1993) from Nichiren Shōshū and offer a woodblock Gohonzon originally inscribed by the 26th High Priest, Nichikan Shonin, to SGI. In order to confer Gohonzons to followers of SGI, the woodblock was then used to produce a printer’s copy. It must be noted that the Gohonzon used by SGI is not an exact replica of the original Nichikan version, as the original dedication had been deleted and some characters enlarged. This development further underlined SGI's and Nichiren Shōshū's role as two religious entities independent from each other. According to SGI teachings, the power of the Object of Devotion is not found in an external mandala, but through one's inner faith:"First, the power of any Gohonzon, including the Dai-Gohonzon, can be tapped only through the power of faith. In other words, we should be clear that it is wrong to think that the Dai-Gohonzon alone has some kind of unique mystic power that no other Gohonzon possesses. The Dai-Gohonzon and our own Gohonzon are equal"
Traditional groups of Nichiren Buddhism regard Shakyamuni as the Eternal Buddha and Nichiren as a Bodhisattva. For example Nichiren Shu school has the view that “the title Buddha” is reserved for Shakyamuni”. SGI teachings refer to both Shakyamuni and Nichiren with the title Buddha. Although Nichiren Shoshu also regards Nichiren as a Buddha, however, there is a difference between this school’s concept and SGI teachings. In Nichiren Shoshu, “Nichiren Daishonin” is the Buddha of time without beginning (kuon ganjo), while according to SGI teachings, the Buddha of time without beginning is the manifestation of the state of Buddhahood Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo: “The original Buddha whose life is without beginning or end is nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo Thus Come One”. SGI refers to the founder of Nichiren Buddhism by the title: the Buddha of this Latter Age of the Law: “Nichiren revealed and spread the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and inscribed it in the form of a mandala Gohonzon, to enable all people in the Latter Day of the Law to attain Buddhahood; for this reason he is regarded as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.”.
Various schools of Nichiren Buddhism give similar interpretation of the state of Bodhisattva, the path leading to Buddhahood, however SGI literature assigns this state also to non-Buddhist individuals of supreme compassion such as Jesus of Nazareth:“I believe that both St Francis and Jesus belong in what we Buddhist call the Bodhisattva World”.
Another interpretation of the world of Bodhisattva in SGI relates to its connectedness with working for Human Rights and of being a World Citizen: “the bodhisattva provides an ancient precedent and modern exemplar of the global citizen”.
The Three Treasures
The doctrine of the Three Treasures of Buddhism (the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha) has different interpretations in various schools, and a particular difference relates to the Treasure of the Sangha. SGI interprets the treasure of the Sangha as referring to the Community of Believers, including all lay believers as well as priests. In Nichiren Shoshu interpretation, this doctrine refers to the High Priest and the priesthood in general. As for Nichiren Shu school of Buddhism, the treasure of the “Community of Believers” is referred to as the treasure of “Sangha/Temple”.
Most of other concepts of Nichiren Buddhism are shared between its schools. There is also a common understanding about the overall life history of the founder and about his essential writings referred to as the Gosho.
Mentor-Disciple Relationship in SGI
Throughout history of Buddhism, the teachings of all branches and schools of Buddhism were conveyed through the Master-Disciple relationship, a principle which SGI presents in a new understanding - starting with replacing the traditional word Master by Mentor, a Greek-origin word meaning “to encourage”.
The practice is based on actual proof. Members frequently share their experiences on how they applied the Buddhist principles to solve problems from their daily life.
Defining the relationship
The Mentor is defined in SGI literature as:“...mentor and disciple are comrades advancing together toward the common objective of world peace...On a more fundamental level mentor and disciple are comrades standing side by side”, with a particular rejection of authoritarianism: “The mentor-Disciple relationship is neither a one-way relationship from mentor above to the disciple below, nor it is an oppressive, feudalistic type of Master-Servant relationship”. This teaching is emphasized again :” It is the heart, spirit, and teachings that each mentor and disciple uphold that makes them inseparable. A relationship not based on a shared principle or spirit, but when one blindly follows the orders of another ..is not the correct way of Buddhism”. and “SGI is a humanistic organisation. It is not run on authority or orders from above”.
Purpose of the Mentor-Disciple Bond
SGI literature defines the purpose of both mentor and disciple as working for world peace and for inner development :”...the spirit to enable people to develop to their fullest potential ...is the spirit underlying mentor-disciple relationship”.
No physical proximity
There is no need for physical presence nor for direct reporting to the mentor, such as the case in other practices: “Even if people are physically far from the mentor...if they are aware of their role as disciples then the mentor-disciple relationship is alive and intact”.
The Mentor-Disciple in the Lotus Sutra
The Lotus Sutra’s phrase “Thus I heard” of disciples recording their mentor’s teachings even after he passed away, is regarded in SGI as the foundation of the concept of the bond leading to transfer of teachings:”The Lotus Sutra is an embodiment of the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple”, and: “ The Lotus Sutra calls out for mentor and disciple to work together”.
The Original Mentor in Buddhism
The life of Buddha (Gohonzon) and the World of Buddhahood (Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo) are considered as the original mentors of SGI: “The Gohonzon manifests in its entirety the great state of life of the Buddha who is our eternal mentor”. SGI does not have one mentor, but a current of role models in bringing the teachings to all people : “Our eternal and unchanging mentor is the Gohonzon of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and Nichiren Daishonin. The true spirit of oneness of mentor and disciple pulses vibrantly in the lives of mentors and disciples of the SGI committed to the cause of realising Kosen-Rufu just as Nichiren Daishonin teaches. The lifeblood of faith for attaining Buddhahood courses vigorously within them. The first three presidents of the Soka Gakkai - Mr. Makiguchi, Mr. Toda and myself - have advanced on the path of mentor and disciple deeply aware of this eternal formula of Buddhism”.
The Mentor-Disciple bond was commented on by an independent scholar in the field of religions: ”Karel Dobbelaere, former president of the International Society of Religion... has observed that the Soka Gakkai is pervaded by mentor-disciple relationship. He also feels that the Soka Gof mentor and disciple, provides members with a great deal of guidance and direction. In other words he sees that human bonds constitute the very nucleus of the SGI”.
Daisaku Ikeda is Regarded as Mentor by Many SGI Members
Perception and criticism of Soka Gakkai
Perception about the Soka Gakkai changed dramatically through time. First described as an insignificant "gathering of the sick and poor" after World War II in early 1950s, the perception changed to "new religious movement", which created a substantial impact in society, and with its world wide growth, described as the largest and most diverse Buddhist group:" With 12 million members in 192 countries, SGI is the world's largest Buddhist lay group and the largest, most ethnically diverse Buddhist school in America…”.”.
Perception of SGI at the United Nations
The United Nations considers SGI as an NGO: "There are SGI UN liaison offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna... Soka Gakkai was admitted as an NGO associated with the Department of Public Information (DPI) and was listed as an NGO in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), both in 1981.", “SGI was granted consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN in 1983 and has been listed with UNHCR since 1997”. Shared activities with the United Nations Office include Human Rights Education, relief efforts  and other activities.
Perception of the Academia and Human Rights Institutes
SGI is perceived as a movement for peace and human rights by institutes promoting non-violence, such as Simon Wiesenthal Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel of Morehouse College, and Gandhi Simirti and Darshan Samiti. The association of SGI shared activity with Gandhi and M.L. King Jr. Institutes has been both criticized  and supported. Among individuals who participated in talks in SGI culture centers, were: American human rights activist Rosa Parks, Nobel Prize recipient Betty Williams, Nobel Prize recipient Wangari Maathai, Nobel Prize recipient Frederik Willem de Klerk, former South African president, and others.
-  “ Victory Over Violence is entirely the work of [SGI] youth and their response to 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Considered as an expression of Gandhi an nonviolence and the spirit of Martin Luther King’s Jr., the campaign has grown to include some 5000 student led discussion groups, a nonviolence curriculum and cultural festivals” .
Perception of SGI Teachings
Among various points of criticism of the Soka Gakkai is its teaching of members for praying for material benefit as well as spiritual development in daily life: "This emphasis on benefit has been viewed with great suspicion by some Gakkai critics in the West". SGI clarifies the benefit of the practice as: “Gakkai members learned to chant for vitality, courage, and mental and physical health, adequate food and housing, a decent job, a good spouse and a happy family.
SGI states its teachings are based on peaceful propagation of Nichiren Buddhism: "SGI remains committed to the role of dialogue in the advancement of peace, education, and culture". SGI observes religious tolerance and has a deep respect for other religions,cultures which are strongly emphasized in the organization, as cited in the preamble,purposes and principles of its "Charter", and it actively participates in interfaith dialogues. Some of Nichiren's writings, however, are about how other forms of Buddhism are incorrect, inviting other Buddhist sects for debate on their differences: “If you wish to maintain this land in peace and security, it is imperative that you summon the priests of the other schools for a debate in your presence”.
SGI is criticized for its doctrinal teachings based on Nichiren Buddhism, understood by some observers to be lacking tolerance towards other forms of Buddhism. On the other hand, Nichiren Buddhism clarifies the way of peaceful and free expression in debates about various schools differences: “Even in the case of the Nembutsu priests, the Zen priests, and the True Word teachers, and the ruler of the nation and other men of authority, all of whom bear me such hatred— I admonish them because I want to help them, and their hatred for me makes me pity them all the more”.
Involvement in Politics
Some critics have alleged that Soka Gakkai in effect controls New Kōmeitō as almost all party members are also members of Soka Gakkai and that their voluntary activities during election campaigns equal a de facto endorsement of the party. Article 20 of the Japanese Constitution demands the strict separation of politics and religion, and both the Soka Gakkai and Kōmeitō confirm that they fulfill and comply with those legal and constitutional demands. All of New Kōmeitō's past and current presidents have held executive positions in Soka Gakkai.
SGI literature clarifies its position on politics as follows: "The Soka Gakkai is a religious organisation that acts on the Buddha's command. We must not let it become involved in political strife under any circumstances".
Soka Gakkai's Mentor/Disciple Relationship
SGI has a different interpretation of the Master-Disciple relationship - as commonly accepted in Traditional Buddhism - and defines it as Mentor-Disciple relationship: "The foundation of the relationship between mentor and disciple in Buddhism is the shared pledge to work together for the happiness of people, to free them from suffering., and: The mentor-disciple relationship in Buddhism is a courageous path of self-discovery, not imitation or fawning., emphasizing the importance of oneness of members and the three founders Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda.
The concept of "Mentor-Disciple Bond" is referred to in Traditional Buddhism by the "Master-Disciple relationship". In Traditional Buddhism the Master-Disciple relationship is that of a priest/monk/teacher as the Master, and an aspirant/student as the Disciple or a spiritual friendship between two individuals. In such a traditional context, and after having accepted each other as master and disciple, this relationship can either be temporary by nature (monastic training) or a lifelong bond between two individuals. In the case of the Soka Gakkai, the mentor is understood as a "role model" starting with the example of the Buddha: "Our eternal and unchanging mentor is the Gohonzon of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and Nichiren Daishōnin. The first three presidents of the Sōka Gakkai have advanced on the path of mentor and disciple deeply aware of this eternal formula of Buddhism".
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2013)|
- Tsunesaburō Makiguchi (18 November 1930 – 2 May 1944)
- Jōsei Toda (3 May 1951 – 2 May 1960)
- Daisaku Ikeda (3 May 1960 – 24 April 1979) (Honorary President 24 April 1979 - present)
- Hiroshi Hōjō (北条浩) (24 April 1979 - 18 July 1981)
- Einosuke Akiya (18 July 1981 - 9 November 2006)
- Minoru Harada (9 November 2006 – Present)
Honorary President of Soka Gakkai
- Daisaku Ikeda (24 April 1979 – present)
Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
- Daisaku Ikeda (26 January 1975 – present)
- Soka University of America
- Daisaku Ikeda
- Nichiren Shōshū
- Kōmeitō (公明党 Clean Government Party)
- New Kōmeitō Party
- Sōka University (Japan)
- Tricycle Magazine Interview: http://www.daisakuikeda.org/sub/resources/interview/interview2/2008tricycle.html
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- History of SGI
- Education: Soka Schools | Daisaku Ikeda Website
- Soka University | Home
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- About Min-On : Who We Are - Min-On Concert Association
- Now Showing | TOKYO FUJI ART MUSEUM
- Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research
- The Institute of Oriental Philosophy-Home
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- Levi McLaughlin. "Soka Gakkai in Japan". Inken Prohl, and John K. Nelson, eds., Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill Academic Pub, 2012. p. 282.
- James Wilson White. The Sōkagakkai and Mass Society. Stanford University Press, 1970. p. 40.
- Nicholas F. Gier, Professor Emeritus, University of Idaho www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/SGI.htm
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- The SG and the Japanese Local Elections – page 290 Robert Ramseyer. Nanzan University http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/3083
- Levi McLaughlin. "Soka Gakkai in Japan". Inken Prohl and John K. Nelson, eds., Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill Academic Pub, 2012. p. 289.
- Brannen, Noah (1968). Sōka Gakkai: Japan's militant Buddhists. John Knox Press. pp. 80, 101
- Contemporary Religions in Japan, Vol. 6, No.3 Page 223, Nanzan University
- The Teachings of Soka Gakkai. N.Brannen. Source: Contemporary Religions in Japan, Vol. 3, No. 3 pp.249. Nanzan University, http://www.jstor.org/stable/30232891
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- SGI website
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- Herbert J. Doherty, Jr. "Soka Gakkai: Religion and Politics in Japan" The Massachusetts Review 4.2.
- Brannen, Noah (1968). Sōka Gakkai: Japan's militant Buddhists. John Knox Press. pp. 80, 101.
- James Wilson White. The Sōkagakkai and Mass Society. Stanford University Press, 1970. p. 82.
- Hanbook on Contemooprary Japanese Religions Soka Gakkai in Japan, Levi Laughlin p. 287 ISBN 978-90-0423435-2
- Buddhism in the Modern World, S. Heine p. 217 Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-514697-2
- Japans journal of religious studies 18/1 - page 74 http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2445
- Hanbook on Contemooprary Japanese Religions Soka gakkai in Japan, p. 287 Levi Laughlin ISBN 978-90-0423435-2
- Encountering the Dharma, Richard Hughes Seager, page 77, University of California Press ISBN978-0-520-24577-8
- Encountering the Dharma, Richard Hughes Seager, page 142, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8
- Buddhism in the Modern World, S. heine,C.Prebish – page 206. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-514697-2
- Aruga, Hiroshi. "Sōka Gakkai and Japanese Politics," in Machacek, David and Bryan Wilson, eds, Global Citizens: The Sōka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 113-114
- Noah Brannen. "The Teachings of Sōka Gakkai". Contemporary Religions in Japan, vol. 3 (Sep. 1962). p. 248.
- Buddhism in the Modern World, S. Heine,C.Prebish – page 206. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-514697-2
- Encountering the Dharma, Richard Hughes Seager, page 83, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8
- Encountering the Dharma, Richard Hughes Seager, page 97, University of California Press ISBN978-0-520-24577-8
- James Wilson White. The Sōkagakkai and Mass Society. Stanford University Press, 1970. p. 83
- Nakano, Tsuyoshi. "Religion and State". In: Tamura, Noriyoshi and David Reed, eds. 1996. Religion in Japanese Culture: Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World. Tokyo: Kodansha International, p. 127.
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- Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research
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- SGI Membership | About Us | Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
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- Daniel A. Metraux. "Why Did Ikeda Quit?" Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, vol. 7, no. 1 (March 1980): 55-61.
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- Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism: glossary
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- Encountering the Dharma, R.H. Seager, p. 131, University of California Press, ISBN: 978-0-520-24577-8
- Martin Baumann Book Review of Hugh Seager - JGB Volume 7
- Metraux, Daniel. 2010. How Soka Gakkai Became a Global Buddhist Movement: The Internationalization of a Japanese Religion. Lewiston, NY, USA: The Edwin Mellen Press. pp2-3.
- Dobbelaere, Karel. 1998. Soka Gakkai: From Lay Movement to Religion. [n.p.] Signature Books. p3.
- Dobbelaere 1998, p2.
- Tamaru, Nariyoshi. "Soka Gakkai in Historical Perspective" in Machahek, David and Bryan Wilson, eds. 2000. Global Citizens: The Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World. New York: Oxford University Press. p24.
- Stone, Jacqueline I. 2003. "Nichiren's Activist Heirs." In Queen, Christopher, charles Prebish, Damien Keown, eds. 2003. Action Dharma: New Studies in Engaged Buddhism. London: Routledge Curzon, p65.
- Stone, pp65-66
- Tamaru in Machahek and Wilson 2000, p32.
- Bethel, Dayle M. 1973. Makiguchi—The Value Creator. Weatherhill. p51.
- Tamaru in Machahek and Wilson 2000, p37.
- Susuma Shimazono. 2004. From Salvation to Spirituality: Popular Religious Movements in Japan. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press. p127.
- Wilson, Bryan and David Machahek. Introduction to Machahek and Wilson, eds. 2000. Global Citizens: The Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World. New York: Oxford University Press. p3
- Machahek and Wilson 2000, p4.
- Metraux, Daniel. The Soka Gakkai Revolution. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1994. p155
- Seager, Richard Hughes. 2006. Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press. p5.
- The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin (WND), vol. 1, p. 386
- See, for example: Dockett, Kathleen, G. Rita Dudley Grant and C. Peter Bankart, eds. 2003. Psychology and Buddhism: From Individual to Global Community. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
- Metraux 2007. SERA, p. 236
- SGI Library Online - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin
- SGI Library Online - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin
- SGI-USA: Beginning Your Practice: FAQ's: What is the Gohonzon? Why do we need it?
- SGI Library Online - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin
- Temple Issue Resources
- Sokaspirit.com - Reaffirming Our Right to Happiness On the Gohonzon
- About the Dai-Gohonzon — Soka Spirit
- Lotus Seeds,The Essence of Nichiren Shu Buddhism,p.61 ISBN 0970592000
- [dead link]
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra , vol 5 p. 164, World Tribune Press, ISBN 0915678705
- SGI Library Online - The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism
- Toynbee, Arnold; Ikeda, Daisaku (1976). Choose Life: A Dialogue. ISBN 9781845115951.
- The Bodhisattva Ideal and Human Rights Culture | SGI Quarterly
- Ikeda, New Humanism, p. 56, I.B. Tautis & Co Ltd, ISBN 9781848854826
- SGI Library Online - The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism
- ”The Treasure of the Priest includes all the Head Priests and assistant Priests" DaiNichiren publication, page 13
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 2, page 139, World Tribune Press , ISBN0915678705
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol.2 page 138 World Tribune Press , ISBN0915678705
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol.6. page 259, World Tribune Press, ISBN 9781932911817
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, page 135 World Tribune Press, ISBN 0915678691
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, page 134 World Tribune Press, ISBN 0915678691
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 5 p.247, World Tribune Press, ISBN091567873X
- The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, page 76, World Tribune Press, ISBN 0915678691
- The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Vol. 2 p. 135
- SGI Newsletter No. 6866, 6 June 2006
- "SGI President FAQ|accessdate 9/9/2012"
- Faith in Revolution | Tricycle
- The faces of Buddhism in America, p.94, Prebish/Tanaka, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-21301-7
- “A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education”
- UN Live United Nations Web TV - Human Rights Council - Soka Gakkai International, General Debate - Item: 3, 12th Meeting Human Rights Council
- UNHCR Recognises Importance of Faith for the Uprooted
- SGI-UK | Faith groups | Your organisation | Get involved | UNICEF UK
- DR. ASHOK ARORA | Simon Wiesenthal Center
- Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. Bio | Morehouse College
- Gandhi, King, Ikeda. A Legacy of Creating Peace
- Interview with Dr. Lawrence E. Carter Sr. - YouTube
- Books by Prof N. R - Books by Prof N. R
- The Fight for Peace Continues
- SGI-South Africa Receives Gandhi Remembrance Organization Award | News | Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
- Gandhi, King, Ikeda Exhibit
- Gandhi, King, and ... Ikeda?
- Gandhi, King, Ikeda Exhibit | University of South Florida St. Petersburg
- Rosa Parks speaking at a 1998 event at Soka Gakkai International - YouTube
- Engaged Buddhism in the West, p.194, Christopher Queen, Wisdom Publications ISBN 0-86171-159-9
- Betty Williams Speaks at SGI-USA's Culture of Peace Lecture Series | News | Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
- ICAP.ORG - News - Bay Area Welcomes "Artist as Peacemakers"
- 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai and SGI President Meet in Tokyo | News | Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
- (1/2) Frederik Willem de Klerk speaks in Hiroshima - YouTube
- DTC teaches nonviolence | The People-Sentinel
- Mayor Rod Craig: Victory over Violence Exhibit in Hanover Park
- Victory Over Violence
- Encountering the Dharma, p. 156, R. Seager, University of California Press, ISBN 978 -0-520-24577-8
- Soka University - Griffith University
- University of Nairobi Professor Speaks at SGI-Kenya General Meeting | News | Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
- Sydney Peace Foundation medals and awards - Sydney Peace Foundation - The University of Sydney
- Nanzan University Professor Lectures on Religion and Society | News | Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
- Encountering the Dharma, R. H. Seager, page 78, University of California Press, 2006
- R H Seager, Encountering the Dharma, page 78, University of California Press
- Ikeda, My Dear Friends in America, p.342, World Press Tribune, ISBN 9781932911817
- SGI Charter | Resource Center | Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
- Soka Gakkai Interfaith Activities
- The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, SGI, 1999
- The Four Dictums: http://www.sgilibrary.org/search_dict.php?id=741
- Kisala in Controversial New Religions, 150
- SGI Library Online - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin
- SGI Library Online - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin
- Time, BBC News, San Francisco Chronicle, AERA, Fulford, Furukawa, Yamada, Shimada 2004 & 2006, Taisekiji, and Yano 2008 and 2009, among others.
- Rethinking the Komeito Voter, George Ehrhardt, Appalachian State University, Japanese Journal of Political Science 10 (1) 1–20
- Lecture by Levi McLaughlin at Princeton University on SGI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx1st9FSK98
- McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Did Aum Change Everything?". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39 (1). pp. 51–75
- The Constitution Of Japan
- On Politics and Religion | About Us | KOMEITO
- Matsutani, Minoru, "Soka Gakkai keeps religious, political machine humming", The Japan Times, 2 December 2008, p. 3.
- Ikeda, The Human Revolution, p. 1481, World Press Tribune, ISBN 0915678772
- The Oneness of Mentor and Disciple | Buddhism | Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
- Mentor and Disciple
- Multiple sources, including Yano 2009
- Three Wheels Temple - The Relationship between Master and Disciple
- Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Greater New England
-  Master and Disciple (Seon)
- The Teacher - The Guru
- Soka University of America Is A School On A Hill http://www.ocweekly.com/2011-03-10/news/soka-university-of-america-aliso-viejo-gakkai/
- Buddhism in America. Richard Hughes Seager. Columbia University Press, 2000
- Buddhism in the Modern World: Adaptations of an Ancient Tradition Steven Heine, Charles S Prebish. Oxford University Press, 2003.
- Encountering the Dharma. Daisaku Ikeda, Sōka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. By Richard Hugh Seager. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2006, ISBN 0-520-24577-6
- Sōka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion By Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek. London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-829389-5
- "The Sōka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" by Daniel A. Metraux in Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King, eds. SUNY Press, 1996.
- The Faces of Buddhism in America. Charles S Prebish, Kenneth K. Tanaka, eds. University of California Press, 1998.
- The New Believers: A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions. David V Barrett. Octopus Publishing Group, 2003
- The Sōka Gakkai Revolution by Daniel A. Metraux (University Press of America, 1994)
- The Lotus and the Maple Leaf: The Sōka Gakkai in Canada by Daniel A. Metraux (University Press of America, 1996)
- Fundamentals of Buddhism (second edition) by Yasuji Kirimura (Nichiren Shōshū International Center [now SGI], 1984). ISBN 4-88872-016-9
- Sōka Gakkai kaibō ("Dissecting Sōka Gakkai") by the editors of Aera (Asahi Shimbun, 2000). ISBN 4-02-261286-X (Japanese)
- Sōka Gakkai by Hiromi Shimada (Shinchosha, 2004). ISBN 4-10-610072-X
- A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West. Adam Gamble & Takesato Watanabe. Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004. ISBN 0-89526-046-8
- "Celebrating in Earnest: Buddhists Mark the Start of a New Year With Joy and a Strong Sense of Purpose" by Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, January 1, 2008
- (SERA) Southeast Review of Asian Studies 29 (2007). "Religion, Politics, and Constitutional Reform in Japan," by Daniel Metraux, 157-72.
- Westward Dharma: Buddhism beyond Asia. Charles S. Prebish and Martin Baumann, eds. 2002.
- "Sōka Gakkai: Searching for the Mainstream" by Robert Kisala. In Controversial New Religions, ed. by James R. Lewis (New York: Oxford UP, 2005), 139–52.
- Ehrhardt, George. 2009. "Rethinking the Kōmeitō Voter." In Japanese Journal of Political Science 10 (1), 1–20.
- Igami, Minobu. 1995. Tonari no Sōka Gakkai [The Sōka Gakkai Next Door], Tokyo: Takarajima.
- The Value of a Grandfather Figure by Polly Toynbee, Manchester Guardian/May 19, 1984
- Brian Daizen Victoria, Senior Lecturer Centre for Asian Studies, University of Adelaide, Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?
- Koichi Miyata, Soka University, Department of Humanities “Critical Comments on Brian Victoria's "Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?"
- Editors of AERA: Sōkagakkai kaibai (創価学会解剖: "Dissecting Sōkagakkai"). Asahi Shimbun-sha, October 1995. ISBN 978-4-02-261286-1. AERA is a weekly investigative news magazine published by one of Japan's leading news organizations; this book attempts to present a dry, fair assessment of Sōkagakkai and Daisaku Ikeda and contains several interviews with Gakkai leaders.
- Fulford, Benjamin S.: Ikeda-sensei no sekai: Aoi me no kisha ga mita Sōkagakkai/The Fabulous World of Sōka Gakkai (イケダ先生の世界：青い目の記者が見た創価学会/The Fabulous World of Sōka Gakkai: "The world of Ikeda the master: the Sōkagakkai as experienced by a blue-eyed journalist/The Fabulous World of Sōka Gakkai"). Takarajimasha, October 2006. ISBN 4-7966-5490-9. Fulford is former chief correspondent, Asia-Pacific, for Forbes. Details financial condition of Sōka Gakkai, financial scandals and cover-ups, and harassment experienced by critics in the media and politics as well as ex-member private individuals.
- Furukawa, Toshiaki: Cult toshite no Sōkagakkai=Ikeda Daisaku (カルトとしての創価学会=池田大作: "Sōkagakkai, the Daisaku Ikeda cult"). Daisan Shokan, November 2000. ISBN 4-8047-0017-7
- Shimada, Hiroki: Sōkagakkai (創価学会: "The Sōka Gakkai"). Shinchosha, April 2004. ISBN 4-10-610072-X. H. Shimada is a professor who studies the relationship between religions and society; this book is generally considered a neutral description.
- Shimada, Hiroki: Sōkagakkai no jitsuryoku (創価学会の実力: "The true extent of Sōkagakkai's power"). Shinchosha, August 2006. ISBN 5-02-330372-0. Argues that the Sōka Gakkai is not (or is no longer) as powerful as many of its opponents fear, and that it is losing ground internally as all but the most dedicated are turned off by the leadership and fewer members need the organization for social bonding. Also notes that it is becoming more like a civic rather than a religious organization, and that inactive members don't resign because they want to avoid the ostracism and harassment that can result.
- Shimada, Hiroki: Kōmeitō vs. Sōkagakkai (公明党vs.創価学会: "The Kōmeitō and the Sōka Gakkai"). Asahi Shinsho, June 2007. ISBN 978-4-02-273153-1. Describes the relationship between Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai and the development of their history. Touches on the Sōka Gakkai–Nichiren Shōshū split, describing it as the result of a power struggle and financial constraints, as well as on the organized harassment of opponents by Sōka Gakkai members, the organization's use of its media vehicles to vilify opponents, and Ikeda's demand for unquestioning loyalty.
- Taisekiji: Shoshū Hashaku Guide (Jp: 諸宗破折ガイド: "Guide to refuting [erroneous teachings of] other schools"). 2003 (no ISBN); pp. 160–164. Published by the Buddhist school formerly associated with Sōka Gakkai and presents details of Sōka Gakkai's gradual distortion of the school's teachings and reasons for its severing of ties.
- Tamano, Kazushi: Sōkagakkai no Kenkyū (創価学会の研究: "Research on the Sōkagakkai"). Kodansha Gendai Shinsho, 2008. ISBN 978-4-06-287965-1. This book is an attempt to review scholarly studies of Sōka Gakkai from the 1950s to the 1970s and shifts in perceptions of the organization as journalists took over from scholars. Tamano takes the perspective of a social scientist and describes Sōka Gakkai as a socio-political phenomenon. He is also somewhat critical of some views Shimada expressed in the latter's recent publications.
- Yamada, Naoki: Sōkagakkai towa nanika (創価学会とは何か: "Explaining Sōkagakkai"). Shinchosha, April 2004. ISBN 4-10-467301-3
- Yano, Jun'ya: Kuroi Techō—Sōka Gakkai "Nihon Senryō Keikaku" no Zen Kiroku (黒い手帳 創価学会「日本占領計画」の全記録: "My black notebooks: a complete record of Sōka Gakka's ‘Operation Occupy Japan'"). Kodansha, February 2009. ISBN 978-4-06-215272-3. Yano is a former secretary-general of Kōmeitō.
- Yano, Jun'ya: "Kuroi Techō" Saiban Zen Kiroku (「黒い手帳」裁判全記録: "The whole record of the trials concerning ‘My black notebooks'"). Kodansha, 7/2009. ISBN 978-4-06-215637-0.
News media (websites)
- "Risky alliance for Japan's ruling party" BBC News report, June 22, 2000
- Japan Fears Another Religious Sect San Francisco Chronicle, December 27, 1995
- "The Power of Sōka Gakkai: Growing revelations about the complicated and sinister nexus of politics and religion" Time Magazine, November 20, 1995
- Lecture by Levi McLaughlin, Ph.D. candidate in Religion, Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives on Sōka Gakkai, Princeton 2009
- Matsutani, Minoru, "Soka Gakkai keeps religious, political machine humming", Japan Times, 2 December 2008, p. 3
- Shoshū Hashaku Guide (Jp: 諸宗破折ガイド: Guide to refuting [erroneous teachings of] other schools). Taiseki-ji, 2003 (no ISBN); pp. 160–164.
- "Religious Battle Taking Shape in Foothills of Mt. Fuji Japan: The Buddhist order of Nichiren Shōshū has expelled its lay organization, Sōka Gakkai. Political fallout is probable." Los Angeles Times December 16, 1991
- Sōka Gakkai-in e no shakubuku kyōhon (A textbook of refutations for Sōka Gakkai members), Taisekiji, 2004.
- Nichiren Shōshū nyūmon (Beginner's guide to Nichiren Shōshū), Taisekiji, 2002.
- The Untold History of the Fuji School (World Tribune Press)
- The History of the Relationship between Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai, published by Nichiren Shoshu Temple
- Soka Spirit, published by SGI-USA
- Soka Spirit, related site
Book reviews of scientific research on SGI
- Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Sōka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism by Richard Hugh Seager Reviewed by Martin Baumann
- Sōka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion by Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek Reviewed by James William Coleman