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Shakubuku "break and subdue" (折伏?) is a term that originates in the Chinese Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra and is used to refer to the proselytization and conversion of new adherents in Nichiren Buddhism.[1] Shakubuku refers to the rebuttal of teachings regarded as heretical or preliminary.[2][3]

Nichiren organisations like Kokuchūkai, Nichiren Shōshū and Soka Gakkai took the phrase "break and subdue" literally in the past. Even though the term as such is still being used within most of the groups mentioned, it is now used to underline or rather convince the counterpart of one's own interpretation of Buddhism.

Another form of propagation mentioned by Nichiren is shojū, which underlines the individual's own insight on Buddhism. Nichiren himself referred to both methods in his "Opening of the Eyes" (開目抄 Kaimokushō?).

The term shakubuku is used when proselytising adherents of other Buddhist traditions, while shojū is be used when proselytising non-Buddhists. In effect, though, shakubuku and shojū refer to same method of proselytization in the West today.


  1. ^ A Dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts. Nichiren Shoshu International Center, ISBN 4-88872-014-2, page 376-377
  2. ^ Moos, Felix (March 1963). "Religion and Politics in Japan: The Case of the Soka Gakkai" (PDF). Asian Survey. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  3. ^ McRae, John (2004), The Sutra of Queen Śrīmālā of the Lion's Roar and the Vimalakīrti Sutra (PDF), Berkeley, CA: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, p. 49, ISBN 1886439311, All the remaining living beings who stubbornly cling to false teachings, instead of to the most profound Dharma, turn their backs to the True Dharma and habitually practice the corrupt ways of various heterodoxies. These corrupt ways must be subdued by the King’s powers and by the powers of the divine nāgas.