am sure many of you, like me, have come across the term, "True Buddha."
In my flirtation with Nichiren Shoshu and SGI, I used to hear this
term all the time, especially in reference to Nichiren Shonin. So what
(or who), exactly, is the "True Buddha?" I did a lot of research on
this and found a great explanation...
Nobody. It’s a
misleading term made up by the Taisekiji branch of Nichiren Buddhism
(Nichiren Shoshu and, by association, Soka Gakkai International). The
term is not used by Nichiren anywhere in the Gosho. It is not used by
any other branch of Nichiren Buddhism. There is no such thing as a
“true Buddha;” either one is a Buddha or one isn’t. There is no “false
Buddha.” The Taisekiji branch believes that Nichiren is the “True
Buddha,” saying that because he inscribed the Gohonzon,
he must be superior to Shakyamuni, and therefore the only “true”
Buddha. They then discard Shakyamuni, which has the action of discarding
the Eternal Buddha, and thus invalidating their entire set of beliefs.
In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha prophesied that this would happen during
the period of the decline of the Law, the Age of Mappo that we are
living in now. Those that heed the prophecy and follow only the Eternal
Buddha can be called true “votaries of the Lotus Sutra,” otherwise it
is called “slander.”
A simple reading of the Lotus Sutra and
Nichiren’s writings shows that the Buddha revealed his own Eternal
nature, and that Nichiren (having studied the Lotus Sutra extensively,
and can thus be considered an expert on it) revered Shakyamuni as both
the “Eternal” and the “Original” Buddha.