Nov. 28, 1991
Excommunicated by Nichiren Shoshu

In an historically unprecedented move, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood under High Priest Nikken Abe suddenly presented Soka Gakkai with a notice of excommunication of the entire lay organization. A conflict over Ikeda's insistence the essential equality of priests and lay believers was the ostensible cause of the high priest's action. More fundamentally, Ikeda's popularity and influence among the Soka Gakkai membership had become a source of resentment among many of the priests, as well as among some individuals within Soka Gakkai's leadership structure. It later emerged that members of this latter group had colluded with the disaffected priests to sideline Ikeda and gain control over the SGI's vast membership and resources. They had banked on the excommunicated lay members disassociating themselves from Ikeda and the Gakkai and submitting to a separate lay affiliation under the priesthood's direct authority. Instead, the vast majority of the lay believers remained with the Gakkai, which has come to consider its dissociation from the priesthood as a liberation from a medieval institution more concerned with religious ritual and the preservation of priestly authority than with active engagement with society and its problems.

[See also "Excommunication" in PROFILE and "Soka Gakkai - Nichiren Shoshu Split" at www.sokaissues.info]

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