Slander (Jpn. hobo
is a Buddhist term. It is short for “slandering the true Law.” The Chinese
means “slander.” This refers to language and actions that go
against or make light of the true teaching. The Daishonin states the following:
Slander means to go against true Buddhism.
p. 286 [summary])
Slander means to slander the Buddha and the priesthood.
p. 608 [summary])
When we disparage or harbor disbelief toward the Buddha
and refuse to listen to the High Priest’s guidance, we are slandering the three
treasures of the Buddha, Law, and priesthood. To put it simply, slander means actions
and words equating to what the Buddha admonishes us “not to do.”
One should be careful not to further commit slander
by agreeing with individuals who continuously slander. The Daishonin teaches
Nor should you associate with slanderers, for if you
do, you will share the same guilt as they. This you should fear above all.
(Gosho, p. 1458; MW-1, p.
If you cooperate with people who criticize true
Buddhism, and if you do not correct people who believe in teachings other than
the Daishonin’s true Law by saying “What you believe in is not the true
teaching,” then this is the same as committing slander. One should also avoid
visiting or making offerings at religious shrines, or purchasing “good luck
charms” or tags. These actions go against the Daishonin’s teachings. In
Buddhism, there is a doctrine called the 14 slanders. If we become lazy in our
Buddhist practice, skipping Gongyo, Shodai, and shakubuku, or if we act in an
envious manner and speak ill of Nichiren Shoshu priests or Hokkeko members,
these actions all constitute slander.
Strict Admonishment Against Slander
The Daishonin shows us that the offense of slander
is even more serious than committing the five cardinal sins (Gosho
, p.609). The five cardinal sins
are to kill one’s father, to kill one’s mother, to kill an arhat, to injure a Buddha
causing him to bleed, and to cause disharmony between the priesthood and laity.
When we commit slander, we make causes that will lead us to a truly unhappy
life. In Nichiren Shoshu, slander was strictly admonished more than 700 years
ago. Nikko Shonin firmly protected the Daishonin’s teachings and strictly admonished
against slander. The Daishonin states the following in the Gosho, “Admonition
To seek enlightenment without repudiating slander is
as futile as trying to find water in the midst of fire or fire in the midst of water.
(Gosho, p.1040; MW-1 p. 165)
The Daishonin teaches us that if we commit slander,
we never can be happy. Please remember that it is a matter of course that we
should not slander. The admonitions we receive to refrain from slander are for
our own benefit. Also, we must shakubuku as many people as possible.
Good Luck Charms and
Holidays of Other Religions
In Japan, there is a custom of decorating Darumas
—Bodhidharma dolls, which are
considered to be symbols of optimism and good fortune—or maneki neko
(lucky cats). Some people believe that these ornaments
bring prosperity in business and in personal life. When Japanese students visit
shrines during school field trips, they find many lucky charms and tags for
sale, and it is a Japanese custom to purchase such amulets, which they believe
will protect them from car accidents and help them to be successful in school.
These charms, however, hold no meaning. Purchasing such items and wearing them
or hanging them up in the house is a negative cause that goes against the
teachings of true Buddhism.
Two very popular holidays in the West are Christmas
and Hanukah. Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus
Christ. Hanukah is a Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the Second
Temple. Nichiren Shoshu believers do not observe holidays such as these, which
are festivals of other religions. Participating in holidays and ceremonies of
other religions constitutes slander, since these are provisional teachings.
These events may seem to be enjoyable, but we firmly should keep our promise to
the Daishonin and be extremely cautious not to commit slander. Hokkeko
believers with questions regarding slander should seek guidance from their