Great Construction

Religions and Sects

     In religions there are all sorts of sects. For example, Catholicism and Protestantism are the major ones in Christianity, each of which with a variety of old and new. In Buddhism as well, in Japan alone, the major sects are those such as Jôdo Shinshû, Jôdo, Tendai, Shingon, Zen, Nichiren, and each of these are further divided into more sects. As of the present, there are fifty-eight Buddhist sects. And, in Shinto, apart from Shrine Shinto, the major sects in Sectarian Shinto are Taisha, Ontake, Fuyô, Misogi, Tenri, and Konkô, with thirteen altogether. Clearly, religions do have their sects.
     From the above, it may be thought that for a sect to divide even further does not stand to reason, but this is how I see it. The cause for division is in the teachings. Whether it be the Bible or Buddhist texts, all are full of obvious contradictions with passages that are difficult to understand. To make sense of these places, interpretations will come to differ, and so probably appear various sects with their own forceful points of view. Even Sectarian Shinto, although not possessing great founders like Christianity or Buddhism, take as basis, ancient texts such as The Record of Ancient Matters and The Chronicles of Japan and rest on principles centered on divine possession, teachings of the founders, and similar such phenomena. The main issue is that even within the same religion, as a result of splitting into sects, conflict tends to break out. It thus comes about that religion’s primary mission which is the teaching of love for all humanity is put in a bad light. It is most regrettable. There is no room for doubt the cause for this regrettable situation is that the sacred texts are difficult to decipher. It is not unreasonable that followers hold this very difficulty of interpretation to be a virtue, but from the point of view of saving all of humanity, I do think the right thing would be to try to formulate the teachings in a way as easy as possible for all to understand.
     For these reasons, I do try to avoid writing and speech that is difficult to interpret so as to make it possible for as many as possible to understand. I try to advocate a path for the teachings based on a new formula.
     Gradually, I intend to publish new interpretations, through the vehicle of religion, that concern politics, economics, art, and other subjects.

Essays on Faith, page 36, September 5, 1948
    translated by cynndd

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A translation of “Shûkyô to Bunpa” has appeared previously. The citation is given below for reference.

“Religions and Their Sects,” Foundation of Paradise, 1984, page 133.