Agon Shu of Japan - return to early teachings

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Agon Shu of Japan - return to early teachings

Postby pilgrim » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:47 am

I found this new Japanese sect to be interesting. They reject the Mahayana sutras and only hold the Agama sutras (Japanese: Agon) as correct. This would make Agon Shu as the Japanese school closest to Theravada.

Agon Shu is Original Buddhism

Agon Shu is a Buddhist organization based on Agama (Agon) Sutras which Shakyamuni Buddha originally taught to his disciples.

Agon Buddhism is described as the "Original Buddhism."

The Buddhism was classified into Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayama Buddhism in the past. However, this was not proper and is now classified into Original Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. Agon Shu falls under this Original Buddhism.

Agon Shu was established as a Buddhist organization in 1978 by Seiyu Kiriyama. He is the spiritual leader of the organization and is referred to as Kiriyama Kancho. (Kiriyama Kancho led up a Buddhist organization called Kannon Jikeikai for 30 years or so until 1978. This Kannon Jikeikai was based on the Kannon Sutra in Mahayana Buddhism. He later founded Agon Shu.)

http://www.agon.org/us/index.html
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Re: Agon Shu of Japan - return to early teachings

Postby Virgo » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:13 am

Well done.

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Re: Agon Shu of Japan - return to early teachings

Postby phil » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:30 am

   Hi Pilgrim

Sorry to disappoint you, but Agonshu is a cult. According to one of their books that a student who follows them gave me, they rip their followers off by convincing them that if they don't do proper ancestor worship (which of course involved paying money to the organization) the ancestors will be furious and haunt them and give them Hell. The book had anecdotes about people who ended up commiting suicide because of the hauntings that they could have avoided by proper "worship." Paying money to avoid ancestor-spirit haunting is par for the course for all the pseudo Buddhist Japanese sects that have cropped up over the last 40 years, very sad....

edit - hi again, very interesting website. I was just about to post that whoever designed the English website had worded it in a way to seduce followers into the door by making fairly credible sounding statements related to the Buddha's teaching, but when I checked the Japanese website I found it was identical, or very close, didn't take time to check in detail. So I think what they do is attract people by putting forth a credible Buddhist face, and once they're in the door pull out the fear-mingering about infuriated ancestor spirits. If it weren't for the subtitle "Venerating Ancestors" at the top of the website I would almost think it was a different religion from the one that gave angry ghost tracts to their followers. Anyways, please take care about belieivng anything they say. I guess the book I read was one that is only given to followers once the hook has been planted.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Agon Shu of Japan - return to early teachings

Postby pilgrim » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:01 pm

Hi Phil, I'm not surprised..a sect that organises itself around a teacher who claimes special qualities is always suspect. Buddhism in Japan, especially with the newer organisations, is in a sad state.
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Re: Agon Shu of Japan - return to early teachings

Postby Kenshou » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:13 pm

Well that's a shame. Looked reasonable at first glance.
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Re: Agon Shu of Japan - return to early teachings

Postby phil » Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:21 am

But you know, even the longest established Buddhist sects in Japan practice somewhat similar things, paying a lot of money to venerate and perhaps placate ancestors. The other day I was walking through a cemetery with a Japanese friend and she explained how the kanji (chinese ideograms) on the central stone in a kind of family plot contained a posthumous name that is paid for, the longer the name, the more money involved, and the higher destination after death. All Buddhist sects, as far as I know, involve performing memorial ceremonies for people who have died, after 49 days, a year, 3 years, 7 years and so on, don't know the detail, where again huge amounts of money are paid to get monks to chant sutras for the posthumous wellbeing of the person. They don't use fear of haunting (well, maybe they do indirectly or directly) but it is still such a long way from the Buddha's teaching. I'm sure there are very corrupt practices in Theravadan countries as well, I've heard of the sale of magical amulets in Thailand, I'm sure there are memorial ceremonies paid for as well, and we know how people buy merit. Anyways, this particular sect can be called a cult on the basis of having a charismatic founder who rakes it in personally, but the fact that he is able to do so is an indication that he is able to build on the corruption already present in Buddhism in Japan and elsewhere, I guess.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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