Shoju (to embrace and spread the correct teaching) (摂受)

Shoju is an antonym for Shakubuku (to correct another's false views and awaken that person to the truth of Buddhism). It is an abbreviation of the formal expression Shoin yoju. Shoju means tolerant approach to a person without denying the person or the person's misunderstanding shortly, and calmly waken the person out of the misunderstanding by means of moral suasion.


The sources of the word is Shoman-gyo (Shrimala Sutra or the Lion's Roar of Queen Shrimala) and Dainichi-kyo (Mahavairocana Sutra or the Great Sun Buddha Sutra). According to 'Shoman-gyo', it is stated as follows: While shakubuku is to crush and force a person to submit his own misunderstanding by torture, shoju is to accept one's misunderstanding and then calmly correct it. It is considered that the fundamental principle of Buddhism consists of two ways; performing shakubuku on the evil and performing shoju on the good. According to other interpretation, shakubuku is categorized as the Chie mon (entry of wisdom) and shoju is categorized as the Jihi mon (entry of compassion).

Kichizo annotated in his 'Shoman hokutsu' (interpretation of Shoman-gyo Sutra), 'obstinacy should be crushed, crushed to separate a person from the evil spirit, pliability should be adopted, adopted to lead a person to the home of goodness. These are examples of how shoju and shakubuku were named.'

Nichiren judged Japan of his days to be Hobo (abbreviation of Hiboshobo - Slander of the True Dharma, meaning to slander the true teaching). In his Kaimoku-sho (On the opening of the eyes, one of Nichiren's most important doctrinal treatises), he decided 'When the bad and the ignorant fill the land, put shoju first, like Anrakugyohon (Peaceful Practices, the fourteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra). When the wrong and the malicious are so many, put shakubuku first, like Jofukyobon' ((Bodhisattva) Never Disparaging, the twentieth chapter of the Lotus Sutra).

Nichiren exemplified shakubuku by Jofukyobon in Hokekyo (Lotus Sutra) because he referenced Hokke Monku (Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra) written by Chigi (or Zhiyi) in the Tendai sect. Nichiren used Jofukyo bosatsu as an example because Jofukyo bosatsu which appeared in Hokke Monku prayed for people with his whole heart without disdaining them even if he was slandered by them. It is a commonly held misconception in Japan, and taken for granted in some religious bodies of the Hokke Sect line, that shakubuku is forcible missionary work for converting people. However, Nichiren did not mean such forcible missionary work when he used the word shakubuku. He said that the real shakubuku was to devote oneself to seeking truth (the true teachings of Buddha) and logically teaching truth to people even if one is slandered and persecuted by them like Jofukyo bosatsu was.

In 'Sho-hokke-daimoku-sho' (On Chanting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra) and the like, Nichiren explained that the letter '慈' in 慈悲 (compassion) means fatherly love which is shakubuku, and the letter '悲' means maternal love which is shoju. With such descriptions, he implied that shoju backs up shakubuku, and shakubuku backs up shoju.

Therefore, as it was quite appropriately described by Nichiren, that both shoju and shakubuku are important means for leading people to the true teaching of Buddhism, although the terms appear to be different but they were united in Kedo-ho (means of enlightening and leading people to goodness) and they cannot exist separately. According to homon (the teachings of Buddhism) of Funi sokuitsu (non-duality) under Buddhist law, it can be said that shoju is nothing but shakubuku, and shakubuku is nothing but shoju.

[Original Japanese]