February 3, 2018

Saint Nicholas of Japan on Buddhism

By Deacon Giorgi Maximov

Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Archbishop Nicholas (Kasatkin; 1836-1912), an outstanding missionary to Japan where he labored for over fifty years, was the founder of the Japanese Orthodox Church. Of the tens of thousands of Japanese converted to Orthodoxy thanks to his labors, a significant portion were former Buddhists, and amongst his assistants were former Buddhist monks (Bhikkhu), for example, Paul Savabe. The saint studied Buddhism during the first eight years of his time in Japan, when, in his words, he “strove with all diligence to study Japanese history, religion, and the spirit of the Japanese people.”[1]

St. Nicholas offered an integral study of Buddhism in his work, “Japan from the point of view of Christian mission,” published in 1869. This was the first description of Japanese Buddhism accessible to the Russian language reader. It was clear from this work that the author studied Buddhism quite seriously, but for understandable reasons, limited his sources to those in the Japanese language.

If Archbishop Nilus, who acquainted himself with Buddhism using sources in the Buryat language, saw in it nothing more than just one more of the many forms of paganism, St. Nicholas gives this teaching a much higher evaluation. He determines Buddhism as “the best of the pagan religions—a herculean pillar of human effort compiled for itself a religion, guided by those obscure remains of God-revealed truths that had been preserved by the races after the Babylonian dispersion."[2]

Although he thoroughly studied it, St. Nicholas did not have an interest in Buddhism in and of itself and looked at it exclusively from the practical, missionary point of view. This view allowed him to notice what other scholars and polemicists paid no attention to in Buddhism. This included missionary methods of Buddhism. The saint notes the “flexibility of Buddhism and its ability to adapt to the customs of the country in which it appears.”[3] As an illustration the author points to how, according to Buddhist belief, Buddha and the Bodhisattvas made an oath to “be born in various ignorant countries in order to bring them to salvation.”[4] This allowed Buddhists to pronounce Amaterasu and other Japanese gods to be incarnations of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, taken on by them in order to “prepare them to receive the true teachings of Buddhism… Thus, Buddhism called Japanese gods by their names, accepted them under these names and into their temples, and took root and flourished in Japan."[5]

Describing the teachings of Buddhism, St. Nicholas concludes a natural cause for each of its characteristic elements—historical, cultural, and psychological circumstances. For example, explaining the successful spread of Buddhism in its early stages, the saint writes, “Having arisen on Indian soil as an antidote to the Brahmin caste system and the oppression of the lower classes by the higher, Buddhism was in this respect a preaching of spiritual equality and love in the pagan world; on the other hand, because it is the preaching of a man who was the heir to the throne but became instead a beggar, it is the preaching against the vanity of this world, of non-acquisitiveness and poverty.[6]

Pointing to the absence in Buddhism of a teaching of God the Creator, the saint explains this by the fact that in the Indian milieu of the time there was no precedent for obtaining the knowledge of this truth; and, “having arisen on the soil of Brahmin pantheism, Buddhism turned out to be powerless to renounce it.” In speaking of why Buddha himself cannot be equated with God, he writes, “True, Buddha appears with traits that are characteristic of God, but along with others like him there are an infinite multitude of buddhas, and each one has reached this blessed state through his own merits; each person, in turn, is faced with a great number of degrees of incarnation into a buddha. This ladder leading from man to the heights leads to a state of Buddha; but why not also extend it downward? Thus… the entire animal world is also equated with Buddha; moreover, the ladder goes even further downward: there are various of degrees of hell invented, which are inhabited by living beings, and they are also in contact with Buddha… Thus, the image of heavenly, earthly, and nether worlds is a huge laboratory in which the countless races of existence swarm, are born, re-born, and in the final analysis become buddhas.[7] St. Nicholas explains the teaching of transmigration of souls as “a misunderstanding of nature and its relationship to man, and an unconscious compassion for lower beings.”[8] The practice of meditation aimed at altering consciousness the saint explains as the eastern man’s yearning for peace and inactivity: “Thoughts can also cause distress or trouble a person—therefore it is better if they as if stop and freeze in their flow; if, in a word, a person immerses himself in insensibility, unconsciousness, then he immerses himself in nothingness, but in fact an integral human existence has immersed itself. Such an unconscious peaceful state is called contemplation; to it is ascribed lofty qualities of directly leading everything and the power to control everything, inasmuch as in this state a person, having renounced himself, merges into unity with everything and can become the possessor of that with which he has merged. This state is promoted as the aim of everyone and everything; the buddhas are therefore buddhas because they have attained the possibility to at all times immerse themselves in this state, and that is considered their most exalted blessedness.”[9]

The saint also writes that “Buddhism created for its followers rules of morality, which amaze at times by their purity and austerity, at times by their monstrosity; it created also monstrous and most unbelievable legends and wonders.”[10]

The hierarch describes the more important schools of Japanese Buddhism. The first of them he determines as the school of Zen, which, “as a sect that came from China, it likes to boast of its correctness and purity.” He defines Zen teachings as “the preaching of self-mortification for the sake of attaining the capability of contemplation,” and he emphasizes that “here a person takes it upon himself—only through Buddha’s example and not through his co-operation—to attain the highest blessedness”, and he must exercise himself in meditation and observe “the most austere prescriptions concerning food and outward behavior.”[11]

St. Nicholas truthfully observed Zen’s characteristic inclination toward yogic practices; however, he did not reflect upon such a characteristic particularity of the teaching on the transmittal of a state of “awakening” directly from the teacher to the disciple, “using neither oral nor written instruction.”[12]

In his criticism of Zen, St. Nicholas notes that the methodology it supposes cannot be fully carried out and is not applicable to ordinary people. It was known to him that only in a few Buddhist monasteries during the course of a few days out of the year is the zazen practice carried out to it full extent, and the monks often simply fall asleep during the process of meditation.

The second school of Japanese Buddhism that St. Nicholas notes is montosu. He defines it as completely opposite to Zen. It “casts off all Buddhist asceticism and takes hold only of the idea of Buddha’s love for the world. There is no trace of self-mortification here: the bonza marry and eat meat… all human ascetic labors are considered insignificant… A person may be a terrible evil-doer, but if he says only once, ‘I bow down before Buddha Amida’, he is saved. The teaching of the loving Buddha, of his readiness to save a person at the first call, of the inadequacy of a person’s own powers to be saved involuntarily amazes one. When you hear such preaching in a temple you can forget where you are and think you are hearing a Christian sermon. You think, perhaps this teaching is borrowed from Christianity? But with this lofty teaching on the love of Buddha for the world, Buddha himself does not change in the least—he remains the same mythically scandalous and improbable personality.” Criticizing this school, St. Nicholas writes that it has brought Japan much more harm than other sects.”[13] “It never occurred to anyone how terrible such a phrase from the lips of a bonza could be: “No matter how much you sin, just say, ‘namu Amida Butzu’ and all is forgiven.” In the sixteenth century, the bonza of montosiu motivated entire armies… and produced terrible battles, terrible pillaging and razing.”[14]

The third school of Japanese Buddhism is hokkesiu[15], which St. Nicholas defines as “tribute of praise and amazement to one man of prayer,” by which is meant the “Lotus sutra”. He writes that its main idea is that “all people will become buddhas; and this teaching is so important that one only needs to call on the name of the man of prayer in whom it is instructed, and he is saved.”

The named motives truly characteristic to the “Lotus sutra”, for example those written in the eighteenth chapter, are that if someone heads for the monastery wishing to hear it, “and will at least momentarily listen, then after that he will be reborn among the gods.”[16] As for its concept of “total salvation”, at the end of the sixth chapter of the sutra it says that “everyone will become a Buddha;” however, judging by the context, they are talking about those who follow the teaching laid out in the “Lotus sutra”, which Buddha uses to draw to his teaching (and, correspondingly, to salvation) those people who were not otherwise interested in it.

In his critique of hokkesiu, the saint writes that, “the prayer book is filled with descriptions of absurd miracles like the following: While Buddha was giving this teaching, two other buddhas flew in from heaven… they sat next to each other, and the living Buddha preached. When he had finished, the disciples were naturally astounded… To confirm the truth, three Buddhas stretched out their tongues, which turned out to be so long that they pierced through ten thousand spheres of the world; they sat before the disciples in that position for ten thousand years; then they pulled their tongues back into their mouths and grunted altogether at once, from which all the worlds shook… How could listeners have any doubt after hearing this, or not worship the book with a teaching testified to by such miracles?”[17]

That episode is in the twenty-first chapter of the “Lotus sutras”[18] and is retold by St. Nicholas almost word for word. After him, Kozhevnikov cited this story as an example of another strange miracle in the Buddhist texts. In another place, St. Nicholas writes that, “in Buddhism, we are at times amazed at the thick prayer books filled with nothing other than praise for the titles of these very prayer books”.[19] It is true—most of the verses of the “Lotus Sutras” contain praise directed at the book itself.

St. Nicholas explained the very formation of various sects in Japanese Buddhism by the fact that Buddhism is not entirely suited to the Japanese spirit, and therefore the Japanese strove to create versions of it that would fit them better. Describing the interrelationship of the various schools of Japanese Buddhism, St. Nicholas writes that “each of these sects relies upon a foundation that is unshakable for the Buddhist: each has it own symbolic books in the canon of sacred Buddhist literature. This literature is so vast and multiform that it contains books directly contradicting each other. This more than anything else reveals that the origin of Buddhist literature comes from many different authors, often opponents of each other; however, each author strove to lend weight to his own work, and therefore took pains to ascribe it to Buddha… Thus, based upon one and the same teaching of Buddha the most contradictory sects come about, and no one dares criticize any sect for this, because each can point to its own irrefutable argument in the sacred book.”[20]

Besides the appellation to the texts, the founders and followers of various schools, as the holy hierarch states, actively cite various visions and miracles, about which he notes: “It is impossible to recount all the contrived miracles, dreams, songs, and gods. All the sects step all over each other to show off their miracles, one more strange than the next, one more fantastical than the other. Their brashness reaches such extremes that they point to miracles, where anyone can see with his own eyes that there is no miracle… The bonza have become so used to fantasies and deceptions that they spread them around even where there is no need for them. I read one “life” of the Buddha in which the author piously claims that Buddha’s mother’s dowry contained, by the way, seven full cartloads of “Dutch rarities”, and when she conceived the Buddha another of the king’s wives desired out of jealousy to kill the child in her, and so turned to one of the Christians, who, as everyone knows, are all sorcerers, for help in casting a spell against her rival.[21]

Here ends the brief review of Japanese Buddhism in the article, “Japan from the point of view of Christian mission.” In another article, “Japan and Russia,” St. Nicholas writes that “Buddhism is the deepest of all pagan religions,” and the Japanese “have Buddhism, with its teaching of equality and brotherhood for all people, to thank for their rejection of slavery and absence of it in their country.”[22]

Excerpts from his diary supplement our understanding of how St. Nicholas related to Buddhism. Here observations are also marked by the fact that they were made by a practicing missionary.

Thus it is with, for example, the theme of the Buddhist priests’ resistance against Christianity. The saint calls them outright “enemies of Orthodoxy”, who “do not miss any opportunity to take advantage of existing circumstances in order to trouble the Orthodox and weaken Orthodoxy—which, however, they have thus far not been able to do.”[23]

“In their sermons, the bonza revile Christianity with all their might, but through this they are only showing their own confusion, and that they do no know what to do” (II, 205). The catechist “Paul Okamura related that bonza in plainclothes often come to him asking about Christianity, but then only use the knowledge they gather to pervert it and make it food for derision. Around [catechist] Matsuda the bonza have formed regular gatherings, always unbearably blaspheming against Christianity and forbidding others to listen to him. This, according to Matsuda, brings the exact opposite result: it only arouses people’s curiosity and they come to ask about Christianity” (II, 223).

It is worth noting that the holy hierarch was never perturbed by these displays of aggression from Buddhism, and considered it a sign of Buddhism’s inner weakness in the face of Christianity. He writes, “In Ebishima, an especially strong hatred against Christianity was aroused, and a society was even formed to defend Buddhism against Christianity; but this is only a sign that Christ’s teaching is beginning to more deeply occupy the people’s attention. As a counterweight there are no few pagans who, not yet even knowing about Christianity, become defenders of it against angry attacks” (III, 383). “In Nakatsu … the bonza were very troubled by the success of Christianity—they formed a union against Christianity, give sermons and revile it. Just in time! There are working for the good of Christianity by popularizing it; Buddhism has no defense against it” (IV, 31). And truly, soon the news came from Nakatsu of converts to Orthodoxy, “one of whom was a sworn Buddhist, and now he is an equally zealous Christian” (IV, 65).

On his own part, St. Nicholas instructed his catechists “not to insult Buddhism or other local faiths in sermons” (II, 393). Another time he reproached a catechist: “Matsunaga was not right to speak against Buddhism and insult it; we shouldn’t do that in our sermons. It is our business to instruct in the Christian teaching. When it will become understood, then Buddhism will be renounced by itself. Arguing against it too early will only close the path to Christianity in the hearts of many listeners, anger them and provoke them to fight it” (II, 600).

He describes how “in the Buddhist newpaper Yamato-Simbun, two articles are printed daily with the most impudent lies and slander against the mission and Orthodox Christians… We never answer these attacks” (IV, 907). During the Russo-Japanese War, the “Buddhist bonza, under the cover of military patriotism, began a persecution against the Orthodox Church… former or plainclothes bonza gave rousing speeches against me and the mission in rallies specially organized for this purpose” (V, 8).

This activity was not limited to verbal attacks. The saint cites examples of Buddhists physically attacking Christians with pogroms and beatings in Shirankava (see: II, 787), and also during the Russo-Japanese war in Kayama for the Christians’ refusal to participate in Buddhist prayers for Japanese victory (see: V, 62). Another time, local Buddhists confiscated land from the Orthodox and offered to return it to them only if they return to Buddhism (see: II, 484-484). He recalls one incident that happened to Peter Osida, formerly a Buddhism priest, who endured “persecution from his former parishioners for betraying Buddhism, but bore it steadfastly” (IV, 221). In Sukava two Buddhist fathers beat and tormented their own sons who had decided to receive Orthodoxy, but the latter showed great courage. About this the saint noted, “The fathers of the persecuted will soon also be Christians. This is something borne out by experience. Where Christ has come up against Buddha to the point of a noise that sounds like a shout, listen, and you will hear in the following moment not a shout, but the crash of the idol of Buddha shattering into pieces” (IV, 50).

Many times the saint recalls the low moral image of the Buddhist clergy in Japan. One wealthy farmer told St. Nicholas that, “he has come to hate the bonza who collect money for religious needs, and drink away half of it in houses of ill repute” (IV, 506). He also incidentally cites examples of bonza who attract people by their ascetic lives” (II, 351).

St. Nicholas writes that, as opposed to Confucianism and Shintoism, Buddhism still has sincere followers in Japan; however, he noticed signs of decline, especially against the background of the spread of materialism, and he considered that the time of Buddhism in the country had passed. “It is falling; apparently it has completed its service and it’s time for it to step aside” (II, 28). “Buddhists have no sturdy foundation for faith, there is no one there for them to believe in; that is why Buddhists are in decline” (III, 222). Another time, commenting on the Buddhist’s initiative for the creation of clubs to support their teaching, he notes: “But Buddhism nevertheless remains a corpse, and it can’t be revived by any means when the dawn of Christianity has come to Japan” (III, 801).

In an interview with a Japanese newspaper the saint continues this thought, answering the journalist’s question: “Buddhism is in a revival. How do you view this?” His answer: “As any other blustery talk. Buddhism has died in Japan; the Japanese have outgrown this religion without a Personal God; in vain do they interpret that it is still alive and is being aroused to energetic action. This is the empty boastfulness of the bonza, who don’t believe what they themselves say” (IV, 641). “Buddhism has reached the final absurdity in Japan, a diametrical contradiction of itself, and is easily refuted based upon the simplest rationale of common sense” (IV, 705).

It is worth noting that the processes negative to Buddhism in Japanese society forecasted by St. Nicholas really have intensified in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and publications in the modern press testify to this. For example, the author of one article cites the words of monks about how “Buddhism is now experiencing a crisis in Japan”, and decisive measures must be taken to ensure its survival. Monk Tansho Tagai proposed that one of these measures be the reading of mantras set to modern music, while Monk Zensin talks about the creation of Buddhist bars.[24] Another article talks about the crisis in Buddhism, telling the story of Monk Keisuk Matsumoto, rector of the Komiodzi temple, where he has opened a cafĂ© to draw people in. It is noted that although nearly three quarters of the population formally considers itself Buddhist, “Many of the 75 thousand Japanese temples are on the brink of bankruptcy.”[25]

St. Nicholas touched upon the activity of Buddhism in other countries; for example, in describing the Boxer uprising in China he writes with a certain irony that the Buddhists “have extracted for their religion from the Chinese complications all the capital that could have possibly been extracted. They have left only one question unanswered, and that is: Were the boxers Buddhists? If yes, then how does Buddhism avoid responsibility for their outrageous cruelty?” (IV, 491). At the same time he expresses great respect for the steadfastness of the Chinese Christians, who died as martyrs for Christ during this uprising.

The saint also knew of the nascent Buddhist proselytism among Western peoples: “There are also bonza in San Francisco who preach Buddhism, and there are a few American converts. Temples have been built on the Hawaiian Islands; the bonza there copy the Christian missionaries—they have services and sermons on Sundays, and do charity work” (IV, 459). Here we see the same missionary flexibility in Buddhism that St. Nicholas noticed in relation to its spread in Japan.

St. Nicholas recalls also “Otani Kozui, the head of the Buddhist sect “Nishi Honganji. “He was educated in England… currently the best person in Buddhism by his morality and activity; he sends missionaries to preach Buddhism in Christian countries, and in America there are already many converts to Buddhism” (V, 499). He writes that in Ninai “The bonza … catechize the locals with the preaching that, “As soon as a foreigner appears here, convert him to Buddhism, because what is Christianity compared to Buddhism!” (IV, 120).

Notable is the history of the attempt to convert the Ain, an aboriginal people from the Kuril Islands who had received Orthodoxy from St. Innocent of Alaska when the islands were part of the Russian Empire (they were given to Japan in 1855) (see: IV, 79, 174, 283). A bonza settled from Honganji to Shikotan island with the aim of proselytizing. From 1899 to 1902, he put great effort into preaching Buddhism to the Orthodox Kurillians, with the support of the local authorities who considered this important for cutting off any possible influence from Russia on these local people. The preacher put maximum effort into adapting his teaching to the audience, using the same methods that helped Buddhism penetrate and take hold in Japan. “James related how the bonza, still living on Sikotan, try to confuse the Sikotan Christians and lure them into Buddhism: ‘Your God and our God are one and the same, but you are now Japanese, and therefore it is decent for you to have the Japanese faith, which is almost the same as your current faith,’ he insists to them. Fortunately, the Sikotan people are not ignorant in their faith and there souls are loyal to it. They only laugh at the bonza” (IV, 353).

Three years of preaching by the Buddhist missionary did not convert a single person, and after this the “bonza, having found their efforts to turn our Christian (Kurillians) to Buddhism to be completely fruitless, left for Saykeo” (IV, 701).

Meanwhile, St. Nicholas knew of the Europeans and Americans who recieved Buddhism. He recalled the Englishman who died in Japan having converted to Zen Buddhism as a “forever unhappy renegade” (V, 348), and the American, Fenolossa, who became a Buddhist (see: V, 595). He sharply reacted to General Henry Olcott, “who converted to Buddhism and even composed a Buddhist catechesis” (III, 560). All of this seemed to the saint ridiculous in the highest degree. Noting the closeness of Schopenhauer’s philosophy to Buddhism, St. Nicholas theorized that, including through it, “Buddhism entered through the edge of its mist into certain empty heads in Europe and America” (II, 304).

In different notes he points out that, firstly, in turning toward people in the West, Buddhism itself mimics in many ways the Christian milieu; and on the other hand, the new converts themselves introduce into Buddhism ideas and concepts that are alien to it. In this sense, noteworthy are St. Nicholas’s comments on the book by one of the more well-known European preachers of Buddhism of the time: “Ambassador Mikhail Alexandrovich Khitrovo came with a German catechism of Buddhism… The author is a German who placed himself among the ranks of the fans of pantheistic Buddhism, but at the same time he cannot renounce the belief he received with his mother’s milk in a Personal God, and that is why he talks in his catechism about a power that rules the world that excludes accidents in the world, at which our Mikhail Alexandrovich, partially besotted with Buddhism, replied in the margins, “Fool!” (III, 229).

St. Nicholas is apparently referring to the book, Subhadra Bhikchu Buddhistischer Katechismus zur Einfuhrung in die Lehre des Buddha Gotamo (Leipzig, 1888), written in emulation of the Buddhist Catechism of Olcott. Behind the pseudonym of Monk Subhadra hid the Berlin mathematician Fredrich Zimmerman (1852-1917).[26]

The saint just as negatively reacted to the idea he heard of creating a hybrid of Christianity and Buddhism, pointing out the “absurdity of such an endeavor, and the impossibility under any circumstances of comparing the truth of God’s faith with human invention” (III, 363).

St. Nicholas approved of the words of his visitors who “had compared Christianity with Buddhism and found them to be polar opposites” (III, 804). The saint at times had to disprove the then popular opinion among Western and Russian intelligentsia that Christianity was constructed upon ideas borrowed from Buddhism. He describes his conversation with the wife of Admiral Schmidt. At her remark about the closeness of Buddhism’s moral teaching with that of Christianity, St. Nicholas replied, “ ‘There is indeed some resemblance to our religion in Buddhism’s moral teaching; and what pagan religion does not have it? The moral teaching of pagans is drawn from the conscience, which they have not lost.’ ‘But they say that Christ’s teachings were borrowed from Buddhism.’ ‘Well, this is what people say who know neither Buddhist nor Christian teachings well.’ ‘No—why shouldn’t Christ borrow something from Buddhism if He liked it? He (Christ) was an intelligent man.’ ‘Christ was God and He spoke His teaching as a Divine command; Buddha, as well as everything in the world and the whole world itself, is nothing before Him’, I interrupted her, in order to stop this outflow of refuse from the cesspool of a general’s mind… So, the upper class in Russia is ignorant … in things related to faith” (II, 296).

At the same time, the saint also related skeptically to ideas expressed in response apologetics about aspects in the life of Buddha supposedly being borrowed from the Gospels. Remarking on a lecture he heard by the Protestant Spencer, St. Nicholas writes that there were “no few paradoxes; for example, the supposition that Buddha’s ‘life’ was copied from the life of the Savior. He would do well to prove that” (IV, 167).

From conversations with converts, St. Nicholas formed the opinion that Buddhism does not answer the needs of the soul that has a living religious feeling. He cites the story of one family: “Yuki and his wife were both believing Buddhists. Not having found in Buddhism a ‘personal’ God, he lost his faith in it and was extremely glad to find God the Creator and His Providence in Christianity, about which he had learned by accident, having obtained a Bible. He began to pray to the Christian God, and his fervent prayer was even crowned by a miracle: his wife had been ill to the point that she was unable to stand up. He prayed fervently for her healing, and she at once rose up healthy, to everyone’s amazement” (IV, 208). It is the fact that Christianity gives a person not simply an “idea of God”, but a living connection with Him, that in St. Nicholas’s eyes distinguishes it in principle from Buddhism. This is explained by the saint’s comment that, “Buddhism in the religious sense is essentially empty, for what religion can there be without God?” (III, 443).

St. Nicholas spoke several times about Buddhist prayer: “Their prayer is fruitless, because they pray to something that does not exist” (V, 571); “Their prayer is useless and deserves pity, for a tree and a rock or some empty space, at which they direct their calls to the gods and buddhas, which do not exist, do not see or hear them, and cannot help” (II, 175).

Unfortunately, St. Nicholas (Kasatkin’s) study of Japanese Buddhism has remained completely unnoticed by Orthodox authors, although it could substantially supplement their knowledge of the many various trends in this religion. The first attention given to St. Nicholas’s views on Buddhism came as late as the twenty-first century: A. Larionov in a short article gave an overview of the saint’s commentary, almost entirely based upon his Diaries.[27] He writes that the “comments on Buddhism are rare, and bear a purely practically character. The basic conclusion is: Buddhism had for a long time fulfilled its role as nanny, preparing the Japanese to receive the Truth… This was that “divination in the mirror”, which taught the Japanese love for each other and an understanding of the vanity of life. Now it must be set aside, because the fullness of grace has come.”[28]


[1] Cited from A. Chekh, Nicholas-Do (St. Petersburg, 2001), 23.

[2] Holy Hierarch Nicholas (Kasatkin), “Japan from the point of view of Christian Mission”, Selected scholarly works by St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Japan (Moscow, 2006), 44.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 45.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 47.

[7] Ibid., 47-48.

[8] Ibid., 48.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 49.

[11] Ibid., 50

[12] E. A. Torchinov, Introduction to Buddhology (St. Petersburg, 2000), 194.

[13] St. Nicholas (Kasatkin), "Japan from the point of view of Christian mission", 51.

[14] Ibid., 52.

[15] Nitiren-siu, currently one of the most widespread schools in Japan.

[16] “The Sutra of the lotus flower of wondrous dharma” is cited [in Russian] from the translation by A. N. Ignatovich, from the Japanese publication. [The English translation is from the Russian used here.—O.C.].

[17] St. Nicholas Kasatkin, "Japan from the point of view of Christian mission", 53.

[18] See Saddharma-Pundarîka or, The Lotus of The True Law, Translated by H. Kern, Sacred Books of the East. Vol. XXI. (Cambridge, 1884), 364-365.

[19] St. Nicholas of Japan, "Japan from the point of view of Christian mission", 45.

[20] Ibid. 53.

[21] Ibid., 55.

[22] St. Nicholas of Japan, “Japan and Russia”, Selected scholarly works of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Japan, 154-171.

[23] St. Nicholai of Japan, Diaries 1970-1911 in five volumes (St. Petersburg, 2007), 5:43. Further citations from the saint’s diaries are cited from this publication with the volume and page indicated in parenthesis—according to the Roman and Arabic numbering.

[24] I. Belovsky, “Rap and spirits with save Buddhism”, www.gazeta.ru..

[25] Buddhist temples of Japan, www.sunhome.ru.

[26] Fruhwirtz A., Der Lotus im Treibhaus: Transfer und Transformation des Buddhismus oder Eine “Religion der Vernunft und der Wissenschaft” betritt deutschen Boden (Wechsell Wirkungen, 7: Bern, 2004), 319.

[27] See: A. Larionov, “Particularities of the perception of St. Nicholas (Kasatkin) of Buddhism”, Alpha i Omega, 2005, No 3 (44).

[28] Ibid.