Religion: Yes, It's Big

JAPAN'S militant Nichiren Shoshu sect of Buddhism, better known as Soka Gakkai (the Value Creation Society), is a phenomenally successful blend of 13th century Buddhist theology and 20th century power-of-positive-thinking. Scarcely 3,000 strong in 1945, the sect numbers 8,000,000 members today, including at least 100,000 in the U.S. It was the founding force and remains the sustaining power behind Japan's third largest political party, the Komeito (Clean Government) Party. Its formula for success, both personal and collective, is simple: the relentless chanting of a brief ritual prayer before replicas of the sect's...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!