In June 1895, Katō Hiroyuki (加藤弘之 1836–1916) criticized Japanese Buddhism for its theory of causation through the three periods of time (三世因果の理) and its precept against killing (不殺生戒). This study considers Kiyozawa Manshi’s (清沢満之 1863–1903) reaction to Katō’s criticism.
Kiyozawa accepted the theory of causation through the three periods of time and stressed the importance of keeping the ten good precepts exemplified by the precept against killing. For Kiyozawa, good is what leads on to the Infinite, while evil is what leads to retrogression from the Infinite. This understanding of good and evil is deeply related to his theory of karma. Kiyozawa opposed Katō’s coercive ethics and maintained the importance of a morality that is applicable at all times.
Kiyozawa understood that “good cause and good result” are executed by the Infinite (無限の善因善果). This is the reason why Kiyozawa cannot accept Katō’s social theory of the good and evil which restricts morality to present society. We must learn, not only from cause and effect of the finite realm, but also from cause and effect of the Infinite realm.