#12 | Written by michaelmichael about 8 months ago.
"I started going to an SGI center about 7 months ago and was LOVING it. The practice totally resonated with me, I saw immediate, obvious benefit, and felt like it was a simple practice, with a solid philosophy, and a vibrant community supporting the practice. 3 months later I received my Gohonzon and now have just quit the organization completely LOL. The week before I received my Gohonzon one of the more complicated “leaders” began to harass me, including calling me on the phone to threaten me that he knew people that had died of cancer, in car accidents, and even ended up in mental institutions because they didn’t “practice Buddhism properly” (whatever that means). I had from the moment I started attending district meetings steered clear of this guy, and I’d actually been warned by another member that he had chased off people he didn’t like in the past, and had had many problems over the years with other members. He was sure that I wasn’t a “proper” practitioner and tried to jam up the process of my moving forward. Other leaders intervened when I asked because they all knew his personality conflicts and they encouraged me to just breathe through it, and keep chanting. One also admitted to me out of frustration that the SGI tends to hand out leader titles like they’re candy, to pretty much anyone that will take it. And that once you get the title there’s no process to remove you from your position if you abuse it, so it just continues. That did not sit well with me. I DID receive Gohonzon but my partner stopped chanting and attending classes and meetings because he thought the whole thing was really disordered. A friend that we had introduced to the practice also left because whenever he went to a meeting in his district the “leader” would harass him that he REALLY needed to bring his partner to a meeting in order for his life to get better. (Lame).
Within a few weeks I was so soured on the lack of organization and oversight in the organization, and the strange proslytizing practices that I had to quit. I like the practice but the people seem REALLLLLY damaged. I saw more than a few “stepford wives” walking around parroting “Sensei” quotes, people climbing over themselves to give “encouragements” that seemed totally inappropriate/wrong/damaging, and also people that seemed like they didn’t have much else in their lives, so climbing the ladder at the SGI was probably the only way they were ever going to “be somebody”. The whole organization seems about 180 degrees away from where it could be, given the revolutionary and really empowering message you get from reading the Gosho and Lotus Sutra. What a pity. In the meantime, I still think the practice is good, and I wasn’t one of the people showing up in dire straits, my life was already really great, so this hasn’t been a disaster at all. I do hope they figure out how to do better. I also will warn anybody that ever asks that they are probably not a good place to go."