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Saturday, February 20, 2016

"If I had it to do over, I would never had contributed to this man's ego-driven insatiable lust for power and authenticity."

"I went to FNCC many times for culture department meetings. A couple years ago it was reinvented as a monument to Ikeda, including two exhibits full of memorabilia. We were honored to be able to tour his private quarters (snide remark). All conference discussion and presentations revolved around master/disciple relationship. One exhibit was the list of honorary degrees from all the obscure universities. I remember wondering what happened to the "rest" of Buddhism? The gosho, Nichiren, the Gohonzon? No one ever speaks of those anymore. I attended a gosho lecture prep where a senior-most leader said that it was "arrogance" to add our own thoughts to lecture material. That we were to neither "add to nor subtract from" ikedas lectures. As if no one else's thoughts or ideas matter at all. Then I tried again to read Ikeda's writings. I am highly intelligent, educated, well read. I could not derive any meaning from Human Revolution, except that Ikeda is "extraordinary", misunderstood by ordinary beings who don't believe in his extra-ordinariness. I had always thought that Buddhism was a truth based religion and couldn't surmise how that squares with a leader who is so untruthful as to purchase honorary degrees and hire hack writers. If I had it to do over, I would never had contributed to this man's ego-driven insatiable lust for power and authenticity. What a cheat and a fraud." -- Former SGI leader


  1. Thanks for posting this, it's really good to see that one isn't alone. I've had the same experience especially with the lecture materials.

    In my part of the world, when I came into the SGI (when it was still attached to NST) a Gosho book would never be far from members hands. For formal Gosho study lectures, a theme was set and an prep. lecture was for those presenting, which focussed on drawing out background, covering the main points and encouraging study lecturers to chant, study focus on a few points that were relevant based on their Daimoku and the people attending that lecture. Illustrative experiences were encouraged as a way of bringing the Gosho to life. The main point of any lecture was said to be encouraging people in their own faith and practice and leaving them with a renewed vigour to study Gosho directly for themselves and try to apply Nichiren's teachings to their daily lives, faith and practice. As a result, even the bad lectures by people who might not be good speakers, we're valuable and good.

    Likewise, people attending were always encouraged to chant before a lecture so they could get the most out of them and be 'protected' from anything not right in the lecture. It wasn't assumed that the lecture, even by a senior leader, should simply be unquestionably accepted.

    At some point all that changed and the situation in the post arose. Only Mr Ikeda's thoughts, no longer were lecturers to prepare their own lecture, they had to stick more or less to the script and those attending were there to lap up 'Sensei's' 'wisdom and insight'.

    I too have had the experience that I've read elsewhere about the main study lecturers "training". I walked out of one such day after a talk by someone I had always had a high regard for and who had previously been oh so clear in their lecture style, spent about an hour praising President Ikeda, Gohonzon, Nichiren and Nam myoho renge kyo were barely mentioned.

    I lost count of the number if times either "Sensei's" or Mr Kaneda's (praising "Sensei") names were mentioned. I counted Nichiren 3 times and Daimoku and Gohonzon about the same. It's a while since I'd been to such an event, which is maybe good, since the distance from what I would expect the focus to be and what it actually was shocked me to the core. The vibe in the room had a kind of tiredness to it.

    I left the SGI not long afterwards, after almost 30 of practice. I don't regret that and I don't regret meeting this Buddhism.

    If I had my time over, I wouldn't practice with SGI either. It makes me sad that so many often lovely and sincere people, who try to practice well and have correct faith are essentially being used.

    I worry most about the new people, who don't even have the Gosho reference points or ability to compare different ages in the organisation to see the change. They just get whipped into the whole mentor-disciple thing, which has been deliberately couched in terms that make it unclear.

    Especially if they are young people, it's hard to spot the mind games that are being played and separate out reliance on faith from reliance on "Sensei". It stinks.

    Although I still have good relationships with SGI members, I would not recommend the SGI to anyone seeking to practice, in fact I'm likely to warn against it if that person is young and idealistic.