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Monday, April 4, 2016

Suicide will not be tolerated at Soka University of America

"Direct and indirect forms of verbal and written abuse, threats, physical harassment, intimidation, or violence against another person or their property, as well as conduct that threatens the health and safety of self (including threats of or attempts at suicide), will not be tolerated on the campus**." Soka University Academic Catalog


  1. When strong faith and practice that accords with Nichiren's teachings fails... to ever happen, the rules for conduct become more elaborate, explicit and absurd. And yet, the wise SGI USA leaders, who are on Soka University of America's board of directors, cannot recognize the absurdity in their own authoritarian, bullying? Or see their own eyebrows? Or realize that slander of the Law really does cause one to lose their True mind-- and not see their own --most obvious violations of the Buddha's teachings?

  2. Chilling - "as well as conduct that threatens the health and safety of self (including threats of or attempts at suicide), will not be tolerated on the campus**."

    This puts me in mind of the young man's surreal experience in "The Bridge" before he leaped off Golden Gate. One of the few people to survive this, he recounted how in extreme mental distress, he had gone there after becoming unwell and as he stood, weighing up his life, dreaming with tears some tourists approached him and asked him to take their photo (which he duly did, still sobbing). At no point did they seem to notice his distress or ask him if he was OK or what the matter was, at no point did they connect a person in emotional distress, pacing up and down with the risk bridge might pose to such. They just wanted someone to take their pic and be done. Soka Uni is just like those tourists is it not?

    It's completely chilling that a Uni guide would treat people who might be in such distress as though they were rational actors, presumably the message is meant to either stop them from making such threats or taking such actions for the fear of being expelled? Are these people serious? If one is that far gone to anticipate expelling oneself from one's own lifetime, is this going to make any difference?

    Or perhaps even more chillingly is the message meant to be, go kill yourself someplace else? Who would even send their child to such a place? Who would even want to attend such a place?

    Whichever way you look at it, this guide demonstrates not only a lack of compassion but also rank stupidity, a complete lack of understanding and an utter lack of concern. Remind me again, what is Soka supposed to stand for? Oh yeah, value creating, I'm guessing then that's only in relation to the financial and reputation gain for the institution. That's sounds about right for an Ikeda initiated and sponsored project. Nobody else matters...

  3. Suicide & SGI Boston. A true story.

    Wendy Hsi-Wen Chang, Harvard Class of 2012, YWD member of SGI Boston, attended her last District Discussion meeting on Harvard St.; received personal guidance from WD District leader Tanya Henderson after the meeting ended on April 19, 2012. Wendy was found dead in her dorm room in the early morning on April 21st. Her death was rule: suicide, by hanging.

    Just a month away from graduating from Harvard University in good standing, 22 year old Wendy Chang, took her own life. From a speech entitled "Many Brick buildings" submitted by Wendy for Class Day Exercises, 2012, we can learn about some of the things that she had been thinking deeply about:

    "We're all hardworking and bright and brave. We're constantly encouraged to think big, think fast, think ahead. And, while this esteemed institution has taught us to do all of those things, we're somehow left not knowing how to feel. The truth is, though, and I hope many of you agree, that the greatest learning experiences here have been from daring to be vulnerable, daring to try new things, and daring to let others in. I know that the times I've felt the most gratifying sense of accomplishment, are not the times I felt like a great student, but rather the times I felt like a great friend....As We've learned over the past four years, we are all capable of so much in ur lives to come. But, in striving to do great things, and to become great people, we cannot forget to be good people. The buildings on our campus proudly display; "Veritas." Not, "Smart-itas" or "Best-itas". Among the layers and layers of red brick, we're supposed to find truth. The truth about this place, the truth about ourselves,the truth about each other."

    ...And the TRUTH about SGI?

    Her SGI Boston WD district leader, Tanya Henderson, representing Wendy's SGI community, spoke at a memorial for Wendy on Harvard campus. Tanya explained the meaning of daimoku and shared "the practice" via her speech and the SGI propaganda pamphlets she distributed ... to comfort and encourage Wendy's grieving friends. ???


  4. That's probably the saddest thing I've read for a long time. My thoughts are with Wendy, wherever her life entity is now and with her friends and family. As I know, sudden young death is a difficult thing. When someone has got to a point where taking their own life is the only viable option they can see, it is doubly shocking and sad. Piled on top of the suddenness of the loss are all sorts of questions for those who survive.

    Perhaps it is one of humanity's healthy traits that these are often along the lines of "why didn't I notice?", "was there anything I could have done?", "why didn't they ask me for help?". Altruism in most people is baked in, despite what the media would have us believe or those who profit from the perception that the reverse is true. That said, it is exactly these kinds of questions and the impotence to change things now the deed is done, that can become most difficult.

    I think it must have been cold comfort and surely inappropriate to conduct a memorial in the way described. The question I am left asking is why there was such a failure of empathy for the internal distress not to have been sensed and responded to appropriately. My own experience, and that of others certainly in the early days, is that practice gives one a heightened sense of awareness to others and particularly when another's life is at risk, the sense of disquiet and unease is urgent, insistent and demands correct resolution.

    I'm not going to speculate in this case but I hope that those mist closely involved, especially those practicing have asked themselves the same questions, found satisfactory answers that are not either trite or self serving, and acted on them. One loss too many. It makes me even more mindful to attend to my own faith and practice, we never know the effect we have on others. Thanks for prompting me to examine this again. Respect.

    1. Because I have experienced the SGI Boston, and know the WD leader who gave Wendy "final guidance"- literally, I need to share the deeper reasons for my not just *moving on* and letting SGI succumb to its own karmic destiny. The effects of the self aggrandizing, self absorbed, arrogant attitudes of SGI leaders throughout the New England zone are terrifying.

      Consider: The Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre- (Newtown CT.) December 2012, - the most gruesome, heinous, senseless carnage- committed by a young man in his early 20's, who took his own life, after killing his mother, 20 first graders and 6 women who tried to shield and protect their students.

      January 2013- Aaron Swartz's suicide, age 26. He was the computer genius, activist who was facing 30 years in prison and a million dollar fine - because M.I.T. wanted to make an example of him. Heartbreaking story....

      February 2013- Justina Pelletier, 14 year old, "medically kidnapped" by Boston Children's Hospital, locked up "illegally" on the adolescent psychiatric unit where I worked as a nurse for 5 years.)2005-2010) I was a whistle blower, forced to resign in 2010, after reporting illegal restraints and human rights violations-. The Pelletier family contacted me in April 2013, requesting my help. I cashed in my 38 year nursing career, advocating for Justina publicly.

      April 2013- Marathon Bombing- and shoot out, which claimed the life of the 26 year old suspect and left his 19 year old brother wounded. I live in Watertown- the scene of the shoot out and very close to where the young man lay hiding in a boat, while the whole city of Boston was *shut down* for an entire day. I was chanting when he was discovered by the owner of the boat, heard the gunfire and was relieved he had not been killed , too-- End of last year, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. I was alone in protesting the death penalty, as my SGI friends instead their *human revolution* was the only correct-- and "necessary" action.

      All of my attempts to enlist SGI members to challenge the cold indifference shown towards youth ; to become more involved and informed, were causes for leaders admonishing me for derailing the mission and purpose of SGI Boston.

      I received my "excommunication" letter in September 2012-. The emails I sent to leaders requesting dialogue were inspired by the tragic loss of Wendy Chang.

      I know many ex-SGI members have experienced the wall of silence, and even been admonished for daring to question or express deep concerns about any aspect of the practice, leadership, organization---.

      I believe the slander committed here in the USA by SGI and NST for the past 56 years is the most urgent matter in America today.


    2. Robrt Epsteiner is a particularly egregious example of an SGI leader. On another note, I taught two patients with suicidal thoughts the Daimoku today. They both awakened to the joy of the Law, immediately.

    3. Rob Epsteiner was Jt Territory Chief in Boston SGI when my district was disbanded in 1998. He presided over the Region Board's final dismissal of the concerns raised by me and two other protesting members. Rob redirected the focus of the board from any mention of the Gosho or even Ikeda's guidance-- Well, to be honest, it was only us *members* who wanted to frame our concerns in the context of *correct practice of faith*.

      On behalf of all of the senior leaders in attendance, he apologized to us -- three *cast adrift members*- saying:
      "WE're all sorry if you *feel* we have made a mistake."He ended the meeting praising the leaders, as 'good friends he had known over 20 years"

      Not long after this fiasco, he and wife, Betsy - also top leader, moved to Florida, I think-- and Rob went on to take his place on the SGI National Leader's stage--.

      I know Greg Martin, Guy McCloskey, & Jean Rosenberg from Maryland/Washington DC where I joined NSA- 1988. Something very odd happened to them in L.A.-- or when they were put on SGI's payroll-- When I last contacted them, 1999-- they seemed to have lost their True minds...


  5. 1. the above post is a legal disclaimer. like warnings on a pill bottle. nobody really cares, its just for legal protection.

    2. all cults shun people who step over the line.
    3. ikeda/sgi are straight up ugly. buddhas?????, hardly.

  6. Any experiences with Greg Martin and Guy McCloskey? The Watchman, Ian McCilraith? Any other SGI leaders?

  7. Oh yes!/ all of the above. And Danny Nagashima, Matilda Buck, Mr, Kasahara ( deceased ) Steve Potoff, Steve Saporstein, Roy & Kathleen Olesky, Rob & Betsy Epsteiner.

    And , Kathy Ruby - email & on-line forums -

  8. I talked with Kathy Ruby and her husband Terry for many years online. "Brainwashed Ikedabots" comes to mind.

  9. I talked with Kathy Ruby and her husband Terry for many years online. "Brainwashed Ikedabots" comes to mind.