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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My SGI experience

I thought nothing about doing all sorts of non-Buddhist activities as a YMD member and leader. I wanted to attain Buddhahood and I was willing to do whatever my seniors said I needed to do: Stand from 2 - 4 am guarding a metal plaque of Toda in the middle of nowhere; directing traffic in freezing rain for hours even though there were so many signs a blind man could have found the parking lot; guarding a doorway for hours where not one person entered or left; cleaning community center toilets until they shined; endless marching; trying to memorize To My Young American Friends; meetings nearly every night and on the weekends for weeks and months on end; driving a large truck with manual transmission, all over Manhattan even though I had never driven a manual transmission; wearing white T-shirts and white pants and running around union square park every Saturday for nearly a year, sometimes with those white Japanese beanie hats and taking the subway there looking like an idiot; chanting to pictures of Daisaku Ikeda; doing street shakabuku in the worst neighborhoods in the South Bronx and making home visits to tenements; missing work and school for the sake of activities; strained family relations because they wouldn't chant or couldn't see how enlightened I was from doing all these activities or them criticizing Ikeda; trying to sleep in warehouses, either on the floor, a bench, or on a thin mat and with the lights on for many days on end; practically begging people to get the Gohonzon, paying for them to get one, shaming them into getting one, breaking off relationships because they wouldn't get one; giving my last dollar to attend retreats and having to eat spaghetti and butter and canned peas and ketchup for weeks and grubbing cigarettes because I had no money left; severe lack of sleep while doing strenuous labor, marching, and running for days on end. 

The problem was, I didn't study the Lotus Sutra and all the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. I followed persons rather than the Law. Nichiren taught that the only requirement for a lay practitioner is to chant Namu Myo ho renge kyo, support the priests who do shakabuku [forceful conversions] and tell other to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo according to one's strength. In other words, a simple straightforward faith and practice. SGI doesn't want you to study in depth because then, you would question almost everything about the Soka Gakkai faith and practice. That is why their study materials always are carefully structured into pre-prep lectures and the like, and they study the same things year after year. One would think that the entirety of Nichiren Daishonin's teachings is found in the Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life and the "oneness of mentor and disciple." Every week for several years we studied this writing in the light of Ikeda's teaching on the oneness of mentor and disciple. They lie that you only need to learn one concept of the Gosho to understand all there is about Buddhism. They take the phrase from the writings, "To practice and ponder one phrase" which refers to Namu Myoho renge kyo and shoehorn it to mean that any phrase Ikeda picks out from the writings is enough to understand the entirety of Buddhism. Suffice it to say I am extremely joyful to have found an authentic sangha in which to practice with other like minded individuals who try and have the same faith and practice as Nichiren Daishonin.

8 comments:

  1. "I thought nothing about doing all sorts of non-Buddhist activities as a YMD member and leader. I wanted to attain Buddhahood and I was willing to do whatever my seniors said I needed to do:"

    All SGI activities are non-Buddhist; SGI claims that Buddhahood can only be attained thru the Ikeda/disciple relationship ; AND participating in ALL SGI non-Buddhist activities, including the "May Contribution ACTIVITY".

    " SGI doesn't want you to study in depth because then, you would question almost everything about the Soka Gakkai faith and practice."

    Yet there are some members who will study the Lotus Sutra and the Writings of Nichiren--. How wonderful!!!

    "Suffice it to say I am extremely joyful to have found an authentic sangha in which to practice with other like minded individuals who try and have the same faith and practice as Nichiren Daishonin."

    One who studies the writings of Nichiren Daishonin will naturally reject the Ikeda-ism of the SGI !!

    How reassuring ~~
    ~Katie







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  2. agreed katie, however, faith is still the issue. not many, but some sgi ikedabots do study some. especially those that have to write articles as their job. the problem is that the poison has penetrated deeply, so that even though they may read the same teachings that you, i , mark and others may read, they can't see it. thats why i have said in the past that it is rare in the latter age that one can read the teachings and come to a deep/correct understanding of the lotus sutra and nichirens behavior. the missing ingredient is faith. as the teachings go - faith is the cornerstone and the key that unlocks the door. correct faith leads to a correct understanding. not just any faith, but faith in the lotus sutra(myoho renge kyo) and all that it implies. the shoshit is the same. i know you understand this but others may not. the sgi/nst power lies in their sick ability to bring people together. people, like that and it is their karma. the guardian of this world is the king devil of the sixth heaven, aka ikeda and the sgi. the people of the saha world are indeed related to the eternal buddha shakyamuni, but their past is one of slander. seeds are being planted. we were once much like them but due to a slight increase in our faith, and the choices we made, we have changed our karma and the effects of that will someday surely manifest.

    for your consideration. cheers!

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    1. "agreed katie, however, faith is still the issue."

      I understand your point, though I wonder how much more difficult it is for a fairly new member to have faith in anything but Ikedaism- 10 years ago a WD Region leader I know well, used to do most of her Gosho lecture prep work on her own. I contributed *behind the scenes* via our dialogues that focused on relevance of the Gosho to our lives and adding fundamentals of basic Buddhism to further enhance understanding and appreciation. Over the past few years there has been so much *control* exerted over how a Gosho lecture is presented- the content is heavily loaded with Ikeda platitudes. This WD leader is further restrained by the monitors who show up when she is giving a Gosho lecture. I voice my outrage-- she claims this is part of her *human revolution*--ultimately what do the members learn about faith in Nichiren's teachings?

      " not many, but some sgi ikedabots do study some. especially those that have to write articles as their job."

      The articles themselves appear to be the regurgitation of *programmed study*-- where the learner is prompted to provide a specific response; the writers insert the BS they have been programmed to call, Buddhism. Or maybe editing takes care of the slip ups when someone actually writes about Nichiren's teachings.

      " we were once much like them but due to a slight increase in our faith, and the choices we made, we have changed our karma and the effects of that will someday surely manifest."

      I had begun to believe that no one would rebuke the slander of SGI-- Like the True Word and Tendai schools, SGI's transgressions were difficult to expose, because no one was speaking the language Nichiren employed from his penetrating insight and vast knowledge of Buddhism. Well, no one I knew of, anyway. What started out as my attempt to refute erroneous provisional teachings and slander, became an ugly grudge match, gossip fest and personal flaws finding mission spearheaded by leaders-- Not once did any senior leader engage on the topic of correct teaching employing anything but their own gut feelings. The Gosho was banned from discussion-- even Ikeda's guidance was strictly applied from a one-sided perspective that furthered their agenda.

      Changing our karma requires exposing and denouncing the enemies of the Lotus Sutra. Here on this site is where I learned the difference between Nichiren's practice of shakubuku and airing grievances with SGI leaders.

      And lately I have been encouraged studying Nichiren's teachings regarding the importance of *waking the sleeping lion* or more appropriate to the SGI "exposing the thief*. Unless true votaries of the Lotus Sutra stand up , the slanderers will become even more emboldened, as you know--

      And what happens next? when true votaries appear

      faith is still the issue, as you have said many times-
      If this weren't so, the Buddha would be a great liar...

      Cheers & thanks :-)
      ~Katie




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    2. One after another ...

      "I continue to repulse their attacks and to defeat them, but legions of enemies exist who oppose the single Dharma King and the handful who follow him. So the battle goes on even today."

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  3. How does one practice Buddhism in a temple setting, without approaching NST ? I long for chanting, with pure concentration and joy, to Gohonzon.....In the SGI centers, most of the time, while chanting, some rude chatter-boxes will sit behind and go on and on, talking about nothing important... or there will be some other distraction, like a drum rehearsal, or what-not. One tolerates it for a while, but eventually one asks, where is the sanctuary ? In SGI community centers, sanctuary is not a concept that is recognized.....the same individuals at the same weekly daimoku/tosos blabbing on, and they could not get it when I requested respect for the 'sanctuary' It's part of the cultural milieu that rudeness, and insensitivity are acceptable.
    It suggests a deeper rot. Individual prayer is not really important, apparently....prayer is blasted over the amplifier, but the individual is drowned out, and cannot even detect the sound of his own mantra....this is the protocol that has pervaded the SGI for many decades, degrading individual prayer, and glorifying the ''electronic'' mantra....Anyway, the feeling of bliss has dissipated for me, chanting in a group without any connection.....where relations are too often strained, or just dead....something is wrong on eagle peak.....if one attains Buddhahood, is the mentor still the mentor ?.....mmmm....

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  4. Not "if", "when" or "quickly" [with strong faith]. Having a living mentor has absolutely nothing to do with it. The Law [Namu Myoho renge kyo and Gohonzon], Shakyamuni Buddha, and Nichiren Daishonin are the most superb mentors.

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  5. jules - nichiren tells us that even if one uses his own words; if those words match the teachings and can be supported by the teachings, they are not arbitrary opinion but are the teachings themselves.

    also nichiren teaches that with a proper faith, one can receive guidance from the eternal shakyamuni. and or the teacher is the law.

    the sgi and nst, and in fact, all the sects, make people dependent on other people. not necessary.

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