"It has been my experience that, in the context of one's spiritual life, events occur with a sense of synchronicity. I have been contending with an almost overwhelming degree of doubt about the SGI since my joining the organization late last year. Until recently, I've always been able to suppress that doubt in favor of honoring whatever (self-imposed but externally coerced) obligation to the organization I perceived, but, no matter how "valiantly" I fought against the Devil King of the Sixth Heaven (to use the terminology favored by those who would mindfully dispense guidance), I just couldn't dismiss that nagging sense that something wasn't right. Now, as I feel most strongly compelled to act upon that aforementioned doubt, I've unintentionally stumbled upon these boards. Synchronicity.
I am truly appreciative to have found an open forum to express my grievances with this organization. Because there is no such thing as constructive criticism within the ranks of the SGI, and because of the depth of loyalty evinced by most fellow members, it has been difficult for me to find sympathetic ears to my plight. Suffering in silence has been the name of the game. I think I've reached the end of my rope, however, and there is a strong internal guidance that keeps whispering for me to do something about my unease. As a first step along that path, you have my first post as a member here.
Before coming to the SGI--or even Nichiren Buddhism as a whole--I'd studied the traditional/Theravada and Tantric/Tibetan schools of Buddhism through their respective sutras and I developed a healthy respect and admiration for the philosophy/religion. I was and still am convinced that most of my spiritual development will be accomplished through Buddhism. How I managed to migrate from those venerable traditions to the Soka Gakkai's highly questionable version of Buddhism I don't know...but I did. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy Nichiren Buddhism. I find that the philosophy fits into my spiritual toolbox quite neatly, alongside the meditations and other techniques that I've accumulated from other traditions. But the SGI--which I take great care to distinguish from Nichiren Buddhism--is just insufferable.
Here is a summary of the two biggest grievances with which I'm struggling:
1.) Maybe this is just my idealism speaking, but I believe, regardless of tradition, that the leaders of a spiritual community must demonstrate a mastery of that tradition that is superior to my own. Otherwise, what qualifies them to lead me? If my goal is to be accomplished in insight meditation, for example, then my guru/teacher/mentor had better be well versed and competent in his practice and capable of advancing my own. If I have attached myself to the SGI with the intention of summoning forth my Buddha-nature, then those that have been at the practice longer than I and who would profess to be leaders should virtually be in a state of "incurable" Buddhahood. This is not the case, which is especially disturbing considering I'm in Chicago (which gives me a fairly large cross section of practitioners to examine). I interact with leaders that have no discernible spiritual attainment. Nothing in their character is reminiscent of a Bodhisattva and certainly not a Buddha. It's like their "human revolutions" stalled someplace in the past and just never got going again! Elitism, derision, false-attainment, militaristic attitude, cliquishness--it's all there in abundance, though.
2.) Ikeda is not my mentor. Even if I was somehow blind to all of the information pertaining to him presented in these forums, I would still hold the same feeling. Why? Largely because I don't know the guy. Daisaku is just a powerful figurehead for me. How could I attach all of my striving for spiritual gain onto this stranger of a man? Yet, I'm a member of an organization that idolizes him and hangs off of his every word. One would think that Ikeda had somehow transformed into Shakyamuni himself!" -- BodhiSeeker