"By the Law of 20 May 1802 Bonaparte re-established slavery in France's colonial possessions, where it had been banned following the Revolution." -- Napoleon Wikipedia
Perhaps Ikeda learned to master the members like slaves from Napoleon?
"I remember brainwashed gakkai members literally shedding tears over the beauty of the Nikken gohonzons, admiring the powerful calligraphy, then later, after the split, those same people looking at the same gohonzon with the same scorn as if they were casting their eyes upon used sheets of toilet paper. With a wave of the magical gakkai arm, they changed gohonzons (declaring which ones had "power" and which ones didn't), changed gongyo, changed the prayers and relegated the Dai gohonzon to subsidiary status. Such shortsighted chutzpah was the beginning of the meltdown. It was indeed sheer stupidity.
It's pretty clear that the gakkai cult will say anything to make the winds blow in the direction that they desire and to justify whatever it is that they wish to do. There are no core principles to which they adhere and respect, they simply wing it, frivolously changing with the times." -- Hitch
It is very hard to feel peaceful and at ease when one is at cross purposes with oneself or the teachings one embraces are in conflict with each other. SGI says that you, the members, are all Buddhas but there is no autonomy in the SGI. There are constraints. You can't go preaching Buddha Dharma as you see fit in their District meetings. More importantly you can not choose a copy of a Nichiren inscribed Gohonzon. How can a "Buddha of Absolute Freedom" have constraints? When one is told one thing but everyone acts contrary to what is taught, it is impossible to develop doubt free faith in the Lotus Sutra, the only means in the Latter Day to obtain Buddhahood.
Then, there is the matter of the teachings [doctrines] expounded by Ikeda and the leaders which don't match the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and those expounded by Nichiren Daishonin. A thoughtful or studious person will know something is a amiss but when he questions his leaders, he is told that the SGI teachings are not amiss, "you are amiss" [lack faith]. There is a conflict between what you are reading, seeing, and experiencing and what you are being told. Again, in such a situation, it is impossible to be at peace or to develop doubt free faith, the prerequisite for attaining Buddhahood.
Though the Lotus Sutra promises, "peace and security in this life and a fortunate birth in the next", in the SGI, one can not be truly peaceful because SGI's faith and practice is not the faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra. They would counter that if one practices the Lotus Sutra correctly, one will encounter the Three Obstacles and Four Devils. I would respond, "encountering the Three Obstacles and Four Devils is not an artificial construct like cleaning Sensei's toilets." One who practices the Lotus Sutra correctly is peaceful even while encountering the Three Obstacles and Four Devils.
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.
One SGI slav.. I mean member wrote:
One SGI slav.. I mean member wrote:
"Hallo Jan! your problem really touched a nerve with me. I have heard of this stage of stagnation, or something I've heard members call a 'plateau' stage, where you feel that you've reached a point where you're mot moving forward – my district leader told me about it on the first week when I started to chant. She told me that it will happen, especially if you've had a rocket like start to the study and practise of Buddhism, which I had, over 1.5 years ago. I literally couldn't put the books down.
She also told me, that it will be a time for me to REALLY deepen my practice. Instead of going to the 'next stage', imagine digging deeper, and rediscovering the enthusiastic seeking spirit you had in the beginning by chanting sincerely to connect with NMRK, and Sensei's spirit.
I found that doing SGI activities, not just taking part but taking responsibilities, got me out of deadlock. I had some issues with bigger meetings, like you, and I felt a slight disconnection from the organisation. I realised, that I was afraid to take on more responsibilities, after my knowledge had increased. It felt like I was seeing errors, mistakes, discrepancies EVERYWHERE in the organisation. I realized that this was my first real obstacle, and after learning about the dangers of slander (of the self, the law, or other members), I decided to push my doubts to the back seat and do something about it. "Daimoku first" – then I volunteered at every possible activity with any role that was available, be it cleaning toilets or designing the event invitation. Taking action was enough for me to move forward, and from that activity, I made incredible new connections and revived my desire to study by supporting someone very new to the practice.
So I'd say, that finding gratitude for my 'plateau' stage is the proof that I've moved forward from it, as SO MUCH came out of it. I'd say embrace all the feelings you are having, to realise the area in your practise which can be the key to revive the excitement you were feeling in the beginning. There is no 'final stage' in Buddhism, right? So there shouldn't be a sense of completing a stage before moving onto the next one and never going back to the beginning. I re-read one of the books recently, which I was given 5 years ago, and I realised I'd forgotten most of the amazing words that gave me hope those times!" -- Anne on SGI Unofficial