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Monday, June 4, 2018

Truly incredible experience

"One of the major events that led to my leaving SGI behind forever involved my objets d'art, the two antique, original calligraphy Nichiren Shu gohonzons. Here are pictures of them - keep in mind, they're each about 5 feet tall:

I've mentioned this before, but to recap, when my leaders got wind that I was thinking about buying one of these (I sent the image in an email asking if there was anything wonky in the inscriptions, since I don't read kanji), the home visits started. A (half-Japanese) WD Chapter leader came by and said, "Your home has such a lovely warm atmosphere. It would be a shame to see it turn dark and sinister." As if such "heretical objects" would cause a magical change in The Force that everybody would be able to feel, somehow.

I just smiled. See, I'd already purchased TWO of these, not just ONE, and they were sitting there, rolled up, not 15 feet away from her. Her mystical SGI-sense was a bunch of crap, in other words.

Then I got a home visit from the local Jt. Terr. WD leader, a Japanese ex-pat. I had gotten them hung by that point. She looked at them thoughtfully, then said, "They might confuse the members." I pointed out that the stairwell wall where they're mounted wasn't visible from the room where I had meetings and tosos - they would only be able to be seen as someone was walking past on their way to the restroom, for example. And gaijin don't read kanji! I said it was likely that even if the members saw them, they wouldn't see anything other than calligraphy, which is a popular home decor item anyway. I asked her to show me where in the Gosho it said that gohonzons were bad and shouldn't be kept. She finally sighed and said, "You need to chant until you agree with me." Her exact words. Then the newly appointed half-Japanese WD HQ leader arrived, took a look at the scrolls, and said, "I don't see any problem here."

Two weeks later, that Jt. Terr. WD leader dropped dead. She wasn't very old, either - late 50s? Mystic? Conspicuous punishment from the gohonzon for presenting her own opinion as Buddhist doctrine, maybe?? If it had been ME who'd dropped dead, you know they would have been saying I was punished for not following the "strict, yet compassionate guidance" I got from my SGI leaders. They would have eagerly used ME as a cautionary tale to frighten the other members into ever more unquestioning obedience, without the slightest qualm about ethics or compassion or tact or discretion or demonstrating any sort of respect for the dead - the members are there to be used. So use them!!

I found out shortly after that last home visit that my situation was being discussed at another district. This struck me as odd - I wasn't particularly friendly with anyone from that district; had one of them heard about my objets d'art and asked a question or something? What I heard about this incident was that someone said, "Well, if she had a museum of Japanese art, would it be okay for her to display them then?" The SGI leader response: "She doesn't have a museum, now does she??" I heard that the district MD leader, an African American retired serviceman, said that they were making a huge big hairy deal out of nothing, and there was no good reason for it - it was going to cause nothing but trouble for the members, and they certainly shouldn't be treating a long-term, devout member that way.

I didn't realize until this year that the SGI leaders had gone out of their way to WARN the members away from me! As if I was some terrible toxic person or something! No, they never said another word to me beyond that "Chant until you agree with me"; I noticed that my members immediately stopped coming to my house for meetings, but I wasn't upset by that - I found the meetings stressful and unpleasant. But the fact remains that the SGI leaders took it upon themselves to tell my members not to come to my house any more, without saying a word to me about this decision. There was no discussion. No dialogue.

Bottom line: These noble, upstanding SGI leaders were concerned enough to warn the members to avoid me, but they STILL kept my membership card on file. I had to demand, in writing, that they remove ALL my personal information before they'd do it, and for all I know, they're still counting me as a member - anything to keep the numbers up! Since they were clearly NOT treating me as a member in good standing (attacking me behind my back), they should at least have had the decency and integrity to get rid of my personal information, since they were engaging in character assassination. Assholes." -- Doris Fromage

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