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Monday, April 15, 2019

Why not try chanting?

"I certainly support Mark's advice if you are already chanting and if not why not try?

You might try another approach and say calmly that you are puzzled by the differences in SGI's teaching during different periods.

You will find lots of information that points out those changes of doctrine/faith in SGI Whistle blowers and also some threads in ARBN (Alt religion Buddhism Nichiren). If you too find that SGI's own publications are inconsistent with each other you could then say that SGI doesn't seem to be and organization that knows what it believes from one moment to the next. You could reference examples from sources that have good & reliable citations.

Personally, I wouldn't get into a dispute with you friend, if the "poison has penetrated deeply" as the Lotus Sutra says then they're unlikely to "take the good medicine" that will cure them, very easily.

If they're deeply in then SGI teaching will have programmed them to respond to any legitimate challenges not by thinking about it and evaluating it fairly but by ignoring the facts and focussing on your reasons for challenging.

In your friends's head, they may think that your motivation is any one of number of supposed evil or deluded tactics to challenge their faith in the organisation and its "mentor".

You have to understand that for people that have got deeply in, they have completely blurred the lines between the SGI, it's leaders and Nichiren 's teaching.

It doesn't matter that these are very different things, they have been taught and encouraged to think of them as the same thing. They have also been taught that if they are practicing correctly they will meet people who oppose their faith. Put thus together and it means that to a dedicated SGI follower, resisting your challenge and successfully ignoring or explaining away the inconsistencies, however flimsily done, will be taken as a "victory" in their Faith and their practice of Buddhism.

It doesn't matter how reasonable the critique of SGI, its mentors and their teaching. It doesn't matter how variant SGI fantasy is from the reality of Nichiren's teaching or Buddhism in general.

It can be really hard for people who have been deeply suckered into the SGI to separate the legitimate faith & practice that the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren expounded from illegitimate (and sometimes harmful) "teaching" about that faith and practice. These types of SGI, its mentors and leaders as being knowledgeable, authoritative and correct even when they're demonstrably not.

I've seen really capable, intelligent and articulate people fail to see glaring contradictions in what they were basing their faith and practice on 10 years ago to what they are now. I've even seen them get rid of books etc. that could have helped them sense check the present with the past because SGI leaders had told them that these old SGI publications were a form of attachment (and of course one shouldn't be attached!).

You can see how it works, erasure of history, making it hard to compare and judge. Being able to keep even smart people from looking and questioning. Conflating Buddhist faith and practice with an organization and it's leaders and making ever challenge to the latter an "attack" on the former. SGI member internalised self-censorship. But just enough "normal" to make it all seem OK.

It's a tricky one, which brings us back to Marks advice..."

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