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Friday, May 10, 2019

Leaving SGI after almost 38 years

"I started chanting in 1979. The person who introduced me was a sophisticated, well-educated, tri-lingual woman who I had known for a few years prior to her becoming an SGI member. After she started chanting, I believed I could see a difference in her demeanour and wanted to know what had brought it about. She told me about chanting and I started immediately. I am fairly certain that I have chanted every single day since then until 4 days ago when I was finally able to acknowledge all my misgivings about the SGI and to simultaneously admit to myself that THE SGI IS A CULT. This was my turning point. Both my Gohonzons (Okatagi Tokubetsu and Omamori) are now wrapped up in a parcel and being returned to the SGI by post today. When I told my sister over the phone on Tuesday that I was leaving the SGI and had stopped chanting, she was almost incredulous and said she could feel her shoulders relaxing! Being in the SGI for such a long time has been very stressful. The final straw came a few weeks back when I was expected to deliver a lecture to our chapter on the subject of 'Fostering successors'. I found it deeply upsetting because the materials I was sent on which I had to base my lecture were nothing but distorted propaganda. There was almost no reference to any Buddhist principles at all. This was on 27th August. The next day I broke down in tears because I felt so conflicted and, since then, I have finally been able to let the reality of how I feel about the SGI to prevail and to make the decision to leave. Fortunately, I am not someone who has put everything else on hold in favour of being a full-time SGI-er and I have a very full and enjoyable life. I also have the support of a wonderful family and many good friends - some of who were also in the SGI and whose departure from the cult prior to mine has buoyed me up and helped me break away. I have been suffering from insomnia for a very long time and also panicky feelings. Yesterday I got a text from an SGI member saying that she had given my phone number to someone who was interested in practising and I immediately felt panic welling up in my solar plexus. I feel disorientated but this is probably to be expected after so many years being caught up in something so pernicious and false. Thank you for providing a forum where I can express these feelings."

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