Oak 1: I didn't expect a different response than that. Obviously, that's why I never said anything before now. Who has the time? I'm busy! lol But keeping track is something I do to be responsible and aware.
The Gakkai's financial statements for the USA are published in the World Tribune these days. As in the rest of the world, there is far more questioning and consequently, a response to give more information before it is requested. Of course, that won't matter to those whose minds are set. And let's face it, nothing would
People didn't care ENOUGH about stuff like this in the old days. The world has changed.
Mark: Nonsense. it was the hemorrhaging of members and the clamoring from within and without that led to their financial disclosure. Everyone was already aware of the tens of millions of dollars in assets possessed by SGI USA, so no big revelation. Lets see the salary and bonuses of Danny Nagashima. I wouldn't be surprised if it approached those of the 200 top Japanese leaders, a mid six figure salary to do the exact same thing as you do for free [promote SGI faith, practice, and study,] Please remember, this does not include his various perks, use of a company car, travel and lodging expenses, financial planning costs, computer and communication reimbursement, etc. All paid for by YOU.
Enron released yearly financials through their bogus accountants, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Anderson, Deloitte, Touche, Tomatsu, Ernst, and Young. So pardon me if I am skeptical of SGI USA's financial disclosure. Singapore has ~$70,000,000.00 in assets and the salaries and bonuses of their top executive staff is ~ $1,000,000 [how many top executive paid staff do they have, three, four?] England has ~ $28,000,000 in assets and their several top leaders all "earn" six figure salaries. Shakyamuni Buddha had two robes and a bowl and Nichiren Daishonin lived in a hut [by their own choice]. Through the ages, most Nichiren priests led a very humble existence. The Japanese SGI business suited lay priests live like princes off of your donations.
Oak 1: We each go where we have found access to the river running within to fuel us to live and contribute to this saha world. You do what you feel is right, and part of that, apparently, is that you spend an inordinate amount of your time and life energy picking through and creating distorted caricatures of both members and leaders of the Gakkai. You're good at it, and here, anyone who had an unpleasant interaction with another human being in the Gakkai finds a welcome ear and a home. Granted, there sure was alot of heavy-handedness in the day and probably still is in pockets. I know we've still got a couple where I am! :-) LMAO But we each take more responsibility to educate ourselves. So it can't turn pernicious.
Mark: Ninety five percent of the SGI leaders and members whose words and behavior I highlight are their own words, experiences, interviews, news stories, and lectures, not mine. For example, the post on the great honor of receiving a swatch of mentor's necktie is based on an SGI member's testimonial. The post of Tariq Hassan proclaiming that losing is actually winning is from a national Headquarters meeting. Joan Anderson proclaiming that "the truth is negotiable" is her view as a very top leader of the Soka Gakkai. I couldn't make these things up.
Heavy-handedness is the least of SGI leaders' transgressions, especially Daisaku Ikeda's which are public record. Trying to copyright the Law of Nam[u] Myoho renge kyo is high on the list. Partnering with and investing in the largest defense contractor in Japan [Mitsubichi] while lecturing others on their responsibility to create peace is also high on the list. Promoting interfaith and mentor disciple at the expense of the Law and the actual teachings of Nichiren Daishonin is another example. Excoriating the faith and practice of the disciples and believers of the other Nichiren schools who actually follow the Law and Nichiren Daishonin is one of his most serious transgressions. Daisaku Ikeda stabbed his most faithful disciple George Williams in the back. Is this not a reflection of his true nature? Lastly, Mitt Romney's flip flops pale in comparison to Daisaku Ikeda's. Need I list them?
Oak 1: Misunderstandings and misinterpretation occur and are perpetrated by one individual or another in every group on the planet. That's one unfortunate thing that happens when humans join together. Other wonderful things happen. But that is one difficult aspect you can count predict with certainty. Pt 2 is on the way.
Mark: Among Soka Gakkai members, misunderstandings and misinterpretations are more rampant than the demons who inhabit Japan. They are not isolated. They are ubiguitous. It is the very nature of those who follow unenlightened leaders no matter what that misunderstandings and misinterpretations abound. That is why Nichiren Daishonin taught over and over to follow the Law, the "original teacher" Shakyamuni Buddha, and he himself.
Oak1: On a broader scale, I observe that any group that is a threat to the status quo creation of little robots who feel powerless in the world, gets the same treatment. Look at that group that got accused of voting fraud. I'm forgetting their name. The most harmless sincere social group EVER. Reputation completely trashed. Splashed all over the news. Bull***. But if I didn't know better, I would not question what was said. I have a book filled with different chapters portraying the corruption of reporting in the media. The treatment of the Gakkai in Japan is just one chapter in that book.
Mark: ACORN? My daughter worked for them for a summer. A more corrupt and dreadful "social" group would be hard to imagine. For example, they promoted and orchestrated many mortgages for those who could ill afford them, weakening not only the economy but the poor people who accepted their "gifts". My daughter was also involved in dozens of vote influence schemes for both local and national candidates.Those media outlets and sociologists who praise the Gakkai are heralded, those who criticize and report their poor behavior are excoriated. The Gakkai wants to have their cake and eat it to. The SGI propagandists, Kathy and Terry Ruby, couldn't have said it better than you.
Oak1: What I personally observe in the Gakkai are young people picking out the highest possible goals for themselves, and taking full responsibility for going after them. It's completely thrilling. I know one young lady who is earning masterful credentials so she can do something about female circumcision, and create social models that will help women ostracized by their villages to support themselves. In the meantime, she is also traveling the world with her boyfriend. I know another, young Haitian lady, sexually abused by her father, a high school drop-out, that ended up, after beginning to chant, and while an SGI leader, earning a medical degree from Duke University and now serving an internship in New York city. She wants to be 'the best pediatrician in the world". While in school she organized relief trips to help Uganda, from among her classmates. Where do you think she got these skills? From inside her and from struggling together with others in her world of faith. Her father came to her medical school graduation. I count her among my personal friends. She is beautiful. When I met her she was lost.
Mark: The evil Ryokan, during the time of Nichiren Daishonin, built roads, schools, and bridges. The SGI also builds schools, once gave out 5000 radios in Cambodia, and donated $50,000 to the Tsunami victims in Indonesia [the equivalent of you and I donating 25 cents]. SGI, like Ryokan, makes a big deal of the giving of trinkets... while robbing the people of the sweet dew of the Law and the Buddha. I can't admonish you enough.
Daisaku ikeda used to teach, it is far more valuable to shakubuku one man than save 1000 who are drowning. Now SGI is teaching it is far better to give out 5000 radios than admonish one corrupt religious leader.
Many people of all faiths and persuasions are striving to elevate their lives and advance the human condition. Some succeed and others fail. In the Soka Gakkai, such "miracles" are promised for all but, in reality, very very few succeed. Many of my old Gakkai friends and acquaintances, far from successes in life, are miserable failures by any measure.
Nichiren Daishonin teaches,
"Your practice of the Buddhist teachings will not relieve you of the sufferings of birth and death in the least unless you perceive the true nature of your life.'
It is impossible to perceive the true nature of life with the warped SGI faith and lame SGI practice. No matter how many material treasures or even treasures of good health and a long life that you accumulate, and no matter how many others you assist to accumulate wealth and good health, unless you perceive the true nature of your own life, you will fail to attain Buddhahood. To practice shoju or interfaith when shakubuku or the exclusive faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra is called for, will be to fail to attain Buddhahood. No matter how much faith you have in the mentor of the Soka Gakkai or even in one's self, if you fail to have faith in the Law and the Master of Teachings Lord Shakya, you will fail to attain Buddhahood. Your friend may be able to help prevent the vile practice of female circumcision in thousands of individuals but since she follows an evil teacher, she can not assist even one person to attain Buddhahood or to perceive the true nature of her own life..
Oak1: What I see in the Gakkai today is NON-magical thinking.
Mark: You mean like the experience of the SGI fisherman who worked his butt off but attributed his large catch of fish to the Daimoku he chanted? What about those millions of SGI members who believed that by chanting trillions of Daimoku over several years to the worthless SGI Gohonzon that they could save the Sho Hondo? Nichiren, on the other hand, tied a note around the hand of the Object of Worship, Bodhisattva Space Treasury, prayed fervently and saved Seichoji temple. Who should we follow, Ikeda SGI who couldn't cross a mote three feet wide or Nichiren Daishonin who was able to cross the great ocean of life and death?
Oak1: Sure, there are plenty, just like in every faith, whose goals are not high and are simply seeking some new solid ways to approach the world more hopefully, navigate life's harsher bumps, untie the knots they find within and create more fortunate outcomes. They find it if they continue, and if they drift off, it is not with rage...
Mark: You don't make much sense here but I will try to respond to your disorganized thoughts as I perceive them. Everyone is seeking something and everyone has faith in something. We can see the profundity of the faith by how the hopes and dreams of the believers transform over time. For example, a crack addict for many years seeks crack and has faith that the crack will bring him that which he is seeking. An SGI member, Angela Passaro, after 30 years of practice, is still seeking [chanting fervently] for a motorcycle so she won't have to take public transportation. After only a year or two, a typical disciple and believer in Nichiren has no other thought than did Nichiren Daishonin, how to attain Supreme and Perfect Enlightenment for his own sake and the sake of others.
Oak1: Doing gongyo and chanting is an assiduous practice. Not everyone is really moved to find out what happens when you create the habit - or either, the equally profound idea that our lives are big enough to expand to accept and assist others. Why bother? There is nothing in our American culture that promotes this. And to navigate today's busy calendars, learn to stand up for oneself, to family, to community, to world of faith. Say no instead of yes and find out that works too. The world keeps turning and NO ONE can take away our spot in it. We are unique and irreplaceable. Each one of us. Nah. Much easier to hide out and live in the world we saw with 19-year old eyes (or whatever).
Mark: You belie your assertion about NO magical thinking in the Soka Gakkai which is exactly what you are asserting... Asserting the efficacy of merely doing Gongyo [out of habit] regardless of a correct faith. Doing Gongyo without a correct faith is as useless as believing that reciting 1000 Hail Mary's will absolve you of the sin of killing your father and mother. For example, If you are doing Gongyo contemplating, "what would Sensei do" or "how can I promote interfaith", no good result will be forthcoming. On the other hand, if you chant to fuse with the life of the Buddha and have the same mind as he and Nichiren Daishonin, you will achieve all your wishes. In the Opening of the Eyes we read, "The Buddha wishes to entrust this Lotus Sutra to someone so that it may be preserved." He doesn't say, The Buddha wishes to entrust the Human Revolution or The Six Volume Writings of Nichikan so they will long endure."
Oak1: The What solidified my determination to practice again was SGI-member Marianne Pearl's response to her husband's murder by hopeless angry Pakistanis. She got on all 3 channels the same day, big with Danny's child, and spoke not only for Danny Pearl but for the hundreds and hundreds of Moslem men that had been murdered that week.
I said to myself, "This is who you turn into by following this way of life?? That is really DIFFERENT. THAT is who I want to be in this world." Ms. Marianne Pearl made a tremendous impression on me by NOT getting what she chanted for. That was when I understood what we are doing and why. It IS a human revolution and not reaction-response as usual.
Mark: Marianne Pearl also stated: "True Islamic Jihad is the most courageous process a person can undertake. A Jihadi fights with himself to overcome his own limitations in order to contribute to society at large. This slow and difficult battle, the true jihad, is what Buddhists call the Human Revolution. " It is clear that you are as confused as Ms. Pearl. Your belief in interfaith as you chant the Daimoku and recite Gongyo is destroying your castle from within.