"Half of a recent WT was devoted to mentor and disciple. This is the rule rather than the exception.
"Ghandi was not great because he had publications tauting (touting) him, neither was Martin Luther King.
If President Ikeda is a great, wise, man, people will flock to him. We don't need the publications to tell us that.
I am ready to drop all of my subscriptions to SGI pubs.
I would rather read experiences (sanitized by the SGI to sound all the same) rather than read this mentor and disciple stuff.
What is going on with this M&D [sic] crap?
Re: Mentor & disciple, I am sick of it.
They are shoving it down our throats. I think it is their way of solidifying SGI doctrine, which is to be based on this concept. They've had to throw out much of the Shoshu doctrine, and so we have THIS. If we don't buy into it we're bound for the hell of incessant suffering. I wouldn't mind the concept so much if they didn't take it upon themselves to decide who my mentor is going to be. It might be a nice idea if the mentor wasn't mandated.
This summer's Living Buddhism is also almost entirely devoted to the "Mentor/Disciple relationship". This is a pretty strong push in the publications right now, and my feeling about it is that M/D has become a sort of "caulk" for the SGI. As long as the M/D relationship is a prime point of faith, it can be used to distract attention from any policy or doctrinal issue.
As I discussed last week, Japan (and perhaps to a limited extent our own study department in Santa Monica) is very engaged right now in trying to sort through exactly what form of Nichiren Buddhism we are going to be teaching as we nobly march forward into the 21st century. This involves a lot of interpretation, decision-making,and discussion to which we gaijin are cordially not invited. If faith becomes a matter of a personal loyalty oath to an individual rather than about our own inherent Buddhahood, or if we can somehow be convinced that our own inherent Buddhahood is contingent on a fantasy relationship with someone we've never met, then the subject can always be changed whenever there's a conflict. If (like some of us) you have problems with the Gakkai's choice to continue slandering other forms of Nichiren Buddhism, a layer of M/D caulk can be applied to sort of give the appearance of a flat wall of agreement,and the subject can be changed to the questioner's lack of faith and need to build a better fantasy relationship with his or her mentor. It is a strategic means whereby the organization can avoid dealing with the inevitable cultural conflicts which have arisen and will continue to arise. Personally , I think it is doomed to failure, since the caulk will only cosmeticallycover any cracks and not actually strengthen the structure.
At the end of the day, though, people will be able to meet together and chant without an emphasis on building a fantasy relationship if that's what they want to do. If the current emphasis is really disturbing to you,, you can always chant and study with people who feel likewise. The only thing I would offer as a caveat is to try to keep things positive. Our Fifth Wave gatherings out here are not about venting frustrations with any particular group or any particular organization's way of doing things. They are an opportunity for people to get together and do faith, practice and study of Nichiren Buddhism.
Hang in there, hope you are well, Best, Byrd in LA
Yes, I think you have expressed the reality pretty well here. And this is one of the reasons non-denominational meetings will continue to be interesting to a lot of people. Americans have a real aversion to being compelled to admire or emulate anyone. It may not be true, but we like to flatter ourselves that we choose our own leaders and we decide whom we will admire. Non-denominational gatherings will just simply continue to make it possible to understand Buddhism without using a mandatory Mentor as an intermediary between ourselves and the Lotus Sutra, or ourselves and Buddhism. That's one of the basic rules of the Fifth Wave, I think - no mandatory mentors.
Well, I hope everyone has a good week this week. I myself have started a new morning exercise routine. I'm hobbling a bit, but otherwwise feeling well. Best regards, Byrd in LA
"...If President Ikeda is a great, wise, man, people will flock to him. We don't need the publications to tell us that..."
Maybe we need a little reminding now and then...For example, a recent issue of "Living Buddhism" repeats the name "Ikeda" some 200 times within its 13 pages..not counting footnotes or direct references Ikeda makes to himself...
That's right...the word "Ikeda" is printed over 200 times in one issue...mostly with gushing adulation about his mentorship, his wisom, his compassion...and of course, how the "lifeblood" of Nichiren flows through him to us...
Just reading one issue of Living Buddhism you see the name "Ikeda" 200 times...maybe the guys over there are slipping...I suggest they set a target for 1000 times in the next issue!
Welcome to Ikeda Buddhism. Well, has it really come to that? Is this truly the direction we've been on ALL ALONG? I REALLY do wonder.
I bring this up all the time with my SGI friends and either they are embarrassed about it or don't like it. Ikeda calls the shots in the SGI."