Soka Gakkai International - Nichiren Buddhism`
Posted by: Myownwill ()
Date: November 12, 2007 12:01AM

I am disconnecting now from a group I became passively involved with: the SGI, or Soka Gakkai International. The history of this organization is documented thoroughly on this site so I needn't go into that here.

My involvement in the organization developed from my attraction to the practice and its people by observation of someone I knew. I asked her about her chanting and she invited me to one of the meetings often held at her house. I was enchanted by the mysticism and newness of their practices -- eastern philosophy had always interested me even in my youth, so I took this as a great step into a philosophical study that up to then, I had always engaged in alone.

Soon though it became apparent to me that the organization is hollow; devoid of any core ethic values or purpose. The focus on chanting, although seeming at first to be slightly metaphysical and philosophical, became apparent as nothing more than a practice that not only unified the group in a single controlling purpose, but also functions as core of the organization. If one's life was hard, they were invoked to chant harder, if things of the past were bad and not getting better, one was told their "karma" wasn't good and they should chant harder. Thus, individual guilt is maintained to procure unquestioning adherence to the group and its development. Good fortune was also promised to those who brought new members in, thus feeding the constant thirst to build the organization and monetary contributions.

Also, I was reminded that I could chant for anything, even material wealth and that if I chanted enough it would come true. This magical thinking without basis or connection to reality was affirmed consistently at every meeting where members were encouraged to "tell an experience". Such testimonials to good things that happened would serve to encourage "faith" in the practice by hope and of course guilt ----things aren't good for you because you didn't follow the prescript to chant.

Not only does belief in the chanting efficacy require magical thinking, but also the Gohonzon, the piece of paper with a copy of the Mandala Nichiren wrote, requires religious reverence and ritualistic treatment, as if it has some magical power of its own. One leader, when imploring me to "take my troubles to the Gohonzon" even referred to this paper as "he" and "him". I was a little taken aback.

Cloaked under this obedience to the chanting (of which no questioning or further analysis was invited), was the constant grab for one's time and monetary contributions.

They get money from you from the very beginning by requiring payment of $20 for a photocopied scroll, The Gohonzon, that one is supposed to chant to, then another $20 or more for magazine subscriptions. Nothing is given to a new member, obversely the member is consistently pressured to give and give and give of their time, money and obedience.

Twice yearly hard pressure contribution campaigns begin in earnest with "leaders" using pressure tactics based on magical thinking (great things happened to contributors and always within measure of their contribution) stories and guilt based pressure.

I was very financially strapped at the time I joined the organization to the point of near total disaster and I was none too impressed with the constant pressure to not only contribute money, but the requirement to purchase (from their SGI store no less) everything needed to practice as required. Of course, as great things are promised to those who contribute, the only obverse of this is possibly that bad things will happen to those who don't. I could not and did not contribute as they wanted and I had to use direct guilt (NO, I don't have my heat on yet, No, I don't even have a vehicle right now, "No, I had to go to the soup kitchen for food this month) with extreme examples to get them to lay off me and even then, they didn't stop at hinting and hinting.

Your time: Is not your own with this organization. They will hound you constantly to attend meetings, to go to district meetings, etc. etc. They call, email and sometimes will stop by. They want you to hold meetings at your house at least once a week. YOu will be implored to attending meetings that run into as much as three nights a week, plus one meeting each Sunday. Then, if there is a special event or occurrence, there are more meetings. Pretty soon I found myself without my own evening time.

As I stated before, meetings consist in large part, of testimonials. Chanting is a large part of the process with at least a total hour devoted to repetitive chanting. Members are encouraged to find new potential recruits and these recruits are instructed as to the proper practice ways by all members in the group, the constant attention and nurturing (seemingly) and seen overwhelming to some and most respond positively as such is seen at first as nurturing and positive. It is only after being longer in the group that the hunger for one's time and finances seems apparent.

I know one man who, suffering from what he was concerned were signs of a terminal illness, but had no health insurance and was unemployed, began to engage all his time in finding new recruits and building his local organization, chanting and going to meetings constantly, the result was that his health issues were not getting resolved and he was becoming obsessive and angry. At a meeting one member who knew him well said that he was getting angry at the "practice" because he wasn't getting better, but then said that he had himself to blame as his 'negative' thinking was causing his misery and he should lay off and take responsibility for his life!

I was floored at the judgmental and critical attitude of this person, who like all the rest of the members, continuously told people that by chanting all their troubles would be solved and that further participation in the organization would lead to wonderful things happening to one (better luck/fortune). I sincerely hope that this man has left the organization and gotten the support and help he needs as he was getting nothing from the organization.

Also what got me turned off from them was that their enveloping of people's lives and minds required that they turn away from taking responsibility for or action toward their own self improvement beyond small steps and that they attribute every positive experience to chanting, not to their own intelligence, the odds of the universe or hard work. Such thinking disempowers people who begin to feel that without this exterior 'practice' they are nothing and therefore, their sense of individual worth diminishes. In replace of this the organization feeds members with the importance of 'growth' through group adherence and obedience to "The Law" which fosters a sense of specialness by association and practice and exclusive superiority over the masses of non-followers. This group - think runs counter to the actual teachings of Buddhism as I understand them, which teach that individuals must take full responsibility for their own lives and engage fully in the world around them.

Cult of personality:

Finally, I have concluded through my own direct observation and experience and by researching here and elsewhere online, that the organization's roots lie in developing the ever-expanding empire of the "leader" Daisaku Ikeda and nothing more.

Although Ikeda is presented as simply the "President" and leader of the organization, the blind worshiping of this individual is very troubling. He has written a lot of texts and has also met with dignitaries and luminaries far and wide, but these meetings are staged and have no real resolution beyond the development of the aura of greatness and profundity that the organization wishes to portray about the leader Ikeda.

His speeches are transcribed in the weekly newsletter that members are required to pay for and receive. Meetings often focus on "studying" Ikeda's speeches, writings and musings and relating them as profound or sacred words worthy of much retrospection and reverence. No questioning exists of the obvious massing of wealth and adulation around this man. No one seems to wonder what function he actually serves in the organization other than Leader and why such adulation is deserved for this one man. Critical thinking is discouraged in the local meetings and the larger meetings, with focus on the magical power of chanting and giving oneself up to the organization's growth. This is couched in the proclamations of 'self growth' but this self growth as proscribed is narrowly defined within the organization's precepts and involves nothing in the matter of taking direct action to improve the world around oneself or reaching a higher understanding of the human condition.

Ikeda's speeches usually begin with awards given out to local members in Japan, attendance by followers worldwide, a musical presentation by a brass marching band supported by the SGI, a "poem" that Ikeda reads, "I just wrote this this morning" and then his summary of the poetry or teachings of great leaders and philosophers (almost always western) which he then summarizes to affirm the 'struggle for Kosen Rufu worldwide'. The details of this 'struggle' go no further than the requirement that all members adhere to the 'practice' and the organization. I've never found the poetry or writings of Ikeda to be profound or original in and of themselves, and nowhere have his writings been offered for critical review or analysis.

Additionally, the power structure of the organization is rigid with orders and directives given from leadership at the top (Ikeda) with responsibilities carried out and distributed downward among the organization. Although much is made of "district leaders" -- men's and women's division, etc. fact is that there function is limited to cheerleader for the organization and organizer of meetings and events, with study topics and agenda proscribed by the upper leadership.

No explanation exists as to what happens to the funds that are gathered from the millions of members worldwide, save for the procurement of properties and the support of Universities )two I believe, of which their teaching and goals is very vague.

Lastly, the organization gets a lot of mileage in the US by appearing as an organization that upholds traditionally liberal or left wing political and social views. Although the organization is accepting of all ethnic groups, etc., adherence to a structure that is founded in Japanese culture and practice is required without question. Also, although the "peace" proclamations of the greater organization also help to bring about this left wing/liberal facade, the fact is that the organization at its core seems to replicate not a humanist organization (one that values the contribution of everyone and sees all as equal in value), but more a fascist/tyrannical organization that operates on the belief that all individuals do not matter, that the only important virtue is worship and the welfare of the supreme leader and that all persons should meld into a monolithic mass, devoid of individuation, that serves blindly and obediently, the will of the leader and the growth of his/her power.

I use the term 'facist' not as an ad hominum attack, but in its true sense. In Japan, the SGI has gained a lot of political muscle through the financial growth of the organization and has a controlling interest in the wider political happenings in Japan. The political party, the Komei, was formed of the SGI and exhibits a lot of power within Japan. This is troubling as this factor is never mentioned in the US and I wonder if many members are even aware of its presence. But the combination of political involvement and power and wealth concentrated among the top few with strict adherence among the membership is troubling and in my mind runs absolutely counter to the interests of developing a more humane and just society.

I have not attended any meetings in over a month and don't intend to attend anymore. Although I am contacted regularly via email and phone, I have not yet made my thoughts about this organization known. I am not sure if I will either as their Evangelical type of adherence and following will probably incur a lot of pressure for me to conform along with possibly even appeals to my emotional well being. Hopefully they will simply give up on me after they realize they cannot get blood from a stone.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International - Nichiren Buddhism`
Posted by: greg hamond ()
Date: November 24, 2007 02:30AM

yes my neighbor a LORA ANN M. is involved and seems insane

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International - Nichiren Buddhism`
Posted by: Sparky ()
Date: December 13, 2007 09:13AM

Excellent posting. Very accurate. Keep up the testamony so others don't wander into SGI, MYOWNWILL. You are doing a very big and good service here since SGI is not often reported on.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International - Nichiren Buddhism`
Posted by: gohonzonchanter ()
Date: February 24, 2012 12:44PM

I am a member of SGI. The basic goal of this Buddhism is for the happiness of ourself and others. There are a lot of meetings offered, and it is up to leaders to inform members of these events. In fact members are encouraged to attend meetings. However, If I choose not to attend a meeting, then I simply do not go. It is that simple. I receive a lot of encouragement and when I have problems to overcome, I do chant harder, or ask someone to attend a meeting. It is like many organizations in that regard. It gets me out of myself and focused on someone else. We do call it changing our karma. We also call it human revolution. What that means is we change ourselves from the inside out. In other words, if we have some problem that we are having trouble solving, then we look within. When we chant to the Gohonzon, we are not worshiping the Gohonzon. This Gohonzon was inscribed in Sanskrit and it represents all of our desires, both good and bad. Actually, it is hard to understand that is why study is important. As far as worshiping Ikeda we do not do that. It is stressed that we are no different from Shakymuni, Nichiren, Ikeda or anyone else. This is similar to "dependent origination", which means we are all connected.

Ikeda's mentor was Josei Toda, whose mentor was Tsusensaburo Magakuchi. Magakuchi was an educator in Japan in the 1930's. He did not like the way the educational system was set up so that the children were made to follow stringent rules. So, he studied Nichiren Buddhism and applied the principles to his students so that they could be free to express themselves. Josei Toda was also and educator. Magakuchi died in prison because he stood up for his beliefs. The Japanese government at the time wanted all to follow the government's religion. So he died for trying to practice freedom of religion. Daisku Ikeda met Josei Toda and firmly believed in these Buddhist principles. Eventually the Soka Gakkai International was formed. Because people will be people and each have their own karma, there has been some struggle amongst members. But the principle of kosen rufu (world peace) has not changed. It is at the forefront. Magakuchi stated that "Religion is for the People" and not the other way around. So it is about the members and not the orginazation. SGI has learned as it develops. It has developed tremendously in the 3 years I have been practicing.

As far as money is involved, yes it does cost to ship the Gohonzon from Japan and yes publications do cost money. It is not an unreasonable amount. 30 dollars is not a lot to ship from Japan. I make 30,000 a year and give 15. a month. Each March we have a contribution campaign. A leader told me that I only have to give 1.00 if that is all I can afford. So in March I give about 100.00. That is it. Some other churchs such as some Christian churchs require a 10 percent tith. SGI does not. The fortune I have received is a renewed energy, spirit and friendship. My friends, neighbors, co-workers and family have all commented on how youthful I now look, the change for the positive in my appearance, attitude and way I conduct myself.

So whatever you are chanting for, or whatever you believe when you chant either negative or positive will materialize in your life. I choose the positive.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International - Nichiren Buddhism`
Posted by: tsukimoto ()
Date: February 26, 2012 05:56AM

For those who are interested in SGI, there is a 347 page thread on the Soka Gakkai in the "Former Cult Members and Affected Families" Forum. Myownwill, you will find discussion of many of the issues you've mentioned on that thread.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2012 05:57AM by tsukimoto.

Options: ReplyQuote
Soka Gakkai International - Buddhism, the world's richest cult`
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: February 27, 2012 03:12AM

So whatever you are chanting for, or whatever you believe when you chant either negative or positive will materialize in your life.

The above post is a false claim. Its wrong, and proven wrong.
At best, its the Confirmation Bias. []
And SGI by Ikeda deliberately uses that bias to deceive the multitude, and destroy their ability for critical thinking.

As stated, there is a several hundred page thread on SGI [] documenting the incredible corruption of Sokka Gakkai SGI and Ikeda, which seems to be the richest cult on earth, worth many billions of dollars invested globally in real estate, stocks, bonds, and who knows what else.
There are possible links to international money-washing and global financial scamolas worth millions and billions.

There is an endless list of scandals and corruption from SGI, and SGI-USA is a propaganda machine.
The post referenced above, is one of the first, if not the first post on these forums by an SGI apologist. Its a simple cut/paste job.
Its goal is to disarm the critical thinking process of a person.

But its too late, as the massive amount of evidence and facts about the global cult of SGI is documented here. []

SGI-USA and SGI global is a dangerous and deceptive sect of the highest order. It ain't about "chanting" that is simply the smoke-screen and the fig-leaf that the SGI Financial Corporations hide behind.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International - Nichiren Buddhism`
Posted by: INFOWARS ()
Date: July 25, 2012 08:22AM

Nichiren Daishonin was a religious revolutionary therefore a political revolutionary. It is clearly stated in Professor from HarvardMasaharu Anesaki-Nichiren the Buddhist prophet 1916. This leads me to speculate the reasons the SGI got involved in politics was more than what they said. In fact Nichiren went heavily after the government we see this in his Gosho so prophetically. We just don’t read it that way – we are so hung up on the pious aspect of it. . We study it as a religion that Nichiren founded, But we could just as easily study his Buddhism as a political movement tied to an inner revolution’s of a whole lot of revolutions.

I don’t care what you say if it was not for the brave Japanese woman who came to this country to spread Buddhism I seriously doubt that anyone on this forum would have encountered Nichiren Daishonin and Nam Myoho RengeKyo. Not only was Nichiren a religious revolutionary he was also a political revolutionary. He was and is a REVOLUTINARY. Wither you are of another belief at this point because of the misguided, arrogant, pushy actions of a few NSA or SGI leaders/members or now involved in another faith. You can’t deny the principals of the Daishonin that set you free from your own arrogance, hatred and anger. Who can rightfully deny this?. Nichiren fought the very same things you speak about on this forum. Not everyone in SGI is a boot licking, mindless dupe as you so elegantly point out on this forum.
We live in a world where a Ronald McDonald{{ " I am the Joker" young man on mind control drugs and going to a University where they have a program where they are experimenting on creating Soldiers who can be controlled and fight to the death }} dupe can shoot up and kill innocent people in a little town called Aurora Colorado. if you did not know it(the movie and many other movies) actually exposes the government complicitly to make us all slaves to the system . People say . Kill him, hang him, bury him deep in the ground. But not one asks what fundamental beliefs did he encounter that made him a slave to a government mind control program . No one questions the witnesses who say there was another person in the theater that night who help him out. No one asks how can this man’s Father and Grandfather participate in mind control programs and he not be a pawn to this system. Columbine is a prime example -- no one listen to the witness’s when they said there were 4 to 5 other shooters – only 2 killed themselves - the others just slipped on into obscurity. Even the swat team on the scene admitted they killed 2 of the innocent students – no one hears that – it’s a cover-up by a cowardly men .
This is the same issue with the SGI and Priests . If we feel offended by these institution’s – than should we not fight the very persons who cause so much grief for the membership – not run away. I began to voice my disapproval for the misunderstanding that are perpetrated by leaders and members a like – it’s a 2 sided coin. It’s not easy - I feel alone fighting to get me (we) back to the prime reason we all joined. I realize I am not alone in my quest - their are other SGI members fighting on the inside.
. When I come across tai-ten members who hate the SGI and wonder why I stay though I too have my issues. I politely ask them why don’t you come back and address and fight the injustices you see in the SGI? Just like the Daishonin met his beheading on that famous beach. All I hear is how the others ; meaning SGI leaders should fight this – it’s not their fight after all they took the easy way out - the hardest part is sticking with it and changing it from the inside. Just my humble view .
the Daishonin states that a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million times more than mad elephants,!(and yes Ronald McDonald) vicious horses, fierce bulls, savage dogs, poisonous snakes, poisonous thorns, treacherous bluffs, steep cliffs, floods, evil men, evil countries, evil towns, evil dwellings, bad wives, wicked children and malicious retainers, the people of Japan today should fear those high-ranking priests(SGI leaders/members) who keep the precepts and yet hold distorted views! (WND, 621).
We need courage to challenge our delusion and yes, that means SGI practioners. If we don’t do it who will.

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.