I became SGI buddhst Novemember 2008. I went to a couple meetings, I felt like I was at church with testamonies. The chanting can not be healthy. Everyone I talked to had a sob story about how SGI helped them. Now, why does SGI feed off the mental nut cases? If buddhism really truthfully worked, how is a SGI buddhist still suicidal? Im concerned with this. Why can't mentally ill people realize the Chanting actually makes the depresssion worse? It's creepy to me. I quit the SGI when I realized there is way too much mental illness in SGI. How can I get a SGI member to realize SGI is messed up?
I feel, for me anyway, that chanting is healthy and beneficial. I don't chant 5 hours a day or anything, though. It's something that feels good to me and I'm a firm believer in "to each his/her own". I can certainly understand a person who had a crappy experience with SGI never wanting to chant again. It's something that's good for me, though, so I continue to do it.
I can totally relate to the feeling you have about meetings. The member "experiences" didn't come off to me right away as testimonials. I wasn't in a bad place when I joined SGI, & it seemed like other churches to me, in that it was a community of people talking about how their faith had helped them. The woman who introduced me to SGI told me that they often share experiences at meetings, but that I'd probably be pretty much overwhelmed with hearing others' "experiences" at first, as I was the new person and they'd really want to drive home the point that SGI is The Golden Ticket to the end of all of my suffering. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that was the feel of what she was saying.
After a few years of meetings, I really began to worry about these people. Constant talk about benefit, and all of the benefits were attributed to the SGI or Ikeda. "If it weren't for the SGI, my marriage wouldn't have fallen apart and allowed me to find my true soul mate". Uh, what? They can twist any circumstance into a benefit. I suppose anyone could do that, but SGI encourages that kind of thinking. Don't focus on your marriage...chant about it. It fails? Well, it's your relationship karma. New relationship? Great! You must have good relationship karma now! -_-
There's just so much brainwashing going on. I've mentioned before that when I gave birth to my son in the 5th month of pregnancy (he was stillborn), my then district leader told me, basically, that it was my fault and that I needed to chant with even more determination if I had any hopes of having other children in the future. I don't care what religion you are, you don't say shit like that to a woman who lost her child a few days prior. The SGI is full of manipulative, mentally ill people.