I have noticed a few tricks or ploys that Soka Gakkai Members used with me that made me feel brainwashed. I am wondering if anyone can relate to these.
One of them was that when I had something good happen to me that had nothing to do with the Gohonzon, and they found out, they would then say it was because of the Gohonzon.
Another thing is that I was often told that how I act here in the SGI, is how I probably act anywhere. I was told to work it out in the SGI with people. It feels like a ploy to make people stay, as I was told: why go somewhere else when I will still have the same problems.
All is not lost because I will try and fill those gaps with hobbies, and friends. I never worked on friendships in the SGI because I thought I had friends in the practice. I didn't.
The first one -- that anything good that happens in your life comes from SGI, Ikeda, or the Gohonzon -- is very common, as is the reverse: if your life is not going well, it's because you are not sufficiently devoted to SGI, Ikeda or the Gohonzon. You need to chant more, go to more meetings, give zaimu (contributions), work more for SGI....and if you're already doing these things, it must be that you just have the wrong attitude. And in my time with SGI, I was one of those standing up there at meetings, giving "experiences." I had this problem, I chanted a lot, and I solved the problem, or got something good. I didn't talk about the things that I chanted for that didn't work out. I felt that it was my fault that I could not get better results. I hadn't chanted enough, or with the right attitude. And I didn't think about how much work I'd actually done to resolve the problem. Looking at it now....I can only shake my head in disbelief, that I, an educated and reasonably intelligent person, bought into this magical thinking.
The idea of working out one's problems with other SGI members has a kernel of truth to it. An arrogant or timid person may indeed act that way everywhere -- in school, work, with family, with boyfriends/girlfriends. BUT -- SGI leaders often use this to excuse bad behavior in leaders, and poor policies in SGI as a whole. SGI makes it very difficult to "work it out." Bad leaders are often kept in their positions; a member who complains about a leader's inappropriate or abusive behavior is often told that they, the member are the problem. Most organizations and workplaces have procedures that members can follow if they feel that they've been treated unjustly by the organization and its leaders. SGI doesn't. SGI members have no say in how their organization is run --- so telling them, "If you don't like something in SGI, be the change that you wish to see," is bullshit.
Look at the overall atmosphere of SGI -- no open, honest discussion of different views, SGI leaders/members' insistence that SGI/Ikeda are wonderful -- and if you don't think so, something must be wrong with you, shunning and criticism of members who do persist in questioning --- just how are you supposed to "work it out" with a group like that? SGI's idea of "work it out" is that you just shut the hell up and quit bothering them with questions, criticism, or suggestions for improvement. That Japanese proverb of "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down," applies here. Those of us who are out of SGI, and on this board -- are people who got sick of being hammered down! Which I think is a sign of health!
While I was in SGI, I thought I had some good friends. We certainly spent enough time together. When I had an emergency, though, they were nowhere to be found. It was my nonSGI friends and acquaintances -- whom I'd pretty much ignored because I was so busy with SGI -- who really came through for me. I think that a lot of things work against real friendship in SGI. Just the lack of honesty, how a person can be shunned or criticized for questioning and saying what they really think. If you can't be honest...you can't have real relationships, just shallow, superficial ones.
The constant busy-ness and "do more, do more" also works against friendship. You can't just sit down, talk and get to know people in a relaxed way because there is always some pressing goal that you have to meet. More shakabukus, more meetings, more daimoku! You always have to have some huge goal you're striving for. I once told a leader, "But I'm happy with where I am right now." You should have seen the expression on her face. I was clearly a terrible slacker!
Dissatisfaction is a great ploy for manipulating people too --- advertisers use it all the time. Just drumming it into your head, that you are not getting all that you can, and should have! You can have that perfect figure, that Carribbean vacation, that cool sports car -- just chant...or buy my product!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2011 12:29AM by tsukimoto.