They are no different than the scientologists who give some of their former members, especially their outspoken members hell, wherever they find themselves.
I heard that the Scientologists keep a special office for Ron L Hubbard in all their centres, even though he is dead. Is this 'shrine' room common in cults? Is it for mind control purposes (eg reinforcing personality worship)?
On the topic of harassment, the gakkai members can also get borderline violent when confronted in a direct and strong way. That sure says a lot about their inherent buddha and peaceful nature, doesn't it. I've witnessed it on several occasions. I've seen temple members screamed at and physically pushed away and almost attacked when they showed up to regular gakkai activities (I'm on neither side, btw. I think it is all nonsense.) When you challenge somebody's deeply held irrational beliefs, they can respond by becoming even more irrational and potentially violent. Not a pretty picture, but it is definitely a real and genuine side of the gakkai, even in America. As this over 300 page thread clearly shows, there are some really pathological behaviors that are not just endemic, but pandemic to this organization.
I guess there are lots of devils of all stripes out there, eh? The secret may be to know what kind of "devil" you end up being....
Did any of these leaders, who were giving encouragement to "use your heart", "say yes no matter what", etc. etc....ever reveal that they were experiencing Enlightenment, or Buddhahood--in other words, were they finally in that state of Unshakable Happiness?....(Probably not that they would truly reveal their Life Condition...)
Good question Shavoy. I didn't really think about that at the time. I think I was so caught up in trusting and trying not to slander and feeling never good enough. I got into the practice at quite a young age quite a long time ago, and so all these feelings of not criticising, not acknowledging my feelings of negativity became second nature.
In about 2002 I did go through a stage of thinking that some of the SGI methods were very 'cult-like', especially the constant pressure to commit more and more time to SGI responsibilities. I remember going on a course and all the youth division were suddenly asked to stand up and sing a song for Sensei, and although it was all very good natured and in high spirits I felt, coerced, manipulated and completely negative. It always felt as if you didn't go along with things then you were the 'troublesome' buddhist that everyone was required to respect but if you kept chanting long enough you would do your human revolution and fit in with the general thinking. Or if you were upset at having to do something like that you must be 'changing some very heavy karma'.
Unfortunately, there was nothing around like this forum and no-one I could really talk to who would understand. I kept doubting myself and convinced myself it was 'fundamental darkness' that was affecting me. I ended up getting sucked right back in and totally threw myself into activities and responsibilities even more, thinking that it was because my 'mentor and disciple' relationship wasn't strong enough that I was having this angst.
I think I just had to get to the stage where I could clearly see how detrimental being in this organisation was to my life and how much better off I would be without it. I was lucky in that my life circumstances changed and suddenly I no longer had the same people around me to reinforce the beliefs. I took a big step back and started thinking properly again.
I think of it like a house of cards. If one card is pulled out, then the rest fall down. When I let go of the fear of 'fundamental darkness' and being a 'traitor' and causing myself negative karma, I allowed myself to think the unthinkable - what if some or all the things I had been told for 20 years weren't actually true? Although I know the road ahead may be a bit rocky, I now feel like I have been set free and the weight has lifted from my shoulders.
. . . it was all very good natured and in high spirits I felt, coerced, manipulated and completely negative.
When I joined SGI/NSA in the late eighties, the DaiGohonzon was revered. It's a large wooden Gohonzon, and we were told that Nichiren carved it in the 1200's as a symbol of his vow to spread his Buddhist teachings throughout the world.
SGI leaders urged their members to make a Tozan, or pilgrimmage to see the DaiGohonzon, which was enshrined in the Shohondo Building at the main temple in Japan. I heard and read many experiences of members who made the pilgrimmage and either had some revelation and/or achieved some breakthrough in their lives.
And then the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu had their bitter divorce, and Nichiren Shoshu had custody of the DaiGohonzon. SGI members were told not to visit the head temple because the evil priests were there! Yet at the same time, SGI was complaining bitterly that Nichiren Shoshu was "holding the DaiGohonzon hostage!" Please note, the priests were willing enough to let SGI members visit the temple and the DaiGohonzon --- SGI was now saying "It's a bad cause to visit the temple, because the priests are so evil."
And now? People are saying that the Dai Gohonzon is not even authentic.