The whole problem with the intolerant mindset is that it is both small and vindictive. First of all, how presumptuous and self-centered to declare that "What *I* prefer is obviously the only proper choice for everyone!" Imagine if someone were to declare that their favorite flavor of ice cream was objectively the most tasty in the entire world, and that there was something seriously wrong with everyone who didn't agree! Religions and belief systems are like a big buffet - take whatever you like. Or take nothing! There's no difference - the only criterion is whether a given belief system suits you or not. And looking over this site, I think we can all see that there are some pretty wacky needs out there! The main point of Buddhism, which both Nichiren and the SGI exchanged for "all for me" thinking, is that each person has a unique path. No one is qualified to judge or evaluate another's path. Only the individual himself can walk his path, and no one else is allowed to define it for him.
With intolerant belief systems, they hold that "Ours is the only right way." All the others are, by definition, false and even evil! What was it Nichiren said about other sects of Buddhism of his time? How Nembutsu led to the hell of incessant suffering and Zen was the work of devils?? Lovely! And Shingon is ruinous to the country, and Risshu is traitorous to the country! Gee, Nichiren, why don't you tell us how you REALLY feel??
And this lovely passage?
All the Nembutsu and Zen temples, such as Kenchoji, Jufuku-ji, Gokuraku-ji, Daibutsuden, and Choraku-ji, should be burned to the ground, and their priests taken to Yui Beach to have their heads cut off. If this is not done, then Japan is certain to be destroyed! - from On The Selection of the Time
Teh o noes!! It wasn't done, and, last I checked, Japan was still a country - and doing quite well for itself!
I always had a problem with all that intolerance. Of course, the Gakkai members tried to soft-pedal it: "Oh, he didn't really mean have their heads cut off! What he MEANT was that people should stop making donations to them!" Yuh huh *eye roll*
The only criterion that makes a religion acceptable or not is how well it suits a given person's needs. That is all. Of course, from this site especially, we see that some people's needs are so pathological that they end up with something truly harmful, but even so, it's their path to walk and their life to live. We are not allowed to lock people up for their own safety! Better that we attempt to understand what is driving these individuals in these harmful directions in the first place and see if there's anything that can be provided to help. For example, people who get addicted to cocaine, crack, or meth very often have undiagnosed ADD. Ritalin, which is legal, cheaper, and way safer, will provide them the same benefit they're getting from the street drugs. But if they never realize that, they'll remain addicted. People who are *stuck* in self-destructive patterns, such as the Quiverful nutcases, were raised in authoritarian, violent homes by brutal parents who made strict obedience the only goal - and who got what appears to be a sick pleasure out of causing as much pain as possible to their helpless children, who grew up to be severely damaged adults. If you ever read some of the accounts at the ex-Quiverfull sites, you'll likely be appalled. When people seek out something harmful, that is evidence that they are in extreme pain and that they have a very distorted view of the world. You can't fix that by punishing them yet more.
The fundamental problem with intolerance in Buddhism is that intolerance conflicts with one of the Four Noble Truths, that attachment causes suffering. Intolerance means being VERY attached to something, so by advocating this mindset, the SGI is actually leading its membership to MORE suffering! That's, like, the anti-Buddhism! With regard to Nichijew's Nancy (so glad you're all doing better, BTW!), I remember when I accompanied some friends to the Deer Park Monastery, not too far away from where we live in Southern California. He had drug problems and wanted to check out the Buddhism there, and his wife and I were going along for support. It was started by Thich Nat Thahn, who is a towering figure in modern Buddhism. Anyhow, they were starting their "gongyo" when we got there, so he and I sat in while she stayed outside with the wiggly children. Their gongyo book was recited in Pali, phonetically transcribed, but with an english translation of every line beneath! How considerate! And here's part of what we recited:
"Properly considering alms food, I use it: not playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on weight, nor for beautification; but simply for the survival and continuance of this body, for ending its afflictions, for the support of the chaste life, (thinking) I will destroy old feelings (of hunger) and not create new feelings (from overeating). Thus I will maintain myself, be blameless, and live in comfort." (OP p.46)
"Properly considering medicinal requisites for curing the sick, I use them: simply to ward off any pains of illness that have arisen, and for the maximum freedom from disease." (OP p.47)
That immediately struck me as eminently practical and useful guidance! And yet we're supposed to "discard, ignore, close, and abandon"?? When it contains such wise instructions?? This, BTW, is from Theravada Buddhism.
From this site: [www.accesstoinsight.org
Here is how they describe the purpose of their gongyo:
Discipline is for the sake of restraint,
restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse,
freedom from remorse for the sake of joy,
joy for the sake of rapture,
rapture for the sake of tranquillity,
tranquillity for the sake of pleasure,
pleasure for the sake of concentration,
concentration for the sake of knowledge
and vision of things as they are,
knowledge and vision of things as they are
for the sake of disenchantment,
disenchantment for the sake of release,
release for the sake of knowledge and vision of release,
knowledge and vision of release
for the sake of total unbinding without clinging.
The Buddha never insisted on complete devotion. People were free to come and go as they pleased, to either immerse themselves in his teachings or perhaps just dip a toe, for as long or as short a period as they chose. The Buddha did not threaten anyone. The Buddha sought only to help. The Buddha respected each person's individuality and individual path, and did not attempt to run people's lives for them. THAT is what I learned when I started reading more about Buddhism!