Believe it or not, I went back to the SGI. I missed chanting with others and it is really the only thing around here.
Nammy, I was a member for 40 years, so I speak from experience, and I believe I understand where you are coming from, as I returned several times after leaving as well.
There are no temples in this area. Since I have come back, I have been rather outspoken. I do not regret having left. I do not regret coming back. Does it still irritate the crap out of me sometimes? Yes.
Why return to a cult in order to practice Buddhism with an organization/membership that irritates the crap out of you? Sounds more like someone in an abusive relationship.
and Yes, some people are zealots. There are zealots in any religion.
Yes, but you don't have to avoid associating with zealots when you stay away from religious cults like SGI.
I decided to use my SGI experiences to become stronger and better able to speak up for myself and others. It has gone well, but I have to be strong.
Been there, done that. Didn't work out so well. "Stand alone" sounds real courageous, but we are only human. They will eventually wear you down or catch you during a weak moment, and spring a cult trap upon your worn down mind. Like vampires, they quietly await a chance to suck your lifeblood away.
As for the mentor disciple stuff, I am also outspoken about that as well. Then there is the Soka Spirit thing.
Ikeda and his ex-communicated SG organization rates right up there with Rev. Moon and his cabal. A deeper examination of either of those two issues should be enough to awaken you to the true nature of the cult beast, and send any sensible person running for cover.
I actually told a "leader" that the sign we had up about the priesthood was very negative and that as Buddhists we should be wishing them well and concentrating on our own issues. She had clearly heard it before. The next time I was at the center, the sign was gone and I have not seen it since.
Don't take it as a significant victory - you have not changed or made any fundamental difference in the SGI wealth machine, nor will you. Next, ask for copies of the cult.org financial records. See how far you get.
I think many of the problems with the SGI stem from the Post-War Japanese influence. What works in their society, does not work in ours. It needs to be Americanized. Americans are very individualistic. We are finally discussing this at meetings. Yahoo.
Listen Nammy, we heard the same thing over and over again, all the way back to 1976. Sorry, but it ain't gonna change. In the SGIcult its the Japanese way or the highway. Go ahead and try reforming the (Japanese) leadership appointment system to an even slightly more democratic system. Good luck!
I can definitely see how people have been damaged by this organization, and I do not regret leaving. I am back now though speaking my mind on a regular basis. If someone want to kick me out for speaking my mind, I won't be crushed. That has not (yet) happened, though. I am not sure that it will.
Supporting an organization that damages people is not a good cause for your own karma! Again, I was once where you are now. You may not be kicked out for speaking your mind, but you will be marginalized, censored, slandered, reported on, probed for any weakness, and have your friends or members attacked and persecuted if they can't get to you directly. You may not get crushed, but others around you that dare to support your cause will. Now ask yourself, is that any way to join with others to practice Buddhism?
I have hope that the organization will continue to mature even if it is not at the pace I would like to see.
Having lived through four decades of NSA/SGI history, I can assure you that the cult.org is not moving forward. In fact, the opposite is true - the SGIcult is moving backward - becoming more and more a cult of personality, while regressing further and further from anything remotely resembling the time-honored traditional teachings of Guatama Buddha, all while preying ever deeper on the remaining members that have not been totally used up until there is nothing left but hollow emptiness.
I, though, have to learn to deal with people I do not agree with. This is a great training ground for me as I am becoming an attorney.
Please forgive me, but I hope you have a more realistic view of the (in)justice system than you do of religious cults. Perhaps you should study some of the posts in this forum more closely. You may eventually discover that the corruption of our judicial system is as deep as the corruption of the SGI organization and its illgotten billions.
Once you stop acting like a sheep you will stop being treated like one.
Unfortunately, the bad sheep that refuse to go along are cut out of the herd by the wolves, and singled out for slaughter. In Japanese culture, the nail that sticks up is the one that gets the hammer.
It is not my place to say if you should stay or go. But it is my opinion that you are wasting your precious time and energy in you efforts to stand up to a religious cult like the SGI, that you cannot change the nature of the cult beast, and that you would be better off (in so many ways) in the absence of subjecting yourself to the negative influences of a dangerous cult that has destroyed the lives and well-being of so many innocent, well-meaning people.
In this internet age, it is much easier to find people with like minds to share and grow with, reducing the need for structured organizations that invaribly become corrupted with power and greed. A religious cult's ability to be siren seductive is nullified by information and knowledge. That is why so many of us here return to this forum to find solice and encouragement from others with simular experiences, and benefit from those who understand what its like to have gone through the horrific cult tree-mulcher that shreds lives without reservation. Successfully breaking the addictive hold of a cult requires the courage to end denials and finally admit the truth, even it makes one look the fool for ever having accepted such absurdities.
Best of luck to you,