What I would warn you about is that their meetings are set up to induce a trance state - the purpose of the chanting and recitation at the beginning is the same as the singing, praying, and recitations at the beginning of a Christian church service. Those create an endorphin release, which relaxes the audience and renders them suggestible by disabling their critical thinking. Once lulled into that trance state, people are far more likely to accept unquestioningly everything they're told. Most of the people you'll be meeting in SGI have a raging endorphin habit going - they're endorphin junkies, so they won't want to go too long between the extended chanting sessions that provide them their "fix". There are a lot of WAY healthier ways to get an endorphin boost - going for a walk or a run, doing a favorite hobby (like painting or playing a musical instrument), going out with friends, even seeing a movie (BLACK PANTHER this weekend!!!!!!!!).
Some of the isolation techniques to watch out for - they use a private language that "outsiders" don't understand, so when you start learning this private language, if you want to discuss ideas that incorporate those concepts, you'll have to discuss them with another SGI member. Nothing unusual there. However, that's one step to getting you to isolate yourself.
The chanting practice is also isolating - even when you're doing it with others, you're not interacting with them in anything approaching a healthy social scenario. The practice - morning and evening - will isolate you, because you can't be both interacting with someone and chanting single-mindedly, y'know?
It sounds like you're interested in a lot of different things - that's really cool. I hope you'll be able to keep the balance that works best in supporting you as a unique individual. And feel free to report back on what you observe and experience in SGI - always interested in hearing what's going on!
My goal for especially /r/SGIWhistleblowers is to serve as a library containing ALL the "other side of the story" information that is out there about Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the SGI. We've gone into some depth about Toda and Makiguchi, as well (that's been eye-opening as well). The Soka Gakkai/SGI routinely disappears material from the 'net - most of the incriminating videos have disappeared from Youtube, for example. Also, the Soka Gakkai/SGI routinely scrubs its own articles and information from the 'net, and its history has been rewritten in Ikeda's favor in the "Human Revolution" novelization series. That's a lying hagiography in which Ikeda seeks to whitewash his own past, among other things.
I think you might enjoy these articles:
On Makiguchi's pro-war stance: Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet? By Brian Daizen Victoria
Upon his release from prison, Josei Toda started a publishing business. Publishing PORN
Another account of Soka Gakkai's loan-sharking business (1963)
Ikeda's massive ego is still a wonder to behold!
Soka Gakkai/SGI has always recruited the people on the fringe of society - a predator that pounces upon people's suffering
Yakuza culture: See if you can see the similarities to Toda and Ikeda
By popular request: The Seven Bells - the "kosen-rufu" of Japan (takeover of the government) was supposed to happen in 1979. FAIL!
So Ikeda set his sights on 1990 instead! Daisaku Ikeda is so foolish and out of touch with reality that all of his predictions failed to materialize. How can he be qualified to be anyone's "mentor" when he has such a dubious grasp on reality?
On the Soka Gakkai gaining undue influence over Japan's Imperial family - obutsu myogo?
Soka Gakkai leaders make much use of numerology in their interpretation and planning of events.
† - Obutsu Myogo is a Japanese term that has pretty much been stricken from the SGI lexicon and texts, but it was still in use when I joined in 1987. It means "fusion of Buddhism and government" - Buddhist theocracy. This was the initial aim of Ikeda creating the Komeito political party in Japan - to take over the government. Note that President Toda had clearly stated that the Soka Gakkai would never field a political party. The whole focus of establishing the kaidan - another word that has been deliberately removed - was to replace Japan's Ise Grand Shrine as the national spiritual center with the Sho-Hondo at Taiseki-ji (Nichiren Shoshu's grounds). This is no small deal - by replacing the national shrine with a Nichiren Shoshu/Soka Gakkai shrine, they could legitimately remove the emperor from the throne! Under Shinto (the Ise Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine; Shinto is the state religion), the emperor rules Japan because he is a direct bloodline descendant of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. Because doctrine. Yeah. I just report the facts here.
Because, if the Emperor converted, all the people would be forced to convert. This is clearly in line with Nichiren's fascist fantasy - that all the people of Japan should be forced to chant his magic chant, for their own good. That's why Nichiren demanded that the government behead all the Buddhist priests and burn their temples to the ground - and install him, Nichiren, as the only official religious leader in Japan, and his new magic-chant-based religion as the official religion. (The government demurred.) Source
Nichiren wanted to take over with the established government's collusion - he'd leave the existing government in place because he just wanted to be the only priest and spiritual leader for the entire country.
ANYhow, by replacing Shinto as the state religion with SGI/Nichiren Shoshu, the Soka Gakkai would then have both the power and the legitimacy to appoint their OWN ruler over Japan - which would be none other than Ikeda!
"WHAT I LEARNED (from the second president Toda) is how to behave as a monarch. I shall be a man of the greatest power." - Daisaku Ikeda (The Gendai = Japanese monthly magazine, July 1970 issue)
That quote is from 2 years before the Sho-Hondo Grand Opening Ceremonies. This was a major political crisis in Japan, especially when Ikeda started using his newly acquired political power to lean on publishers to not publish anything negative about him or the Soka Gakkai. SOURCE
"Lost" is the key operative word. The question is whether that money was swindled from Toda, forcing him to take on big loans from the world of shadows to stave off a prison sentence, opening up Soka Gakkai to full capture by the very same forces, using Ikeda as the agent to manage the new acquisition.
Fascinating observation. I still wonder if Ikeda wasn't assigned to Toda to keep an eye on him and report back to the boss on Toda's activities. I mean, his first publishing venture post-prison was PORN and the Soka Gakkai was recruiting heavily from prostitutes - two of organized crime's most obvious territories.
Also, oddly, I noticed a source that recounted how the Soka Gakkai invited "outsiders" to contribute funds/"invest" for the Sho-Hondo's construction. Isn't that strange? Why would non-religion-members want to contribute money to the construction of a religious building? [ESPECIALLY one that was supposed to last for 10,000 years!] Where would they get a return on their investment from??? Source
Fake stories of medical healing
The Reality of the SGI
Faith Healing in SGI is just as bogus as it is in all religions that scam their members.
From 1990: "At this juncture, achieving kosen-rufu seems impossible." Nothing has changed.
BlancheFromage 2 points 10 months ago
I asked a friend that meditates a lot why I feel better when I chant, she replied that I developed a habit over the years.
This is something we have analyzed in some detail - here are some links if you want to see the material for yourself. Long story short - if your SGI connection told you to "Try it for 90 days and you can see for yourself whether it works or not", that person did not tell you that's how long it takes to get a habit established. If that person had said, "Try it for 90 days (or 100 days) and by then it will have turned into a habit you'll have trouble breaking", would you have been willing to try? That's the standard invitation into the cult, BTW - I don't know if they're still doing that, but there it is. Do ANYTHING for 90 days and it becomes a habit. And you're more likely to continue with something once it's become a habit.
Chanting is an unhealthy practice that can create an endorphin dependency habit that can be difficult to break, just like any habit. The life of the person chanting the magic chant is passing him/her by just as surely as the life of the opium addict lying on a couch in thrall to beautiful drug-induced visions. We do not condone that sort of time-wasting here. Source
The time a person spends chanting is time that is forever lost. This is bad for several reasons:
1) Spending that time further isolates the person 2) Spending that much time alone within one's own thoughts, especially chanting to bend reality to one's will, simply reinforces one's own attachments and delusions 3) Being isolated and within one's own mind will cause one's social skills to atrophy and degrade
It is in a cult's interests to isolate the members within the cult and its practices. SGI is no different.
All that time chanting, all that time going to activities - this leaves less time for outside interests and outside friends.
People who have been SGI members for any length of time will likely have no friends at all "on the outside" - this serves SGI's purposes wonderfully. When all your friends are inside the cult, that raises the costs of leaving for you, because you know you're going to walk out alone.
What passes for "friendship" within SGI is "we see each other at SGI activities". You KNOW that without your shared belief in SGI, you have nothing in common to serve as a basis for a friendship. And you've heard how they talk about people who leave, so you know what they're going to be saying about you after you're gone.
No one will be willing to risk being seen with such a "bad apple".
Chanting produces an endorphin addiction
Chanting meditations not recommended
There's a reason that SGI meetings all start with gongyo and chanting. It's the same reason church services always start with hymns and shared recitations/call-and-response style segments. The music/singing/chanting and recitations serve to induce a trance state, in which the person being thus affected unawares "feels better" and is rendered more suggestible, more gullible, more open to accepting whatever the speaker is then going to pour into his/her consciousness. It's a tactic to disable critical thinking. And it works.
When you stop doing something that has become a habit, you will inevitably feel an empty space in your psyche. RE: SGI membership, I refer to this as a "cult-shaped hole".
For example, let's suppose you get laid off from work. You go home, go to sleep, wake up the next morning - and you automatically start your routine of getting ready for work! But you don't have a job to go to now! Sure, you can get busy looking for work and filling out applications, but it's going to feel weird and awkward - you're suddenly aware there's a job-shaped hole in your psyche.
And you may well feel anxious and stressed until you find some other similar job that fits into that hole.
When a person leaves SGI, they suddenly have a lot more free time because no more activities, particularly if they see no reason to continue with the personal practice. What I recommend is to try a breathing meditation instead. It's something you can do anywhere. What you do is to start taking deep, slow breaths and focus entirely on the sound of your own breath, the feeling of the air coming into your nose and down into your lungs, the feeling of your chest expanding, and then the sound and feeling of the air being expelled.
It's very relaxing, and will provide you with a different way of calming yourself/relaxing until you've managed to break your chanting habit.
The longer you don't do something, the less you'll feel driven to do it. When people leave a cult, they often feel "I must find a different religion to do instead." Unfortunately, having just left a cult, the hole is cult-shaped, so it's VERY likely this person will end up diving right into another cult. The longer this person can hold off on joining a religion, the less likely s/he will end up saddled with another cult.
Now that you have all this time freed up, think about all the things you used to enjoy that you didn't have time for because SGI. Think of the things you might have enjoyed trying, TV shows you kind of wanted to watch but didn't have time. Now you can get caught up! One of the first TV shows I watched post-SGI was HBO's The Tudors. I'd wanted to see it years back, but we didn't have HBO and besides, I was too busy with SGI. Really enjoyed that one.