also, if you think about it, its really terrible that SGI is so antagonistic to families.
A family member should be able to make up their own mind, and do what they think is right, and not have to worry about losing their family, just by rejecting the SGI process.
Why did Ikeda do this? He designed it, as he knows that social family pressure will keep more people in the tribe. Not many people want to get rejected by their entire family.
So SGI can ultimately really be a harmful thing. Even in western familes, it can drive a husband and wife apart.
So speaking out openly against SGI, could help people decide not to bother with it in the first place.
SGI forcefully recruits people, so a forceful anti-recruitment is essential.
But getting out on an SGI family, that is something else. Its similar in any group, like Christian Science families, or Mormon, etc. You reject the religion, often they reject you too.
The people who design these religions are not dumb!
Anticult, when I was considering leaving SGI, this guy who'd already left suggested that I read Eric Hoffer's book The True Believer. The book discusses mass movements, both religious and secular. Some groups just promote the mentality "You're either for us or against us." Now, I dislike Ikeda for turning SGI into his own personal fan club --- but even I can't blame him for the "For us or against us," mindset that has made some of our posters suffer greatly.
This attitude started with the founder, Nichiren, in the 1200's. He decided that only he knew how to practice Buddhism correctly. To him, every other religion, every other Buddhist sect in Japan was heretical, wrong, and harmful. He preached that Japan would be destroyed unless everyone converted to his interpretation of Buddhism; he spent his life fighting with all the other Buddhist sects. He was threatened, exiled, and nearly executed -- nothing stopped him or made him change his mind. To him, you were doomed unless you practiced his Buddhism. Many of his followers today believe this, and so are horrified when friends and family members quit SGI. The devout SGI followers feel as you or I would if a loved one deliberately ran into the path of a speeding Mack truck. These fanatical SGI members are simply being true to SGI's/Nichiren Buddhism's philosophical roots.
The Riverdale Press recently had a story of a present-day member who took this "Never say die," Samurai spirit a bit too far. The principal of PS 24 in the Bronx is an SGI member who allegedly led prayer meetings in his office, attempted to recruit school staff to SGI, and had a "hate list" for the staff to chant about at meetings. A parents' group is now calling for his resignation. [riverdalepress.blogspot.com
Adding to the irony, Bill Aiken, the Public Affairs Director for SGI, says, "There are no Buddhist hate chants that I'm aware of." Well, no Bill, there are no specific chants that I know of that actually mean, "I hate you, drop dead." That doesn't mean that SGI has not directed its share of hate and discontent toward those who were considered, "Enemies of SGI." For YEARS, SGI asked its members to chant for the destruction of the Nichiren Shoshu sect. I went to SGI meetings and heard hateful language regarding the Nichiren Shoshu priests, and I personally know members who chanted for the then-high priest, Nikken Abe to die. There were many tosos (long chanting sessions) praying for Nichiren Shoshu's destruction.
Some of the comments on the Riverdale blog are quite interesting. Some say, "How could this be, Buddhists are nonviolent people, they don't do hate chants, it must be office politics, or someone with grudge out to get this principal." These people don't know SGi, do they? Two posters are SGI, or former SGI. They believe that the principal and his friends were hate chanting.
Having been away from SGI for a couple of years, I am not up on who the SGI currently considers an enemy of SGI. Given this principal's actions, clearly SOMEBODY is on SGI's naughty list. I think Hoffer wrote about this, too, that some groups create unity within by creating an external enemy. Maybe someone should donate a copy of The True Believer to PS 24's library. (And a second copy to our friend Bill.)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2009 06:35AM by tsukimoto.