Does anyone feel like this? Sometimes I am so disgusted by my own behavior over the past 2o years that I want to take down my Gohonzon and get one not issued by the SGI.When I recall harassing uninterested members; trying so hard to hook the guests; building resentments toward guests I would bring who clearly didn't want to come back(Oh boy I did that--can anyone here relate?); trying to get my family, friends, and co-workers to join; putting time and effort into planning and executing meetings instead of actually making a difference in the world; indulging in magical thinking(Oh boy!); being perplexed when others outside SGI did not share my logic; turning a blind eye to how unimpressive MOST SGI members are; deluding myself that I could make SGI better in my small way; ignoring the fact that true "seeking spirit toward Buddhism is clearly not considered important; my own intolerance when guests or newer members would mention other Buddhist sects or other religious practices; my incessant arrogance, arrogance, arrogance expressed as condescending judgment of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Kabbalists, Tibetan Buddhists etc; fear of karmic retribution for leaving or criticizing members or SGI; mistakenly thinking that it was okay for me to hide books about self-help or other Buddhist teachers whenever members were coming over; and finally the big one--watching my mother, whom I introduced 20 yrs ago, get subjected to guilt for failing to introduce new members, spend money on May contribution, pester relatives to join, and worst of all, watching her becoming an Ikeda groupie. How do I deal with the guilt, betrayal, and manipulation?
I took a couple of journalism courses in college, and reading this made me think of something our professor, a no-nonsense, hardbitten old reporter told us: "If you can read something that you wrote last year and still be satisfied with it, then you haven't learned a damn thing in a year!"
I thought at the time, "Damn,that's harsh! We're just supposed to be dissatisfied with our work, and never feel like we've done a good job?"
Now, I think he meant: if this is what you want to do, then you need to keep learning about news and the world around you -- and constantly sharpening your writing skills. Maybe what you wrote last year was wonderful -- considering who you were and what you knew last year....but in a year, you should have developed some insight or skill that would make you realize, "Okay, I could improve this piece in this or that way."
I have the same discomfort about my behavior in SGI -- I stayed, even though there were a lot of red flags, I tried to convince friends and family to join, I had this smugness that I was practicing the one true religion and other people weren't...and I had the delusion and arrogance to think that I was saving the world with my chanting and participating in SGI meetings.
On one hand, I don't like to think about it. I feel some shame that I believed all this nonsense. My friends and family always told me that I was smart...well, I wasn't acting or thinking like a smart person while I was in SGI.
Yet, the positive thing, Doubtful -- is that we feel embarrassed because WE HAVE LEARNED SOMETHING! Like the journalism student who looked at last year's paper and said, "No, I'm NOT satisfied with this! Why did I write this, and why didn't I say that...and this paragraph's awkward, it doesn't flow at all!" The student's dissatisfied because in a year, he's learned something that he didn't know before!
Discomfort, pain, embarrassment is not always a sign that something is wrong! It can also be a sign that a person has grown and learned and become more aware! I mean, you could numb yourself with alcohol, pot or prescription tranquilizers. You would feel very calm, and have little pain, shame, or frustration, but you would also be weakening yourself emotionally, spiritually and physically.