Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Blue Lady ()
Date: June 04, 2010 04:34AM

QUOTE":Please stop saying "master and disciple". That is incorrect. Ikeda is not our "master", he is one of 3 MENTORS.[/b] Jebus, get it right people!
I do not know when you joined but if you talk to anyone who practice in the last 60's and early 70's President Ikeda was always refer to as Master. Mentor is a realative new term. So I think you need to understand the history of NSA first then SGI...

You know, after reading many of these posts, I'm wondering a few things, and one of those things is "how much do any of you have really read the Gosho, how many of you have any real understanding of the cultural and historical context in which modern day Nichiren Buddhism is framed, how much do you know about the role of one mentor out of the three mentors, and if any of you know exactly how karma works and where is springs from?

First, let's talk about the 3 mentors and why they are important. The 3 mentors are the Law, the priesthood and the person. The first mentor, the Law of cause and effect, is to utilize the Law to YOUR greatest capacity. The only thing not making it work in people's lives is not the Law itself, it is the belief in the Law by the practitioner. Cause and effect are absolute, and governs every single phenomenon in the entire universe, right down to the quantum level. In quantum physics, for a phenomenon to exist, there has to be an intelligent being to observe it. Everything, and everyBODY, is subject to the Law, and every person on this planet is able to work with the Law to their benefit, it all depends on how they perceive things. Karma is the effects of causes, which for the individual, comprise words, actions and deeds, which all spring from the very nature of the THOUGHTS that people have. That means that the very nature of a person's thoughts determines what kind of causes they make, and also the effects, since cause and effect occur simultaneously. Therefore, to follow the Law is to understand that people make a peaceful world, as the world (and the universe itself) is the creation of infinite numbers of people thinking billions of thoughts simultaneously, and it is the responsibility of individuals to follow the Law to better control the very nature of their thoughts. Those that do chant for the happiness of others and themselves in the Saha world are following the mentor of the Law. Those that don't are contributing to the "negative balance" of Karma in the universe. That's how powerful we really are, and that's why we are all so important, as we are ALL, Buddhist or not, shaping the very reality around us for everyone around us in every waking moment in our lives with every thought. That's the "top floor" level.

The mentor of the priest is much more simple, but just as crucial. The role of the priest as mentor is due to their efforts to protect, understand, codify and explain the Law to lay believers. By following the example of the priest as mentor, lay believers strive to do the same to deepen their understanding. It also represents Nichiren and Shakyamuni. That's the "middle floor" level mentor.

The mentor of the person is for those of us as lay believers to have a "real" person to follow as a concrete "real world" example of how to actually practice this Buddhism. We are imperfect beings, all too human, and we need concrete examples to emulate. That's just how we work. Daisaku Ikeda is the current mentor of the person, because through his example, we can follow it to overcome all of the things in our life that we need to overcome. That's the "street level" mentor, in the mundane, everyday world, and in that way, every one of us that practices is a mentor equal to President Ikeda.

What exactly has he done? Starting out in post-war Japan, he followed Toda who had followed Makiguchi in following the example of Nichiren by not succumbing to the wishes of an oppressive government that wanted to stifle religious freedom and a philosophy of peace and security for the people. Nichiren was a rebel, and so were Makiguchi and Toda. They knew that the military mindset that had ruled Japan for centuries was wrong, and they both stood up to it. THAT is the start of the Soka Gakkai, the desire to fight oppression and insane policies based on control and dominance through arrogance, stupidity and greed, resulting in extreme violence.

After Toda died, he took on the dream of making people happy, and turned it into an international organization, which Nichiren foretold would be the case in the Latter Day Of The Law, where the spread of Buddhism would be worldwide in scope for the happiness of all humanity. Has that happened under Ikeda's leadership? Yes, it has.

What did he have to overcome personally to do that, and how did he do it? First, he had to assist Toda in rebuilding his publishing companies in post-war destruction. As a staff writer, Ikeda followed Toda's practice of serialization, which he employed in writing The Human Revolution in the same way that Toda did to encourage members. Next, he had to overcome tuberculosis, which doctors diagnosed would take his life before he reached the age of 30. He's 82 now. He's had to overcome a juggernaut of yellow journalism, which in Japan, makes Rash Lambaste look like the Walter Cronkite. Vicious, virulent and extremely profitable, these publications sell by the millions to a buying public that thrive on drama and scandal, even if it's totally and utterly contrived.

So, as a mentor, we can look at Ikeda's example of what can be achieved through the practice of Buddhism, as he's just another human being like the rest of us. But, he has successfully followed the first 2 mentors to bring it to the rest of us. So, in effect, Ikeda is not the only important mentor after all, he's just the one out of 3 that has a human face just like the rest of us, and we all fulfill the same function in society. We're just not as good as he is at it.

That's what he has done, but the rest of us, we mainly whine and bitch about things but still try to practice, grudgingly.

However, the existence of the function of the SGI must also be viewed through the cultural and national context in which it was conceived, and that's where I believe the perceptual disconnect happens for many Americans.

A little about me: My mother is Japanese (and not an SGI member), my father was an American serviceman, and living all over the world, I've come to understand that fundamental and crucial aspect of understanding the cultural context of others. One must see things from the perspective of its origins, and not through the prism of personal cultural mores and preconceptions.

That being said, the very language that is used is a stumbling block to understanding, as many concepts in Japanese culture get lost in translation, as the word in English has a different meaning or connotation. The words "master and disciple", in particular, has an extremely negative aura around them, as the word "master" means to many as "controller" or "one who subjugates". The correct term is MENTOR, not master. Please stop saying "master and disciple". That is incorrect. Ikeda is not our "master", he is one of 3 MENTORS. Jebus, get it right people!

In Japanese culture, history and society, the mentor and disciple relationship is deeply ingrained, and has a positive connotation, one that's more akin to "teacher and pupil". That's the true nature of the words and the concept from a Japanese perspective, and in many other Asian cultures. Anyone that's seen a Kung Fu or Samurai movie knows that, and I'm sure that many people can also see that the American organization is suffering from "culture shock".

But, that cultural and linguistic disconnect of a teaching that is thousands of years old and that has traveled from India, to Nepal and Tibet, to China and Southeast Asia, to Korea and finally to Japan, makes things incredibly difficult for us in the West to understand and equally difficult for those from the East to explain. So much of our practice is not just Buddhist, but Japanese, as they have been intertwined for centuries.

That's been my major stumbling block, even with a multicultural, multilingual and multiracial makeup, translating all of these concepts into plain old everyday English so that I can understand what it is that I'm DOING when I'm practicing. It's taken me 30 years to do so.

It's taken me all of these years to get past the laborious texts, the lectures, the negativity of people, to get right down to the nitty gritty of what this Buddhism is about. To sum it all up in a few sentences:

"Get the hell over yourself, start to believe in yourself, and chant like there's no tomorrow."

"It doesn't matter what anyone else says or does, the important thing is to believe that I can fight and be victorious another day."

"If my life sucks, CHANGE IT. BELIEVE that I can change it. KNOW that through the practice of the Law, making ever greater causes for my happiness and fortune in life, I AM contributing to a better, happier and more peaceful world. I AM creating a better life through the very nature of my thoughts."

And my favorite, stated by one of the women's division: It's time to stop the pity party and put your big girl panties on."

That last one always makes me smile and get over myself. Seriously, I can generate some major negativity, and if I let it get the best of me, life just sucks worse than a quantum singularity. Sometimes, just thinking to myself, "Dude, where's my benefit" is enough to bust me out of a funk. Other times, it takes the encouragement of pioneer members, their knowing smile, their quiet compassion. Sometimes, it's hard to understand their words, but if I get over myself and listen with my heart, I can feel what they are trying to say, and reignites my sense of appreciation for my own life and for the lives of others that have helped me.

Appreciation is the operative word. Many don't appreciate what others have done for them, and only focus on their own crud. Sometimes I get that way too, but I snap out of it eventually.

The bottom line is that cause and effect is absolute, applies to all of us, Buddhist or not, and everything in our lives is the result of the thoughts we have thought, the choices that we have made, and actions that we have taken. It's not the fault of the SGI that your life sucks, it's yours, and that's the thing that so many people can't take, including, sometimes, myself. Yeah, people do dumb things, even when they chant. Just because you practice Buddhism doesn't mean that all of a sudden, you're perfect. And, I know for a stone cold fact that I'm not.

This past week I've gone through a major trial of negativity, one so severe that Danny Nagashima is going to call me this week to let me vent. I've been so pissed off, my fundamental darkness so strong, my personal obstacles so severe that my senior leaders gave me the number to the national level to call, I talked with Jim Nobukuni, and he passed me to Danny to handle, as that's how crucial a point in my faith that I''m at.

He's going to hear about how I can't stand the constant negativity of members, the lack of passion, the lack of support and the years of trying to understand an incredibly complicated philosophy that has most of it couched in arcane language and too much metaphor with no current historical context that it makes the simplest concepts too difficult for us Americans to understand and grasp. He's going to hear that thousands of members are quitting because they can't grasp Buddhism and are not getting benefit. He's going to hear that we need a different kind of evolution in the organization, since the structure and practices that are employed now have resulted in epic fail for thousands of people. He's going to hear that the SGI-USA needs to be dynamic, vigorous, passionate and exciting and readily accessible and understandable if it stands a chance of surviving in America, where one thing we do very well is complain about anything and everything. He's going to hear that we have to be more "americentric" in the way that we conduct activities in this country, with clarification of concepts IN PLAIN ENGLISH, and not base things on an operational model that worked 50 years ago in another country and culture, one that is misconstrued, misunderstood and misinterpreted, because it's so foreign. SGI-USA really DOES have to be "Made The American Way" in order to be successful and for people to really get benefit. He's going to hear that Buddhism has ALWAYS evolved and adapted to the culture in which it was practiced in for centuries, and we DON'T have to have one universal methodology based upon Japanese culture. He's going to hear that we need more MALE voices in teleconferences and publications, and allow us men to stand up and fight to change our Karma instead of just supporting the other 3 divisions. Actually, those are all things that I personally need in order to continue on practicing, but I know that I'm not the only one that feels this way.

I'll be sure to let everyone know how he responds, and I hope that what he has to say can clarify a lot of things for you folks (and for myself). I hope that he says "be the leader to make the change", to which I'll reply "I'd love to, as our local leadership are all in their 60s and 70s. Can you please "retire" some of them so that I can chant at toso with a passionate, fighting spirit without being bogged down?"

I think that's the biggest obstacle: complacency and lack of spirit.

Time to take off the Underoos, and maybe go commando. ;-)

See? We all have something to complain about. The difference is that I'm going to practice this Buddhism to do something about it.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Blue Lady ()
Date: June 04, 2010 04:54AM

1) a few posts back I saw something about homosexual members being treated unfairly and even shunned. I haven't seen this where I practice (I have become very close with two leaders who are gay). Has this occurred in many places?

Where I am from in the early 70's and late 80's you could not get appointed a District Leader or anything above unless you were not Gay. I was a youth leader at the time and we had a meeting on this very point. If you lived with someone outside of marriage you could not be appointed. Many people moved in order to stay in Chapter positions.
In the 80's I was a district chief by myself and I wanted to have a MD appointed who was gay. NO deal. What as funny about the whole thing was that everyone who practiced in the 70's knew Pasqual Olivera was gay but got married like most YMD to change his gayness. A lot of that was happening too. If you were gay and they wanted to move you up the ranks you better get married. So many marriages broke up after years of lies and destroyed a lot of WD members.

Hi Everybody,

I am a current SGI member who would like to have a sincere dialog with ex-members and even Nichiren Soshu members (I keep trying, can't find them). I don't want to unearth bad feelings or cause anyone hurt. The hope here is to engage on a human level, and create as much value as possible.

I wanted to ask about a few key points:

1) a few posts back I saw something about homosexual members being treated unfairly and even shunned. I haven't seen this where I practice (I have become very close with two leaders who are gay). Has this occurred in many places?

2) Mentor/Disciple - This seems to be a big sticking point, and I wanted to as your thoughts on my take on it. I've seen where members can take this way too literally or as the master/slave relationship. I think of this as more of a call to follow in Toda and Ikeda's footsteps by engaging in humanistic conversation. When I watch Daisaku Ikeda speak in the videos, that's what I get. Connect with others on a human level. He often quotes non Buddhist sources. I find that very encouraging. I'm encouraged to share my beliefs and share how anyone can be happy, but I'm not pushed to convert. Most importantly, I'm encouraged to help the next generation surpass me in every way (much like a good mentor wants their disciples to surpass them).

3) Priesthood - This is such a huge issue. Here is my take on it. Please let me know your thoughts. I joined long after the temple issue occurred, so I'm not too familiar with how things were before 1991. I will say that I have a hard time with the very concept of priesthood. How can someone claim to know more than anyone else? That's why I like the mentor/disciple relationship. Walking side by side, each learning from the other and growing through their dialog. I like the idea that we all work together and study together. No leader is "better". I would not have joined SGI if there was a priesthood. I'm sorry if that sentiment offends anyone. I agree that the rhetoric is often so harsh that it makes me cringe. However, I can also say that I checked out the Nichiren Soshu website and found that it's all about reverence to priests and not about human revolution. I don't think revering priests (or Ikeda or anyone else for that matter) is the way to grow. Also,I know a couple former temple members, and they don't speak very well of they way they were treated. With that in mind, I can see where a lot of the emotion comes from.

Thank you all and I look forward to a nice dialog.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: DavidM ()
Date: June 04, 2010 05:39AM

Hi David, Yeap seems so just read the posts in that group as they are public anyway,

Scary stuff big time is it not? Interestingly enough more and more seem to leave --- SGI = Cult. Clearer than ever before.

Very scary... I only left a few months ago but even in my bainwashed state I would've stopped and stared at that if I had read it in a magazine. It beggars belief how clear SGI are making it. Obviously in the past members were supposed to perceive Ikeda as more important than Nichiren and Shakyamuni, but spelling it out as plainly as that... wow.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: DavidM ()
Date: June 04, 2010 06:02AM

Thank you all so much for your responses. I'm going to do my best to write detailed responses to each of your thoughtful posts.

Perhapse I should have clarified my position. I'm a current member with a lot of the same doubts mentioned here in this forum. I'm hoping to create value by having dialogs with those who are outside or on their way out. I'm not sure if what I believe is in line with SGI. I have experienced great benefits which I attribute to my practice, but I do have doubts. I'd guess I'm trying to reconcile the value with the doubts. If there is a better forum for this, I would love to be directed to it. I don't want to upset those who have suffered at the hands of SGI. If anything, I sincerely apologize for any wrong done by SGI or SGI members.

BTW: I definitely should rephrase my desire to communicate with Nichiren Soshu members. I just want to let everyone know that I'm eager to hear all sides (even those who may be completely opposed to my own view). Often SGI members are depicted as not wanting to hear other sides.

One quick note:
I actually have a couple members in my district who love to chant, etc, but have no interest in taking Ikeda as their mentor. A few members gasp when they speak at meetings, but I think it's wonderful for them to be honest about their feelings and explore spiritual questions.

Hi SoniqueSc,

Its good that you are openly and honestly learning about and exploring the doubts you have about SGI.
I want to believe that you really do want to learn more about SGI, but when you phrase it as "I'm hoping to create value by having dialogs with those who are outside or on their way out.", I get confused. What kind of 'value' do you want to create? Value for yourself so that you can learn the facts about SGI? Value for other people by helping them leave SGI? Or something else?

The other point that I would make is regarding the benefits you have experienced. I don't have time to go into full details about this but, if you have been practicing nichiren buddhism sincerely and with a pure heart, untainted by idolising Ikeda, untainted by pressuring people into joining SGI, and untainted by doing whatever your leaders tell you to do and think regardless of whether you agree with it or not - then I believe you certainly will have experienced benefits!
The point is, how could you not? Practicing buddhism is certain to bring you benefits. Practicing SGI is not. And as you will have read, commonly cause people stress, anxiety, worry and confusion.

I think the most important thing to think about is, SGI has nothing to do with buddhism. It may claim it is a humanist organisation based on the teachings of Nichiren buddhism, but it teaches very little Nichiren buddhism, and what it does teach is tainted and corrupted.
However if you have been truly practicing Nichiren buddhism during your time in SGI, then certainly you will gain benefit. But those two aspects of your life have nothing to do with each other. You might have been introduced to Nichiren buddhism by SGI, but SGI didn't make you what you are today.
Obviously this brings up the idea of 'a debt of gratitude', but I would compare it to this: If when you were young a friend bought you a tennis racket for your birthday, and then later in life you won an Olympic Gold medal for tennis, how much of a debt of gratitude would you owe that friend? You would certainly acknowledge them, but they didn't teach you how to use it, they didn't put in the long hours training.

If your understanding of buddhism is deep and broad, then its not SGI you have to thank, its yourself.

Other people would be able to explain this much better than I, where's Nichijew when you need him?! :)

Lastly, as for other websites regarding discussion more oriented in this direction, I don't know of many but this is one: []
It doesn't have as many posters as this place but those that it does are very moderate, friendly and learned in buddhism.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/2010 06:27AM by DavidM.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: quiet one ()
Date: June 04, 2010 07:05AM

Hi, SoniqueSC

My feeling about "benefit" has really changed since I am not with SGI anymore. During the years that I practiced, I felt that I had gained amazing benefits. My family, my house, my career. But now I step back and look at all those benefits, and think that I may have had them all without Buddhism.

Do only members of SGI have beautiful and smart children? No, Catholic women have beautiful and smart children. So do Muslim women. Also Mormons. Even members of the Westbro Baptist church have amazing children! Why is it a "benefit" from chanting when those who do not practice have them also?

Getting a house to live in: doesn't hard work have something to do with it? Or getting a great career? Many factors go into what are called "benefits", not just chanting and doing SGI activities and giving them money.

I stated before, and others did also, that I feel that it is possible that I would have attained more had I not been so involved with SGI. I was so busy with activities. And SGI activities are no substitute for planning, thinking critically, and being active in life.

I really appreciate the things that have happened in my life. But I no longer attribute them to SGI.

I think chanting is beneficial. But I look at it now in a whole different way. Several pages back Tsukimoto talked about "six-beat chanting" as beneficial, and I mentioned an article I read that attributes changes in the nervous system to prayer. I think that chanting can really help you, but chanting for things, material or otherwise, doesn't make sense to me anymore.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/2010 07:16AM by quiet one.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: tsukimoto ()
Date: June 04, 2010 07:11AM

Blue Lady
Where I am from in the early 70's and late 80's you could not get appointed a District Leader or anything above unless you were not Gay. I was a youth leader at the time and we had a meeting on this very point. If you lived with someone outside of marriage you could not be appointed. Many people moved in order to stay in Chapter positions.
In the 80's I was a district chief by myself and I wanted to have a MD appointed who was gay. NO deal. What as funny about the whole thing was that everyone who practiced in the 70's knew Pasqual Olivera was gay but got married like most YMD to change his gayness. A lot of that was happening too. If you were gay and they wanted to move you up the ranks you better get married. So many marriages broke up after years of lies and destroyed a lot of WD members.

My area had many gay men and lesbians. In the mid-nineties, some gay members wanted to have some meetings for gay members to just get together and talk. The chapter leaders said that this was fine. Then later, the area and territory leaders over them said no -- you cannot put that on your calendar of activities! They said that members and prospective members who get the calendar will get a bad impression of SGI! So, our spineless chapter leaders promptly backed down and said, "Take that off the calendar!"

Many of our area's gay members were heavily involved in SGI...leadership positions, doing all kinds of work for SGI. They met with area and territory leaders, and threatened to quit....and these leaders told the chapter leaders: "Okay, put the meeting back on the calendar." And of course a few years later, SGI came out in favor of diversity and denied that anyone in SGI had ever had a problem with gay and lesbian members!

Typical SGI. Do an abrupt about-face and then deny that anyone was ever facing any other direction. This example also illustrates the top-down nature of SGI. As with the military, leaders on all levels will follow the orders of those above them. Decisions cannot be made at the local level.

I would hope that any gay SGI members don't get too comfortable in SGI. Sure, right now, SGI has decided to accept and value its gay members. It's strategy. Some gays may be looking for a spiritual home because other religions don't accept them. Some of these individuals may be very willing to give their time and money to an organization that makes them feel valued and included. Of course, SGI would take advantage of that yearning for a spiritual and religious home. That doesn't mean that SGI won't drop its loyal gay members if Headquarters decides so in the future.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/2010 07:15AM by tsukimoto.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Morgaine ()
Date: June 04, 2010 03:25PM

@ quiet one

this is the best answer to the whole "benefit" question that I have heard, this issue of benefit has bothered me for a very long time. I even got guidance about it and was told that my time had not come yet (it was well into my 15th year) , of course I was thinking, when will it come?? It came when I resigned my area leader position and focused on my career and life. Common sense.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: wakatta1 ()
Date: June 04, 2010 05:40PM

@Blue Lady

"What as funny about the whole thing was that everyone who practiced in the 70's knew Pasqual Olivera was gay but got married like most YMD to change his gayness"

I had almost forgotten about that. Being from Chicago I had multiple chances to watch Pasqual and and his wife (?)Olivia(?) and you're right, they are an excellent example of the SGI hypocracy. The world view of the japanese leaders was projected on the membership and sadly the membership, like puppets just went along with it all (no criticism intended, everyone was "struggling to achieve their human revolution" according to the propaganda at the time). Because Pasqual and his wife were such stand-outs professionally (Professional dancers and very good), and since the organization was so hungry for symbols to legitimize itself by (Patrick Duffy, Tina Turner, etc), everyone seemed to just look the other way. However the dominant view of gays was that they were "sick" and they could be cured by chanting more and acting more like the "normal" members, and once the organization had decided you were "sick" you were not to be trusted.

Lots of deep, dark secrets buried in the SGI vault.


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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Blue Lady ()
Date: June 04, 2010 11:01PM


I would like to respond to the man who posted the long history lesson on the mentor disciple relationship and then chewed us all out.
I am not out to destroy SGI neither I am winning about my problems. I prefer to stay in SGI because I want to make a change that it sorely needed. I do it not by confrontation-- or as some of my co-leaders like to do it –when Linda J comes to town. I learn that gets us nowhere. They give the same guidance s that no longer fit anymore... As my Co Chapter leader tells the members---s that SGI has some integrity issues. He does not mind saying that in front of everyone.
I on the other hand decided that it’s better to win the hearts and minds of members one on one. If someone has a gripe about SGI we talk honestly. Most times the gripes come from the older membership who practiced in NSA – which is a different animal than SGI in my humble opinion. They know the difference.

They know some two or three words in the recitation of Gongyo were changed – that change took place in the 70’s. Gongyo is much shorter. Certain wording in the prayers changed at least 3 times.

We did not have the Gosho when I began to practice. It was only terms we studied with fervor. At one point Mr. Williams put out the Gosho reference. Our yearly tests were first conducted as an essay in the late 60’s. If you got to a certain point( Associate Professor and Professor ) you could lecture on the Gosho. It was entrance, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, associated professor and professor. Then it became beginner, intermediate, advanced. Then it changes a few more times mixing the two...

Now we just take a review…. But in October it will be back to hand it in and get a grade.
The World Tribune did not carry a 2 page spread of Pres Ikeda’ guidance. It was mostly experiences and what was going on in and around NSA. Then it became the journal paper – I forgot the name and it carried a lot of terms . Also the Seikyo Times even changed to a Quarterly publications. Members had the chance to advertise their goods if they have a business. WT was not on-line payment. WD slave to collect the money each and every month!!! Paying for most of the skipped payments never received the money back from dead beat members. Now you can subscribe on line if you want. The Seikyo Times carried mostly high priest messages and other V.P guidance’s. Little of it was President Ikeda I tell you this – I was there.

We went from Nichiren Shoshu of American, to Nichiren Shoshu Academy – that’s when Mr. Williams was doing the tours of Colleges and Universities. Then back to Nichiren Shoshu to finally SGI.

We at one point in 1975 went from 4 divisions to 1 division. Jim Jones remember him! We did not want to be considered a cult. We became very low key. No youth activities took place we were like a church.

Women sat on the right and Men sat on the left.

If you were a NSA member YOUR WARDROBE WAS WHITE!!!!!! White and blue, White and Red … You were a uniforms to go to a leaders meeting esp when Mr Williams came to time.

You were a uniform to go on Tozan or conventions.

We had Brass Band and Koteki-tai… you had to join before you could become TCD, RSG, Yusa-han (?) not Gajokai and Soka Group or move into Angle Corp or Chorus – now anybody can do Soka or Byakuren back in my day it was privileged. Yusa-hon and Brass Band wore the same uniform. White gold braids very, very military!!!!
We had a STK movement made up of elite YMD who handle the V.I.P movement – such as Governors of States, Hollywood stars, High Priest and Pres Ikeda.

We had conventions every year and Tozans. Parades mini festivals.

We had more meetings geared towards introducing members, learning Gongyo and learning our terms. Now most of the meetings are leaders meetings---well laid plans --THAT NEVER EVER SEEM TO GET OFF THE GROUND!!!!!! Meetings started at 7pm and ended at 9pm sometimes going to 10pm. Now they end at 8:30 or at least 1 ½ hours later
WE DID NOT TALK INCESSASNTLY ABOUT THE ONENESS OF MENTOR AND DISCPLE--- HELL WE LIVE IT ---EVERY TIME WE DID STREET SHAKUBUKU --- HAD DISTRICT MEETINGS during the HISTORIC August and February SHAKABUKU CAMPAINGS In the 70’s and 80’s.. this insaneness would last all day long… We home visited members. We had the time to do so. Hell, back in the day you would just show up on someone’s door step and most times they would gladly welcome you in.

We had no videos of President Ikeda so we were all trying to soak up like a sponge the experiences members had when they went to Japan. We did have some visits from Pres Ikeda but not much. At least 3 or 4 where I am from
Mr. Williams came to our city each and every month.!!!!!!!! I rarely see Mr. Nagashima.

We had a lot of youth-- you could be youth up until you were in your 40’s

So I am not against SGI. I am not against Pres Ikeda.

I am hurt because I know what the pioneers built. This organization is now built on a Marketing approach. How to sell and idea to the membership. Why does everything we pick up have to be the oneness of mentor and disciple.????
Great example. I walked into the center one day what do I see? A sign that says if you bring back one member from the temple, it’s the same as chanting 1 million daimoku.

1) Who or what group got together to decided that?

2) How you did even arrived at such a formula?

3) So If I brought back 3 members then I need not worry about chanting for the whole year?

4) To me this smack of a Marketing appraoach. Just bring in so and so cans of Coke and you get a free trip around the world. This has nothing to do with Buddhism.

THE ONENESS OF mentor and disciple I haVE already lived it - with many of the pioneers sadly who are no longer with us.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: June 05, 2010 02:15AM

dear Blue Lady:

Others here attempt to awaken you from the perspective of common sense and the ways of the world. I will attempt to awaken you from the perspective of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin.

"I, Nichiren am the foremost practitioner of the Hokekyo in Japan. If among Nichiren's disciples and lay donors you come later than me, then even before the God Brahma, the Emperor Shakra, The Four Great Celestial Kings or the Emperor of the Dharma Yama, proclaim, 'I am the disciple of the foremost practitioner of the Hokekyo in Japan, the priest Nichiren,' and you shall pass.

This Hokekyo becomes a ship on the rivers of the Three Paths, the Great White Ox Cart on the Mountain of going Forth in Death, becomes a lamp on the paths of the underworld, and is a bridge to take us to the Spiritual Mountain. When you are at the Spiritual Mountain, seek at the ushitori (northeastern) gallery. I will certainly awa"it you. But it depends on the mind of faith of each one. If just the mind of faith is weak, no matter how much you call yourself a disciple or lay donor of Nichiren, by no means will you be accepted. If one is of two minds and merely the mind of faith is weak, think of it as the stone from a mountain rolling down into a valley or the rain from the sky falling to the great earth: There can be no doubt of the Great Avici Hell. At that time do not resent me, Nichiren: It really depends on the faith of each one. The fact that those who formed conditional links under Daitsu Buddha fell to hell and passed through kalpas more than the dust of lands in an easterly direction touched or untouched by ink drops made from the elements of a great trichilocosm (sanzen jintengo) and the group that put down the seeds of Buddhahood under the Original Buddha in the Most Distant Pass fell to hell and passed through kalpas more than the dust of five hundred thousands of tens of thousands of tens of millions of nayutas of asamkheyas of great trichilocosms (gohyaku jintengo) is because they met EVIL SPIRITUAL FRIENDS and believed in the Hokekyo in a neglectful manner. Really having the mind of faith, indeed, when you go to the Spiritual Mountain, seek for me, Nichiren. At that time I shall tell you in detail." (KHS, p. 541)

Even meeting evil spiritual friends is dissuaded. What about seeking them out as you Blue Lady who remains in the Soka Gakkai?

Nichiren writes in another letter:

"Be that as it may, one should understand that, at present, when it comes to teachers, there is a difference between correct teachers and erroneous teachers, between good teachers and bad teachers. One should shun those who are erroneous or evil, and associate with those who are correct and good. Even if their virtue is known throughout the country and their wisdom is as bright as the sun and moon, one should recognize that teachers who slander the Lotus Sutra are evil teachers and erroneous teachers, and refrain from approaching them. A sutra warns us on this point, “If there are slanderers of the Law, one should not dwell with them. If one draws near them and dwells with them, one will be bound for the Avichi hell.”

No matter how honest and upright you may be, or how you may strive to be known as a worthy person in the secular or the religious world, IF YOU ASSOCIATE WITH EVIL PERSONS, then as a natural result you will find that in two or three instances out of ten you are following their teachings, and in the end you, too, will become an evil person. Thus the commentary says, “Though one may not be evil to begin with, if one associates with and is friendly with evil persons, one is bound in time to become an evil person oneself, and one’s evil reputation will spread throughout the world.”

In the end, what we mean by erroneous and evil teachers are those priests in the world today who slander the Lotus Sutra. The Nirvana Sutra says: “Bodhisattvas, have no fear of mad elephants. What you should fear are evil friends! . . . Even if you are killed by a mad elephant, you will not fall into the three evil paths. But if you are killed by an evil friend, you are certain to fall into them.” The Lotus Sutra says, “In that evil age there will be monks with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked.”

As I have pointed out so many times in the past, when teachers such as Shan-wu-wei, Chin-kang-chih, Bodhidharma, Hui-k’o, Shan-tao, Honen, Kobo of To-ji, Chisho of Onjo-ji, Jikaku of Mount Hiei, or Ryokan of Kanto read the golden words, “Honestly discarding expedient means, [I will preach only the unsurpassed way],” they take them to mean, “Honestly discarding the true teachings, I will preach only the expedient teachings.” When they read the passage that says, “Among the sutras, it [the Lotus Sutra] holds the highest place,” they take it to mean, “Among the sutras, it holds the lowest place.” And when they read, “[Among those sutras] the Lotus is the foremost,” they take it to mean, “The Lotus holds second place,” or “holds third place.” That is why I describe these various priests as misleading and evil teachers. Those that I call correct and good teachers are persons who take Shakyamuni Buddha’s golden words to mean just what they say, namely, that the other sutras represent expedient means and the Lotus Sutra represents the truth.

In this connection, you should consult the “Entering the Dharma Realm” chapter, the seventy-seventh volume of the Flower Garland Sutra. The Lotus Sutra states, “A good friend is the great cause and condition by which one is guided and led, and which enables one to see the Buddha and to conceive the desire for supreme perfect enlightenment.”

As the Buddha tells us, we should regard as correct teachers and good teachers those who honestly discard the doctrines of the four flavors and three teachings, the Hinayana and provisional Mahayana sutras that were expounded as expedient means, as well as the Nembutsu, True Word, Zen, and Precepts schools and the sutras upon which they rely, and expound Myoho-renge-kyo, “the one great reason for which the Buddhas appear in the world.”

As for myself, I, Nichiren, having been born in Japan in the first five hundred years of the Latter Day of the Law, have encountered the three powerful enemies and met with various types of calamity and trouble, just as the Thus Come One predicted would happen. But, without any thought for my person or my life, I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I ask you to consider with the utmost care whether I deserve to be called a correct teacher or an erroneous teacher.

Each of the proponents of the various schools I have mentioned above declares that he beyond all others has grasped the meaning of and is practicing the Lotus Sutra. But none of them have been exiled to the province of Izu as I was in the Kocho era, or exiled to the island of Sado as I was in the Bun’ei era, or been led to the place of decapitation at Tatsunokuchi or faced the countless other difficulties that I have. If the sutra passages [that predict such difficulties] are true, then you should realize that I am the correct teacher, the good teacher, and that the scholars of the other schools are all erroneous teachers and evil teachers.

In addition to these, there are a great many other passages in the sutras and treatises that make clear the distinction between these two types of teachers, the good and the bad. But I am sure you are already familiar with them, so I will not go into them here.

How wondrous that in your letter you say that from now on you will reject the erroneous teachers of our time and will rely entirely upon me as the correct teacher! When the Thus Come One Shakyamuni, our original teacher, appeared in the world in order to expound the Lotus Sutra, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the other worlds, like shadows and echoes, came forth and assisted him in his efforts to spread the teachings. Now it seems that they have appeared here in Japan as envoys of Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions to help me in my efforts to spread the teachings!

The sutra says: “I will send persons conjured up by magic to other lands to gather together assemblies to listen to the Law. And I will also send [monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen] conjured up by magic [to listen to the preaching of the Law. These persons conjured up by magic will listen to the Law, believe and accept it], and abide by it without violation.”16 The “monks” who are spoken of in this passage refer to you. Therefore, when the sutra speaks of persons who “listen to the Law, believe and accept it, and abide by it without violation,” you need look no further than yourself. How can there be any doubt about it?

Although the sutra speaks of those who, having heard the Law, “dwelled here and there in various Buddha lands, constantly reborn in company with their teachers,” there are persons like the three groups of voice-hearers who, after receiving the seeds of Buddhahood, reject the Mahayana, select the Hinayana, and sink into the five paths or the six paths for a succession of rebirths, but when the time to achieve Buddhahood arrives, they are able to obtain emancipation, one after another. How gratifying to think that you have now cast aside the erroneous doctrines and erroneous teachers of the Nembutsu, True Word, and other schools, and become a disciple of Nichiren!

In any case, like me, you should condemn the slander of the Law committed by the followers of the other schools and cause them to reject the erroneous and embrace the correct. Then, when you arrive in the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light where the three kinds of Buddhas are seated, and appear before the Buddhas Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, you will ask, “Were Nichiren and I bound by a promise to be teacher and disciple from the beginningless past, or were we not? Was I sent as an envoy of Shakyamuni Buddha to assist him in his efforts to spread the teachings?” And when the Buddhas reply, “Just so!” then you, too, will understand in your own mind why these things happened. Therefore, you must by all means be diligent! You must be diligent! -- Reply To Sairenbo

"The sutra states, “Those persons who had heard the Law dwelled here and there in various Buddha lands, constantly reborn in company with their teachers,” and “If one stays close to the teachers of the Law, one will speedily gain the bodhisattva way. By following and learning from these teachers one will see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands.” A commentary says, “Originally one followed this Buddha and for the first time conceived the desire to seek the way. And by following this Buddha again, one will reach the stage where there is no retrogression.” Another commentary says, “In the beginning one followed this Buddha or bodhisattva and formed a bond with him, and so it will be through this Buddha or bodhisattva that one will attain one’s goal.” Above all, be sure to follow your original teacher so that you are able to attain Buddhahood. Shakyamuni Buddha is the original teacher for all people, and moreover, he is endowed with the virtues of sovereign and parent. Because I have expounded this teaching, I have been exiled and almost killed. As the saying goes, “Good advice grates on the ear.” But still I am not discouraged. The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower, and the people like the field. If you deviate from these principles, not even I can save you in your next life." -- Nichiren Daishonin

I repeat the teachings of the Nirvana Sutra:

“Bodhisattvas, have no fear of mad elephants. What you should fear are evil friends! . . . Even if you are killed by a mad elephant, you will not fall into the three evil paths. But if you are killed by an evil friend, you are certain to fall into them.” The Lotus Sutra says, “In that evil age there will be monks with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked.”

These are the business suited SGI "priests" and their followers.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2010 02:22AM by Nichijew.

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