There's nothing wrong with encouraging people to reach for their dreams but there is everything wrong with equating the pursuit of dreams with a Buddhist practice. SGI will never succeed in this country as long as they continue dressing materialism up as Buddhism.
Is it possible that SGI knows that a doctrinal approach will probably not attract very many people? Is that why they then pitch the goal/dream business, since that appeals to most people's immediate needs( and the world of Hunger)?
Why is SGI so desperate? Big deal if the organization does not grow that much. Am I wrong, misguided, simple--or just plain stupid?
Oh, but it is a big deal if SGI does not grow that much. Not to us, but to Ikeda and his hangers-on. Ikeda is an old man; he knows that he has a limited amount of time to establish his fame, his legacy. He wants to be internationally known, like Gandhi and King. He wants a Nobel Peace Prize. He seeks constant attention with his photo-ops with politicians, and useless peace proposals and ghostwritten books. He wants to be on the world stage while he is alive, and quoted and remembered after his death. (He probably hates Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama for being more famous Buddhists than he is.) I think that Rock the Error is a desperate push to get SGI, and Ikeda, noticed.
Doubtful, it's interesting. What you're talking about sounds like how to market
Buddhism, as if it were a car or a brand of shampoo. This is what SGI does -- that's the problem. SGI is a business, selling a brand of Buddhism. When you start mixing religion with business and politics, how can you not
compromise the religious teachings?
Someone with a background in marketing, sales or business could think of many ways to market Nichiren Buddhism. They would know niche marketing, how to identify different groups that this Buddhism might appeal to -- and what strategies to use to appeal to each market. I think that the SGI leadership has consulted such experts -- and has decided upon this "Make your dreams come true" approach as the best for the market they want to reach.
The "Make your dreams come true" folks are more pliable, and easier to lead than the people who want to study. This is what SGI wants, members who can be led. Sure, SGI could try to attract and keep people who want to study and argue about what the Lotus Sutra or a certain Gosho actually means. But does SGI really want to do business with this kind of people? No. Studiers are just too hard to lead; we think far too much for SGI's liking. We ask too many questions. We don't follow well. Leading us is like trying to herd cats.
There is a big enough market for magical thinking, make-your-dreams-come-true. Look at how wildly successful "The Secret" was. Just imagine what you want, and it will come to you! There is this market, this segment of the population, that doesn't want to have to study, think, or work hard. This approach will appeal to them and SGI knows it.
Sure, many of these individuals will drift away once they realize that visualizing/chanting doesn't get them the Mercedes/great job/gorgeous girlfriend or boyfriend. SGI is certainly seeing that, with all the individuals who join SGI and leave.
As someone else said, though, it's a numbers game anyway. You have to get a lot of people to at least try your product, to get that percentage of customers who will become the loyal, life-long customers.
SGI has been a successful business -- and a failure as a religion.