Re: Former SGI members
Date: July 01, 2010 05:22PM
scaredtoleave, your post has inspired me to continue what I am doing, which to be truthful in some ways, is out of my comfort zone. Maybe that is true for many on this site and that this is the gift we are given here. Not only is it a safe place for expression but a place to seek and find understanding. Understanding is often the foundation for forgiveness especially the most difficult of all forgiveness --- that of forgiving yourself. And trust me professionals in SGI understand all these principles which is why they can do so much psychological damage.
This is the psychological background and personal history I had emerged from when I ran into SGI.
In 1995 my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We lived on a ranch in San Antonio and our 13 year old daughter was the youngest person to ever compete in all five sports of modern pentathlon which is running, swimming, fencing, shooting, and riding. In order to fulfill my husband's business and allow our daughter to compete, she went to an all girls school in Toronto, Canada to train with the Irish pentathlon Olympic coach, we rented out the ranch and I was shortly to return to Los Angeles to be with my husband through chemo and sustain the business. 32 days later we received a phone call telling us our daughter had hung herself from her bunk bed because she was gay.
18 months later my husband died, one year later my mother died, one year later than that my father died. I took a million dollars in insurance money to build a facility for at risk teens in Santa Clarita, California. I purchased a ranch of 20 acres with five houses and 11 out buildings on it. I took on a pillar of the community as a partner who had experience in the business of helping teen addicts. Thirty days later, I was found bleeding on my front yard and I awoke in the emergency room of Henry Mayo Hospital with no memory. I was told my horse got loose from the barn, ran up and kicked me in the face, and then stomped all over me. In the two years that followed, since I had no heirs, I had an appointed attorney and a case worker who determined my life. My so called partner purchased a 1.5 million dollar property for the mortgage of 500,000 and had me evicted.
Through the grace of the universe and maybe some chanting, all of my deep memories and long term education of 30 years came back. I still have trouble with short term memory and numbers. At 58, as far as the state for rehab etc. I was done and money on me would be wasted. What little I had left I paid a lawyer for fighting the fraud of the sale--to no avail. And to rehabbing myself. Thus, I learned to use the computer to some extent. I was granted permanent disability as a widow on my husband's SS. My diagnosis was permanent post traumatic stress syndrome.
After being evicted, I tried living as a roommate with people my age on fixed incomes and their problems. This never worked out well because these people truly resent having to do this--at least the two I tried -- one a man with a son and one a woman with a son. At this time I find out the drug that is supposed to be helping me the most neurontin was really made for epilepsy which I have never had and depresses frontal lobe activity which was my problem. I read this in the business section of the LA Times about Eli Lilly being fined 235 million dollars for this off label usage. I weaned my self off this drug and in the next six months really began to think much better. And having known horses all my life realized that there was no way what I was told happened to me did. But today I still have total blackness 30 days before and after the Accident.
So I moved to the hood of LA the only way I could afford to live on my own and keep my independence. I had long ago learned that no relationship is always preferable to really bad relationships. Thus, I am the only white person for blocks around me. It had taught me many things. I have lived here 4 years last March. Last August, I went to the Remote Air Medical that was held at the Forum and spent most of the week in line trying to receive free dental care for three oral surgeries. Giving me the first relief from constant pain in years. It was there I met a person from SGI.
The last day they came with me back to the house and I was going to share a meal and then take them to a bus station where they could skip two of three buses to get to the Forum. When we got to my house there was an eviction notice on the front door. My land lord was evicting me claiming that I refused to let him in the apartment to do repairs. This was a total lie and every where I went people were kind of astounded that he was trying this. I borrowed 1500, some from friends, mostly from payday loans to fight this. The SGI person went down to the courthouse and acted as a speaker for me so I could just listen and see how all this worked. I was grateful and we occasionally emailed.
On Nov. 7 2009, I had just gotten back from attending a funeral and it was this person asking me to please come and get them and that they were living in an abusive situation just a few blocks away and could they spend a couple of nights to get themselves together. I felt I hardly could refuse since they had helped me and I believe in both justice and fairness. So I did.
Now all this time, they had been talking about SGI and I had explained my experience with chanting and I was happy with the way things were. I told them I had been practicing the Tao and Tantric Buddhism for at least 15 years. Having been to my house they had seen my extensive collection of Buddhas and I had told them stories of the neighbors and the Watchtower people calling me a witch and an idol worshiper etc.; they knew exactly where I stood on this. This person chanted in my house and I did not have a problem with it. Within three days, we were having intensive psychological fights. I was told the Dali Lama had compared women to having the value of yaks. That I was not appropriately over the grief of my daughter's death. That I was not a good mother not to have known my daughter was gay. That I obviously had raised her with the wrong values. Meanwhile, this person is sleeping 12 hours a day on my floor, reads no books, and will watch nothing of value and is obsessed with gossip. When I met them I am reasonably sure they told me they had a Ph.D. in Literature which of course in any length of time you could not bluff me about. They changed their story to following Ikeda's principles of reading and study, they told me they had the equivalence of a Ph.D in literature and I did not listen and understand. This became almost a standing practice of how I experienced being told stuff by the leadership I encountered.
By the end of three days, I understood I had a major psychological problem on my hands and I started looking for ways to compassionately solve it. The good thing is that she knew of all the problems I had with my landlord so I said there is no way you can stay here even 30 days because he will try to evict me again. So we picked five days before the 30 would be up and she would have to leave no matter what. By this time, I know she is stealing my liquor and I start marking the various bottles on a daily basis to get an idea how much. I think she is an alcoholic and this is the source of all her problems.
Meanwhile she is constantly talking about the Friendship Center and my need to go. So I say I will take her. She is going to chant and I am going to visit the book store. What I think is that this kind of an organization should have an AA group or something like it I can get her to attend. In the bookstore, the volunteer on duty is a guy who has been in AA and sober over 10 years and he is able to be very accommodating and helpful to me. He also talks to me about SGI and how it functions as he understands it. He recommended reading the Reluctant Buddhist which they are out of at the moment. So he tells me there is an introductory meeting in a couple of hours that I should attend and I purchase Embracing Compassion Vol. 1 by Ikeda. This is the first time I have ever heard of him. This is Tuesday night.
Ironically, this was the most interesting discussion meeting I have ever attended. It was a diverse group with some really intelligent and wide read young people there. It was lead by an older Japanese man who was obviously a professional leader. I was the only "guest" there on my own. I had the most questions and all of them immediately began with the mentor disciple relationship. I have never been into gurus after 20 and kind of espouse if you see the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him..... But this Japanese guy was really good and what I committed to right then and there was exploring SGI for 90 days. Then this 30 something Oriental girl spoke up and said she would shakabuku me for 90 days and since I had no idea really what that was---I said yes.
I have now set the stage and tomorrow will turn the lights on. I would like to thank Mr. Ross for this opportunity of allowing me to express myself here. I did not understand the depth of his commitments to the revelation of cult education because I only accessed this forum from another site and saw only this aspect of it. Often I do not know exactly how I feel until I try to convey it to someone else. Because of my brain injury and the way I have been rehabbed I write much better than I speak. So I would never be able to explain this as well any where else.
Again my deep appreciation to everyone supporting everyone else on this site.