Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: dragon14 ()
Date: July 03, 2010 06:47AM

@dragon 14 We are in rhythm(sorry for the Gakkai speak). Today I was asking myself this same question. Do Ikeda or any other paid leaders contribute during May or any other time of the year? If anyone knows the answer, please convey it. I just learned more about how aggressive and relentless members/leaders are being in contacting inactive ( =former) members about RTE. I don't care if I sound like a broken record. How SGI justifies the burden put on its members, current and soon-to-be-former, shows their true colors. Every time I hear yet another story about repeated phone calls urging people to attend RTE, I cringe with embarrassment. SGI has its members stressing out, ignoring their health, lives, and families, and for what?

I've got to think that people who have become employees of the SGI started out as the same kinds of "believers" as the rest of us. What happens: do they get "turned" when offered a salary and possibly another piece of the action? Is it made *that* clear that there's a scam going on that they can profit from? Did anyone who is on the payroll start as a crook from the get-go?

That scenario reminds me a bit of the plot of Enter the Dragon. The evil Dr Han holds an annual martial arts tournament on his remote island. He approaches a few of them - like Roper, played by John Saxon - and shows them that the tournament is really a recruiting vehicle to find unscrupulous people who will help with the opium, gambling and slave trades.

Now that I look at it, there *could* be parallels. But what happens to people who refuse the offer from Gakkai leadership?


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: writeforchange ()
Date: July 03, 2010 07:39AM


I think we probably have agreement that the power lies in Japan but the money is kept and transferred around from Santa Monica.

I do not know if you have seen the Santa Monica complex. It is a 15 story building on Wilshire and it is prime real estate. Because it is a "religion" it pays no taxes unlike the insurance company they bought out of there. Across from this almost city block expanse on the other side of Wilshire is the "Cultural Center" which is essentially an auditorium that seats three thousand with all the audio, lights, and whistles.

Then down the block is a multistory garage complex. The events put on by SGI furnish free parking during the week etc. SGI rents it out just like other parking structures. This is the only thing they pay taxes on.

I am told that one whole floor is a museum to Ikeda but I have not seen it yet. It is open to the public but I understand it is by appointment.

The security around these facilities is as tight as most government projects. You cannot see "anyone with out a prior appointment and confirmation" and there are all kinds of "filters" when you put in your request.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: writeforchange ()
Date: July 03, 2010 08:12AM


You make my understanding of the first conflicts I had not so personal. It is the way they operate, but I consider it fraud.

And I have watched enough to know there are real double standards as to whom it is applied.

William Woollard is a British Journalist and documentary producer who has international standing and credibility. His book the Reluctant Buddhist is highly promoted. On page 11, he states: "The second marker, if I may call it that, that had a profound effect upon me was the realization that this Buddhism is not a morality. That is to say it doesn't have a set of religious dogma or commandments that have been laid down by some external authority, to define how we should go about our lives. That is undeniably a crucial distinction, because we are so accustomed to the idea that religions come with rules of behavior attached."

I have been to some major events in LA with big recruitment and they always play these well done videos that always say you do not have to give up anything to be SGI.

As practiced by both Nicheren himself and Malaguchi (sp?) they required a consistent practice of chanting 15 minutes in the morning and in the evening. In those days that would have been somewhat a sacrifice to do spiritual practice because no one had time to spend more than that with subsistence living that epitomized most of Japan.

I have seen some leaders with big crucifixes around their necks--no problem. But within 30 days I was told I had to get rid of the Buddhas. So I ask why. So they tell me to read Nicheren on wooden and painted images. Which I did. Every single one of them. First, they reveal the superstitious belief that saying the right words in the right way over the images "open their eyes" and they are essentially filled with the "soul of the Buddha." If it is not done by the right words and in the right way---they can be taken over by demons.

Having been born Catholic and grown up with tons of statues---I don't take any of that serious. It is all superstitious. I also don't go around criticizing; as everybody practices according to their own understanding.

So I told the leaders, I am way beyond thinking or feeling that there could be either demons or Buddhas in my statues.
And they are not distraction for me and if they are for you---you do not live in my home. They absolutely cannot stand someone saying this kind of stuff.

Essentially, Nicheren himself is saying my way and my understanding supersedes any one else's and I am right. That from Thailand teaches the Lotus Sutra has the highest form of Buddhism but his books and views are totally unacceptable as is the Dalai Lama. There is no way Ikeda will ever win the Nobel Peace prize, he has never even made the short list. Thus, I guess the reason for all these structures and streets and awards etc. that is being pushed.

They also hate telling you to read something and you do and you say where did you get that understanding from what you read? Even Nicheren while saying the potential is there does not say this is what always happens.

Just like chanting the big kicker for me came from singing in the chorus. I sang Opera for 14 years and I can sing in 8 different languages. The director is wonderful. But some people in the chorus immediately started in on me about chanting. I was supposed to chant one hour with them before the rehearsal started. I would go and do 15 minutes. I was told the point was not singing but chanting. Again that is not what I signed up for.

I recently saw Olivia Newton John on Deepak Chopra with one of her songs with Nam....etc. Everybody was thrilled. I bet neither Olivia or Orlando Bloom are told they can or cannot do something because their chanting is inadequate.
The inequality of that alone I find deeply offensive. But it is blatant and in your face.

They love promoting the Reluctant Buddhist but everything I have run into by leadership contradicts what he says. He also only chants 15 min morning and evening and attends one meeting a month. They will never pressure him the way they do the rest of us.

Another thing that is misrepresentation which is fraud. I was told both the friendship center and the Santa Monica Center have libraries. They have rooms named libraries but not a single book is in them. While we do not know the exact figures of anything, SGI says 13% of their income comes from the sale of their books. I bet that is a substantial chunk of money.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: writeforchange ()
Date: July 03, 2010 08:27AM


I have read so much Nicheren theology that I am no longer clear about some of it. I read and read and then got to the point that I felt some of it was so absurb that it no longer mattered.

Nichijew probably can define this better than any of the rest of us.

I think the Nicheren declared himself a Buddha or maybe the Buddha. That in itself kind of floored me as the Buddha never called himself that and other Buddhas were so designated by the people and mostly after death.

I also think that Nicheren does some strange thing with time like the Buddha has always existed and he is the same Buddha no matter what time frame he appears in. So he Nicheren is the Buddha now and was the Buddha in 500BC and will be the eternal manifestation of Buddha. I don't think I have ever run into those kind of claims any where else. This is trying to make the Buddha divine something the Buddha himself would have resisted and considered evil and a form of temptation of ego.

And I think that is what Ikeda is trying to lay down now, that he is the incarnation of Buddha and thus, even more than the Dalai Lama.

So I decided that Nicheren like many of us experienced enlightenment regarding Nam.... But he was unable to sustain the complete picture. It is still part of the mystical laws which always have to be in balance and there are more than three and maybe we don't understand all of them and those we do we only see darkly but there is way more things to study about mystical law than SGI even scratches the surface. At least, IMHO.

I have no problem with people chanting as a form of theology prosperity practice if that is all they see and understand but I have a real problem with them not being able to leave me alone and let me value mindfulness.

The first law of everything is ---- first do no harm. SGI as an organization is totally out of alignment with the universe with that. And that is why they have gone as far as they can go. It also why we are all here IMHO.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: July 03, 2010 09:45AM

Dear WFC:

Nichiren never ever taught those things that SGI attributes to him. He loved and revered Shakyamuni Buddha. The Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai branded him as the Eternal Buddha to appeal to the shallow nationalistic Japanese psyche.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: DavidM ()
Date: July 03, 2010 05:41PM

I have read so much Nicheren theology that I am no longer clear about some of it. I read and read and then got to the point that I felt some of it was so absurb that it no longer mattered.

Hi WFC, SGI will never tell you but there are a number of Gosho letters which many Nichiren sects consider to be forgeries. Most of them deal with what you spoke about, Nichiren 'proclaiming himself to be this or that', extreme views and the daigohonzon.

Nichiren Shoshu took them as genuine which led their theology to be very... demanding. So SGI inherited the same 'difficult' ideologies. Difficult because to say those letters are authentic puts the message at odds with the definitely authentic earlier writings of Nichiren.

Nichijew can speak about this in much more detail, theres also of info on them on the web. :)

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: DavidM ()
Date: July 03, 2010 06:08PM

Welcome to everyone who has posted their thoughts on this forum in the last few days!

Loads of excellent points and questions raised by everyone. Its unusual to see so many new people visit this forum in such a short space of time.
Does anyone think this has been sparked by the excruciating ramp up in pressure regarding Rock The Era that's been reported recently?

I'm in two minds on what to think of it. On one hand, it could be a mistake by SGI, they applied too much pressure on people to give up their time, money and personal life in the name of 'Rock The Era'. This has tipped people over the edge who have had issues with SGI for a while and has been a big shock to people relatively new to SGI.

On the other hand...

Quite a few people (including myself) have said they feel SGI is executing its final plan to push out the thoughtful, curious, sensitive people from its ranks. While simultaneously thought reforming those remaining in SGI to an even deeper level. 'Rock The Era' looks like the perfect veil to carry out this plan.

It appears most people leaving SGI (or at least, people visiting this forum) are 'older' (no offense intended :) ) or have been in SGI for quite a long time. Unfortunately for SGI these people have been exposed to actual Buddhist study (wither that was in 'old school' SGI or from earlier in life) and they are just not buying mentor/disciple, Ikeda worship and 'chanting is magical'. SGI knows that these people are not only of little use to it but could also cause problems and instigate more people to leave.

So they stage a massive event which any non-fully-devoted Ikeda follower, hard line SGI defender would be very uncomfortable being involved in.

SGI hopes the thoughtful, inquisitive members will just leave quietly in the face of such a grotesque un-Buddhist activity. While those who stay and play a part in it will be all the more devoted to SGI.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/03/2010 06:17PM by DavidM.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: DavidM ()
Date: July 03, 2010 06:13PM

Sorry to triple post, but I've been away for almost a week.

A lot of people have said recently that when they first joined SGI they were vulnerable, and at a low point in their lives. This is absolutely nothing to be ashamed off. I'm one of those people. SGI members believe the 'Ikeda Dogma' so much that they actually appear genuine when they say they can help you, and SGI can help you. Its impossible to detect that they're lying or trying to trick you, because they genuinely believe it.

Its a perfectly human reaction to find comfort in that, and to at least 'give SGI a try'. What harm could it do?
But the moment you attend your first meeting you are surrounded and overwhelmed by SGI's invisible techniques (which have been well described on the last 2 pages of this thread). No matter how intelligent or thoughtful you are SGI really does have you in its grasp, and you are utterly unaware that anything bad is even happening.

So there is nothing to be ashamed of about getting pulled into SGI, the most important thing is what you do when you discover the truth about SGI.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: July 03, 2010 07:51PM

@ Doubtful

well as you might have come across in the Fire in the Lotus not all Goshos are being regarded as authentic, Secondly as Nichijew has pointed out the words can easily be twisted and the notion of a nation i.e. nationalism was not in existence in the 13th century. The schools Nichiren attacked were supported by the government and one has to see writings also as going against the government at the time. Today it is bizarre for us to have a state religion in those days it was different. This is an interesting link by the way: Revisting Nichiren

Also just look at Martin Luther the reformer, if we were to take everything literal what he said we would still be burning witches to the steak and find a lot of anti-Semitic ammunition in his writings.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: DrJesusEsq ()
Date: July 03, 2010 08:27PM


One book I would check out as well is the Tale of the Heike by Eiji Yoshikawa. It is historical fiction and really takes place right before the Kamakura period. Besides being a great novel, it does provide a bit of view on what life was like in ancient Japan.

In fact, read all of Yoshikawa's books. He was one of the best writers I have come across.


Truth be told, I am one of the more "sensitive" people in my area. Plus I am also one the few who do study. That being said, they are pushing me as well to go into RTE. Truth be told, I wish they were pushing me out. However, I do think RTE is meant to really get Ikea famous in the US and make him look, since only Nichiren practitioners know of him and only Soka members adore him.

Part of me also thinks he wants RTE to be like what happened in Brazil.

DavidM and Rothaus, I have a question. I know you both don't really practice in soka anymore, do you know if the UK and Europe is trying to pull a similar stunt? Or is RTE only an American thing?

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.