What is the difference between an evangelical Christian saying "You must except Jesus Christ as your personal savior" and an SGI member saying "You must except Daisaku Ikeda as your mentor"? Nothing. Personally, both statements give me the creeps.
Not to get preachy here, but there is a vast difference between the two statements.
In the case of the Christian referring to Jesus, if you follow the scriptural linkages through his life and what followed, the reference has nothing to do with the man and everything to do with a spiritual end-point (I'm deliberately being obtuse here since I don't want to get into any dogmatic arguments)
In the case of a YD member saying the same about Ikea, he is merely a man, and given the number of pot-holes in the SGI road to nirvana, I personally think he is probably the last person you'd want as a "master". In the end, at the best, he is/was/will be just an icon of the lay organization, and is imbued with all of the human frailties. If he were more then the effects would be apparent but I just don't see them.
Shakyamuni taught for an extended period and a myriad of blessings appeared no matter what level he taught at. If hundreds of thousands (nay millions? -grin-) of members were linked up with Ikea's Buddha-like presence, then enlightenment would be breaking out spontaneously across the world. Is it?
To be fair, if he were the real thing - that would mean either (1) the connection with the disciple was poor (2) the disciples knew what they should do but didn't do it or (3) they are doing the right thing but it just isn't manifest.
Shakamuni didn't have all of the communications tools, nor did he have a huge lay organization to stoke "alms" into it's furnace and yet he transformed sufficient numbers of peoples lives to be canonized for two millenium. Ikea writes articles and gets "honorary" awards and based on what I've seen in the organization, what others have told me and what I read here, very little in the way of "direct master disciple spontaneous enlightenment" is happening (or did I just miss the memo?)
Hypothetically, and to make the parallel case, I wonder if Shakamuni spent his time designing erotic images of himself to hang in a temple or stockpiling his rice alms just in case he needed to pay off some aggravated woman's family. Sounds like the "Master" has his own problems with the "Shaba Sekai" (world of desires).
One last thought. Ikea seems to be an Elvis-like entity. Does he ever mix with the "little people"? In Chicago they had the "presidents room" for whenever he came, and the one time I recall he did, he didn't do much more than stay there and then leave again. He spoke at a special sunday KR Gongyo through an interpreter (pretty gal...) and then zoom! he was gone. Just when I was about to establish the critical Master/Disciple connection and suddenly (like in a bugs bunny cartoon) there was a Ikea shaped cloud where he once stood. To my mind, a truly dynamic leader would instead have avoided the arbitrary barrier produced by his "position" and spent a little time being "real". Mr Williams did (although his saxiphone playing left a lot to be desired), he did have the courage (and the common courtesy) to come out from behind the mask and show he put his pants on one leg at a time, like the rest of us. Say what you will about Rijicho, he made his mistakes but he had the courage to own them too.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2010 08:22AM by wakatta1.