Re: The last detail
Back in the 70's there was a Jack Nicholsen movie called "The Last Detail". In it, two navy shore patrolmen are charged with taking a "kid" across the country to evenutally put him into Leavenworth prison.
At one point in the story, the "kid" meets an attractive girl who tells him she would like to "take him home with her" and as the story went on it turned out she just wanted to do this to Shakubuku him (knowing full well what he thought she meant).
This paired up pretty well with what I'd heard and seen in Japan years before where people (young gals included) that the end justified the means and that it was justifiable to draw people to meetings and to use whatever means necessary to get them to join because "you got a benefit from it".
Since many of the new arrivals claim to have twenty, twenty-five or more years in the practice, I'd lbe interested in hearing their experiences with "the end justifies the means" form of shakubuku. Any takers?
Thank you for sharing this - [www.youtube.com
]. The clip is a perfect synopsis of what it all boils down to.
Whether it be the old "NSA" or the "new" SGI-"x" (x=whatever country it happens to reside in), the formula remains unchanged: leave your critical faculties along with your shoes at the door. Enter, be overwhelmed by your temporary celebrity status as a prospective member, sit on the floor to perform the meditation ritual to a piece of paper hanging inside a box. Somebody will be there to help you through it, holding a gongyo book for you in one hand while chanting with the other close to their mouth while they themselves mispronounce the Japanese words in the process.
Sit back, if you can still feel your legs and enjoy the ensuing display of brainwashing. There will be a genki MC who will introduce you to the group with a thunderous applause following. Then there may be a song or two like "Higher Than The Sky" or "Have A Gohonzon" with people standing up and swinging their right arms back-n-forth (the modern day version is rappers & hip-hop dancing). This will quickly be followed by confirmation bias "experiences" about how the practice has transformed the lives of those who practice it (e.g., like leaving your car keys somewhere and miraculously finding them just when you needed them or overcoming that really bad bout of the flu quickly by practicing harder and challenging yourself more).
Last but not least, the moment they have all been waiting for: a VIP "senior" leader will dispense guidance which is actually nothing more than insipient meaningless cult-speak laced with Ikeda-gosho quotes spoken by an English-as-a-second-language speaker (an official organizational parrot). Be very careful now, don't ask any difficult questions or appeal to reason or logic, lest you quickly be shown the door by some ever watchful naziesque Japanese obaasans. You can, however, easily impress with lots of vigorous nodding, smiling, joining in with the laughter and occasional cheers (AA-O, Washoii, or whatever the current slogan may happen to be) and quickly learning to master the stern constipation look when the serious part of the guidance talk is reached toward the end.
Just when you think it is all over, you will then stand up and lock arm-in-arm (pun intended) singing "Forever Sensei" while wildly swaying back-n-forth (example here: [www.youtube.com
]). Be sure to check out and enjoy all the ear-to-ear grins amongst the more wild-eyed members around you, of which some might even have tears in their eyes.
You will now be swarmed by members and if you are really lucky, meet the "senior" leader (who will of course be sizing both you and your sponsor up). Soon thereafter, following a donation of course, you will receive your gohonzon, purchase your bustudan with necessary accessories (candles, candle holders, plant holders, incense, incense holder and burner, little bell and ringer, daily guidance book, juzu-beads of your color and material of choice, gongyo book, gosho, and - highly encouraged - optional framed smiling Ikeda photo). Just when you thought you were done with buying things, they will constantly be home visiting you or calling you to attend meetings, volunteer your time and effort for all manners of free labor (greeting members at events, helping with parking, guarding the community centers/kaikans - byakuren, soka-han and gajokai, respectively) and hitting you up for subscriptions to the world tribune or sgi-graphic (a beautiful full color Ikeda fan magazine printed on glossy archival paper).
The official organizational propaganda newspaper, however, is mandatory. In fact, if you have a family, you are encouraged to have every single member receive their own paid issue. You and every member of your family will then be divided into your appropriate group: Men's Division, Woman's Division, Young Men's Div., Young Woman's Div. (cut-off line is generally when you get married) and for those toddlers there is the wonderful Junior Pioneers Group (where they can go to get their own age appropriate affirmations done). Oh, and don't forget the lifelong monthly-seasonal zaimu campaigns where all members are expected to literally give until it hurts (the amount you give is directly proportional to the amount of fortune you will receive). Don't be discouraged if when you first start practicing you experience great difficulties, because this is only the dirt being washed out of that old dirty garden hose (which is your life) before the clean, refreshing, water begins to flow and sparkle all over your life with benefits.
If you happen to be a "fortune baby" (born into the practice by parents who are already members), then you can luckily bypass all of the above, do not go to jail (even though you are already in it but don't yet realize it) and collect your $200 at "Go" for your fortune bank in the gakkai monopoly game of life. If you don't continue your practice or practice hard and sincerely enough, however, one day your fortune bank will be all used up and you will have nowhere else to go but back to the organization. They are experts at appeals to adverse consequences when all else fails.
Yes, that pretty much sums it all up, indeed. Really enjoying this (now) 340 page well deserved thread about the infamous gakkai antics.
Thank you for your time in reading my long (first) post.