Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: bobze39 ()
Date: February 25, 2012 08:24AM

Well, I've just realized, that I have something in common with our dear leader sensei Mr. Ikeda. Both of us have Doctorate degrees, but while my degree is real, Doctor of Musical Arts, University of Southern California, his degrees were bought with members money and phony.
But I don't want to be ungrateful, because in some way SGI helped me to get my Doctorate. How is that, you would ask. Very simple!
After finishing the extensive course work, doctoral candidates have to take qualifying exams. There is a commitee of five members, two members from major field and one member for each of three minor fields. My major field was classical piano and my minor fields were jazz improvisation, electro-acoustic media and history of music. In non of the fields I felt very confident. Even though I graduated from a major conservatory in Europe, while studying in USC, I realized, that I wasn't going to become a concert pianist, so I decided to "switch" to jazz. Neither classical nor jazz people were happy with that. Classical people resented the move because they don't consider jazz piano very serious, and jazz people considered me a newcomer from a classical field, who is unfamiliar with real be-bop rules, and just plays some traditional, "simplified" jazz. In the field of history of music I didn't feel strong, because I have ADHD, so studying many hours in the library, researching medieval, baroque, renaissance, classicim, romanticism, 20th century styles, genres and composers just didn't go very well with my personality. (You also have to write an extensive paper about each period). Any case, making the long story short, even though I fulfilled all the requirements and studied hard, I still didn't feel very confident before my qualifying exams.
That's when "help" from SGI came very handy. In their effort to derail me and tarnish my reputation they kept contacting music department teachers and kept sending defaming blanket e-mails to all e-mail addresses that ended with @usc.edu. But pretty soon, everybody got tired of this. Besides, failing me on qualifying exams would look like "kicking the fallen".
So, I remember standing in Ramo Hall building, waiting to enter the room for my qualifying exams, and one music teacher was passing by, he said "Oh, it's you, well, you will definitely pass your qualifying exams after all what happened, after all what happened they just can't fail you!"
So, all their defamation campaign, all blanket e-mails, it all backfired. After all, SGI helped me to get my Doctorate. How about that for theory of relativity!

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: February 25, 2012 12:45PM

Quote
bobze39
Well, I've just realized, that I have something in common with our dear leader sensei Mr. Ikeda. Both of us have Doctorate degrees, but while my degree is real, Doctor of Musical Arts, University of Southern California, his degrees were bought with members money and phony.
But I don't want to be ungrateful, because in some way SGI helped me to get my Doctorate. How is that, you would ask. Very simple!
After finishing the extensive course work, doctoral candidates have to take qualifying exams. There is a commitee of five members, two members from major field and one member for each of three minor fields. My major field was classical piano and my minor fields were jazz improvisation, electro-acoustic media and history of music. In non of the fields I felt very confident. Even though I graduated from a major conservatory in Europe, while studying in USC, I realized, that I wasn't going to become a concert pianist, so I decided to "switch" to jazz. Neither classical nor jazz people were happy with that. Classical people resented the move because they don't consider jazz piano very serious, and jazz people considered me a newcomer from a classical field, who is unfamiliar with real be-bop rules, and just plays some traditional, "simplified" jazz. In the field of history of music I didn't feel strong, because I have ADHD, so studying many hours in the library, researching medieval, baroque, renaissance, classicim, romanticism, 20th century styles, genres and composers just didn't go very well with my personality. (You also have to write an extensive paper about each period). Any case, making the long story short, even though I fulfilled all the requirements and studied hard, I still didn't feel very confident before my qualifying exams.
That's when "help" from SGI came very handy. In their effort to derail me and tarnish my reputation they kept contacting music department teachers and kept sending defaming blanket e-mails to all e-mail addresses that ended with @usc.edu. But pretty soon, everybody got tired of this. Besides, failing me on qualifying exams would look like "kicking the fallen".
So, I remember standing in Ramo Hall building, waiting to enter the room for my qualifying exams, and one music teacher was passing by, he said "Oh, it's you, well, you will definitely pass your qualifying exams after all what happened, after all what happened they just can't fail you!"
So, all their defamation campaign, all blanket e-mails, it all backfired. After all, SGI helped me to get my Doctorate. How about that for theory of relativity!

Great experience.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: quiet one ()
Date: February 25, 2012 03:37PM

@bobze39: I liked your "experience", too!

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Hitch ()
Date: February 25, 2012 05:47PM

I agree with everyone above, bobze39. Very encouraging! And, just like I said earlier, decent people reserve judgement and think for themselves. I love happy endings! Come to think of it, the fact that we are all here sharing our stories is another happy ending in and of itself, because we are all survivors . . . . and thinking for ourselves, too.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Shavoy ()
Date: February 26, 2012 06:41AM

Quote
simplify
Quote
Hitch
The F├╝hrer Ikeda room is another fascinating glimpse into psychology. I've seen those rooms, sitting under lock and key (controlled by a pioneer Japanese SS-Obaasan), fully and grandly furnished, yet empty shrines where they even bow before entering to clean them. Again, creepy, but also sad.

I heard that the Scientologists keep a special office for Ron L Hubbard in all their centres, even though he is dead. Is this 'shrine' room common in cults? Is it for mind control purposes (eg reinforcing personality worship)?

simplify, I'm sure in Ikeda's case, it is to forever remind the loyal who's your daddy. Yes, reinforcing personality worship.

@bobze39, your experience is triumphant, indeed! So did the defamation hinge on the fact that your advisor was gay solely, were there other things they tried to dig up in vain to get to you? All those emails alone--yikes. So ridiculous.

I return to one of the Ikeda articles, where he stated he held grudges. And with the emphasis on protecting your mentor in life, with your life--who cares if it resorts to Mean Girls with a truly meaner edge? The Mentor is protected, as is his due! And your karma is just gonna get better and better! Once again, does this lead to Indestructible Happiness?

I think being able to think for ourselves, is Happiness--indestructible or not!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2012 06:45AM by Shavoy.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Shavoy ()
Date: February 26, 2012 06:53AM

Quote
holly_golightly
Quote
Shavoy

Did any of these leaders, who were giving encouragement to "use your heart", "say yes no matter what", etc. etc....ever reveal that they were experiencing Enlightenment, or Buddhahood--in other words, were they finally in that state of Unshakable Happiness?....(Probably not that they would truly reveal their Life Condition...)

[/quote Shavoy]

Good question Shavoy. I didn't really think about that at the time. I think I was so caught up in trusting and trying not to slander and feeling never good enough. I got into the practice at quite a young age quite a long time ago, and so all these feelings of not criticising, not acknowledging my feelings of negativity became second nature.

In about 2002 I did go through a stage of thinking that some of the SGI methods were very 'cult-like', especially the constant pressure to commit more and more time to SGI responsibilities. I remember going on a course and all the youth division were suddenly asked to stand up and sing a song for Sensei, and although it was all very good natured and in high spirits I felt, coerced, manipulated and completely negative. It always felt as if you didn't go along with things then you were the 'troublesome' buddhist that everyone was required to respect but if you kept chanting long enough you would do your human revolution and fit in with the general thinking. Or if you were upset at having to do something like that you must be 'changing some very heavy karma'.

Unfortunately, there was nothing around like this forum and no-one I could really talk to who would understand. I kept doubting myself and convinced myself it was 'fundamental darkness' that was affecting me. I ended up getting sucked right back in and totally threw myself into activities and responsibilities even more, thinking that it was because my 'mentor and disciple' relationship wasn't strong enough that I was having this angst.

I think I just had to get to the stage where I could clearly see how detrimental being in this organisation was to my life and how much better off I would be without it. I was lucky in that my life circumstances changed and suddenly I no longer had the same people around me to reinforce the beliefs. I took a big step back and started thinking properly again.

I think of it like a house of cards. If one card is pulled out, then the rest fall down. When I let go of the fear of 'fundamental darkness' and being a 'traitor' and causing myself negative karma, I allowed myself to think the unthinkable - what if some or all the things I had been told for 20 years weren't actually true? Although I know the road ahead may be a bit rocky, I now feel like I have been set free and the weight has lifted from my shoulders.




thanks for sharing this, holly_golightly. This is a great experience, too. I'm very happy reading that you finally feel free and the weight is off your shoulders!

Does karma really ever change? Or lighten? Past karma predictor of future karma? holly, were you encouraged at the time to reevaluate your 'mentor-disciple' relationship, in regards to the turmoil you felt?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: holly_golightly ()
Date: February 26, 2012 07:32AM

Quote
Shavoy

holly, were you encouraged at the time to reevaluate your 'mentor-disciple' relationship, in regards to the turmoil you felt?

I certainly was. And I remember on every course I went on after that time, the whole emphasis was on the mentor-disciple relationship - it was the key to changing everything. I decided to take this on board wholeheartedly (in a desperate bid to 'change my karma'). If I wasn't chanting for Sensei's happiness, I was attempting to 'understand his heart' by reading the Human and New Human Revolution. I committed myself to a monthly all-day activity for 2 years, where I was encouraged to think of myself as 'Sensei's arms and legs'. If faced with a dilemma during these activities or indeed life, I was advised to think 'what would Sensei do?'.

After several years of doing this it became second-nature and I didn't have to force myself anymore. However, during this time my personal life fell apart and it all became a huge struggle. Still I trusted that if I kept following the guidance I would be able to transform the situation. I remember being at a very low point at one stage and phoning up a very senior leader for guidance which was ........................... can you guess? .................................. 'chant to be Sensei's disciple, you can never feel alone when you've got Sensei' and 'chant to fulfil Sensei's expectations of you'

Looking back now I can chuckle but at the time I simply tried harder and thought it must have been my fault for not having a sincere enough spirit before.

All I can say is the good thing about the fact that I went for it wholeheartedly for so long means that I have no doubt now that I did the right thing by leaving, because I couldn't have 'tried harder' or 'chanted harder' or done 'more responsibilities' by the end - I was absolutely burnt out. Of course some people may think I just needed to be a bit more balanced and I was over doing it but believe me you can never just do a bit in that organisation because there will always be someone guilt tripping you or 'encouraging' you to do more in order to be 'more happy' and taking advantage of your vulnerabilities. I feel like I can say now that I've seen it, done it, bought the T'shirt, wore the T'shirt, designed the T'shirt, bought the T'shirt company and I can safely say I've had enough and am on to better things :)

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: KR ()
Date: February 26, 2012 12:13PM

Quote
tsukimoto
And then the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu had their bitter divorce, and Nichiren Shoshu had custody of the DaiGohonzon. SGI members were told not to visit the head temple because the evil priests were there! Yet at the same time, SGI was complaining bitterly that Nichiren Shoshu was "holding the DaiGohonzon hostage!" Please note, the priests were willing enough to let SGI members visit the temple and the DaiGohonzon --- SGI was now saying "It's a bad cause to visit the temple, because the priests are so evil."

And now? People are saying that the Dai Gohonzon is not even authentic.

As pointed out once, SGI teaches that (their) Buddhism is about winning and losing suggesting that they're is no right or wrong or good and evil. Yet they choose to vilify NSA with terminology which suggest absolutes. Then again such strong language is conveniently used not because they are evil but a fulfillment of Sensei's unspoken motto of "Cheat to Win." In all fairness, if any of us continue to hold friendships or correspondences with SGI members, we can only do them justice by calling them out and nailing them on SGI double speak - Hold them down only to the very basics.

Quote
Hitch
A couple of examples of other devilish behavior that I've seen/heard in the gakkai: a huge cardboard sign sitting on a easel at the kaikan, next to the bustudan, with things written on it like "things to chant for - the destruction of Nikken, Ikeda to visit" and members talking about how Nikken doesn't die quickly enough to suit them as punishment for all of his slander (in sgi-usa and sg japan, respectively). I kid you not. The only corner on the true "truth" / true "path" that these people have is the relative version that happens to suit their needs at any particular time.

I so dream of attending a SGI meeting where someone atleast has the gumption to ask, "How does any of this apply in regards to the 8-fold path?" I just want to see the reactions on every devout believers faces. It would be priceless.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: KR ()
Date: February 26, 2012 02:08PM

Quote
rattyboy
Thank you bobze39 for your input. I meant to suggest that maybe the article was suggesting that all other Buddhist groups may contain a speck of racism and that the Buddhist community at large should look into the reasons why SGI has many more non-whites. You would think the rest of the article would explore the Soka Gakkai after that but it did not. I don't feel inclined to send that magazine a letter but I'm sure any of us could explain to them why it hasn't been or shouldn't be included. (and not because the ikeda club is the only true buddhism!)
Being a Black man living in the South, if there was ever one good thing that could be said about the SGI through my experience that I can't recall any "racist" moments but I can account the many moments where the ignorance and disconnect from the more affluent members who lived "on the other side of town" was ever prevalent. Even from the more affluent Black members there is a struggle to understand those who hold menial jobs so they could get by. I have seen the disconnect especially when it comes zaimu campaigns where they are constantly encouraged to pay charity to the Ikeda Godhead and it shows through the preferential treatment given to the assigned geographical districts throughout the town.

No attention is given to the predominant Black district because participation is at a minimum given the majority of the members are either getting by with a 9-5 or receiving some level of government assistance - Therefore they have no money nor the time to scrub toilets for the SGI. It's not a total dismissal of them because they are some who do try and even I know a few members in the more affluent districts receiving food stamps. This is simple window dressing by SGI and for all of the folks who subscribe to liberal politics, diversity is "good for business." Given the overwhelming political leans of Buddhist in the States lean toward liberal, this is a construct that SGI has exploited to there benefit which worked well for there goals. Though they use this to stick there noses up at the more mainstream Buddhist sects for the lack thereof, these members are often neglected or serve as an afterthought when it comes to SGI affairs. Given the overriding claim about SGI is that it's all about money, this can only reasonable conclusion to why SGI operates the way it does.

I found this isn't an issue of race but it's more of an issue of socio-economics. Thought I share a related link by Barbara O'Brien which touches on the subject in which she pointed out that in Japan Nichiren Buddhism is more fashionable as the "Working class Buddhism" of the country. It's pretty easy to conclude why Nichiren is so compatible with the working class in Japan. If I read correctly Zen Buddhism is more popular in the United States than in Japan. It's popular in the States with the more affluent and if you hold a 9-5, and have to attend to family business (Wife and kids), who has time to sit down and meditate? more less spend money on lavish retreats which in some cases cost the equivalent of a months rent. So this is where Blacks are usually left out in the cold of enlightenment. As Vladimir Lenin use to say, the minorities (other than White or Japanese members) of SGI are just "useful idiots."



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2012 02:12PM by KR.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Shavoy ()
Date: February 27, 2012 03:19AM

Quote
holly_golightly
Quote
Shavoy

holly, were you encouraged at the time to reevaluate your 'mentor-disciple' relationship, in regards to the turmoil you felt?

I certainly was. And I remember on every course I went on after that time, the whole emphasis was on the mentor-disciple relationship - it was the key to changing everything. I decided to take this on board wholeheartedly (in a desperate bid to 'change my karma'). If I wasn't chanting for Sensei's happiness, I was attempting to 'understand his heart' by reading the Human and New Human Revolution. I committed myself to a monthly all-day activity for 2 years, where I was encouraged to think of myself as 'Sensei's arms and legs'. If faced with a dilemma during these activities or indeed life, I was advised to think 'what would Sensei do?'.

After several years of doing this it became second-nature and I didn't have to force myself anymore. However, during this time my personal life fell apart and it all became a huge struggle. Still I trusted that if I kept following the guidance I would be able to transform the situation. I remember being at a very low point at one stage and phoning up a very senior leader for guidance which was ........................... can you guess? .................................. 'chant to be Sensei's disciple, you can never feel alone when you've got Sensei' and 'chant to fulfil Sensei's expectations of you'

Looking back now I can chuckle but at the time I simply tried harder and thought it must have been my fault for not having a sincere enough spirit before.

All I can say is the good thing about the fact that I went for it wholeheartedly for so long means that I have no doubt now that I did the right thing by leaving, because I couldn't have 'tried harder' or 'chanted harder' or done 'more responsibilities' by the end - I was absolutely burnt out. Of course some people may think I just needed to be a bit more balanced and I was over doing it but believe me you can never just do a bit in that organisation because there will always be someone guilt tripping you or 'encouraging' you to do more in order to be 'more happy' and taking advantage of your vulnerabilities. I feel like I can say now that I've seen it, done it, bought the T'shirt, wore the T'shirt, designed the T'shirt, bought the T'shirt company and I can safely say I've had enough and am on to better things :)

Whoa, holly....what you went through was nuts! How the heck can you "understand Sensei's heart"?? Be his "arms and legs"? "Chant to be Sensei's disciple", "Chant to fulfill Sensei's expectations of you"....Jeesh. All this for a man whom the majority have/will never have a one-on-one encounter with, let alone conversation, or personal "guidance".

If you're Herbie Hancock, or Wayne Shorter, or Orlando Bloom, well, different story, always.

Looking back, holly, what did you really think of "The Human/New Human Revolution", anyway? Why more members/leaders didn't pick up on the mass ego running through the pages, I dunno.

Options: ReplyQuote


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