An interesting conversation re: gajokai (kaikan-HQ baby sitting) -
And like you mentioned Awaken7, when people come to you saying that their philosophy is the ultimate experience you will have, it is because something not quite right is happening. The last time I had to do Gajokai, there was a technical issue, but it was rather no big deal, the meeting continued smoothly. Well, after the meeting was ended, the leader of the Gajokai was so furious(I mean, someone could not see his head getting red, but the way hi showed his discomfort with the issue troubled me a bit), he was like THE MEETING WAS SPECTACULAR, BUT BECAUSE X HAPPENED THE WHOLE MEETING WAS A CRAP! I wasn't even close to where the problem happened! After that, this gajokai leader took me a ride(one of the so nice rides....) back home. In that trip he was kind of insulting me, with nice words but insulting, that I wasn't chanting good enough, that we have to work hard for Pres. Ikeda, I feel you are not doing enough for yourself, i feel you are not happy enough,YOU WANT TO BECOME HAPPY? YOU HAVE TO CHANT EVEN MORE! (that was the alert that hit my mind telling me something is wrong here) and he forced me to PROMISE ME YOU WILL CHANT MORE AND HARDER!....
I never saw that guy even with a smile, always prepearing things that the next meeting and the meeting after that were coming. He is younger than me and he is devastated with debt, and here he come and giving orders to me to become happier.
Thats crazy, but thankfully I realized this sooner than later! otherwise where I might be >_>!
Oh man, Yzak, you mention Gajokai and that strikes a personal chord in me because I did it for years. First of all, I'm glad you found this group and it has helped you! Your story just shows how out of touch a lot of these young guys in SGI-USA are. These aren’t the old NSA days where some Gajokai chiefs thought it was the military or something and ordered their Gajokai assistants around. Those guys talked just like your guy, and yet they were in debt and had huge personal problems. That's back in the 80s and 90s. Now, those guys are in Men's Division and their lives are no different than people who don't chant.
All the gestapo gajokai chiefs I remember were some real tools, in their personal lives and even more so while "on-duty." Some of these guys had coke bottle bottom glasses, mussed up hair, were uncoordinated and had stained white uniforms that always needed a washing and were always coming untucked and ruffled, etc.. Whenever there was a meeting to oversee, it would be like watching Clark Kent transform into his superhero role right before your eyes and they'd start with the slogans "we must protect the precious members, the kaikan, the joju gohonzon, the parking lot, the cars, the toilet", . . . . . and of course the big wig "senior" leader that happened to be attending. They'd yell and scream and practically break out the whip until the "senior" leader arrived, then they'd run around at that person's heels like a little lap dog being lead around on a leash. God forbid that anything went wrong, like some member losing their keys and not being able to find them, because it would always be lower gojokais' fault. After the meeting, you transformed into night custodians and watchmen (back in my day, you had to stay overnight and be the human security alarm). Every few hours you had to walk around outside the building with a clipboard checklist and check such mundane things like make sure the outside water faucet wasn't "on", that building light "x, y & z" were burning at the desired wattage settings and not malfunctioning, make sure there were no stray gum wrappers blowing around the parking lot or hiding under a bush somewhere. Just a bunch of busy bodytasks to make you feel like you were doing something and to make the time pass. Never mind the stupidity of walking about at 2 or 3 in the morning amongst the circling thieves and winos who may have been loitering in the shadows (and yes, there were incidents of gajokai themselves getting robbed) with your only weapon being the juzu beads in your pocket, the pen in your hand and nmrk (the roar of the lion) in your mouth.
This kind of uptightness, holier-than-thou attitude was all pervasive within SGI volunteers. They think that going to the community center and volunteer for a couple of hours per month is such a serious and important activity, that you can't be yourself while you’re there, it's such a joke. I'll give an example. Last year, at LA Friendship Center, I was still volunteering once a month on a Tuesday night to help out. As a Men's Division (MD), I would show up and sit in the lobby room to support the two Gajokai young men who do most of the work and provide security. A byakuren (young woman's division) also sits there to operate the switchboard and answer calls. There's really not much to do for the MD, it's just really a courtesy to help out the youth, pretty boring actually just sitting there and chit-chatting with the girl and the guys when they’re in the room. The last time I did it, I was chatting with a particular byakuren I had never met for about an hour, just shooting the breeze, talking about our lives, work, etc. She was about 25. I told her that night was my last planned shift as I was becoming real busy with work. I didn't tell her that I was having serious doubts about SGI at the time and just wanted to back off. She seemed cool. Then, my buddy Tom called on my cell and, of course, the conversation turned to women, our usual topic :), and I talked about dating this girl, that girl, or whoever I was trying to chase at the time at salsa clubs since I'm a dancer and was really in that scene. Just guys' stuff. Well, when I hung up the phone, the byakuren girl started acting weird, and told me I'm not supposed to be talking on the phone, because my "duty" was to be on the alert, in case something happens. I was like, "What the heck are you talking about?" So, she gave me this mini-lecture about how the volunteers on shifts are supposed to put aside our personal business and be ready at any moment's notice to answer the members’ concerns and to attend to their needs. I said, "Well, a few people have been coming up to ask what room is so and so meeting is in, or whatever, and you and I have been helping them, what's the big deal? Besides there are two gajokais here." I also pointed out that she and I had been talking about personal stuff anyway before I was on the phone, now was that off-limit, too? Needless to say, she didn't like my answer and said that I didn't have faith. I kind of got pissed, and went off on her about how serious and uptight she was, why doesn't she act like a regular young woman then, instead of enacting this serious, robotic role. Needless to say, she got upset and resentful at me. I just said “Fine, whatever,” and waited till the end of my shift and didn’t even say goodbye. I was so glad to be out of there. At the risk of being presumptuous, I think the truth was that she was just pissed that I was talking the “playa” stuff with my buddy and maybe that brought up insecurities within herself. She needed a boyfriend was what I gathered about her.
None of the gajokai cheifs could get girlfriends either (see my description above). In fact, if they could, they probably wouldn't have even been there in the first place.
When the members used to come up to ask questions of us volunteers, I remember a lot of them acted like babies. They have this instant-gratification kind of mentality when it comes to SGI. They live in a neighborhood and want to find a meeting near their house. Instead of doing their own research, they call the volunteers and expect us to do all their work for them. Even when told that the nearest meeting is 20 minutes away in another neighborhood, they whine. Instead of telling them, “Well, I’m sorry but there’s nothing we can do about it right now,” the volunteers are taught to try “do the impossible” and call leaders or whatever to help the members find a meeting right in their neighborhood so that they don’t have to drive the 20 minutes. In fact, you’re encouraged to chant with this whining member and create such a meeting. I always shook my head and wondered how these people survived in the the real world when, let’s say, a local store tells them “No, I don’t have such and such product, we have to order it.” Start whining? I don’t think so. But they think the rules are different in the organization. I hated babying them.
to be babied and that's the whole purpose of going to get guidance. After every big meeting, the senior leader retires to a back room to dispense handbook cliché guidance and the members literally lined up for it.
To make a long story short (I know kinda late, but thanks for sticking with the story, if you're still reading), at one point when I had had enough of it all, with one particular gajokai ss-officer going psycho I flat told him to protect the kaikan with his superhuman faith and soka spirit shield on his own and that I was leaving. My last image of doing gajokai was a wilting gajokai cheif hunched over mumbling over and over to himself with a look of disbelief in his eyes saying . . . . . "but, but, you can't leave, . . . . . you can't just leave like that." Well, I did and I had no accidents driving home, never been a victim of any type of crime and went on to a great, long and happy life. Just one of many episodes in my slow realization of climbing the learning curve that sgi-"x" is a psycho organization made up with lots of psycho people.