Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: rattyboy ()
Date: September 22, 2012 12:54AM

Thanks Nichijew for providing "abusive relationship" to the soundbite possibilities if I feel compelled to give a quick answer to the Culties. Just one of many reasons to give. I am finding that I never see SGI members in public anymore- For Quite A long time. Months? So no engaging in discussions with them. As I have written recently, I have been trying to put the imagined voices of members with what the actual
responses might be to the subject of my ex- Gakkai status. I don't think I actually want to have one of those encounters. Real World interactions are so much better now, and where there seems to be lack of experience or so-called ichinen, the process of working things out involves cause and effect that is much more reliable. No 'strategy of the Lotus Sutra first' or smiling in awe at those "Myoho" experiences. Remember that? "That was so Myoho!" It was fun at times noticing things that seemed to go together, but no way to base ones travels through an adult life, IMO.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI "SGI chanting is bullshit"
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: September 22, 2012 07:57AM

well, since is this not a cult, then everyone is free to post different positions, and people can read them and think about them at their leisure.
What you are saying has been voiced in other threads, on other cults.
That is, some of the criticism seems too harsh, and will turn off soft-believers.
So if that is the case, others can voice another viewpoint.

But for example, posting an overgeneralization like..."chanting is bullshit" can actually have value.
But in fact, it should read "SGI-chanting is bullshit".
General chanting has been done for eons, its a form of singing, isn't it?

But the simple idea..."SGI-chanting is bullshit" might just be a thought that makes someone think...yeah maybe it is all bullshit.
but it might turns someone else off.

So since open public forums are wide open, you get the wide diversity of viewpoints.
There are chanters in this thread for ages, they don't get criticized, do they?

But the phrase "SGI-chanting is bullshit" is something that in fact is pretty darn accurate, if you think about it. SGI-chanting for a Mercedes, or to cure cancer, and the rest, it is bullshit.

of course, other might have a different viewpiont, and of course that is up to them..

As far as the Lotus Sutra and things mentioned later, does anyone see the Lotus Sutra taking everyone's money, and investing it in tax-loopholes globally like SGI?

So some might think that SGI-chanting is just bullshit.
Others might have a more nuanced viewpoint.

But the first time I saw with my own eyes some person chanting for a Mercedes and a Rolex, pretty much the first though that went through the head was...uh...this is bullshit!


With all due respect, how do you know how people feel and that they don't seem to feel threatened. Have you done a poll?

I don't want to see people discouraged from participating.

You may wonder " what's wrong with him", well it's simple. I have the fresh cuts from the SGI cult and know how the vulnerable state that people can be in once they leave. The last thing they need is more abuse.

For the sake of argument, there is a fine line between sharing a perspective, such as what you have just done, and using outright insults and attacks regarding someone who may still want to practice.

I personally would easily stand on the line of "chanting is bullshit" as that is my personal opinion. What I don't want to see is this thread crystalize to a point where there is no room for others who may think differently.

This is an issue of strategy, regarding the most efficient means to build an opposition to the SGI cult.

In fact, I have been thinking about starting a website, not to compete with this thread but complement it, so that the facts are even easier to access for those who type in the google words "is sgi a cult".

This thread is getting thousands of hits a week, so there is a potential for a grass roots movement to expose the cult on a truly grand scale.

I am simply offering food for thought and a means to play a role for those who may be reluctant to participate. You aren't attacking me, but if there is one who is turned off of this board, they won't absorb all of the great content that is on this thread.

If I am being too uptight, let me know.... it's entirely possible.

Besides, ultimately, I respect everyone here for their efforts and so this may be me dancing on the head of a pin.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI "SGI chanting is bullshit"
Posted by: Upgrayed ()
Date: September 22, 2012 08:25AM

Absolutely. It's the cult cured, brain washing hijacked version which is "bullshit" while the historical path of uttering phrases repeatedly is in itself something that is neutral in so much as the focus of cults.

It's interesting that the discussion has actually broadened through different points being made , honing in a more accurate sense of the spirit of this thread.

It shows that this thread is indeed focused on pointing out fallacies of the SGI cult and allowing broad opinions in which how to achieve this.

This is hopeful and very positive to see intelligent people making up the substance of this thread. It's also clear to me that this pause for self reflection can only serve to better the reality that we are indeed sincere beings taking responsibility based on our insights and knowledge, direct experience, rather than being disgruntled ex members, which is what the SGI cult would want others to think.

I think that SGI-chanting is bullshit or more precisely, what anticult stated, there is no value in something that is engineered to deceive and manipulate you, which is what the SGI cult has done to this historical practice.

At first I thought that I had stuck a foot in my mouth stating my opinion, but in a way, it has broadened the discussion and has allowed us to show all of the viewers that we are caring, thoughtful people and not axe grinding single focused creatures.

A further stamp of validity towards everything that has been stated on this thread regarding the SGI cult.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: September 22, 2012 03:38PM

@ Anticult
I guess one should be careful what this forum, or rather thread, is about. If one encountered Buddhism and Nichiren Buddhism in particular only via SGI then I would tend to say that that person can only have gathered little or no knowledge on Buddhist philosophy. SGI had close links to Nichiren Shoshu, a tradition that within Nichiren Buddhism holds a somewhat peculiar position. SGI today is an extremely distilled version of this Nichiren Shoshu tradition – it has added and remoulded issues and aspects to its dogma that are unique in the sense that one can barely see it has anything in common with Buddhism. Those aspects yet again are clear signs of cultish elements like veneration of the leader, lack of discussion, lack of financial transparency – while continuously asking for financial support, prospect of a “leadership” career and most of all creating and aura of exclusivity. The issue on SGIs dogma is quite interesting as it doe not exist as such anyway – positions hold dear and true one day are negated the next day. SGI is proud of its “educational” system and institutions – it seems odd though that its universities do not engage in Buddhist Studies as doing so would mean to look at Buddhism from a bird's eye view.
Anyhow its okay if somebody says he or she is atheist or agnostic, but in this discussion there are those who still believe in religious traditions and practices never the less they have strong views on SGI based on their own individual experiences. It is this our purpose to voice those views and experiences in relationship to SGI not to ridicule our beliefs though.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2012 03:49PM by Rothaus.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: wakatta1 ()
Date: September 22, 2012 06:59PM

Anyhow its okay if somebody says he or she is atheist or agnostic, but in this discussion there are those who still believe in religious traditions and practices never the less they have strong views on SGI based on their own individual experiences. It is this our purpose to voice those views and experiences in relationship to SGI not to ridicule our beliefs though.

My post previously intended to point out that those who profess agnosticism and/or atheism are also suspended within their own "religious" system as well. Every philosophical approach is basically a filter, and whether you are a disciple of Jogyo and a "Boddhisattva of the earth" or a cynical "I don't believe nuttin you goofy sentimental people subscribe to", you are using some sort of yardstick to judge based upon the validity of your point of view. SGI and NSA (or any other cult or religion for that matter) seen through the filter of "the church of no church" has not really been distilled to its essential parts (e.g. "Bullshit") by simply being citing what the filter is. What has really been done is to simply cite the philosophical gap between those two particular belief systems. If the listener doesn't recognize the validity of the belief system being used as the yardstick then to them it is invalid.

Everyone has their own beliefs based upon what works for them, and whether something is valid or not is highly subjective, and in most cases involving religion or philosophy involves one sort of epithany or another. More specifically, my personal belief system doesn't hold atheism very highly as an effective mechanism for explaining many things in life, however I truly don't believe my perceptions are so infallible that I could prescribe broadly that it was "bullshit". Scientific method has brought our understanding further along from the dark ages, but we have barely scratched the surface of what mysteries exist in this universe. If you dispute that you need only read up on "dark matter" and "dark energy".

If I were someone searching to understand the validity of Cult.Org or not, I would be more persuaded by those fundamental nagging questions you raised (financial behavior, actual lineage of the teaching, credibility of leadership, etc.) than I would be by being told I was stupid because I didn't subscribe to belief "X".


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Upgrayed ()
Date: September 22, 2012 10:51PM

Two points.

First, I have only left the SGI cult somewhat recently. My use of "Bullshit" is a survival mechanism. My understanding is that Atheism is simply a system lacking belief. Without belief one has gaps in one's sense of totality. There is a relationship with the unknown with an incomplete view. As a system, it's not standing on a fixed line, espousing on a nihilistic position towards religion, but is a visceral system that is used through every encounter, frankly, its not so much an answer to religion but a way of thinking which is grounded in the scientific method, or the world of proof.

Having been raised by atheistic parents, I wasn't indoctrinated to believe anything. I engaged the SGI cult with this mindset and partially found myself being drawn into confirmation bias, while assuming that I was carefully engaging the practice from a stance of proof. Fortunately, because I seek out contrast in whatever I assume, meaning something that isn't completely validated, especially concerning SGI's bastardization and vending machine mentality regarding the practice, it didn't take too long to uncoil the snake that was beginning to choke the blood supply of critical thinking. One deciding factor among many for leaving the SGI cult was taking on independent study of Nichiren Buddhism which exposed the tricks of the SGI regarding the practice.

The most creative way of thinking is to remain flexible, intelligently and carefully building a view of the world that is crafted from materials that most directly reflect the objective. To have a strong correct premise in which to draw from, so that integrity and success can be achieved. Atheism is not a closing off but actually a full opening, allowing again, the unknown to reign in our human sphere.

The SGI is sticky and it's members come off as dried up winos needing souls to populate their world so that they can feel safe and secure in their SGI cult prison walls, to ensure that the fears that haunt them regarding the SGI as a cult, will be kept at a distance.

The ugliest creature in the universe is a SGI cult member who is desperately trying to get a person to join.

I am reactionary right now, because I am building defenses ensuring that the SGI is kept at a distance. The most crafty trick that the SGI cult utilizes is social dynamics. I am a gregarious person and subsequently I made friends in the SGI cult.

I could have easily become an apologist for the SGI, simply through remaining friends with some of the members. As an apologist, I would be accepting the mental imprisonment for those people that I came to like on a personal level.

Finally, I have shut down everything regarding the SGI cult. Later perhaps I can independently stroll down Nichiren lane but for now, I will be internally, a bigot of sorts, knowing that picking up any new ideas regarding Nichiren Buddhism would be schizophrenic while detoxifying and shedding
SGI cult concepts at the same time.

The SGI cult coils around one's neck like a snake, choking off critical thinking. Frankly, I am pleased that I can take deep breaths and be able to look around without being restricted.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Freeheartandmind ()
Date: September 22, 2012 10:57PM

There was a time when conventional wisdom dictated both politics and religion to be taboo subjects for open discussion, because of the passion most people feel about their views on each. However, feel free to ridicule my current beliefs (non-churchgoing, skeptical Christian) all you want, it won't bother me at all. Maybe it is because of my age or life experience, but "to each his own" sums up my attitude toward other people's religion (not so much politics). Note that simply saying you don't believe what I believe, or even that you think what I believe is silly, is not ridiculing in my book. My skin just is not that thin to care what others think about what my religious/spiritual world view is. If anything, criticism, even "snark" (something I do all the time, can't help it), makes me continually examine my beliefs/attitudes, which is not a bad thing.

We were all in cult NSA/SGI at one time. I don't think any of us are stupid, if anything we seem to be a pretty bright bunch. I think we all agree that we were deceived and deluded. Unfortunately, nagging questions don't nag at deeply indoctrinated cult members who either dismiss financial irregularities, questionable doctrine, abusive "leadership") as "obstacles" to be overcome, or rationalized away. I find this incredulous, but not necessarily stupid. Unfortunately, it may take a shocking event, maybe even being called stupid (not advocating this, just saying) for these individuls to start questioning anything about the cult and their involvement in it.

The bottom line for me is respect. We have had sincere SGI-lite people on this board, and they have been encouraged in their efforts to disengage from the cult org, not denigrated for being in it (except for obvious apologists or trolls). I just don't have it in me to be a religious zealot of any stripe, because I simply do not think everyone needs "saving". I sure don't, and I find it insulting when others think I do. I am probably a Universal Unitarian at heart, because I think it is the height of egotism to pretend that any one human (dead or alive) has all the mysteries of the universe figured out and if I don't see it their way, I am doomed. My mind remains open and FREE.

These are MY THOUGHTS ONLY, neither good nor bad, just me. Respect me, I'll respect you. I am interested in your thoughts also. We can all learn from each other.

Have a great Saturday, the first day of fall.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2012 11:19PM by Freeheartandmind.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: wakatta1 ()
Date: September 23, 2012 01:44AM

As a system, it's not standing on a fixed line, espousing on a nihilistic position towards religion, but is a visceral system that is used through every encounter, frankly, its not so much an answer to religion but a way of thinking which is grounded in the scientific method, or the world of proof.

<soapbox mode on>

As someone who has spent more than a few nights at the "atheist hotel" I can relate to your point somewhat, however, like Buddhism or any other belief system, there are differing shades of atheism.

At one end of the scale is the true chaos oriented view that nothing is real and it is all "bullshit", somewhere mid-scale is the view that "things that are bullshit are to be pointed out" and that is the extent of it. Way down on the other end of the scale things get muddied up with "scientific" method and many people make the mistake of confusing one for the other.

There are scientific dogmas which have little to no proof, but many atheists are perfectly happy to line up behind them because it suits their gut-level instincts of how things "ought to be" and they wrap it in the flag of "science". An example is the "big bang theory" which replaced the "steady state theory" which fell into disfavor with the science-oriented community. Many UFO "true believers" also are self-described as atheists. I'd say there is a very large subcommunity of "atheists" who are better described as "anti-religion".

Not to inflame the discussion further but we can also cite the "anthromorphic global warming" crowd as another example of near-religion advocates of a scientific hypothesis who claim to be "objective" and yet are self deceived by their own belief system. Suffice to say that whatever lense you use to view the world, it distorts. As I said before, it is just another "filter" and all filters distort. Even the sutra's pointed out that this world is in "flames" of passion and that all we see is distorted by our six senses (the five senses and the sixth sense being our perception of reality).

I'm sorry I'm being long winded here but I wanted to make a point of order. Whatever point of reference you use as a basis to judge another persons philosophy, you are still doing it from a philosopical base, whether you're willing to admit it or not. Nobody is outside the system, and atheism or agnosticism is just another set of philosophical assumptions, beliefs and perceptions.

.02 cents plus .02 cents = .04 cents :-)

<\soapbox mode off>


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/23/2012 01:54AM by wakatta1.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Freeheartandmind ()
Date: September 23, 2012 01:59AM

The following post is long, but makes for interesting reading that is relevant to recent discussions.

"Taskmasters for the Gods: On Religious Terrorism
September 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm
By Naima Washington

When I’m seeking clear political analysis, I don’t depend on others (particularly politicians and/or celebrities) to help me to understand what is going on, but recently I listened with a great deal of annoyance as Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, et al. expressed their dismay about a film made in the US which supposedly insults Mohammed. Both Whoopi and Barbara agreed that the people (Americans) shouldn’t ‘insult other people’s deities,’ (Mohammed). Apparently, being well-informed isn’t necessary in order to have access to millions of television viewers five days a week. In spite of those two uninformed defenders of Islam, the fact is that no Muslim would dare refer to Mohammed as a deity. Neither would a Muslim refer to Jesus as a deity; a prophet, but certainly not God, even if over one billion Christians claim that Jesus is God, which once again demonstrates that ‘respect’ for the religious views of others isn’t a two-way street! Whoopi and Barbara may be surprised to learn that many theists are certain that they are required or otherwise directed by their deities to ‘insult’ rather than respect the deities and beliefs of others. After all, those other beliefs are false, offensive, and displeasing to their own true god! Free thought, free speech, and free inquiry have no place among the great religions of the world.

The pastor in Florida would be the first to say that he has no duty to respect the false beliefs of others and that his deity instructs him to condemn/insult/offend all other believers including Muslims. Our Constitution gives him the right to condemn/insult/offend other points of view. But, according to author and publisher H.L. Mencken, “The meaning of religious freedom…is taken to be a sort of immunity, not merely from governmental control but also from public opinion.…even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities…to argue for them…to teach them to his children…provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force…he has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred…”

In the 21st century, what we continue to see are many theists—religious authorities as well as individuals—demanding the right to practice their religions, to be free from government control, and to be immune from public opinion as well. Some theists also think that they have the right to not only argue for their religious beliefs but to also inflict them on others by force as well as to persecute those who disagree with them along with those who may be insufficiently devout. That’s a lot of power to wield over other human beings! Religious terrorism (whether carried out by individuals, religious establishments and/or state-sponsored armies) is always directed not at false beliefs and/or false gods, but towards people: women and children; members of rival religious groups; journalists, artists, and musicians whose works fails to support the views of the religious terrorists; etc.

I hope Whoopi and Barbara use their television platform to relentlessly condemn religious terrorism whether foreign or homegrown. I hope that they will condemn terrorists who burn any private home as well as a house of worship. I hope that they will demand justice for women anywhere in the world who demand their human rights only to be kidnapped, raped, and murdered. And I also hope that they will condemn the growing numbers of innocent people who are arbitrarily persecuted by religious terrorists, such as the young non-Muslim girl who was imprisoned after being falsely accused of destroying pages of the Koran. Whether they are in the East or West, religious terrorists aren’t interested in those who believe in so-called higher powers (those who are ‘spiritual, centered, or at one with Nature, in-tune with the cosmos,’ etc. Religious terrorists) just like state-sponsored terrorists (although they may be one and the same) are only interested in unquestioned obedience to the deity and beliefs that they espouse.

The world continues to become an even more dangerous place when those who ought to know better cannot bring themselves to condemn mob violence simply because it is wrapped in religious dogma. At the same time, all too often, the hungry, unemployed, and oppressed citizens who lack social, economic, and political empowerment can be coerced to take to the streets as their political rulers encourage them to direct their rage at external forces. These frustrated citizens can also be encouraged to take out their pent-up anger on the nonbelievers, tourists, foreigners, and heretics within their borders while their incompetent, corrupt, and oppressive rulers go unchallenged. At the end of the day, after the fires have burned out, when the streets are littered with bodies and all that remains is the wreckage of another city or town, there is still hunger, unemployment, poverty, and oppression along with perennial economic, social, and political disenfranchisement. Furthermore, at the end of the day, those who have created, profited from, and/or maintained the status quo remain in power.

We continue to be assured that acts of religious terrorism do not represent the sacred essence of the great religions of the world. After every social upheaval, murder and atrocity we continue to hear from nearly every quarter that these senseless acts are the work of a small, insignificant minority. When there are bloodlettings, stonings, bombings of women’s clinics, schools, and private homes; brutal beatings; gang rapes; kidnappings and murders, where are those who represent the true sacred essence of these great religions of the world? Why can’t the civilized majority of religious adherents, those who supposedly represent peaceful religious beliefs, take to the airwaves to issue unambiguous condemnations of those calling for blood? Why aren’t they demanding justice for those who have been wronged? Why don’t those who claim to represent the truly compassionate side of religious belief fill the streets and sidewalks of towns and cities by the millions? Why aren’t their voices drowning out the voices of those who are calling for blood? If they supposedly outnumber this tiny minority, why hasn’t this religious silent majority taken center stage and faced-down that tiny, vocal, murderous minority once and for all?

Most theists seem to insist on only believing in those deities which are utterly incapable of defending themselves! Their gods always seem to need the efforts of human beings to think, speak, and act on behalf of their gods. There is a wall poster which says, “Don’t make me come down there!” Supposedly, this threat is issued by a god who is unhappy with the behavior of human beings. Considering all of the injustice, inhumanity, and suffering that is endured by people and often inflicted in the names of the gods, I can’t help but wonder as to just what it would take to make a god come down here. What does it take to make him come down here and end all of the confusion about his existence; all of the misunderstandings about exactly what, if anything, he could possibly want from human beings. What is it that needs to be done in order for him to come down here and defend himself against those who have dared to disobey, insult or disrespect him; what does it take to get him to do his own raping, killing, and otherwise clean up his own mess? I don’t particularly care if someone believes in one god, many gods, or no gods. That’s not my business. But, I’d like to see human beings step back and leave to the gods all of those monumental tasks which can only be accomplished by the gods.

Human beings can begin to perfect their own work, and we can begin by addressing the threat of global annihilation by dismantling all weapons of mass destruction in our own backyards. The cost of only storing them is outrageous and is money that can be used to the benefit as opposed to the destruction of human beings. We can take on the task of preventing and curing many more illnesses; ensuring that no one ever has to beg for food. Access to food must become not only a universal human right but all people must actually have access to food. We need to make sure that everyone has access to clean water and gets to live in a sanitary environment. We must address both local and global environmental issues. We can house the homeless, renew infrastructures, and create mass transportation systems. We can build more schools and provide quality education; build more hospitals, playgrounds, parks and recreational centers; support the arts; build more theatres and concert halls. We can aim high by addressing alcohol and drug addiction; mental illness; and see to it that the end of life is dignified and compassionate for everyone. We can aim to assure that every woman, man, and child is free from acts of domestic, religious, and/or state-sponsored violence.

Until and unless the human race begins to address the problems that we face it is guaranteed that the theists of the world who claim to be the righteous representatives of peaceful deities will continue to expect and accept all of the privileges and well as the immunity that comes with religious belief just as these privileges and immunity will continued to be exercised by their so-called less tolerant, more devote, and ultimately more violent co-believers. But it is up to human beings, and not the gods to create civilizations worthy of the name."

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Tibbs ()
Date: September 23, 2012 02:00AM

I must have stumbled onto the wrong forum. I thought we were here to take about the SGI. Not to make catty remarks about "atheists" and their "dogmas".

Options: ReplyQuote

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