"I feel sorry for these two women who have also been and sort of still are leaders in the cult-- one of them spends 2 to 4 hours a day chanting to win the Publishers Clearing House!! That is what you learn about Buddhism when you spend 30 plus years with the SGI!!
So my relationship with them is the major source of my imaginary dialogue with members about the stupidity and upside down Buddhism of the SGI cult."
At a point a few years back, I arrived at the conclusion that all the world religions are like selections at a grand smorgasbord (that's "buffet" to you Midwesterners). You take your tray, and you are free to take anything you like - and as many as you like. Most people in the world hold more than one religion at the same time - classic example is the "Three Treasures" of China, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Most households have three altars, one for each. In Japan, it is not uncommon to see households with a Buddhist altar and a Shinto altar. The Nichiren school is a rare intolerant sect of Buddhism; most of the others are far more magnanimous and respectful of individual needs.
So you've got people mixing and matching from the available choices - or not taking anything, because nothing that is available appeals to them!
Your ladies are under the unfortunate delusion that what they have selected is so very tasty and delicious that EVERYBODY should want it for themselves! YOU should want it for yourself! It's like you go out to lunch together, and they insist on ordering their favorite entrée for you, and won't accept any argument!
In cases like this, I find it helpful to regard them as crotchety oldsters, set in their ways, and to indulge them as one would a child. There is no need to "fix" them or "teach" them - they are where they are on their individual paths, and all they need is for you to leave them alone. The same thing you need from them, you'll notice! But their minds are too confused for them to recognize that your path is yours to walk in the way only you know how.
What's funny about the intolerant is that they want YOU to change, but they would be outraged at the suggestion that THEY change. Just be consistent within your own mind and your own life (which I am confident that you are), and let their craziness just roll off like water droplets off a duck's feathers.
What I have found in my relationship with an elderly racist devout Christian of a father is that the best thing I can do for him is to just accept him as he is. Laugh at his jokes, or perhaps smile wryly, sigh grandly, and roll my eyes with a shake of my head "*tsk* That's my dad!". He's not going to change, and it would be disrespectful and unkind for me to make it clear that he is not acceptable to me unless he does. These two elderly ladies have few social connections, it sounds like to me, and really value (and need) your indulgence. They're not going to change, but you'll be doing a valuable humanitarian service if you continue to be involved with them. If it were me, I would try to limit my time at each other's homes (as that's where the Buddhist practice takes place) and, instead, go to movies, out to lunch, to the library or running errands as need be. If you're out and about, they won't be asking you to chant with them, for example, and you won't find yourself in a confrontational situation that nothing good can possibly come out of. Let them natter away about activities and "benefits" and all that stuff, and smile and nod and say, "Uh huh" and "Wow!" and "That's great!" and "Really?" as appropriate :) And just love them. The fact that you're there and giving them the opportunity to express themselves is proof of that. And that's the best thing to offer them - that human connection.
Remember, it's not your job to change them. Sure, they're crazy old ladies, but you can still love them and allow them to be themselves - the same thing you'd like THEM to offer you. But perhaps they can't at this point in their lives - maybe they never could. But YOU can. And you will continue to feel an overwhelming sense of relief that you're where YOU are and not still where THEY are. I don't mean that in any sort of disrespectful sense, but the fact is that they're "stuck" to some extent. That's THEIR path. And if you can accept them and love them in spite of them being in a different place, you're a great spirit. To be able to accept someone else exactly as he is, without *wanting* him to change, is true friendship and love.
I think it would really help if you could watch the "This Valley Of Terror" episode of the Kung Fu TV series (early 1970s, with David Carradine): [www.youtube.com
] The actress is Sondra Locke, perhaps best known as Clint Eastwood's girlfriend whom he made orangutan movies with :) I'm serious - watch this.
Here are the other installments:
Part 1: [www.youtube.com
Part 2: [www.youtube.com
Part 3: [www.youtube.com
Part 4: [www.youtube.com
Part 5: [www.youtube.com
Part 6: [www.youtube.com
A quote: "You have found what you were seeking: peace for yourself. It was once said to me that if I shared a journey such as yours, at the end, I might find something of value for myself."