Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Sporatica ()
Date: July 03, 2013 04:56PM

No. The Gohonzon is not mine. It came with a Butsadan I picked up for free on Craigslist. It's also not an SGI gohonzon, it's a Nikken ghonzon. I have never been an "SGI" member. I left NSA in 1985. Like I said, I still have a bit of ingrained respect for the gohonzon - I can't say why. I just want to get it back to the temple - but not enough to spend my time and gas doing so.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Sporatica ()
Date: July 03, 2013 05:07PM

Hello tatien and proud. I appreciate your willingness to offer help. Thank you. I'm not having issues with regard to SGI. It's been a long, long time. I found this MB and a lot of it brings back old memories. Plus, I have this gohonzon I acquired that needs to go back to its rightful place.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 03, 2013 09:51PM

Meh wrote


It was easy to see that many people in the various districts I was in were "outsiders" of varying kinds - once again, it's the Pincola-Estes theory on finding one's tribe, put into action. When you find a group that accepts you, approves of you, encourages you and professes to love you despite your self-perceived damage, they become your tribe; I don't think that anyone is immune to that.

Thats it, friends.

No one is immune to this.

The thing to do is just get into the habit of fact checking.

Especially fact check any required workshop, employee retreat, fact check inspirational literature or events, and beware of any good cause where the alleged hero is the center of attention and turns it into a charisma festival centered on him or herself.

Inspiration usually means getting people high, and that kills analytical thought.

Watch out for anything or anyone that equates "experience" or 'inspiration' with proof. It isnt. It just means your neurotranmitters have been massaged to high levels. Doesnt prove anything except someone out there knows how to diddle human beings. Thats a skill any scoundrel can learn and ecstacy and tribe bonding dont prove anything.

Remember, Hitler did this same thing.

Fact checking. It has to become a habit, like flossing one's teeth.

And what one must do take a stance used by disaster response specialists during practice drills. Imagine the worst. Thats why work places in large buildings do regular fire drills.

Fact checking is like a self directed fire drill.

Suppose you are looking into a nursing home, or a school for your child, you are a college student and some people are offering you instant intimacy.

Someone in your 12 step group violates the rules by urging you to read the latest inspirational book. (Ministers and foolish psychotherapists might turn peculiar and push this kind of stuff at you. A friend may with a coy giggle say she likes now and then to read books that are not necessarily endorsed by the church or that are not 12 step literature and urge you to go to some workshop or try the book.


Or someone is pushing at you to go to this inspirational workshop and (RED FLAG) refuses to tell you what will happen because knowing before hand will spoil it for you.

Fact check.

So imagine the possiblity of financial problems, sexual abuse, see if anyone else has mentioned the cult word. If someone gives workshops, see if they were involved with other workshops, because thats where these people learn how to herd people into rooms, keep them chanting and awake past bed time and milk their neuroreceptors. may not be recruitable by one type of cult, but be quite vulnerable to a different situation.

Edward Abbey wrote that where growth is the only goal, thats the ideology of cancer.

Trendy causes. Cults go for these. Right now yoga, veganism, being 'green' 'community gardening' are all big. So, look for opportunists. One shrewd observer said to us that if he wanted to create a cult, he'd open a chain of yoga studios.

Set ups where people cannot leave. Jails, nursing homes. Schools. Cults love to go after the kiddies.

Go after energetic idealistic people. That means college students.

Fear of death. Thats why the Hare Krisnhas used to solicit money at airports. Fear of death combined with not being able to leave. But..for all we know airports may still be a place where recruitment can happen.

Go for high value recruits. Massage therapists, psychotherapists. These all have client bases. And..even therapists get old and frightened of death like eveyrone else and may get suckered into inspirational groups and then recommend tripe to their clients.

Over on this thread discussants found that permaculture, a form of sustainable gardening, was being confused in peoples minds with biodynamic farming and gardening, based on the cultic beliefs of Rudolf Steiner, on whose work the Waldorf schools are based. Unlike permaculture, Steinerism is authoritarian and secretive, to boot. So to learn about permaculture, one has to run google searches in which one excludes 'steiner' and 'biodynamic'. Thats how far the confusion has gone.

These three posts by Graham S and Nick Nakorn





(scroll down to Corboy comment on June 23, 2010 01:01PM)

Many cults or aspiring inspiration peddlars rent rooms in famous universiites, medical centers, fancy hotels, seaside or beautiful wilderness retreat centers. This leads us to assume that the entity is endorsing them. No, it just means theyve rented a room. Everyone needs money these days, so room rental is one way to do it.

You're looking for a school for your child. You dont know that the school you select is run by a group that has features of a cult and has not told you the full details. (Waldorf. Their belief system is called Anthroposophy and even lower level workers at their school dont know this. Look up sites called Waldorf Watch, or punch anthroposophy into our search button and select "all dates"

Some persons are in situations and cannot easily leave. You're elderly in a nursing home and someone on staff is in a cult that recuits. There you are. You cannot just pick up and leave.

You're a detainee or convicted prisoner in a jail or prison. You want something positive inyour life. What if the only meditation class offered in your prison/jail is run by a cult?
You're in prison and cannot just check the internet.

Some groups have such sophisticated recruitment methods that someone will take months or years pretending to be your friend while waiting for you to have a misfortune. Then they recruit.

We may get under stress, our bodies may have chemical reactions that give us experiences that our family physican cannot make sense of. We may be told by someone that our experiences mark us as being on spiritual progress and fall into the hands of a dangerous quack.

* We are all assigned to human bodies and feel pain. So, if we get sick, have a financial misfortune, go to college and feel lost, lonely and utterly overwhelmed by the material we must learn--those are some situations right there.

We lose too many people we love to death, or they dump us, or we dump them.

So, to repeat what Meh said, none of us is immune.

Ive been recruited via a couple of intimate advisory relationships. Spiritual direction.

Silent meditation retreats are ideal for recruitment. Too many otherwise good Buddhist teachers are getting careless and mixing new age bullshit in with Buddhism. Fact check any teacher giving a silent retreat. Call me a snob but I am leery of any teacher who lists a variety of traditions that each take a lifetime to master. And, despite what the perennialists say, Advaita is not at its core, compatible with Buddhadharma. Advaita posits an Absolute, Buddhadharma goes from the premise that there is no-Self, no inherantly self existant Absolute, First Principle, no Essence, no God. So when Buddhist teachers add in stuff that does posit contradictory stuff, beware.

A silent meditation retreat should not trigger extreme emotions in too many people. You should not space out. You should not be encouraged to strain for certain kinds of experiences.

There should be little trouble transitioning from the retreat to home life. any situation, period, if you find you have obsessions or craving that are not usual for you, emotions that you want to cling to in an addictive manner -- watch out.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: July 03, 2013 11:50PM


It came with a Butsadan I picked up for free on Craigslist. It's also not an SGI gohonzon, it's a Nikken ghonzon. I have never been an "SGI" member. I left NSA in 1985. Like I said, I still have a bit of ingrained respect for the gohonzon - I can't say why. I just want to get it back to the temple - but not enough to spend my time and gas doing so.
The gohonzon - regardless of which iteration - is a mass-produced xerox copy of a document you'll never see that was produced with the explicit purpose of selling to fund the priesthood. NST started printing bunches of copies on the Gakkai's suggestion as a way of supporting itself after WWII. In fact, it was Toda (if memory serves) who came up with the bright idea of "pious tourism" (aka tozan) as a way to funnel more believers' money into the priesthood. I started with a Nikken gohonzon (which I bought from NSA) and then I traded it in for the "approved" SGI gohonzon because it was prettier (which I also paid for). Neither organization did me any favors; I PURCHASED these objects and thus they're mine to do with as I please. Of course, if either organization wished to buy them back from me, they certainly could have offered, but neither did O_O

There's nothing "special" or "magical" about the gohonzon. It's no different than a page of an advertisement - it's simply something a group produced piles and piles AND PILES of in order to make money for itself. In fact, the Dai-Gohonzon was made some time after Nichiren's death in order for the splinter sect created by Nikko to claim ultimate authority and legitimacy over the rest of the Nichiren splinter sects (there are several - several of the high priests at the time of Nichiren's death started their own Nichiren schools). Nichiren had no part in making the Dai-Gohonzon - that was all Nikko, who then claimed it was the real deal and that, since HE'd managed to abscond with it, it proved that HE had the only legitimate school. Such is the nature of intolerant religions - they always claim to be the Only One.

But by all means - do whatever you wish with it. I remember my second YWD HQ leader, when I asked her what they did with returned gohonzons, telling me that the priests (this was still NSA) burned them, but that the priest who was assigned the task typically suffered some sort of accidental injury afterward. What a load. Don't worry - nothing's going to happen to you (or anyone else) regardless of what you do with it. It's just a piece of paper with a coupla cheap wooden dowels and a bit of glue. And some string. Can't forget the string.

My personal opinion is that the rightful place for that emblem of spiritual enslavement is in the next outgoing trash, but that's just me :)

Why did you go to the trouble of picking up a butsudan off Craigslist, even for free, since you don't practice that kind of Buddhism, Sporatica? Just curious.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: July 04, 2013 12:11AM


Or someone is pushing at you to go to this inspirational workshop and (RED FLAG) refuses to tell you what will happen because knowing before hand will spoil it for you.
Interestingly enough, back in the summer after my first year of college, in 1979, I answered an ad that promised $15/hour. This was when the minimum wage was about $2.65, mind you. So I went, and it was a presentation about Rainbow vacuum cleaners. And they wouldn't tell you how much they cost until you went back the next day. When I left, I remembered one of my roommates, an affluent girl who had modeled and whose dad was a banker, had mentioned going to a job offer that turned out to be sales but they wouldn't tell you how much the thing even cost, so she walked out.

But I went back. Yep, sales. And this vacuum cleaner cost over $600! That was a HUGE amount! I learned that the $15/hr was for each "demo" you did - you were expected to schedule these or go door to door with a "handler" from the company. All the rest of the time? Unpaid. And when I quit after 2 weeks, they even refused to pay me for one of my "demos", because my friend's dad walked out in the middle of it! Was that my fault? NO! But all of a sudden there appeared a stipulation that both husband and wife had to sit in for the entire duration of the "demo" for it to count/for me to get paid what they'd promised. Bunch of crooks!

And they expected you to spend ALL your time in the office, 8-6, unless you were out on demos or knocking on doors to try and get a demo! I was thinking that, unless I had a demo scheduled, my time was my own. Nuh UH!! And they expected you to dress nice, too, even though it was summertime and hot and humid.

Cult. >>runs to do a quick search<< Yep - as of 2007, the company is still in business, but it's offering coupons for free nights in a hotel for sitting through the demo - and the price is now up to about $2500! >.< []

Okay, now I'm just rambling, but this is really how it went:

Q: My brother is contemplating taking a salesman job with Rainbow. They sell some air purifier/vacuum thingy. They told him that if he just has 5 appointments and doesn't sell anything, he gets $600 a week. I just want to see if anyone here has experience. Good or Bad.

Brandon...I did the same deal with Kirby, one of Rainbow's competition.

I got handed the same line. It's bunk. Your brother is going to end up doing cold-calls and/or door-to-door sales.

I got sucked in to Kirby in the same fashion. Even quit a job I'd had for 5 years to do it. Boy what THAT a mistake. I ended up swallowing my pride, and going back to my old boss and asking if I could come back. (Thankfully he let me.)

I got told "only 6 appointments" and "make your own hours" and more empty promises. Never, in one week, did I have six appointments/demos.

Make my own hours? Whatever. I got picked up by the area rep at 8AM, and dropped off in an unfamiliar area. I then went door-to-door to "make appointments" until I either A) got one or B) 6PM rolled around and I got picked up. Glad I was "making my own hours", or I might still be out there somewhere.

There were a few folks who also booked telephone appointments. Think about it. If this is the route your brother went, he becomes a TELEMARKETER who is selling thousand-dollar vacuums. How many appointments do YOU think he'll get? Not many, lemme tell ya.

It's hard work, with minimal returns. Even getting the demos/appointments setup nowadays is tough, as most people won't TOUCH a thousand-dollar vacuum cleaner. Hell, I believed in Kirby, and I *still* wouldn't buy one at that price.

My advice... tell your brother to not waste his time.

And THAT is good advice for anything that has the remotest odor of "cult" around it.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 04, 2013 12:42AM

Taiten mentioned a set up I never thought of adding to a list.

A set up where the wages (on paper or as promised) are temptingly good.

Fact check everything.

(Sad smile)

There is supposed to be a journalist's proverb:

"If your momma says 'I love you' -- fact check it."

Thing about charisma is something about it disables analytical thought.

One way to define charisma is, it (or behaviors associated with it) turn that person into an intoxicant that disables analytical thought.

Must note that some dogs and cats have charisma, even compared with the 'normal' charisma quotient of dogs and cats.

Maybe if we can examine these especially charismatic dogs and cats, we can get an insight into how human charisma works.

Must tell you one such dog (he was a total crowd stopper) had these characteristics.

Good looking -- so you noticed him at a distance. Getting people's attention is important.

(Dog in question was/is a tricolour English bull terrier --with the outward curvey nose)

Made eye contact, radiantly friendly eye contact. Another magic ingredient

Wagged his tail and looked at you happily as though you were the single most important and desirable creature in his world.

Then...this dog would roll over, legs in the air and display his splayed paws and belly. He offered vulnerability, cuteness and a delightfully comical body language.

I cant do justice to all this. But can tell you, crowds of people would just stop on the pavement and melt when they saw this dog in action.


You felt an insta intimacy and just plain felt good watching all this.

So if we ponder especially charismatic dogs and cats, this might offer us insights into how some human beings turn themselves into intoxicants.

And thats to watch for because lovely as all this feels, it disables critical thought.

Societies have evolved ways to deal with serving and consumption of known intoxicants, such as alcohol. Such as appointing a designated, sober driver for groups of persons who want to enjoy drinks at a party and then get safetly home.

But we have not yet figured out social customs to assist us to deal with human beings who are intoxicants.

Worst of all, we are derided as negative if we suggest human charisma be questioned, just as we have (sometimes) learned to construct precautions around use of alcoholic intoxicants.

Just muttering to myself.

Must mention that many of us love going to rock concerts and get doses of charisma from those.

But many who live lived as charismatic rockstars have left us memoirs and interviews telling just how difficult and dangerous it can be to function as a human intoxicant.

Or be married or partnered with such a person.

Ditto for film stars and their partners.

And the various and sundry guru exposes.

Unlike rock stars and actors, virtually no one has left us a memoir describing a career as a guru and having left such a career.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: eyzopn ()
Date: July 04, 2013 03:01AM

Greetings, Taitan & Proud! Always enjoy your posts!

Thank you for bringing up cult like jobs. There's a new? book, "Corporate Cults - The Insidious Lure of the All-Consuming Organization" Identical dynamic: absolute obedience, volunteering free time, loss of personal identity to shared corp. ideals, family time expendable, charismatic bossman, etc.

Especially important to develop job/cult awareness as times are tough and folks are desperate for some "lifestyle" package that promises security. You want to give your all because "we're family!" Struggle is a badge of honor! Maybe some of us have been through that "Faith equals daily life" meat grinder by allowing ourselves to be overworked to demonstrate the power of our practice. (arrgggh!) A stroke at a ridiculously young age will get your attention and it should never come to that. (Happened to a friend, working for an org of different persuation.)

Speaking of retired career gurus, has anyone seen Kumare? (a fraud who films his growing cult as a reality show). Have put off watching this, feeling sorry for duped devotees. Hoping what saves this from being sadistic/unwatchable is his self-revealing message at the end - You never needed me! You've got your own answers!

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: July 04, 2013 05:01AM

I'd add to corboy's fact-checking suggestion to check those facts with multiple sources. For every sgi-is-a-cult posting, there are tens of others that will pooh-pooh that. I go back to my original contact with sgi in '02 or '03; there was a reason I was creeped out when I heard all that chanting going on; I just had another memory pop in my head, too. This occurred after I started practicing - I called a friend who lives in another time zone and happened to catch her when she was at krg; in an attempt to "ignore" my call on her cell, she accidentally answered it (without saying anything) and hung up. I could hear people chanting, and I experienced that same element of creepitude.

If your innards tell you that something is off, listen to them. We've discussed that previously here, and the fact remains that our innards do not lie. We need to learn to listen to them and trust what they're trying to tell us. It's the old adage about something sounding too good to be true.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: July 04, 2013 05:08AM


Unlike rock stars and actors, virtually no one has left us a memoir describing a career as a guru and having left such a career.

There is one - child evangelical preacher/prodigy, the world's youngest ordained minister, Marjoe Gortner. An interview: []

"I don't have any power," he started off, just to set the record straight. "And neither do any of these other guys. Hundreds of people were healed at my crusades, but I know damn well it was nothing I was doing."

Yet, Marjoe admitted, he remained somewhat baffled by the thousands of souls he helped to "save" and the numerous illnesses he seemed to have cured. His own insight into his preaching skills was on a decidedly earthly level. Based on his years of training and experience, he located the source of his divine power squarely out among the flocks who assembled to receive his gifts.

"You start with a guy who obviously has a problem," he explained. "You've got to begin on that premise. Things haven't worked out for him, or he's looking for something, or whatever. So he goes to one of these revivals. He hears very regimented things. He sees a lot of people glowing around him -- people who seem very, very happy -- and they're all inviting him to come in and join the clique and it looks great. They say, 'Hey, my life was changed!' or 'Hey, I found a new job!' That's when he's ready to get saved, or Born Again; and once he's saved, they all pat him on the back. It's like he's been admitted to this very special elite little club."
What got to Marjoe, he explained, and eventually drove him out of the business were many of the same disturbing aspects of the Evangelical movement we had noticed in our own travels and interviews.

"When I was traveling," he said, looking back on the old days, "I'd see someone who wanted to get saved in one of my meetings, and he was so open and bubbly in his desire to get the Holy Ghost. It was wonderful and very fresh, but four years later I'd return and that person might be a hard-nosed intolerant Christian because he had Christ. That's when the danger comes in. People want an experience. They want to feel good, and their lives can be helped by it. But then as you start moving into the operation of the thing, you get into controlling people and power and money."

Sound familiar?? Of COURSE it does!!

He made a documentary about the "bidness" of being a tongues-speaking, faith-healing, Evangelical tent-revival preacher: []

Now he's an actor: []

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: July 04, 2013 05:09AM

Ezopen - I did find the Billy Connolly piece on youtube . . . freaking hilarious. Been a big fan of his since the '70's since the days of the jobbie-wheeker.

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