Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: July 05, 2013 12:29PM

I find it illuminating to examine *why* I want to do whatever it is I am thinking about doing. I inevitably find that it is my own desire for gain that drives me - nothing news-worthy here. And this awareness of what I expect to gain out of whatever it is has, in more cases than not, persuaded me to not do whatever it was that I was feeling the urge to do.

So let me see if I understand here. Someone got a butsudan that happened to have an old gohonzon in it that some stranger apparently got at some point and then got rid of. For free. It apparently had no more value to its original owner than garbage. And now this new owner-by-default is determined to return that mass-produced xeroxed gohonzon to the NSA priests. Of course, the expectation no doubt is that the priests will be grateful to this person they don't know who has gone to the trouble to return what is presumably a "sacred object" in their belief system as the laypeople understand it. "Wasn't that *nice* of that person? That was a really *nice* person, wasn't s/he??" Surely this will impress the priests! This seems like a guaranteed way to get some priesty face time with those luscious priests. mmmmm...priests. Oops - that sounds pathological, doesn't it? Even without the "It's all about MEEEEEE!!!" angle.

So a piece of xeroxed paper glued to a coupla wooden dowels and with some string stapled to the top, if it's called "gohonzon," is *special*, *special* enough to go to the trouble of returning to those smexy priests whom you'd otherwise have *NO* excuse to have contact with? Sounds like someone's still in thrall to the NSA organization's myths and belief system, that insist that this xeroxed piece of paper glued to a coupla cheap dowel rods with a bit of woven yarn at the top is something *sacred* and that priests are "better" than everyone else. Guess what? The person who originally owned it, who gave it away, didn't think it was "sacred." So that means...OOPS! Pathological again!! We've gotta be just so vewwy sensitive and considewate of those dewicate pwiests' FEEWINGS!!! Don't we??? It certainly proves what superior people we are if we hold priests in high regard and jump through hoops to please them, doesn't it? OOPS - pathological again!

And if one regards a cult's objects of manipulation and control with contempt and its rules & regs with disdain and its leadership with derision, well, we've already established that THAT sounds pathological too. "Your anger is keeping you connected!! You secretly *LOVE* them!!"

Welcome to "Name That Psychosis"!!! It's fun to play armchair psychoanalyst, isn't it?

But this is not a really good game to play. As you can see, anyone can play it, and anyone can twist someone else's surface details into looking like something icky. Easy.

And guess what? I'm not connected, not in any meaningful way, not in any way outside of YOUR own mind, and it was my anger that gave me the strength to DISCONNECT and get out. And I'm glad I'm out. I'm never going back.

So the moral of the story is: Do whatever you feel comfortable doing. Understand that, once you've expressed your intention to resign from a religious organization, its rules-regulations-beliefs no longer apply to you. You can resign unilaterally, i.e. without their permission, and they cannot require you to do *ANYTHING* as a condition of your resigning. They HAVE TO accept your resignation - that is the law.

I think it would be hilarious if someone bent over backwards to return a gohonzon to a temple, only to see the priest who it had been given to toss it right into the trash.

Oh, and meh? I don't think your example of accidentally using your coworker's kosher pots is in any way analogous. It appears that your Jewish coworker never abused you, never attempted to control you, never lied to you, never tried to extort money from you, and never tried to make you believe you needed to follow him/do as he said "NO MATTER WHAT!!" So the fact that you unwittingly used his pots without realizing they were his and then tried to return them to their pre-your-use state is neither here nor there - we're talking about a cult and its mass-produced kitch that it charges a premium for and counts on brainwashing people into thinking is *special*. That's a horse of a different color, so to speak.

There is nothing wrong with regarding the whole culty mess as a bunch of hooey. And there's no reason to think that one must treat those profiting from the cult and/or those still in thrall to that nonsense with kid gloves or to think up ways to try to suck up to them, to please them and impress them and show them that we still think their mysticism/theology/bullshit is true and impressive and oh, so special. There. I said it. Have fun with that. It's no doubt a psychosis of some sort.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: July 05, 2013 12:36PM

Golden gakkai cult emblem decorates the front of the butsudan (prayer altar) - these special emblems were made up after the official excommunication.

This is a hardcore gakkai cult member home altar set up. The only thing different from my time in, are the gakkai emblems

Yeah, while the org was NSA, it was cranes. Once the split happened, in order to apply for official religious group status, the SGI had to demonstrate that it was materially different from Nichiren Shoshu. Otherwise, the excommunication by Nichiren Shoshu would have stripped the lay organization of any of the "perks" associated with being a religious group. Quite the horns of a dilemma, you'll notice.

So the New! Improved! emphasis on "mentor and disciple" (barf). AND the change in symbols from NS cranes to this new lotus/atomic symbol cross. And new gohonzons - don't forget THAT part!! The entire basis for the "religion" had to change in order to prove it was no longer associated with NS.

They also changed gongyo! So now, instead of "It's all about the Dai-Gohonzon!", it's "It's all about President Ikeda!" How long has it been since he's been photographed? Just curious O_O

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: July 05, 2013 08:22PM

I think what someone decides to do with their gohonzon is a matter of personal choice; the motive for keeping it in their basement or garage could be criticized and questioned, too. I don't think returning it, in my case is, in part, no more than a final gesture saying "yes, I am really done with this," and making it 100% clear to my former leaders. That way, there's no room for the idea of "well, she still has her gohonzon, so maybe she'll come back." For me, tossing it into the garbage doesn't make that statement. It's the same (for me, anyway) as leaving any abusive relationship . . . the abuser doesn't know about anything you throw away, he or she does know, however, if it shows up on their doorstep.

And, once again, people that I value do value their own gohonzons. Even though I don't respect their beliefs doesn't mean that I have contempt for them as individuals. Viewing the act of cooking pork sausage in a kosher pan as being a terrible thing to do is, on a practical level, ridiculous. You wash it thoroughly and all traces of the pork are removed. Perceiving it as having fouled the pan is silly, and the idea of burying the pan in the ground for a year or boiling rocks in it for an hour as being able to make it once again pure is even more silly. None of it makes any logical sense. I can't think of a single religion that isn't steeped in superstition or magical thinking which, as far as I'm concerned, doesn't make any of them stand out as being particularly credible. And, depending on how deeply one commits, any of them will suck you (and your wallet) dry and turn you into a zombie.

I made the same choices as most of the people on this mb (mis-fortune babies excluded) and the same choices as my friends who are still in the org. The people here had the good fortune (non-cult-speak) to open their eyes up wide enough to start seeing through the cracks and be enraged by what they saw. A year ago, if I would've read some of the postings here I would've been horrified; if any of you had sat down with me and told me some of the home-truths I've learned in the past months, I wouldn't have believed you. I would have felt sorry for your delusions, I would've defended the practice and senseless at the top of my lungs. I would have chanted for you. I know that to be true, so I can't do anything but feel very sad for the people who are still buying all the shit; if I have contempt for them, then I have to have contempt for myself, since I believed just as strongly as they still do. I don't have contempt for them or for me.

And I really think that as long as something (or someone) has the ability to make us angry, sad or ashamed, then we do still have a connection with them. "Connection" doesn't necessarily imply positive feelings; I believe that it's only when something doesn't matter to you any more that it loses its power and that connection is broken. I don't know if I want to break it; I want to be able to help others see that they don't have to be slaves any more, and if I stop being pissed, then I won't be able to.

I agree that SGI I has done some much more skeevy crap than a lot of religious (or quasi-religious) groups; personally, I'm just grateful that when one or two things hit my wall, they stuck and I was forced to examine them. Once I looked at them, I looked for more, and the whole thing fell apart like a house of cards for me.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 05, 2013 08:46PM

TaitenandProud wrote:


it was my anger that gave me the strength to DISCONNECT and get out. And I'm glad I'm out. I'm never going back

Meh wrote:


Connection" doesn't necessarily imply positive feelings; I believe that it's only when something doesn't matter to you any more that it loses its power and that connection is broken.

Musing, early in the morning.

Maybe to break away from a strong grip, such as SGI, one needs a dose of anger, analogous to how one needs to use a blow torch to cut through a metal barrier. Once one is out of there, one can turn off the torch.

I am still sorting out my own non SGI related stuff. What Taiten wrote is (to me) a reminder of how interesting it is that so very many exploitative groups (and persons) try to estrange us from our own capacity for anger.

Get rid of anger or turn it inward, against the part of yourself the group tells you is negative, or turn it against those in the group who are its scapegoats, or those who are designated enemies.

Covert your capacity for anger into something you cannot use in those very situations where anger is emancipatory:

Protecting your boundaries

Saying no to bullies, whether they are gurus, bosses, or familly members

Anger combined with disgust (They are finding disgust is a very old and important biologically based emotion) assist to get us out of bad situations.

Anyone or anything trying to disable these qualities in us is trying to turn us into income producing meat puppets who wont flee the pen.

So that creepy feeling is a valuable thing, friends.

Disgust's Evolutionary Role Is Irresistible to Researchers - NYTimes ...Jan 23, 2012 ... Disgust is the Cinderella of emotions. ... It adds to the popularity of disgust as a
subject of basic research that it is ... So, he and his colleagues reason, while the
body turns down the dial on one kind of protection, it turns it up ... html?... - Similar pages


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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: July 05, 2013 09:50PM

Anger has a value as well, I think as functional as disgust. Anger seems to drive most improvements to a society - Rosa Parks is a classic example; she was tired, pissed off and just wanted to sit down. If we apply our anger judiciously, it's a powerful tool. Since it is such a powerful emotion, though, we're much too eager to think of it as "wrong," and there are way too many people and orgs out there who will happily confirm that opinion so that they can sell us their particular brand of snake-oil to pour on those troubled waters. There's flame-thrower anger that takes out everything around it; then there's laser anger, which can be directed with surgical precision . . . the latter takes reason and calm.

I also don't think that not being angry is unreasonable. I'm not talking about denial or burying it deep in your soul. Anger rarely hurts the person it's directed at . . . I can yell and scream at someone all I want, chances are they're going to be much less affected by it than I hope they will be. Pick your battles and choose how you fight them.

Anger certainly was the tool that woke me up regarding sgi (definitely, an org dedicated to sanctioned emotional bullying) and my disgust with how they do business is what keeps emotionally engaged. We have a lot of so-called negative emotions that are not only useful but critical. On the other side of the coin, a lot of positive emotions have potential negatives as well - they make us vulnerable . . . being in love could potentially open you up to all kinds of crap, kindness can be perceived as weakness. I guess life is about balancing it out.

The string is too tight, and it will snap; if it's too loose, it won't play at all . . .

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: July 05, 2013 11:30PM


I think what someone decides to do with their gohonzon is a matter of personal choice

I absolutely agree. IMHO, one of the purposes of this message board is to make options clearer. And the more, the better. Someone who felt obligated to return his/her gohonzon and was unhappy about it, or someone who was being told s/he would not be allowed to resign UNLESS s/he returned his/her gohonzon, should be aware that, under US law, no such action is required and no such action can be demanded.

Each to his own, of course, and the more informed, the better.

For me, the fact that *I* paid money for it meant that, unless they refunded my money, they weren't getting it back.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: July 05, 2013 11:35PM


It's the same (for me, anyway) as leaving any abusive relationship . . . the abuser doesn't know about anything you throw away, he or she does know, however, if it shows up on their doorstep.

I can definitely see that, but going to that effort smacks of wanting to have the last word, you know, that sort of thing. Still wanting to get some sort of reaction out of that other person or get a final dig in. Whereas if you just get rid of the stuff, you're free. I'm not talking about anything you borrowed or that the person was keeping at your house - of course his/her things should be returned to their rightful owner. But if it's gifts to you or your own pictures of you together, yeah, well, that, to me, just looks childish and petty. It's the distinction between what you do with someone else's stuff and what you do with your own stuff.

If they're YOURS and YOU want to get rid of them, you certainly should be able to do so without making it into some sort of a grand "LOOK AT MEEEEEE!!" gesture. I don't look at my gohonzon (ever, now - ha!) as "THEIR stuff" - it's MY stuff, and returning it, for me, would be just one more hoop they've set up that I'm agreeing to jump through. And I've jumped through enough of their hoops. I no longer play by their rules.

But that's just me :)

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: July 05, 2013 11:41PM


if I have contempt for them, then I have to have contempt for myself

I don't have contempt for any but the cynical and manipulative leadership, with their arrogant and self-serving "guidance" and bullying of the membership. As I've said, my former friend (the Japanese mis-fortune baby) is still in, and we get together occasionally for lunch and I'm still kind to her. She's doing her best.

What I have contempt for is the organization and its ridiculous self-serving rules. THAT's why I won't return MY gohonzon. I would sell it back to them, of course, but no one's offered O_O

It's similar to how I feel about the military. I have the utmost contempt for the US military and its warmongering destruction of everything it touches, but I only feel sorry for the soldiers. I would be deeply disappointed if either of my children chose to go into the military, but at the same time, I want to see our soldiers paid a living wage, getting proper treatment (however long it takes) for their injuries, and proper support in returning to civilian life. They've already been punished enough.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: eyzopn ()
Date: July 06, 2013 04:53AM

Wow, this butsuma/butsudan/butsugu tour was "triggering".

I respect this man's desire for sanctuary and beauty, but that's what others exploit. For any visitors here, upgrading your butsudan/place of practice is an expression of appreciation for your improved "life condition" aka prosperity. IMHO, this aspect of the org. manipulates the aesthetic impulse and the ingrained archetype of The Portal. Here are the doors that only you can open to your alternate reality/higher self that makes "magic" happen (even though they tell you "it isn't magic").

My past butsudan fixation makes me reflect on Joseph Cornell, an artist who created mysterious collages of images, such as birds, combined with objects in shadowboxes, to capture a glimpse of the unknowable. A difference between art and religion is knowing its all a metaphor and there are so many birds besides cranes!

But I couldn't put up those framed photographs. It shattered the illusion this was my experience. The org. imagery dragged me back to the seated rows of men in white shirts, women in pastel suits, to everything that would catch up to me because I wasn't "sincere", to the world of pressure, guilt and the general weirdness of it all.

The video's opening shot says it all, eloquently. Glimpsed through a tiny, clear pane in the stained glass, a garden is waiting, once you're able to get outside.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Hitch ()
Date: July 06, 2013 05:31AM

The Cult Ma$ter - $GI

[] (11 seconds) Banners.

[] (15 seconds) Strict automaton obedience.

[] (2:22 minutes) The infamous Dear Leader fan dance. At the 2 min. mark, "Saannk You! Shiii yuuu agaaaeeen!"

[] Brainwashed mis-fortune babies. Ikeda: "I know about everything." / (Paraphrased) "Win the Nobel Peace Prize for the org.." "Never leave the org., even if you are poor and struggle, remaining in until the end of your life is all that matters." "Never give up!" These kids were bused in as part of the $oka school system field trip program, to meet and greet The Dear Leader. I'm positive that it has been drummed into them that it was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, that they were "extremely fortunate" to have, one that would change their lives forever and never forget. It isn't a leap to say that some may even feel that they are meeting THE "buddha" himself. This kind of stuff is poisonous imprinting into young, naive, innocent and trusting minds.

Pure evil manipulation, folks. Evil.

The Cult Ma$ter, indeed - [] (Warning: some may find offensive. I find it hilarious. "BAM!")

- Hitch

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