Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Date: September 06, 2017 03:05AM
I'll identify myself as D., and about my nationality, i am brazillian.
I have some questions about SGI and i hope that you guys can show me some perspective.
I've been studying Buddhism for a very long time. I've been to a couple of temples before and studied about many schools and docrtines, so i'm not new to Buddhism.
However, only recently i have converted to Nichiren Buddhism and got into the SGI.
At first glance, the organization impressed me. A consultive organ at the UN, promoting education, culture and world peace, specially against nuclear weapons, which is the hot topic at the moment. No pun intended.
Also i've never been trusty of any type of monastic or clerical order, even when i was a presbeterian christian during my childhood and adolescence.
However, i kind of feel ashamed that i entered with such ease, without making deep researches about the organization. How could i have made such thoughtless decision? It may be that I was overwhelmed by the fact that I could not stand pretending to my family that i still was a christian anymore, and wanted to be part of some sangha. A group that i could really identify ideologically with in the matters of spirituality.
Buddhism has helped me to come through many dark moments in my life, and i've always found that inner strenght to deal with my problems. I am very grateful that i could have knowledge about the Buddha's teaching about suffering and existence. It helped me grow as a person and to find peace, even if for a split second when i meditate.
The practive of Soka Gakkai's Nichiren Buddhism, in and of it self does not bother me that much. To chant Nam-myo-ho-ren-gue-kyo towards the Gohonzon does not bother me as religious practice. Neither does the fact that Nichiren, at his time, was a militant. All religions have dark moments and that does not mean that the present should follow suit.
I'm not about to proselityze other people, especially friends and family. I'm in good terms with my religious perspective and I don't need to prove my faith or disdain of other's beliefs. My religion is a matter that concerns me, and me alone and it will never be a reason to violate other people's rights. Their human rights above anything else.
That being said, I have been wondering the following: as much as it's true that the majority of the adepts have a fixation on Dr. Ikeda and that many proselityze (which, again, is a practice that I don't agree with to the extent that becomes annoying and disrespectful), and as much that I don't chant to get material gains (as I have a very good financial situation, for which i'm very grateful to my parents and help my community in what i can), would it still be a good idea to stay in SGI, even though i don't agree with everything and won't behave as the organization wishes?
I think in every religion there are things that the adepts do not agree with, but remain in the organization nonetheless. The Roman Catholic Church is a very good example of what I am talking about. And i think that is my present relationship with the SGI.
So far, the people I have met did not even mention about the NEED to convert people, neither demanded donations or to buy books. The only thing I have ever paid for them, so far, its the praying booth that costed me roughly US$ 16. I have also bought a juzu beads rosary, but I did that out of my own volition, without them offering me and telling me that the beads are not a requirement to chant, as it is optional.
So, maybe its because i'm very new and they didn't pressure me yet, or that the BSGI has a different approach towards the faith, people and newcomers that differs from the American SGI and the Japanese SGI, which again is something that i've been wondering and still did not reach a conclusion.
Even tough the SGI don't seem to teach about other concepts of Buddhism, such as the Four Noble Truths, The Noble Silence, The Eightfold Path, etc...during my chanting i still ponder about those concepts and relate them to my present moment in life, so i may find solution to whatever is clouding my mind. Whether or not they agree with my approach, i really don't care, as they cannot do anything about it. In fact, if i don't tell them, they won't ever even know.
I don't know. I am kind of lost and feeling in conflict with myself. Remaining in an organization that has many downsides (albeit it also has its good sides, such as stimuli to education, culture and world peace, which are things that i heavily endorse) whilst i still keep in mind teachings of some other Buddhist schools.
If any of you guys could show me some insight, as many of you may have much more experience and knowledge about the topic, i'd be very grateful for some opinions about my current stance.
I'm very sorry for any and all english grammar mistakes and mispronunciations I may have made.
Peace for all,