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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: tsukimoto ()
Date: March 02, 2009 07:21AM

For study, I've got four paperbacks that I keep going back to:

1. Lectures on the Sutra: The Hoben and Juryo Chapters, 1984. This translates the Hoben and Juryo Chapters of the Lotus Sutra into English (Members chant these when they do morning and evening gongyo)-- and gives a little explanation of the passage.

2. The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, by the Gosho Translation Committee, 1999. Nichiren's letters of encouragement and appreciation to his followers and supporters. (No, Nichiren did not brag about his honorary degrees.) I bought both the Lectures on the Sutra and The Writings of NIchiren Daishonin from an SGI Center bookstore -- they CAN do decent study material when they try.

3. Fire in the Lotus: The Dynamic Buddhism of Nichiren, Daniel B. Montgomery, 1991. Covers over 700 years of history, from Nichiren to the various Nichiren sects today. I think I bought this one at Borders.

4. The Lotus of the Wonderful Law, W.E. Soothill, 1987. Translation of the Lotus Sutra. I bought this at Barnes and Noble.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Sparky ()
Date: March 02, 2009 09:27AM

I agree with everyone here. When my wife (then girlfriend) introduced me to SGI-USA, I was struck by what The Anticult said. This form of "Buddhism" was the same form as the Amway salesmen that brought me to a meeting. Everything was prosperity and material. I was somewhat studied of religion (I had wanted to be a minister in the UCC) and found this an odd form of religion. I mean, what religion covets materialism over spirituality? I am not meaning to be insultive to any lurkers we may have on this thread who are active SGI-USA. I just found it to be odd. I also found the books that Ikea (Yes, The Anticult, let's refer to Ikeda as Ikea...it is more appropriate ;) ).

Prez Ikea wrote a boat load of books that he charged his "flock" (I say flock since the "shepard" usually ends up fleecing the flock) a lot of money for. It was ridiculous.

It almost seems to me that SGI-USA ripped off their members daily on everything...Ikea's stupid books (I'll address this is a moment) the cost of cheap insense (which is required for "worship"), not to mention the cost of "beads" (prayer beads) and the stupid World Tribune and other waste of tree's pulp.

Ikea wrote a number of stupid "texts". I have no idea if he knows what Nichiren Daishonin wrote or not, but I found glaring errors....unlessssssss....(drum roll)...Ikea is the NEW Daishonin!!! (GASP!).

Example: Many of the members doing gonyo like to rub their beads together making a clacking type noise. "Ikea" (check out his great sales in bedding and back to school supplies!) passed something down to the various chapters saying that the "clack of beads is disruptive to gonyo and must stop", whereas I had read only a week or two prior to this "revelation" that Nichiren Daishonin (the religion's founder to any lurkers/surfers here) actually wrote he "Liked the sound of the beads rubbed by the followers and found them to be a good and noble sound".

So "Lord Dumbass Ikea" (a new and noble title for the alleged rapist of his young female followers) are you more of a Buddha than the One who started your faith?

If you claim so, then might I suggest you have admitted you and your followers are astray and following an abusive cult?

Rant off/

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Lotus ()
Date: March 02, 2009 01:14PM

Quote
tsukimoto
For study, I've got four paperbacks that I keep going back to:

1. Lectures on the Sutra: The Hoben and Juryo Chapters, 1984. This translates the Hoben and Juryo Chapters of the Lotus Sutra into English (Members chant these when they do morning and evening gongyo)-- and gives a little explanation of the passage.

2. The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, by the Gosho Translation Committee, 1999. Nichiren's letters of encouragement and appreciation to his followers and supporters. (No, Nichiren did not brag about his honorary degrees.) I bought both the Lectures on the Sutra and The Writings of NIchiren Daishonin from an SGI Center bookstore -- they CAN do decent study material when they try.

3. Fire in the Lotus: The Dynamic Buddhism of Nichiren, Daniel B. Montgomery, 1991. Covers over 700 years of history, from Nichiren to the various Nichiren sects today. I think I bought this one at Borders.

4. The Lotus of the Wonderful Law, W.E. Soothill, 1987. Translation of the Lotus Sutra. I bought this at Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for the imput, I will hunt down these resources.

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Re: Former SGI, Ikeda, the Billionaire Buddha of Bling
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: March 02, 2009 04:30PM

Yes, there is no proof that chanting can achieve the "impossible". That is like New Thought, [skepdic.com] it doesn't work, and its a trap.
Since it doesn't work, people keep coming back and back for more guidance.
It is a vicous cycle, that hooks people into the group sometimes for life. Its somewhat similar to Christian Science, in that way, you get mentally trapped.

If you succeed, its due to the chanting.
If you fail, you did not chant hard enough. Ya gotta chant better and harder!
(this is a very common technique, used by many Gurus)

I can guarantee you that Ikeda knows this 1000x better than you or I. He claims 13 million members, but that is probably exaggerated, but they do have a lot of members.
So controlling millions of people is not easy, but Ikeda knows how to do it very well.

No one can prove this, but you can bet your last dollar that Ikeda does NOT chant in private. He may do it in public, but there is no way he does it in private. He knows chanting doesn't really do anything.
Ikeda is a Man of Action, he's a corporatist warrior. Did Julius Caesar chant?

honestly, its very clear he uses the Buddhist ideas as a fig-leaf, as a way to passify and manage his millions of minions. hey, that's how Roman emperor Constantine used Christianity, and remember the "opiate of the masses" idea. Those in power at the top, they know all this stuff.
Classical buddhism has nothing to do with this SGI stuff.
SGI clearly is an international corporate structure to manage large masses of people. Guess who is the self-appointed Emperor Pope of SGI?

It is sad that the average SGI member could be somewhat on a hamster wheel, and making Ikeda richer by the hour. He's probably a multi-billionaire.

Here's a new one...
Billionaire Buddha of Bling.




Daisaku Ikeda -- statesman, billionaire, god
[www.culteducation.com]


Quote
tsukimoto
Anticult, when I read this, it was like a light clicked on. I suddenly had a much better understanding of WHY I feel more at peace since leaving SGI. SGI encourages you to think that you can change ANYTHING in your life through the power of chanting -- no matter how impossible. This sounds encouraging and empowering at first. But then, after you've chanted and chanted, sought "guidance" from your leaders, worked harder for the organization -- done everything that your leaders tell you to -- and you still don't achieve your goal -- then what?

Some years back, I was encouraged to "show my faith," and chant that a young relative be healed of Type I diabetes. Well, I chanted and chanted and chanted -- and guess what, she still has it. So I was told, and began to feel, that my faith wasn't strong enough, that I'd chanted with doubts. I was letting my family and my faith community down.

Then I thought some more. People chant and pray for a lot of things. Lotus's mother-in-law surely chanted that her husband would stop drinking. During a war, people on both sides will be chanting and praying for victory. There have been many seriously ill SGI leaders and members who have been chanted for by many members -- and these individuals have still died! Some things are just not possible, no matter how hard you chant, pray or wish. Telling people that their misfortune didn't end because "you didn't chant enough," or "you didn't chant with the right attitude," is just ignorant and cruel. You have no way of knowing what their attitude was -- and how much chanting DOES it take to cure diabetes, alcoholism, or cancer? Twenty hours, a hundred hours, five hundred hours?

Since Ikeda is, according to SGI, the perfect Buddhist, maybe HE should publicly chant for impossible things like the terminally ill to become healthy and peace in the Middle East. I mean, he's Super Mentor! How could HE have a bad attitude and not enough faith? And if he's successful, just think of how many new converts SGI would get -- as well as strengthening the faith of those who are already members! Just imagine the wonderful publicity for SGI.

As for my relative, the more realistic, and empowering attitude is to say, that yes, she has diabetes. No, we don't like it, it's unfair, but that's how it is. We will do everything possible to help her manage the diabetes so that she can have a healthy, active and productive life. We will keep informed about the disease and new advances in treatment. We can support diabetes research and education so that some day there may be a cure -- or at least, advances that make it easier to live with. THIS, to me, is so much more productive than encouraging the family in this fantasy that if we can only chant enough (and with the right attitude, of course!), our girl will somehow magically be healed of diabetes.

When I can think like this, I feel more free and at peace. I'm not beating myself up because I can't achieve the impossible. Instead, I'm focusing on the truth -- and what I really CAN do. Trying to do the impossible is very stressful! Do Ikeda and the other SGI leaders mind if you are stressed, and feel inadequate, when your chanting for the impossible doesn't work? Of course not -- the more stressed you are, the more you'll chant, seek their guidance and work for the organization -- in a fruitless attempt to relieve the stress they put on you in the first place! What a vicious cycle it is! How did I not see this before? People can run and run for years, like a hamster on an exercise wheel -- running to the point of exhaustion, and not going anywhere!

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: KittyLuv ()
Date: March 03, 2009 12:46AM

I was meeting with my neighbor every Thursday morning to chant for about 30 minutes or longer. It became very stressful. She would interrupt me and tell me I needed to chant with determination. If chanting is supposed to reduce stress, it had the opposite effect on me. The constant interruptions to make sure that I was chanting correctly -- which I could understand in the beginning -- was nerve-racking. I used to chant at home following along with the mp3 from the SGI site for slow or fast gonyo.

Aside from correct pronunciation of that portion of the Sutra and being interrupted to be told that I had to chant with determination -- whatever that meant, because I sure as heck didn't get a demonstration -- I was taught nothing about this faith -- absolutely nothing. I was given Volume I of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, which I had started reading, but I never got very far before I had to give it back. What I was told, and I've certainly read this many times in the Tribune, is that SGI Buddhism is the only faith that you will see actual results -- guaranteed actual results -- or at least that's what I was told.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: March 08, 2009 10:17AM

happened to be reading Britannica, and they have an entry on Soka-gakkai.
What is interesting is their method of "break and subdue".
(they don't even mention Ikeda, which is why he bought all those Hon. Degrees. Outside of these sects, in the real world, no one knows who he is).


QUOTE:
"The Soka-gakkai follows an intensive policy of conversion (shakubuku; literally, “break and subdue”), which increased its membership within a seven-year period (1951–57) from 3,000 to 765,000 families."

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: tsukimoto ()
Date: March 10, 2009 06:26AM

Quote
The Anticult

QUOTE:
"The Soka-gakkai follows an intensive policy of conversion (shakubuku; literally, “break and subdue”), which increased its membership within a seven-year period (1951–57) from 3,000 to 765,000 families."

Yes, this was under the second Soka Gakkai president, Josei Toda. Toda vowed that he and his followers would convert enough people so that over 750,000 households would practice Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism by his death. He said, that if they couldn't convert that many people, his followers could just toss his ashes in the bay, with no funeral. Toda died in 1958, and needless to say, was given a grand funeral. Even the prime minister of Japan came.

Toda was quoted as saying, "The Gohonzon (scroll that members chant to) is a machine that makes you happy. How to use this machine? You conduct five sittings of prayer in the morning, and three sittings in the evening and shakabuku (break and subdue --ie, convert) ten people. Let's make money and build health and enjoy life to our heart's content before we die!" Under Toda, the Gakkai developed in an aggressive and materialistic direction, promising people "actual proof," or benefits like material prosperity, love and good health if they chanted enough, converted others, and worked for the Soka Gakkai enough. The Gakkai still teaches this today.

Toda and his Young Men's Division also clashed with an elderly priest in a controversial incident in 1952. This priest, Jimon Ogasawara, had recommended that Nichiren Shoshu compromise with the Japanese military government during World War II. The government wanted both temples and individual homes to enshrine a Shinto talisman. Ogasawara was willing to accept this. The first Soka Gakkai president, Mr. Makiguchi, and Toda, refused to accept the talisman, and were sent to prison.

They blamed Ogasawara for this, though it's not clear to me whether Ogasawara actually had anything to do with their imprisonment. Toda believed that his imprisonment, and his friend Makiguchi's death was Ogasawara's fault, however. And in 1952, Toda sought revenge. He and a group of his Young Men's Division, led by his favorite boy, Daisaku Ikeda, confronted this elderly priest. The young men screamed threats at Ogasawara, stripped his robe off, and carried him through the temple grounds, shouting to the shocked crowds that Ogasawara had murdered Makiguchi. Some local firemen rescued the old priest and broke up the mob. This was widely reported in the Japanese press. Public opinion was very much against SGI -- and Toda finally apologized publicly.

Still, when I asked my leaders about it, years later, they defended Toda's and Ikeda's actions. They said things like, "Well, Ogasawara was responsible for Makiguchi's death -- and Toda being imprisoned under horrifying conditions in Sugamo Prison. How would you expect President Toda and President Ikeda to feel about Ogasawara?" I question how responsible Ogasawara really was for Toda's and Makiguchi's imprisonment. They refused to enshrine the Shinto talisman in their homes -- and the Japanese military government was not about to LET anyone refuse to enshrine the talisman. What does that have to do with Ogasawara? A group of young men beating, ridiculing, threatening and humiliating a lone elderly man -- how is that Buddhism? My leaders would defend Toda and Ikeda no matter what they did.

Toda died suddenly at the age of 58; he'd had pancreas and liver problems, along with diabetes for much of his adult life. Funny, that all his shakabuku, chanting, and dedication to the Soka Gakkai didn't cure him! He had, however, handpicked and trained his successor, Daisaku Ikeda to carry on his work.

It's strange that I was thinking that the Gakkai had changed during the 1990's. Really, it didn't. Once you read about Toda, you can really see that SGI's direction -- contempt for the priests, focus on prosperity rather than spirituality, overaggressive propagation, and disrespect for other Buddhist sects -- was pretty much set in the 1940's and 50's. Toda truly did choose a successor who would continue what he'd begun.

The information that I've posted here comes from the book Fire in the Lotus by Daniel B. Montgomery. Don't look for it in the SGI bookstore.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: tsukimoto ()
Date: March 10, 2009 06:45AM

Suenam, in the thread on Ole Nyedahl and Diamond Way Buddhism, wrote something that applies to SGI and President Ikeda too.

..."There is a degree of fanaticism which suggests that Diamond Way members are devotees of Ole Nyedahl rather than practitioners of Buddhism, and this shows in their behavior. It's not so much that there is systemic indoctrination and abuse; however, the result is something far more insidious and harder to pinpoint."

"This shows itself in a holier-than-thou attitude and because the members are not really practitioners of Buddhism, there is no ethical imperative to guide their behavior. This combination of deluded narcissistic superiority and lack of discipline opens the door to potential abuse with no accountability."

Substitute "SGI" in place of "Diamond Way," and "Ikeda" for "Nyedahl." This is the danger of SGI: members are NOT studying the teachings of Buddhism. What is their moral compass, then? Being a "good Buddhist" is defined as supporting the organization, and your leaders, no matter what they do -- even if it's a group of young men beating and humiliating an old man. Or donating money to an organization that has been suspected of money laundering and bribery. Is there anything that loyal, long-term SGI members WOULDN'T do, if Ikeda and his cronies said to?

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: KittyLuv ()
Date: March 24, 2009 03:05AM

The traveling Ikeda circus has come to town. That exhibition I've heard so much about on these board, Gandhi, King, Ikeda: A Legacy of Peace, is at Stony Brook U from March 24 to April 3. That headline is just so hard to follow. For the life of me, if Ikeda was so like Gandhi and King, then why is it I could probably go up any joe in street and ask them if they know Ikeda, and get a really look, like who the hell is that? I had never heard of this man until I was introduced to SGI over a year ago, and I don't live under a rock. Is this the membership drive season?

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: evergreen ()
Date: March 24, 2009 03:33AM

I was born into the practice. I have decided to let my leaders know that I have to resign from my leadership position. I have been struggling for over 14 years to accept Ikeda as my mentor. I even thought for a while that I wasn't going to receive benefit if I didn't accept him as my mentor. All of the top leaders in my Area know how I really feel. It became clear to me a few days ago that I need to make a break, and I need to do it now. At first I thought my decision was in response to my parents and their awful behavior as human beings ("The real advent of the Buddha's appearacnce in this world lay in his behavior as a human being"). However, I've had days to think and I need to do this. I will lose some good friends. My daughter is part of a young children/parent goup that I helped facilitate. I wish I could practice Nichiren's Buddhism without the SGI. I feel like I can't find an alternative that I agree with. I don't agree with the priests or Nichiren Shu (Nichiren is a prophet in their teachings, not the Buddha). This all will be a tremendous shock to my system. I have felt like I was living a lie for many years. Sometimes I would listen to other members complain about the way President Ikeda is the be all and end all. I would stay silent because I didn't want to be responsible for anyone stopping their practice. I don't think I am ready to recruit others to stop - I'm not sure if that is what I really want to do. I DO want to find another group to practice with that honors Nichiren the way I do, but outside of the SGI. I tried to do this break away five years ago. I started again in 2005 despite my lack of agreement with the beliefs of SGI members. During this period when I stopped chanting five years ago, I looked into many other faiths and found nothing that I could connect with. My biggest fear is that I will not find like minded people. I feel like I have been exiled to Sado.

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