Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: doubtful ()
Date: June 14, 2010 07:20AM

@tsukimoto, DavidM, Rothaus, and DrJesusEsq

Well, I certainly ignited a reaction with those passages I quoted. I have learned a lot from your responses. One of you wrote, "So, my question is, if Ikeda is really such an admirer of Dr. King -- then why has Ikeda never spoken out against Japan's discrimination against those people of Amerasian, Burukumin and Korean ancestry who live in Japan. Why has Ikeda never spoken out against capital punishment, as Dr. King and Gandhi did? Why has he never spoken in favor of reparations for those "comfort women," the women taken as sexual slaves by the Japanese military? Where is their civil rights movement? But of course, Ikeda wouldn't speak out for any of these people. It would be an unpopular cause in Japan, and would hurt the New Komeito Party's chances of staying in power. " Others commented on SGI/Ikeda's absolute silence re: China's numerous human rights violations.

While I don't demand that any religious leader necessarily take a stand on all of these issues, unfortunately SGI invites a critical thinker's scorn when things like the following appear. On p.33 of the July-Aug 2010 Living Buddhism it says, "Nichiren Buddhism is unsurpassed in promoting the valuing of human life and improving society through respect and dialogue. Through learning about oneness of mentor and disciple, we come to understand how to actualize our philosophy; and the written record of the mentor and disciple relationship contained in the The Human Revolution and The New Human Revolution is the perfect textbook for gaining that understanding." My memory does not serve me well. Can anyone explain the parallels between Kansai/the Osaka incident to the Civil Right's movement? On p. 22 of SGI Quarterly it refers to "the shared aspirations of Dewey and Ikeda: 'As religious humanists...they are concerned to break down the dualism of the sacred and the secular, the religious life and the every day life." This is a report from The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue in Boston. The event was the Sixth Annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue on November 14, titled, "John Dewey, Daisaku Ikeda, and the Quest for a New Humanism."

First of all, why should anyone care about Ikeda's ideas on education? He was not schooled as an educator nor has he worked as one. Second, why should his name appear right next to John Dewey's? Third, given SGI's obsession with mentor-disciple is it not reasonable to suppose that the real objective of that forum is to promote Ikeda's greatness, not education? Pardon me all for including all of this. See, I do have appreciation for many things I got out of SGI. I do also have respect for Ikeda's ability to propagate Nichiren Buddhism (directly and indirectly ) in and out of Japan. He does deserve credit for that and I do give it to him. I don't believe he is an evil man AT ALL. I don't believe SGI is evil AT ALL. But what I see happening with the narrowly focused articles, forums, exhibitions, RTE, lack of financial transparency re: members' contributions---and the number of disgruntled former members peopling this forum and others show that SGI is headed in a direction that will drive its younger, educated, successful, and more critically-minded members away ultimately. The idea of getting excited about Buddhism can be a great thing, but SGI is devoted to wanting people to get excited about Ikeda, not Buddhism. Who cares? Even if he were to win the Nobel Peace Prize and 300 honorary doctorates how does this make the typical member's life or practice any better? Don't they see that there is no connection between the two? As far as I know, we practice Buddhism to make our lives better at the fundamental level so how does getting bombarded with Ikeda's greatness make the world better or me any happier?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2010 07:27AM by doubtful.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: DrJesusEsq ()
Date: June 14, 2010 08:20AM

In my opinion, I can't see Ikeda as evil or bad as Hitler. However, to compare him to Gandhi, King, or even the Dalai Lama is ridiculous. As for SGI, the people there (and even the leaders) are not bad people either. I think they are more than a bit misguided. A lot of them do want to do good for others, at the same time though with their activities, the meetings, and what-not it makes it hard for anyone to step back and take a breather. Besides, when they are all singing "Forever Hentai" it's too loud to think.

The way I see it, and the way it is usually done in those experiences, chanting is the end all be all. You know the saying, "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you'll feed him for life." That is possibly how they think Osaka and Kansai was good for, a mass propagation on fishing.

Could Ikea be the one to spread Nichiren Buddhism to the West? I think it is debatable. After all, there were many Japanese and Korean women who married American servicemen. George Williams went to America first before Ikea stepped foot on its soil.

While religious leaders can't take sides on all issues, Ikeda has taken none. As others have said, Gandhi, King, and even Nichiren spoke out against the injustices of the time risking life and limb. Ikea, while always speaking out about how everyone should live in peace and happiness kept mum on the pressing issues of the world and even in Japan.

Seriously, if he really wanted to be compared like King, he could simply tell everyone, "Koreans are just as good as Japanese people."

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: June 14, 2010 12:21PM

Dear doubtful, you write:

"I do also have respect for Ikeda's ability to propagate Nichiren Buddhism (directly and indirectly ) in and out of Japan. He does deserve credit for that and I do give it to him. I don't believe he is an evil man AT ALL. I don't believe SGI is evil AT ALL."

There are more than five hundred references to evil in the writings of Nichiren Daishonin:

[www.sgilibrary.org]

Since he corrupts Buddhism through his behavior and teachings, then by Buddhist definition, he is evil. Mixing of the clean [Daimoku] with the unclean [self agrandizement], for example, is one way he corrupts Buddhism. Another way is, he and his top leaders exploit the teachings for financial gain. Still another, is violating all of the Fourteen Slanders. You may contact me privately to discuss the matter of the Fourteen Slanders, if you wish.

Nichijew

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: June 14, 2010 02:07PM

Quote
doubtful
While I don't demand that any religious leader necessarily take a stand on all of these issues ...

Well why not? In areas like this you will find people with a religious background doing exactly that ... look at King. And even if we discuss SGI as only a 'Peace Organisation' then one would even more could expect this oganistaion to raise its voice --- but no they are happily publishing picture books praising their leader. Praising him for what I may ask? For being able to run to meeting 3-4-5 times a week and calling this a peace activity?? Doubtful, pleaaaaaase use your common sense.


Quote
doubtful
He does deserve credit for that and I do give it to him. I don't believe he is an evil man AT ALL. I don't believe SGI is evil AT ALL.

The credit goes to the lay belivers. And these days I have serious doubts that we are talking Nichiren Buddhism at all. The religious practise is being more and more stripped of its theoretical foundation and used to propagate Ikedasim and this must be done whith him wanting it to happen that way.

Quote
living buddhism
"Nichiren Buddhism is unsurpassed in promoting the valuing of human life and improving society through respect and dialogue. Through learning about oneness of mentor and disciple, we come to understand how to actualize our philosophy; and the written record of the mentor and disciple relationship contained in the The Human Revolution and The New Human Revolution is the perfect textbook for gaining that understanding."

While I can live with the first sentence where is proof for the second half in the Gosho or Lotus Sutra? Nichiren was quite clear in what he said - I doubt it needs Ikeda to understand it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2010 02:27PM by Rothaus.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: June 15, 2010 02:42AM

Hi All,

just had to think about the glossy magazine business today. I just thought that in the 'old days' the publications still contained a fair amount of study material having no direct link to SGI. I seriously wonder why SGI never published a pure study magazine concentrating on Nichiren and Buddhism in general only.
Ever since there was the paradigm shift towards underlining SGI's interpretation of the mentor(master)/disciple stuff we know that members who enjoyed serious Buddhist study, those who have an academic background and those who were just a bit more critical than average have been driven out, decided to leave or have withdrawn from general activities. The only conclusion I can come up with that SGI as a self-proclaimed organisation dedicated to education actually fears the very results of education. I know for a fact that academics were shunned and being an academic was looked upon as having a special karma in terms of having more difficulties reaching enlightenment. Even though there are sutra quotes supporting such statements the motivation I believe was another.
Being in academia makes one curious and one of the most important lessons is to learn how to question, not out of mistrust, but to build a solid foundation for ones own point of view.
So I would not be surprised SGI is willing to loose all those people on purpose as it needs a compliant membership. And from a strategic point of view simple-mindedness is much more reliable and easier to impress. It may sound snobbish, but to be honest we all know that the core membership in Japan are mediocre middle-class housewives. People with a curious mind and academics find the list of Mr. Ikedas honours rather suspicious if not obscure only the very shallow would boast about them theses days. At least to people I know who have nothing to do with SGI the list of degrees raised eyebrows and that was not because of admiration.
And Doubtful, certainly some of your messages were a bit provocative as you exactly know what the answers would be didn't you?
I know that living in SGI-land can be quite irritating what is held up as the ultimate truth one day can be reversed on the next and more then once one's common senses are being challenged. The thing that I truly enjoy in this forum is that people really do come out with their very own story … when it comes to major scandals we can only quote them too as many of us do not have the resources or time to verify them. I guess though that's what may bug some in SGI HQ most our experiences that I know for a fact sound familiar to so many.
Some of things I said now may not be politically correct but in my books the things that SGI does are despicable. To argue that SGI introduced so many to Buddhism may be correct but it serves as no excuse. Some Fascists/Communists may find an excuse for Hitler/Stalin because of all the 'good' they supposedly have done by getting people back to work etc. and we all know that that could never ever serve as an excuse to what has happened. Some who try to find excuses for SGI follow the same logic though. Sure there are many many fine people in SGI, but by closing their eyes to what seems obvious they are guilty of drawing people into a cult. Some of those good people may be critical themselves, may keep an open mind, but what if those who they get introduced to SGI don't? Then those people by doing so are guilty of just making there own stay in SGI more bearable.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/2010 02:49AM by Rothaus.

Re: Former SGI members--Education
Posted by: tsukimoto ()
Date: June 15, 2010 06:18AM

Doubtful: "Well, I certainly ignited a reaction with those passages I quoted."

You expected otherwise?


Doubtful: "While I don't demand that any religious leader necessarily take a stand on all of these issues, unfortunately SGI invites a critical thinker's scorn when things like the following appear."

SGI cannot have it both ways! With their ridiculous "Gandhi, King, Ikeda exhibit, they encourage people to compare Ikeda to Gandhi and King. And then they object because people DO make the comparison -- and find that Ikeda just doesn't measure up to King? Well, then -- stop saying that he's like Dr. King!


Doubtful: "The event was the Sixth Annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue on November 14, titled, "John Dewey, Daisaku Ikeda, and the Quest for a New Humanism." 

First of all, why should anyone care about Ikeda's ideas on education? He was not schooled as an educator nor has he worked as one. Second, why should his name appear right next to John Dewey's? Third, given SGI's obsession with mentor-disciple is it not reasonable to suppose that the real objective of that forum is to promote Ikeda's greatness, not education? "

Yep, Doubtful, very reasonable. Two things:

1. But Ikeda does think of himself as an educator. He has founded the Soka School system in Japan, and he has founded Soka University in the U.S., also, and the Soka Academy Charter School in Massachusetts. On the charter school application , he does list himself as "an author and educator."

2. Ikeda is always putting his name in with -- or having pictures taken with intellectuals and powerful men -- it's a way of making it seem as if he is the equal of them. The "Gandhi, King, Ikeda Exhibit." Listing himself as a co-author with Arnold Toynbee. Having pictures taken with Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia, etc. Saying that he's a friend of Rosa Parks.

It's the same principle as having a famous athlete drinking a certain brand of soda in an ad. You sort of know that he's just doing it because he's paid to -- but just the fact that this famous athlete likes the soda, just makes the soda seem better than it really is.



Rothaus: "Ever since there was the paradigm shift towards underlining SGI's interpretation of the mentor(master)/disciple stuff we know that members who enjoyed serious Buddhist study, those who have an academic background and those who were just a bit more critical than average have been driven out, decided to leave or have withdrawn from general activities. "

"The only conclusion I can come up with that SGI as a self-proclaimed organisation dedicated to education actually fears the very results of education."

"
Being in academia makes one curious and one of the most important lessons is to learn how to question, not out of mistrust, but to build a solid foundation for ones own point of view. 
So I would not be surprised SGI is willing to loose all those people on purpose as it needs a compliant membership. "

I agree with this, especially the bolded. Dictators HATE thinkers! China humiliated and harrassed its intellectuals. Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge killed educated Cambodians...even something like owning a book could be enough to get someone executed. In a cult or a dictatorship, there can be only ONE thinker -- the leader!

Re: Former SGI members--Education
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: June 15, 2010 11:35AM

SGI Ikeda Inc, along with every other sect like this, copies the philosophy of that great teacher from Western philosophy, Quick Draw McGraw.

[en.wikipedia.org]
"Often, Baba Looey was a more astute judge of the problem at hand than Quick Draw. Baba Looey would start to tell Quick Draw what he was thinking: "Queeks Draw, I theen...", whereupon Quick Draw would interrupt with his catchphrase:

"Now hoooooold on thar, Baba Looey! I'll do the "thinnin'" around here, and doooon't you forget e-it!"

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: quiet one ()
Date: June 15, 2010 01:25PM

Quote
Rothaus

. To argue that SGI introduced so many to Buddhism may be correct but it serves as no excuse.

SGI has introduced many people to Buddhism, but it is also responsible for turning thousands of people away from Buddhism. How many people were "shakabuked" quickly, whisked off to the temple for a Gohonzon, and then threw the Gohonzon away, returned it, or gave it to a thrift store? Some Nichiren Buddhists would think that what SGI has done in the name of spreading true Buddhism is despicable. Even today when people have to practice for a little while before they can get a Gohonzon, most new members leave soon after they joined. A few stick around and then they become hard-core members. But SGI has really caused a lot of people to turn away from Buddhism.

Re: Former SGI members--Education
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: June 15, 2010 01:53PM

@ quiet one

You are right!

The only thing is that to their mind SGI is the real McCoy and they posses the Dai-Mentor expounding the ultimate truth of the latter latter day, his appearance has been proclaimed in the depths of the gosho – and only he knows exactly where.

Aappart from that to the average member SGI is Buddhism, everything else is hobo not to be investigated and learned even if it would make reading the gosho easier.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/2010 02:00PM by Rothaus.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: evergreen ()
Date: June 16, 2010 11:02AM

Ikeda fits the description of narcissist with a dash of anti-social behavior. Ironically, all these famous men were seriously flawed. No I am not denouncing civil rights. Nor am I defending colonialism. But these men were far from perfect.

Even the great Dr. King is infallable. Didn't anyone else learn about his adultery and supposed plagarism for his doctoral thesis?

Ghandi wasn't a walk in the park either.

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