Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: July 01, 2010 01:22PM

@ doubtful

Glad you liked the book. As I said the only one around that gives a half way neutral overview of the history of Nichiren Buddhism.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: doubtful ()
Date: July 01, 2010 01:57PM


You are not alone. Believe it or not, the people on this forum will stay in touch with you. You are welcome to contact me. You can Reply via PM if you would like. I have done so and I have been touched by the quality and quantity of responses and suggestions. The people here really do want to help you find what's best for you. At least keep reading through the posts starting from the beginning. You will end up feeling quite invigorated as you start to dissolve the destructive mentality many SGI members have introduced you to. You will also be quite entertained by the pointless, cult-like craziness SGI dresses up as world peace activity. You sound like a sincere person with a good heart. You also sound lonely. Please remember there are lots of things you can do that don't cost much. Furthermore, you CAN use chanting or other practices or self-help books to get at the root of your problems. Check out either of these books by Jack Kornfield: 1) A Path with Heart 2) After the Ecstasy, The Laundry.
See if Being Happy by Andrew Matthews is still in print. All 3 of these have helped me me more than any book put out by SGI.
There are free music festivals in most major cities. The weather is warm so start jogging or set aside time for timed vigorous walks in beautiful parts of the city. Finally there are tons of groups out there centered on topics, sports, hobbies, etc. Use the Gohonzon or your other practice to help you find something that will be fulfilling and social. You can always quit and try something else if the fit is wrong. Don't get into anything else that could turn out to be aggressive or hierarchical though. Please stay in touch with us here. You wrote, "I am adult, and shouldn't be scared of these people, but somehow I am.I am also scared because somehow over the years, I never meant for it to happen, but there is no one else in my life but SGI folks. It feels like I either stick with them, or I have nobody." In all fairness, the fear is in you. SGI members will not harm you in any way and it sounds like they are already failing as real friends anyway so let them go.
You also wrote, "I don't understand why people are so angry with me because I don't wish to attend RTE. I also don't understand how RTE is contributing to world peace...The last phone call I received was an angry one from someone who wants me to confirm my attendance to RTE. She said the performers have been rehearsing for months, and I would be disrespecting all their months of hard work by refusing to show up, and that I am harming the entire world by not participating in an event which will transform America."
Please keep reading earlier posts. I guarantee you WILL have the confidence to know that your gut feeling is right. These people don't really care about you, as they have shown. RTE is lots of things, but it is not about world peace or Buddhism for that matter.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: writeforchange ()
Date: July 01, 2010 05:22PM

scaredtoleave, your post has inspired me to continue what I am doing, which to be truthful in some ways, is out of my comfort zone. Maybe that is true for many on this site and that this is the gift we are given here. Not only is it a safe place for expression but a place to seek and find understanding. Understanding is often the foundation for forgiveness especially the most difficult of all forgiveness --- that of forgiving yourself. And trust me professionals in SGI understand all these principles which is why they can do so much psychological damage.

This is the psychological background and personal history I had emerged from when I ran into SGI.

In 1995 my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We lived on a ranch in San Antonio and our 13 year old daughter was the youngest person to ever compete in all five sports of modern pentathlon which is running, swimming, fencing, shooting, and riding. In order to fulfill my husband's business and allow our daughter to compete, she went to an all girls school in Toronto, Canada to train with the Irish pentathlon Olympic coach, we rented out the ranch and I was shortly to return to Los Angeles to be with my husband through chemo and sustain the business. 32 days later we received a phone call telling us our daughter had hung herself from her bunk bed because she was gay.

18 months later my husband died, one year later my mother died, one year later than that my father died. I took a million dollars in insurance money to build a facility for at risk teens in Santa Clarita, California. I purchased a ranch of 20 acres with five houses and 11 out buildings on it. I took on a pillar of the community as a partner who had experience in the business of helping teen addicts. Thirty days later, I was found bleeding on my front yard and I awoke in the emergency room of Henry Mayo Hospital with no memory. I was told my horse got loose from the barn, ran up and kicked me in the face, and then stomped all over me. In the two years that followed, since I had no heirs, I had an appointed attorney and a case worker who determined my life. My so called partner purchased a 1.5 million dollar property for the mortgage of 500,000 and had me evicted.

Through the grace of the universe and maybe some chanting, all of my deep memories and long term education of 30 years came back. I still have trouble with short term memory and numbers. At 58, as far as the state for rehab etc. I was done and money on me would be wasted. What little I had left I paid a lawyer for fighting the fraud of the sale--to no avail. And to rehabbing myself. Thus, I learned to use the computer to some extent. I was granted permanent disability as a widow on my husband's SS. My diagnosis was permanent post traumatic stress syndrome.

After being evicted, I tried living as a roommate with people my age on fixed incomes and their problems. This never worked out well because these people truly resent having to do this--at least the two I tried -- one a man with a son and one a woman with a son. At this time I find out the drug that is supposed to be helping me the most neurontin was really made for epilepsy which I have never had and depresses frontal lobe activity which was my problem. I read this in the business section of the LA Times about Eli Lilly being fined 235 million dollars for this off label usage. I weaned my self off this drug and in the next six months really began to think much better. And having known horses all my life realized that there was no way what I was told happened to me did. But today I still have total blackness 30 days before and after the Accident.

So I moved to the hood of LA the only way I could afford to live on my own and keep my independence. I had long ago learned that no relationship is always preferable to really bad relationships. Thus, I am the only white person for blocks around me. It had taught me many things. I have lived here 4 years last March. Last August, I went to the Remote Air Medical that was held at the Forum and spent most of the week in line trying to receive free dental care for three oral surgeries. Giving me the first relief from constant pain in years. It was there I met a person from SGI.

The last day they came with me back to the house and I was going to share a meal and then take them to a bus station where they could skip two of three buses to get to the Forum. When we got to my house there was an eviction notice on the front door. My land lord was evicting me claiming that I refused to let him in the apartment to do repairs. This was a total lie and every where I went people were kind of astounded that he was trying this. I borrowed 1500, some from friends, mostly from payday loans to fight this. The SGI person went down to the courthouse and acted as a speaker for me so I could just listen and see how all this worked. I was grateful and we occasionally emailed.

On Nov. 7 2009, I had just gotten back from attending a funeral and it was this person asking me to please come and get them and that they were living in an abusive situation just a few blocks away and could they spend a couple of nights to get themselves together. I felt I hardly could refuse since they had helped me and I believe in both justice and fairness. So I did.

Now all this time, they had been talking about SGI and I had explained my experience with chanting and I was happy with the way things were. I told them I had been practicing the Tao and Tantric Buddhism for at least 15 years. Having been to my house they had seen my extensive collection of Buddhas and I had told them stories of the neighbors and the Watchtower people calling me a witch and an idol worshiper etc.; they knew exactly where I stood on this. This person chanted in my house and I did not have a problem with it. Within three days, we were having intensive psychological fights. I was told the Dali Lama had compared women to having the value of yaks. That I was not appropriately over the grief of my daughter's death. That I was not a good mother not to have known my daughter was gay. That I obviously had raised her with the wrong values. Meanwhile, this person is sleeping 12 hours a day on my floor, reads no books, and will watch nothing of value and is obsessed with gossip. When I met them I am reasonably sure they told me they had a Ph.D. in Literature which of course in any length of time you could not bluff me about. They changed their story to following Ikeda's principles of reading and study, they told me they had the equivalence of a Ph.D in literature and I did not listen and understand. This became almost a standing practice of how I experienced being told stuff by the leadership I encountered.

By the end of three days, I understood I had a major psychological problem on my hands and I started looking for ways to compassionately solve it. The good thing is that she knew of all the problems I had with my landlord so I said there is no way you can stay here even 30 days because he will try to evict me again. So we picked five days before the 30 would be up and she would have to leave no matter what. By this time, I know she is stealing my liquor and I start marking the various bottles on a daily basis to get an idea how much. I think she is an alcoholic and this is the source of all her problems.

Meanwhile she is constantly talking about the Friendship Center and my need to go. So I say I will take her. She is going to chant and I am going to visit the book store. What I think is that this kind of an organization should have an AA group or something like it I can get her to attend. In the bookstore, the volunteer on duty is a guy who has been in AA and sober over 10 years and he is able to be very accommodating and helpful to me. He also talks to me about SGI and how it functions as he understands it. He recommended reading the Reluctant Buddhist which they are out of at the moment. So he tells me there is an introductory meeting in a couple of hours that I should attend and I purchase Embracing Compassion Vol. 1 by Ikeda. This is the first time I have ever heard of him. This is Tuesday night.

Ironically, this was the most interesting discussion meeting I have ever attended. It was a diverse group with some really intelligent and wide read young people there. It was lead by an older Japanese man who was obviously a professional leader. I was the only "guest" there on my own. I had the most questions and all of them immediately began with the mentor disciple relationship. I have never been into gurus after 20 and kind of espouse if you see the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him..... But this Japanese guy was really good and what I committed to right then and there was exploring SGI for 90 days. Then this 30 something Oriental girl spoke up and said she would shakabuku me for 90 days and since I had no idea really what that was---I said yes.

I have now set the stage and tomorrow will turn the lights on. I would like to thank Mr. Ross for this opportunity of allowing me to express myself here. I did not understand the depth of his commitments to the revelation of cult education because I only accessed this forum from another site and saw only this aspect of it. Often I do not know exactly how I feel until I try to convey it to someone else. Because of my brain injury and the way I have been rehabbed I write much better than I speak. So I would never be able to explain this as well any where else.

Again my deep appreciation to everyone supporting everyone else on this site.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: dragon14 ()
Date: July 01, 2010 09:03PM

I don't recall whether this has been discussed anywhere on this forum. Do those who are on the SGI payroll themselves contribute in the zaimu campaigns?

BTW, congratulations everyone for 200 pages of good information and support!

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: cyclops ()
Date: July 02, 2010 12:02AM

Have been reading your msg. A little about myself I have been chanting started in the 70's joined NSA in the 80's and I can't comprehend the change in direction. I have had two Masters in my life while studying Nichiren Buddhism. One started this practice in the 50's, the other in the 60's - both told me to follow the law and not the person. @ that time I didn't understand why the emphasis on this - because they told me this in the 70's and 80's - I now see why - they were most wise I owe them more than I can ever say! As for me I was a district leader and I never pushed May contributions - I put it out there @ meetings, told my members if they wanted to give –but please do not put yourself in a financial hardship, please take care of yourself and family first! I would always catch some heck from sr. leaders but I know I was doing right by my members- also FNCC never pushed it - one leader came up to me and asked my why - I replied where do you find the Buddha? Is it within you or in Florida! Also those DVD’s never made it to my district meeting @ the planning meetings the members wanted to do something else - when the guest leader asks me why I didn’t show the DVD I just said it was brought up in the planning meeting and voted down! Needless to say I am not a district leader now but I still have my say when the youth give the mantra “Ikeda is my mentor” I will always pose a question. Tell my why he is your mentor – you wouldn’t believe some of the answers – I always get a deer in the headlights look before they say anything! Nichiren is the way to go! My heartfelt wishes go out to all on your joinery in life.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: writeforchange ()
Date: July 02, 2010 12:03AM

Does anyone know what time zone this board is in since the dates and time do not even come close to matching mine. Also is this board located outside the United States?

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: dsm ()
Date: July 02, 2010 12:23AM

writeforchange, if you go into your "My Control Center" and select "Forum Settings" from the list in the left-hand column, you can set the board to your own zone.

The default on it is probably Greenwich Mean Time although the Rick Ross Institute is in New Jersey. The board itself is not limited to any one place because there are people who come in and share information & resources from all over.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: doubtful ()
Date: July 02, 2010 04:37AM

@WFC I am sure you have everyone on this site trembling with fear and anticipation of what SGI did to you. The tragic events you have related are horrible. I am curious what it is about SGI members that gives some of us the right to think we can evaluate someone's karma or religious practice. I have to say "us" because looking back I can recall some instances where I let intolerance and arrogance produce judgments of others who did not fit my idea of what a correct Buddhist practice (i.e., one with SGI) is supposed to look like. I have yet to meet an SGI member qualified to use his or her own life as the model for anyone to follow. All of them, from the top leaders(including Ikeda) down to the general members continue to have the same kind of personal, professional, and social obstacles that plague all people. Doing this practice and following Ikeda or what SGI directs does not automatically produce anything except intolerance of other ideas, faiths, or people who simply do things differently. Practice with the SGI also encourages willfulness and the attempt to control others and outcomes. None of these things produce serenity or inner-peace for me. Nearly every time I observed any SGI activity, especially the big ones, I would observe(or experience) the number of people displaying anxiety about the meeting plan, the arrival of guests, the pace of the chanting--lots of frantic running around, etc. Then the discussions, experiences, or presentations always had to come back to the mentor-disciple and Ikeda's greatness. Then if videos came on you would see many scurrying out to "use the bathroom" smoke or just leave. Of late, I keep going back and forth about what SGI members really want. Are they just average(or below average) individuals trying to feel important? Are they just frustrated people who think that their practice+activities will make up for the success that seems so elusive? I have been one of them. Nevertheless, I think most of them could see tremendous benefit in their lives if they would stop loading Nichiren's beautiful practice with so much expectation. The inner peace, insight, clarity, and self-confidence should be enough but to SGI those things are secondary. This is why they shall continue to fail in this country. Finally, after reading and studying I have come to a conclusion that is in conflict with Nichiren's actual philosophy. His premise in "on Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land" is not a good thing for a world full of diverse people and teachings. He felt that Japan continued to experience natural disasters, pestilence, foreign invasion, etc because the country practiced Buddhism incorrectly or not at all. He was wrong. Natural disasters, diseases, and conflicts have plagued mankind since the beginning of time. Perhaps SGI thinks that the correct philosophy(theirs) will secure a better world. They are wrong. If the world would resemble the SGI, that would not be a good thing. Finally, neither Nichiren, Shakyamuni, Ikeda, the Pope, the Dalai Lama, Mohammed nor Obama has the the right or the authority to impose a single philosophy on the rest of the world. Anyone of another faith could claim theirs would avoid world problems better. Anyone else could dispute what a better world actually is.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/2010 04:42AM by doubtful.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Morgaine ()
Date: July 02, 2010 04:39AM

This page is so encouraging to me, just when you think your story is alone, you find so many people dealing with the same things. The most amazing thing to me about all of you is that with your challenges in life and in SGI, most all of you still seem to have hope and faith. It really is wonderful to hear your stories, and thank you for sharing them. This forum is very important and because of it , I believe like the song by Sam Cooke "a change is gonna come" . These things cannot continue and more and more people are waking up!! Yea for us! Peace and Blessings everyone.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: doubtful ()
Date: July 02, 2010 04:47AM

@Morgaine, I agree with you. A change will come. I really do hope SGI leaders read ALL the posts with their hearts, not with their pride. If all of the comments only serve to reinforce their practices, then they deserve what's coming as more and more members and guests encounter this forum. I happened upon it by accident. Imagine how much sooner I would have had I been searching the internet for anything related to SGI.

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