Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: cyclops ()
Date: July 11, 2010 05:05AM

Yes it is a good possibility that history will repeat itself and just like Nichiren after his passing the practice broke up into several sects – Ikeda has casted the die for yet another break-up within SGI – I could see @ least two or more sects, there is in increasing number of older and some younger members that don’t buy into this Ikedaism - sometimes I feel like the Devil King of the 6th Heaven is afoot because the SGI is so fanatical about Ikeda and the accumulation of money and power! Add to this the RTE brainwashing of the youth and newer members that only know the SGI. AMAZING.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: quiet one ()
Date: July 11, 2010 05:15AM

Quote
tsukimoto

I really can't imagine SGI ever going back to the temple, even after Ikeda's demise. The older leaders and long-term members will remember SGI's hatred for the temple. Newer members won't have memories of ever being part of a temple or having priests -- so why would they suddenly feel that they need it?


I agree. I have been told by a "wise" leader that there will never be another president of SGI? Who knows what will happen? But I'm sure there is a plan in place.

A few years ago my husband and I felt that it was possible that Ikeda had already passed away--that it was an actor that we saw in the videos. The reason? Several years ago in the world tribune, pictures of Ikeda looked like an old man, one who had possibly had a stroke. Then for a while there were no current pictures of him. Just old events, such as him meeting world leaders several years back. This went on for a while, and then a youthful, healthy President Ikeda appeared. Has anyone else ever wondered?

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: quiet one ()
Date: July 11, 2010 05:25AM

Quote
tsukimoto


3. How did SGI activities mke me feel? Some made me feel stressed, if I had to drive a long way or do a lot of work to get ready for them. I enjoyed others -- a good study session, or discussion meeting, if people stuck to talking about the Gosho, and how they applied them to their lives. Some of the bigger meetings, which drew people from all over the state, were fun. It was like a family reunion, seeing old friends that I didn't get to see regularly. Some of the YWD and WD meetings, where we'd have the meeting, but then have a potluck and socialize afterwards, they were fun too.

It wasn't that our meetings and activities were bad; many were enjoyable. I think that the stress came from there being so many of them, and from the pressure to participate in everything. However much a person did, it was never enough!

As time went on, our activities and meetings became more and more focused on the evils of Nikken and the wonders of Ikeda. And that's where things began breaking down for me. I felt increasingly irritated, listening to this foolishness. In the earlier years, I usually left meetings and activities feeling energized, inspired, optimistic. In later years, I came out of activities and meetings feeling frustrated, and annoyed, thinking, "Why did I even come to this!? It's such BS! Waste of time!"


tuskimoto, this is exactly how I felt. Really there were activities that were so much fun! And I met so many diverse people. Had experiences that I never would have. But, like you said, as time went on the flavor of the meetings changed. I started dreading having to go to meetings, and feeling terrible afterward. And I was so embarrassed by things like the comparison of Ikeda to King/Gandhi.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: doubtful ()
Date: July 11, 2010 07:48AM

@tsukimoto You wrote, "As time went on, our activities and meetings became more and more focused on the evils of Nikken and the wonders of Ikeda. And that's where things began breaking down for me. I felt increasingly irritated, listening to this foolishness. In the earlier years, I usually left meetings and activities feeling energized, inspired, optimistic. In later years, I came out of activities and meetings feeling frustrated, and annoyed, thinking, "Why did I even come to this!? It's such BS! Waste of time!"
This is how it was for me too. I really enjoyed the YD activities way back in the late 80s&90s. Consequently it was easy and natural for me to talk to others about the practice/organization. The meetings and activities did not make me feel peaceful but I felt energized and happy. The study aspect of the organization also made me feel like we were learning Buddhism, albeit a limited version of it but not Ikedaism. About five years ago when the mentor-disciple angle went into overdrive, in addition to the on-going vitriolic Soka Spirit movement(split with priesthood) I could not in good conscience feel good about introducing new members. Sometimes I would think, "Oh because I have gotten old, I have lost that tireless YD spirit." But that may only have been part of it. I was always knew SGI was a little strange, but I liked that. As an alternative religion/organization that is inevitable, but they have been seeming desperate for a while. Ikeda's lectures, videos, and guidances became redundant. It really did seem as if the organization was afraid that it was not growing quickly enough in the US, anyway. Does anyone know with any certainty what the actual membership has been in the past 10 years? Moreover, how many YD are joining and actually sticking with the organization? I have said it before, I have no desire to see SGI fail because it has done some excellent things for me and others, but what are the stats saying? Is it already a failure? Will Rock the Era be an adequate barometer?
Question for everyone: What if anything should SGI do or become?



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2010 07:54AM by doubtful.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: July 11, 2010 07:57PM

As to the times I felt happy at meetings. I joined in the mid 80s, still a teen, I guess as it just was few years after Ikeda had to step down as SGI president it seems to me everything was toned down a little – I joined during a calm period so to speak. Yes, I enjoyed the meetings at that time and maybe it was due to my age I was not more critical, although the man who showed up in a white suite in publications did make me weary at times. Things changed during the split, the language became aggressive. That aggressiveness SGI showed in the early nineties sent shivers down my spine. Okay I did not agree with the priests either, but the fanaticism some members suddenly showed scared me. The meetings were not about us, our experiences indeed not about our path to enlightenment, they were about THEM against US. It was all that fighting talk, fighting for 'justice'.

What justice are they talking about I asked myself, they go down one road we go down another – what's the big deal?
The sentiment that this was NOT my fight grew stronger the more disrespectful the language got.
I was a member during the split and all those who joined way after do not have the knowledge to judge us here as 'disgruntled' members. SGI then accused the temple of worshipping a person and not the law – exactly what SGI is doing now with Ikeda. SGI stole my youth I have every right to be pi..ed off by this ridiculous cult.
After the old man dies? SGI will loose more members at least in the West. It will become even more a cult centred around the three mentors and it will become even more evident that it is not Buddhism. And even in various cycles of those who just watch SGI, even dictionaries it will no longer be counted as a Buddhist group and join the long list of sometimes weird 'New Religious Movements'.

As somebody pointed out Ikeda took SGI as his personal possession after the split so what will happen when he dies? What happens to lost property? Most likely it will be auctioned off hence be up for grabs. Those who have that strange notion to create an American or European Buddhism will then learn that what they did was not Buddhism anyway and I hope some serious questions will be raised from the outside. Those questions will be raised and the staunch Ikedaists will maybe even say that they were unaware, that they did not know. The thing is though that us, the disgruntled ones were there too, we witnessed it and will not remain silent.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: wakatta1 ()
Date: July 12, 2010 08:03AM

@ROTHAUS

Quote

I was a member during the split and all those who joined way after do not have the knowledge to judge us here as 'disgruntled' members. SGI then accused the temple of worshipping a person and not the law – exactly what SGI is doing now with Ikeda. SGI stole my youth I have every right to be pi..ed off by this ridiculous cult.
After the old man dies? SGI will loose more members at least in the West. It will become even more a cult centred around the three mentors and it will become even more evident that it is not Buddhism. And even in various cycles of those who just watch SGI, even dictionaries it will no longer be counted as a Buddhist group and join the long list of sometimes weird 'New Religious Movements'.

As somebody pointed out Ikeda took SGI as his personal possession after the split so what will happen when he dies? What happens to lost property? Most likely it will be auctioned off hence be up for grabs. Those who have that strange notion to create an American or European Buddhism will then learn that what they did was not Buddhism anyway and I hope some serious questions will be raised from the outside. Those questions will be raised and the staunch Ikedaists will maybe even say that they were unaware, that they did not know. The thing is though that us, the disgruntled ones were there too, we witnessed it and will not remain silent.

Heh! Sitting here remembering "Pac-Man Shakubuku" in Chicago and thinking about your comment Rothaus. Yeah, just get the numbers, act really happy and keep pushing the daimoku and surely any obstacle can be overcome. Like the guy with the baseball bat saying "Buddhist! Get the h**l off'n my property ya heathen!" Fond memories and it was all for good old Sensei who I'm certain never shed a drop of persperation for my sake.

The point is - the pre-split members weren't doing it for Ikea but for a greater cause (yeah, I know, cousin rufus, human revolution, etc.) but at this point in time I'm pretty certain that battle has long been lost. Burning up all the youthful energy building human pyramids and carrying flags here an there didn't change the world one iota. Proof of that is the long-standing problem with SGI coming clean on where the money goes. If cousin rufus was in the wings you'd have that information easily accessible. Instead the truth seems to be that a lot of people (yours truly included) were just duped.

In the US, is there any chance that a groundswell of buddhism will ever arise that will so totally change the landscape that the world will become a nirvana? Not likely. The chance existed in the 70's and 80's and it was lost. Sexy eastern religions are yesterday's news, and to my mind, because of the many mass communications capabilitys that exist (twitter and others) the days of large monolithic organizations are gone.

That is where my annoyance springs from, a huge missed opportunity and the aftermath being just a cynical money extraction machine to bleed those who are willing to believe the people they are following are the "real deal".

Sigh! Gotta work on this Esho Funi problem I have :-)

Wakatta

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: overthetop ()
Date: July 12, 2010 03:31PM

wow, I just got back from Rock the Era.
Yeah, I know, signed up for that right before I found this forum.

I can't believe how totally over the top the whole thing was.
I'm sure all of you who've been to these things probably already know what it's like,
but for me it was a bit of a shock and bizarre experience.

It makes me really sad, especially after reading Wakatta's post.
So much wasted energy! They are going to drain the youth like vampires...

One thing became clear to me over this trip: SGI abuses people.

Plain and simple.

Honestly, i was shocked by some of the stuff that I saw and heard, and people just act like it's normal.

It seems to be the norm for SGI to take advantage of people in every way they possibly can.

From the perspective of someone who has been taken advantage of for years, I can totally see
the pattern. So sad that people are brainwashed into believing all the phony crap they spew.

I had to bear through one of the speeches by Linda Johnson, and I hope it is the last.
She was saying how SGI is in the "business of changing lives." Yes, that sums it up for me. It's a business for them to make
money and that's why they have to do shakabuku all the time. I feel like people are just numbers to the organization.

I don't really understand how SGI calls itself a Buddhist organization.

Now all that's left for me to do is somehow cut myself off from SGI, right from the root.
It's a good lesson for me in not letting people abuse me anymore, ever again.

I'm so done with that shit, and I'm thankful to have this experience as it's helping me heal from past abuse.

And to the believers who always treated me with respect, I wish all of you well.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: quiet one ()
Date: July 12, 2010 10:54PM

I talked to someone who also went to the rock the era event on Saturday. It was held in a large arena that supposedly holds 19,000, and it was completely filled. In fact, there were people outside watching on a big screen because there were more people than the arena would hold. I looked in the Sunday paper for a review of it, but there was none. In today's paper (Monday) there was an article about a Christian festival on Sunday in the same city, attended by 6,000. The article was on the front page! SGI states that events such as rock the era will change America (and the world) but are not considered important by anyone except those attending (and not even everyone attending, such as overthetop!).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2010 11:06PM by quiet one.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: doubtful ()
Date: July 12, 2010 11:46PM

@overthetop You wrote, "I can't believe how totally over the top the whole thing was.
I'm sure all of you who've been to these things probably already know what it's like,
but for me it was a bit of a shock and bizarre experience."
Please don't leave us hanging like this. Can you give us some details about what you did not like about the event? Do you recall anything about the performances, speeches, videos, presentations etc? I too heard that the event was well attended. That does surprise me, although I am confident that not all the attendees were YD. The way SGI plays with district membership lists tells me that actual numbers from the events will be fuzzy. Okay, so they got lots of people to attend, so what? The nature of the event had nothing to with Nichiren Buddhism. You wrote, "So much wasted energy! They are going to drain the youth like vampires...One thing became clear to me over this trip: SGI abuses people." What made you feel this way? Those are harsh words you used and in the spirit of fairness I urge you to indicate why. See, I have been upset that since last fall SGI has had YD and the other divisions giving Rock the Era an EXCESSIVE amount of their time and for what? SGI likes to talk about members using the practice to make their dreams come true. I ask, how is this possible if the YD are attending practices and training meetings for over 6 months? I cannot even begin to imagine how much pressure and commitment these naive young people have experienced since last fall. You cannot make your dreams come true if you only have time to go to meetings and practices. I am glad Nichijew reminded us that through the 70s and 80s SGI sponsored much larger events than RTE, which he called "small potatoes." That reminder put the recent show into perspective. No doubt these festivals are membership drives. However, there is one difference. Those other ones were not centered around Ikeda. Now that this one was well attended, SGI might feel encouraged to repeat it. I really hope not. Truthfully, I am glad RTE did not fail in terms of attendance. For the past two weeks I had been feeling bad for all the participants. I really did not want all of these really nice young people practicing and supporting an event that would make them feel like they could not even fill the venue. Thankfully, they did not play to an empty house but how did this or any other SGI event "change America"?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/13/2010 12:04AM by doubtful.

Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: cyclops ()
Date: July 13, 2010 12:15AM

I started my practices in the 70’s – what a difference a few decades make. I joined NSA/SGI in the 80’s – again a big change from the 70’s when I was just practicing Nichiren Buddhism. Now on the break –up yes I remember it well the SGI kept talking about the evil priesthood and we should chant for the downfall of Nikken and the temple – I would get into arguments with the hardcore members because I would stress that chanting for anyone’s downfall wasn’t practicing Buddhism – If anything we should be chanting for their individual enlightenment so they may see the true wisdom and change their ways! I would get a verbal lynching from members that couldn’t see the Negativity that they were creating. I came from a Nichiren center practice so when the SGI kept up the hate talk I was just beside myself because most I felt were good people they were just being misdirected by people they trusted. I pray that after Ikeda some sort of Buddhist compassion will reenter the organization and a renaissance of some type will emerge. Because in all the years Ihave pratices, I have found that the path to enlightenment is strewed will devilish functions.

Please if the Blue Lady is still listening I would really like to get some of her wisdom on these troubling events !

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.