Perfect example of the utter blindness these people have . . . good things can only come from chanting, and if they do (especially to someone who's left the org), well, we just won't talk about them. I'm kind of surprised that she didn't tell me that I'm lucky that I'm receiving it at all, since not chanting should create a totally suck-filled life.
During my leadership years, I got to hear a lot of leaderspeak about many topics, including this exact one.
It's interesting, even His Lordship Daisaku Fatman has acknowledged that, upon leaving the organization, one's life will seem easier - for a while. Then blah blah "correct orbit of the organization" blah blahbitty blah etc. I read that years ago.
I was told that, when people leave the organization, their lives deteriorate. Oh, it can take a while, because the good fortune they've accumulated through their practice up to that point takes a while to run through. Your life is compared to a large container - somehow, I'm thinking a ship - and as you chant and do activities and give LOTS of money to the organization, of course, you are filling this container. But when you don't practice hard enough, not as much "fortune" accumulates. Suddenly I'm realizing that I don't remember really clearly - perhaps someone can help me out. Is it that this container comes with a hole in the bottom, so you have to keep filling it in order to not run out? If it were a ship, the contents wouldn't run out so much as the water would rush IN, so that wouldn't work... Or is it that, when you leave the organization, you punch a hole in this container and then all your accumulated fortune starts to drain away?
Whatever. Anyhow, however much/long/well you practiced means you've accumulated at least SOME fortune, so for a while after, good things will still happen for you, because you've still got some fortune left. The basic idea is that nothing good can happen to you unless you make some fortune by practicing. So anything good that happens is from your leftover fortune.
I remember a leader telling me that, when people leave, their life conditions deteriorate. Then, when they come back (it was always couched in terms of WHEN, not IF, they come back, BTW), it's like they went BACKWARD - it's like they have to start farther back than they were when they left! You don't want THAT to happen to you, now do you?? And these poor souls always acknowledge how much ground they lost during their ill-considered hiatus from the organization. Of course, they're so glad to be back that they'll NEVER do THAT again - you can count on it! A hard lesson learned!
Certain individuals were pointed out as examples - of course I would have never considered going up to them and asking them if what I had heard was true. The stories were to be accepted at face value, you see O_O
The reality is that good things happen. To everyone. To anyone. You don't have to do anything special to have good things happen to you - they're part of life. All the religions that I know of want you to think that, if you just do as they tell you, extra extra-good things will happen to reward you for your obedience. But too often, a "benefit" takes this form: "I was walking along and I was thirsty, and I found a nickel! When I added it to the rest of the change I already had in my pocket, I had enough to buy a Coke! Thank you, Gohonzon!!" >>wild applause<<
For me, magical thinking was the last of my superstitions to go. It was the one that lurked longest in the shadows of my psyche, that took me the longest to discover and realize was there. I know where I got it; intensive early childhood indoctrination into Evangelical Christianity did the trick. That, incidentally, is also why the SGI was such a good fit: intolerant, evangelical, "we're better than everyone else" - see where this is going? It was in a discussion online, where this one guy I was friends with nailed me to the freakin' wall about daimoku, that woke me up. I believed that one could change something all the way across the world by chanting, because of the doctrine of the oneness of life and its environment. It is doctrinally correct to think that, if you do not like the situation in, say, Syria, you can chant and it will change - magically! As a manifestation of your changed life condition! YAY!! I'm embarrassed to tell you this, but, as you can predict, it led to some rather insane wackiness on my part. At my last job, in a restaurant, I had this co-worker I really liked. He was waitering, but had a background in broadband communications. Apparently, on his time off, he was doing all sorts of wifi stuff. In other words, he should have been working in THAT field instead of the food service field. So I chanted, and a while later, he was talking with a customer who turned out to work in the broadband industry, and that led to a full-time corporate job for him.
I felt that he should have thanked ME for getting him that job O_O
Because I sat on my ass and muttered gibberish and thought *special* thoughts O_O
You can see why I'm embarrassed about that!
But anyhow, back to my story, that online friend kept asking me how it worked. How did it work, that me sitting on my ass and chanting transforms into political change over in Syria (or wherever)? How did it work? What was the mechanism? If "Buddhism is common sense," as the SGI says, we should be able to explain how it works, right? We shouldn't have to resort to, "It's basically magic, okay??"
I realized I had *nothing*. I couldn't explain why me sitting on my ass and saying magic words over and over could change something across the world in a place where I'd never even been. Without resorting to the "It's just magic and thus can't be explained" angle. I could see, though, that believing I was helping (by basically doing *nothing*) relieved me of potential guilt feelings for seeing need and not actually doing *ANYTHING* to help.
And that was the end of magical thinking for me. What I realized, though, in the aftermath of shedding that skin was that my attachment to magical thinking stemmed from a deep, terrible belief that, if I didn't have some sort of supernatural/magical assistance (talisman, relationship, incantation, spell, benevolent deity or equivalent), I would not be able to succeed in *ANYTHING*! I would not be able to even SURVIVE! How horrifying! I was terrified that, left to my own devices, I would crash and burn spectacularly, and everyone would laugh at me and regard me with contempt. Two of the most devastating experiences for a social animal like a human being - ostracization and rejection.
The thing is, though, that at this point, I could *see* this delusion for what it was! I could *see* where the fear came from, and I realized that its root was irrational. It was a false belief that had been frightened into me as a child before I had developed the mental ability to think critically, that I hadn't even been aware of because it had become lodged in my subconscious, from where it drove me relentlessly.
THIS is why all the religions want to indoctrinate their members' children from infancy O_O It is the worst form of child abuse.
So once I was able to *see* it for what it was, it lost its power over me. I was free! And let me tell you, life is infinitely sweeter when one can observe and experience it without being driven by fear. Look around you; you'll see most everyone driven by fear. Terrified of anyone/anything different. Terrified of the government. Terrified of anyone/everyone in authority. And eager to punish and harm anyone weaker than themselves (think convicts and immigrants). These are abused children all grown up and still terrified of being abused, brimming with rage over the indignity of it all, a rage that can only be vented on someone less powerful, the way someone powerful abused them when they were less powerful. That, BTW, is actually a normal psychological reaction to being abused as a child. That is conservative, fundamentalist, Republican - all names for the same syndrome.
The reality is that this is a world that is full of good things. It is full of beauty. It is full of kindness. It is full of goodness! Of course there is a lot to be done. Too many broken individuals needing to be healed. Too many people falling through the gaping holes in our inadequate, stingy social safety net. Too many lies, too much greed, too much fear, too much hatred. That is why intolerant religions sell so well in the US - it has inadequate social programs to protect people from disaster. And when people are afraid, they are fair game for intolerant religions that promise magical relief for real world problems. Too bad it doesn't work...