I began practicing as a Quaker in a small town in VA . . .
I often considered the parallels between my original Quaker practice and sgi - "fungible," indeed.
The similarities between RSF and sgi hit me between the eyes . . . peace, tolerance, Buddha-nature . . . in many ways, they were much the same. I think that's one of the reasons I'm so angry with the organization - they not only duped me, but took away something that I thought was really beautiful. The positive things that sgi promotes are perverted into such ugly bullshit - tolerance and equality exist only if you toe the company line and Buddha-nature is available is only available to you if you practice correctly as defined by the leadership.
The Quaker & Buddhist connection is fascinating. You'd think it would be a perfect fit /faith move.
I, too, was struck at how the gakkai cult org. was exactly the opposite of everything
it was supposed to stand for:
1. World Peace & Harmony --> in reality, dictatorial, authoritative leadership, military like, hierarchical , no personal choice or freedoms, excessive control, manipulation via mystical threats & fear tactics
2. "Respect the inherent human dignity of each individual" (cult speak) --> segregation, no thinking for yourself allowed, rabid intolerance (sometimes bordering on violent) of other faiths, non-democratic decision making, no true dialogue (another cult hijacked word), arrogantly dogmatic
ural festivals --> rather than celebrations of cultural differences and tolerance, they were manic fascistic displays of marching, yelling hyper-controlling freaks, and all kinds of gakkai cult org. centric over the top displays / behavior
Hypocrisy, doublethink and doublespeak at every turn, everywhere in the cult org..
At the tender age of 60-something, I feel like I've finally been robbed of my innocence - does that sound silly?
I feel that the gakkai cult org. did this to me literally
. As a result, it doesn't sound silly at all.
I'm so glad that out of the three people I tried to shakubuku, two of them turned tail and ran while the other one just kind of disappeared. At least I didn't drag anybody else into this mess.
That brings a question to mind . . . maybe an insensitive or uncomfortable one; when you guys "defected," did you talk to any of your shakubus about it? Just curious. I talked with one woman whom I'd been working on, explained that I'd left the org and why - she had no intention of joining but was sometimes chanting. I apologized to her for trying to get her involved - I was really embarrassed about it.
Excellent point and question.
People who knew me as a Gakker, I now tell them that I grew up in a cult, apologize and ask them to please forgive me for anything that I might have said or done to influence them to view things differently. We all journey from ignorance to knowledge in our lives, so I don't think it's anything to really be ashamed of. (But I honestly do feel like an idiot sometimes, looking back on it all.)
At the same time, I have no hesitation in telling gakkai members whom I meet or see, the ones who don't know me, that in my opinion and experience, they are in a cult - I have no qualms whatsoever about shooting straight on this point, because I think they actually need
to hear it. The few times I've done this, the gakkai member is always shocked and their mouth falls open; vehement denial always follows. It doesn't matter what they say, because I've heard it all and can respond with examples and counterpoints.
For non-members who know about the gakkai (especially in Japan) and may bring the subject up (sometimes I bring it up), same thing, I tell them flat out, it's a cult. A knowing nod, slight smile of agreement and respect of mutual understanding, usually follows.
The $oka Gakkai is a CULT
, in every classic sense of the word.
Edit: I forgot to address the point on chanting. I was always embarrassed about this. I had a friend, same age, who we both, together, drifted out of and away from the gakkai cult at the same time. One day, during that whole process, he causally mentioned to me how he doesn't reflexively chant out "NMRK" anymore whenever there was a close accident (for example, driving, etc.). We both agreed that that was a sign of progress, overcoming the programmed fear and dumping the magic incantations.
From my anecdotal experiences with the gakkai cult org., I believe that many (if not most or all) members gravitate toward the magical / wishful thinking out of fear, loneliness and desperation, or some combination of those things. Then, they become addicted to it. I've even seen some obsessive-compulsive type members who can't function and get panic attacks if they can't perform their morning and evening prayers properly or adequately and chant their "x-amount" of mandatory daily, self-imposed, daimoku time. I've even seen some who can't even feel "normal", unless they get their minimum daily fix of the mental magical indulgence.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2013 06:29PM by Hitch.