On Leaving SGI
Posted by: hertford65 ()
Date: December 30, 2010 10:56PM

It takes great courage to leave. I was a part of SGI for 20 Years. I only received Gohonzon this year in July and returned it in December. This year I have been on a spiritual journey searching for what, if anything, I want to be a part of. I decided that, after all this time, SGI is not for me. I really like Buddhism. I believe that people should be free to follow what they want to and in their own time. I never did believe in hard sell religions. SGI is almost but not quite "door to door promotion" a bit like the Mormons and Jehovas. When someone is trying to coerce me and sell me magazines and books I shy away. That's another thing about SGI. I wanted to get a Butsudan and was told that I should "only buy it from SGI" to make sure it's authentic. It's a way of saying that SGI members need to keep all profits in house. The same with that monthly magazine.... its not so much about Buddhism but more about Ikeda. Another thing I didn't agree with and couldn't get my head around was the idolisation of Ikeda! It seems that you must have him as your mentor in the mentor disciple relationship or you won't become enlightened. So it's not so much about Nichiren Buddhism any more. And also the contribution to Kosen Rufu fund? Need I say more. :)
I am glad I got out. Now I am free to read about different schools of Buddhism and different spiritual paths and religions if I choose and take the best of each of them to enrich my life and help me to live in a better and happier way.
And finally on leaving you are lead to believe that you will not be enlightened through any other religion or Buddhism and that ND Buddhism and SGI is the only way to do it. I don't agree. You are not encouraged in meetings to speak your mind and share doubts but you are browbeaten into submission. I believe "Shakabuku" means literally to be BROKEN and RE-EDUCATED (In the ways of SGI) I don't confuse ND Buddhism and SGI. I don't think they are one and the same? I didn't feel content, as a Buddhist, to follow SGI. There are too many aspects that make me feel uncomfortable and that don't sit right. I saw new members coming in that were being brainwashed and I know how hard it is to get away. Funnily enough all those members that I knew when I was a part of SGI have not called or texted once since I left. What does that tell you?

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: January 06, 2011 09:22AM

Quote
hertford65
It takes great courage to leave. I was a part of SGI for 20 Years. I only received Gohonzon this year in July and returned it in December. This year I have been on a spiritual journey searching for what, if anything, I want to be a part of. I decided that, after all this time, SGI is not for me. I really like Buddhism. I believe that people should be free to follow what they want to and in their own time. I never did believe in hard sell religions. SGI is almost but not quite "door to door promotion" a bit like the Mormons and Jehovas. When someone is trying to coerce me and sell me magazines and books I shy away. That's another thing about SGI. I wanted to get a Butsudan and was told that I should "only buy it from SGI" to make sure it's authentic. It's a way of saying that SGI members need to keep all profits in house. The same with that monthly magazine.... its not so much about Buddhism but more about Ikeda. Another thing I didn't agree with and couldn't get my head around was the idolisation of Ikeda! It seems that you must have him as your mentor in the mentor disciple relationship or you won't become enlightened. So it's not so much about Nichiren Buddhism any more. And also the contribution to Kosen Rufu fund? Need I say more. :)
I am glad I got out. Now I am free to read about different schools of Buddhism and different spiritual paths and religions if I choose and take the best of each of them to enrich my life and help me to live in a better and happier way.
And finally on leaving you are lead to believe that you will not be enlightened through any other religion or Buddhism and that ND Buddhism and SGI is the only way to do it. I don't agree. You are not encouraged in meetings to speak your mind and share doubts but you are browbeaten into submission. I believe "Shakabuku" means literally to be BROKEN and RE-EDUCATED (In the ways of SGI) I don't confuse ND Buddhism and SGI. I don't think they are one and the same? I didn't feel content, as a Buddhist, to follow SGI. There are too many aspects that make me feel uncomfortable and that don't sit right. I saw new members coming in that were being brainwashed and I know how hard it is to get away. Funnily enough all those members that I knew when I was a part of SGI have not called or texted once since I left. What does that tell you?

Dear Hertford65:

It tells me several things. You are lucky you weren't harassed; you were decisive; they don't care about you because there was something in your words or demeanor, as an SGI member, that they felt was a threat; you had smelly feet.

Nichijew

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: spamster ()
Date: June 20, 2011 12:12AM

hertford 65 -

Also been involved 20 yrs. Agreed that the deification of Ikeda is getting worrying, and the magazines are awful... but I hope, having been part of SGI for 20 years, you had the confidence to put the person straight when they told you to get a 'genuine' butsudan?? A Butsudan is a wooden box, no more, no less. Sure, we get some people in meetings who talk rubbish - but something SGI is pretty good at, is encouraging people to speak up when they hear someone talking crap. Did you?


But I don't get your final point - surely the fact that they've not called since you left suggests that it's pretty easy to get away - hardly cult-like???

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: April 04, 2012 08:23AM

He could as easily have been a persona non grata. If he was donating a few thousand a month or he had he been converting several people a month, a vice general director would have been knocking on his door.

Nichijew



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/04/2012 08:26AM by Nichijew.

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: jlynneda63 ()
Date: April 18, 2012 05:01AM

I am very greatfull that I would not relinquish my Native American heritage or beliefs when I went back to SGI. I was very closely monitored & remarks were made but if I had not already been involved with that I don't thin Iwould have quit the way I was able to do. I haven't returned Gohonzon yet although it is down & in a protected space. I still carry fear of "what if" which is why I joined this forum. Thanks for your post!

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: June 18, 2012 10:54AM

Fear will prevent you from blossoming. That is what they want, in order to validate their delusion. There is great big beautiful world outside of the Soka Gakkai and there are legitimate Lotus Sutra schools you can investigate if you want to continue chanting with a group.

Nichijew

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: Luz ()
Date: June 26, 2012 03:08PM

Hi!

I want to thank this forum, it was very helpful to me. Because when it is time to leave this organization you can feel lonely and scared.

Anyway, I started to chant 8 years ago, because I was in a desperate situation. I always had doubts about all that Ikeda myth, never have a open mind and ask question about "the law" and of course, this easy answer:'Chant, you will understand"

The fact is that I have been chanting in 4 very differents countries and I always thought I would chant forever. People were nice enough to attend some meetings and I really belevied I could change my life with this practice. Six month ago, I arrived in France, then I discover in SGI all I hate about people. Basically they were chanting for more than 20 years and were so negatives and saying bad things about each other. Complaining all the time about their life and they all had one big enemy to fight. I realize how lost and brainwashed they were and got scared. I tried to understand and start to questioned "is this buddhism really working?" The perfect answer was always, "they did not understand Sensei's heart" Or they are chanting in a wrong way... Of course always a good excuse.

Then I started looking into my life and those 8 years, all those hours of daimokus for goals, they never arrived. The Gohonzon put me in those life conditions to improve myself and I had to fight without doing any personal strategy (that is small ego), one day, the results would come.

I got really tired but to scared to stop. Hopefully my husband is a scientist and he was always respectful but sceptical. We talked a lot and I understand now I have lost the control of my life, leaving all the importants decisions to the Gohonzon and Lotus strategy. I was in a deep depression and frustated with my life conditions. Now I just want to move on but I am still with that crap that a lot of really bad things will hapen to me, that the people I love will die and that I will become miserable.

Just writing this message, I feel less lonely in this decision, I know I can not talk freely with the few friends I have made in SGI. They wouldn't understand. 2 of them already told me that I will never be happy if I stop.

I feel scared but I want to feel free with those feelings.

Really, I have wonderful friends, beautiful people, they do not chant and they have issues sometimes but they are happy. Instead the people I know from SGI seem happy but always in this fight and seriously, most of them do not have happy life.


Thanks!

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: June 27, 2012 06:52AM

Hi Luz. Thanks for sharing.

Nichijew

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: January 12, 2013 10:25AM

Luz, I realize this is months late, and I hope you are having a better time of things. With regard to something you said:

The Gohonzon put me in those life conditions to improve myself and I had to fight without doing any personal strategy (that is small ego), one day, the results would come.

This attitude is not Buddhism. I know, it's SGI and Nichiren Buddhism, but it's not consistent with the sutras or with even the four Noble Truths.

For example, one of the Four Noble Truths is that attachment causes suffering. Feeling you must "improve yourself" demonstrates that you have an attachment to being someone other than who you are. We don't have to "fight". We don't have to "prove ourselves". We already have survived. We exist! Buddhism is not about constantly struggling against reality; Buddhism is about accepting reality and recognizing that you can be *fine* with reality as it is. You do not need to bend reality to your will. Though many people regard Buddhism as a life-long practice, that is actually evidence of attachment, and we all know that attachment causes suffering. Doesn't matter what kind of attachment it is - if you feel you need (fill in the blank) to be happy/successful/fulfilled, that's attachment - and delusion!

I would like to recommend a few sites that I think will help:

Review the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path - pretty much every sect of Buddhism agrees on these: This isn't my favorite source, but it will have to do :/

This is an intro article that nicely covers the basics: Introduction - click this

In the SGI, we were taught that the Lotus Sutra, supposedly Shakyamuni Buddha's "highest teaching", tells us to "close, discard, ignore, reject" all the other sutras. The Lotus Sutra was first written in the 1st Century CE. If the Buddha was as early as people think, why did it take so many hundreds of years for his "highest teaching" to even be written down in the first place? One of Buddhism's strengths is that it is almost exclusively tolerant and magnanimous. But the Nichiren Buddhisms are intolerant. That alone should tell you something very important about this variant of Buddhism.

For example, from the Kalama Sutra (which you can read here for yourself if you like), we find this idea being expressed:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

THIS ^ is consistent with "Follow the Law, not the Person."

Look at what Nichiren and Presidents Makiguchi and Toda said/wrote about winning and losing:

Buddhism is win or lose.

Now look at what the Buddha supposedly wrote:

Winning gives birth to hostility. Losing, one lies down in pain. The calmed lie down with ease, having set winning and losing aside.

Which of those sounds more, well, Buddhist?

In the SGI, people are encouraged to "chant for what you want" and to decide an outcome to a scenario and then chant to get that outcome. This is incompatible with the Buddhist attitude of accepting reality as it is and recognizing that circumstances do not define us or determine whether we can be happy or not.

Above all, Buddhism is about accepting yourself and others as you are. If you are experiencing something else, it's not Buddhism.

Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: January 12, 2013 12:00PM

Luz, Hertford, something I forgot to add is that, if you want to see a practical example of REAL Buddhism, buy or rent that old TV series Kung Fu, starring David Carradine. They get the Buddhism exactly right.

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