Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:26 am

The precepts are very good guides to conduct, though.
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:18 pm

Masaru wrote:The precepts are very good guides to conduct, though.

No argument from me. But are you about to quit caffeine and sugar, to you drink alcohol? did you know the internet is a drug too? Do you make like Thich Nhat Hanh and avoid HBO and all "intoxicating" TV?
I seem to have been like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:50 pm

Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Masaru wrote:did you know the internet is a drug too? Do you make like Thich Nhat Hanh and avoid HBO and all "intoxicating" TV?


I think we're taking the interpretation of "intoxicants" a bit too far. Still, my understanding is that there was some debate when tea was adopted into some Buddhist cultures because of its effects, and certain piquant foods are to be abstained from according to certain sutras. I think one was garlic, maybe onions.

As far as media, when I was in high school, long before I joined SGI, I would sometimes practice a weekly fast. I wouldn't watch TV, listen to the radio, and even refrained from negativity in both speech in thought which wasn't always possible during the week due to... well, the fact many people are judgmental A$$holes who like to fill your thought-stream with superfluous information about other people and arbitrary value judgments about the world at large. This was something I did before I even officially became Buddhist, and which I stopped because of SGI's "desires are good for you, introspection and meditation are bad" stance. At the time I was kind of a nightstand crypto-zennist. I think I might reintegrate that practice back into my practice, though. I'm really starting to feel the difference that Buku talks about between orthodox Nichiren Buddhism and SGI's spin on it.
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby dude » Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:31 am

Introspection and meditation are bad? Who told you that?
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:56 am

Masaru wrote:I think we're taking the interpretation of "intoxicants" a bit too far.

Hell no, although I don't buy into it myself, as I see the Zen perspective as joyless puritanism, there is a certain logic to it and a perspective worth mulling over. That you can ingest things in media that can cause suffering. They are intoxicating even. We should look at the things we do that might in actually be bad for us. So many things should be interpreted as intoxicants.

Its not really taking it too far as finding where you draw a line. For me its the "that lead to carelessness" part. I have never been drunk in my life, pot seems to make everything lame and boring, not better, in fact it worsened rather than helped my anxiety, I am scared of most drugs. Theres a story of a monk who was forced to choose which of the precepts he would break because he had to, and he chose the fifth because it only affects himself, so he gets drunk and promptly breaks the other 4. My stance is to avoid things that lead to carelessness. And I do not think we are all on the same level of tolerance. I can play violent video games without worry.

All that aside, its a personal code, the legalize all drugs camp is winning me over in spite of my being a Buddhist because not everyone is a Buddhist and we aught not to force Buddhism on anyone not receptive.
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Thu May 08, 2014 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:18 pm

Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Masaru wrote:I think we're taking the interpretation of "intoxicants" a bit too far.

Hell no, although I don't buy into it myself, as I see the Zen perspective as stiff ass joyless puritanism, there is a certain logic to it and a perspective worth mulling over. That you can ingest things in media that can cause suffering. They are intoxicating even. We should look at the things we do that might in actually be bad for us. So many things should be interpreted as intoxicants.


During high school it was very easy for me to delve into Zen and occasionally practice seated meditation in private. I lived with my father's side of the family at the time, which is very religious and conservative, and it was already the case that watching television and other media was frowned on. (I was around people who preached against Pokemon, American Beauty, and the Sci-Fi channel.) So, if I 1 upped everyone by not even sweetening my tea it wasn't out of the ordinary. Of course, the Diamond precept doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't undertake practices of moderation and abstention, and they can go a long way in to helping us truly appreciate life.

Nichiren wrote that he was not the founder of any school. There is a common ground that I'm beginning to see, more and more, that Nichiren Buddhism shares with other schools of Buddhism, particularly those from Japan.

Myoho-Nameless wrote:All that aside, its a personal code, the legalize all drugs camp is winning me over in spite of my being a Buddhist because not everyone is a Buddhist and we aught not to force Buddhism on anyone not receptive.


Meh. Substances we consider illegal drugs were declared illegal due to political concerns. It's been a tactic for culling minorities and political dissidents from the start. It goes right along with old practices like pathologizing things like introversion or even left-handedness. It has almost nothing to do with the official reasons given for it. Then again, I might just be experiencing symptoms of acute ODD aggravated by ADHD and environment triggered drapetomania. Not that my hometown isn't nice.

Not entirely relevant, but here's a cool link.
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:20 am

Masaru wrote: I might just be experiencing symptoms of acute ODD

Quite the indicator of whats on my mind these days, my first reaction is that this just more "masculinity is evil" misandry, never heard of this disorder. Doubtless is another set of letters to pin to boys and shove pills in their guts. but whatever

Moderation or no, the 5th precept is not needed for a free society, just those wise beings who want to avoid conditions conducive of suffering.

Masaru wrote:I was around people who preached against Pokemon

I have instant dislike of them.
I seem to have been like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Thu May 01, 2014 12:31 am

dude wrote:Introspection and meditation are bad? Who told you that?


I was taken in by pioneer members who were stricter, so obviously there was little tolerance for anything outside of the norm established by Shoshu, which meant only chanting daimoku was an acceptable practice and only Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism as understood through that doctrinal lens is valid. But the stance that meditation and introspection aren't useful is in the literature, and Ikeda himself has taught against "the fogginess of meditation." Perhaps in accord with SGI's tendency to adopt and emulate what is seen as being most useful of Western thought and culture, Introspection is discouraged in the literature over knowing oneself through interaction with others and is also associated with provisional Buddhism.
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Mon May 05, 2014 1:57 am

(Sorry I was taking a trip to a place where the interwebs plays a game called not existing.)

Some thoughts...

When a person comes to Nichiren Buddhism these days there is no possible way to not quickly come into contact with the bullshit sectarian infighting, especially between the Shoshu and the SGI. I have heard that the SGI in Japan is falling apart and faction-izing, I do not know whats going on in Japan, sounds like it could be worse. This is even true of other persuasions and people who seem to define themselves only as going after the SGI. Kempon Hokke would appear to be on board as well.

long story short, this is an image problem. And its a serious one for the future of Lotus Dharma Buddhism in the West (Also what looks like an attitude of Islamaphobia in KHS but thats something else) especially because I am beginning to think that the independent movement might not have the staying power of something more organized. I am someone who came to the practice without belonging ever to an org, and came to it from an Independent perspective first.

I know this is an SGI criticism thread, but they are far from the only ones deserving of criticism. We are all terrible. I am not overly smart and I do not have any solutions other than senior members need to realize that they should put aside hissy fits from yesteryear because its all nonsense now, those days are over.

Perhaps my opinion is arrogant, uninformed, and rash, but thats just how it looks to me as someone who came completely from an Independent perspective, looking at the spiritual marketplace of America. A bunch of nasty companies selling a wonderful product.

Too much infighting....we are aware you go straight to Naraka for that right?
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Thu May 08, 2014 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removed expletives
I seem to have been like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby rory » Mon May 05, 2014 4:47 am

No, I can appreciate what you're saying Myoho. I come from a Pure Land-Tendai background and find all the fighting deeply unpleasant. And I belonged to Kempon Hokke but left due to the hostility and infighting. Ugh and on top of that the sensei didn't seem to cope with me being gay. With sects I think; do your thing but don't hate everyone else! I was on my own a couple of months but don't care for it, for me it's normal to belong to a sect and I think it's very helpful to have a priest teach you, dharma talks that sort of thing and members to support my practice and visa versa.

Anyway I joined Honmon Butsuryu Shu last month, and I'm pretty happy. Is it a perfect org? No, but then they don't claim to be, which is nice too. I've found people kind and helpful, so far which works for me.

anyone else?
gassho
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brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby shaunc » Mon May 05, 2014 12:22 pm

Isn't religion just a wonderful thing for uniting all of mankind.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Osho » Mon May 05, 2014 1:23 pm

:smile:
Man you got that right.
I never heard of SG before this thread.
Don't want to find out any more for sure.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Wed May 07, 2014 12:15 am

Osho wrote::smile:
Man you got that right.
I never heard of SG before this thread.
Don't want to find out any more for sure.


Yeah, they make you eat rice balls. Loads of 'em. No one ever told me to exactly, but whenever I went to meetings it was like an unspoken, uncommunicated, and unacknowledged mandate that I had to eat all of the rice balls. Or else. And then they would just stare while they made me do it, knowing I was under their compulsion, like it was all part of some grand, sinister scheme. So when people say they were trapped in Soka Gakkai, I know exactly how they feel.
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
-- The Hagakure

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Wed May 07, 2014 7:44 am

Which is sarcasm, just to be clear...
A certain man said to the priest Shungaku, "The Lotus Sutra Sect's character is not good because it's so fearsome." Shungaku replied, "It is by reason of its fearsome character that it is the Lotus Sutra Sect. If its character were not so, it would be a different sect altogether."
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby rory » Thu May 08, 2014 4:24 am

Hey I ate mochi at the Jodo Shinshu temple; must be a conspiracy;-)
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Dharani of Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara:

Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Rokushu » Thu May 08, 2014 2:44 pm

I heard that Soka Gakkai is a cult. I am not sure if this is true. But I am wondering, I heard of an obscure sect called Kempon Hokke Shu. I have met some members and read some things they have posted online, and they seem very cultish. I suspect they have not many members, and seem even stranger than some of the SGI people I have met. Not that SGI members are bad people in my experience, very nice but a bit to obsessed with their leader Daisaku Ikeda, I mean I went to a meeting and they never mentioned Nichiren Shonin or Shakyamuni Buddha once, nor the 4 noble truths or noble 8-fold path, just Ikeda, Ikeda, Ikeda, and how wonderful he is, they even had a picture of him on their altar in front of the scroll they were chanting to, perhaps he is their incarnation of Buddha? No idea. But these Kempon Hokke Shu people, is this a cult like SGI? It seems so, they seem sectarian and self-obsessed, though they never mention their leader, probably they don't have many followers, and they seem to think that joining a sect has something to do with following Buddhism, from what one member told me personally. Anybody who has knowledge about these folks, I'd like to know more. Thanks.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Fri May 09, 2014 12:52 am

rory wrote:Anyway I joined Honmon Butsuryu Shu last month, and I'm pretty happy. Is it a perfect org? No, but then they don't claim to be, which is nice too. I've found people kind and helpful, so far which works for me.

anyone else?
gassho
Rory

Just to expound on my (now) modified post (hey, Masaru, I never thought I would MISS QQ's admin policies)

My generation is not very religious, part of this is just the temperament of twenty and thirty somethings, but one big reason we are leaving churches in droves is we don't like drama. The state of Christianity today is messy in America, drama about protestant denominations splitting over same sex marriage, the catholics have their pedophiles...lots of drama. I am convinced that Nichiren Buddhism will be declining in importance for the foreseeable future, our already super minority status will worsen, People will come in, and leave because of this drama, no one wants to walk in and suddenly have to have strong opinions about this or that organization because of arguments that got started before they were born. This Buddhism is pretty much doomed for a generation at least.

Criticism to some degree is fine, I think the deification of Ikeda is unreasonable, but I am not about to create a subreddit about it, which in fact does actually exist.
I seem to have been like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby illarraza » Fri May 09, 2014 5:56 am

So much to cover. So many questions and misunderstandings to address. Nichiren Lotus sutra Buddhism boils down to faith, practice, and study. Receiving and keeping [continuously maintaining and strengthening faith] is the most important pillar. Whether it be infighting or the physical and emotional pain of stomach cancer, keeping and strengthening faith until the last moment is the challenge. Correct practice is the most debated aspect of the Three Pillars but actually, there are only two models for practice, Shakyamuni Buddha of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin. If we model our practice after theirs, we will attain Buddhahood quickly. Study is the most personal aspect of our practice. Nichiren Daishonin studied everything for one reason and one reason alone, how to edify and spread the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra opens all other teachings. As the Zen Buddhist Dogen proclaimed:

"The Saddharma-pundarika-sutra explains the purpose of the various
Buddhas having appeared in this world. It may be said to be the great
king and the great master of all the various sutras that the Buddha
Shakyamuni taught. Compared with this sutra, all the other sutras are
merely its servants, its relatives, for it alone expounds the Truth. The
other sutras, on the other hand, include provisional teachings of the
Buddha, and therefore do not express his real intention.

It is a mistake to use the teachings of the other sutras as the basis
for determining the validity of those contained in the
Saddharma-pundarika-sutra, for without the merit-power of the latter,
the former would be valueless. All the other sutras find their origin in
this sutra. As the previously quoted sentence from this sutra shows, the
merit of the Three Treasures is truly of unsurpassed value." -- Grand Master Dogen

Had Dogen known Nichiren, he would have been his follower.

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Rokushu » Fri May 09, 2014 11:27 am

Dogen and Nichiren may have met, actually, nobody knows this. But it is rather presumptive and arrogant to say that if they had met, Dogen would have been Nichiren's follower. Maybe Nichiren could have learned something about meditation or the Lotus Sutra from Dogen. Who knows? What was Nichiren's authority? Lineage? Compare with that of Dogen. I suspect Dogen would have found Nichiren amusing and silly, had a good chuckle, they would have had mutual respect due to both coming from Tendai/Lotus Sutra backgrounds and holding this sutra in high esteem (I personally find the Flower Garland sutra a much better read, but up2u), anyway both established new forms of "popular Buddhism" to make it more appealing to the masses. Personally, I suspect Dogen and Nichiren were buddies and laughed about their differences, maybe shared a tea as Dharma brothers. But nobody knows, nice thought though.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Rokushu » Fri May 09, 2014 11:30 am

If Dogen were alive today, would he teach Zazen "just sitting", or maybe join Kempon Hokke Shu and become a zealous follower? Guess it depends on who you ask. So funny to think about!
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