Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:42 am

dude wrote:What would you prefer to emphasize?


Back to emphasizing the Lotus Sutra, T'ien T'ai, and Nichiren; how Ikeda's ideas link back to those and being honest when they don't. Contributor Buku posted a blog about how duplicitous it was for SGI and Ikeda to claim that Rissho Ankoku Ron was really a treatise that had undertones meant to convey to Nichiren's disciples the importance of "dialogue." That's bullocks on the face of it. It's like saying the national anthem is a useful way for the US government to encourage the arts. Buku has pointed out that Ikeda's conversations with great world leaders and scholars will often have more well reasoned arguments and emphasis on traditional Buddhist thought than in his addresses to the org itself. Personally, if I hear a crazy idea, it seems like it tends to be from a top leader.

Say we assume that, on a certain level, SGI is just a business selling religion like some claim it must be. Say it spreads Dharma, but the religion part is just incidental to, idk, undermining the power structures of the Western world and gaining restitution for Japan's defeat or something. But it spreads Dharma. If SGI would just make more effort to make coherent logical sense in its assertions, tying them back to basic Buddhist principles and recognize when emphasis on Ikeda has become awkward rather than inspiring, it would stop hemorrhaging members and might actually grow. Just quit trying to sell Ikeda as a Buddha. It's just going to backfire. And unlike the Catholic church SGI doesn't have the luxury of license to make things up out of thin air and still be taken seriously. I remember watching a video with Nathan Gauer talking about how great it was that Ikeda gave him a half eaten snack. All I could do was facepalm.
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 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:48 am

Contributor Buku posted a blog about how duplicitous it was for SGI and Ikeda to claim that Rissho Ankoku Ron was really a treatise that had undertones meant to convey to Nichiren's disciples the importance of "dialogue." That's bullocks on the face of it.

Tell me more about what you mean by that.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby rory » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:43 am

I agree with Masaru, SGI had done a lot to spread Nichiren Buddhism, but seemingly left the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren out, I met local SGI members and while they chant devotedly they (and these were highly educated people) were really undereducated in Buddhism. It's not hard and there is plenty of material available, when I was at the community center instead of a discussion of gosho or Lotus Sutra there was a film about Ikeda...Rissho Kosei Kai suffers from sensei-itis too with the Niwano dynasty. My sect has priests, I indeed have one who is my teacher and whom I respect but my devotion is solely to the Dharma and Nichiren Shonin.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby dude » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:48 am

If they don't study, they're not practicing correctly according to Nichiren's teaching.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:17 pm

yobosensei wrote:A struggle buddhist will actualize the true meaning of Lotus Sutra. Nichiren had shown actual proofs of the practice by protecting what he had believed. Look at Daisaku Ikeda and what he has contributed to World Peace. That is the most noble and profound ways to live your life. A true mentor and disciple spirit. A mentor without disciples wont be a good mentor. Disciples without a good mentor wont succeed it either. We are learning together with our mentor to win over our samsara. Nichiren showed us how to be a buddhist to win over all obstacles and struggles in his lifetime and not choose to be a passive buddhist. Just like Makiguchi, Joda, and Ikeda sensei, they all are a true struggle buddhist.If you want to be a struggle buddhist, come to Soka Gakkai. We are just that kinda organization. It's not magical. It's just actual proofs.

Perhaps another thing that has it's place but is over emphasized by the Gakkai. Treating awakening like its an Olympic sport. Struggle is what you do when your pokemon has run out of PP for all it's moves. And it slowly kills them. I would rather be lost on Victory Road and running out of repels.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby dude » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:50 am

What on earth does that mean?
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:07 am

the first two sentences are more important, the latter three....well I like pokemon. in a pokemon battle your pokes can have up to 4 attacks, and each can be done a certain amount of times, electro ball for example, can be done 10 before you go to a pokemon center to "heal" them. if all your moves are used up, all you can do is "struggle", which does little damage, and hurts you too. The rumor on the playground at school I went to for elementary was that if you "fainted" (run out of health) doing struggle, your poke actually dies. Go to the pokemon tower in Lavender Town and bury it.

Victory Road is where you go before you fight the elite 4 (5 actually....like the 9 pieces of 8), in most if not all generations of pokemon its a cave, in the first gen, it was a had cave to navigate, and powerful pokemon can attack you, repels make sure you do not run into them, but they only last for X many steps.

more importantly, perhaps the gakkai's emphasis struggles etc and overcoming obstacles is an OVER emphasis.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby dude » Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:10 am

what is life but struggle?
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:13 am

enjoying it.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby dude » Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:42 am

struggle can very much be enjoyed with a positive attitude.
I really don't understand where you're coming from.

In fact, I don't even understand how you see the emphasis as being on struggle. I've heard more than once that Nichiren Buddhism isn't really Buddhism because it says we can and should enjoy this life.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:06 am

Were I am coming from is I am almost 25, I have never been in the gakkai, I have always been independent, though I suspect I will have an inclination to look into the Nichiren Shu community. As an outsider and a youngish person looking in, the gakkai's message of treating buddhahood like its an Olympic sport is lame. Looking for bigger mountains to clime or what have you, lame sauce. The Gakkai is in direct competition with other religions and the growing atheism in society, if they are hemorrhaging members they need to update.

Buddhahood should not be treated like a sport, I have anxiety and depression and know first hand that its not always easy and that the Dharma can help a person get through it. It is not to say one should not use the Dharma to overcome obstacles, the gakkai's version seems to be that we should even go looking for greater crap to deal with. In fact its all they seem to talk about. Happiness in the here and the now is not a matter of looking for dragons to slay, and before you say otherwise, that IS how the Gakkai comes across. I subscribe to "a Buddhist podcast", this poor bastard even thinks that his "challenges" increase with practice, rather than one's ability to show Buddhahood when circumstances are not pleasant. I am not about to pick up heroine so I can enjoy having to quit.

"what is life but a struggle?" is windows 95. if thats your life, your life seems narrow. and if thats your religion, its lame.

no offense. :shrug:

The "struggle" the gakkai puts up as enjoyable, is not. And if we have not learned that "just have a positive attitude" does not work by now, we are doomed. positive thinking is a trap, you might be thinking positive, when you should be thinking negative, you might be "calm" when you should be disturbed.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby dude » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:21 am

I need to hear more from all of you about how you get the impressions you talk about.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:34 am

My impressions come from former members, and from the current members, because as an indy, I want to give the sects their fair listen. My personal exposure to sensei worship is very small, only what people on the interwebs talk about. Though I have seen attempts to put Ikeda on the same level of the likes of Gandhi. I don't think of it much because its the most common criticism of the gakkai, so I bring up buddhahood is a sport.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby dude » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:01 am

Tell me more about that. How is it a sport?
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:24 am

They treat Buddhahood like it is overcoming obstacles, which could be a part of it, but it a narrow view of the overcoming of suffering. More than that, seeking harder and harder obstacles, which is fine for sports, or pokemon, but not for Buddhahood. As I have said, I would not take up heroine just to test my Buddhahood, perhaps I did before I was born, thats all fine and dandy and I could not know, but I won't go looking for trouble. I doubt very much that many gakkai people even practice what they preach at least as it relates to this topic anyway, so as an attracting mechanism its useless. I do not take issue with using the dharma to overcome life's harsher times, indeed if it could not handle it, it would not be a religion. What I mean is the gakkai pretty much seems to advocate looking for harsher times. This impression I get, that is when they are not praising Ikeda.

They also seem to chant in a stiff, fast, nasal tone. but I do not know how widespread that is.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:30 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:More than that, seeking harder and harder obstacles, which is fine for sports, or pokemon, but not for Buddhahood. As I have said, I would not take up heroine just to test my Buddhahood, perhaps I did before I was born, thats all fine and dandy and I could not know, but I won't go looking for trouble.


Meh. I think that's just Buddhism. With Nichiren Buddhism, it's more outwardly focused - more an emphasis on making a difference in the world around you - and that seems to be a bit of a license for trouble making. One of my criticisms of Buku is that he seems to champion martyrdom for the Law as a worthy goal the same way that Nichiren did, though I'm fairly certain that context had a lot to do with Nichiren's reasoning behind that. You can really kill yourself with Buddhist over-achievement if you aren't making a judgment call on what is reasonable to you. Then again, maybe if OWS was full of Nichirenites, we'd all have free healthcare, college, and a stipend for each citizen to use to subsist on, invest, or use towards their own creative endeavors.

:guns: :sage: :soapbox: :sage: :guns:
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 rory » Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:28 am

Ha I am for all those things Masaru. There was a thread on "Engaged Buddhism" that talked about soup-kitchen type charity work which sounded terribly Christian to me. I pointed out it would be much better to do this as ancient Buddhists did: preach the Dharma to the sick and prisoners, monks created roads and bridges: infrastructure. I then pointed out when others said they didn't know how to teach meditation that Nichiren Buddhism where we chant is easy to impart, free and pretty much lay....Dead silence;-)

Right now i'd like to see Nichiren Buddhist educate themselves more: know the Triple Jewels, a short history of Buddhism (eg; that Theravada and Mahayana arose simultaneously) Something about Tiantai and then Nichiren. If people have intellectual interests then read Tiantai philosophy and Jacquie Stone's great book.

I don't sit around and strive. I work to integrate the Dharma into my life and practice, I think if we do that we'll be fine. I really don't have a heroine complex;-)
with gassho
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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 Myoho-Nameless » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:27 am

Masaru wrote: Then again, maybe if OWS was full of Nichirenites


well.....you know my thoughts of THOSE pansies....

rory wrote:I then pointed out when others said they didn't know how to teach meditation that Nichiren Buddhism where we chant is easy to impart, free and pretty much lay....Dead silence;-)

I suspect that the people to which they would otherwise be teaching meditation, the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, do not want to learn meditation, they want to stop being sick, poor, and imprisoned. I wonder....


rory wrote:Right now i'd like to see Nichiren Buddhist educate themselves more: know the Triple Jewels, a short history of Buddhism (eg; that Theravada and Mahayana arose simultaneously) Something about Tiantai and then Nichiren. If people have intellectual interests then read Tiantai philosophy and Jacquie Stone's great book.


I sense general stagnation affects many movements these days.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:54 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:
rory wrote:I then pointed out when others said they didn't know how to teach meditation that Nichiren Buddhism where we chant is easy to impart, free and pretty much lay....Dead silence;-)

I suspect that the people to which they would otherwise be teaching meditation, the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, do not want to learn meditation, they want to stop being sick, poor, and imprisoned. I wonder....


rory wrote:Right now i'd like to see Nichiren Buddhist educate themselves more: know the Triple Jewels, a short history of Buddhism (eg; that Theravada and Mahayana arose simultaneously) Something about Tiantai and then Nichiren. If people have intellectual interests then read Tiantai philosophy and Jacquie Stone's great book.


I sense general stagnation affects many movements these days.


Food is absolutely necessary when you're hungry, and acts of charity are described as being carried out in the Buddhist scriptures in the time of the Buddha. Teaching skills, "teaching others how to fish," so to speak, is a greater charity than giving them a daily meal that has a more immediate impact than liberating Dharma teaching, but which may be just as necessary to the wellbeing of those we wish to help as a meal to a starving person. Most forms of Buddhism, save maybe Pure Land, are associated with the upper classes of the societies they developed in. Nichiren Buddhism, however, has a history of being practiced by common people, often in resistance to the dominant authorities or even in complete resistance to any government influence. The kind of people that OWS claim to be fighting for don't actually have the free time or the motivation after undergoing the stresses of their situation to read deeply involved historical or philosophical works. As the United States is really more of an oligarchy than a democracy, it makes sense that the people who tend to study Buddhism here don't actually understand the reality that widespread propagation will be reaching into. If you never slum it like Jizo or Kannon, you might not even understand why Ikeda had a populist appeal.
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 22, 2014 2:30 am

Meditation could have a place in prisons though come to think of it. To my knowledge, Buddhism priorities general well being before spirituality, health, financial safety etc. As much as Nichiren Buddhism places those things within the context of "spirituality".
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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