Rokushu wrote:Sorry, Myoho-Nameless, I didn't mean to sound like YOU meant that there is a "right" sect that one should join, but I have heard people say this. True, the world "cult" can have different meanings to different people, and sometimes people use it in a perjorative way (not my intention btw). Good question, what makes a sect "legitimate", but better still, why have sects at all? And some believe that there is a "best" form of Buddhism? So, for example, somebody would say that Nichiren Buddhism (generally, not a particular sect) is superior to other forms of Buddhism? This too sounds a bit sectarian, "ours is the best", or at the very least "yours is fine, but ours is better/faster/superior(in some way)". I find this kind of thinking hard to follow, but to each their own. So you would say that joining a group like Soka Gakkai is fine too? Some very nice folks and I try to avoid speaking badly about any religion, Buddhist or otherwise (is SGI the former or the latter?) but my feeilng when I went to a meething was that of a self-help group, and yes, it does help people, but is it Buddhism that is helping them, or the group? Is it any different from AA or a motivational speaker? Not to say it's bad, but it just doesn't appeal to me from a Buddhist perspective. But it must work for some people, otherwise they wouldn't have millions of followers I suppose.
As for sounding sectarian, I was recently on another thread, one that deals with the issue if celibacy, and (apart from feeling like my views were being deliberately miss-characterized, though I hope just misunderstood) I decided to jump ship because of fundamental disagreements on what it means to be an awakened being, the word I used was "sectarian", though I was thinking more like how each and every individual is it's own species biologically from a technical standpoint, I do not pretend to represent a sect, how could I when within the framework of nichiren Buddhism I do not belong to any sub sect? But my view that an awakened being can have a sex life, or not, and still be an awakened being, stemmed from a difference in belief about the nature of awakening. Sectarian.
Although I do like reading about sectarian differences, and reading them as they happen, because one can learn a lot from that, I do not personally like being involved with them myself, not to say it has NEVER happened in the course of my Buddhist life.
Sectarianism exists in Buddhism because an attitude of "whatever floats your boat" historically was not the norm, at least it would seem as such. The Buddha lived and taught for 45 years, dying at the age of 79 or 80. He was not crucified at 33. We have received therefore a massive number of teachings, the flowery number given is 85 thousand sutras. And they would appear to not always be consistent. This is why sects exist. In fact, the same sect can be different in different countries. We Nichiren Buddhists are often in strong disagreement with the Pure Land stance that people cannot become enlightened in this life, but can only hope for a rebirth in the Pure Land. Now in the modern age Nichiren Buddhism is in contact with Pure Land as it exists from outside Japan, and those Pure Landers are all like "um....that is NOT how WE practice Pure Land". Buddhism is then full of differing opinions about the proper way to practice Buddhism, so sectarian differences are going to crop up. Nichiren was in fact often telling people the way they were practicing Buddhism was wrong for the day and age in which we/they lived. Reconciling this. with the Lotus Sutra's indication that all of this was really just one vehicle, ekayana, is something I have not yet done personally. I am an ignorant, stupid wordling whose saving grace is devotion to the LS. I wish I could say more.
Well, Tian Tai/Chi I was instrumental in putting all the Buddhist teachings in their place, denoting their purpose and importance in relation to each other, and I think gave a purpose to all Buddhist practices. Nichiren took that and condensed it to one Buddhist practice.
I have no experience with the SGI, but of their "they seem to be happy" factor I would ask the same question as you did, is it the "Buddhism" doing it? I do however, as of now at least, believe that one is legitimately Buddhist because of their Buddhist practice, not because of the organization they belong to. You can belong to the "right" one, like Masaru says KHS is legit in his view, and still practice incorrectly. Or theoretically you could belong to an org that is not legitimate, and practice, study, and have correct faith.