Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby illarraza » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:57 pm

The SGI is a Destructive Cult by Definition

1). "Destructive cults actively recruit new members, often through deceptive “front” organizations."

The SGI has the Boston Research Center, the Institute for Oriental Philosophy, Victory Over Violence, Institute for Human Rights Equality, the Japanese 7/11 [hehe] and others where their affiliation to SGI is rarely if ever mentioned.

2).Destructive cults claim to offer absolute Truth. Their teachings are not (to them) mere theory or speculation. The most effective cult doctrines are those which are unverifiable and unevaluable.

The SGI claims that their believers are the only Nichiren Lotus Sutra believers capable of obtaining Buddhahood, going so far to claim that all SGI members are Buddhas while those of the Nichiren Shu and Kempon Hokke are “deluded Shakyamuni worshippers”.

3).Destructive cults reduce everything to a bi-polar attitude: “for us, or against us.”

Anyone who criticizes the SGI, no matter how wise, is a fool and anyone who praises the SGI,no matter how foolish, is wise. Daisaku Ikeda writes, for example:

“Seven years have passed since then. The outcome of the struggle of good and evil and the workings of the law of cause and effect have been strict and uncompromising. The decline of the crazed and destructive Nichiren Shoshu is clearly apparent. The victims, unfortunately, are the la ybelievers who practice with the temple, who are not aware of Nichiren Shoshu’s evil and have been deceived by the priests.”

4).Destructive cults generate some kind of external “pet devil” with which to threatentheir members if they should doubt, or fail, or ever leave the group.

The SGI has dozens of “pet devils”. Those who leave will have misfortune on their jobs, in their families, in the social lives,have accidents, fall into hell, etc. President Toda stated: “If you keep this up, you’re going to cometo a pitiful end in life.” and “Betraying the Soka Gakkai is betraying the Daishonin. In the end, they’llreceive the punishment of the Buddha, you’ll see.” Ikeda says, “To take action to fight againstwhatever forces appear as the enemies of the Soka Gakkai is our most noble mission.” Matilda Bucksays, “How tragic it would be for even one person to have found the great means of bringing forthBuddhahood only to be diverted to another, seemingly similar, path that is incapable of leading thatindividual to his or her deepest happiness.” This is the jist of the Gakkai’s attempt to chain themembers to the Gakkai way of life. The Biggest ”pet devil” is Nikken of the Nichiren Shoshu:

“When Buddhism speaks of “devilish functions,” what does that really mean? These represent whatever tries to prevent us from advancing in our Buddhist practice. In a sense, they are frightened when we expand the Buddha?s forces, because the realm they want to control will the nbe changed into a pure land. In our case right now, this function is being manifested in the currenthigh priest of Nichiren Shoshu.”

5).Destructive cults lead their members to believe they are somehow superior to all other humans on the earth.

In many of Daisaku Ikeda’s speeches we see how the SGI members are to view themselves:

“Sons of the Gakkai”,
“Inheritors of Myoho”,
“Lions of the Mystic Law”,
“The sole group of true believers”,
“Truly praiseworthy are you who resolve to work hard for kosen-rufu and the SGI. You are the most noble of all people.”

6).Destructive cults put the will of the group above the will of the individual. This is often reinforced with simplistic games or rituals of some type designed to make the individual subservient to the group.

If you search, you will find such quotes from the eternal Soka Gakkaimentor, “the Soka Gakkai is more important than my life.” We also see the special Soka Gakkaiholidays like May 3rd, day of mentor and disciple, and such slogans as, “reaffirming the prime point of the Soka Gakkai”

We see inordinate references to Soka Gakkai, SGI, and Ikeda in nearly every experience given by an SGI member. There used to be dress and hair (short) and beard(none) codes for the SGI Young Men’s Division and on saturdays everyone had to dress in whitepants and white tee-shirts.7).

7).Destructive cults teach that the end justifies the means.

How they misuse upaya (expedient means) is a travesty. Flirtatious shakabuku by young women’s division, telling peoplethey can get new cars and even drugs if the chant, teaching people that they will immediatelybecome Buddhas if they join the SGI, and the list goes on and on how they utilize the ends justifythe means philosophy of Machiavelli, the antithesis of the Buddha’s teachings.

8).Destructive cults teach strict obedience to superiors and encourage the developmentof behavior patterns that are similar to those of the leader.

Is there any doubt why the SokaGakkai is known throughout the ten directions as the Ikeda cult? Guidance division, never criticizing leaders, “follow no matter what”, this is so apparent to everyone but the brainwashed SGI memberhimself. Lately, the SGI has abandoned any subtle pretense with such overt youth division guidelinesas, “

Reveal your true identity as Shinichi Yamamoto” and “I want to be ShinichiYamamoto”

9).Destructive cults offer acceptance by the group for good performance, and conversely,withhold it for poor performance.

Moving up the ladder from Jr Group Chief, to Group Chief, toDistrict Chief, to Chapter Chief, to Area Chief, to Territory Chief, to Joint Territory Chief and so on.Busting people from their position or moving them at the leaders will.

10).In destructive cults, fear is a major motivator. Guilt is a close second, and shame isthird. Only the cult leader is perfect, so everyone below is fearful that those above willfind out their shortcomings. Cult members feel constantly guilty for having those real or imagined shortcomings, and are ashamed that they haven’t worked harder to get rid of them.

“Never talk about your problems to the members until they are resolved.”
“Did you know that so and so got hit by a car and is paralyzed. He should have stayed with the Soka Gakkai.”
“She turned in her SGI Gohonzon and lost her job and her house.”
“He committed suicide not soon after joining the Nikken sect.”

11).Destructive cult members swing from emotional highs, to emotional lows regularly. Lows are not long tolerated, and result in more indoctrination, or even ejection from the group if they last too long.

Here are some examples of SGI speech used to control their members: “You have weak faith.”. ‘You had better go for guidance if you want to resolve that problem”. Rumors to stay away from depressed individuals. Not inviting less than enthusiastic members to certain meetings or not telling them about “important” meetings. Lectures about “emotionalism”, [unless the emotion is rapture about the SGI and the mentor]. Every last former SGI cult member will attest to this.

12).Destructive cults tend to re-write their members’ past, manipulate their present, and distort their future. Disrupting time orientation is an honored technique of all such cults.

Human Revolution, New Human Revolution, New New Human Revolution. Need I say more?

13).And, finally, there is never a legitimate reason for leaving a destructive cult. The only reason members leave a perfect system, is because they are imperfect in some respect and will be punished for it.

“He was angry.”
“He was jealous.”
"He couldn’t get along with his leader.”
“He had weak faith.”

(even if "he" continues to chant three hours a day and does shakabuku with the Nichiren Shu or the Kempon Hokke). “No matter which destructive cult you choose, the above 13 items will almost universally apply".

The author of these 13 points [whose name escapes me] then goes on to conclude: Study the methods of est, LaRouche, Transcendental Meditation, Truth Station, Soka Gakkai, TheWay International, Children of God, Temple of Set, Synanon, Scientology ®, The Peoples Temple, Unification Church, Hare Krishnas, House of Judah, Ramtha, Garbage Eaters, Rajneesh, ECK, ChurchUniversal and Triumphant, Elan Vital, Posse Comitatus, or any of the others…. they use the same techniques, even though each of them claims unique and absolute ownership of the “truth.”

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Jikan » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:04 pm

I didn't work very hard at it, so this may be inaccurate, but this blog post (with the comments) may direct us to the author of the material Illarazza has quoted above.

http://nichirenbuddhist.blogspot.com/20 ... s-sgi.html

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:19 am

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I'm obviously not a moderator, and I'm not asking anyone to not address certain issues in this thread. But I did start this thread with the intention of talking about the positive aspects of Soka Gakkai. I asked this question because I am already very familiar with the negative things people say -- particularly that it is a cult. I just figure that with as many members as it has, it has to be doing something right. I am not a member, but I acknowledge that without SGI most of us probably wouldn't have heard of Nichiren Buddhism.

My point being, I am already aware of the talk of it being a cult. As a child of Oregon in the 1980s -- a time and place that gave birth to both the Rajneeshees and Heaven's Gate (I've known former members of both groups) -- it's hard for me to consider SGI a cult. Strict, maybe. Worshipful of its leader, certainly. But, I don't know.... And, I emphasize, I am not a member of SGI and never will be. I just figure that with about 12 million members in many countries across the globe, with the most multi-ethnic membership of American Buddhism, it has to be doing something right. So, I started this thread to discuss what those "right" things are..... Thanks. :anjali:

(PS: Oh, and I'm a former Catholic.... and the church I grew up in recently lost its priest, and you can guess why. The point I'm trying to make is, I'm not blind to the fact that negative things exist in religious institutions. I'm already aware of them. I started this thread to discuss the positive things that come out of Soka Gakkai.)
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Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Jikan » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:19 am

The word "cult" is a tricky one in English, and should be used with caution because of the connotations it has acquired (there was a time it meant something like a small sect). Strictly speaking, the question of whether SGI is or is not a cult (and what criteria by which one would make such a distinction*) is off topic in this thread. I let Illarazza's long post stand for now with the hope someone might attempt to rebut some of its specific points and thus advance the discussion. Maybe?

I think the broader "cult question" vis a vis SGI will be better served in a separate thread.




*Does one need to lead a group to mass suicide as in Heaven's Gate or to conspire to murder public officials as in Rajneesh's to count as a cult? By some criteria, groups like Eckankar or the LDS church are cults... I'm not familiar enough with this area to propose anything substantive here, merely to point out that the discussion should not be dismissed without examination.
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:03 am

Just to be clear, Illarazza has been kind to me in the past, and has even sent me files of the entire Chapter 16, and the service by Hokke Kempon. So, I'm thankful for that. :namaste:

From my perspective, truth be known, whether Soka Gakkai is "a cult" or not is not really of interest. Whatever it is, it exists -- and, allegedly, in many, many countries, and with 12 million followers. It must be doing something right. I'm not going to join Soka Gakkai, so I don't really need the warning of "don't join...." I just want a little more education on what they do right, what it is that attracts people. Yes, I fear that too much analysis of whether it's a cult or not will derail this thread. Thank you. :smile:
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby illarraza » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:54 pm

OregonBuddhist wrote:To start, I'm not a member of Soka Gakkai. Never have been, and never will be. So, let me explain why I ask this question....

It seems that portrayals of Soka Gakkai are polarized. Current members, of course, praise it as the way to salvation, often saying that it saved their lives, etc. And I suppose it's understandable that former members would talk about the negative things, or else they wouldn't be "former" members. And, of course, the "c word" gets thrown around a lot about Soka Gakkai (ahem, cult; some people say it's a cult).

Anyway, even though I'm not a member of Soka Gakkai and never will be, I do read some of their materials. (The reason I will never be a member is because I really want something very "traditional." I've heard that, though based in Japan, Soka Gakkai in the US is only about 10% Japanese and has no priesthood. The temple I attend now has many long-time Japanese American members, and a priest straight from Tokyo.) I'm aware that there are controversies and even scandals regarding Soka Gakkai, but I'm also aware that such things exist in all religions. I mean, I was raised Catholic -- and my former church recently lost its priest for, um, a reason I'm not going to mention....

Anyway, something recently occurred to me. Even though I am not a member of Soka Gakkai, I think I owe it a lot. If not for Soka Gakkai, many of us here in the US wouldn't have even heard of Nichiren Buddhism. So, though I am not a member, I see positive things that came out of the organization, and even feel a type of affection for it.

Does anyone have anything to add? (I really don't mean to start controversy with this. I'm just sincerely asking this question. If it gets controversial or whatever, hopefully a moderator can just delete this thread. Thanks.)


There are 1.6 billion Christians, 1.5 billion Muslims and, at one time, there were 50 million Nazi's. SGI resonates with the greedy me me me crowd and magical New Age thinkers. They are at best, errant disciples of Nichiren who have inserted the Shingon teachings of Guru Yoga into the superior teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Neither Shakyamuni Buddha nor Nichiren Daishonin have anything good to say about those who destroy the Buddha seed in others.

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Queequeg » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:11 pm

illarraza wrote:They are at best, errant disciples of Nichiren who...


illa, that may be one of the most positive things you've ever written about SGI...

you're getting soft :rolling:
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Jikan » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:21 pm

illarraza wrote: They are at best, errant disciples of Nichiren who have inserted the Shingon teachings of Guru Yoga into the superior teachings of the Lotus Sutra.


Hi Illarazza, would you please explain this claim a bit further? particularly the bit in bold. I'm not sure how to understand your meaning here.


Neither Shakyamuni Buddha nor Nichiren Daishonin have anything good to say about those who destroy the Buddha seed in others.


How is it possible to destroy the Buddha seed in someone else? I'd been led to believe this gem sewn into my robe was indestructible. please clarify?
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:22 pm

I'm not sure if you're heard of Goodwin's law, the fact that as Internet discussions grow longer, an analogy involving the Nazis becomes inevitable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

Goodwin's law is closely related to Reductop ad Hitlerum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

I try to avoid analogies involving Nazis, and Nazis themselves, as much as possible. :)


illarraza wrote:
OregonBuddhist wrote:To start, I'm not a member of Soka Gakkai. Never have been, and never will be. So, let me explain why I ask this question....

It seems that portrayals of Soka Gakkai are polarized. Current members, of course, praise it as the way to salvation, often saying that it saved their lives, etc. And I suppose it's understandable that former members would talk about the negative things, or else they wouldn't be "former" members. And, of course, the "c word" gets thrown around a lot about Soka Gakkai (ahem, cult; some people say it's a cult).

Anyway, even though I'm not a member of Soka Gakkai and never will be, I do read some of their materials. (The reason I will never be a member is because I really want something very "traditional." I've heard that, though based in Japan, Soka Gakkai in the US is only about 10% Japanese and has no priesthood. The temple I attend now has many long-time Japanese American members, and a priest straight from Tokyo.) I'm aware that there are controversies and even scandals regarding Soka Gakkai, but I'm also aware that such things exist in all religions. I mean, I was raised Catholic -- and my former church recently lost its priest for, um, a reason I'm not going to mention....

Anyway, something recently occurred to me. Even though I am not a member of Soka Gakkai, I think I owe it a lot. If not for Soka Gakkai, many of us here in the US wouldn't have even heard of Nichiren Buddhism. So, though I am not a member, I see positive things that came out of the organization, and even feel a type of affection for it.

Does anyone have anything to add? (I really don't mean to start controversy with this. I'm just sincerely asking this question. If it gets controversial or whatever, hopefully a moderator can just delete this thread. Thanks.)


There are 1.6 billion Christians, 1.5 billion Muslims and, at one time, there were 50 million Nazi's. SGI resonates with the greedy me me me crowd and magical New Age thinkers. They are at best, errant disciples of Nichiren who have inserted the Shingon teachings of Guru Yoga into the superior teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Neither Shakyamuni Buddha nor Nichiren Daishonin have anything good to say about those who destroy the Buddha seed in others.

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:24 pm

Jikan wrote:How is it possible to destroy the Buddha seed in someone else? I'd been led to believe this gem sewn into my robe was indestructible. please clarify?


It wasn't a book on Nichiren Buddhism, but Tibetan Buddhism, but I think I can quote it all the same.... I found a book that said "the Buddhas are indestructible, and you shouldn't be upset by anyone attempting to destroy them because they are working based on their own delusions...." I liked the sound of that. :)
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby illarraza » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:09 am

Jikan wrote:
illarraza wrote: They are at best, errant disciples of Nichiren who have inserted the Shingon teachings of Guru Yoga into the superior teachings of the Lotus Sutra.


Hi Illarazza, would you please explain this claim a bit further? particularly the bit in bold. I'm not sure how to understand your meaning here.


President Toda taught in his Lecture on the Sutra:

“With this silent prayer, we express our sincere thanks to the Second High Priest Nikko Shonin, the founder of Head temple Taisekiji. Hossui-shabyo: Hossui is the Law or Buddhism metaphorically compared to clean water. Shabyo means “transfer. Now suppose here are two glasses, one of which is filled with water. The water is transferred from one glass into the other. The quality of the water remains unchanged through this transfer even though the shapes of the glasses may differ. Simililarly, the Hossui of Nichiren Daishonin was handed down from Nikko Shonin to Third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin. However, its geneuine purity was not changed in the least. This solemn tradition has been strictly maintained by the successive high priests of Nichiren Shoshu.

YUIGA YOGA: This means that the life of Nikko Shonin equals that of Nichiren Daishonin. A Gohonzon called the “Tobi” (Flying) Mandala” is enshrined at Butsugenji Temple in Sendai City in Northeast Japan. It was inscribed co-operatively by the Daishonin and His immediate successor Nikko Shonin. This fact evidences what yuiga yoga signifies.” –Josei Toda as quoted in: From “Lectures on the Sutra” Third Edition, 1968 Seikyo Press.

Please note that no where in the Lotus Sutra or the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, can we find the concepts or words, YUIGA YOGA but in Tendai/Shingon esotericism, this is a core principle. Central to Lamanism, an offshoot of Shingon, are the Four Treasures and the most important Treasure is the Treasure of the Guru. The other Three Treasures are subsumed within the Treasure of the Guru. This is known as Guru Yoga. The same goes for the SGI, whether it is implicit or implied. When SGI members or leaders chant Namu Myoho renge kyo, they are revering their Sensei. While they chant Namu Myoho renge kyo with their voices, they chant Namu Sensei in their hearts.

Makiguchi and Toda read the Lotus Sutra according to the distorted teachings of the Taisekaji priests who adopted the two related Zen and Shingon concepts respectively: The Transfer of the Water of the Law; and Yuiga Yoga or the Oneness of living Master and Disciple. The SGI has adopted these distorted Zen and Shingon viewpoints, in contrast to the Lotus Sutra and writings of Nichiren Daishonin which state, “This Sutra”.

More proof of SGI’s transgressions are Daisaku Ikeda’s teachings that mirror those of his deluded Sensei, JoseiToda. Ikeda once taught, “The basis of Nichiren Shoshu is the Lifeblood recieved only by a single person. To faithfully follow the High Priest of the bequethal of the Lifeblood is the correct way for priests and laybelievers. If one is mistaken about this single point, then everything will become insane.” And now he declares, “Following the Three Presidents of the Soka Gakkai is the basis of the Lifeblood of faith”

Doctor Daisaku Ikeda, ironically, was born into a household whose ancestors reside in Mitsugonin, a temple of the Shingon sect. It is a slanderous place which was established in accordance with Shingon formalities.

The Shingon patriarch, the Learned Doctor Shan-wu-wei too, despite his wisdom and strong practice, was mistaken about the teachings of Buddhism. Shan wu-wei was persecuted. Christ too was persecuted and his teachings are far less insidious than Shan-wu-wei’s, Makiguchi’s, and Ikeda’s. Their teachings resemble little the teachings of the Original Buddha Shakyamuni’s [Lotus Sutra] and Nichiren Daishonin’s. Visions and “visionaries”, not firmly grounded in the teachings of the Original Buddha Shakyamuni and the Daishonin, reside in the realm of delusion.

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby illarraza » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:57 am

Neither Shakyamuni Buddha nor Nichiren Daishonin have anything good to say about those who destroy the Buddha seed in others.


How is it possible to destroy the Buddha seed in someone else? I'd been led to believe this gem sewn into my robe was indestructible. please clarify?


The Lotus Sutra states:

“If a person fails to have faith but instead slanders this sutra, immediately he will destroy all the seeds for becoming a Buddha in this world." -- LS Chapter 3

Many Sutras talk about scorched seeds. Some even teach that the Buddha seeds of women are scorched. The Lotus Sutra [through faith in the Sutra] can instantaneously revive the scorched seeds of Men of the Two Vehicles, of those who kill their father, of those who kill their mother, of those who cause disunity within the Sangha*, of those who kill an Arhat, and of those who injure a Buddha and cause him to bleed [these latter five circumstances are known as the Five Cardinal Sins]. However, the Lotus Sutra can not immediately revive the seeds of those who slander the true Dharma or the votaries of the Lotus Sutra. For example, despite repenting of their sins, submitting to, and following Neverdespise Bodhisattva, those who reviled him, for two hundred kotis of eons, neither encountered a Buddha nor the Dharma and they passed one thousand eons in the avici Hell. How much worse the fate of those who slander and revile Myoho renge kyo and its votaries?

*This does not apply at this time because there is no unity in the Sangha and therefore, there is no unity to break.

I'd like to talk a little about the concept of Buddha seeds [not to be confused with Buddha-nature] as explicated by Nichiren Daishonin:

On Buddha Seeds and Buddha-Nature

“The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower, and the people like the field.” — The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood.

“Now in the two thousand years of the True and Counterfeit [Dharmas] when they kept and relied upon the Lesser Vehicle and Provisional Great Vehicle, and practices putting one’s merit [effort] into them, in general there was benefit. Even so, although everyone who practiced those various sutras thought that they obtained the benefit by the various sutras upon which they relied, when we inquire on the meaning by the Hokekyo, they had not one bit of benefit. What is the reason why? It being when the Buddha was in the world they formed a connecting condition with the Hokekyo but it depended upon whether or not there was maturation or not in their capacities. Those whose capacities of the Perfect Teaching are pure and matured in the time [when the Buddha] was in the world attained Buddhahood. Those whose faculties and capacities were faint and inferior [or not yet mature] backslid to the True Dharma [era] and took their realization from the Jomyo [Vimalakirti], Shiyaku, Kan[muryoju]kyo, Ninno hannya kyo and so on, just as when [the Buddha] was in the world. And so in the True Dharma [era] was jointly possessed together of the three, teaching, practice and realization.

“In the Counterfeit Dharma [era] there was teaching and practice but no realization. Now on entering the Latter Dharma there are the teachings, but there is no practice or realization. There is not one person of those who formed the connecting condition when the Buddha was in the world. The two capacities of the Provisional and Real [Teachings] are all gone. At this time for the two [types] of people who are of the rebellious [sins] and blasphemy of the present era for the first time one takes Namu Myoho renge kyo of the ‘Chapter of the Measure of Life’, the Essence of the Hommon as the laying down of the seed (or, as the Buddha Seed). “‘This good, excellent medicine now I leave here. You should take and swallow it. Do not worry that you will not be cured’” refers to this.

It is as when long ago in the Counterfeit Dharma [era] of the past Buddha Ionno when there was not one person who knew the Great Vehicle, the Bodhisattva Fukyo came forth and chanted the Twenty-four Characters which the Master of Teachings had preached. Those who heard those Twenty-four Characters not lacking one person also [later] encountered the Great Being (Mahasattva) Fukyo and obtained benefit. This then was because they made the previous hearing of the Dharma the laying down of the seed (geshu).

Now it is also like this. That was the Counterfeit Dharma; this is the polluted evil Latter Dharma. That was a practicer of the First (Elementary) Following Joy [level]; this is a worldling of the Name {Identity]. That was the laying down of seed of the Twenty-four Characters; this is only the Five Characters [of the Daimoku]. Although the times of obtaining the Way (tokudo: Buddhahood) are different, their ultimate meaning of Attaining Buddhahood would be completely the same.” (STN, v. 2, 1479-1480) Kyogyosho Gosho

“Though the people who say the Nembutsu, keep the precepts and so on are many, the persons who rely upon the Hokekyo are few. The stars are many but they do not illuminate the great sea. Grasses are many but they do not form the pillars of the Imperial Palace. Though Nembutsus are many, they are not the Way to become a Buddha. Though one keeps the precepts they do not form the seed for going to the Pure Land. It is only the Seven Characters ‘Namu Myoho renge kyo’ that are the seed for becoming a Buddha. Though, when I said this, people were jealous and did not adopt it, the late Lord Ueno by his believing it has become a Buddha.” (STN, v. 2, 1603) — Gosho unknown by me

There are two processes and two general types of people, according to Nichiren Daishonin: Those who received the seeds of Buddhahood in the past, those in the Higher Six Worlds; and those who never received the seeds, those in the Lower Four Worlds. For those who have already received the seeds, the Daimoku functions to water the seeds. For those who never received the seeds, hearing the Daimoku [Law] is the seed and practicing the Daimoku is the water. He states, “But many who neither received the seeds of Buddhahood nor formed ties with the Buddha in past existences…” and further along, “The sutra explains that all bodhisattvas, persons of the two vehicles, and human and heavenly beings received the seeds of Buddhahood numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago.” Therefore, when he asserts, “If people do not possess innate Buddha wisdom, how could the Buddha say he wanted to open it? One must understand that Buddha wisdom is inherent in all human beings.” [Even in those in the Four Lower Worlds who do not possess the Buddha seeds]. How do we reconcile these seemingly diverse teachings? Buddha-nature is the FIELD of good fortune synonymous with Buddha wisdom in all beings but without the Buddha seeds and water of Myoho renge kyo, the field will lie fallow and Buddhahood will never open [manifest].

The biggest slander of the Lotus Sutra, at this time and in this place, is the Soka Gakkai's claim that only through one's relationship with Daisaku ikeda can one become enlightened, thus causing the believers to doubt the beneficense and efficacy of the Law of Myoho renge kyo. This is what I mean, referring to "destroying the seeds of Buddhahood." As a corrolary, because of the behavior and false teachings of the Gakkai, in the US for example, many hundreds of thousands of people have come to doubt the Lotus Sutra and they will never again chant the Daimoku in this very life.

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby illarraza » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:17 am

OregonBuddhist wrote:I'm not sure if you're heard of Goodwin's law, the fact that as Internet discussions grow longer, an analogy involving the Nazis becomes inevitable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

Goodwin's law is closely related to Reductop ad Hitlerum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

I try to avoid analogies involving Nazis, and Nazis themselves, as much as possible. :)


I have no such inhibitions while exposing the Soka Gakkai cult. Please base your response on the merit [or lack of therein] of the following assertion:

The following passages with capitalized words are from Scruton along with commentary proving that the SGI has the essential features of Fascism

A component of Fascism are those “WHO ARE URGED TO ENGAGE IN A HEROIC COLLECTIVE EFFORT TO ATTAIN A METAPHYSICAL GOAL against the machinations of a SCAPE GOATED DEMONIZED ADVERSARY”: [from Scruton]. For your benefit, I have included my commentary proving that the Soka Gakkai has features of Fascism

“[Fascism is] more notable as a political phenomenon on which diverse intellectual influences converge than as a distinct idea; as political phenomenon, one of its most remarkable features has been the ability to win massive popular support for ideas that are expressly ANTI-EGALITARIAN.”

Despite their rhetoric, there is a huge chasm between general members and their religious leaders in the Soka Gakkai. If a general member or lower level leader disagrees with a higher level leader, it is always the general member who lacks faith or should reflect. If a leader visits the home of a member, the leader invaraibly leads prayers even if the member has been practicing many years more than the leader.

"Fascism is characterized by the following features (not all of which need be present in any of its recognized instances"):

nationalism; HOSTILITY TO DEMOCRACY,” TO EGALITARIANISM”

Not one leader has ever been elected in the Soka Gakkai but they call themselves, “the flower of Buddhist democracy”. Whenever members like the IRG group or individuals bring up elections of leaders, the higher level leaders, questions their faith or spins it that, “the SGI is already a Buddhist democracy, of what use are elections.” A leaders term is indefinite and the higher level leaders serve at the whim of the unelected “President”. Some leaders have been Vice General Directors, General Directors, or Vice Presidents for decades.

‘and to the VALUES OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT” [The Age of Reason]:

Another name for this age is the Age of Free Thought. As we have seen there is no free thought in the Soka Gakkai. See how far one gets in the organization were one to take Shakyamuni, Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, or Michio Kaku as their mentor instead of Daisaku Ikeda. Free thought extends to the sphere of freedom of study. One can not even study the various extant Gohonzons in the Soka Gakkai because it is forbidden to photograph the Gohonzon. Even an independent study of the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin is frowned upon. One must utilize the commentaries of the mentor. There were dozens of debating societies during the Age of Enlightenment. There is no debate in the Soka Gakkai. It is the mentors way or the highway and they are loathe to debate the other Nichiren sects, particularly the Kempon Hokke.

“The CULT OF THE LEADER,”

One need only observe the 20 foot banners, monuments, plaques and reliefs of Ikeda to know that the Soka Gakkai is a cult of personality. The teaching of the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple too is evidence. The memorizations ["fusing with", "burning into ones life"] of Ikeda’s guidances, aphorisms and poems, is another example. Naming dozens of parks, buildings, schools, and monuments after Ikeda, is yet another example.

“AND ADMIRATION FOR HIS SPECIAL QUALITIES”:

His voluminous and often ghost written books, his hundreds of paid for honorarium; “his ability to read minds and know what others are thinking.”; “‘The sun always shining when he comes to visit.”; His fidelity; loyalty; sincerity; never erring on religious or secular matter; the list literally goes on and on.

“A RESPECT FOR A COLLECTIVE ORGANIZATION, AND A LOVE OF THE SYMBOLS associated with it, such as UNIFORMS, PARADES and ARMY DISCIPLINE”:

One finds dozens of claims of the inability of people to attain Buddhahood outside the SGI organization. Every Division has their own flag and special symbols. The SGI has its own flag and symbol. Uniforms were a big part of the USA organization for years and are still worn in Japan. Uniformity, especially among the young men’s division is highly valued. Many fail to move up the organizational ladder if they have a moustache or beard. They have grandiose parades and their young men’s and young women’s divisions are run with military inspired discipline.

“The ultimate doctrine contains little that is specific, beyond AN APPEAL TO ENERGY AND ACTION”:

“Victory or defeat”; “ever victorious”; “life condition”; “take action today”; “It is essential for our members to raise their voices and take action.”; “Develop the will and spiritual energy to guide your members.”; give your very life for the Soka Gakkai.” “A lion is fearless. A lion is never defeated. A lion never laments. A lion is swift. A lion roars. A lion runs. And, above all, a lion wins without fail.”

“Another way to look at fascism is as a movement of extreme racial or CULTURAL NATIONALISM, combined with ECONOMIC CORPORATISM and AUTHORATARIAN AUTOCRACY”:

The Soka Gakkai is a country within the countries to which it has spread. There most definitely is a culture of Soka. The minor differences in the organizations of the various countries is window dressing rather than a true cultural assimilation. We would not be wrong to say it is an organization based on the Japanese cultural baggage of Bushido or way of the warrior [fierce loyalty, honor, feudalism]. They are one of the largest multi-national religious corporations in the world.

“masked during its rise to state [world] power by PSEUDO-RADICAL POPULIST appeals to overthrow a conspiratorial elitist regime”:

Anyone who opposes the goal of “world peace” based on the Soka “value creation” philosophy are elitists, intellectuals, or priest-like.

“SPURRED BY A STRONG CHARISMATIC LEADER”:

Duh!

"WHOSE REACTIONARY IDEAS ARE SAID TO ORGANICALLY EXPRESS THE WILL OF THE MASSES”:

Nothing could be more reactionary than the autocratic pyramidal structure of the Soka Gakkai formulated by Three Presidents and perfected by Daisaku ikeda, “The Buddha of the modern age who looks upon the people as his children”.

“WHO ARE URGED TO ENGAGE IN A HEROIC COLLECTIVE EFFORT TO ATTAIN A METAPHYSICAL GOAL against the machinations of a SCAPE GOATED DEMONIZED ADVERSARY”:

Daisaku Ikeda’s Concept of Peace Cosmology is an example of SGI’s grandiose metaphysical goal. It doesn’t even limit the metaphysical goal to the earth but the entire cosmos.

In his internal speeches since 1991, and in the latest Human Revolution series, we come to see that the evil Nichiren Shoshu priests and the other evil Nichiren sects, in general, are the only thing preventing the realization of the worldwide actualization of Soka peace cosmology or the spread of the true teachings [Kosen Rufu].

“In any case, in most definitions of fascism the themes of conspiracism and a NEEDED SCAPEGOAT emerge”:

The Nichiren priests, in general and the Nichiren Shoshu, specifically, according to the SGI are the Third of the Three Powerful Enemies, to be crushed. They can’t even see that their high paid business suited lay leaders are what Dengyo terms, nominal Bhikksus or priests.

The parallels between fascism and the Soka Gakkai are conclusive. Other parallels are, elitism, xenophobia and drive for control, for example. Then there is the false propaganda and propagandists.

Daisaku Ikeda is not our pet devil nor is he even the reincarnation of Devedatta. He is our best friend in the entire World because without Ikeda and his organization, there would be no way to contrast the SGI with the Kempon Hokke.

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:44 am

Yes, I've heard the accusation that SGI is "Fascist." I've also heard people accuse Confucianism and, well, just about everything else of being "fascist".... It's a term that is almost devoid of meaning at this point because it is thrown around so often. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascist_(epithet)

Thank you again for sending me the files you sent me a while ago. I use them now and then. :anjali:

You are obviously far more passionate about this topic than I am, and so I have little to contribute to this particular exchange (whether SGI is fascist, a cult, etc.). For me, it's a simple equation: if one thinks SGI is not a good organization, then don't join it. With all due respect, the argument you're pursuing isn't the one I intended to discuss in this particular thread. :smile:
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Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:33 am

Thank you for another response. I must humbly confess, however, that I have nothing to add to a discussion about whether SGI is "evil" or whether Pure Land practitioners will fall into hell. All I can add to this is that I left Catholicism to get away from things like saying others were condemned to hell. Just not an attractive, nor interesting, perspective for me. I don't have anything left to add to this discussion that you're having (which I politely remind is not the one I intended to have when I started this thread), but I'll close this with the following: I was really happy last week when the sensei at the Nichiren temple I attend explained, "You have to understand, it was about 700 years ago when Nichiren criticized Pure Land. Now, we have to respect all Buddhist schools." :smile:
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:11 pm

I have split several posts from the "Positive" thread to here, in order to keep the discussion focused.

viewtopic.php?f=59&t=9931&start=40
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby illarraza » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:03 pm

OregonBuddhist wrote:Thank you for another response. I must humbly confess, however, that I have nothing to add to a discussion about whether SGI is "evil" or whether Pure Land practitioners will fall into hell. All I can add to this is that I left Catholicism to get away from things like saying others were condemned to hell. Just not an attractive, nor interesting, perspective for me. I don't have anything left to add to this discussion that you're having (which I politely remind is not the one I intended to have when I started this thread), but I'll close this with the following: I was really happy last week when the sensei at the Nichiren temple I attend explained, "You have to understand, it was about 700 years ago when Nichiren criticized Pure Land. Now, we have to respect all Buddhist schools." :smile:


Nichiren taught that the latter degenerate age would last for ten thousand years and more. Nichiren teaches that wrong thought, misleading religions, and misleading philosophies are the cause of the worlds woes. That priest is hardly a Nichiren priest. You can't trample on everything that Nichiren Daishonin taught and instructed and be considered a Nichiren priest. Many incorrect ideas resonate with the minds of unenlightened worldings. That which resonates with the mind of the Buddha is difficult to believe and difficult to understand.

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Queequeg » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:46 pm

illarraza wrote:
OregonBuddhist wrote:Thank you for another response. I must humbly confess, however, that I have nothing to add to a discussion about whether SGI is "evil" or whether Pure Land practitioners will fall into hell. All I can add to this is that I left Catholicism to get away from things like saying others were condemned to hell. Just not an attractive, nor interesting, perspective for me. I don't have anything left to add to this discussion that you're having (which I politely remind is not the one I intended to have when I started this thread), but I'll close this with the following: I was really happy last week when the sensei at the Nichiren temple I attend explained, "You have to understand, it was about 700 years ago when Nichiren criticized Pure Land. Now, we have to respect all Buddhist schools." :smile:


Nichiren taught that the latter degenerate age would last for ten thousand years and more. Nichiren teaches that wrong thought, misleading religions, and misleading philosophies are the cause of the worlds woes. That priest is hardly a Nichiren priest. You can't trample on everything that Nichiren Daishonin taught and instructed and be considered a Nichiren priest. Many incorrect ideas resonate with the minds of unenlightened worldings. That which resonates with the mind of the Buddha is difficult to believe and difficult to understand.

illarraza


Nichiren taught about the two methods of propagation, Shoju (peaceful) and Shakubuku (forceful). He further taught that neither should be adhered to exclusively, but that the methods should accord with the circumstances. The conclusion of many in the contemporary Nichiren community is that Shakubuku is generally not appropriate now, and that Shoju is.

My personal view is not quite the same. I believe that Shakubuku is appropriate. However, I don't think it is appropriate to carry it out with 13th century scholastic Buddhist rhetoric. There are more artful ways of making points firmly without being a brimstone and fire preacher invoking damnation in Avici. As you know, making arguments is what I do for a living - and I can tell you with a firm degree of certainty, if I tried to recycle 600 year old rhetoric from the Star Chamber in front of a modern jury it wouldn't be persuasive and I might even be committing malpractice.

We live in a world very different from the one Nichiren lived in where Buddhist ideas dominated the conceptual landscape. Today, many people have never even heard the Buddha's name, let alone have any idea about what he taught. Those who approach the teachings with sraddha are even more rare. In this context, utilizing Nichiren's vocabulary of words and ideas just sounds unhinged - which it is - it is not the language the people you are addressing generally speak. Maybe there are some out there who do speak this language you use - I did when I first encountered you - and it will shock them into examining further - like it did for me. However, most people will just tune out.

In this light, Shakubuku requires more mixing with Shoju sensibilities, and a firm grounding in Upaya theory and practice.

From the Bhaddali Sutta, MN 65 (of course opened by the Essential Teaching)
27. "Here some bhikku progresses by a measure of faith and love. In this case bhikkus consider thus: 'Friends, this bhikku progresses by a measure of faith and love. Let him not lose that measure of faith and love, as he may if we take action against him by repeatedly admonishing him.' Suppose a man had only one eye; then his friends and companions, his kinsmen and relatives, would guard his eye, thinking: 'Let him not lose his one eye.' So too some bhikku progresses by a measure of faith and love.


We live in a world where faith in the Buddhadharma is extremely rare. What advantage is there in taking the little faith that there is and scolding it until it is lost?

We've discussed this before, and in effect I can't declare that what you do is wrong - I have you to thank for shaking me out of received notions that I now see as in error. But as I mentioned, I was also one of those people who actually had a deep(er) familiarity with the ideas and rhetoric. For most people, this is still other planet stuff.

I believe there is a time and place for aggressive, arcane expressions of Shakubuku - but I just don't see those conditions now. With that said, you clearly serve a function. Different than mine. I just want to make the point for others who may be following along here that Shakubuku does not come in the single flavor you provide.

I will carry on and so will you.
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby illarraza » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:51 am

You have covered a lot of ground in your post QQ.

Nichiren was uncompromising towards that which he deemed slander of the Law and towards those he deemed slanderers. It didn't matter if it was the Shogun [bakufu] or one of his disciples gone bad, he employed almost exclusively the forceful practices. Towards his faithful disciples and believers, he employed almost exclusively the gentle practices. Nichiren rarely [if ever] scolded his faithful disciples and believers, unlike the Soka Gakkai leaders who not only scold the faithful believers of the other Nichiren schools but also their own members. Also, unlike the Soka Gakkai and their mentor who perform the gentle practices towards provisional Buddhist and non-Buddhist slanderers alike, Nichiren would have performed the forceful practices. This is a factual account of the practices of Nichiren Daishonin and the Soka Gakkai.

Nichiren's practice is also a factual representation of the practices performed by the majotity of Kempon Hokke priests and laymen. We perform the forceful practices in respect to those deemed great slanderers and we are gentle towards our fellow believers. We give a wide birth regarding the transgressions of our fellow believers since Nichiren taught that slander may be minor or major and that the minor slander of faithful believers does not always require correction [as mirrored in your quote from the Baddali Sutta]. Still, it is wise to keep in mind the admonition Nichiren gave regarding Sammibo one of his most erudite disciples, "I should have corrected him more forcefully at the first signs of his errancy." Jacqueline Stone's latest thesis. The Sin of Slandering the True Dharma in Nichiren's Thought, is an excellent synthesis of Nichiren's thoughts on the grave matter of slander of the Law:

http://www.princeton.edu/~jstone/Articl ... ht%20(2012).pdf

You wrote: "We live in a world where faith in the Buddhadharma is extremely rare. What advantage is there in taking the." little faith that there is and scolding it until it is lost?"

The Sutra and Nichiren teach, regarding expedient or skillful means [upaya], "Honestly discarding expedient means, I preach only the unsurpassed Way." Add to this the doctrine of reverse relationship [Poison Drum] and it becomes apparent that one should say what needs to be said, regardlesss of the immediate consequences. What is important is not whether one forms a positive or negative relationship to the Sutra but that the relationship is profound. in the United States, the Soka Gakkai employed [and still employs] almost exclusively expedient means and the gentle practices. Yet, more than 550,000 of their members abandoned their faith thanks to SGI's misunderstanding the concepts of shoju, shakubuku, and expedient means. The vast majority of those who left the Gakkai have no strong feeling either way about the Lotus Sutra. It will be countless lifetimes before they again encounter the Law or the Buddha. It is far better to teach what and how Nichiren taught. Though we may be few, our faith is strong and correct.

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby OregonBuddhist » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:40 am

Thank you for the link to the interesting article by Stone. I love her articles. I'm glad to see it written that Nichiren wasn't the first to talk about "slandering the law." People seem to not realize this. It often seems that people want to portray that before Nichiren came along, all Buddhists and Buddhist leaders got along.
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