Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Queequeg » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:20 pm

IR,
We're not going to make any progress in changing each other's views, but for the sake of discussion I'll respond.

illarraza wrote:Towards his faithful disciples and believers, he employed almost exclusively the gentle practices.


I jokingly commented on your concession that SG members are "errant disciples". Would it not follow that shoju is called for in addressing the shortcomings of their views?

"I should have corrected him more forcefully at the first signs of his errancy."


Like I said, Shakubuku does not come in one flavor. It does not mean you have to invoke 13th century Buddhist rhetoric. There are other approaches. They may not get as much attention - but I know from experience, they work over time, in ways that screaming about hell and fury are not.

Yet, more than 550,000 of their members abandoned their faith


You give too much credit to SGI-USA's statistics over the years, if that's where you got that number - I have no idea whether that number has any basis in reality, but I would not be surprised if that many people have "joined" and then quit. Most of those 550,000 were dragged in off the street and hustled into buying a scroll before they knew what the heck was happening. As soon as their sponsors decided they learned gongyo and released their hovering gaze, those people saw their chance to escape and escaped. You can hardly call them "members". A few thousand more stuck around a little longer because they heard the echos of valid teachings and wanted to find it, but got frustrated when all they were given was exhortations to have faith in Ikeda.

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.


See, in light of my preceding comment, I don't know if your MO really is better. If we're going to talk about "Poison Drum" and the far reaching power of merely hearing the Buddha's name, at least SGI, with their promises of material benefit and "absolute happiness" got those people in the door and hearing the Daimoku. When you go preaching about the burning fires of Avici, I don't think you get those 550,000 people through the door and hearing the Daimoku. Maybe you get one or two, or ten, even 100, but no where near 550,000, and more likely a restraining order. Look, SGI may have lost 550,000 "members", but tens of thousands have also stuck, people from broad and diverse backgrounds - something that was discussed in the "Positive" thread. These are people all over the US who have not only come to identify themselves as Buddhist, but to also have taken the Buddhadharma in an attitude of sraddha and undertake fairly rigorous daily practices.

When you shit on everything that they have devoted their life to, they're not going to listen to you. "Oh, its the Kempon guy again." On the other hand, keeping a steady rain of criticism in a way that demonstrates you know what you are talking about - it has a longer term effect.

In their publications, they are actually now leading with "We are Nichiren Buddhists" rather than "practicing Nichiren's Life Philosophy". That is progress. That is institutional change. How far it goes is a different story, but the membership of SGI, or at least a part of it, seems to be pulling the whole organization toward Buddhadharma and away from their secularizing tendencies of the past. And the reason I'll venture, based on my own experience in SGI and talking with people since leaving is because as limited as it may be, there is a spark of pure faith in the BuddhaDharma - there is the desire to learn another phrase of Dharma. Its limited by the shortcomings of the institution, but its there. When our brothers and sisters have only one eye, its our responsibility to protect that one eye. You don't go up to the one eyed person and say, "Ewww. Your eye color is DISGUSTING!"

I don't have a club that I want people to join. I actually don't care if people are "members" of one club or another. What matters to me is that they continue to pursue their Buddhahood diligently, and help others in that endeavor.
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby illarraza » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:24 am

Queequeg wrote:IR,
We're not going to make any progress in changing each other's views, but for the sake of discussion I'll respond.

illarraza wrote:Towards his faithful disciples and believers, he employed almost exclusively the gentle practices.


I jokingly commented on your concession that SG members are "errant disciples". Would it not follow that shoju is called for in addressing the shortcomings of their views?

"I should have corrected him more forcefully at the first signs of his errancy."


Like I said, Shakubuku does not come in one flavor. It does not mean you have to invoke 13th century Buddhist rhetoric. There are other approaches. They may not get as much attention - but I know from experience, they work over time, in ways that screaming about hell and fury are not.


Thanks but I'll take my instruction from the master Nichiren:

"An asura contended that the Buddha taught only eighteen elements, but that he himself expounded nineteen. The non-Buddhist teachers claimed that the Buddha offered only one way to enlightenment, but that they had ninety-five. In the same way, the renegade disciples say, “Though the priest Nichiren is our teacher, he is too forceful. We will spread the Lotus Sutra in a more peaceful way.” In so asserting, they are being as ridiculous as fireflies laughing at the sun and moon, an anthill belittling Mount Hua, wells and brooks despising the river and the ocean, or a magpie mocking a phoenix. Namu-myoho-renge-kyo."

I will address your other points in subsequent posts.

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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby lobster » Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:31 am

I am hoping one day to be offered a free Buddha and blessing
with every burger.

I will of course choose the vegetarian option . . . maybe . . .

Good luck to those protecting others from Ronald Mac Donald and his clown Buddhism
you are a credit to the true franchise . . . :popcorn:
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby illarraza » Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:36 am

Well thank you lobster :thanks:
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Queequeg » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:36 am

illarraza wrote:"An asura contended that the Buddha taught only eighteen elements, but that he himself expounded nineteen. The non-Buddhist teachers claimed that the Buddha offered only one way to enlightenment, but that they had ninety-five. In the same way, the renegade disciples say, “Though the priest Nichiren is our teacher, he is too forceful. We will spread the Lotus Sutra in a more peaceful way.” In so asserting, they are being as ridiculous as fireflies laughing at the sun and moon, an anthill belittling Mount Hua, wells and brooks despising the river and the ocean, or a magpie mocking a phoenix. Namu-myoho-renge-kyo."


IR did not give a citation for this quote.
For the record, this is a passage from the Sado Gosho, a letter of disputed authenticity. This particular translation was done by Soka Gakkai.
http://www.sgilibrary.org/view.php?page=306&m=0&q=

IR, In light of all of your commentary criticizing Soka Gakkai in this thread, I hope you appreciate the irony when you quote from their translation to justify the manner in which criticize them... Applying the rationale of your excrement cake analogy, I don't think inserting a "u" segregates the clean from the unclean.

We won't bother discussing the actual context of this passage.
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby illarraza » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:22 pm

Queequeg wrote:
illarraza wrote:"An asura contended that the Buddha taught only eighteen elements, but that he himself expounded nineteen. The non-Buddhist teachers claimed that the Buddha offered only one way to enlightenment, but that they had ninety-five. In the same way, the renegade disciples say, “Though the priest Nichiren is our teacher, he is too forceful. We will spread the Lotus Sutra in a more peaceful way.” In so asserting, they are being as ridiculous as fireflies laughing at the sun and moon, an anthill belittling Mount Hua, wells and brooks despising the river and the ocean, or a magpie mocking a phoenix. Namu-myoho-renge-kyo."


IR did not give a citation for this quote.
For the record, this is a passage from the Sado Gosho, a letter of disputed authenticity. This particular translation was done by Soka Gakkai.
http://www.sgilibrary.org/view.php?page=306&m=0&q=

IR, In light of all of your commentary criticizing Soka Gakkai in this thread, I hope you appreciate the irony when you quote from their translation to justify the manner in which criticize them... Applying the rationale of your excrement cake analogy, I don't think inserting a "u" segregates the clean from the unclean.

We won't bother discussing the actual context of this passage.


Funny you should mention these points.

Regarding your first point about utilizing SGI sources, Nichiren made use of the commentaries of even those he considered to be slanderers of the Dharma, for example, the following passage from the Learned Doctor Shan-wu-wei in the Opening of the Eyes:

"The characters Myoho-renge-kyo are Chinese. In India, the Lotus Sutra is called Saddharma-pundarika-sutra. The following is the mantra concerning the heart of the Lotus Sutra composed by the Tripitaka Master Shan-wu-wei: namah samanta-buddhanam om a a am ah sarva-buddha-jna-sakshebhyah gagana-sambhavalakshani saddharma-pundarika-sutra jah hum bam hoh vajrarakshaman hum svaha Hail to all the Buddhas! Three- bodied Thus Come Ones! Open the door to, show me, cause me to awaken to, and to enter into the wisdom and insight of all the Buddhas. You who are like space and who have freed yourself from form! Oh, Sutra of the White Lotus of the Correct Law! Cause me to enter into, to be everywhere within, to dwell in, and to rejoice in you. Oh, Adamantine Protector! Oh, empty, aspect-free, and desire-free sutra!

This mantra, which expresses the heart of the Lotus Sutra, was found in the iron tower in southern India. In this mantra, saddharma means “correct Law.” Sad means correct. Correct is the same as myo [wonderful]; myo is the same as correct. Hence the Lotus Sutra of the Correct Law and the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. And when the two characters for namu are prefixed to Myoho-renge-kyo, or the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, we have the formula Namu-myoho-renge-kyo."

i think the use of other's source material can be likened to a judaoka using his opponent's strength against him.

Regarding your second point, Nichiren is very clear, "...when the two characters for namu are prefixed to Myoho-renge-kyo, or the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, we have the formula Namu-myoho-renge-kyo." [not Nam Myoho renge kyo].

Regarding your third point, again, Nichiren is very clear in this passage from the Sado Gosho. What is there to discuss. Those who practiced principally shoju and who criticized him, he considered 'renegade disciples.

Lastly, Sado Gosho is in the Rokunai collection. So, if it is a forgery, it is a very early forgery from right around the time of Nichiren's death. The Kempon Hokke does not dispute its authenticity.

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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Queequeg » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:12 am

illarraza wrote:
Regarding your first point about utilizing SGI sources, Nichiren made use of the commentaries of even those he considered to be slanderers of the Dharma, for example, the following passage from the Learned Doctor Shan-wu-wei in the Opening of the Eyes...



Nichiren didn't make up the excrement cake analogy. You did.

Regarding your second point, Nichiren is very clear, "...when the two characters for namu are prefixed to Myoho-renge-kyo, or the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, we have the formula Namu-myoho-renge-kyo." [not Nam Myoho renge kyo].


Actually, the "two characters" are 南無, not "namu" or "nam". "Namu" is the transliteration of how some Nichiren Buddhists pronounce 南無. "Nam" is the transliteration of how other Nichiren Buddhists pronounce 南無.

Just stop. You're grasping at straws. You don't speak Japanese, you apparently don't really understand how the writing system works, and yet you continue to make these grand arguments that maybe get lapped up by people more clueless than you, but actually reveal you have know idea what you are talking about.

Regarding your third point, again, Nichiren is very clear in this passage from the Sado Gosho. What is there to discuss. Those who practiced principally shoju and who criticized him, he considered 'renegade disciples.


Right. Also from Opening of the Eyes:

From your preferred Soka Gakkai translation of Kaimokusho, WND 285
When the country is full of evil people without wisdom, then shoju is the primary method to be applied, as described in the “Peaceful Practices” chapter. But at a time when there are many people of perverse views who slander the Law, then shakubuku should come first, as described in the “Never Disparaging” chapter...
In the Latter Day of the Law, however, both shoju and shakubuku are to be used. This is because there are two kinds of countries, the country that is passively evil,220 and the kind that actively seeks to destroy the Law. We must consider carefully to which category Japan at the present time belongs.


Which category does the U.S. belong to?

It doesn't matter. If you go back over my posts, my question of you is not that you chose Shakubuku, its how you carry it out. Your writings are all over the internet and speak for themselves. You don't live in 13th century Japan, you live in 21st century America. But that's how you roll. You're like the character from Confederacy of Dunces who talks like a medieval monk in 1960's New Orleans. Not only do most people not speak Japanese, they don't speak Buddhism, let alone medieval Japanese Buddhism.

Anyway, Never Disparaging's practice from the Lotus Sutra https://www.bdkamerica.org/digital/dBET_T0262_LotusSutra_2007.pdf
“After the parinirvāṇa of the first Tathāgata Bhīṣmagarjitasvararāja, there were excessively proud and overbearing monks in the Age of the Semblance Dharma, after the True Dharma had been extinguished. At that time there was also a monk, a bodhisattva, called Sadāparibhūta (Never Despising). “O Mahāsthāmaprāpta, why was he called Sadāparibhūta? Because whenever he saw any monk, nun, layman, or laywoman, he would praise and pay homage to them, saying:
I deeply respect you. I dare not belittle you. Why is this? Because all of you practice the bodhisattva path, and will become buddhas.
“Furthermore, this monk did not concentrate himself on reciting the sutras but only paid homage such that, even when he saw the fourfold assembly from afar, he would go up to them, praise, and pay homage to them, saying:
I dare not belittle you, because you will all become buddhas.
“In the fourfold assembly there were some whose minds were impure and who became angry, and reviled and disparaged him, saying:
Where does this ignorant monk come from? He says that he himself does not belittle us and predicts that we shall all become buddhas. We do not need such an idle prediction.
“In this way he wandered about for many years and was always reviled. But he never got angry and always said, ‘You will become a buddha.’
“Whenever he spoke these words, people would assail him with sticks or stones; he fled from them yet still proclaimed loudly at a distance:
I dare not belittle you. You will all become buddhas.


Lastly, Sado Gosho is in the Rokunai collection. So, if it is a forgery, it is a very early forgery from right around the time of Nichiren's death. The Kempon Hokke does not dispute its authenticity.


You know that just because a writing appears on that list, it does not mean it has not been tampered with over the centuries.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby noisemonkey » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:27 am

http://www.nst.org/sgi-faqs/ this covers most of it, the rest is in the 100 Q&A book on the counterfeit object of worship
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:09 am

Queequeg wrote:When you shit on everything that they have devoted their life to, they're not going to listen to you. "Oh, its the Kempon guy again." On the other hand, keeping a steady rain of criticism in a way that demonstrates you know what you are talking about - it has a longer term effect.


:applause:
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby UniversalWorthy » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:38 pm

It seems to me that Ill-arazza has a compulsive ability, a fairly refined skill actually, to pull people into arguments that really turn into "worldy dharma" debates. This soon turns to an act of slander for all participants. It doesn't seem there is anything really he wishes to discuss, just back-and-forth to appease his argument addiction.
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Re: Postive about Soka Gakkai?

Postby Jikan » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:54 pm

illarraza wrote:I have two goals. The first is to continue to promote the movement to eradicate the one great evil of our time, the Soka Gakkai. The second is to convert my friends. family, and general public. Do you think I talk to my oil rig and cowboy friends or those who ask me a question about Buddhism the same way I talk to the evil SGI members and particularly the leaders? Besides, half of what I have written on the internet has been removed. I guess the moderators and authorities also didn't like me speaking like a 13th century Japanese monk called Nichiren. It is to be expected. Now if I only had his brain, his wisdom, and his mercy, I could really shake things up.


Hyperbole much?
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Jikan » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:37 am

illarraza wrote:They chose the Nichiren Shoshu because only the Nichiren Shoshu [for the sake of worldly riches] was willing to overlook replacing the truth of the Lotus Sutra with gain.


If you'd like to start a Nichiren Shoshu Criticism thread, where accusations such as these can be aired appropriately, please do so.

If this thread further descends into disruptive (and repetitive) speech, it will be closed.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:28 am

Sorry if this thread sees a little disjointed. The reason is a number of posts by Illaraza have been pulled and sent to the great bit bucket in the sky.

I would also request that if users see a post that likens any sect to a jar of tarantulas, shit in a cake recipe, or calls them liars and backstabbers, please report the post immediately. There is a little icon on each and every message on the board to allow you to do this.

I don't mind reasoned disagreement but this stuff is not permitted, period.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby ananda » Thu May 09, 2013 3:59 am

I had to resurrect this thread because I'm curious about how a Soka Gakkai member would respond to this question:
Is there anything in Soka Gakkai, any constitution or document that regulates a president of the organization from abusing his power ? Let's say a president wanted to make a messianic claim or have people worship him directly and instructed people to pray to him, is there anything at all that could stop him from having undue influence on the teachings of the organization and changing doctrines on whim ? Is there any regulating the president's power over the organization ?
"Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever." - Nichiren Daishonin
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby dragon11939 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:05 pm

I was a member. People are allowed to yell at you. Use drugs and do anything they want.
if a leader or someone mistreated your told it is your karma. And because you chant nam-myoho-range-kyo your a Buddha...but really can deluded people be a Buddha..this I believe is a cult..I had my relationship. With my wife ruined. And she was Japanese then she killed herself. Then about a year later her Japanese friend she introduced killed herself. I know they had taught them wrong things. Telling my wife she doesn't need to see a different. And the people bullied her...I learned more than I was supposed to. I studied and there is no organizational structure. .it is not real Buddhism. It was a waste of time. If you try to quit people will try to manipulate you mafia style not to. Like bad things will happen because you quit. I quit I am happy. .zen is good and real Buddhism real results. If they do not have a temple beware. Being a member cost me a lot. But I know a lot about real Buddhism because I read other books..people do not take responsibility for their actions people who think they are gods.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Masaru » Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:37 am

dragon11939 wrote:I was a member. People are allowed to yell at you. Use drugs and do anything they want.
if a leader or someone mistreated your told it is your karma. And because you chant nam-myoho-range-kyo your a Buddha...but really can deluded people be a Buddha..this I believe is a cult..I had my relationship. With my wife ruined. And she was Japanese then she killed herself. Then about a year later her Japanese friend she introduced killed herself. I know they had taught them wrong things. Telling my wife she doesn't need to see a different. And the people bullied her...I learned more than I was supposed to. I studied and there is no organizational structure. .it is not real Buddhism. It was a waste of time. If you try to quit people will try to manipulate you mafia style not to. Like bad things will happen because you quit. I quit I am happy. .zen is good and real Buddhism real results. If they do not have a temple beware. Being a member cost me a lot. But I know a lot about real Buddhism because I read other books..people do not take responsibility for their actions people who think they are gods.


Sounds like the Catholic Church.
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 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:15 am

dragon11939 wrote:I was a member. People are allowed to yell at you. Use drugs and do anything they want.
if a leader or someone mistreated your told it is your karma. And because you chant nam-myoho-range-kyo your a Buddha...but really can deluded people be a Buddha..this I believe is a cult..I had my relationship. With my wife ruined. And she was Japanese then she killed herself. Then about a year later her Japanese friend she introduced killed herself. I know they had taught them wrong things. Telling my wife she doesn't need to see a different. And the people bullied her...I learned more than I was supposed to. I studied and there is no organizational structure. .it is not real Buddhism. It was a waste of time. If you try to quit people will try to manipulate you mafia style not to. Like bad things will happen because you quit. I quit I am happy. .zen is good and real Buddhism real results. If they do not have a temple beware. Being a member cost me a lot. But I know a lot about real Buddhism because I read other books..people do not take responsibility for their actions people who think they are gods.


That sounds horrible. I'm interested in hearing more.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby Northern Light » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:45 am

One point that often gets missed in these SGI discussions, is that each national SGI organisation has a lot of independent freedom. There isn't really such an entity as 'SGI'.

I am in the UK and recently made contact with SGI-UK to find out about meetings in my area. I was put in touch with a District Leader. We exchanged emails, he helped and encouraged me in developing my practice. He didn't tell me that I had to follow strict SGI liturgy, he didn't try to sell me an Altar cabinet, he didn't tell me that the paper 'Gohonzen' that I printed off the internet was a 'fake' or illegitimate. In explaining his role, he explained that as District Leader his job was not leading or managing anything but solely to support people with their practice. I saw evidence that this was exactly how he went about his role too.

At the Monthly Discussion Meeting there was absolutely no worship or reverence of Daisaku Ikeda. There was a nice Gongyo and Daimoku practice, then a discussion on how we can apply Buddhist values (that's Buddhist, not 'Nichiren' or 'SGI') into our daily occupations. They spoke for a little while about the Four Noble Truths, and yes of course a heavier emphasis on Cause & Effect, in our daily lives.

Shakubuku doesn't exist in this district, of SGI-UK, in fact the very mention of it would bring laughter to the members. If there is any canvassing at all, it takes place only when people (for example members friends and colleagues) ask about their Buddhism. The members carry 'business cards' that give the SGI-UK website address and encourage them to check it out. That's it!

SGI life in this district of SGI-UK is about practice, faith, group support, study (and yes of course, mainly Ikeda books but it's very clear that almost all members read other Nichiren sources), discussion, and trying to lead a positive life.

There is not one aspect of 'cultishness' evident in this district of SGI-UK.

Now, as it happens, I can't really work around the schedule of the monthly meetings and I decided to basically walk away and practice independently. What was the SGI-UK District Leader's reaction to this? .... Did he visit me at home with a mob or tell me I'd go to hell if I left?

....No, he said "No problem, it's understandable. If you ever need any help or advice with your practice you know where we are. And you'll always be welcome in the future".

Perhaps SGI-UK is more liberal than other SGI national organisations, or perhaps it's just evolved into something different, but it certainly doesn't fit the 'cult' descriptions that get thrown around the internet about SGI per se.
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby lobster » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:31 am

....No, he said "No problem, it's understandable. If you ever need any help or advice with your practice you know where we are. And you'll always be welcome in the future".


Good news indeed.
I recently went to a SGI meeting to see what all the noise was about. They did chant at volume, with the chant leader being amplified through speakers. They also have a quiet room which I may try next time.

It is a very simplistic practice but what of it. Many tantric entities describe themselves as cults and have a strange elite hierarchy.

In time SGI will settle down, just as Quakers stopped having spiritual seizures . . . :meditate:
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Re: Soka Gakai (SGI) Criticism Thread

Postby zsc » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:47 pm

Following Northern Light's observations, I find it hard to believe that my local SGI center is culty (it's in the Midwest U.S.). They have classes on Buddhism, they don't pressure you to buy stuff, and I severely doubt the short middle-aged women who run the office are going to intimidate people into staying. It does vary from region to region, and they may just be cleaning house. Who knows.
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