I am so glad I found this site.
A year ago some friends invited me to go to an SGI meeting. I had shared with them that I was seeking peace of mind. I was alienated from my birth religion (Judaism). I did not, and have not for many years, believed in the authoritarian god of Christianity, Judaism, Islam.
What I got out of SGI was the notion that many of my problems and my unhappiness really had their roots in how I perceived the world, and that did appeal to me - I have tried other approaches based on externalizing my problems and seeking happiness through material things, which ultimately proved unsuccessful.
However, while the SGI members I met were uniformly kind, and I never felt pressure from them on anything, there are things I did not like about SGI:
1. Constant harping on Ikeda's teachings, which I found uninspiring.
2. The Lotus Sutra is elevated as the highest teaching of the original Buddha, but it is never studied!
3. I never understood how chanting the title of the Sutra can do anything if one never reads it.
4. Preoccupation with chanting for material things.
5. I just don't like chanting!
6. I want to find some measure of peace and tranquility in my current life; I am not seeking anything else.
7. SGI talks about their commitment to peace, but they continue to attack other faith traditions.
I just don't know, given the many schools of Buddhism, where to start. I don't want another SGI experience.
Advice from anyone is of course appreciated.