Common Soka Gakkai Myths

Well, the forces of Sansho Shima are upon me – if only I was a better linux administrator, then maybe I’d have finished the job I started 4 hours ago! While I wait for it to complete, I thought I would upload this article I have been thinking about in the past week or so.

I’m a member of the SGI in the UK. I have read plenty of criticism of the SGI, and it saddens me deeply. As you read this, bear in mind, I’m just a normal member of a normal district – I’m not a leader, nor do I have have any other role within the SGI. I have a family, hobbies, and a busy career to pursue.

I just feel I have to write this because I would hate to think that anyone interested in joining would be put off by the hateful slander some people (mostly adherents to the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood) seem to spend their lives creating.

Myth 1 – The SGI is a cult

This has to be THE most ridiculous accusation I ever heard. SGI members care about each other’s happiness – why would we want to cause suffering? Yes, we hold firm beliefs, and we may refute what we believe to be incorrect teachings, but that’s where it ends. We don’t go around committing acts of terror, blackmailing, or coercing others to comply with our world view.

The SGI has never demanded or pressured me to:

  • distance myself from non buddhists or buddhists of other schools.
  • distance myself from my family.
  • worship, venerate or otherwise focus my practice on SGI president Daisaku Ikeda instead of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
  • only buy my buddhist accessories (Butsudan etc) and goodies from the SGI.
  • pay for my Gohonzon.
  • give my money or possessions to the cause.

Yes, a local SGI leader (whom I am glad to call a friend) wanted to ensure I had somewhere suitable to put the Gohonzon in my home before I received it – so what? This is nothing sinister, and is more a chance to meet and talk, and answer any questions. If the embodiment of enlightened were to visit your home, you’d want to be respectful – wouldn’t you?

Myth 2 – The SGI Gohonzon is a photocopied fake

Mine isn’t (a photocopy or a fake). The Gohonzon provided to members of the SGI is based on the Gohonzon inscribed by 26th High Priest Nichikan in 1720.

Yes, it may have been tidied up (electronically or otherwise) a little from the original for mass production.

Yes, it’s a printed copy (lithographic I think, but I may be wrong) – again, so what!

No it isn’t an occult object with “woo woo” powers that have somehow been weakened because it isn’t a copy of the Dai Gohonzon kept by the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood. I never understand this argument. Nichiren Daishonin himself inscribed a number of Gohonzons for his followers – none of them were exactly the same, yet all of them represent the same Mystic Law.

It is a scroll – a piece of paper. It is the focus of our worship, because what is inscribed on it represents the Mystic Law – which exists within us. If you think the one kept by the Priesthood or anyone else is somehow more powerful or different from your own life, then you are putting your faith in something outside of yourself.

Myth 3 – The SGI is undemocratic

An the point of this accusation is? I might have missed the boat here, but as far as I know, no leader of the main world religions is voted in. Leaders should be selected (and as far as I can see in the UK, they are) based on merit.

Do you really think that popular voting is going to improve the quality of people who are attracted to leadership of the SGI – or any organisation for that matter? Have to SEEN our political system?

If you feel that the SGI leadership in your district is corrupt, then BE the change that’s needed instead of whinging about it. Shine as a beacon in your district, and you will be recognised for it. Organisations are always subject to human mistakes. Nobody is perfect (but everybody is a Buddha).

Why the SGI attracts persecution

I could spend an eternity refuting petty allegations from the Nichiren Shoshu sect. It would be like trying to stop the flow of the Ganges.

The three powerful enemies will continue to attack the SGI because it is made up of those who are genuinely trying to reveal buddhahood in themselves and others in accordance with the Daishonin’s teachings.

The people of the Latter Day of the Law are cynical, doubtful and fearful – they cannot believe in altruism when they see it because their hearts are so clouded with greed, anger and foolishness. Like Icchantika‘s they have been exposed to the wrong teachings so often, they are all but unable to develop faith in the correct teaching. This is a dark negative function in society and represents the first of the three powerful enemies.

The priesthood represent the second powerful enemy, doing their best to control the SGI membership to bend it to their will, fearful of lost status resulting from the SGI’s success.

The third, and most powerful enemy are like high priest Nikken. Regardless of any disagreement between Nikken and the SGI Sensei (Daisaku Ikeda), Nikken’s treatment of the laity displays contempt for the Daishonin’s spirit, and an utter disregard for the human heart.

Personally, I would welcome Nikken into my home to open a dialogue that might lead to reconciliation. If Kosen Rufu is the genuine aim of the priesthood, then there should be no reason he would refuse me. I know this will never happen, because like many priesthoods, Nikken is more concerned with the preservation of his own temporal organisation and status than revealing buddhahood in others. He wants to control the SGI membership, in much the same way as priesthoods of the non-buddhist faiths have tried to control their adherents since the beginning of recorded history.




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