Important Announcement

See here for an important message regarding the community which has become a read-only site as of October 31.

 
Post Reply
Switch to Forum Live View I am a highly educated woman born and raised in a strict Baptist household. Early in life, I...
7 years ago  ::  Sep 27, 2010 - 4:13PM #1
Cinemagirl
Posts: 2

I am a highly educated woman born and raised in a strict Baptist household. Early in life, I questioned the teachings of Christianity and went on a spiritual quest that has now las almost 20 years. I have explored a number of religions including: "progressive" Christianity, Unitarianism, Paganism and Wicca, New Age and most consistently, Buddhism.


 


For years, I have gravitated strongly towards Buddhism, particularly Nichiren Buddhism, based on its emphasis on mystism, spirituality and the ability to purposefully change one's life.


 


For roughly a year, I attended severaral SGI meetings throughout NYC. In my journey's through Nichiren Buddhism, I was dismayed by the level of politics and unnecessary/irrelevenat pressures placed on its members. Many individuals seemed to wander in a "possessed" state with little or no individual thought or expression. Although about 60% of the people I met seemed "normal", the remaining 40% appeared fanatical to the point of being mentally ill ....but I was still intrigued and captivated by its practice.


 


I left the group practice and after another year, I chanted Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to the Gohonzon alone and attended progressive "Emergent" Christian meetings, that although did not truly statisfy my spiritual needs, but did provide me with a conscious community to dialogue with.     I recently began attending SGI (A Nichiren Group) and began doing Daimoku with the group.


While it feels good, in fact, great to chant with a large group of people, I DO NOT want to get sucked into the suffocating world of pressure and bias that I was faced with before. I NEED BALANCE in my life and don't want SGI to completely consume my whole existence. 


Are there any other religions that are rooted in spirtuality and meditation like Nichiren Buddhism, but also possess the non-biased, non-fanatical community I see in the 'Emergent' church movement? Or do I just stick it out in SGI and keep my boundaries?

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Sep 27, 2010 - 10:05PM #2
RenGalskap
Posts: 1,420
Hi CG,

Different people I've talked to have had very different experiences with SGI. Apparently, there's a lot of variation between groups. If there's more than one group in your area, you might try attending different groups and picking the one that you're most comfortable with.

Also, SGI isn't the only form of Nichiren Buddhism. Some ex-SGI members have moved to Nichiren Shu (which is not the group that SGI split from). I'm not advocating one group or another, just pointing out that there are alternatives. :-)
Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Sep 28, 2010 - 7:26AM #3
Engyo
Posts: 138

Sep 27, 2010 -- 4:13PM, Cinemagirl wrote:

Are there any other religions that are rooted in spirtuality and meditation like Nichiren Buddhism, but also possess the non-biased, non-fanatical community I see in the 'Emergent' church movement? Or do I just stick it out in SGI and keep my boundaries?



Hi, CG -


No pressure, but I wanted you to know that it is possible to practice Nichiren Buddhism without being an SGI member.  There are people who practice independently.  There are some other Nichiren groups as well.  You have access to several of them in NYC.  Nichiren Shoshu has a temple in the greater NYC area; so does Nichiren Shu.  I don't know any of the Nichiren Shoshu folk, but Shogen Kumakura Shonin who is the resident minister for the Nichiren Shu temple is a friend of mine.


There are also groups like Rissho Kosei Kai, Reiyukai, and Nipponzan Myohoji.  Here is the Nichiren's Coffeehosue page with listings for New York:  nichirenscoffeehouse.net/directory/N.htm...


Some of that info may be a bit dated, but it will certainly give you some starting points.  I hope this is helpful......


Namaste, Engyo

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2010 - 4:19PM #4
etoro
Posts: 595

Sep 27, 2010 -- 4:13PM, Cinemagirl wrote:


I am a highly educated woman born and raised in a strict Baptist household. Early in life, I questioned the teachings of Christianity and went on a spiritual quest that has now las almost 20 years. I have explored a number of religions including: "progressive" Christianity, Unitarianism, Paganism and Wicca, New Age and most consistently, Buddhism.


 


For years, I have gravitated strongly towards Buddhism, particularly Nichiren Buddhism, based on its emphasis on mystism, spirituality and the ability to purposefully change one's life.


 


For roughly a year, I attended severaral SGI meetings throughout NYC. In my journey's through Nichiren Buddhism, I was dismayed by the level of politics and unnecessary/irrelevenat pressures placed on its members. Many individuals seemed to wander in a "possessed" state with little or no individual thought or expression. Although about 60% of the people I met seemed "normal", the remaining 40% appeared fanatical to the point of being mentally ill ....but I was still intrigued and captivated by its practice.


 


I left the group practice and after another year, I chanted Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to the Gohonzon alone and attended progressive "Emergent" Christian meetings, that although did not truly statisfy my spiritual needs, but did provide me with a conscious community to dialogue with.     I recently began attending SGI (A Nichiren Group) and began doing Daimoku with the group.


While it feels good, in fact, great to chant with a large group of people, I DO NOT want to get sucked into the suffocating world of pressure and bias that I was faced with before. I NEED BALANCE in my life and don't want SGI to completely consume my whole existence. 


Are there any other religions that are rooted in spirtuality and meditation like Nichiren Buddhism, but also possess the non-biased, non-fanatical community I see in the 'Emergent' church movement? Or do I just stick it out in SGI and keep my boundaries?





I am a long time practitioner of Nichiren BUddhism in the SGI. The SGI is the real Mccoy.  The SGI embodies the global transmission of the Lotus Sutra in the revolutionary manner that Nichiren intended. That is why it is challenging to practice in such a dynamic and constantly growing movement.  Leadership in the SGI embodies the spirit of compassion for all people to use the NIchiren practice to break through their sufferings and experience victory.  It also expands our awareness of the universal nature of human suffering in a real life way.  If you wish to grow in faith and wisdom it is important to jump into the stream of the movement.   Use your practice to move forward in the spirit of the movement itself. This is the sure way to victory over one's own karma.  


 

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2011 - 7:14PM #5
NYCDogLvr
Posts: 2

I'm glad I found this forum so I'm able to discuss my reservations with SGI.


By way of background, I discovered chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo in the late 70's and practiced it to the best of my ability for five years.  I left because of the practice of going onto the streets to "shakabuku" people and drag them back to meetings.  We were encouraged to chant for hours several times per day, at least I was.   So I ended the practice and put the Gohonzon away in a safe place.


Two years ago I met someone who chanted and he reintroduced me to SGI.  No longer did members drag people off the street; gongyo was shorter.  So, I pulled the Gohonzon out of storage and started practicing again.  But what I've found is I still have problems with the way President Ikeda is worshipped as practically a deity by members.  And, in literature there is frequent bashing of the priests who used to be part of SGI.  There was a big split in the organization in the 1990's (I believe it was then) and the secular group broke off into present day SGI.  Fine, but why keep fighting a battle that has been over for decades.  


But I suppose the real problem is that I no longer feel connected to the Gohonzon or members.   I had one close friend who mentored me during my return and after he said some very uncompassionate, cold things I felt it was time to part ways.  This time I wanted to return the Gohonzon to SGI or someone as a show of respect.  I emailed two members about the right action (hand carry it to 15th St. or mail it) and they didn't bother to reply.  At monthly meetings I didn't feel that the lessons spoke to me personally. 


Alas, this isn't for me.  What's more, I feel it in a deep way.


 


 


 

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2011 - 2:19PM #6
Engyo
Posts: 138

Jan 4, 2011 -- 7:14PM, NYCDogLvr wrote:

But I suppose the real problem is that I no longer feel connected to the Gohonzon or members.   I had one close friend who mentored me during my return and after he said some very uncompassionate, cold things I felt it was time to part ways.  This time I wanted to return the Gohonzon to SGI or someone as a show of respect.  I emailed two members about the right action (hand carry it to 15th St. or mail it) and they didn't bother to reply.  At monthly meetings I didn't feel that the lessons spoke to me personally. 


Alas, this isn't for me.  What's more, I feel it in a deep way.



Hi, NYC DL -


There are a couple of things you can do.  You could mail your Omandala back in, if you choose to do so.  I'm not sure what SGI does with returned gohonzon these days.


You could mail it back in to the Nichiren Shoshu temple in New York, or take it by.


Another option, in several ways, would be to look up Rev. Shogen Kumakura at the New York Daiseonji Nichiren Shu temple.   I know him personally; he would accept your Omandala, if you no longer wish to continue practice.  In Nichiren Shu (as in most Japanese Buddhist groups), consecrated items which are no longer needed are ritually cremated.


I said 'in several ways', becasue if you still enjoy the actual practice of chanting then you might actually check out a service at the Nichiren Shu temple there.  It is similar in some ways to what SGI does, and very different in others.


Here is Rev. Kumakura's contact information: 




I hope this is helpful, and namaste.


Engyo




Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Aug 10, 2011 - 3:07AM #7
Bob_the_Lunatic
Posts: 3,458

^First, we don't call it an "OMandala", we call it the Gohonzon, it is the Object of Worship.  She may as well mail the Gohonzon to a Catholic Church if she's going to mail it to a Nichiren Shu temple.  I think that was a bit inappropriate.  I'm an SGI member and I would simply mail it back to the local kaikan/community center with a note explaining you wish to renounce your faith or whatever seems appropriate.  I'm sorry they blew off your emails, something sounds wrong there (as in they should be very concerned with what has happened and give you some decent attention and/or respect your wishes).  I was a leader for several years and I would never ignore such an email-but I think I'd be more in tune and be aware of a problem before that email ever came....


Like with any other item-if she feels she needs to return it, obviously it is to return it to where she got it, and that would be SGI.  Ultimately-it is HER life, so she may do with it what she wants.


Now, past that distraction, I would say the following:


I completely understand the cult point of view, the "Ikeda Worship" culture I've heard menitoned and not appreciated here.  I myself am a very hardline SGI member.  I really haven't changed how I think since before the split, I am a bit rare.  However, I know this practice is true, so just because I disagree with SGI and some of its new ideas-I don't let that splash onto this pure faith.  I hope you consider the same.  This Gohonzon is true, it is the pure blueprint of life, and chanting is the greatest happiness. 


SGI is an organization of fallable human beings, I think it may have wandered a bit off course since the split.  I would say the priesthoodalso is human beings, they too have made mistakes.  We, as Buddhists, must remember that it is obstacles that lead to happiness.  Nichiren said "and the wise will rejoice, while the foolish will retreat" in regard to obstacles.  That's a tough one at times, but I know it's true. 


This practice is not easy, and it's even harder to do alone.  But if I wanted an easy practice, I'd go be a Christian or something lol.  I want a TRUE practice and my long search led me to the Lotus Sutra and this philosophy. 


Back to the OP's question, my advice would be your latter consideration:  To steal from an AA slogan:  Take what you want and leave the rest.  The important thing is your practice, not contributions, not publications, not President Ikeda, not your district leader.  Your happiness in this world is all that matters-what good are you to others without it.  So I hope you keep chanting and go to meetings if you want to. 


I don't go to many meetings anymore-I live in a very spread out place.  I got sick of driving a few hours to a meeting to hear a phone teleconference or see a video with little inspiration and then 5 minutes of Daimoku....  That's not how it used to be.  And frankly, while more difficult, I miss the days of the 60 minute Gongyo, my practice was much stronger then.  Sometimes I still do a full Gongyo, instead of the new 5 minute Gongyo. 


Sincerity is all that matters, not meetings, not SGI.  If everyone is sincere, we'll achieve Kosen Rufu (world peace).

Quick Reply
Cancel
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook