Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post Reply
dharmapdx
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:54 am

Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post by dharmapdx » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:34 pm

Relatively random question, I know. But let’s say someone living in, say, Bethel, Alaska, wanted to be an SGI member. What would they do? Bethel is accessible only by air. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethel,_Alaska I doubt there are any SGI study groups in Bethel, Alaska.

I know the odds of someone in Bethel, Alaska, being interested in Buddhism are slim-to-none. But I think you all get my point. Are people who live in an inaccessible just out of luck and unable to become SGI members? (What about the people in Tristan Da Cunha? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_da_Cunha)

narhwal90
Posts: 652
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:10 am

Re: Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post by narhwal90 » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:24 pm

If I was in Bethel AK, I'd go join up with the YK fitness center

http://www.ykfitness.org/fitness/

which offers a yoga program in June/July, and chat with the instructor about meditation programs, see if any of the other locals would be interested in working up some kind of scheduled vipassana/samatha sessions.

There is a long tradition of meditation/contemplation practice in the catholic church, there are a couple catholic churches in town, it might be worth seeing if there is some interest there. Such an arrangement would presumably end up being idiosyncractic, neither fish nor fowl and fairly generic tradition-wise but its sure better than practicing alone. Presumably one's own SGI practice would be more private just as other participants would hopefully also be discrete. Apparently many of the drivers of town's extensive network of taxi cabs are South Korean, there might be some interest from that quarter as well.

I attend a 30 minute meditation session on mondays at a local episcopalian church, there are at least 4 widely different traditions represented in the group and I'm not the only buddhist. OTOH me and the zen guy are the only ones who sit on the floor... :thumbsup:

But to take up the SGI question as such, there are a few teens/20-somethings in my district that occasionally participate in discussion meetings via facetime or similar. Seems to work pretty well, and being SGI, the leader is careful to keep the camera pointed away from the butsudan lol.

dharmapdx
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:54 am

Re: Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post by dharmapdx » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:48 pm

I’m shocked that there is a meditation class in Bethel, Alaska. 😳

Interesting response. Thank you. 🙏

Below is a picture of me as a child being held upside-down by a relative of my half-sisters in Alaska. Two of my half-sisters are registered Alaska native. I came very close to being raised in a very isolated part of Alaska not unlike Bethel. My mother grew up in Alaska….

I guess I was just wondering how SGI would do things like distribute the gohonzon to people in areas without access to regular meetings, etc.
narhwal90 wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:24 pm
If I was in Bethel AK, I'd go join up with the YK fitness center

http://www.ykfitness.org/fitness/

which offers a yoga program in June/July, and chat with the instructor about meditation programs, see if any of the other locals would be interested in working up some kind of scheduled vipassana/samatha sessions.

There is a long tradition of meditation/contemplation practice in the catholic church, there are a couple catholic churches in town, it might be worth seeing if there is some interest there. Such an arrangement would presumably end up being idiosyncractic, neither fish nor fowl and fairly generic tradition-wise but its sure better than practicing alone. Presumably one's own SGI practice would be more private just as other participants would hopefully also be discrete. Apparently many of the drivers of town's extensive network of taxi cabs are South Korean, there might be some interest from that quarter as well.

I attend a 30 minute meditation session on mondays at a local episcopalian church, there are at least 4 widely different traditions represented in the group and I'm not the only buddhist. OTOH me and the zen guy are the only ones who sit on the floor... :thumbsup:

But to take up the SGI question as such, there are a few teens/20-somethings in my district that occasionally participate in discussion meetings via facetime or similar. Seems to work pretty well, and being SGI, the leader is careful to keep the camera pointed away from the butsudan lol.
Attachments
876EE293-7E62-4836-B83E-6FA9D802709C.jpeg
876EE293-7E62-4836-B83E-6FA9D802709C.jpeg (153.83 KiB) Viewed 1007 times

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6112
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:12 pm

In the old days, someone would make that trip to visit the person and help them set up a place to practice and teach them Gongyo. The person would be encouraged to make the effort to make the trip from Bethel to the nearest bestowal ceremony and it would be explained that their efforts to seek the Law (Dharma) would be rewarded with exponential good fortune. Then, someone would make another trip to help enshrine the Gohonzon and encourage them in their practice. Follow up visits and regular correspondence would continue until that person's practice was firmly established and they were capable of standing on their own. At that point the relationship would evolve from new practitioner to fellow who would join in the efforts to cause others to hear the Law and encourage them to enter the path. Seek above, edify below. Practice for oneself and for others.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 2029
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:04 am

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:12 pm
In the old days...
Similar to a Jehovah Witness model.

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6112
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:44 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:04 am
Queequeg wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:12 pm
In the old days...
Similar to a Jehovah Witness model.
Could be. I don't know how JW practice.

Its also similar to the Buddha described in the Lotus Sutra.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

dharmapdx
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:54 am

Re: Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post by dharmapdx » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:10 am

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:12 pm
In the old days, someone would make that trip to visit the person and help them set up a place to practice and teach them Gongyo. The person would be encouraged to make the effort to make the trip from Bethel to the nearest bestowal ceremony and it would be explained that their efforts to seek the Law (Dharma) would be rewarded with exponential good fortune. Then, someone would make another trip to help enshrine the Gohonzon and encourage them in their practice. Follow up visits and regular correspondence would continue until that person's practice was firmly established and they were capable of standing on their own. At that point the relationship would evolve from new practitioner to fellow who would join in the efforts to cause others to hear the Law and encourage them to enter the path. Seek above, edify below. Practice for oneself and for others.
Very interesting; thank you. You mentioned that this is what happened in the old days. Is this not what would happen anymore?

narhwal90
Posts: 652
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:10 am

Re: Long distance members? How does SGI connect?

Post by narhwal90 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:47 pm

That or similar values of that still happens. Q's description is exactly how I enshrined my NSA gohonzon but then my district leader was very orthodox (in the NSA sense). I've participated in fairly informal events that don't quite deserve the term "enshrining". Not that they were disrespectful but more like "OK lets drive over to your place and set up the milk crates with butsudan on top, hang your gohonzon and chant a bit then go out for a drink" sort of things. On other occasions its a bit more refined- nowadays some folks like to hang the butsudan on the wall, so the "ceremony" was preceeded by me installing the drywall anchors and so on. That said, having enshrined a gohonzon, the outreach very much still happens. There is a lot of encouragement of new members to find the local meetings they like & then attend regularly, participate in the planning- I have seen that consistently over the last 30 years.

All that said, my area is fairly compact, lots of members so outreach and visitation is easier. In the Alaska case such meetings would take some planning, I'm inclined to bet that a lot of member outreach happens by video calls of whatever forms and the long trips to meetings would be for larger events. SGI folks are often passionate about their practice, senior leaders especially so, I would also expect some of them would make it their business to visit the more remote practitioners, bring altar stuff as gifts; Mr Ikeda books, candles, incense etc

Post Reply

Return to “Soka Gakkai/SGI”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests