The Difference between District Meetings and Regional Meetings

narhwal90
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The Difference between District Meetings and Regional Meetings

Postby narhwal90 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:14 pm

MOD NOTE: I split this topic off of another thread about SGI resources, as I think Narwhal brought up an interesting observation.

Nah the problem was me going into a lecture after misunderstanding what you wrote. Its funny though I don't run into much Soka stuff in the regular meetings, though that may be due to the mix of people I practice with but I would expect variations all over, people being people. OTOH I do get the "Soka vibe" at bigger meetings that incorporate more formal SGI content. Just tuesday I attended my district's regular meeting, 3 newcomers there and the word was never said- Pres Ikeda got one mention, the rest was all about Nichiren, daimoku, what the gohonzon is, general history and members giving experiences about how the practice has helped. I threw in a spare butsudan, candles, incense for a new practitioner.. I might've even seen myself- 18yr old tongue-tied newcomer just looking for some meaning and way out of the spiritual chaos. I hope he keeps coming back...

I do have a invite to the SGI Florida Culture center in October, which I am inclined to take up contingent on what the airfare etc amounts to, and I expect lots of Soka stuff there since that sort of activity is higher up the food chain. Maybe it'll be annoying maybe not, or some of both but given this is a practice of experience, at least I will be able to live it a bit and have a better informed opinion.

There aren't many of those formidable Japanese women left around, but man oh man do I remember them from the 80's before they started passing away. Very kind, very strict, and truly the heart of the organization at the time. When we did overnights in the community center they made curry chicken or chilli for us, I have never yet tasted its equal.

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Queequeg
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Re: The Difference between District Meetings and Regional Meetings

Postby Queequeg » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:12 pm

narhwal90 wrote:ts funny though I don't run into much Soka stuff in the regular meetings, though that may be due to the mix of people I practice with but I would expect variations all over, people being people. OTOH I do get the "Soka vibe" at bigger meetings that incorporate more formal SGI content. Just tuesday I attended my district's regular meeting, 3 newcomers there and the word was never said- Pres Ikeda got one mention, the rest was all about Nichiren, daimoku, what the gohonzon is, general history and members giving experiences about how the practice has helped. I threw in a spare butsudan, candles, incense for a new practitioner.. I might've even seen myself- 18yr old tongue-tied newcomer just looking for some meaning and way out of the spiritual chaos. I hope he keeps coming back...


I think it depends on the district, but, I always preferred the small meetings to the ones at the community centers. That's where you could actually have conversations. I was always wary of the crowd that was always hanging around at the community centers... who, even if they were completely socially inept and otherwise incompetent, got rewarded with big sounding titles just because they were always around... blech. That whole scene was gross.

The local meetings is what I miss.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates a problem."
-Modest Mouse

narhwal90
Posts: 433
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:10 am

Re: The Difference between District Meetings and Regional Meetings

Postby narhwal90 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:28 pm

I think it also depends on the area. I volunteer from time to time at the local SGI community center and haven't yet been hit in the face with the crazy soka stuff, but I don't doubt its out there. There was definitely a lot more around here back in the NSA days. But you make an interesting point about fancy leaders. A number of big leaders in the area are still around from the old days, some have moved on, some have died- some new ones too. I don't get the pushy vibe these days, but the "keyhole" is prominent. Given the strong branding SGI does its not a surprise, but it does bug me to hear judgements in conversation about other sects which happens from time to time- my impression is many SGI leaders then and now don't spent a lot of time on sites like this. Or maybe some do but don't talk about it in meetings- which makes sense to me. I associate that with the "singleness of purpose" seen in 12 Step programs- stay on program and on message in meetings, so as to not confuse people. And, in the community centers the SGI (local and above) is paying for the facility, so respecting the brand is polite.

A friend of mine in SGI from way back periodically asks me to speak in meetings, typically to give an experience. 12 Step says "always say yes to a request for service", and she asked me to speak at our area's general meeting last fall. I've found public speaking stressful, but said yes. Ordinarily I wouldn't attend a larger meeting like that- the Soka stuff being one reason. I survived the ordeal- gets a little easier each time... This was a big enough occasion for a few senior leaders, fancy dress, lots of support by other members acting as attendants in the building and parking lot- and there was no Soka cheerleading even though a few guys were around dressed as such, which heartened me. I remember vividly the intense cheerleading of the old days, none was present.

There is a local leader still around who really annoyed me back in the day with the SGI Spirit stuff, he and his wife are back in the area. I chatted with him a local meeting and a funeral- likewise none of that old behavior and attitude evident, I hope my old stuff is different too- feels like it is on the inside anyhow. In a lot of ways the SGI of today is very different from the 90's. I have no doubt that those old patterns still occur all over- I've read various accounts of obnoxious behavior by SGI leaders in the recent past, but at least from my spot that stuff seems a LOT less frequent.


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