Creating an alternative/how to move forward

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hopefullotus
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Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by hopefullotus » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:41 pm

A couple weeks ago, I hosted a youth meeting at my house and advised my fellow friends that I have some serious concerns about SGI. I love SGI and it has done a lot for me over the past ten years. But it is no longer substantial and I think new members are not getting the point of the practice because the same topics are constantly simplified and recycled.

So we made our own group, NOT to replace SGI but as a supplement. Something that can be open to both outside sources as well as deeper study. This is a balancing act. As I've seen repeated on this forum, SGI has gone too far into the simplification. For the intro level, that's fine. But for us who want a deeper understanding...?

I have felt that this practice is very serious and that this practice is my life. Not everyone will jive with that and that's ok. But there are youth out there that want more...

I guess my question is: how do I maintain a balance in this little supplemental group so that people can bring outside resources and also encourage deeper study of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra?

If anyone has suggestions, I'm open. I've brought my concerns to fellow leaders. One senior leader actually told me I can pick my mentor (since I have qualms with Ikeda being the default mentor - cool guy but doesn't always get me to go deeper)... in this sense, Nichiren feels like my mentor (I frequently imagine myself as a samurai chanting at his side - weird probably).

I'm going to keep going to meetings and encourage people to see mentor/disciple as more about the *spirit* than the person... and to encourage deeper study. But I'd still welcome input. There is of course resistance from the organization itself to change. Some have suggested this will change when Ikeda dies. I'm not sure and also...why wait?

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Queequeg
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by Queequeg » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:29 pm

(looks around the room)

Uh, you ever get the feeling others are already in on what you're just coming around to? There's already a club for this.

:rolling:

I won't spoil how this thought process ends.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

hopefullotus
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by hopefullotus » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:48 pm

I get that these online places are a great resource... I've been learning a lot!

But I guess I'm asking how to actively create change in the org? Because I've tried and I've gotten resistance. I'm not sure what to do to be more effective with what I'm presenting.

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Queequeg
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by Queequeg » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:54 pm

Good luck. People with much more pull than you can imagine have tried and ended up giving up. The power of least common denominator. You're dealing with an organization that is part of the Japanese government. Power is deep, heavy and well funded. Momentum is set and they've already dealt with you and people like you.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Queequeg
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by Queequeg » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:13 pm

But good luck!
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Yavana
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Location: Trumpaloka

Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by Yavana » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:17 pm

You'd have better luck spreading Shinto throughout the American South while dressed as the opposite sex or chanting alone until you explode into coherent, living light.

narhwal90
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by narhwal90 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:47 am

Far as i'm concerned theres nothing wrong with studying as you please in and out of sgi. i've been sharing stuff from "outside" with other members, one to one- some of them leaders. its been well accepted, i think quite a few people are interested in dharma beyond the usual.

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anjali
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by anjali » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:51 am

Yavana wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:17 pm
You'd have better luck spreading Shinto throughout the American South while dressed as the opposite sex or chanting alone until you explode into coherent, living light.
You made my day! :lol:
Image

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Yavana
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Location: Trumpaloka

Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by Yavana » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:22 am

anjali wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:51 am
Yavana wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:17 pm
You'd have better luck spreading Shinto throughout the American South while dressed as the opposite sex or chanting alone until you explode into coherent, living light.
You made my day! :lol:
I figure if I can keep whoever monitors individuals on US watchlists for potential religious extremists laughing, they'll come for me last.

:hi:

Just kidding. Anyway, gotta go apply for a loan and stamp this envelope for the charity I intend to donate to in Israel after I get done watching these Kamala Harris videos in Spanish my Muslim friend recommended to me. :heart:

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gohonzon
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by gohonzon » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:32 am

Queequeg wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:54 pm
Good luck. People with much more pull than you can imagine have tried and ended up giving up. The power of least common denominator. You're dealing with an organization that is part of the Japanese government. Power is deep, heavy and well funded. Momentum is set and they've already dealt with you and people like you.

May I say that your statement, though filled with rascal impunity is indeed filled with wisdom.

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Queequeg
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by Queequeg » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:54 pm

Folks, I realize the subject matter is pushing the envelope of what is acceptable for the SGI sub-forum and is fraught with volatile history, but let's keep the discussion positive and constructive. I will be the first to take that guidance.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

hopefullotus
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:09 am

Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by hopefullotus » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:59 pm

narhwal90 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:47 am
Far as i'm concerned theres nothing wrong with studying as you please in and out of sgi. i've been sharing stuff from "outside" with other members, one to one- some of them leaders. its been well accepted, i think quite a few people are interested in dharma beyond the usual.
I've had some positive responses when I've done that and some not so positive. But yes, you're right there are people who are interested in dharma beyond the usual. Thanks for your statement since it feels encouraging.

KiwiNFLFan
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:59 am

What changes are you going to make in your new group? I'm interested because I'm still technically a member of SGI, but I don't practice their form of Buddhism or go to meetings. I too have felt that SGI has simplified too much and gone too far astray from standard Mahayana Buddhism. I also don't like the simplicity of their worship and worship spaces. I visited beautiful temples when I was in Japan that were ornately decorated and I attended a Jodo Shinshu service at Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple in Tokyo, and they were so much more beautiful than SGI services. It's like comparing a three course meal at a fancy restaurant to a TV dinner.

By the way, have you looked into either Nichiren Shu or Rissho Kosei Kai? I don't know where you're located but they might be able to help even if there's not a temple or centre anywhere near you.

hopefullotus
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:09 am

Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by hopefullotus » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:44 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:59 am
What changes are you going to make in your new group? I'm interested because I'm still technically a member of SGI, but I don't practice their form of Buddhism or go to meetings. I too have felt that SGI has simplified too much and gone too far astray from standard Mahayana Buddhism. I also don't like the simplicity of their worship and worship spaces. I visited beautiful temples when I was in Japan that were ornately decorated and I attended a Jodo Shinshu service at Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple in Tokyo, and they were so much more beautiful than SGI services. It's like comparing a three course meal at a fancy restaurant to a TV dinner.

By the way, have you looked into either Nichiren Shu or Rissho Kosei Kai? I don't know where you're located but they might be able to help even if there's not a temple or centre anywhere near you.
So the new group will mostly be supplemental with the intention for youth to bring back better study to other members and at district meetings or to be able to have formulated points when recommending changes to leaders. It is open ended but lots of study into both Nichiren and just understanding Buddhism as a whole so we can frame Nichiren better.

I have looked into both! There are no local resources to me. Closest Nichiren Shu is in New York. I know Rissho has an online sangha and I may try that sometime.

Yes, the worship is a bit plain... pros and cons. For some people it is perfect since it is "modern" and "integrated into society". But I think having the option to go to a temple occasionally would be nice.

Mysticlaw
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Re: Creating an alternative/how to move forward

Post by Mysticlaw » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:33 am

I would like to encourage all SGI members to check out this article,
The Buddhist Concept of the Human Being: From the Viewpoint of the Philosophy of the Soka Gakkai
https://www.sgi.org/resources/study-mat ... akkai.html

The SGI consists of members from different backgrounds and values, hence each of us may have a different understanding of the teachings. No one is perfect, hence I feel that it is important to deepen our study so we can practice correctly to the best of our ability. In addition, having the sangha is also necessary as we can help each other especially beginners to correctly practice Buddhism. When it comes to studying, I was taught by my senior in faith about the four standard also known as the four reliances.

According to nichirenlibrary.org:
Four standards that Buddhists must follow. According to the Nirvana Sutra and the Vimalakīrti Sutra, the four standards are (1) to rely on the Law and not upon persons; (2) to rely on the meaning of the teaching and not upon the words; (3) to rely on wisdom and not upon discriminative thinking; and (4) to rely on sutras that are complete and final and not upon those that are not complete and final.

Therefore, when we read any teachings, it is important to learn with the intention to understand the meaning and spirit behind. I am currently reading the Lotus Sutra (nichrenlibrary.org) and it made me gain deeper understanding and appreciation of SGI’s mission and activities.

Lotus Sutra Chapter 5: The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs
At all times, for all things
I preach the Law equally;
as I would for a single person,
that same way I do for numerous persons.
Constantly I expound and preach the Law,
never have I done anything else,
coming, going, sitting, standing,
never to the end growing weary or disheartened.
I bring fullness and satisfaction to the world,
like a rain that spreads its moisture everywhere.

“A true disciple is one who works for kosen rufu (world peace through individual happiness) with the same spirit as Nichiren Daishonin, with the same conviction as one’s mentor. Faith has nothing to do with titles or status; it is all about the heart.” Daisaku Ikeda, NHR vol 14

Lotus Sutra, Chapter 7: The Parable of the Phantom City
I too do likewise,
acting as leader to all beings.
I see the seekers of the way
growing disheartened in mid-journey,
unable to pass over the steep road
of birth and death and earthly desires,
and therefore I use the power of expedient means
and preach nirvana to provide them with rest,
saying, “Your sufferings are extinguished,
you have carried out all there is to be done.”
When I know they have reached nirvana
and all have attained the stage of arhat,
then I call the great assembly together
and preach the true Law for them.
The buddhas through the power of expedient means
make distinctions and preach three vehicles,
but there is only the single buddha vehicle—
the two nirvanas are preached to provide a resting place.
Now I expound the truth for you—
what you have attained is not extinction.
For the sake of the comprehensive wisdom of the buddha
you must expend great effort and diligence.

When you have gained such buddha attributes
as comprehensive wisdom and the ten powers,
and are endowed with the thirty-two features,
then this will be true extinction.
The buddhas in their capacity as leaders
preach nirvana to provide a rest.
But when they know you have become rested,
they lead you onward to the buddha wisdom.

Nichiren teaches “A hundred years of practice in the Land of Perfect Bliss cannot compare to the benefit gained from one day’s practice in the impure world.” WND-I:88

“What will we do at the crucial moment? That is when our daily efforts in faith become manifested. A person who is always lax and lazy cannot suddenly bring forth strong faith when the time comes.” Daisaku Ikeda, NHR vol 14

“That’s why our daily practice of Nichiren Buddhism is so critical. It’s important to carry out faith that flows like water, continuing with perseverance and quiet determination. We need to polish and fortify our lives and cultivate absolute conviction in faith. When we can do that, we will be able to rouse tremendous strength at crucial moment.” Daisaku Ikeda, NHR vol 14

I view SGI activities as one of the expedient means for us to develop self efficacy (Self-efficacy is the belief we have in our own abilities, specifically our ability to meet the challenges ahead of us and complete a task successfully. Akhtar, 2008), leading to self empowerment. In the process, we also get to do our human revolution especially when we have to interact with members whom we may not get along with. This also provide us the opportunities to practise dialogue to forge mutual respect and understanding, the path to non violence and world peace.

Also here to share some of the reading materials I enjoyed reading, mostly published by scholars.

Mahayana Buddhism and Twenty-first Century Civilization https://www.ikedacenter.org/20th-annive ... ng-lecture

Special Series: Awakening a Great Revival of Our Humanity (1) http://www.iop.or.jp/Journal27.html

Special Issue - Ideas and Influence of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi http://www.iop.or.jp/Journal10s.html

Theme: The Historical Significance of the Lotus Sutra and Its Role in the 21st Century http://www.iop.or.jp/Journal10.html

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