12) "SGI Still Using Voodoo Prayer Campaigns?"
In the weeks before a ceremony at the Nichiren Shoshu temple in Chicago, an SGI leader in Chicago urged members there to redouble their efforts to dissuade people from attending temple events. In a memo, he used the phrase "other appropriate action". Anyone who knows this leader, and anyone familiar with the SGI tradition of prayer and dialogue, knew exactly what he meant.
The Temple is familiar with that SGI tradition, but it does not suit their agenda of portraying the SGI as a potentially violent, mindless cult. So they began saying how worried they were for their safety after, again, providing their own context for the quote. SG-eye fails to mention that there was a follow-up memo, from the same leader, saying specifically what "appropriate action" means.
Picture a parent telling the family to "do whatever is necessary to get this house clean by tonight"; and a neighbor who dislikes the family calling the police to report that the guy next door told his kids to toss the trash into the neighbor's yard. And then claiming that the only reason the kids did not throw the trash into his yard was because he had called the police. SG-eye is very good at this sort of lying through context.
"Washington Post Lifts Lid on the Gakkai"
"It's religious dogma is intolerant and based on the belief that the group must expand its control of society."Nichiren Shoshu plays a very transparent game with the "intolerance" card. Here — and elsewhere, when it suits their purpose — they quote people who say the SGI is intolerant. Elsewhere on this and other websites and on ARBN, they say the SGI is non-Buddhist precisely because it is tolerant of other religions. In the days when the SGI supported Nichiren Shoshu and took instruction from the priests, it was intolerant, because the priesthood believes that the principles that governed inter-religious dialogue in Nichiren's day (the 13th century) — i.e., debate — are still the only methods to use today. Today the SGI participates in, and sponsors, discussions with other religions about religion's role in the new millennium, about addressing social issues, about opposing government interference in religion, and other issues religions have in common..
As for "control of society": the author quoted states a common view in Japan. It's a misunderstanding of, first, the relationship between the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu as it previously existed; and, second, of the SGI's current application of the Gosho to its activities in society, as opposed to Nichiren Shoshu's reticence in participating in society at all.
Nichiren wrote that a Grand Main Temple should be built at the time that the entire nation, from the emperor on down, took faith in his teachings. Nichiren Shoshu long interpreted this to mean that it should become the state religion, and the state should actually build this temple. The Soka Gakkai disassociated itself from this notion, formally, years ago; the mainstream of Nichiren Shoshu did so some time later — though some factions within Nichiren Shoshu still hold to it (this was one of the obstacles to the construction of the Sho Hondo in 1972).
As with many other teachings and practices, some sections of the public confuse the SGI with the feudal-era teachings of Nichiren Shoshu. (Another example was mentioned earlier, concerning intolerance of other religions).
The SGI philosophy confused with "controlling society" is merely a matter of people whose lives are based on the Daishonin's teachings applying those teachings to their own fields of endeavor, thus influencing those fields in the direction of humanism. In politics, for instance, this means there will be people in government whose only motivation is truly the good of the people. It means art that is encouraging and uplifting, education that prepares students to be world citizens rather than specialists who know only how to make money. It by no means entails a religious dictatorship — just the opposite, in fact: it's the influence of Buddhism rising from the people into institutions, rather than the institutions dictating the behavior of the people.
Meanwhile, I mentioned that the story in The Post is somewhat balanced. The selective editing of SG-eye, of course, does not give that impression. SG-eye conveniently forgot to include anything from the second part of the story. For instance:
Soka Gakkai, which means Value Creation Society, was founded in the 1930s and grew rapidly during the desolation of the years immediately after World War II. It describes its goal as combining happiness of the individual with the prosperity of all society, and it initially targeted the less affluent.14) "Soka Gakkai Magazine Abuses the Holocaust"
The SGI has sponsored a touring exhibit that educates people about the Holocaust. It has co-sponsored many activities with the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Many SGI members are of Jewish heritage. This section of the SG-eye site is a mean, aggressive attempt to undermine those projects and those members' faith; and in order to accomplish that SG-eye has to resort to the most pathetic lies and distortions.
SG-eye has pounced on an article about a children's skit, performed by the members in Denver, where heroes fight "bad guys": Hitler, Nikken Abe, and — Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. Obviously, the skit did not "compare Nichiren Shoshu and High Priest Nikken to Nazi's", as SG-eye tries to characterize it. The skit was part of the SGI Youth Division's "Victory over Violence" program, a tenet of which is "I will value my own life". The point was that one who values one's own life will not submit it to base authoritarianism, will not be influenced by peer pressure, will have the confidence to respect the lives of others as well.
To use another example: consider if the skit had portrayed the lives of people whose lives exemplified kindness — say, Jesus, Albert Schweitzer, and a fireman who rushed into a burning building to save a child. Using the same logic, SG-eye would say the producers of the skit were "comparing a fireman to Jesus".
SG-eye also refers to an article by Greg Martin, an SGI-USA vice General Director, that is says compares Nikken to Hitler.
"For example, the April 2000 issue of SGI's World Tribune has an article where a leader (Greg M) infers (sic) that the Holocaust and world strife are equal to the 'slander' being done by Nichiren Shoshu, he encourages all SGI members to 'act as the Daishonin would'."Conveniently, they don't give the exact date of the article, making it quite hard for the average person to see if Greg really did say that. He did not. It's the April 7th, 2000, World Tribune, and the only mention of anything "Hitler-related" is this:
There are those who feel that it is too much to label Nichiren Shoshu as evil. The Holocaust, slavery, environmental destruction -- these are evil. But a band of misguided priests who have never killed anyone? Wrongheaded, unfair, petty . . . words like these better describe the actions of Nichiren Shoshu, some feel. [elision in original]He then goes on, without another mention of the Holocaust, Hitler, or Nazis, to explain the concept of "evil" from the standpoint of Nichiren's teachings.
SG-eye knows that it is twisted logic to imply that using the same adjective to describe two different things is not saying they are "equal". Nichiren spent his life fighting the evil of distorting the teachings of the Buddha. That is the "evil" he had to contend with, and it is the evil SGI has to contend with. SG-eye quite deliberately tosses ethics out the window in it's attempt to cause people to think the SGI is insensitive to the Holocaust.
That sort of behavior is nothing new for Nichiren Shoshu, though. Its High Priest Nikken was once talking about the Soka Gakkai. In the midst of his discussion of this organization, he said:
"I once heard that the leader of an organization said 'If you tell a lie a hundred times it becomes the truth'. Those who hear such guidance will begin to think nothing of lying."His use of the words "organization" and "guidance" — in the midst of a speech about the Gakkai — was obviously meant to imply that it was a Gakkai leader who made the statement. The quote, of course, is a paraphrase of a "leader of an organization" — Goebbels. High Priest Nikken somehow failed to make clear the distinction.
"Japanese Magazine Doubts Seattle Verdict"
The article was written in
response to the rendered verdict that the incident did in fact occur; this
point had been raised in court and successfully refuted. The officer —
Sprinkle — had been in the reserves, called up for the Cuban Missile Crisis
in October 1962. All reserve units were deactivated by the end of November,
and Sprinkle was assigned to a base near his home in Seattle — and thus
was able to resume his job on a part-time basis. Documents and testimony
were presented in court to demonstrate this, to the satisfaction of the
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