Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

‘I hope I come back as gay’

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. Kevin Vavasseur 1 Dec 2006, 7:35pm

    Yay Robert! Great article. I’m an SGI member in the USA and have practiced for 22 years. When I first started to chant, gay members in the US were encouraged to chant to be straight and I was even told by one of my leaders it was a slander against women to be gay. So I chanted to be straight and all I could think about when I chanted were men I’d slept with or men I wanted to sleep with. Yet a straight, men’s division member told me to not ignore my thoughts as my life was showing me something about myself I needed to embrace. Having been raised Roman Catholic, the self-denial and praying to be straight thing was something I already knew very well. However, I did finally face myself and have been a proud and out gay man ever since. And the US organization has done a complete turnaround in the last 10-15 years as our understanding of this wonderful practice matured and deepened with President Ikeda’s encouragement. LGBT members are now completely welcomed and accepted as they are, based on Nichiren’s writings, not just current societal trends. A few years back, we even had an SGI-USA young men’s division national leader who was not only an out, gay young man, but also African American! A first on both counts! And there is also a national group within our larger SGI-USA body called “Fierce Pride” which helps support the LGBT community and is completely supported and embraced by the organization. So truly, this practice creates change in the individual and the larger group to courageously and happily live true to ourselves and unite with others to help foster the humanistic environment we all envision. Thanks again to Pink News, Robert and SGI-UK.

  2. John Turner 2 Dec 2006, 12:18am

    It should be noted that while a seemingly harmless group and an inspiration to gay men and women this organisation is considered a cult in several countries around the world (including France).Their organisation, the SGI, has been excommunicated from their original parent Buddhist sect for their cult like control on their members and new teachings which do not follow traditions of Nichiren Buddhism. They also have a fanatical focus on their lay leader Daisaku Ikeda.They do not particularly practise Buddhism as such but rather a kind of new age anything goes humanism.Certainly they have many happy members but at it’s root lies something more sinister. Just ask any Japanese person what they think of the Soka Gakkai and their extremely wealthy leader Daisaku Ikeda. On the whole this religious group is viewed with horror by most other Buddhists including all other schools of Nichiren Buddhism.Perhaps the Pink Paper ought to investigate a little further before endorsing such groups?

  3. Kevin Vavasseur 2 Dec 2006, 2:41am

    In response to Mr. Turner, thank you for your comments. Actually, the SGI lay organization was excommunicated by the priesthood for refusing to view connection and obedience to the recent High Priest Nikken Abe as the sole way to enlightenment. His position clearly contradicts Nichiren Daishonin’s assertion to not seek enlightenment outside oneself, and that Buddahood/enlightenment exists within and can be accessed by anyone, women included, in the present lifetime, simply by chanting NMHRK (“On Attaining Buddahood”, Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin), thereby developing a condition of absolute inner happiness. This was quite a revolutionary assertion for a priest in 13th century Japan. And the point of blind obedience to the High Priest was solely an assertion by Nikken, contradicting many High Priests before him. And rather than crumbling, the lay organization has blossomed since this excommunication, taking this challenge as an opportunity to deepen our understanding and application of Nichiren Buddhism and to cleanse our lives and environment of the painful tendency toward authoritarianism, while also developing real compassion. Currently this buddhism can be found in 190 countries and territories worldwide, where local, non-buddhists leaders in many areas of society are recognizing the members of the SGI as a positive, contributing group within their respective areas. Also, it is estimated that one out of ten people in present-day Japan is a Soka Gakkai member, so the Japanese view of the Soka Gakkai may not be so uniformly negative as Mr. Turner suggests. I would also encourage anyone interested to read an article at the below link, written by Clark Handler, a contributing editor for Tricycle Buddhist Review Magazine, for a view of other buddhist sects on the SGI, which seems to contradict Mr. Turner’s assertion. .This site also contains a very thoughtful response to accusations of the SGI being a cult. And lastly, a “fanatical focus” or “rock star” view of Daisaku Ikeda is definitely discouraged in the SGI. We encourage a Mentor/Disciple relationship with Mr. Ikeda, the president of the SGI organization. This is a very respected relationship in many fields in life….arts, business, etc. As an example of how to practice Nichiren Buddhism in the 21st century, members are encouraged to look to Mr. Ikeda’s guidance and experiences in life as a way of deepening our own confidence in chanting as a way to overcome our own problems and develop a contributive condition of life. It is not a limiting relationship but one in which each person is continually encouraged to develop to their fullest potential. Anyone interested is welcome to read Mr. Ikeda’s many writings and dialogues available in bookstores, libraries and online. One could possibly start with one of the many annual peace proposals that Mr. Ikeda has submitted to the United Nations, of which the SGI is a member as an NGO:.

  4. Kevin Vavasseur 2 Dec 2006, 2:43am

    2006 Proposal available on:Thanks.

  5. ‘I hope I come back as gay’HAHA – waht a complete buffoon!

  6. John Turner 3 Dec 2006, 2:21am

    Kevin, Kevin, KevinI am sorry to see you truly have your blinkers on.Firstly your version of events surrounding the Gakkai’s excommunication and the High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu are obviously something you have been fed in your group. It is blatantly untrue.Secondly anyone with some skills of internet searching can easily find out pages about the true nature of SGI.You are of course absolutely free to carry on with your devotion to Daisaku Ikeda but please do not make up these stories about the sect your group has acively tried to destroy for some 15 years now.Now anyone with unlimitless cash at their disposal can make donations to Universities etc can get Honorary Doctorates and rubbish like that. But that is meaningless in the light of correctness of Buddhism. Running after fame and wealth and power is something not only Nichiren Buddhism but also most other schools warn against.Some odd facts about Gakkai’s activities at Harvard:Finally to show how fanatical your group can be a film on YouTube of your members singing away to a song “Forever Sensei” (Sensei is Ikeda to his followers). Note the end of the video where hysteria takes over and they scram and chant “Sensei” with glazed eyes and fists aloft! It is scary to anyone not involved with this lay group.I apologise if this upsets you but it just had to be said.

  7. Mary K. Dias 3 Dec 2006, 10:02pm

    Aloha,I am not gay but I have loved ones who are. I think that this article was written very objectively and explains a lot about their SGI practice. As for the negative comments, well they are entitled to their opinion but it is sad when people criticize something they know nothing or very little about. I am referring to the finale someone criticized. I am an ex-performer and I have participated in grand finales with tears (of joy) in my eyes because I felt that “I did it!” I overcame all of the obstacles that tried to stop me. That is what I see in the sparkling eyes of those performers, not the crazy, fanatic eyes of a terrorist or brain washed fanatic. I believe those professional and non professionals performed for free. Imagine the unity it took to create such a show of many cultures and soooo many people. Imagine the hundreds (thousands?) of personal obstacles they had to overcome to achieve their victorious performances. The performances were sincre and heartfelt. That kind of leadership and inspiration does not come from anyone who wants to be worshipped but I believe like this article said, the SGI and their leaders are working to bring out the best in everyone-gay or not. My fondest Aloha to those of you trying to be the best person(s) you can be! Alooooooooha! and have a Buddha-ful Day!

  8. Anonymous 4 Dec 2006, 2:36pm

    ‘I hope I come back as gay’HAHA – waht a complete buffoon!Gabriel | 12.02.06 – 2:51 amGabrielWhy would I be a buffoon for thinking and wanting that? I personally believe that I have been enriched by being a gay man in this lifetime. If you do not feel that way, then that is nothing to do with me – is it how *I* feel and how *I* think.If that makes me a buffoon, then so be it – I welcome that title. However such name calling really does not affect me in the slightest. Having been a Prison Officer in one of the worst prisons in the UK, that is quite gentile as far as name calling goes.regardsRobertLondon, UK

  9. Robert Brown 4 Dec 2006, 2:46pm

    John Turner – Thank you for your comments – which, of course, you are more than welcome to. However I will have to disagree with what you have said.I chanted for 4 years without a Gohonzon due to the Priesthood ‘telling me’ that I had to leave SGI and ‘obey’ the High Priest Nikken. That is something I would never do. I do not obey anyone – that is not Nichiren Buddhism, and I certainly do not obey Daisaku Ikeda – as you seem to imply.You have your views, we all have ours. However I do not see NST or your sister organisations supporting or reaching out to the LGBT Community as much as SGI. To which there have now been 6 SGI-USA LGBT Training Courses and next week will be the 7th SGI-Germany LGBT Training Course.I will not bad mouth your organisation, as I feel that does no good. However if you spent your energy on introducing people to Buddhism instead of spreading lies and hate, then you’ll be doing something of worthwhile.regardsRobertLondon, UK

  10. Kevin Vavasseur 4 Dec 2006, 8:12pm

    John John John,Thanks again for your comments. Of course, there are many negative sites on the internet about the SGI. Just as there are many positive sites. Any individual or group in the world that tries to make a positive contribution to humanity is bound to face negativity, this is the unfortunate nature of the world in which we live. I’m interested to know how my account of the fundamental reason for the split between the Nicheren priesthood and laity untrue? It was Nikken’s decision to excommunicate millions of SGI members worldwide and withold issuance of the Gohonzon, and refuse any attempts at dialogue. So who was trying to destroy whom? And what universities has the SGI donated funds to in order to receive honors for Mr. Ikeda? First time I’ve heard of that, particularly since any time Mr. Ikeda accepts any of these honors he deflects personal praise and accepts on behalf of the members worldwide. “Forever Sensei” is a traditional Gakkai song that expresses the spirit of mentor/disciple. The emotional reaction to the song of some members may be their expression of appreciation of the way their lives have changed through this practice and Mr. Ikeda’s encouragement. Particularly in Japan, there are many members(now second and third generation) who were around after WWII when the country had been destroyed as well as the Gakkai, with the Gakkai leadership having been imprisoned for not changing the religion to accept a Shinto object of worship in support of the war effort, thereby compromising this practice. The organization’s first president and founder Mr. Makiguchi died at 72 in prison (he was 70 when he was arrested) and his main disciple Mr. Toda was 45 when he was released, having also been imprisoned with Mr. Makiguchi. These surviving members have fought the battles to create better lives for themselves and their country, first with Mr. Toda then Mr. Ikeda. And to see all the goals that were surely impossible back then, to be realized in such an amazing way, well, wouldn’t you get emotional too? And certainly Nichiren’s writings as well as Mr. Ikeda’s warn against over attachment to worldly affairs. But this practice does not call for a negation of desire. Rather to use desire as the catalyst to develop inner spirituality and absolute happiness that is not based on the environment. (“Earthly Desires Lead to Enlightenment” Major Writings of Nicheren Daishonin”). So I would invite anyone interested to further investigate this practice for themselves and draw their own conclusions. Thanks.

  11. john turner 6 Dec 2006, 9:47pm

    Did you get a letter from the Priesthood telling you to obey the High Priest Robert? That is interesting.How did they get your address?You are barking at the wrong tree here. It was all about teaching correct Buddhism and listening to the guidance in faith of the Priests which the Gakkai was too proud to do as they felt that as they had more money they should be allowed to dictate to the Priests how Buddhism should be practised and that Ikeda had the right to twist the teachings as he liked and the Priests would just have to accept it.Well, they did not and they never will. It is after all their job to keep the purity intact.There is very little Buddhism in what Ikeda teaches as he invents new concepts and twists the meanings of the old ones.That is all fine and well but while you preach your style of world peace and humanism your organisation is still actively harrassing Nichiren Shoshu Priesthood and even lay believers who have every right to hold to their beliefs. You see the Nichiren Shoshu actually believes in equality of all. That is why they do not actively go out after minorities etc as they do not see any people as different from eachother. There is nothing special about being gay. Just as there is nothing special about being straight. Everyone is unique in their own way and equally able to attain enlightenment as they are if only they adhere to correct Buddhist faith and practice.Your organisation speaks a lot about democracy etc but there is very little evidence of it in SGI in reality. You have very little power to change anything as every single policy is decided for you in Japan.The Priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu makes no song and dance about the hierarchy it observes because it would be hypocritical as Buddhism is only democratic in the practise of all individuals having the same ability to become enlightened. However, in life they have various roles and duties based on who they are. So, some are Priests, some might even become High Priests, others are lay believers. Each has their own specific function and importance. The Priest have their own specific role in Buddhism and they train their whole lives to do that well. They earn respect from lay believers through their ceremonial functions yet are just plain old Joes just like you or me when not participating in such ceremonies.This is how it is in majority of Buddhist schools. To have no clergy is a sure way to get totally lost in Buddhism as has been confirmed by the current state of confusion in the doctrines of the present day SGI.That’s all.

  12. john turner 6 Dec 2006, 10:08pm

    KevinLack of time prevents me to answer in detail.You continue with the same cult speak you started with. You have formed your views entirely based on what you have been fed in SGI. You appear to not even realise how much the SGI kept from you at the time of the “split”. They did not show the announcements the Priesthood made to the Gakkai members at the time but just began an unprecedented hate campaign aimed at the now retired High Priest Nikken Shonin. Because you blindly believe everything you are being fed you are unable to see the situation objectively.You shoudl step outside and look at it as if you were not in it. Perhaps then you might begin to understand.You mention the war time yet fail to mention that Mr Makiguchi and Mr Toda were by no means opposed to the Japanese war effort and indeed were praying for victory for Japan. Their only objection lied in the edict of the government that all homes must enshrine a Shinto talisman to protect the nation. While objecting to this is indeed admirable and they were not alone in doing this. There were Priests who did the same also and who were imprisoned at the time. The policy of NIchiren Shoshu as a body in this matter was to guide the believers to just take the talisman and then quietly just dispose of it.No Temples enshrined it. Taisekiji was under heavy pressure from the military and the army took over a building on Temple grounds by force ( a kind of a library where no Gohonzon was even enshrined), The army then enshrined the said talisman there but the Priests had no access to the building and never even saw the talisman there.It is stupid to go on about this and make Messieurs Toda and Makigichi into some kind of pacifist heroes when in reality they were not pacifists. After the destruction of Japan in the war Mr Toda did become a pacifist of sorts. But that is after and not during.No more time to spend on this….Interestingly most of the Toda family as well as the Makiguchi’s remain attached to Taisekiji. Toda’s widow had a Nichiren Shoshu burial well after the excommunication.Despite some of their mistaken views they are both still held in high esteem at Taisekiji and their remains lie next to the Five Story Pagoda which signifies the Daishonin’s Buddhism’s journey back to the west from Japan.I believe Mr Toda and Makiguchi would be aghast to see what has become of the group they started. They would never have turned their backs on the High Priest. Read their writings.

  13. tjnebraska 6 Dec 2006, 10:40pm

    I guess it comes down to meeting the people that chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and interacting with their respective organizations.The proof is in the pudding. An enlightened human does not feel the need to speak for another person, nor decide that they’ve been fed misinformation and cannot decipher the truth for themselves.Congrats to those here that speak for themselves and don’t find the need to tell another what their experiences are.To Robert, I’m glad you’ve created a life of no regrets that you’d be happy to repeat. This is my goal as well.Thank you PinkNews! I’ll visit SGI-UK when in London.Take care!TJ

  14. tjnebraska 6 Dec 2006, 10:40pm

    I guess it comes down to meeting the people that chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and interacting with their respective organizations.The proof is in the pudding. An enlightened human does not feel the need to speak for another person, nor decide that they’ve been fed misinformation and cannot decipher the truth for themselves.Congrats to those here that speak for themselves and don’t find the need to tell another what their experiences are.To Robert, I’m glad you’ve created a life of no regrets that you’d be happy to repeat. This is my goal as well.Thank you PinkNews! I’ll visit SGI-UK when in London.Take care!TJ

  15. Goodness Gracious! You people are so easily bought. An organization that used to tell gay people to chant about becoming straight has changed their tune, and you think it’s because of love?Helloooooo???? It’s called PR, and Ikeda has the billions of dollars to pay the best people in the business for it. Wake up and smell the dharma! SGI doesn’t even practice Buddhism with the most basic elements. What about the eightfold path? Ask an SGI member, they’ll know nothing about it. I’m constantly amazed by how many people THINK they’re practicing Buddhism without so much as even having read a basic outline. Once they get sucked in by the SGI, that’s the only literature they read. Try reading something written about Buddhism by someone other than Daisaku Ikeda, or someone he hired.

  16. tjnebraska 7 Dec 2006, 4:12pm

    The SGI adopts many grassroots changes at the request of it’s members and it’s minorities. Note the ‘Five Guidelines for Propagating Buddhism’; one of the five is to ‘have a correct understanding of the country’. Buddhism is supposed to adapt to the vital needs of it’s practitioners. In the US, we’ve adopted the awareness program “Victory Over Violence” to combat gang-violence, we have seminars for all types of minorities, and I’m voting for the nationwide adoption of the grassroots effort for a Nichiren Buddhist addiction recovery program. I guess the accomodation of the membership can be called “Public Relations” because we do believe in educating those that are ignorant of what it means to be diverse.The SGI-USA publication, Living Buddhism recently published at length studies of the ‘Four Noble Truths’ and the ‘Eightfold Path’.It’s true, our entry point is different from the earliest teachings of Buddhism. We shoot for Shakyamuni’s latest teachings, specifically the Lotus Sutra. From study, there’s evidence that this is what Shakyamuni wanted us to focus on in today’s day and age.I could easily scoff at those that proclaim they’re Buddhist, but don’t know of the Ten Worlds, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and of the predictions laid forth in the Lotus Sutra, but it doesn’t matter. I am happy letting someone identify themselves as “Buddhist” even if they don’t uphold the same teachings as I do.Implicit in the Gakkai practice of Buddhism are all pertinent fundamental Buddhist concepts. From the ‘Eightfold Path’, SGI-Buddhists are constantly encouraged to have ‘Right View, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action, etc.’ without focusing on the early concepts and definitions.It’s more important to act in accord with Shakyamuni’s Enlightenment rather than tout our knowledge of a definition of a Buddhist concept.FYI—I read plenty of books and articles not written by Daisaku Ikeda, or someone he hired. I recommend Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.Thanks Bella,TJ

  17. Robert Brown 7 Dec 2006, 7:09pm

    TJMany thanks for your posts. I was going to respond to Bella, however I feel that you have done so very well indeed.I personally feel that any religion / organisation / philosophy that tells you what to do, what to eat, how to live etc is really not for me or for the 21st Century. We are all different, so just because I am vegetarian, and have been for 20 years, my partner Simon isn’t. However we both practice Nichiren Buddhism – me for 16 years and he for nearly 2. Once again, despite the difference in years, I am in no way ‘higher up the path’ than he (as some Buddhist paths would try and persuade you otherwise).Within SGI-UK we are encouraged to read and learn about ‘provisional’ re: pre Lotus Sutra teachings, however why would I want to practice them when I get all I need from simply chanting ‘nam myoho renge kyo’?In addition, Daisaku Ikeda, President of SGI is always encouraging us to read and learn from other sources – not just books he writes. So Bella, am sure that’s just a misunderstanding on your part where you’d probably like to apologise for, for getting it wrong and trying to confuse Pink News readers.regardsRobertLondon

  18. Robert Brown 7 Dec 2006, 7:13pm

    JohnI believe this is no point on continuing this as I know you have your view and we have ours.All I know is that I will never practice within a religion that says you can only attain Buddhahood by going through a Priest and / or Temple, as is advocated within Nichiren Shoshu. Where do I get this information from? Well from you High Priests ‘Sermons’. I’ve also seen it written within your Oko lectures and from various other Priests’ lectures.There is nowhere in ANY of Daisaku Ikeda’s lectures / guidances etc where he says we should follow him or ANY person – in fact quite the opposite. We are totally encouraged to follow the law of ‘nam myoho renge kyo’.regardsRobertLondon

  19. john turner 8 Dec 2006, 2:40pm

    There have been several mentions of Ikeda’s books. It is common knowledge that for the most part he does not write them but has a team of writers who firstly do the research for him and then write them.Those poor people never get any of the credit as Ikeda swans around demaning glory and praise.The grand plan behind his “dialogues” with people who have mostly never heard of him is to create a character who is loved world over and respected by scholars. (See Polly Toynbee’s marvellous article about her family’s experiences with Ikeda and his cohorts).He dreams of the Nobel Peace Price (which he will never get of course).He has the nerve to liken himself to people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. A ridiculous claim.Those men were the true champions of the people. The same can not be said of this billionaire who drives around in a limousine with his initials monogrammed on the carpet.As a young man he might have had some good in him but as has been seen so many times in history: Power and Money Corrupts.In the US SGI publications his name is mentioned more often than that of Nichiren Daishonin. (This has been proven by some people – search the net for the figures).It is all about Ikeda. He has after all declared himself an “eternal” leader and the SGI members pray for him every day in their bastardised version of the Gongyo liturgy. As for the gay issue it is true that it was taught in the Gakkai in the past that you should chant to become straight. Thus for instance several of the highest level leaders of SGIUK who used to be gay are now happily married heterosexuals.When SGI’s anti gay stance began to gain some publicity outside their own group they miraculously saw the evil of their ways and now are strongly supportive of their gay members. (See Ikeda’s sugary messages to his gay followers).They could not afford to do othwerwise.Needless to say those gay top leaders remain staunch heterosexuals despite their past.This is an organisation with many skeletons in its cupboards.

  20. tjnebraska 8 Dec 2006, 4:33pm

    John, Your attitudes are perverse. You seem to take pleasure in misleading the public.”There have been several mentions of Ikeda’s books. It is common knowledge that for the most part he does not write them but has a team of writers who firstly do the research for him and then write them.”Source? How do we know what you’re telling is true? Also, why is it wrong to hire research and writing assistants–I know several leaders of academia and in institutionalized settings that hire RW assistants.”Those poor people never get any of the credit as Ikeda swans around demaning glory and praise.”Source? How do we know what you’re telling is true?”(See Polly Toynbee’s marvellous article about her family’s experiences with Ikeda and his cohorts).”Source, please, and it’s okay for Polly Toynbee to have her view of things. Please also consider sourcing the non-Gakkai praises of the Ikeda-Toynbee dialogue.(The pioneering British historian, Arnold Toynbee, requested the SGI honorary president, Daisaku Ikeda to have a published dialogue and to continue his dialoguing efforts with world leaders. See “Choose Life” the Toynbee-Ikeda dialogue, on Amazon.com or at your local SGI center to read for free.)”The grand plan behind his “dialogues” with people who have mostly never heard of him is to create a character who is loved world over and respected by scholars.””He dreams of the Nobel Peace Price….”John, I read your comments earlier and you like to do this, you like to speak for other people and do in Cognitive Therapy what is called “Mind Reading.” Mind reading is considered a distortion of thought in therapy circles and has been proven to lead to unhappiness. (Please see the “Feeling Good Handbook” by D. Burns, MD.)Out of respect for PinkNews.co.uk, can you post a different address for a forum on the issues that yourself and others like to promulgate? A Yahoo chat room, a Google group?Hoping you let go of your misleading and misery-creating ways,TJ

  21. tjnebraska 8 Dec 2006, 8:49pm

    To John,Actually, I retract my requests of sources from you. I scrolled down and looked at your earlier ‘sources’ for information and realize that you will most likely cite ‘pseudo’ sources. I don’t want to encourage any more of your mind games.Thanks, Kevin V. to the link to that great Tricycle article–I’ve been looking for it, and thanks to Mary Dias for that accurate description of being a performer. I’ve been on stage before and know the emotions of closing an event.TJ

  22. Here is one link to the Polly Toynbee article.She also spoke out loud about this when she was interviewed for the BBC Assignment program “The chanting Millions” which was a folm about the power of Soka Gakkai and especially Ikeda. Ikeda himself was interviewed on it – there was a lovely close up of his extremely manicured fingers!If you can not find the video I can post the file somewhere on the net. It makes very good viewing. The SGIUK tried their best to stop it from being shown but thankfully freedom of speech prevailed.see:Take off your blinkers and understand why I am posting these. It is to protect people from a cult. As for Ikeda book writing committees etc – don’t be lazy. Just search for instance information on Lisa Jones who publicly came out and admitted she had been on the team in the past.She left the cult and was harassed by SGI to an extent which is hard to understand.The main point is SGI will do anything to stop people publicly questioning or criticising its activities and especially those of its “eternal” leader Ikeda.They make websites to attack their critics.Ever had a look at the outrageous Soka Spirit site directly affiliated to Gakkai? When they started they had a chanting campaign to destroy Nichiren Shoshu Temples in US. How ridiculous is that. The upshot was though that instead of being destroyed Nichiren Shoshu grew and opened an extra Temple due to that growth. Just goes to sho negative prayers will never work.The Rick Ross site actualy has plentiful info on the cult of Soka:

  23. tjnebraska 9 Dec 2006, 12:08am

    Hi Anonymous,I created a chat group if you would like to continue this talk. I don’t want to take anymore space on PinkNews.co.uk–I feel as though I’m treading on someone else’s territory. If you’re interested in my response, please check it out.I think it’s great that you want to protect others from joining a cult. Cheers,TJ

  24. Robert Brown 9 Dec 2006, 6:44am

    JohnAs per usual, and am sure you are well aware, this is very misleading indeed:”As for the gay issue it is true that it was taught in the Gakkai in the past that you should chant to become straight. Thus for instance several of the highest level leaders of SGIUK who used to be gay are now happily married heterosexuals.When SGI’s anti gay stance began to gain some publicity outside their own group they miraculously saw the evil of their ways and now are strongly supportive of their gay members. (See Ikeda’s sugary messages to his gay followers).They could not afford to do othwerwise.Needless to say those gay top leaders remain staunch heterosexuals despite their past.This is an organisation with many skeletons in its cupboards.john turner | 12.08.06 – 2:40 pm”When Nichiren Buddhism first came over to the UK, and other countries outside of Japan, it was brought over by Japanese war brides. As such, and due to the climate of the country they were brought up in, they were unaware of homosexuality. As such, they gave advice which at best, was misleading, and at worst, an error of judgement – though certainly not homophobic.As more and more ‘westerners’ began to chant, they were informed that their personal views were against the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism and that this advice was wrong.As to whether or not senior leaders of SGI-UK are ‘now straight’ then you’ll need to ask them. I just happen to know many people who were gay, chanted to meet the right partner and it turned out to be someone of the opposite sex. I also know many others who were straight, who chanted to meet the right partner and it turned out to be someone of the same sex. You are not in a position to judge anyone for the choices they have made in their life – no-one is.And please remember that these ‘former’ days that you are on about – don’t forget it was when we were called NSUK – I should know, I still have my membership badge, and we were under the direction of the Priesthood at the time.cheersRobertLondon

  25. Robert Brown 9 Dec 2006, 6:57am

    Hi AnonymousShame you’re not able to actually identify yourself when spewing hate and lies – but then again, I don’t really expect anything different from members of Nichiren Shoshu.It’s the same whenever I post something positive about Nichiren Buddhism anywhere on the internet – I usually find that members of NST follow my posts and then post something of hate and full of lies. I’m used to it by now, however I would have thought that you would have something better to do, like chant to improve your life condition, chant to more your life forward, or indeed just live life to the fullest.These are things that I do and people can see that from the way I and my partner live our lives.I had to laugh though that you would take such a ‘special’ view on someone’s manicured fingers – are you now saying that we shouldn’t look good? If you were being filmed, wouldn’t you look good? Anyway, as said, you’ll continue to post hatred and lies if I continue to respond, so will stop now as I know that not all Nichiren Shoshu members are filled with such hate as yourself – I know, I work with one and she’s very nice. We swap magazines and I have the last couple of Nichiren Shoshu Newsletters (NSHUK) and she has the last few editions of the Art of Living (SGI-UK).Also, today we have our annual intro to Buddhism seminar, this year titled ‘Living True to Yourself’, aimed at the LGBT Community.cheersRobertLondon

  26. John Turner 9 Dec 2006, 11:11pm

    RobertNichiren Shoshu members are not “following you around the forums”. But as you go and publicly promote a religion of sorts which can be viewed as being a dangerous cult then some have to speak.If members of your group only kept to criticising the Nichiren Shoshu on internet forums then they would have all the right to do so. I would not agree with them but they have that right.But what the Gakkai members do is something far more sinister. With the encouragement of their leaders they spy on Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and layity. The underhand tactics have been very well reported. Is there any other religion where it’s adherents turn up at airports to try and harass members and Priests of an organisation they do not even wish to belong to?Is there any other organisation where people track down the movements of other sects Priests to the minutest details?Is there any other organisation who preaches hatred to the extent as the Soka Gakkai does?Is there any other Buddhist group who so actively whips up hatred amongst its members against other humanbeings?Some quotes from a SGI memo on SGI European Summit on 20/21-l2-1997(from Peter Kuhn leader of SGI Germany):”Initially and especially we should be “pro-active”, in other words, beinformed of all the movements of the Nikken sect and apply a practicalsystem of “counter-action”. As you have already been informed, the SGIStrategy Dept. has been founded at the SGI-Head Office. In the past,the movements of the Nikken sect have been carefully monitored outsideof Japan and in conjunction with the Bureau of the European Continent,counter- activities were instigated. Moreover, the Strategic Departmenthas been provided to strengthen this system. “and”Thirdly, we should establish a fighting spirit throughout the entireSGI organization. There have been various activities led by theStrategy Dept. such as the campaign to win back members. As to thefight against the Nikken sect, the members in the front line -especially in the Women’s Division – are aware of importantinformation, i.e., the movements of the sect and their methods ofconvincing people. But, if we don’t have a fighting spirit that isstrong enough, this information will not reach those responsible on thenext highest level. Or, they receive the information but neglect topass it on to the next highest level of responsibility. Furthermore, incountries which have strong Danto members, the speed and flexibility ofespecially the Youth Dept. is of paramount importance. It is especiallyimportant that all four Divisions have discussions together. Forexample, hold meetings and listen to the opinions of the Women’s andYouth Divisions because only in that way can we gain the security, (orassurance), that the whole organization will be filled with thefighting spirit against the Nikken sect. “and”Sensei sent Mr. Kitano to Ghana with these words: “When you start

  27. John Turner 9 Dec 2006, 11:13pm

    continued from previous:”Sensei sent Mr. Kitano to Ghana with these words: “When you start tofight evil, you have to continue to the end. You cannot stop halfway.Fight with all your strength, with all your might and use All means forthat fight”. “Nice talk?

  28. tjnebraska 10 Dec 2006, 5:05am

    John, People will interact with the SGI and they won’t be deterred by your doublespeak. They will find out if we are a ‘cult’ or not. After meeting SGI members, it will be obvious within a week as to if your claims are true to the objective observer, or not. andThe ‘Allegations Disproved’ link will make it clear what we are defending ourselves against and why we have to stop it.Thank you for making me more determined to be a good person.

  29. TJThanks for the funny links.They do offer comic relief despite being so sad. The first article I looked demonstrated very clearly the tactics of bullying exercised by SGI against the Priests.”On the evening of 9.11, about 40 youth visited Myosetsuji temple as Rev. Nagasaka was pulling his car into the drive way after coming home. The representatives approached Rev. Nagasaka to request to meet, while others held a large sign that read “We want to talk.”Rev. Nagasaka completely ignored the group of youth and the letter, which the representatives tried to present to him and he did not accept (see reverse side). After pulling his car inside of his property, Rev. Nagasaka closed the steel gate in front of the 40 youths, and drove away into the garage. He neither looked nor spoke even a single word. As he walked away, some youth shouted out “Why don’t you talk to us?” “Show us your compassion.”After this event, the youth knew that this was the reality of a Nichiren Shoshu priest. There is no way that he really cares about all the people. How can he call himself a disciple of Nichiren Daishonin?At the end of the day, the SGI-USA NY youth declared victory.”It might seem reasonable to you for 40 fanatics to gang up on an elderly Priests but I find it outrageous.Why on earth would he talk to such people? The first key to any dialogue is the ability to listen. History has shown that Gakkai membership has no intention to listen. Only to destroy and attack.The premise of the story being that the Gakkai “youth” (most in their 30′s) felt compelled to pay Rev Nagasaka a visit to correct his views i.e. deny him his basic humanright to have an opinion.It is this constant barrage of Gakkai to attempt to deny others basic humanrights and to silence any critics which is perhaps the most odious of all of its strange cult ways.The truth in this instance is clear for all to see and you present it with some kind of twisted priode on your own web pages.Perhaps these are the same people who returned in the middle of the night to steal a bag of rubbist of Rev Nagasaka and replace it with a similar looking bag which was filmed by the security cameras and has been published on the internet.Again what kind of a religion steals other people’s rubbish and goes through it?I am sorry TJ. I can understand that because you have been so deeply brainwashed you do not see the madness of it all. The website link you posted elucidates that madness better than I ever could.That website is not just some single member with fanatical views posting their opinions but an official site of your organisation purely for the purpose of spreading hatred.It is pitiful.On the question of lies you repeatedly claim I am writing lies here. Could you please elucidate as to which part of my posts is a lie and why?Are Polly Toynbee’s ( a highly respected political journalist in UK – writes for instance for the Guardian)impressions of meetig I

  30. Kevin Vavasseur 11 Dec 2006, 7:17pm

    Thank you, TJ.

  31. tjnebraska 12 Dec 2006, 5:03pm

    Hey Anonymous,We are really having a breach of communication, to say the least. I am willing to hash out some kind of understanding with you.Anyone is welcome to write in, although I am just one person, and it’s going to take a very long time to get to the bottom of things here, since we disagree so passionately.Thanks, Kevin. I’ll see you in the Buddha plain. (Ninth Level of Conciousness)TJ

  32. TJI don’t believe you are too much worrying about the bandwidth of the Pink Paper website with your request to “move the conversation” elsewhere.It seems to me more like damage limitation as you find it necessary to try and stop the general public from finding out about the controversial nature of your cult.I posted here solely to demonstrate as a free person how the world of Soka is possibly not as rosy as this article appears to portray. To warn others of its dangers. You can say “lies” as many times as you like but that will not make it true.You appear to think that people such as the highly respected journalist Polly Toynbee was lying in her experience of what a real life encounter with Ikeda is like.You make bizarre accusations about the Priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu which are based on highly emotive “soreness” which seem to come from the fact that you have been excommunicated.You had a choice. It is no-one else’s but your own fault ( see basics of Buddhism).I feel sorry for you but have no interest in continuing conversation elsewhere as that is not serving my purpose of writing here.Endlessly arguing with Gakkai members is not something which fascinates me – however people who are not aware of what kind of a “peace loving” organisation yours is must be informed of its’ true nature.There is no pleasure for me reporting the mad antics of Gakkai and Ikeda but reported they must be.If anything can change the Gakkai into a sane religious group it is their opening their eyes and seeing what they actually look like for the outside world.

  33. tjnebraska 14 Dec 2006, 9:24pm

    Like I said earlier, I think it’s okay for Polly Toynbee to have her view of President Ikeda.Just because someone is a well-respected journalist, it doesn’t mean they’re enlightened.The SGI-UK didn’t try to ‘censor’ or ‘censure’ the BBC for circulating “the Chanting Millions”–a story can’t be censored once it’s already come out, but we can object to its innaccuracies, it’s lack of being ‘fair and balanced’ that the BBC usually strives to achieve, and issue rebuttals.Several world leaders, that are ‘well-respected’ wrote in with their disdain for the BBC broadcasting this story.Polly Toynbee doesn’t have the corner market on opinions from ‘well-respected’ individuals.I’ll do my best to post as many views from other dignitaries (many that sat down with President Ikeda in the same manner as Polly Toynbee) and had a different opinion.I’m trying to be polite to you, and the readers, because a Buddhist should care about these things, not to mention each other, and not write them off because they don’t agree. I may severely criticize perversity, but I don’t write off the person and quit talking to them. Remember the concept “Boddhisattva Never Disparaging?” We never give up on talking to someone, or write them off just because we think they’re ‘brainwashed’.Like I said in my chat room, I never said the word “lies” to you, Anonymous, so why are you rebutting to me that I did?Just because one person has an opinion, or even many people, doesn’t mean it the correct one, or the only one. Both are valid and both can be brought to the table.TJ

  34. tjnebraska 14 Dec 2006, 9:48pm

    Dr. Bryan Wilson, Reader Emeritus in Sociology at University of Oxford, to The Times:”The BBC has this last week shown a seriously distorted documentary film purportedly reviewing the growth and activities of Soka Gakkai, a Japanese lay Buddhist movement. Since the BBC shrugs off complaints about misrepresentation, might I seek the hospitality of your columns to correct any false impressions which your readers may have gained from this program?”Since as a joint-author of an objective academic study of the British membership of Soka Gakkai, I am better acquainted with that movement than are the BBC’s producers, I think it my public duty to do what I can to correct the picture which a public service agency has so shamefully broadcast. The film sandwiched information about Soka Gakkai between shots of the tragic havoc of the poison gas attack on the Tokyo underground for which the Aum Shinrikyo sect was allegedly responsible. Since these two organizations have no remote connection with each other, one must conclude that the sole purpose of alluding to Aum Shinrikyo at all in this program was sheer sensationalism, no matter how much this might alarm and mislead the general public. Soka Gakkai members work vigorously for world peace, embrace ecological concerns, support refugee rehabilitation programs, and promote educational and cultural exchange. The program paid scant attention to all this, preferring the tendentious inclusion of material about Aum Shinrikyo, a movement apparently committed to the promotion of chaos and catastrophe. Allusion to this obscure and secretive organization was only the most flagrant instance of the general bias against Soka Gakkai which characterized the entire program, and was about as warranted as would have been a similar reference to the Jonestown People’s Temple in a program about the Methodist Church.”From Dr. Alfred Baltitzer of Claremont Mckenna College to the Director General of BBC: “I am distressed about a program that is scheduled to air on the BBC program “Assignment”, Saturday, October 14. My interest in the program results from an interview I did with Martin Smith and Julian Pettifer at the campus of Soka University of America on July 8, 1995 I asked [Krishman] Aurora whether the program would suggest a relationship or suggest similarities between the Aum Shinrikyo cult and the Soka Gakkai. After a pause, he told me that he could not answer the question which, of course, confirmed my suspicions. His pregnant pause was particularly distressing to me because at the time of my interview I was told by Pettifer in unambiguous terms that no relationship whatsoever would be insinuated. Had he told me that the program would portray a relationship, I would have refused the interview. To assert such a relationship or to assert similarities between the two groups demonstrates an appalling lack of knowledge about Japanese religions, especially about what sociologists of religion call “the new relig

  35. tjnebraska 14 Dec 2006, 9:52pm

    From Prof. N. C. Wickramasinghe: “This week’s BBC2 program “The Chanting Millions” began by recapping the events on the Tokyo subway, and proceeded to cast doubts on the legitimate activities of the Soka Gakkai, a highly respected and successful Buddhist organizations based in Japan, but with worldwide support. As a Buddhist (although not a member of Soka Gakkai) a friend of Soka Gakkai and a personal friend of its president Daisaku Ikeda, I found the comparison offensive in the extreme.The BBC2 program which made a subtle (even subliminal) connection between the Aum Sect and the Soka Gakkai must surely have caused offense to many millions of honest and devout Buddhists in many countries and in many walks of life. Buddhism in its pristine form is devoted to the ideals of self-knowledge, compassion, non-violence and non-belligerence, and I can vouch from my close knowledge of Soka Gakkai that this organization adheres strictly to these goals.”

  36. tjnebraska 14 Dec 2006, 9:52pm

    From Dr. Alfred Baltitzer of Claremont Mckenna College to the Director General of BBC: “I am distressed about a program that is scheduled to air on the BBC program “Assignment”, Saturday, October 14. My interest in the program results from an interview I did with Martin Smith and Julian Pettifer at the campus of Soka University of America on July 8, 1995 I asked [Krishman] Aurora whether the program would suggest a relationship or suggest similarities between the Aum Shinrikyo cult and the Soka Gakkai. After a pause, he told me that he could not answer the question which, of course, confirmed my suspicions. His pregnant pause was particularly distressing to me because at the time of my interview I was told by Pettifer in unambiguous terms that no relationship whatsoever would be insinuated. Had he told me that the program would portray a relationship, I would have refused the interview. To assert such a relationship or to assert similarities between the two groups demonstrates an appalling lack of knowledge about Japanese religions, especially about what sociologists of religion call “the new religions.” Even more, it demonstrates the complete failure to research and understand the difference between a “cult” and a legitimate religious organization. A few days after I spoke to Aurora, I received a copy of the advertisement for the program. It confirmed my worst fears, clearly proving to me that Smith and Pettifer violated their word to me. During my interview with them they stated that they would not treat or refer to the Soka Gakkai as a cult. Pettifer was particularly reassuring on this point. Yet the advertisement for the program reads: “But, as Julian Pettifer reports, Aum is a tiny cult compared to Soka Gakkai…” This clearly labels the Soka Gakkai as a cult. Again, had I known that Smith and Pettifer were going to refer to the Soka Gakkai as a cult, I would never have consented to be interviewed.”

  37. Robert Brown 17 Dec 2006, 6:28pm

    TJMany thanks for your comments. I can see that ‘anonymous’ is certainly someone who likes to portray and spread lies like there it’s confetti and not caring about where it lands or who it sticks to.As you can also see from the interview with Richard Seagar:There is a in-depth interview with Richard Seager, the author of”Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and BuddhistHumanism”, at the Boston Research Center web site.It reminded me of why I liked the book so much. Below is the firstexchange between Patti Marxsen of the BRC and Richard Seager;”PM: You approached this assignment with what we might think of as a”typically cynical” stance of a post-modern intellectual. What is thesource of that cynical outlook that seems so commonplace in our worldtoday? Is it an intellectual stance, or is it something else?”RS: I think it is something broader than a postmodern intellectualstance and I think there are lots of reasons for it. Personally, Iengage with things like how we seem to live in a sound-bite culturewhere things are discussed in little snippets and our public discourseseems not to be able to hold two hard thoughts in its mind at the sametime. This culture forces people to hold simplistic positions onthings. In the book, there is a section where the narrator is remindedthat there are good reasons to be cynical and there, I think, he hason his mind how people were just so overenthusiastic about the marketboom in the Nineties when everything was rolling and then immediatelybecame very remorseful and engaged in lamentations when the marketcollapsed . This shifting back and forth on a superficial level is, Ithink, one very good reason to be generally cynical in our world today.”You can see how this independent researcher has truly seen what the Soka Gakkai is all about.regardsRobertLondon

  38. It is extremely amusing for me to read all of these rebuttals of you two. Both quote people who are in close relations with SGI.(Wickramamagshinge – please…).Robert’s post quotes someone related to the Boston Research Center about which I posted earlier.Robert loves to claim these links etc I posted are lies but does not go into any specifics. Which bits are lies? All of what I wrote?I apologise for sarcam etc here but your responses are funny and smack of extreme attempts at damage limitation.The facts are that your organisation is viewed by many as a dangerous cult.Your leader appears to the world as being a man of peace but does very little to actually change the world for the better as through donating books to university libraries and so on he seems more interested in getting thos honorary doctorates – which are a joke.It amuses me how so many of your members actually call him Dr Ikeda!Lets’ talk about the eternal Master?The great author?The wonderful photographer?The Doctor?The person you liken (your sect) to Martin Luther King and Gandhi?Another fact for gay people. The SGI only changed its’ policies against gay people after they were very publicly criticised for it and they had to do so because they were losing a large number of members in America because of it.Ask those gay ex-members in America who were there at the time not peole such as Robert who has never been a member of Nichiren Shoshu in the first place.Richard Causton who was the leader of SGI in UK had told the gays “never in my lifetime” and sure enough soon as he was dead (from cancer – as mysteriously were most of their top level leaders) they were able to form their little club.If this seem harsh and unfair it is only because those same people were extremely active in stopping Nichiren Shoshu while calling it “cancer”.The gay issue is not important to me personally. I could not care less. Those SGI groups are just silly. But it is ridiculous for a meber of SGI to talk about their practise as if all are welcome when in reallity this is a different matter. Just visit Japan and you will find out.They are only courting you to keep the numbers up and growing – not out of

  39. a “lovely” and “heartwarming” excerpt from Ikeda poetry.It shows his compassionate stance toward others.(It is a direct attack on Nichiren Shoshu as usual) eventhough his claims (as usual) are not based on anything but being sore about having been kicked out of Nichiren Shoshu:”They who areAt times frenzied,At times coldly silent,At times filled with excuses,Will eventually depart this world,Gasping and trembling in fear.Backsliders in faith!Are you satisfiedTo lead a lifeTrapped in a mazeOf hellish depths?Slanderers of the Law!Having corrupted the Daishonin’s teachings And veered from the eternaltruth,Are you preparedTo drift along forever in a state of life Of agonized defeat?Traitors!Having turned your backsOn the Daishonin’s golden words,Are you readyTo be burned in the firesOf the hell of incessant suffering?To be imprisoned in a cavernIn the hell of extreme cold?To be shut off in the darknessOf misery and strife,Forever deprived of the sun’s light? “Charmed – I’m sure.

  40. TJNebraska 22 Dec 2006, 2:14pm

    John,You poor guy. President Ikeda’s stance is compassionate. Do you realize that you’re attempting to criticize the Soka Gakkai International and President Ikeda for things that you do? Do you realize this is completely obvious to the reader and that you have lost your credibility?You criticize the Gakkai for campaigning against an organization like the NST, but then you demonstrate your correctness by campaigning against (but not dialoguing, or debating with) it? I think there’s a pretty good chance the objective observer will trace the SGI history to its origins and find out why we stand against it.You’re accusing us of doing what you demonstrate you will do without a moment’s hesitation.This is what it means to hold perversity in your heart.For the record, some of what you have printed, under the name of ‘Anonymous’ is true, but you continue to undermine your credibility with alarmism, closed-mindedness, doublespeak, alarmism as subterfuge, ad hominem, fanaticism, paranoid allusions with quotation marks….On this site, you continue to prove exactly our point, that an organization like the NST, with advocates like you, is corrupt, and it isn’t worthy of taking up space on the same planet as all the precious life upon it.You, however, do deserve to take up space on this planet, but your perversity has to go.Tell me, John, or Anonymous, (I’ll address you both as the same individual because you’re indistinguishable), what do you do, outside of being alarmist, for world peace?Name something that you do that’s really great on an epic scale, or even great for your neighborhood at home.TJ

  41. TJ wrote:”isn’t worthy of taking up space on the same planet as all the precious life upon it.”This again demonstrates the upside down perversity of the views espoused vy your organisation. There is nothing compassionate wishing others such a fate.In Nichiren Shoshu we pity those who have fallen prey to the Gakkai’s brainwashing techniques but we would never think -never minding voice- an opinion such as the above one.We dot not wish to see anything bad to happen to SGI members.But we wish to warn any prospective SGI members to think hard before joining a group which thrives on such hate and negativity and outright paranoia.I do not care if SGI exists or not – that is entirely their pwn business. I do care about their invention of not only the history of their orginal parent sect but also of their own history. Ikeda has elevated himself along with his masters into something they were never meant to be. Mr Toda would be aghast to see what took place.Even the relationship between Toda and Ikeda has been transformed into something else altogether from what it was. There were others who enjoyes just as close a relationship with Toda and perhaps even closer but after Toda’s passing away and Ikeda pushing himself to the forefront driven by his huge ego the others were written off the pages of hostory. Recall Mr Ishida and how he was even removed from any photographic records of the early Gakkai.When this organisation (Gakkai) is so willing to change the story of its own history why would any sensible person believe a word of any history about Nichiren Shoshu as touted by the Gakkai presently. It is all a great mish mash of inventions and wishful thinkings which bear very little resemblance to what had actually taken place in the past. to be continued.

  42. Then we agree, we don’t wish anyone any harm.Take care, John Anonymous!TJ

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews.co.uk. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all
Tag Code: