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Saturday, March 18, 2017

SOKA GAKKAI: IS IT TRUE BUDDHISM?

If you follow a chanting group called Soka Gakkai International (SGI), maybe you should do a little investigation before believing that you are following Buddha’s teachings or a genuine spiritual group. I have attended a few classes of this organization, and I was surprised at what they were teaching in the name of Buddhism.
According to SGI, you can chant for more money, a bigger car, a 5 BHK flat or any of your materialistic desires, and somehow you will get them. Actually, according to them, you can achieve anything just by chanting "Nam'-myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo". There is no harm is having a desire for these things and working hard for them or in finding a so-called shortcut to achieve them. But why would you call it a spiritual path or, specifically, Buddhism?
Gautam (or Sakyamuni) Buddha left all his money and possessions to pursue the truth. He also motivated his followers to live a simple and ascetic life and focus completely on their spiritual path. But in SGI classes, you will find most people talking about how they used SGI’s so-called Buddhism and chanting for materialistic success. Quite an irony, isn’t it? According to SGI, the earthly desires are enlightenment. Well, if that’s the truth, Gautam Buddha should have stayed in his kingdom, expanded his empire and conquered other kingdoms like any other ambitious and greedy king to get enlightened. But he didn’t do so, right!
Buddha’s teachings revolved around developing your awareness for which he taught a meditation technique called Vipassana (also known as Anapana). He never taught anything called SG’s Lotus Sutra or chanting which would help you in increasing your wealth. Actually the story behind Lotus Sutra is completely different. In Indian spiritual paths, Lotus or Padma is a symbol of enlightenment. One of the important disciples of Buddha, Mahakashyap understood Buddha’s teachings through silence and got enlightened. Buddha gifted him a small lotus on this occasion without saying anything. From here, Zen Buddhism started which teaches without using much words and letting the students find their own truth.
SGI is doing to Buddha what many Indians are doing to Sai Baba. Sai Baba lived a monk’s life, but most of his devotees have turned him into an ATM machine from which they expect miracles to become wealthier. If you meet Sai Baba’s devotees, you will find them sharing ‘miraculous’ stories about how their desires got fulfilled. The same thing happens with many SG students who tell similar stories in their weekly classes.
Apart from misleading about Buddha’s teachings, SG’s own track record in Japan is full of crimes and illegal activities. To be frank, this organization is much like our own Asaram who enjoys a big following, a huge clout in political circles and owns fathomless property.
SGI’s owner Ikeda is a business tycoon who enjoys absolute power in the organization. He is also the power behind a Japanese political party called New Komeito. Why would a spiritual organization want to have a political party? You are seeking the truth or the throne?
Many of SGI’s former members have launched a website to inform about the antisocial activities, crimes and infringements of human rights committed by this organization. You can read about them in detail here: http://www.toride.org/edata/bbc.html
Soka Gakkai is yet to become strong in India, and it hasn’t started applying its arm-twisting methods to subjugate its followers. But it has been doing so for a long time in Japan about which you can read here: https://sokagakkailies.wordpress.com/…/is-sgi-a-cult-does-…/
Another informative article on how SGI manipulates people to propagate its business and political power in the name of Buddhism: http://markrogow.blogspot.in/…/the-definitive-analysis-on-w…
A Forbes article on the limitless money SGI owns and how it uses tax regulations to expand its empire: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2004/0906/126.html
SGI is not the first example of how “spiritual” masters use people’s frustration with the sufferings of life and their desire for money, fame and power to increase their own political and financial power. Our country is full of such gurus and teachers who own property worth thousands of crores of rupees which they have earned from objectionable sources. And such masters do have a huge following because many people would like to believe in a shortcut (in this case, the chanting) which promises them to fulfil all their desires.
Well, if you just want a shortcut to be rich and famous and solve every problem of life, please follow SGI. After following them for months and years, any positive incident in your life will appear like a magical effect of chanting. But please do a research on Buddhism before you start believing that you are following the spiritual path taught by Buddha.
There is a huge difference between being a ruthless seeker of truth and being an advocate of an organization. The Buddha said that if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. It means you shouldn’t be too faithful or attached even to the Buddha. Well, you can start by killing your faith in SGI and doing your own research to find the truth.
NOTE: If you want to learn how spiritual cults slowly brainwash people, SGI can be a great teaching ground.

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