Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn,
Wire, briar, limber lock
Three geese in a flock
One flew East
One flew West
And one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.
Chief Bromden: My pop was real big. He did like he pleased. That’s why everybody worked on him. The last time I seen my father, he was blind and diseased from drinking. And every time he put the bottle to his mouth, he don’t suck out of it, it sucks out of him until he shrunk so wrinkled and yellow even the dogs didn’t know him.
McMurphy: Killed him, huh?
Chief Bromden: I’m not saying they killed him. They just worked on him. The way they’re working on you.
Like what I’d written in another blog about Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (HERDING CATS – Joe Isuzu’s Daily Slander), many important elements in the novel are either hidden from view or invisible. For example, Bromden tries to be as invisible as possible. He has achieved this invisibility by pretending not to understand what is going on around him, so people notice him less and less. Moreover, he imagines a fog surrounding him that hides him and keeps him safe. He keeps both his body and his mind hidden.
The insanity of the institution is foregrounded when a man who asks a simple question is tortured and rendered inhuman. It is a Catch-22: only a sane man would question an irrational system, but the act of questioning means his sanity will inevitably be compromised.
Back in 1981 I LEFT the NSA and practiced solo for almost 20 years. In 2000 I made an earnest decision to reengage with the same organization that had introduced Buddhism or Nichiren Buddhism rather, to me. I lived under the illusion that things had changed and that in some way I could make a difference. The one thing that had changed was that the NSA had gotten better at hiding it’s own version of religious crazy with the bait and switch issues between them and the priesthood. But the SGI is just the priesthood in street cloths.
There’s a joke that if you want to make an atheist out of a Christian, have them study the Bible instead of being told what it means by a third party. I started diligently studying the letters of Nichiren for myself. I read Daisaku Ikeda’s writtings and every time he quoted another philosopher or great thinker from antiquity, I would study their works too in an effort to see why he would quote that particular person. Somewhere along this line of inquiry I began to think critically and ask questions and have terms such as “faith”, “ actual proof’, or “karma” defined in context. This has gone on now for the last 11 years.
I reached several conclusions, which may have been reached by you readers long ago, and they now seem as simple as they are obvious.
All organized religions end up doing things to protect the organization from the members that comprise them.
All organized religions have disgruntled members who become problematic by asking critical questions. This leads to their marginalization, excommunication, and religious reformation.
Specifically speaking, the SGI has become exactly what Masaharu Anesaki said in his 1914 Harvard lecture series that was to become his book, Nichiren The Buddhist Prophet, that which Nichiren was trying to establish. The paradigm is the Catholic Holy See, replete with dogma and control from its center. Any charters or publications professing otherwise, is a blatant lie. There is a new reformation continuing within the SGI with its massive revisionism of its history, funneling the members to think and believe a revisionists version of the truth.
What finally made me snap? Well, it wasn’t any one thing. The current list of organizational hypocrisies is 11 years long. I get phone calls from people who used to be friends but now are “officially” calling me as a representative of SGI. Below is the last straw and it came in an email. Funny, but it wasn’t even close to being the most egregious one. But it’s my last one because I’m done.
SGI-USA Men’s Division Monthly Suggested Study Material for June 2011
In 2011, the men’s division will continue studying “The New Human Revolution,” challenging ourselves to study one volume each month. In June 2011, we are studying Volume 18. The excerpts below are provided to support the men’s division study and can be used at men’s division meetings. Every man is encouraged to have his own copy of each volume of “The New Human Revolution” which is available at your local SGI-USA bookstore or through the mail order service on the SGI- USA website. Page numbers may vary depending on the edition.
When we acknowledge our limitations and shortcomings and start to make a concentrated effort to overcome them, they begin to shine as strong points. That is the power of faith. Page 7
..Unshakeable conviction is nurtured by experience.
How do we accumulate such experiences? By chanting earnestly and participating wholeheartedly in Soka Gakkai activities as a means to conquer our various problems at work, human relations or related to health, and realizing our hopes and dreams. Page 33
Mr. Toda declared: “You mustn’t be a mob of mindless sheep. However, when the leader of a revolution stands up and issues forth a rallying call, it’s important that those who support him cry out powerfully in agreement.
Let’s Raise Lions! Now is the time to foster genuine lions for kosen-rufu!” Page 41
..A true leader earns trust and respect by forging his or her strengths and abilities.”
The German philosopher Nietzsche said: “If you want to rise high, use your own legs! Do not let yourselves be carried up, do not sit on the backs and heads of strangers!” Page 45
Gratitude for One’s Mentor
True disciples respond immediately to the call of the mentor—when disciples are fully attuned to the heart of their mentor, when the lofty spirit of mentor and disciple is upheld, kosen-rufu will grow into a mighty river that will last for all eternity.
…Fostering capable people happens through life-to-life interactions. If we wish to raise people, we need to give our all and engage them in heartfelt dialogue. Only if we are sincere and enthusiastic can we touch the lives of others. Page 86
A single moment of determination can become the turning point in one’s life. The Daishonin writes, “Ordinary people keep in mind the words ‘earnest resolve’ and thereby become Buddhas’ (WND-I, 1125).
“..We should never do anything by half measures. If we give up midway, we won’t accomplish anything. We should see everything we attempt through to the end; we should carry through with all our endeavors.The person who does so will be victorious. A Buddha is someone who strives ceaselessly forward.” Page 91
“I hope that none of you, no matter what the hardships you may face, will ever allow yourselves to be defeated. Please live out your lives together with me! We are linked by an eternal mission, so let’s engage in a magnificent shared struggle of mentor and disciple!” Page 93
Rosa Parks, the mother of the American civil rights movement, said: “I have learned that in order to bring about change, one must not be afraid to take the first step, or else it will not be done. I believe that the only failure is failing to try.” Page 176
Even a single drop of water, once it enters the great ocean, embraces the entire world. In the same way, when we dedicate our lives to the Mystic Law and kosen-rufu, we can expand our state of life to encompass the whole universe. We can build an indestructible self that is never defeated by any adversity or hardship. Carrying out such faith is the fundamental way to overcome all manner of misfortune and difficulty. Page 188
..A sincere commitment to faith can transform all adversity into a springboard for fresh advancement
SHIN’ICHI WANTED to communicate to the members that in order to transform great evil into great good and realize kosen-rufu, it was crucial to practice and carry our faith in exact accord with the Buddha’s teachings. Page 249
..Shin’ichi said that the process of deepening one’s faith occurs through life-to-life exchange, or the mystic principle of responsive communion, and stressed that discussion meetings are the venues of such interaction. Page 253
..no life is free from suffering…Unhappiness comes from being defeated by that suffering, losing all hope and succumbing to despair. The only way to avoid that is to build a strong, expansive spirit that cannot be beaten by any hardship…In fact, it is in the very process of challenging our problems that our lives pulse with joy and fulfillment and a great wellspring of happiness rises up within us. The effort to transform ourselves into a strong, dynamic and broad-minded person is called human revolution. Pages 262-263
Questions for Discussion
1. 2. 3.
How can we develop faith which is genuinely courageous? How can we strengthen our shared commitment for kosen-rufu with our mentor? How does a sincere commitment to practicing faith correctly ensure that we can overcome all adversities?