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Barbara O'Brien

Gandhi, King, and ... Ikeda?

By October 28, 2009

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I hope not to offend the SGI members who come here, but this is just odd. There's a traveling exhibition titled "Gandhi, King, Ikeda: A Legacy of Building Peace" currently parked at a high school in Ontario. The exhibition focuses on Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Daisaku Ikeda to show how to work toward world peace. It's been traveling around for about a year, I take it, but I just stumbled into it today.

If you're struggling to place Daisaku Ikeda: He is the president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a lay Nichiren Buddhist organization. I'm sure he's a nice fella, and I'm aware that he has directed SGI into doing a lot of good work. But does he belong in the same league with Gandhi and King? I'd like to give SGI members a chance to explain why he does.  Maybe there's something I'm overlooking.

I can see Aung San Suu Kyi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, or Thich Nhat Hanh in the company of Gandhi and King. I could make an argument for Master Cheng Yen, the nun who founded the Tzu Chi Foundation. There are a great many Buddhists doing great work whose life stories are awesomely inspiring.

It's true that Ikeda has honors and awards by the truckload -- look him up on Wikipedia sometime. He has established lots of institutions and universities. A number of people in the exhibit online video testify that Ikeda is a great man. But after reviewing the astonishing lives of Gandhi and King, the Ikeda section of the video feels like a padded resume.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the creation of Dr. Lawrence E. Carter Sr., dean of the chapel. I learned through some googling that Dr. Carter has ties to Soka Universityof California, one of the universities established by Ikeda and SGI. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. I assume Dr. Carter has met President Ikeda and genuinely admires him.

Comments
October 29, 2009 at 2:14 pm
(1) Marion says:

The Soka Gakkai International is an organization led by Daisaku Ikeda that is actively working to promote world peace. The giant influence Mr. Ikeda has had is inspiring and encouraging people to TAKE ACTION for this – not simply thinking lovely thoughts and wishing or praying that everyone else will be peaceful too. It’s no casual effort, world peace – it takes a lot of hard work; on ourselves and by engaging with others. He shows by example and encourages us to do the same, reminding us that we all have a crucial role to play in achieving world peace. He has met with many world leaders, dignitaries, and ordinary citizens to promote understanding, and common ground across differing cultural differences through dialogue, education, the arts. He cites various other world thinkers in his writings, Ghandhi and ML King among them. He writes a yearly peace proposal to the UN calling for nuclear disarmament and abolition. And when he dies – he is 81 now, there will be hundreds of thousands of SGI Buddhists carrying on this legacy of taking concrete action towards peace while establishing happiness in their own lives. That’s his real resume.

October 29, 2009 at 2:33 pm
(2) Barbara O'Brien says:

Marion — Yes, that’s what everybody says, but I’m still not sold. Ikeda inspires people, he writes stuff, he meets with leaders, he submits proposals. It’s all way too vauge and fluffy for my tastes, and you can say the same things about Bill Gates.

Gandhi and Martin Luther King put their lives on the line. They faced down angry mobs and sometimes even guns. Gandhi faced down the bleeping British Empire, for pity’s sake. This is in a whole different league.

I spent a large part of yesterday afternoon looking for specific anectdotes about something President Ikeda did personally that involved hard effort and sacrifice, and came up zip. There are no end of long articles about what a great man he is, and he’s won a gazillion awards, and there are ringing testimonials to his greatness, and certainly he has directed SGI toward being a benevolent organization. But it’s always vauge and fluffy; never specific. Very odd, I say.

October 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm
(3) Esel Bee says:

My understanding is that Mr. Ikeda is also quite a controversial figure. I’ve read of reports that SGI has struggled with financial scandals, cover-ups, and ostracism/harassment of those members that leave. I’ve been turned off to the SGI organization after reading reports that Ikeda demands “unquestioning loyalty” from his followers, that SGI uses the media to ‘vilify their opponents,” and that SGI believers consider him to be the “true Buddha.” It sounds a bit cult-like to me. I am surprised to find his name among the list of such history-changers as Gandhi and M.L. King.

October 29, 2009 at 5:26 pm
(4) Ian Crowley says:

Bill Gates is a business genius and deserves credit for his humanitarian efforts, but I doubt his influence with world leaders compares to President Ikeda’s. I have never read any proposals by him to compare with those of President Ikeda.
As for effort and sacrifice, Daisaku Ikeda suffered from tuberculosis from an early age and did not expect to live past the age of 30. In spite of this, shortly after joining Soka Gakkai, he took on some heavy responsibilities. He often didn’t get to bed until three o’clock in the morning but got up early every day, did his daily Buddhist practice and reported for work at a very demanding job, followed by organizational activities most evenings.
In his 30′s and 40′s, as president of Soka Gakkai, he had numerous life threatening health crises, but never stepped down. He said many times that a measure of a person is not how long he/she lives, but how much he/she does while alive. I take this to mean to mean he knew very well he could die any time but never even considered decreasing his efforts. Details of his early years of Buddhist practice can be found in the book version of his “A Youthful Diary.”
As long as 20 years ago, when he was 60, one dignitary who met him commented that his schedule would kill most men half his age.
I would advise you that as a Buddhist you may enjoy reading some his many books, including his biography of Shakyamuni Buddha, “The Living Buddha,” his account of Buddhism taking root and developing in China, “The Flower of Chinese Buddhism,” and his dialogue with historian Arnold Toynbee, also available in book form.

October 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm
(5) Ian Crowley says:

Esel :
I’m aware that the SGI and President Ikeda in particular are indeed controversial, and have had many criticism and accusations leveled against them, some of them really absurd. I’m also aware that he won a libel suit in Japanese court. As I understand it, Japanese libel law makes a suit much harder to win than under U.S. law, so he must have had a heck of a case.
As an SGI member, I have never in over 30 years of practice had anyone demand “unquestioning loyalty” of me. In fact, every question or objection I have ever had has been addressed without rancor or retaliation of any kind. No one has ever tried to coerce me into doing anything I didn’t want to, or even pressure me beyond saying that it was a good idea and I should do it.
President Ikeda has said many times that he is an ordinary man. A few members have told me they believe he is the reincarnation of Nichiren Daishonin, but this is not SGI doctrine, nor is it ever formally stated as an article of faith.
If you can share some details or online resources (or offline, if readily available) concerning the reports you mentioned, I’d like to know about it.

October 29, 2009 at 10:20 pm
(6) Barbara O'Brien says:

Actually, Ian, I suspect Bill Gates has more influence with world leaders than President Ikeda.

I’m sure he’s a hard working man who has done many worthwhile things, but I’m still not seeing anything that special about him that would make him worthy to be mentioned in the same breath with Gandhi. Also, it’s telling that in all the vague and fluffy praises for him there’s a weird lack of personal anecdotes. But maybe they are out there and I haven’t found them.

October 30, 2009 at 11:04 am
(7) lnocsifan says:

Gates is a red herring. He has no record of fighting for world peace or global understanding comparable to Ikeda’s, no authorship on these subjects, no recorded dialogues with the world’s most influential thinkers…
Who would you place in company with Ghandi?

October 30, 2009 at 11:09 am
(8) anna Guarino says:

Through our own “human revolution” our own inner peace and happiness,world peace can be realized. Diasaku Ikeda has been my mentor for 28 years and just as the exhibit suggests, it is in living our daily lives with respect and dignity for everyone and everything, that we, ordinary human beings are transformed,to be leaders for peace just as Gandi,King and Ikeda.

October 30, 2009 at 12:24 pm
(9) lisehull says:

Who would I place in company with Gandhi and MLK? Well, Nelson Mandela comes to mind. Never heard of Ikeda.

October 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm
(10) BuddhistHindu says:

I would place Jesus and the Buddha in the same league as Gandhi. Mother Theresa also. But not this businessman, Ikeda, no matter how spiritually enlightened he may be as a leader for the SGI organization.

October 30, 2009 at 9:42 pm
(11) Ian McIlraith says:

While several people have already described why they believe there is justification for the inclusion of Daisaku Ikeda’s name in the title of this exhibit, I for one simply appreciate and applaud Dr. Lawrence E. Carter’s effort to introduce Mr. Ikeda’s name and work to the larger public. Clearly it is impossible to precisely equate even any two of the three men. Yet, the primary message of the exhibit; that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things when they embody spiritual and nonviolent values in their actions, is hopeful and inspiring. That has been my impression and the impression of many others who have seen the exhibit. This public endorsement of the exhibit’s primary message is especially heartening in today’s world when you consider the diversity of the religions Gandhi, King and Ikeda represent.

Ian McIlraith
Culver City, CA

October 31, 2009 at 8:12 am
(12) Barbara O'Brien says:

Ian — you’re telling me how extraordinary Ikeda is, but you’re not showing me. You’re showing me a guy who writes nice books and is a good organizer. I’m not saying he’s a bad person, just that he’s not all that extraordinary.

October 31, 2009 at 8:18 am
(13) Barbara O'Brien says:

Gates is a red herring. He has no record of fighting for world peace or global understanding comparable to Ikeda’s, no authorship on these subjects, no recorded dialogues with the world’s most influential thinkers…

Gates has done those things, actually. He’s spent much of the last few years doing philanthropic work on an international scale. My point is that I’m not seeing anything President Ikeda has done that Bill Gates isn’t doing on a bigger scale, and I’d hardly call Bill Gates the equivalent of Gandhi.

Who would you place in company with Ghandi?

I discussed that in the post. Among prominent Buddhists, I’d say Aung San Suu Kyi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, or Thich Nhat Hanh.

October 31, 2009 at 10:11 am
(14) Bill Aiken says:

As you noted, this exhibit was conceived and directed by Rev. Dr. Lawrence Carter, Dean of the MLK International Chapel at Morehouse College. While it would be ideal if he were to speak for himself as tto why he chose Mr. Ikeda, here is a comment he made on a previous occasion:

“I feature Dr. Ikeda, a Japanese Buddhist, because the world can achieve peace and brotherhood only if the fundamental truth that serves as its inspiration is universal. Gandhi and King are from different continents and faith traditions. Incorporating him, a lay Buddhist from Japan, is a logical step. I wanted to underscore the fact that this truth does not know any national, racial, cultural or religious boundaries; and that it is truly universal, and accessible to all. By including Dr. Ikeda in the exhibit I am able to do that…. I wanted to introduce Daisaku Ikeda to a wider world audience.… This exhibit does not intend to equate the achievements of these three architects of peace, but it spotlights the outstanding quality of their dedication and commitment to nonviolence. Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King and Dr. Ikeda, all controversial figures, were distinguished for thinking and acting outside of the box, beyond their race, their nationality and their faith traditions.”

I agree that you cannot equate the life of Daisaku Ikeda with Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi and King are iconic figures of our century and – as you point out – they made the ultimate commitment of their lives to advance their noble ideals. However, I would not underestimate the value of Mr. Ikeda’s contributions in fostering a movement that spans millions of people in 192 countries around the world committed to building a more peaceful society through Buddhist practice and compassionate social engagement. His real greatness may shine even more in the work of the institutions he has founded and in the lives of the many people he has inspired and who will succeed him for generations to come.
Bill Aiken
Director of Public Affairs,
SGI-USA

October 31, 2009 at 11:20 am
(15) Joe Isuzu says:

Dr. Carter has been talking about including a woman, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer, human rights activist, and the first Muslim to ever receive the award. He’s been talking about it for five years. Maybe he’s stopped. Because I haven’t heard anything more of late.

IMO the Nobel prize is best served as to acquaint the world to the bestowed upon, and not necessarily a benchmark for what the world needs as an example of how to behave towards humanity. Mother Teresa won it and was mentioned before as someone who might be considered as included as part of the G-K-I exhibit more deserving than Daisaku Ikeda. The argument could be raised that Mother Teresa cared about not humanity in this life but the next, and that is taken directly from her actions against birth control in the third world and who she was really working for.

The same argument, however, could be posed for both King and Gandhi, for both were working towards a specific purpose that transcended into humanity, which is exactly what Ebadi has done. I think the issue with Ikeda is that in looking for a specific cause like stopping the castration of women, the civil rights of blacks in America, or the autonomy of a country, there really is none. The lionization of Ikeda by his followers, justified or not, only detracts from the fact that as a religious leader, he has gone global, much for the same reasons as Mother Teresa, in is belief that what he has to present, his ideas, is beneficial to humanity now and for the future. I do believe that Ikeda, unlike Mother Teresa, does have more concern over an individuals current daily happiness than their future eternal soul. But it doesn’t end the debate. So…

I say get Ms. Ebadi in there ASAP!

October 31, 2009 at 11:31 am
(16) Barbara O'Brien says:

I think the issue with Ikeda is that in looking for a specific cause like stopping the castration of women, the civil rights of blacks in America, or the autonomy of a country, there really is none. … The lionization of Ikeda by his followers, justified or not, only detracts from the fact that as a religious leader, he has gone global, much for the same reasons as Mother Teresa, in is belief that what he has to present, his ideas, is beneficial to humanity now and for the future.

That hits the nail on the head, I think.

October 31, 2009 at 3:02 pm
(17) Brooke says:

What has Ikeda accomplished? This is the key question. Primarily, he has spearheaded the effort to make SGI a global, multibilliondollar religious corporation. His followers might feel that this is noble and profound.

However, to outsiders looking in, this puts Ikeda in company with Reverend Moon, L. Ron Hubbard and Elizabeth Clare Prophet much more than the likes of King and Gandhi. Indeed, Ikeda is the charismatic leader of a new religion. To some, this fact qualifies him as a humanitarian. Others of us who have experience with this sect are more skeptical about how “beneficial to humanity” Ikeda’s “teachings” are.

The assertion that Dr. Carter somehow dreamed this comparison up on his own and initiated the exhibit is disingenuous. SGI staff members constructed the exhibit, SGI PR spinners (Hi, Bill) tirelessly promote (and defend) the exhibit, and, over the years, SGI has spared no expense to tour the exhibit all over the world. This is SGI’s (and therefore Ikeda’s) baby.

To former SGI members like me, Gandhi-King-Ikeda is just another one of SGI’s grandiose, delusional, self-promotional campaigns.

October 31, 2009 at 3:06 pm
(18) Mark Rogow says:

Dear Barbara:
You certainly have generated a lot of interest from the Soka Gakkai, one Vice President [Ian McIlraith] and one Vice General Director [Bill Aiken]. I applaud you.

These are all controversial men. The Dalits [untouchables], the oppressed peoples of India of whom I am intimate contact through the editor of the Dalit Voice, VT Rajshekar, are certainly not impressed with the Mahatma. Those million people who died in the forced March of 1947 too, would not be impressed. According to the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, good intentions are fraught with unintended consequences when not based on the Lotus Sutra and the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha (Enlightenment).

It was only Shakyamuni Buddha, in the entire history of India, who had the Dalits best interest in mind. Buddha taught that one becomes a Brahmin through virtue, not through birth. Ghandi was too embroiled in the teachings of castism, to have been anything but a pawn of the Brahmanical power brokers.

Daisaku Ikeda is a pawn of the power brokers of the Club of Rome and their new world order while the Lotus Sutra teaches that peace and security in this life and a fortunate birth in the next is realized through the One Buddha Vehicle. The socio-political strategies of such men as Ghandi, Ikeda, and King, are doomed to failure.

October 31, 2009 at 5:36 pm
(19) Markp says:

The problem Ikeda has is that even though the SGI has spent millions procurring Honorary Doctorates and much more to bolster his stature in the world, he will be forgotten quicker than that meal you had yesterday. He really has no accomplishments outside of Soka Gakkai that anyone will remember. He is store bought and he aint no Buddha.

October 31, 2009 at 8:12 pm
(20) Cris Roman says:

Barbara… please keep up your skeptical approach to Daisaku Ikeda. Several of those who have posted pro-Ikeda responses are, as has been pointed out, high level executives of the SGI (something they strangely fail to identify). I joined the SGI (then known as NSA) back in 1967 and have practiced Buddhism (as it was taught by them in conjunction with the Fuji School of Nichiren Buddhism) ever since. It is a wonderful religious practice!

However, in the years between 1967 and 1983 (when I left the Gakkai) some truly tragic things happen. I firmly believe that at the core of them was Ikeda’s inability to heed the dictate, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I lived in Japan for three of those years as a member of the SGI and and Ikeda disciple and witnessed first hand Ikeda publishing writings as his own that he did not write and exhibiting pictures as his own that he did not take. For decades, this exceedingly charismatic man has coveted the Nobel Peace Prize and literally every foreign contact he has made and every university he has endowed or accepted an honorary degree from have all been in the service of gaining that recognition… hence the MLK, Gandhi, Ikeda exhibition — his inclusion in which is completely Gakkai manipulated and holds as much credence as the present day teabag movement in America.

Ikeda is a good man, but somewhere in the mid-70′s I believe, lost the opportunity to become great. In his meglomania and desire for acclaim, he sowed the seeds of schism between the priesthood that lended credibility to his organization and that organization itself. In its split from its head temple, the religious organization that was once the Nichiren Shoshu Soka Gakkai became the SGI — a Japanese cultural movement without a religious teaching.

Not that I am that great a backer of religious organizations. In my years of practice as an independent Buddhist, what I cherish is my practice… not the dogma handed down by both the SGI and Fuji School themselves. What is completely tragic is the extent to which both lay people and priests, in their quest for power and recognition, have caused the teachings of Nichiren to become almost irrelevant in the modern day West.

In 1967, when I joined, our rate of growth in the U.S. outstripped the Mormons. Now, it is nothing. This destruction of so many people’s hearts and dreams must be laid at the feet of Ikeda. Like Gandhi and King, I think not. Similar to Sun Myung Moon… now I think the comparison is more apt.

October 31, 2009 at 10:07 pm
(21) Markp says:

I would like to add a comment in the defense of SGI, in that even though I and many others have left SGi because we have seen through the single mindedness of the organization and it’s promotion of Ikeda, the SGI still has a role to play in this society.
We all began our practice with Soka Gakkai, but the problem they face is that we became Buddhist because of the practice and no longer ascribed to their teaching of materialism. Damn, we all became Buddhist!
What an irony!

November 1, 2009 at 4:18 pm
(22) Mark Rogow says:

To Mark P:

Nichiren Daishonin gave out 200 hundred Gohonzons, it is estimated. How many of these were thrown in the trash, the people abandoning the Lotus Sutra and Shakyamuni Buddha? Let’s say ~ 130 Nichiren Gohonzon remain after more than 700 years. That leaves 70 unaccounted for in 700 years. Let’s say half of the remaining were destroyed or abandoned by his disciples and believers. That means 35 out of 200 believers [~18%] abandoned the Lotus Sutra and Shakyamuni Buddha. This is an extremely high end estimation because of the many years involved. On the other hand, the Soka Gakkai/NST gave out over 570,000 Gohonzon in the United States. Between the two sects, utilizing World Tribune Subscription numbers, ~ 70.000 continue to practice with these organizations. That means > 85% of their believers abandoned or destroyed their Gohonzons or, at the very least, they are unaccounted for. Is this actual proof of the power [or lack thereof] of the Nittatsu, Nikken, and Nichikan Gohonzons or was it the lack of Buddhist wisdom of the Soka Gakkai leaders and Nichiren Shoshu priests, or both? Either way, why would one choose to belong to either of these organizations which talk the talk of respect and protection of Gohonzon but give them out frivolously like the hawkers of escort service fliers in Las Vegas? Why would one choose a “Gohonzon” that you yourself will probably abandon or destroy in the future because it has no power or you received one without even the most basic standards of conferral?

I recommend a Nichiren [not Nichikan] inspired Gohonzon as bestowed by the Nichiren Shu and the Kempon Hokke [if one really has the wish to chant to a Gohonzon until the last moment of life].

November 1, 2009 at 6:09 pm
(23) Balveda says:

It was Martin Luther King who nominated Thich Nhat Hahn for a nobel peace prize so I think they would both be in good company with one another. But why should we be so intent on pedestal placing? I believe that Thay is aware that since his nobel nomination, the nobel commission has manifested into little more than a glitzed out highly politicized group of immense egos with zero creditability. If actually true, it’s very saddening that Ikeda would work, focus and strive for this particular accolade or any other for that matter. Personally I would never follow a Zen master who showed any sign whatsoever of striving to win accolades or being driven to accumulate honorary doctorates. Peace is not about prizes and recognition, both of which are absolute opposites of everything Buddhism teaches. I believe in Intoku, which is to practice good done in secret and to practice peace without seeking attention and praise. How about instead we simply honor the nameless ones who practice and promote peace under the radar of our age of information culture? They are out there and their good deeds far outnumber those of a few major icons. Sending good thoughts their way during our meditation practice is one way of honoring AND helping them.

November 1, 2009 at 8:31 pm
(24) David says:

Barbara, I think your comments regarding Mr. Ikeda’s status in relationship to Gandhi and King are right on the mark. Building a world wide organization of Buddhists is an extremely laudable accomplishment, and yet, as you mention, it pales in comparison to putting your life, and liberty, on the line as Gandhi and King and many others have.

Mr. Ikeda meets with world leaders who are lobbied extensively by the SGI and who sometimes are given lavish gifts. Mr. Ikeda’s books are largely ghost-written and I suspect most of his speeches are as well.

There are many fine folks in the SGI and they do accomplish some good things, but there are many disturbing aspects of the organization, not the least of which is the deification of Ikeda, which should give people pause (a big pause).

I believe the phrase “manufacturing consent” was coined by Noam Chomsky and, while he didn’t, he might have had the SGI in mind, for that is their greatest achievement. They are the true masters of the subtle manipulation of large groups of people.

November 3, 2009 at 7:25 am
(25) Luisa V Nayhouse SGI Member and Psychotherapist says:

Barbara, All these negative remarks about President Ikeda are off the mark. They are fear based and inaccurate. As a Soka Gakai Buddhist and psychotherapist SGI Buddhism does not confuse Buddhism and Psychology. President Ikeda is honored per se by members because he sees us and we see us as no lesser capacity than he or Nichiren Daishonin or Shakyamuni Buddha. We are hence no lesser than and of no less capacity I say. The proof is that one by one each of us are in fact transforming our lives home, work and environments slowly but surely and are trully becoming happy individuals. Ultimately this is the purpose to attain fulfillement create value that is what Soka means create value. I am sure by reading these comments above that none of these individuals who have commented negatively about the SGI or President Ikeda have ever spent a moment in reading about the history of our movement nor have they read any of President Ikeda’s writings. That we can and will and do overcome the four sufferings in life as described by Shakyamuni Buddha to attain absoulute happines is proof enough and will continue to be. Thank you! With My Deep Respect and Appreciation for these comments, people are stirring and I am not surprised, freedom at the same time is most empowering as well as can create fear-

November 3, 2009 at 10:48 am
(26) Barbara O'Brien says:

Luisa — I’m not seeing any fear here. The issue is that the near-deification of President Ikeda by SGI members looks and feels very odd to people outside of SGI.

November 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm
(27) David says:

Luisa V Nayhouse should stop and think before she writes: “that none of these individuals who have commented negatively about the SGI or President Ikeda have ever spent a moment in reading about the history of our movement nor have they read any of President Ikeda’s writings.” How do you know this? You are leaping to a conclusion, and a rather broad one, based solely upon your prejudice in favor of Mr. Ikeda. I suppose my comments could be considered negative, and I certainly have a negative perception of the “great leader.”

I spent 12 years in the SGI. I was a senior leader. I have read nearly everything about the SGI and Nichiren Buddhism that has been published in English, as well as possessing a large collection of the organization’s publications and Ikeda’s writings. So, I think I have a very good idea of the history of this group. Actually, it is precisely because I did my own independent investigation, instead of just blindly believing everything the organization said, that led me to the conclusion that Mr. Ikeda is something of a fraud and the organization he leads little more than a cult.

November 3, 2009 at 8:24 pm
(28) Inspirational Brother says:

I commiserate and have gone through a similar process to what David described in his comment.

I post with an AKA because I actually have spent time with and know at least two of the senior leaders who have posted here. While I do have immense respect for these two men (they’re very nice guys) – I also had joined during the NSA years / practicing for almost 20 years in two states / achieved upper “leadership” status / then finally departed, etc – I have to point out the “NSA/SGI-Speak” that is apparent in their statements:

Ian: “I for one simply appreciate and applaud Dr. Lawrence E. Carter’s effort to introduce Mr. Ikeda’s name and work to the larger public.”

Okay, but what about the absurdity of putting Ikeda on the same level as Gandhi and King in a public display?

Bill Aiken: “I agree that you cannot equate the life of Daisaku Ikeda with Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi and King are iconic figures of our century and – as you point out – they made the ultimate commitment of their lives to advance their noble ideals. However, I would not underestimate the value of Mr. Ikeda’s contributions in fostering a movement that spans millions of people in 192 countries around the world….(and on and on)”

Okay, but what about the absurdity of putting Ikeda on the same level as Gandhi and King in a public display?

Notice that neither of these well-meaning men take into account the absurd arrogance and presumptive nature of how the exhibition groups the relatively unknown Ikeda with two of the greatest figures of the last century, and possibly in history in general. This, from a philosophy that supposedly abhors arrogance, and teaches its followers to avoid it!

They simply used “NSA/SGI-Speak”, which is a re-framing of a response to make things “not sound so bad”, without directly addressing a touchy or controversial subject. This happens in the SGI all the time.

Bottom line, there’s still a public exhibition running around the country which has been resoundingly criticized my so many for the aforementioned grouping.

Also, it’s funny how quotes from Ikeda like “It should be hoped that (Russian) President Putin will continue to do such a good job” (from some Living Buddhism issue a while back), and support, admiration and accolades presented to a tyrant torturing dictator like Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan) are quietly swept under the rug and ignored within this organization. Are these the activities of a great peace activist who has “earned” a place alongside King and Ghandi?

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The SGI is, by many definitions, a cult, and tacitly worships the almighty Ikeda. His writings frequently usurp those of the original priest, Nichiren, in organizational magazines, articles, study meetings and presentations such as the Ghandi, King, Ikeda exhibit.

There are many well-meaning people in the US organization, some of who are very famous and/or influential, who really do not mean any harm to anyone, but promote Ikeda as an all-seeing multi-honorary-degree carrying diety-on-earth. This is due to a demented top-down hierarchical push from the Japan SGI HQ for Ikeda to be praised and exalted to a level above most other humans.

Is there formal worship of Ikeda? No, it’s tacit as I’ve mentioned. But it seems to be getting closer and closer to that.

I speak from many years of faithfully trying to be a “good Buddhist”, and becoming deeply embedded in the organization. It finally took a sense of deep dissatisfaction and evaluation of what I was doing to remove myself from the unhealthy environment. I had never felt such a sense of freedom as the day I left the SGI and removed my Ikeda picture from my altar.

November 4, 2009 at 3:39 am
(29) Joe Isuzu, SGI Member for 35 years...and Psychotherapist says:

Really, Luisa? You’re a psychotherapist too? I was reading all the comments, mine included, and as a SGI member and psychotherapist I couldn’t see what reactions were fear based. I did find one that was denial based:

“I am sure by reading these comments above that none of these individuals who have commented negatively about the SGI or President Ikeda have ever spent a moment in reading about the history of our movement nor have they read any of President Ikeda’s writings.”

November 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm
(30) Neo says:

I had only recently joined SGI when our district hosted the Gandhi King Ikeda exhibit. Although I was an enthusiastic new member, that exhibit really bothered me–as did the explainations made by senior members when I asked how Ikeda compared to two men whose lives were constantly put in peril because of their convictions (whereas I had recently learned Ikeda was living large and his multi-million dollar income was a perfect example of someone who practices true Buddhism–wha?!?). I recall one member excitedly told me Ikeda had spent an ENTIRE NIGHT IN JAIL because he had been wrongly accused of election fraud. Wow.

I left the org about a year later, after I was encouraged to put a photo of Ikeda on my altar so I could better develop my relationship with “sensei”.

November 4, 2009 at 2:20 pm
(31) Inspirational Brother says:

Ok. I gotta rip this one to shreds:

“Barbara, All these negative remarks about President Ikeda are off the mark. They are fear based and inaccurate.”

That’s completely your opinion, which you’re entitled to. But it’s not a provable fact. I’ve done my time worshipping the man, studying him and going to great lengths to catch a glimpse, handshake or breathe his same air. None of it transformed my life, in the end. What did was leaving the SGI and living for myself.

“As a Soka Gakai Buddhist and psychotherapist SGI Buddhism does not confuse Buddhism and Psychology.”

Hoooboy. Delusional much?

“President Ikeda is honored per se by members because he sees us and we see us as no lesser capacity than he or Nichiren Daishonin or Shakyamuni Buddha.”

No, he is honored because YMD and YWD are “tasked” with making sure he gets these honorary degrees. One might want to ask Nestor Torres about his experience with being asked to do this. These honors are very much extracted from people by the SGI, which in turn paints the picture of Ikeda being “presented” with the honor by whatever institution or organization.

“We are hence no lesser than and of no less capacity I say. The proof is that one by one each of us are in fact transforming our lives home, work and environments slowly but surely and are trully becoming happy individuals. Ultimately this is the purpose to attain fulfillement create value that is what Soka means create value.”

People transform their lives all the time. The Soka Gakkai hasn’t cornered the market on this. It’s also a matter of perspective and opinion. For example, the people in Jonestown also thought they had transformed their lives by going to South America.

“I am sure by reading these comments above that none of these individuals who have commented negatively about the SGI or President Ikeda have ever spent a moment in reading about the history of our movement nor have they read any of President Ikeda’s writings.”

How are you sure? Do you know? I definitely feel aligned with the “negative” comments, and spent a couple of decades on the deep inside of the organization and in leadership positions. Your statement is untrue and, frankly, quite arrogant.

“That we can and will and do overcome the four sufferings in life as described by Shakyamuni Buddha to attain absoulute happines is proof enough and will continue to be.”

Again, I don’t feel the Soka Gakkai has cornered the market on Shakyamuni’s teachings. There are many many Buddhists who have experienced life transformation without the SGI. There are also many non-Buddhists (for example… Gandhi and King!) who have achieved transformation. My transformation began with developing the courage to leave a time and money sucking organization that attempted to rule my thoughts, opinions and choices in life.

“Thank you! With My Deep Respect and Appreciation for these comments, people are stirring and I am not surprised, freedom at the same time is most empowering as well as can create fear-”

If you think the SGI is a basis for freedom, you should definitely have your delusions examined by another (non-SGI) psychologist. I’m sorry to be blunt, but sometimes one has to be cruel to be kind.

The sooner you walk away from the Dear Sensei Ikeda, the sooner you’ll be free. Just do it. I’m not San Sho Shima. My head hasn’t split into 7 pieces. :)

November 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm
(32) Mark Rogow says:

Dear Dr Nayhouse:

I wrote you a few weeks ago but you never responded. I will use this opportunity to address your points. You wrote:

Luisa:

Barbara, All these negative remarks about President Ikeda are off the mark. They are fear based and inaccurate.

Mark:

Is the SGI fearful? That would be the only way any of these comments could be construed as fear based.
All those who have been courageous enough to come here and voice their opposition to SGI and Daisaku Ikeda have amassed hundreds of life-years within the SGI. Most, if not all, are accomplished individuals in their own right who are stake their reputations on accuracy and truthfullness. Are we to ignore the perspectives of those whose livelihoods are not based on promoting the SGI, while accepting the perspectives of Bill Aiken, Ian McIlraith, and yourself [as Editor of the World Tribune], all paid functionaries of the SGI?

Luisa:

As a Soka Gakai Buddhist and psychotherapist SGI Buddhism does not confuse Buddhism and Psychology.

Mark:

Yet, in the same breath you introduced the concept of “fear based.” Perhaps you do indeed confuse Buddhism and Psychology.

Luisa:

President Ikeda is honored per se by members because he sees us and we see us as no lesser capacity than he or Nichiren Daishonin or Shakyamuni Buddha.

Mark:

You have gone from bad to worse, rrom equating Ikeda with King and Ghandi to equating Ikeda with Nichiren Daishonin and Shakyamuni Buddha. Your veiled attempt to include “us members” is as transparent as fine crystal. The reality of the SGI faith and practice is that Daisaku Ikeda is higher than Nichiren Daishonin and Shakyamuni Buddha and the members station as Bodhisattvas of the Earth in their own right is, at best an afterthought.

Luisa:

We are hence no lesser than and of no less capacity I say.

Mark:

It is not what you say, it is what you do. You pay lip service to the Bodhisattvas from Under Ground but you treat them as second class Bodhisattvas. The SGI practice of “personal guidance” is once such manifestation of the way you treat others with contempt.

Luisa:

The proof is that one by one each of us are in fact transforming our lives home, work and environments slowly but surely and are trully becoming happy individuals.

Mark:

The fact is that most SGI members are a minefield of broken dreams. They, in general [except for a chosen few such as Greg Wolport, Herbie Hancock, Vanissa Shaw, Orlando Bloom, for example]. are too busy doing Gakkai activities to really develop themselves and unlock their potential as a human being. They do the grunt work while the leaders such as Nagashima, Aiken, and McIlraith draw exorbitant salaries as Bodhisattvas for hire.

Luisa:

Ultimately this is the purpose to attain fulfillement create value that is what Soka means create value.

Mark:

The purpose of Buddhism is to attain Buddhahood. The only value of the Soka Gakkai is Namu Myoho renge kyo but the Law has been submerged under so many extraneous and un-Buddhist practices and doctrines, the Law can hardly reveal itself in the lives of the members. The results of the members are not only attenuated but inferior to those of the non-Buddhists, let alone those true Votaries of the Lotus Sutra who actually practice the Lw of Namu Myoho renge kyo in the same mold as Nichiren Daishonin.

Luisa:

I am sure by reading these comments above that none of these individuals who have commented negatively about the SGI or President Ikeda have ever spent a moment in reading about the history of our movement nor have they read any of President Ikeda’s writings.

Mark:

I think I could safely say, I have studied and committed to memory more of his guidance and poems than ninety percent of the active membership and I continue to study his works to refute them from the standpoint of the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. Those others commenting here too seem to have a similar experience. I hope they all continue to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo until the last moment of their lives and to offer their perspectives on the Soka Gakkai’s “value creation” philosophy.

Luisa:

That we can and will and do overcome the four sufferings in life as described by Shakyamuni Buddha to attain absoulute happines is proof enough and will continue to be.

Mark:

Through the SGI interpretation, faith, and practice of the Supreme Law of Shakyamuni Buddha, one can not even cross a moat a few feet wide. Who would believe that practicing the SGI teachings that one could cross the great sea of suffering and arrive at the other shore?

November 7, 2009 at 10:14 pm
(33) Ian says:

Well, this is getting close to an insult contest.
Mark, if you would like to conduct a dialogue based on mutual respect, I will be glad to take issue with the points you raised here.
I have no inclination to bother if all you want to do is denigrate those who don’t happen to agree with you.
The choice is yours.

November 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm
(34) Mark Rogow says:

Dear Ian:

Let us first talk about insults Ian:

“Members of the Minobu school of the Nichiren sect chant daimoku. They have the Gosho. Their recitation of the sutra also includes the Hoben and Juryo chapters. And, in the Shoshinkai, which consists of ex-priests of Nichiren Shoshu , the portions of the sutra they recite and the daimoku they chant are identical to the practice we observe. Though their religion may seem the same as ours, they lack the single, unbroken heritage of the law received directly from Nichiren Daishonin. If one’s faith is not based on this line of inheritance it is worthless to embrace any Gohonzon, for no benefit will be forthcoming. That is to say, “Without the lifeblood of faith, it would be useless to embrace the Lotus Sutra.” — Ikeda

Now, if you wish to debate the validity of our respective Objects of Worship, faith, and practice, let it be before judges and two video hookups. How bout as one of your Rock the Era events, before thousands of Youth Division?

Mark

November 8, 2009 at 9:37 pm
(35) Ian says:

What is the error in that?

What does it have to with insults to other other participants in this discussion?

November 8, 2009 at 9:57 pm
(36) Mark Rogow says:

Dear Ian:

I can’t help you if you don’t see the error in, “it is worthless to embrace any Gohonzon”, as the lifeblood of faith is directly Through the Scrolls of the Sutra.

As far as personal insults here, the only one I see is,

“I am sure by reading these comments above that none of these individuals who have commented negatively about the SGI or President Ikeda have ever spent a moment in reading about the history of our movement nor have they read any of President Ikeda’s writings.”

Mark

November 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm
(37) Ian says:

What are the Scrolls of the Sutra?
The scrolls of the Lotus Sutra? Who ever said such a thing?
The Gohonzon? No, the lifeblood is not inherited through the Gohonzon.

November 9, 2009 at 1:40 am
(38) Mark Rogow says:

Dear Ian:

Both the Twenty Eight Chapter Lotus Sutra and Gohonzon are the scrolls of the Lotus Sutra and more generally, the writings of the Supreme Votary.

The Lotus Sutra has one hundred and seventy seven references to “This Sutra” [that which can save all the living] and Nichiren Daishonin has this to say, “What I call the Heritage of the Great Thing Concerning Life and Death is nothing else than the Scripture, the Lotus of the Perfect Truth.”

The heritage is passed unbroken from the Buddha to each us through the Sutra itself. Myoho renge kyo is passed from the Buddha to each of through the scrolls of the Sutra or was Myoho renge kyo the invention of the Soka Gakkai and Daisaku Ikeda?

November 9, 2009 at 8:19 am
(39) Ian says:

The Gohonzon is not the Lotus Sutra. The Gohonzon is the embodiment of ichinen sanzen, the essential principle of the Lotus Sutra, elucidated by T’ien T’ai. Nichiren Daishonin stated “I inscribe my life in sumi [ink] so that you may believe with your whole heart.
The Gosho is not the Lotus Sutra. It is the writings of the True Buddha.

Many sutras contain passages such as “This is the king of all sutras” or “This is the highest sutra.” At the time they were preached, they probably were, in relation to the sutras taught before them. They are all provisional teachings, preached in preparation to cultivate understanding before the revelation of the ultimate truth. Only the Lotus Sutra contains the passage This is the highest of all sutras that have been preached, are being preached now, and will be preached.” The Muryogi Sutra states “The truth is yet to be revealed.” The Lotus Sutra states, “The Thus Come one has long expounded his teachings and now must reveal the truth.” Before Nichiren Daishonin, the Lotus Sutra was the heritage of the Law. In relation to Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and the Gohonzon, even the Lotus Sutra is a provisional teaching, a blueprint for the Law to be revealed by Nichiren Daishonin.

“The heritage is passed unbroken from the Buddha to each us through the Sutra itself.”
No. The heritage of Buddhism was transmitted from Shakyamuni Buddha to Mahakashyapa, and the lineage continued through twenty four successors. After that, Buddhism fell into decline in India, and was almost entirely wiped out by the Muslim conquest.
After Buddhism took root and flourished in China, the eight sects were established, and only the Hokke Sect maintained the superiority of the Lotus Sutra. There was no longer an unbroken lineage, and each sect declared itself superior to the others. Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching was transmitted to Nikko Shonin, who alone carried the heritage of the Law. Now that the Fuji School has itself become corrupted, the true lineage is once again a matter of controversy.

November 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm
(40) Barbara O'Brien says:

Ian, thank you very much for your explanation. I’d like to discourage further comments now, because this is devolving into a lot of old squabbles that I would rather people took elsewhere. I apologize to people whose comments were deleted, but as I said, take it elsewhere.

I only want to add (for anyone lurking who had no idea what we’re talking about) this argument is one taking place entirely within the Nichiren school of Buddhism.

November 9, 2009 at 1:29 pm
(41) David says:

Since this discussion seems to be continuing, let me point out a few important facts. Nichiren Buddhism is based almost entirely upon bad history and myth. There is no evidence to support the notion that the historical Buddha taught any of the Mahayana sutras, let alone the Lotus Sutra. Across the board, modern scholars agree that the LS and other Mahayana sutras were composed by Buddhists many centuries after the historical Buddha’s passing. This fact does not negate the worth of the sutras, but rather puts them in proper perspective.

The timeline for when the Buddha supposedly taught the Mahayana sutras is completely phony. It is based largely on a concept called the Eight Teachings by Chih-I (T’ien-t’ai). However, modern scholarship has revealed that Chih-I never taught this and was not attributed to him under several centuries after his passing. There is no documentary evidence whatsoever to support the idea that some sutras are “provisional” and therefore lacking in truth or value.

The SGI and Nichiren Shoshu hold that the historical Buddha lived about 3000 years ago. However even the SGI’s Mr. Ikeda has admitted in his writings that this is unlikely. Most scholars put the historical Buddha at about 2500 BCE. This is significant because it destroys a major assertion concerning the Latter Day of the Law, “a time period supposed to begin 2,000 years after Sakyamuni Buddha’s passing and last for “10,000 years”, which according to our modern understanding would not have commenced until around 1500 CE.

Thus, Nichiren (1222-1282 CE) could not be the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, because he did not live in the Latter Day of the Law.

The whole concept of Mappo, the Latter Day of the Law, is a myth, and one that was not widely spread until the 5th century CE in China. Although there is a vague reference to such a time period in the Lotus Sutra, the keyword is vague.

The idea that one Buddhist sutra or that one teaching or mode of practice is superior to all other is preposterous. This kind of thinking is not part of the future of Buddhism in the West. Those who wish to stand on this sort of dogma and perpetuate these myths are, if you will pardon the expression, the real “slanderers of Dharma,” because what they are really doing is leading people away from the truth.

January 17, 2010 at 10:12 pm
(42) Heber Helfer says:

I agree with you, absolutely.

March 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm
(43) makashikan says:

In response to 40 (David) – For the sake of the Buddha Way
in immeasurable numbers of lands
from the beginning until now
I have preached many sutras,
and among them
this sutra is foremost.
If one can uphold this,
he will be upholding the Buddha’s body.

Shakyamuni
Emergence of the Treasure Tower
Lotus Sutra, Chap. 11, pages 180.

August 2, 2010 at 11:53 pm
(44) Gen says:

I was born into the practice of SGI and from the first moment of my life I have never been asked to give money, or forced into worship of any kind.

There is thanks given to all of the three presidents, Makaguchi, Toda and Ikea for helping spread the availability of Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings, and enduring hardships in Japan for their beliefs.

As I understand the practice, chanting allows you to actively engage your intentions and desires through meditation and empower yourself and attract positivity in your life. Through the mentor-disciple process, one of the oldest institutions of learning, we gain knowledge and encouragement, not undue praise or idolization. I have respect for Ikeda’s efforts to the practice and propagating his dream of world peace, but I have no elevated love for him beyond that that I have for every person on this earth.

August 25, 2010 at 11:01 pm
(45) stevehockey says:

I was an active SGI members for 15 years. My young brother & sisters were 20 years. But we all quit SGI. We were told that , with strong faith and dedicated long hour chanting, we could overcome our karma. I tell you all, I was a telecom engineer and been lay off for 10 years and ever get back a better job. I did chanting & chanting, attending meeting and work for cultural centre but my life has been improved. Moreover, my wife always mocked at my faith with the SGI and our relation become up and down. By such, i question myself what’s wrong with myself and religion and I start to look around with other religion and I found the true buddism is not like that. so, i quit SGI and the senior member keep contacting me to get me back to the meeting. Now, i am living well and i have my goal to achieve and I never inspire that I will create new value and promote myself to the state of budda (ten worlds) and this is really ridicular. I study buddism book from Pure land and Zen. I learn a lot from them and obtain peace of mind and also confidence.

Moreover, my young sister divorced and lived on her own. My younger brother who was an owner of watch factory in China went bankruptcy and get divorced with his wife. His son died at 21 years all in a sudden in 2 years ago. Now both of them quit SGI and study pure land buddism. All I am trying to say, buddism is an profound knowledge that requires us to learn day by day and not just attending meeting, study the writing of Ikeda, reading world tribune and new century would achieve enlightenment. Never, it is a fake dream. Be realistic and wake up for all SGI friends, I stand up now here to tell you all, Wake up. Dont waste time . Stand on you feet and learn true buddism. There is no shortcut. Nichiren was only a Japanese Monk but he is not a budda. there is no proof that he is a budda although he claimed he is. My SGI friends, you dont have to believe me. Just open your eyes,try to read some other buddism books and see other buddism, like pure land then you will compare who is good and who is right.

Namo Amita Budda.

September 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm
(46) Kouseiko says:

Ikeda. A man of extreme controversy. I have viewed many of his very impressive speeches, and indeed almost got to meet him in person during the 1970′s!

I agree with many of the lofty ideals he has to offer (especially that of World Citizenship). HOWEVER, that being said, ther has been much in the way of negative publicity as well. A “cultish meglomaniac”. Guilty of criminal activity. Aligned with the NKP (New Koumeitou party). One who acts like a Head of State, surrounded with tonnes of YMD as bodyguards (I had thought that Daibontenno, Taishakutenno, Dainittenno, Daigattenno, Daimyojotenno, et all of the Shoten Zenjin that is supposed to protect those who indeed embrace the Lotus Sutra)! Instead, he (Ikeda) has to have an enterage of YMD to keep him apart from the very members of his own organisation, the SGI! So I really can’t fairly judge the man. I simply do not know.

I am going to Japan myself within the next couple of years. I am going to do my best (gambaru) to meet this man. IF indeed he is all that he claims to be, a representative of Nichiren and a “votary” of the Lotus Sutra, then as Nichiren surely would do, would absolutely GO OUT OF HIS WAY as to welcome and receive those who seek to meet him! So… it stands with me thus. either I meet the man and receive a DIRECT positive impression, or simply FORGET IT!

If indeed I get the usual corporate (or cultish) standoff or brushoff, “He is at a meeting right now and can’t be seen” or “No! The individual members cannot get access to meeting him personally, only world dignitaries and celebrities he meets with” (or the like), or ANY excuse whatsoever, then I shall NEVER join the Soka Gakkai, as that would reflect profound hypocracy on his and the Gakkai’s part.

September 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm
(47) NewShariputra says:

Con’t from above…

Thus again, I meet him and “dialogue” with him in Japanese, of course, or NO Sokka Gakkai for me! I shall go to Risho Kosseikai, or some other Nichiren Sect as indeed there are at least 37 other Nichiren Sects to go to! It is a simple as that! (See, I must get my PERSONAL DIRECT impression — person to person contact dialogue for myself, — not from some proxy hierachial “ladder” or chain of command)!

New Shariputra (Kouseiko)

September 25, 2010 at 4:46 pm
(48) naheed says:

Sensei Ikeda is an exceptional mentor. He has never wanted the Soka Gakkai members to worship him. on the contrary he tells us that by going through our own human revolution we can become like him…even surpass him! Blue deeper than indigo….this line from the writings of Nicherin Daishonin is oft quoted. It means that when dyed in indigo a cloth becomes brighter blue than indigo itself. very few teachers show this genorosity and compassion as Daisaku Ikeda does. He says that a mentor is like a needle and disciple a thread…after sowing the cloth the needle is no longer needed …it is the threads that holds it together. Through his tireless efforts Daisaku Ikeda has laid the foundations of what is truly the world religion based on the Buddha’s qualities of courage compassion and wisdom.
As far as the other two personalities ate concerned through out the exhibition it is never conveyed that Ikeda is equal to Gandhi and King Junior. It is repeatedly mentioned that he EMBODIES their principles and makes them workable and tangible in today’s troubled times

September 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm
(49) Barbara O'Brien says:

As far as the other two personalities ate concerned through out the exhibition it is never conveyed that Ikeda is equal to Gandhi and King Junior.

Ikeda sounds like a great spiritual master, until you compare him to the other spiritual masters. A genuine master would not allow the exhibit to be shown, nor would he have people buy him “honorary” degrees, or have parks and streets named after him. A real teacher is one you work with personally, and who knows you personally. Otherwise, he’s just someone whose (possibly ghostwritten) books you have read.

September 29, 2010 at 3:38 am
(50) cris says:

“I assume Dr. Carter has met President Ikeda and genuinely admires him.”

As it’s Dr Carter whole project could we not simply respect it? Why don’t you start your own exhibition and choose you would you like to see?I’m sure DIkeda would not mind at all! :) He is a person who touches people’s heart and gives them hope in this tough world we live in. D Ikeda has had one to one peace dialogues with leaders of countries during the cold war and was able to unify their common ideals. In his own quite but steady way DIkeda is promoting peace amongst our communities and encourages us of the SGI to do the same.
I’m not here to judge anyone you have mentioned although I do have my strong reservation on the Dalai Lama, what has he done to help Humanity? But still if you would like to see him in an exhibition why not? it’s a free world!I for one would like to see Marie Curie with the rest of the current gang…us women need a bit of deserved limelight too!! :)

September 29, 2010 at 3:49 am
(51) cris says:

Although this explains it better :
“The Gandhi/King/Ikeda exhibit is a nationally renowned exhibit extolling humanist virtues and its champions, organized by the Soka Gakkai International-USA. Though Gandhi, King and Ikeda each came from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, they have all shared a common vision. They have each, in their respective lifetimes, fought for non-violence, human rights and world peace: Mohandas K. Gandhi led the campaign against the colonial rule of the British Empire, Martin Luther King fought against the injustices and prejudice built against people of color in America, and Daisaku Ikeda encourages millions of civilians in the world to live a life of dignity and to work for world peace.”

It’s for those who helped promote human rights and world peace!!That’s why D Ikeda was chosen!

September 29, 2010 at 6:14 am
(52) Barbara O'Brien says:

It’s for those who helped promote human rights and world peace!!That’s why D Ikeda was chosen!

So far, no one has been able to explain exactly what Ikeda does to promote world peace that puts him in the same company as Gandhi and King. The exhibit is absurd on its face, as is the belief that Ikeda was “chosen.” The exhibit obviously was created primarily as a vehicle to publicize Ikeda. And may I also say that I continue to be saddened by the cult of personality that surrounds Ikeda. It cheapens the entire SGI organization and makes what could be a more purely beneficial organization into Ikeda’s personal self-promotion machine.

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