I think I was a Buddhist long before I started any kind of more directed study or practice. I have been involved with the SGI.

At first, I gained great comfort and value in chanting with other believers. I was very wary of becoming involved in anything which could be considered a cult.

I did value that the SGI was not beholding to the politics or control of the Priests. Mostly, though I stuck with the study of the Gosha and principles behind Nichiren Daishonen Buddhism. In this aspect of practice I found my connection.

In time the issues of being part of the SGI made me too leary and I could not continue, whenever an organization is so completely directed towards the writing and mission of a single person (President Ikeda) and/or his tight group of leaders. I became more suspect in how I was persued as I dropped out, and told that I must chant so long everyday and come to meetings and no other depth to practice…with study groups being more focused, it seemed in the writings of Ikeda.

I want to practice this Buddhism. I do not want to be part, or at least not as my only means of supporting and participating in community. However, now I have a belief and nobody to share it with or to study or be guided. I am of course now leary of the Nichiren Shoshu because of the terrible stories of corruption and pettiness behind the rift between the Temple priests and the SGI which needs to temper the importance and demi-god like image of President Ikeda and his wife. I don’t agree with the austerity or Zen practices which are more abundantly accessible to seeking believers. I want to stay within the Mahayana and Nichiren school and related writings from the Gosho and the Lotus Sutra. I am open hearted though and feel I should be able to find a group of other Buddhists with whom I can socialize, practice and study. I need to find this to grow. Finding this e-zine on the internet has been the most promising resource thus far. I am open to more discussion and advice.

Thank you for developing this forum and for your writings, please keep it up. I hope to find better answers to my situation.

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Nov 29, 2010

Thank you Kate

by: Anonymous

Hello and thank you! You are the first visitor’s post with a picture. It looks great and your dogs look so happy in the woods. I hope it’s not a recent picture though, because snow would be quite early. It’s still a late fall here in Japan and no sign of snow for another 2 months.

I hear you when you talk about your interrogations. I always try to stay away from organized religion, especially if this religion is an “exclusivist” one. If they say it’s us or nothing, I usually choose nothing. This having been said, I’m lucky to have a mentor to help and guide me on the path so I’m not alone.

I hope someone will suggest you something and give you a resource you can use in order to help you in your search for like-minded people.

If anyone does, please post it here.

Nov 29, 2010


by: Anonymous


First of all if you love the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin then don’t let anyone or anything get in the way. You can pursue this in the Temple, they are not the terrible people that you were taught in the SGI.

I have found that Nichiren Shoshu are the leaders in teaching the doctrine of Nichiren Daishonin and have the most translations and most teachings to explain this Buddhism to you. That’s why they have the “Treasure House” filled with what they call the 80,000 Buddhist teachings which are contained in manuscripts on the grounds of the Head Temple. And I have seen some of these ancient manuscrupts in person by attending the Omushibarai Ceremony one year in April when they air out the scrolls.

The Temple practice is to recite portions of the Lotus Sutra, to continually learn the doctrine and to teach others. And of course, when the obstacles arise, we face our lives and go forward.

Now, if you still cannot feel comfortable, there are other Japanese Buddhist groups that do practice the Lotus Sutra. The one single group that I would recommend is the Order of Nipponzan Myohoji, builders of the Peace Pagodas all over the world. They have some very distinct differences but you may like it. They invoke “hiki Daimoku” as in Nam-Mu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. They sit for 2 hours at a time when reciting prayers and more liturgy than recited by SGI / NST. They regard Shakyamuni as The Buddha. They regard Nichiren as St. Nichiren or Mahabosatsu Nichiren, not as the True Buddha. This group does fewer ceremonies, but more ceremonies or events outdoors including intercontinental peace walks and anti-war demonstrations.

I am a Tozan member of Nichiren Shoshu which means that I have visited the Head Temple Taisekiji and other Temples including Myokoji which is an ancient Temple that hosues the remains of Nichimoku Shohin; and the Hodo-In Temple (both in Tokyo) which has many offspring Temples because the membership grows and grows.

Yours truly,


Your good friend in Faith.

Nov 29, 2010


by: Dana

Myosetsu-ji Temple http://www.nstny.org

Please contact this Temple! Nichiren ShoShu is so welcoming to everybody. They will gladly give you information concerning the closest Temple to you! Also, members in your area. I hope to see you someday soon at Taiseki-ji with the Dai-Gohonzon. Tozan is truly a powerful experiences. The SGI never allowed me to go. But, now we can go on Tozan unlimited. So much Happiness!! Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Nov 29, 2010

Welcome to our Nichiren Sangha

by: Greetings Kate

Greetings from our Nichiren Retreat Garden & Peace Centre on Vancouver Island, BC Canada. We are a wonderful lay organization and invite you to visit www.penlan.com

Our Community Sangha has an OnLine Community that includes people in Poland, Mexico, Thailand, USA

as well as our small local community.

We send out the Sunday Buddha Blog and have an opportunity on FaceBook at Buddha Nature Now.

I will be happy to chant with you on Skype.

You are never alone, and the Lotus Sutra is a wonderful principle to follow in daily life.

Respectfully, Henry, Author, Teacher of the Buddha Dharma that includes Nichiren as Great Sage Messenger.

Nov 30, 2010

Your practice

by: Anonymous

Dear Kate,

I understand what you are feeling. You expressed yourself very well.

I’m sending my opinion with good intentions for you.

You are attached to the way you practice. Open your heart and take in all the teachings of the Buddha. You said the only way you can grow is through this particular practice. You can grow everytime you take a breath and breathe. I would suggest any books by Thich Nhat Hanh. Pick a small one. He talks about breathing in and breathing out and there’s nothing else to do.

Nov 30, 2010

A lotus for you, Kate

by: Lynn

Dear Kate,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It shows that no matter how beautiful the Dharma is, it is still a process to understand and that each person comes to it differently. It is also broad and varied. I’d recommend reading widely among different teachers, just to see what is out there. I follow Thich Nhat Hanh, but appreciate and use the teachings of Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama, and many others.

The Buddha did not ask us to believe blindly, but to weigh all we encounter with a clear mind and form our own opinions. His own words: “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

It is this sort of statement that drew me to Buddhism.

Good luck on your path!

Nov 30, 2010

In the Same Boat

by: Misty


I feel like I am in the exact same boat as you. This is what has worked for me. I still attend SGI meetings. I still chant. And I socialize and gain inspiration from other practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism. I would consider it my “main” practice. However, I will not let anyone suggest that my practice is not “correct” or that I will not receive any “benefit” if I don’t practice their way. I don’t think any person or group is perfect. The SGI has been the best fit I’ve found, but I also have many of the same objections to the group that you do. So, I read lots of books on other forms of Buddhism and incorporate what works for me into my practice. My husband is not Buddhist, but he is a great partner with whom I can share my faith, my ideas, my doubts. I have wonderful girlfriends – Catholics, Jews, Presbyterians, Hindus and athiests – all who I would consider part of my Sangha. I am happy, and I do my best to help others become happy. Whatever label someone wants to put on it is their business. Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope you know you aren’t the only one with those feelings. Sending you much love – Misty

Dec 01, 2010

Thank you to all who responded

by: Kate

I am so encouraged and inspired by having so many thoughtful responses to my current quandary regarding my love for Nichiren Daishonen Buddhism and luke warm feelings for my most available means of practicing in community, the SGI. On one hand, I owe the SGI for inspiring the person who was my first mentor who in turn introduced me to this practice of chanting and study.

I want to agree wholeheartedly that there are many inspired writers and teachers of Buddhism, many of whom I have read or listened to by various media; Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield and several others whose names I should but cannot remember tonight with my tired brain. I also study other philosophers and religious leaders such as Matthew Fox and Bishop (Episcopal) Spong. I was raised in the Episcopal tradition and still value that heritage. In fact, I have kidded with many that I consider myself an EpiscoBu!

I am so glad to have found this site and forum. I feel that I have many new friends. Thank you, truly. I need to probably get off my whining butt and make time, at least to chant some regularly and to do what I can. For a while now it has been all I can do to chant San Cho (sp?) periodically. It is hard to practice and study with so many hours and energy going towards work and chores! Realizing and hearing that I am not alone has already helped me. I will be reading this e-zine for certain and commenting more in the future.

Each reply has raised my hope and sense of mission to improve my situation now in ways that I can, using on line contacts, reading and chanting even if I am only fit it in briefly,at first in my morning ritual of getting ready to work. I think too, I will take 15 minutes of quiet meditation and some chanting in my head just before I clock in when I get to work.

Thanks so much for the new life and inspiration…a spark which I badly needed.

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and a warm greeting to all.

Dec 02, 2010

some books

by: Anonymous

Dear Kate,

I’m glad you’re searching for your true calling.

I recommend you read books called Something You Forgot Along the Way and You Were Born For a Reason. They have certainly changed my life for better.



Dec 02, 2010

Not to tight not to loose.

by: Jaime

Good Morning Kate,

All I can add is that Sakyamuni Buddha did not have a Sangha when he sat under the Bodhi tree to medidate. That came later. The Dharma is what he discovered first. No one can meditate the way you can. 🙂

Dec 02, 2010

Your way is the way

by: sandy

You know what you are in your heart.

I often read a blog called “the buddhist blog”. You may find it interesting that the owner is not an ordained buddhist yet he is highly respected in the buddhist circles.

To each its own way and it seems you have found yours.

Dec 04, 2010

I agree with Jaime

by: Myrna

Kate, thanks for your posting. I became interested in Buddhism several years ago when I went to a monastery in Carmel, NY. I felt so at peace up there that it became a place for me to recharge. I would never speak to anybody I would just come home with lots of books to read. They have Theravada and Mahayana literature and so that is where I learned the basics.

It wasn’t until January when I took a Buddhism class in school that I realized Nichiren Buddhism was the best fit for me. It just made sense to me. It still took several months for me to get the courage up to go to SGI. When I finally did I had a very negative experience with the people that greeted me.

A couple of weeks later at a local fair I happen to run into some SGI members and I started talking to them about my interest. The conversation was going okay until I told them I go to the monastery upstate. Before I could tell them why I go I was told “We are much better than they are. We are all about the lay person.” That is when I figured out SGI was not for me.

However, it does not mean that Nicheren Buddhism is not. The experiences led me to look for other venues for what I need, like this site. I still go to the monastery every chance I get to recharge and read all I can get my hands on. Eventually I may find my niche, or maybe not. But I know there are people out there like you I can talk to.

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