i have expressed in other posts that my initial experience in buddhism was with the nichiren tradition. the soka gakkai international, to be exact. i know some other posters have had bad experiences with them, but honestly, i had a very good experience when i was with them. i do not consider myself part of them anymore for a few reasons (mainly, that i wanted to study a broader spectrum of buddhism), but i still consider myself very indebted to them as my introduction to buddhism.
a friend of mine from my old sangha recently contacted me. she had been forced to return to india to take care of her ill mother and has now just returned to the US. she has transferred to a different school and i have since moved, but she has contacted me through facebook to see how i am doing with everything and expressed that she wanted to talk over the phone.
it has been a while since we have last spoke, so i gave her an update and told her that i no longer considered myself affiliated with the SGI, but i was still very much into buddhist studies and told her my reasoning. basically, this is what nichiren did. it seems silly to me to ONLY read The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin or the writings of other nichiren buddhists, when this is not what the founder did at all. he read every sutra he could get his hands on. in his case, he did so and found The Lotus Sutra to be superior. in my case, i felt that it would be impossible for me to know if it was or not if i had not read the other sutras. i felt that i needed a broader base of knowledge than that. at least, that was my reasoning in the beginning...
her reply, was quite disappointing to me. she basically just said that she has learned that nothing brings greater happiness and victories than her practice and sensei's teachings (daisaku ikeda). she said that she would chant for me to soon experience this.
it reminded me of my experience with christian cults. their belief that there is only "one way" that is the "right way". their belief that through "prayer" they can affect your beliefs. i'm just not sure what to think at this point. this is someone whom i was very close to in our sangha. aside from regular meetings, we would meet weekly to discuss the dharma and have private study sessions. i attribute a lot of my knowledge and understanding to this person, perhaps, i just expected her to be happy for me.
so, what say you, good people of the forum? what would you do in my situation? i do not wish to return to the SGI and her comments have made me wonder about the intentions of the members from my old sangha that have contacted me. i used to think it was out of good will and a genuine caring for my well being, now i am wondering if it is just because i have "gone astray"... the SGI places a lot of importance on "shakubuku", that is, converting others. perhaps, in retrospect, i really shouldn't be so surprised... but i really am. it is disappointing to find someone who you used to consider a mentor, strengthening your resolve to leave their teachings.