Good people, good times, SGI.

I have gone to a few SGI (Soka Gakkai International) meetings and have participated twice in the World Peace Gongyo. As well, for a short spell, I chanted a morning Gongyo or two. The first thing you notice about SGIers is that they give off a New Age happy vibe, think cult happy. The second thing you will notice is the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This line is repeated endlessly and belongs in the school of Om and Christian Ceasless Prayer in that the idea is the chant itself is powerful and can be used as a positive force in your life. They also chant two sections of the Lotus Sutra, The Expedient Means (Chapter 2) which teaches that all can achieve enlightenment and The Life Span (Chapter 16) which teaches that life is eternal and that Buddha wishes all to attain enlightenment.

They chant and chant and chant and smile and shake your hand and make you feel very welcome. It is unnerving at first. At the World Peace Gongyoes (Its like a 45 minute non stop chanting marathon) I’ve attended, the crowd, though mostly Japanese, had members from all backgrounds (I am from Toronto, though there were something like 150 languages spoken) and there was zero in terms of sketchiness or negative vibes. Other than the boring announcements at the end, these Chanting Love Ins are great fun and I highly recommend them. I looked all over for some dirt on these people and found only high praise from the United Nations and many many other groups. I think they are the real deal in terms of motive. The current Leader has over a hundred honorary degrees from Universities all over the world. They are large proponents of nuclear disarmament and world peace.

The write up below expresses a far more negative view of SGI. I have had limited expirence with SGI so have no idea if it is a freaky cult. It was, however, a nice place for spiritual voyeurism.