This story is written in Japanese originally. When I translated original story into English, I added some explanation and made some changes in the descriptions for understanding of readers outside Japan since I think Japanese circumstance of religious matter is much different from other countries.
This story is about my story.
This story is how I started Soka Gakkai and what happned to me after I started Soka Gakkai.
In other words, it can be the story of how Soka Gakkai Saved and Changed my life.
My name is Keisuke, a 30s Japanese man who happened to join Soka Gakkai not so long ago.
In these days, SoKa Gakkai is becoming more and more famous known as Sokka Gakkai International (SGI) all over the world.
Even Buddhism and Japanese Shinto are common in Japan, most Japanese people are not interested in religion. Moreover many Japanese people are doubt of religious matters even they celebrate Christmas and visit Shrines or Temples as popular events.
Soka Gakkai is most succeeded religion in Japan. However, it has over 8 million family unit members, many people still recognize that Soka Gakkai is one of new cult religions and it is suspicious religion.
I was a one of them. I thought Soka Gakkai was weird religion even I have some acquaintances who belong to it.
You may know some rumor about Soka Gakkai.
“Is Soka Gakkai a hideous organization?”
“I heard there are some good people..”
“There are a lot of bad rumors online, aren’t there?”
I hope I can answer such questions through my story on this blog.
Either you know the members of Soka Gakkai or not, I would appreciate it if you could take a look.
In this blog I call Soka Gakkai as SGI. Since SGI is more common name outside Japan.
I grew up in a rural town in Kansai area (West side of Japan).
*TOKYO is in Kanto area (East side of Japan). So, west side of Japan is more countryside than east side of Japan in general.
There was only one person devoted SGI member among my close relatives, and when I was a child, I was taken to something called “Roundtable Discussion (Zadankai)” without knowing it.
It is regular event which SGI members living in the area gather once a month to report on their current situation and share academic activities.
There were many good-natured grandmothers and some men members. They had small talk, and at the end, they all chanted, “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ”
It is written as “南無(Nam)-妙法(Myoho)-蓮華(Renge)-Kyo(経)” in Kanji letters. 南無(Nam) means “devote” and 妙法蓮華経(Myoho-Renge-Kyo) means the Lotus Sutra. So simply it means I devote myself to Lotus Sutra or I believe in Lotus Sutra. Still more, 南無(Nam)-妙法(Myoho)-蓮華(Renge)-Kyo(経) has more big and deep meaning in Buddism.
SGI web site explains it.
Before I went to bed, I said, “Namu Myohorenge-kyo ” and I was told that it would come true if I did a wish and then went to bed.
As a child, I felt this was the common sense of the world. I thought all temples and shrines would say “Namu Myohorenge-kyo”
However, when I reached puberty when I was in junior high school, when I started to have more friends, I realized that it was not the common sense of the world.
Among my relatives, only one of them was active member of SGI.
I noticed that many of my friends’ families are not “member of SGI”. (Of course, there was a house of a member of the society,)
So why did you hear the adults chanting such unfamiliar words as “Namu Myohorenge-kyo (the Lotus Sutra)”? I felt embarrassed, and then I started avoiding it.
Sometimes, members of SGI, such as grandma and aunt, invited me to a round-table discussion at my house entrance, but I refused, saying, “It’s none of my business.”
At that time, they said with gentle eyes, “YOU WILL FIND OUT SOMEDAY.” as if they had realized everything.
As a adolescent boy, on the contrary, I was not good at such attitude. I felt they were pompous.
Fortunately, I was not forced to take to a round-table discussion, so I didn’t get a bad impression and not become a “Anti-SGI”.
I just didn’t get involved actively.
Then Soka Gakkai became close and distant matter.
After that, I will live for more than 15 years without SGI matters.
How did I become an Arasar and become a member?
What happened to me after joining?
I would like to write such a thing on this blog.