The SGI is a Destructive Cult by Definition:
1). Destructive cults actively recruit new members, often through deceptive “front” organizations. The SGI has the Boston Research Center, the Institute for Oriental Philosophy, and others where their affiliation to SGI is rarely if ever mentioned.
2). Destructive cults claim to offer absolute Truth. Their teachings are not (to them) mere theory or speculation. The most effective cult doctrines are those which are unverifiable and unevaluable. The SGI claims that their believers are the only Nichiren Lotus Sutra believers capable of obtaining Buddhahood, going so far to claim that all SGI members are Buddhas while those of the Nichiren Shu and Kempon Hokke are “deluded Shakyamuni worshippers”.
3). Destructive cults reduce everything to a bi-polar attitude: “for us, or against us.” Anyone who criticizes the SGI, no matter how wise, is a fool and anyone who praises the SGI, no matter how foolish, is wise. Daisaku Ikeda writes, for example: “Seven years have passed since then. The outcome of the struggle of good and evil and the workings of the law of cause and effect have been strict and uncompromising. The decline of the crazed and destructive Nichiren Shoshu is clearly apparent. The victims, unfortunately, are the lay believers who practice with the temple, who are not aware of Nichiren Shoshu’s evil and have been deceived by the priests.”
4). Destructive cults generate some kind of external “pet devil” with which to threaten their members if they should doubt, or fail, or ever leave the group. The SGI has dozens of “pet devils”. Those who leave will have misfortune on their jobs, in their families, in the social lives, have accidents, fall into hell, etc. President Toda stated: “If you keep this up, you’re going to come to a pitiful end in life.” and “Betraying the Soka Gakkai is betraying the Daishonin. In the end, they’ll receive the punishment of the Buddha, you’ll see.” Ikeda says, “To take action to fight against whatever forces appear as the enemies of the Soka Gakkai is our most noble mission.” Matilda Buck says, “How tragic it would be for even one person to have found the great means of bringing forth Buddhahood only to be diverted to another, seemingly similar, path that is incapable of leading that individual to his or her deepest happiness.” This is the gist of the Gakkai’s attempt to chain the members to the Gakkai way of life. The Biggest ”pet devil” is Nikken of the Nichiren Shoshu: “When Buddhism speaks of “devilish functions,” what does that really mean? These represent whatever tries to prevent us from advancing in our Buddhist practice. In a sense, they are frightened when we expand the Buddha?s forces, because the realm they want to control will then be changed into a pure land. In our case right now, this function is being manifested in the current high priest of Nichiren Shoshu.”
5). Destructive cults lead their members to believe they are somehow superior to all other humans on the earth. In many of Ikeda’s speeches we see how the SGI members are to view themselves: “Sons of the Gakkai”, “inheritors of Myoho”, “Lions of the Mystic Law”, “the sole group of true believers”, “Truly praiseworthy are you who resolve to work hard for kosen-rufu and the SGI. You are the most noble of all people.”
6). Destructive cults put the will of the group above the will of the individual. This is often reinforced with simplistic games or rituals of some type designed to make the individual subservient to the group. If you search, you will find such quotes from the eternal Soka Gakkai mentor, “the Soka Gakkai is more important than my life.” We also see the special Soka Gakkai holidays like May 3rd, day of mentor and disciple, and such slogans as, “reaffirming the prime point of the Soka Gakkai” We can see inordinate references to Soka Gakkai, SGI, and Ikeda in nearly every experience given by an SGI member. There used to be dress and hair (short) and beard (none) codes for the SGI Young Men’s Division and on Saturdays everyone had to dress in white pants and white tee-shirts.
7). Destructive cults teach that the end justifies the means. How they misuse upaya (expedient means) is a travesty. Flirtatious shakabuku by young women’s division, telling people they can get new cars and even drugs if the chant, teaching people that they will immediately become Buddhas if they join the SGI, and the list goes on and on how they utilize the ends justify the means philosophy of Machiavelli, the antithesis of the Buddha’s teachings.
8). Destructive cults teach strict obedience to superiors and encourage the development of behavior patterns that are similar to those of the leader. Is there any doubt why the Soka Gakkai is known throughout the ten directions as the Ikeda cult? Guidance division, never criticizing leaders, “follow no matter what”, this is so apparent to everyone but the brainwashed SGI member himself. Lately, the SGI has abandoned any subtle pretense with such overt youth division guidelines as, “Reveal your true identity as Shinichi Yamamoto” and “I want to be Shinichi Yamamoto”.
9). Destructive cults offer acceptance by the group for good performance, and conversely, withhold it for poor performance. Moving up the ladder from Jr Group Chief, to Group Chief, to District Chief, to Chapter Chief, to Area Chief, to Territory Chief, to Joint Territory Chief and so on. Busting people from their position or moving them at the leaders will.
10). In destructive cults, fear is a major motivator. Guilt is a close second, and shame is third. Only the cult leader is perfect, so everyone below is fearful that those above will find out their shortcomings. Cult members feel constantly guilty for having those real or imagined shortcomings, and are ashamed that they haven’t worked harder to get rid of them.
“Never talk about your problems to the members until they are resolved.” “Did you know that so and so got hit by a car and is paralyzed. He should have stayed with the Soka Gakkai.” “She turned in her SGI Gohonzon and lost her job and her house.” “He committed suicide not soon after joining the Nikken sect.”
11). Destructive cult members swing from emotional highs, to emotional lows regularly. Lows are not long tolerated, and result in more indoctrination, or even ejection from the group if they last too long.
“You have weak faith.” ‘You had better go for guidance if you want to quickly resolve that problem.” Rumors to stay away from depressed individuals. Not inviting less than enthusiastic members to certain meetings or not telling them about “important” meetings. Lectures about “emotionalism” unless the emotion is rapture. Every last former SGI cult member will attest to this.
12). Destructive cults tend to re-write their members’ past, manipulate their present, and distort their future. Disrupting time orientation is an honored technique of all such cults. Human Revolution, New Human Revolution, New New Human Revolution. Need I say more?
13). And, finally, there is never a legitimate reason for leaving a destructive cult. The only reason members leave a perfect system, is because they are imperfect in some respect, and will be punished for it. “He was angry.” “He was jealous.” He couldn’t get along with his leader.” “He had weak faith.” (even if he continues to chant three hours a day and does shakabuku with the Nichiren Shu or the Kempon Hokke). No matter which destructive cult you choose, the above 13 items will almost universally apply.