14 November – SGM issued a memo to all leaders, informing about the establishment of NBA KL and proceed to label the NBA as anti-Gakkai. While it is within the rights of SGM to point out the names of the leaders who chose to set up a new organisation, thereby taking that as a sign of their leaving SGM, it was not right to label them anti-Gakkai.
Freedom of religion is within the rights of every citizen of Malaysia. If I decide to embrace Christianity, am I anti-Gakkai? What if I embrace another Buddhist sect? Conversely, if I am obedient and follow all the instructions of Gakkai, going with the flow, singing the same tune, and so I am pro-Gakkai?
In the US, when people start to fear Muslims due to the terror attacks, people start having Islamophobia, President Trump being the biggest champion of this. Does that mean we should start to fear members of NBA as though it’s NBA-phobia?
Point is, it’s silly to start labelling people as anti-something just because people decided to leave your organisation and start practicing on their own.
And it is insulting to label these people, who was once our friends and fellow comrades, who was once dedicated and committed to the cause of kosen-rufu, who once committed their whole life and time into working for propagating of Buddhism – it’s outright damning to stick a label on their face without thinking about their contribution and sacrifices in the past. Where is the compassion and respect that was taught by Nichiren Daishonin? And, what have they done wrong? They questioned the actions of GD and the ECC? They asked for transparency and accountability to be established within Gakkai. They asked for termination of TKH who has clearly lost trust among the members.
There may be two reasons for using such label as anti-Gakkai.
First is protection. The top SGM leaders wanted to draw a clear lines between friends and enemies. By doing so, the SGM members will immediately perceive these individuals as having evil intention. the word anti-Gakkai conjures up images of Nikken Sect, ex-communication, withholding of Gohonzon and greedy priests living luxurious lifestyle. Perhaps, this is their intention. Of course, this is done out of their concern for our members who are soft-hearted and easily sympathised with the NBA movement.
This reaction seems to stem from the experience of Nichiren Shoshu ex-communication through Operation C by Nikken in 1990. Back then, a clear line was drawn, like now, and safeguarding our members against the Nikken Sect was first priority. Nikken Sect is labelled as anti-Gakkai because they:
- Ex-communicated the Soka Gakkai members, more than ten millions worldwide
- Refused to confer Gohonzon to Gakkai
- Hijacked the Dai-Gohonzon and disallowed any Gakkai member to visit the Head Temple for their pilgrimage (Tozan). Gohonzon and Tozan were used as ransom to threaten Gakkai members
- Did not returned any of over 300 new temples contributed by Gakkai members, not to mention numerous renovations of temples
- Operation C is intended to destroy the Soka Gakkai
It’s fair to label the Nikken Sect as anti-Gakkai. Now, let’s look at the NBA. What they have done are listed below. Did these qualify them as anti-Gakkai?
- Send mass emails to SGM leaders to demand for transparency, good governance and investigation into financial matters
- Protest through demonstration during the SEATC ground-breaking ceremony
- Send emails to broadcast their plea and requests to overseas SGI organisations
- Request for open hearing to resolve the matter
- When all else failed, and their leaders were terminated, they founded NBA
Are these sufficient to label them as anti-Gakkai? You be the judge.
The second reason, one more malicious, is that the top leaders of SGM is impatient to assert their righteousness, and paint an evil picture of the NBA. If this NBA movement continue to explain and to point out the wrongs of SGM top leaders, they may eventually expose more and more embarrassing details and wrongs than the top leaders wanted to admit. Thus, this NBA phenomenon must be killed immediately by putting the label of anti-Gakkai. Poison the well so that whatever the NBA people say will be immediately be neutralise as anti-Gakkai.
Unfortunately, many leaders in SGM agree with the top leaders to use the label of anti-Gakkai. It’s true. Those who think otherwise is the minority. To the majority of SGM leaders, the establishment of NBA is wrong. Period. And no further discussion…