Confession of a youth leader

I was informed, through telephone, three days before about the removal of my position in SGM. There was no prior discussion on this new arrangement. Nothing on my new role. A few days later, another telephone call. This time, my chief wanted to know my answer, whether I agree with the arrangement or not.

The feeling was very bad. All so sudden, and the feeling was one of not being appreciated and respected. Not even a ‘thank you’ for all these years. Is that how we do things in SGM? How we treat our leaders? An organisation supposedly treasure each and every person? Did the top leaders even practice what they preach?

During the telephone conversation, my Chief brought up three points.

You did not attend most of the committee meetings this year. If you don’t attend these meetings, then you are not together in heart with Sensei. 

The first thing that comes to my mind was, why is there accusation before even trying to find out why I was missing from these meetings? Are the meetings more important than the difficulties I may be undergoing?

Most meetings were held on weekends and each time, without exception, I am at my workplace, but I did with my members and have dialogue on weekdays. Isn’t that count as kosen-rufu activity also? Does attending all meeting constitute as being together with mentor’s heart? I find this interpretation overly simplistic.

Never have I read in any of Sensei’s writings that says attending all committee meetings constitute together in our hearts with Sensei. This sounds illogical. I also think it is not fair to judge me this way. We know very well what has been going on and the difficult period that we are in today. To use Sensei’s name in this way is not right.

The coming next two years will be crucial for kosen-rufu in Malaysia. I need a team that can work with me. Can you say with all your heart that you can work with me? 

When I read Sensei’s guidance and speeches, and I did read quite a lot, I understand that the ‘same mind’ in ‘many in body, one in mind’ means to have the same aspiration and desire for kosen-rufu like Nichiren Daishonin himself. This spirit is exemplify by the three founding presidents. You are just a chief in SGM. Hope you are not offended and it is not my intention to. But can you try to listen to yourself, and repeat what you just said?

You said you want someone who can work with you and to be in your team, this is the condition, right? You want me to be a team-player, another word a yes-man? I cannot agree to this. You want someone to support you in everything you say and pledge absolute loyalty to you. This does not sound right. We should only center our faith and mind in our mentor. You are not my mentor. And you shouldn’t be.

In the spirit of ‘many in body, one in mind’, Sensei taught us that we must respect differences. Transcend differences. Celebrate diversity. Treasure each person as a unique, irreplaceable and precious individual. And each person to manifest his unique ability towards the same goal. This is the meaning of ‘many in body, one in mind’. But you are promoting ‘One in body’. That we cannot have differences in opinion or contradict you in any way. You sounded like Hitler. To say such things as a Chief, I am really worried about the direction SGM is heading as a whole.

All these years as a leader in SGM, I have never thought of forming a ‘team’ for myself. It doesn’t sound right for me. My believe is that each person is unique and has his own mission. What’s important is whether our hearts are together with Sensei. This is my basic philosophy. No matter how much I dislike or disagree with a person, I will never want to move that person out. So long as our hearts are together with Sensei, that is sufficient for me. And I respect that person, even if I don’t like him very much.

As a central leader, can you promise that you will make the General Director and the Woman Division Chief as the center of kosen-rufu in Malaysia?

I have been ask this question several times in the past two years. Each time, my blood would boil. To me this is immature and stupid. It goes without saying that in Malaysia’s kosen-rufu, all top leaders must support and center around the General Director and the WD chief. This was repeated in Sensei’s message several times this year. Why do you keep asking me this?

What makes me angry is the fact that you are using this line to silence all form of alternative views and tough questions about the decisions SGM made recently. Treating those who disagree with the General Director as public enemy and stripped them of their positions through the powers that you gave yourselves in the ECC. Is raising questions and asking for clarifications also constitute not following GD and WD?

I am known to be vocal and always speak from the heart. Why I choose to speak out? Two reasons…

  1. My firm believe that SGM is a humanistic organisation and will always put the members’ happiness as the foremost priority. No matter what occur, SGM will always employ means that are humanistic and respect for each person eg. dialogue and listening to each person with an open heart.
  2. We are lead by our Soka’s father and mother and I always hear phrases like fostering the youth, listen to the youth, giving opportunity and space for youth to grow. When I encounter difficulties in Gakkai, I will readily share it with my Soka parents [ie. MD and WD]. This is the best solution, in my opinion. My fundamental assumption – even if I am wrong, they would be magnanimous in their hearts, encompassing, and guide me towards the right path.

Perhaps, I am mistaken. This is not how SGM works in reality. My assumptions were wrong for the past 20 years. The demolition of these core ideals saddens my deeply.

Since when has SGM become an organisation that the people exist for the sake of the organisation? Shouldn’t it be the other way round, the organisation exist for the sake of the people? Is it okay to speedily remove ‘problematic leaders’ in the name of for the good of the organisation?

This is what SGM is all about today. I feel very sorry and sad that we have come to this stage. Since I cannot agree with you(Chief) on the most fundamental points, it is best that I withdraw from your team and not be an obstacle to you. I wish you well. Stripping away all our positions and titles, you are still and always will be, my good friend and a Buddha. To do kosen-rufu we don’t need title. My heart and soul are always with Sensei and SGM’s members. If you need any help, anything at all, I am just one call away.

8 thoughts on “Confession of a youth leader

  1. From a reader…
    After reading the youth confession it brings back memory of my own unforgetable and unhappy phone call when Iwas a ywd honbu then. I was asked through telephone whether I want to be a group leader (Han) or a member after my marriage. It is like a Q&A session. I wanted to answer ‘member’ out of anger but I feel I cannot because having a mission will keep my faith going and be close to Sensei. SGM is my home which I cannot leave no matter what. The following words in the blog is exactly how I felt then.

    “The feeling was very bad. All so sudden, and the feeling was one of not being appreciated and respected. Not even a ‘thank you’ for all these years. Is that how we do things in SGM? How we treat our leaders? An organisation supposedly treasure each and every person? Did the top leaders even practice what they preach?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i agree with what u said , if u dont follow what they said they will just kick u out. they think they have power n do what they want without meeting or through conversation.nowaday SGM was not as 20 years before, i was very disappointed n sad.


  3. Learn from other SGI organization in the world. Structure: Bottoms up, NOT top down. Leaders should have rotating systems to retain its freshness and vibrancy.
    Staying too long in a position does not bring any good to an organisation.
    What matters mist is the heart!


  4. To be fair, not everyone was being treated this way, only the very top position. At local levels and front line leaders, appointments are always adhered to SGM formal process of nomination and discussion. If you miss the deadline for submission, sorry. No leniency whatsoever. Come back next round. Peculiar thing is, why SGM do not follow the standard process and procedure in appointing and removing/retiring top leaders. I remember, even if a leader were to become a member, we also home visit and present a certificate of appreciation in the past. Seems like now the top guns are more concerned about getting rid of dissenters and forming their own team. This is what people do when they can’t win others through sound reasoning.


  5. In the corporate world, its call consolidation of power. Consolidation of power is crucial for a person or a group person to keep staying in power, so that they enjoy the privileges that comes with it.

    In the process, they will have their cronies to ensure decisions are made speedily and without question. Isn’t it obvious?

    So, humanistic organization? maybe not at the senior level, but I do see it at the lower levels and level of the members.


  6. Fame, respect and status are temporary things.

    When you have obtained them, the next step is to maintain them. People with substance will find it easy to maintain them. People without substance will use dirty tactics to help maintain them.

    In the gosho “…the heart is most important.” is what best describe the kind of intention that we want to have and the kind of action that we will take. So, actions and words will always show the intentions of the heart, no matter how much you try to mask it.

    Also, karma’s a bitch….never know when she’s gonna do one on you.


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