Finding group practice unfulfilling - help this is not a good gakkai attitude

I am going to honest, though it is embarassing: but the truth is I don't want to connect with the leaders of the area I have moved to. I have tried, I find them cold, non-interested, talking at me instead of to me and feel like a student who is not giving them the answers they want from me. The meetings for me are a place to go and be polite and return, feeling disheartened. Talking about it is dubbed 'criticism and slander'. So at this point I am withdrawing from all future interaction with gakkai here (feel the need to protect myself) and chanting about it. I have tried dialogue, but it hasn't worked for me.

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Comment by monica on December 20, 2008 at 1:52pm
oh wow,i don't know that guidance...the one called "why are we leaders"..is it possible to have it,please?thank you!!
Comment by Saashi on December 17, 2008 at 2:13am
Dear Elizabeth, thank you.
Comment by Elizabeth Clark on December 17, 2008 at 1:42am
If you are a person of warmth you arrived where you did to bring it to the other members. I always tell members if they are not happy with the organization as it exists in their area to be part of the change...not part of the problem. As you reach out with the intention of helping others who also probably notice a lack of warmth in their area, it is important not to complain and cause further divisions among the members but lead by example. Instead of looking at the lacks in others try to think of ways you can help change the situation. I know I like you was very fortunate to have caring leaders in the very beginning of my practice. Over the years as I have been involved in groups which were not like that I have had to carry those wonderful beginnings forward with me and show how it can be. It is your great benefit to have this opportunity and to do so is an expression of your deep gratitude for those early leaders.
Comment by Saashi on December 12, 2008 at 10:27am
A Biigg Thank You Shalini, Dan, Cindy :). Hey I'm doing self-questioning actually as part of one of my 2009 goals [toward greater] 'inner change' [change my inner self talk for one], but that's how personal it gets, no more [now that I am partly connected :)]. My needs are being met. But its also eerie because Cindy's actually said what I think! and am doing! [including chanting with WDs not in my group simply because we connect, and discussing transcriptions from Linda Johnson's meeting talks that I have downloaded off the net. And the newest of those is 'Listening with the Eyes of the Buddha'! I too feel daimoku is a 'process' in itself, it sets stuff off. A load of thanks to you all for having the kindness and heart to share and guide. I truly think this is a value creation site.
Comment by Cindy Woodland on December 11, 2008 at 4:28pm
Hi Saashi,

I know different members who have experienced this at one time or another in their practice, including myself and each of us deals with it differently. The bottom line that I discovered for myself was that no matter what, I had to protect my faith, and for me, the best thing was to withdraw for a while, but I did not withdraw in faith. In fact it made me practice even more intensely. I chanted as much as possible, studied and kept in contact with those members whose support I genuinely felt. When I finally worked it through, I emerged a much more confident and outspoken person than I was before. I no longer doubt myself when I see/hear things that aren't ok, because the bottom line is that we must treat each other with compassion and respect and if we see something otherwise, we cannot just accept it. For me however, I had to learn to do it with greater calm and compassion, rather than with anger and judgement. I really had to learn to just trust my daimoku and what emerged after I chanted, especially since my desire for kosen rufu was so intense. You don't have to despair or doubt over this. I just focused on Sensei's guidance, the guidance of others such as Linda Johnson and the Gosho, and I chanted my heart out until I felt better. So, don't beat yourself up over this, just trust yourself and your daimoku, and everything will unfold as it has to, according to your unique karma.

If you read Linda Johnson's guidance, particularly "Listening with the Eyes of the Buddha" or "Why are we Leaders?" she talks about recognizing that every human being struggles with their fundamental darkness at any given moment. I read these two guidances repeatedly since they helped me so much with this. Her guidance helped me overcome the belief that I was a 'bad buddhist' because I was struggling the way I was. Her guidance is so warm and embracing so I hope you'll get the chance to read it Saachi if you haven't already.

Cindy
Comment by Dan on December 11, 2008 at 6:17am
Statistics? That's pretty funny actually. Respectfully tell your friend or any senior leader that your practice and happiness is more important than being someone's statistic problem. And if your former district chief is upset about that 'statistic drop', that's their problem not YOURS. So stop taking it personally what anybody thinks about where you are going to attend meetings. Remember what Nichiren said about not being affected by 'praise' or 'censure':

The Eight Winds

Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds. But if you nurse an unreasonable grudge against your lord, they will not protect you, not for all your prayers.
Comment by Saashi on December 9, 2008 at 9:47am
Well I joined the new group today and enjoyed a very warm and interesting study toward the upcoming Zadenkai. However, I have been gently requested by my friend not to be there openly on Zadenkais and Goshos because a leader senior to her said my former district chief gets upset if her district statistics go to anyone else. I have a chance to participate and practice and I will, so let the stats be safe I won;t attend the gosho and the zadenkai, but I think all this running after numbers is going to truly harm the bigger picture.
Comment by shalini on December 8, 2008 at 12:31pm
what you said about meetings: “each meeting is a turning point in changing karma”... I couldn't agree more...
Comment by shalini on December 8, 2008 at 12:30pm
Hey Saashi,
I hope it’s alright if I say something to what you've shared with us! I am not very clear on which city you live in. But, wherever it is that you live, whichever part of the world, I feel, (and I've experienced this in my own practice) we are people in the end. We are different. We are the same! At times, we are sensitive and considerate, at times not. At times we lose sight of the larger picture. We forget, why, in the first place, we are in the practice. And to deconstruct it further, this is where such disturbing/ cold/ office worker type attitudes stem. That said, it does not mean what you feel (about peoples' attitudes) is not real.
The other thing is the way we feel about people (any people) has to do with our karma. This brings me to the Buddhist apology I shared recently. I’ve observed that whenever I chant keeping that in mind, I come away most contented and positive.
We all have our individual journeys in this faith even though we are traveling on the same path. What each of us gets out of it is unique. For some it’s a study tick, song tick routine, for some it’s about reaching out to each other. Your reasons for going to a meeting, participating in an activity are entirely yours.
And in the end, the ultimate aim of the practice is happiness! Do whatever makes you feel free; Whatever brings you back to the ‘happy’ side of it.
Comment by Saashi on December 6, 2008 at 10:43pm
Thanks Dan, i have started chanting about this. I need to see what is my stuff here and what is out there. But then eso funi teaches us its all within. On the other hand Sensei does speak about speaking up 'and using the voice to do the Buddha's work.....but if the cause lies all within...? Much confusion as you can see. So its back to daimoku. The WD issue in this city is pretty deep in the area where I am at, a lot of women are trying to 'adjust' and speaking up about their difficluties among friends. The WD operation seems all about setting and meeting item-agendas: study tick, song tick, zadenkai attendance tick, smsd all wd about meeting tick, but there is NO loving warmth in anything.U meet to 'DO' the activity, THERE is no joy, no reaching out. I am spoilt by the loving joyful practice I have seen in my hometown of Delhi with the deep encouragement to attend each meeting because 'each meeting is a turning point in changing karma'. I have gone thru some difficult days here and feel I am expecting my need for some emotional support and sisterhood to be met by the gakkai WDs here. But its like a bunch of cold office worker type interaction with my present group. I have decided to ask to join a nearby group, whose WD chief has always been a very good SGI friend and sustained me thru long periods,when going to meetings was objected to by my spouse and even buying newsletters were out because 'books get dust mites and that is dirty.' She used to dig Sensei's guidances out for me, lend me newsletters and touch base regularly, which none of my area members did. She kept my faith strong and it is her group that I have asked to join. So I make a determination this new year to challenge this karma as well and show victory. NMHRK. and thanks for patiently reading this outpouring and of course, for your prompt response which has allowed me to put all this down. Thank you.

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