Dear Mr. Zaitsu,
Please accept my resignation as a member of the
Soka Gakkai International. This has not been an
easy decision to come to, but I feel it is the correct
course of action for my own life. I remember when
the "temple issue" first erupted. I read everything I
could get my hands on, from SGI and NST alike. I
made a strong vow in my heart that I would remain in the Gakkai to affect change from within until I could do no more.
Over the years I have fought for the SGI, traveling
Lake County, Califorinia, nearly every month
from 1991 through 1996 visiting the SGI,
Independent and Hokkeko members in my district. All through the '90s, I have been one of the few
willing to openly discuss the temple issue in my
local activities. It seemed to me most people
wanted to keep their head in the sand and not think
about it. I felt it was important to think and talk
about, however one felt. I still do.
Almost two years ago the tide began to turn when
Nichiren Shoshu announced the destruction of the
ShoHondo. I witnessed, both in my local org and on the internet, a tremendous upsurge of emotionalism
in response to this issue. In my opinion, this
emotion got out of hand and mutated before my
eyes from outrage into a deep seated hate which
will last a generation or more. People took it
personal. Mara won the battle. This was the
situation, as I perceive it, at the beginning of this year.
At that time I prayed to the Gohonzon to know
what action I needed to take. Thus I began to speak
out against the slander I was witnessing. At the
same time, I began to expand my own study of
Nichiren Buddhism to include views of the other
branches, with an emphasis on an in-depth study of
the Lotus Sutra. The deeper I go into this study, the
further I move away from official SGI doctrine on a
number of key issues, as we discussed last we met.
It is also noteworthy to mention that after your
home visit to me on 7/11/99, there was a deafening
silence from my local SGI for two months. In a
sense, that was very good and it gave me a chance
to experiment further in both the form and
substance of my personal practice. In effect, I no
longer feel a part of the SGI sangha. My beliefs and
my practice have evolved. The ghee has left the Gakkai for me.
Thus I declare my Independence of any branch of
Nichiren Buddhism. It is NOT my intention to join
any sect, nor start my own religion. However, it is
time for me to support the Independent Lotus Sutra
Movement in thought, word and deed, in my own unique manner.
I choose this significant date, November 29th, the
9th anniversay of Nichiren Shoshu's excommunication of the SGI [Japanese reckoning], the SGI's Independence Day, as a reminder to each
of us of the importance to continue to reflect on and
deeply study the authentic writings of Nichiren
Daishonin, discarding that which does not accord
with the Lotus Sutra or common sense.
I have not given up hope for the great success of
the SGI. Only that my path must diverge, at least
for now. It is my intent to remain a Friend of the
SGI, attend an occassional meeting, and repay my
debt of gratitude to the SGI by devoting myself
to the spread of the Fine Dharma of the Lotus Sutra
in this Age of Chaos and Confusion in the Buddhist
Order. Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
I am forwarding this letter to my immediate leaders
to be removed from the membership lists effective
immediately, as well as concerned friends and
others on the internet. Your response, if any, will be
kept confidential, unless you give your explicit
permission otherwise. Thank you for your time and thoughts.
Sincerely, Don Ross