Both of these practices are quite popular at least in New Delhi and I have tried both. I used to religiously watch “Awakening with the Brahmakumaris” and episodes of sister Shivani on Youtube, but I ended up joining the Nichiren Buddhist practice for the following reasons:
- Age group: It’s much better for youth since it has a proper youth and student division with many practicing members. BKs is more for old people or at least the ratio between old people and young people is way more vast than in the Nichiren Buddhist practice. When I tried to approach them, they were not very serious about helping me join, maybe because of my age.
- Structure: Its much more structured too since youth, women,men, children have different divisions. There is a proper Zadenkai, monthly meetings system etc.
- Scientific: I find it more scientific, if not fully scientific. At least it is not theistic or believes in leaving one’s earthly life at a higher level. (read more about that here)
- History: I find the history of Buddhism as a response to Brahmanism, dogma, a reform movement for egalitarianism etc extremely appealing. Bks history isn’t that appealing to me.
- Leadership: There is more emphasis on leadership and social causes due to Ikeda’s activism, travels and being a global citizen.
- Materialism: They are much accepting of earthly desires considering their belief in earthly desires as a route to enlightenment. More emphasis on personal success and victory too.
- Form of meditation: Chanting is much more enjoyable than meditation since you have to focus on your personal/material desires, even visualize them. I can’t really try to “stop my thoughts” as one is supposed to in meditation.