Seen from a scientific skeptic’s perspective, the practice may be considered to have “dogmatic” rituals like daily chanting, engaging in Kosen Rufu activities, attending meetings regularly etc. They say that everything falls into place if you make the Gohonzon the centre of your life. They say you should increase your KR activities whenever you have a problem/devil attack. Worried that your family thinks you’ve become extreme with the practice?
Yes, the SGI does ask you to commit to it wholeheartedly, participate in KR activities and yes you are encouraged to Shakabuku, chant extra when there are problems, but can that lead to OCD or be considered religious OCD induced from fear?
I personally don’t think so. Here are the reasons why:
You can never overdo something that’s good for you. A philosophy that itself propagates balance, the importance of taking action and facing your problems can not be “overdone”. Overdoing, I believe is just overcompensation for doubt and lack of faith in the practice.
- Don’t practice faith like fire because it extinguishes with the same suddenness– this quote can literally apply to anything in life, specifically novel interests like academic fervor or new found passion for an activity. Everything that is impulsively taken upon and done obsessively in the initial stage eventually has a burn out. The Daishonin and Leaders themselves advice new members to gradually develop a strong foundation for faith hence.
- Not taking action– The only time engaging in KR activities can be considered overdoing is when you’re not taking action/applying the principles the philosophy propagates, in whose case you need to defeat your fear and do your human revolution (within the practice) so as to be able to take action. You have to change/ do your daily life karma. You’re not actually following the philosophy’s principles or doing it right if others think you’re regressing because of it, for the whole point of practicing is progress.Is a lot of chanting the issue? Well, then, you should be chanting with a particular goal or purpose and not just randomly for benefits. Your prayers should be for other people as well, and you need to get guidance as to what your exact prayer should be to tap into the solution for the root cause of the problem. Often we chant for the “Wrong” things and if they don’t manifest, we blame the practice or question its effectiveness, or, we chant aimlessly without any goal.
- Guilt– Beating yourself up for something that went against the Buddhist philosophy (as often happens with other religions like Christianity) is severely discouraged within the practice. In the first few pages of our introduction booklet itself, it is stated that if you’ve made any negative causes in the past, don’t worry or feel guilty, but start making positive causes in the present to manifest positive effects in the future! And in this sense, there is no question of religious guilt. Also, they regard human beings as imperfect already. They say that we all have a Buddha and devil within us (virtues and vices) and we practice to work on our vices. It is established that even leaders (people who’ve been practicing for long and have responsibilities in the organization) are not free from their own devils (vices) and have to continuously work on fighting over the devilish functions in the lives!
- Come from within– When they say we should behave in a certain xyz way, they don’t mean that we should mechanically do so. They ask us to Chant to the Gohonzon so that those (Buddha) qualities come to us from within and we behave like that naturally.