In the ‘Flow of Events’, chronicled by the expelled and the removed member and leaders of SSA, I chanced upon a consequential passage which reads, “The big sweep does not end with the expulsion and removal of the 5 senior YMD leaders. It is just the beginning of a bigger sweep. Just like you need more lies to cover up your previous lies.”
It induced me to ponder deeply and eventually arrived at a dubiety that prompted me to ask this question:
Do the top leaders of SSA move on?
Barely a year has passed since punitive actions were imposed on 5 senior YMD leaders and a MD member, consecutive abuses were inflicted on their supporters by the despotic top leaders. None of Stanley’s siblings, whom were senior leaders, were spared. A YWD assistant regional Hq leader, Wei Ling, was suspended and eventually removed from her leadership responsibility, for speaking in defiance of the top leaders’ high-handedness.Following that, a righteous and courageous MD leader, David Tan was silenced by the top leaders, for standing up to protect the victims. Thereafter, Aaron was forced to apologise for his Facebook post, while Melvin Tan and Gymy were graduated from Future Division I/C, without their knowledge.
So, what’s next…?
In one of the lecture of ‘The Writing of ND and M & D Relationship’, President Ikeda shares the following passages:
“The passage we are studying this time from “The True Aspect of All Phenomena” elucidates the all-important teaching that “ordinary people are identical with the highest level of being” (OTT, 22)—that is, the life-state of Buddhahood.
Though it is thought that Shakyamuni Buddha possesses the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent for the sake of all of us living beings, that is not so. On the contrary, it is common mortals who endow him with the three virtues. (WND-1, 384)
The Buddha’s great virtues are manifested because of ordinary people, the Daishonin asserts. This is a truly remarkable statement, a bold and historic declaration of humanism that marks a radical departure from religion as an authoritarian entity to one that puts people first.”
[The Humanistic Teaching That Ordinary People Are Buddhas, Pg.2]
Our seniors used to share that they had always been taught, during Mr. Koh’s days, that leaders exist for the sake of our members and never the contrary. It is always our juniors who help us to grow. Putting people first is in consonance with the spirit of the above passage, taught by our beloved mentor.Never hold our juniors in contempt. No matter how reasonable you may seem to protect the unity of the organization, to trample on the members’ right is barbaric. This is especially so when the top leaders exercise their authority to dictate the junior leader to remove their Facebook posting.
Recently, we came across an instance where the rights of a Hosshaku Kempon’s Facebook friend, were trampled by the top leaders. He is known as冰人杰乐 in Facebook. In one of the thread posted, on 21 April 2013, in his Facebook wall, he voiced his displeasure of an encounter with an arrogant individual whose conceited behavior corresponds to the CEO of a company. Perhaps one of the phrases he used, ‘correct attitude of a leader’, caught the attention of the authority. It, somehow, triggers the paranoia inherent in the mental state of the top leaders. The word ‘leader(s)’ is not commonly used merely by the Gakkai, it has been prevalently adopted by numerous established organisations.
By linking 冰人 Facebook posting to an act of criticizing the organisation, the top leaders ordered him to take down his thread. The order was issued without prior investigation and dialogue.This is another case of a verdict passed before trial.
President Ikeda teaches:
“People who trample on other’s rights, no matter how respectable they may seem, are merely barbarians. Respect for human rights is a barometer of civilization.”
We believe that every individual has an inalienable right to freely access information and express their view and opinion in social media. The act of compelling somebody to remove their Facebook posting is a stunning violation of an individual personal rights and privacy. As the receiver deserves the right not to listen, the speaker is served with the parallel right in freely expressing his thought. In this case, it is conspicuous that the remarks made by冰人 is directed at individual outside the organisation although we have got no evidence to deduce that his remarks is targeted at his workplace. No matter what, isn’t it the correct protocol for the senior leaders to conduct investigation before reaching unwarranted conclusions that the Facebook’s comments involve Gakkai?
Out of conceit with the false accusation fabricated by the top leaders, it is obvious 冰人 will not succumb to threat misused by the authority. However, base on the history recorded, non-compliance will land himself in hot soup, despite how well he can prove that his expression is not related to the Gakkai. Our impertinent top leaders are capable of distorting all fact to accuse somebody of inciting hatred to cause disharmony within the organization.
One method to abuse the freedom of speech is to set rules to restrain people for speaking freely. One classic example is to label free speech as hate speech. Hate speech is elucidated as speech that induces hatred within a community. The ultimate aim is to facilitate punishment for speeches that antagonise the punisher to deter freedom of speech.International law protects any form of expression that can be communicated, including information and ideas, which are deemed provocative and offensive to some people or parties. The right of freedom of expression constitutes a primary and basic element of the public order of a democratic society. Restriction in the freedom of speech, in any form, is a blatant abuse of individual right and freedom. For this instance, the top leaders had seriously impaired the fundamental rights of a junior leader.
President Ikeda states:
“When stones are cast at good people, when the rights of honest, hardworking people are trampled, we should be angry! When anyone anywhere around the world discriminates against another, we should burn with indignation! Raise your voices! Nothing suits the authorities better than the apathy of the people, than their feeling of the powerlessness and their acceptance of violation of human rights.”
Let us render our support to冰人杰乐 by encouraging him not to yield to threat and fear, instilled by the authority. Do not feel helpless and cower to the authority. Hosshaku Kempon will support you with our voice of justice. We shall not let violation of human rights goes unchallenged and undisputed, else the darkness looming over our beloved organisation will only grow darker and deeper.
President Ikeda teaches:
“The Daishonin’s Buddhism is a great humanistic and people-centered philosophy that challenges this tendency toward arrogance, pretension, and discrimination head-on.”
[The Humanistic Teaching That Ordinary People Are Buddhas, Pg.1&2]
In conclusion, do the top leaders of SSA genuinely move on? No, they indeed move away from the compassionate spirit of our founding presidents. The local organisation is far-fetched from one that practices humanism by putting people first, but one that portrays religion as an authoritarian entity that put people off…