Buddhism seems to be getting a bad rap in Tallahassee.

Without context or qualification a story produced by Knight Ridder was run about “Buddhism” that included the controversial organization “Sokka Gakkai,” within the Tallahassee Democrat.

But critics and former members have often called one Buddhist group named in the article called “Sokka Gakkai” a “cult”.

Apparently reporter Franklin Awori didn’t bother to do much research.

Like many groups called “cults” Sokka Gakkai has a celebrity member. Rocker Tina Turner has touted the group through interviews and it gained attention through her film “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”

But many seem to feel that mainstream “Buddhism” is not that basis for Sokka Gakkai and it is instead largely the idiosyncratic creation of its founder and leader Japanese businessman Daisaku Ikeda.

Sokka Gakkai members believe that virtually anything you want can be chanted for. However, this is not the hallmark of mainstream Buddhism as practiced by Richard Gere, another celebrity named within the Knight Ridder article. Nor is such a belief the focus of Tibetan Buddhism.

It is sad that the author of this article did not make such distinctions and simply lumped all Buddhists together.


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