STAN ZIR'S EXPERIENCE
PAGE OF COURAGE BACK
COMMUNICATIONS WITH TERIQ HASSAN
When Teriq first called me, he became appointed as the top leader in New York. He said let's meet and talk, I then requested that Mr. Kearney be there with me so he could verify the facts of what happened to me with Jim and the Brooklyn Territory leaders considering what happened with Jim and now after three months of talking to Richard Witkowski, and he wasn't keeping his word, and the breaking of promises by Mr. Kasahara and Jim Corwin, I wanted Mr. Kearney there with me because he was at all the meetings with Jim, Mr. Kasahara and myself and he and knew what happened in Brooklyn could verify that I had too many experiences now meeting with these top leaders alone to find out later they would change their stories and deny what they had said and then reported things I said to the members and other leaders that were half truths. I would not put myself in such a spot with them again. They had proved time and time again they were not trustworthy. I had learned my lesson. I wanted a witness, someone who the people knew would not lie or cover up and someone the people trusted and that person was Mr. Kearney. Teriq said that was not necessary, we were friends from the youth division. I told Teriq that for two years this problem with the leaders was going on. There was a public apology in the Cultural Center by Jim Corwin and Mr. Kasahara to my wife and me. Every top leader knew what was going on, even Danny Nagashima knew what was going on. We were all part of the justice group when we were fighting the priesthood but not one of you would stand up for me when my wife and I was being slandered by the leaders and not one of you took these leaders to task. You never even bothered call you knew what was going on everyone did You should all be ashamed especially when the truth came out and my wife and I was exonerated. Now you call me saying you have a responsibility as the head of New York. Where was your responsibility to your comrade then? You never even called to see how we were doing. Where was your conscience? Do you suddenly gain it when you become a top leader? I don't think so. I then told Teriq I have every right to have Mr. Kearney there because I wanted him to be there so he could verify what I would say is true. So what happened to us before would not repeat it again. He denied my request. I then said, "You are a top leader in New York now and I am a member. If I was a leader I would not have any problem with this if it would make the member comfortable. Especially in my case when the leaders tried to cover up what happened in the past." He just went on and on saying he would never betray my trust. I then said, "Teriq, at this time and under these circumstances I wish you would honor my request." This was a deadend ~ he still said "No." We both said goodnight. He said he would call again.
A week later my wife came home and told me the Queens top youth division leader Kenny Eck was telling all the members in Flushing Chapter that I refused to meet with Teriq. He was the same person that appeared at an open Chapter meeting for the discussion of developing the grass roots committee (which was approved by Mr. Kasahara and Jim Corwin in three public apologies at the Cultural Center - to prevent such occurances from happening again) where he quoted from the gosho saying "You are the parasites in the lions bowels", referring to the committee members with no explanation. He was soundly scolded by me and other members at that meeting where I was invited to attend for his vicious and unsubstantiated attack on our character. He was intent on undermining any open discussion we could have by accusing us of slander. Who was Kenny representing? Obviously, he was sent to crush any further discussion on this matter. Now this same person was passing out an erroneous report - a half truth to the members that was doctored to make me look like some renegade who was not to be trusted. I became incensed and I called Teriq and asked him "Did you tell Kenny that I did not want to meet with you?" "Yes, I did", he said. I said why did you not tell Kenny I said I would meet with you but I wanted Mr. Kearney there and why I felt that way and that you refused my request. By doing this you gave an inaccurate report to this youth who went on to paint a negative picture of me to all the members. Where is your sense of responsibility? Teriq just shrugged it off with a dismissive arrogant attitude it was obvious here was another leader with no moral compass who felt he could act with impunity
Then I went on to say that this has happened too many times and you asked me to trust you. But what happened to me and other leaders in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island was far worse than this. There were actual cover-ups and lies that were eventually exposed.
Then came the defining moment. Teriq said to me, "Nothing ever happened to you in Brooklyn. You are just blowing everything up. There was a little mistake made." It was obvious he had talked to David Kasahara and Jim Corwin for both were now saying the same thing as Teriq. They were covering up again and they even had the nerve to say "We just apologized to Stan and his wife to PLACATE STAN AS WAS REPORTRED TO ME BY FRANK KEARNEY." This was the ultimate indignity even after both David Kasahara, Jim Corwin had apologized and took responsibility for spreading false information to the leaders and the members about us and even saying they would make every attempt to bridge the gap of mistrust they caused and gave the go ahead for a trial grass roots committee to make sure that this didn't happen again to anyone. After that meeting Jim told my wife and me, so many members came up to him saying the leaders never apologized for their mistakes to the members. Teriq simply said "Oh come on" and repeated himself saying nothing ever really happened, I was just blowing everything up. This kind of scenario is the cruelest indignity to affect upon a person. It has a maddening effect on the individual, because the reality of truth is erased by denials and betrayal by those who in responsible positions whose mission it is to lead the people in the noble quest for the dignity of life. They used their sacred influence and the trust of the people to destroy those people who would dare challenge any of their actions that might be a betrayal of such a quest. This is absolute power, it is evil and it’s the greatest betrayal. In these cases people who suffer such indignities are often reduced to emotional broken people with nowhere to turn. They are often driven crazy unless they stand up. Those people who make the choice to fight such indignities are the people that can make change. That's why the people must be empowered to watch over the leaders or they will not be involved in watching out for their fellow members and the principle of standing by those who have been unjustly treated will disappear from our organization. When that happens President Ikeda says we are spiritually dead and we cannot protect the organization from the inside. Simple checks and balances can avoid this.
After talking with Teriq that night I called Mr. Kearney and told him what Teriq had said. He was outraged. He said they are just covering it up like they always do. He just could not believe how they could deny the truth. We had a long discussion about how these actions could destroy the organization. How can we fight Nikken when we have a battle within the organization at the same time with top leaders who are devoid of any moral standard who were capable of saying or doing anything to cover up their actions. We were fighting on both fronts. Again we both went back to President Ikeda's guidance about empowering the people as the only solution to protect this organization from the leaders behaving like this. If not we would be open to much criticism by the American public for how the organization promoted those who were obedient and purged those who caused waves. The leaders had protected themselves against being accountable to the people in the name of unity and just kept sweeping things under the rug.
A week later Teriq and I talked again. At this time, the topic of the paper Victorious America came up. Teriq was very negative about the paper. When I asked him what he thought about what the guidance President Ikeda meant that the people should have full control over the organization (which is fully discussed in Victorious America) and what President Makiguchi meant when he said the people of any organization, whether it be secular or religious, should oversee the actions of the leaders. His answer was astounding. He simply said THAT ONLY MEANS MORE DIALOGUE. That's like saying to someone you have to pay income tax, what does that mean, and your answer is MORE DIALOGUE. It made no sense! What kind of guidance was this?! I said to Teriq you are an educated man and your answer has no basis of reason. What are you talking about? You KNOW what it means. This kind of thinking might be good for the Moonies where people don't think but this will never do in the SGI. Then Teriq said in reference to the essay 'Victorious America' who are you to interpret Sensei's guidance. They can understand what he means. I then said that President Ikeda said in his 1990 guidance that he is awaiting many great American writers to appear in this organization that can inspire the people to great passion for Kosen-rufu and faith. Now I am not a professional writer but anyone can recognize common sense and reasoning I am sure President Ikeda is looking for people that can think and use their imagination and reason. Are you now going to censor critical thinking?
The paper Victorious America was based on the truth common sense and President Ikedas guidance’s to move this organization to greater heights and ignite the membership in the fight against Nikken and Authoritarianism, which has been sorely missing. Most of the guidance’s of President Ikeda that was shared in this essay you have never shared with the members in the Cultural Center or at discussion meetings. And many times you have given guidance based on President Ikedas words to suit a situation or guidance that is taken out of context to suit your own agenda. Like you just did. I have a right, as does every member to speak out when something makes no sense. (I will discuss this in more detail later in the letter - you be the judge about this when this happens.) This is a very important issue.
As far as the essay Victorious America was concerned, its basic premise was the total empowerment of the membership, which Mr. Kasahara said all the leaders opposed. In this case the leaders would never have approved this essay because it called for the total empowerment and control of the organization by its members. (This was demonstrated by the recanting of the leaders in the BQLI region approved by Mr. Kasahara in a letter sent to the members and claiming we were trying to start our owe organization which was a blatant falsehood just read the paper and any way we got permission from the top leaders to try the grass roots committee It must be noted that most of the leaders that signed the paper at that time did not even read the essay. And since any dialogue we had with the leaders only led to broken promises by them, total denial of the facts and common sense, our only avenue was to appeal directly to the members through a written document. And since we did not qualify as the disseminators of information, according to the current system, so therefore we had no choice (The leaders could censor this essay to prevent any further discussion of the ideas in the paper.) But the fact of the matter is we do qualify if the system allows unjust actions. It is our mission to point out and offer a solution. That's the real issue here ~ censorship.
Then I said to Teriq I will meet with you if you meet with the people that started the development of this committee, which was given approval on an experimental basis. Teriq suddenly said, "I don't recognize this committee. It was not approved by the CEC." Now Mr. Kasahara and Jim were off the hook. Then Mr. Kasahara tells me he supports Teriq no matter what. I told Mr. Kasahara even if it's at the detriment of the SGI. Now suddenly all the leaders were saying Jim and Mr. Kasahara were both wrong in giving permission for this committee, even though in many parts of the country each area Jim and Mr. Kasahara put on a big show "What can we do?". is given reign to try out different agendas without approval of the CEC. They now had a good excuse to crush it. They said Teriq is in-charge now. This gave them a chance to break their promise. Now their agenda became clear by Teriq's next statement when he said every organization has its rules and regulations and if you don't like it, you can leave. (These are the exact words from Mr. Kasahara from two months before ~ there was no coincidence because he parroted his words.) These leaders reaction to the essay 'Victorious America' was based on fear because they faced loss of unchallenged control so they would go to any extremes to put a stop to it. This thinking might be good for a corporation or a dictatorship. But when the rules and regulations of an organization that is based on the will of the Buddha and the people are only amended by a handful of leaders and these rules can only be executed by the leaders, who in our organization are generally promoted based on their loyalty to the leadership, then the people lose their basic rights to change the rules when it infringes on their fundamental rights. This leaves us open to abuse of power because the people are not part of the process. Thus, President Ikeda's guidance about empowerment as he said to make a more equitable relationship between the members and the leaders is crucial. Even in our own study manual it says when the leaders go against ethics and reason in Buddhism you don't have to follow them anymore. That's exactly what occurred. I must remind Mr. Kasahara, Teriq Hasson and Jim Corwin - the people do not have to wait for the leaders to empower them when such circumstances exist, they do not have to wait for their permission. It is their destiny, mission and a direct edict from the Buddha to perform this task themselves.
In the end Teriq would not meet with these committee members even though they all wanted to sit and have a dialogue together with Teriq. These members said who does he think he is - a dictator when they heard his response they lost their trust of him. Teriq said he would only meet alone with each one individually. But their response was if you don't recognize this committee you don't respect us. It became obvious that Teriq wanted to break their spirit by using his authority to deny their right to exist as a committee. Logically they knew if they meet with him individually they would concede the committee did not exist. Thus no such meeting took place and Teriq cut communications. At the end of the conversation I mentioned to him what happened to Phil in Long Island when he stood up to protect his member against a leaders abusive actions. He denied anything happened there too. He said you don't know what happened, it was Long Island. But I did know. I read the disgruntled letter of the member the leaders had mistreated and the leaders of that chapter had called me directly alerting me of their trouble with the leaders which I began to look into and I used to be a leader of many of those members in that chapter in Long Island I knew them Teriq did not.
There was no possibility of a true dialogue with this man Teriq. He was the top leader now. He did not have to answer to us so it did not matter if we told what he said since Mr. Kasahara said he would be totally supported by his fellow leaders. Where would that leave us? Then who would believe us? We were dealing with someone that was trying to intimidate us with his authority and he expected us to be obedient and comply but we were not intimidated. Teriq says the members did not want the committee ~ to stop any further discussion. The truth is the members said Teriq and Mr. Kasahara did not approve of the committee so its so we could never have a fruitful dialogue. When we tried to tell the members the leaders had approved of the development of a grass roots committee they did not believe us. Teriq said we are bullying the members and forcing it on them. It was completely untrue. It was never forced on anyone. So when Teriq dismissed Mary based on these lies he appeared as a hero coming to protect the very members he put into frenzy against us. Now it was easy for Teriq to say you see this idea does not work it causes disunity among the believers. This is a blatant use of authority to destroy such a noble endeavor. I called Teriq the next day at his office and he was very disturbed and told me to never call him at work. I just said you won't meet with Frank and me and you won't meet with the committee members and you continue to deny the facts - there is no more bases for dialogue. I would have reported this to Mr. Zaitsu at the time but I had written to him before about what was going on in New York and he never replied. Our communications stopped at that point. Two months later we had one more conversation because he called me. (I will discuss that later)
Teriq had the nerve to call me at my home just after dismissing my wife as a leader to report to me about a meeting that was to take place I called Teriq back and told him why I would not be attending the meeting and shared with him some very sensitive information with in saying this was told to me in confidence by another top leader and I had the same feeling saying based on what was happening in the organization and this person and this is not to be repeated because it have no baring on the current situation and many innocent people will get hurt
He immediately lost his temper threatening me that I should never come back to the cultural Center and that I was crazy Over the next few days I left several messages on Teriq answering machine stressing time and time again to keep this information silent but I did say if you made it public I would have no choice to defend myself Even after Teriq made it public I still will not talk about those circumstance and never will .One week later Phil had received a phone call from his women’s vice chapter chief repeating what I had said to TERIQ but taking part of the conversation out of context Phil called Teriq and said did Stan say this and then Teriq said I RECORDED HIM DO YOU WANT TO HEAR THE TAPES. FOR THIS ACT ALONE TERIQ SHOULD BE DISMISSED PLAYING TAPPED CONVERSATION S TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF PEOPLES PERSONAL CONVERSTAION THAT WERE NOT ONLY TOLD IT WAS CONFDENTIAL BUT WAS NOT GIVEN PERMISSION IS AGAINST THE LAW. SECONDLY HE GAVE OUT CONFIDENTIAL IMFORMATION NOT ONLY TO THE TOP LEADERS BUT TO THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP AT LARGE TO SUIT HIS AGANDA FOR CHARACTER ASSASSINATION. Once before in my practice I made a careless mistake and some personal information leaked out to a few people Immediately call them and stopped the flow of information before it spread but the price I paid was the loss of trust of a great friend but I did not spread this information intentional like Teriq did and not one member held him accountable. Teriq knew this when he did it after all what member would take him to task He is the top leader we must maintain unity at all costs right Now the goal for Kosen Rufu justifies such actions no wonder the members can never get angry at such actions of leaders and hold them accountable In there mind the goal for Kosne Rufu of this organization is of utmost importance and the members are even ask to sacrifice there dignity to protect it. This is not the goal of Kosen Rufu it the goal of a tyranny where the rights of the individual are sacrificed to protect the state The goal of Kosen Rufe is to promote the individuals dignity and his individual rights There is no system faith of government that can usurp theses principles claiming that they have a higher ideal or they would be charlatans of freedom of the individual and consequently enemies of the TRUE BUDDHA HIMSELF who holds the dignity the integrity and the freedom of the individual as the bases of his teaching and the foundation of Kosen Ruff and unity among believers IT IS THE PROTECTION OF THIS IDEAL AND NOT THE DESTRUCTION OF IT WHICH MUST BE THE BASIS OF OUR ORGANIZATION OR WE WILL BE SLANDERING THE BUDDHA TEACHING AND ALL SENTIENT LIFE AND SUPPORT THE FORCES OF THOSE THAT WOULD TYRANNIZE AND ENSLAVE THE PEOPLE President Ikeda says when there are rumors or fabricated reports being spread and your reputation is being ruined by lies and cover-ups you must fight furiously, stand up and speak out so you can set the record straight or you have yourself to blame. Our real purpose was expressed in the paper 'Victorious America' which is based on the ideals and guidance’s of President Ikeda and former President Makiguchi. I suggest you read it to see what the uproar is about.
What happened to us was the reaction of the leadership when we demanded accountability for their irresponsible and unethical actions towards the membership over a period of time. Even though we went through the proper channels over and over the door to recourse was closed by their constant denial of the events that occurred. Such denials of the truth was more than frustrating, it was maddening. False and unconfirmed reports were spread about us throughout the New York membership and throughout the top leadership in Los Angeles and Japan. Even though members reported these reports about us, false leaders chose to ignore them, telling them it's not your business, we will take care of it or don't get involved or you will be breaking unity. Thus scaring them off.
But if any reports came to them that were negative about us they just accepted them without checking out if they were true. The membership had the same response - "The leaders could never be lying." President Ikeda says, these are our good friends. But when these leaders made a public apology at the cultural center to us, many of the same members came to us and said, "I am sorry I did not talk up. If this happens again let me know and I will speak out." And when these same leaders broke their promises that they made in front of the whole membership in the BQLI region then continued the same actions that they apologized for, the reaction of their fellow leaders and the members was the same as before. Fellow leaders supported them without looking into the matter in the name of ironclad unity and the same reaction appeared in the membership that these top leaders could never act unethically.