STAN ZIR'S EXPERIENCE
PAGE OF COURAGE BACK
TURNING POINT LEADERS OF COURAGE
At the Bayside / Flushing Chapter, the members were experiencing problems with a Sr. Leader prior to the formation of the People’s Committee and one prior to the unmasking of Jims lies and their public apology in the Cultural. They tried dialoguing and were greeted with distance and criticism. Now they decided to standup and put an end to this tyrannical behavior. They exercised their fundamental rights not to take abuse and to make a stand against Authoritarianism they did not ask to dismiss but asked her to transfer out of that chapter since she would not reflect on her behavior and continued to blame them. They had stood up to set up a standard for our organization based on the guidance of Makiguchi that the people are the sovereigns and not one leader in the organization objected to their right to take such an action. In fact, the leaders in Queens thanked them
In 1995, Mary was stricken with a debilitating disease. She suffered in excruciating pain 24 hours a day, often crying herself to sleep. We went to many doctors, but could find no cure. But Mary kept her determination to close this Temple down and kept running.
In 1996, Mary could stand the pain no more. She has continued to do activities at full speed through all this pain but she finally collapsed and was bed-ridden, essentially. She called her HQ. WDchief and said she needed a leave of absence for 4 months and would she please support her chapter while she was recovering. She also mentioned she thought maybe its best she resigned for she was not capable of taking care of the members. After 3 months of chanting, she found the answer for her disease. Dedicating her life to defeat and exposing Nikken and the calling of her members to her that their leader Mr. Ihara was abusing them. Subsequently, her experience appeared in the WT(BUT NOT THAT PART ABOUT MRS. IHARA) and she was able to encourage many members to join in the campaign against Nikken
When Mary returned to her position again, she was talking to her Hq WD chief, and this woman started to question whether Mary had really been ill. Mary became tremendously upset and set up a guidance session with the WD Joint Territory leader. At the meeting, Mary produced all of her medical bills and asked the HQ leader would you like to pay for them? The Headquarters chief had spread doubt among the leaders and members about the veracity of Mary’s illness. There are no words to explain to you how deserted Mary felt after years and years of fighting especially after that meeting
Mary was asked to came back as a assistant Vice Chapter leader by Mrs. Ihara after Mary asked to take a sick leave Mary had insisted that she give up her position for it would not be right at that times she could not take full responsibility and it would be unjust to the members this is how pure she was about her feeling for the members. Mary had gone for guidance with a senior leader together with then chapter women’s chief Bridget Wiskowki at the Cultural Center There Mary explained her condition at the meeting Bridget had been questioning Mary sincerity and had doubts about if Mary was really sick Mary had been suffering with a viral cervical infection that there was not treatment for she was in excoriating pain for six months she hardly ever slept because of the pain I had spent hours upon hours at night massaging her so she could get some sleep she was incapacitated and had to take a leave of absence at her job but she still kept calling and visiting her members but she finally came to roads end and she was losing her mind with the pain and decided to take a leave of absence Bridget had .been doubting Mary was sick for many months and during the discussion the Women’s Division Territory leader did not stand up for Mary and had misgivings herself.
At that point Mary took out a stack of doctors bills and threw them on the table and said to Bridget Wikowski do you want to pay the doctor bills and then said is this the compassion you are talking about as a Buddhist. At that point Mary calmed down and the whole situation was smoothed over with the typical guidance were all friends But Bridget doubting and suspicious underlying nature never change toward Mary and finally Mary had enough she had to get well She then informed the leaders that she was going to take a leave of absence. A month later Mrs. Ihara visited her saying she was going to be the New chapter chief and also keep her position as Women’s Vice Territory Chief and told Mary to take her time in coming back but don’t give up your position Mary reluctantly agreed Mary said she need three more months before resuming her duties. But when Mary started to get reports form her women’s division district leaders about Mrs. Ihara tyrannical behavior Mary had no choose but to return
At Mrs. Iharas first meeting a committee neighborhood reorganization meeting she asked what this honcho was doing there for this was and she asked him to leave the meeting in front of all the leaders. When Jamie stood up to protest that this man had helped plan all the committee changes and that he was the driving force in theses plans for almost two months and that we have been meeting this way and everything was working out fine and that he was indispensable for this committee. Mrs. Ihara took Jamie into the kitchen and said I an the chapter leader not if you want the position and think you can do better take it Jamie started to cry for she could not believe the cruel treatment she was receiving from Mrs. Ihara Such circumstances with Mrs. Ihara continued)
Then at a meeting with all the Territory Leaders and the chapter and district leaders meet at the cultural center and when they confronted Mrs. Ihara with her actions she refused to admit anything talked for forty five minutes non stop and blaming her district and chapter leaders not understanding faith and then to everyone’s astonishment and blamed everything on Stan Zir The senior leaders at that meeting were astonished and shock by Mrs. Ihara reaction Unfortunately for Mrs. Ihara the senior leaders who were giving false information about me to her apologized in the cultural center for their actions a week later
Finally Uhna, a women’s division vice chapter chief, said to Mrs. Ihara, I think it is impossible for you to work in this chapter. Mary had no choose but to come back before she could regain her health because her chikotons were suffering Mrs. Ihara was undermining all the women chapter vice chapter and district leaders and going to the honchos and telling them to ignore the chapter and distinct leaders decisions for no reason other than what she said to Jamie if you don’t like what I am doing then you become the headquarters leader because At the end of the meeting in the cultural center Richard Wikoseki told “ Mary Mr. Ihara hung herself “ Kisia the Queens Territory Chief said to Mary “Thank you we have had problems with Mrs. Ihara for years and you have done something we should have done a long time ago,” she said and was relieved that it was handled by the chapter and district leaders
This is a typical example of what happens when the people stand up to the abuse action of leaders because no matter how much they reported to the top leaders they would take no action and the leader was protected by her peers while these members suffered claiming they must support to maintain unity But they had the courage to stand up and that leader exposed her arrogance at the meeting with the seniors and there was nothing they could do to protect her then
That is why the people must be empowered to make the leaders accountable especially when such circumstances occur with a senior leader where there is a greater wall of protection afforded to them though the hierarchy ( in order of importance) .
From then their determination to close the temple down and reclaim the Dia Gohonzon was truly activated There was no doubt to them that Nikken is the devil of the sixth heaven because he uses the Dai-Gohonzon to blackmail the people and make them submissive to his authority while he keeps destroying the law based on his own ego. But what was learned is the personality traits that he has are not exclusive to him. They exist in others. It manifests in other people even though the negative effects that it has on the environment can never be compared to him because of his potentially catalyst effect on life in relationship to the law. But to deny that these traits exist anywhere but in Nikken is to exclude us from the potential that people with similar traits could ever exist in the world and never exist in our own organization. This would be contrary to Sensei’s guidance about arrogant leaders. What was learned was that when we standup to such behavior anywhere and don’t avoid such situations in our own daily lives then we can truly start to feel the hideous and potential destruction of Nikken. When the leaders stood up to such a leader in Queens they were liberated from such oppression and now they could turn their full determination to the real evil, Nikken. The leaders of Queens and the Joint Territory did not oppose the actions of the members of this committee. They were even given an outline to discuss the purpose of the People’s Committee. Now the chapter was doing temple tosos – that was fresh air and the results were astounding. People stood up and spoke out when they deemed it necessary - this was the new unity.
The grassroots committee was now formed in Queens and consisted of Mary etc. Ideas were exchanged but the most amazing thing occurred in our sincere seeking spirit to establish a program that would insure the prevention of such events of the past that would enable each member to exhibit their full potential in protecting and promoting endless growth in our organization. We discovered two guidance’s by Makiguchi and Sensei, which was a guideline to avoid occurrences of such events again. The grassroots idea was Mary Oconnell ideas way before it was brought up at the public apology and was the inspiration for the writing of Victorious America the empowerment of the people and the protection of their fundamental rights in Religious and secular institutions
· KEEPING EVERYTHING IN SEQUENCE 1 AM NOW RETURNING TO THE FIRST MEETING WITH MYSELF AND THE LEADERS IN QUEENS CONCERNING MY APPOINTMENT AS A LEADER A MONTH AFTER THE APOLOGY TO ME IN THE CULTURE CENTER BY MR. KASAHARA AND JIM CORWIN
A week after the apology at the cultural center I attended a meeting with the top Queens Territory leaders which I was invited to because they were now going to re-appoint me in concurrence with Jim Corwins and David Kasahara apology and promise for reinstatement of my position at the Cultural Center in front of all the Queens Long Island Brooklyn members. After gonyo lead by Mr. Ihara he went around the room and each leader talked for a few minutes but when he came to Richard Wickowski he never mentioned about what happened to me in Brooklyn and in Queens. Now I started to speak because Richard did not keep his promise to talk at the meeting about what had happened to me in Brooklyn with the leaders so they could get a clear understanding what had expired to me and so this would never happen in Queens or the SGI again.Richard had promised to do this at my house before the meeting, because the leaders in Queens never really new the story even after the apology and it was important to set the record straight so I would never have to explain myself . Not one of those leaders in Queens would look into the matter when I had asked them to. They believed their senior leaders, no questions asked. So they never found out THE TRUTH. Now it was important for them to know. So we would have no problems later on with the grassroots committee
I then started to talk about what happened to me in Brooklyn with the leaders and was immediately stopped by Mr. Ihara saying, “Stan that is not what this meeting is about. Larry May then said Mr. Ihara we should let Stan talk in an appeasing manner. Mr. Ihara suddenly changing his tune then pointed out in Queens. Things have really changed we let people speak freely. But he never apologized for his actions when he had lied to me. Now there suddenly letting me talk as if to show how much they have reformed themselves
I then went on to explain that what I went through; lies were passed out about me how the members were lied to how we were demised and treated in a subservient fashion by the Territory and Joint Territory leaders and how my wife and other were belittled and branded when they inquired about the truth.
The very same leaders who sat in that room were people who I had practiced with for more that 20 years and every one of them turned their backs on me not even inquiring into what was happening when I requested them to please do so, vicious reports were circulating and I was being dismissed from my position they just believed what the their fellow leaders said all except Richard Wiskowski who was shamed into looking into the matter by a women’s division district leader. That is why I found it necessary to talk so this would never happen to any member again and to let them know they were not doing me any favor by reinstating me they were undoing a wrong. Yet at now time during the meeting or after it was their any apology for their actions Each hid conveniently under the banner of supporting the central figure for the sake of unity to keep their hand clean and not one of them would challenge their senior leaders of even look into the matter for that might have caused them to mach incisiveness and worse yet they might incur the wrath of there fellow senior leaders and risk being ostracized themselve. COMPASSION WITHOUT INCONVIENCE OR SACRIFICE IS NOTHING MORE THAN A CHARADE OF PIETY. It is empty and shallow it belittles the law and the people it’s cruel and empty of the treasure of the heart and destroys our movement.
Even after the meeting not one of the apologized to me or even empathized with me for the unjust treatment my wife and me had received. They had no feeling for what me and my wife were put through. What kind of people were these even more horrifying they were top leaders responsible for nurturing the members or even more horrifying raising our youth. What kinds of people are we producing what kind of manipulation of unity would produce such morally bankrupt people?
In any case I told them that something much change from my experience and that we can never as leaders just be subservient to the senior leaders when hearing negative reports about people from them and just be silent for the sake of unity but check information out for ourselves. Then Larry May said yes maybe we should all go back to what President Ikeda wrote in 1990 and read it again we seemed to have missed the point
Then Mr. Ihara proposed to be being the vice chapter chief in Jamaica chapter because the territory felt that the shakabuku sprit should be revived and there had to be a more active stand against Nikken there because there was many misunderstandings about the issued they needed me there because of my experience. Then he said “PLEASE CONSIDER THIS APPOINTMENT DON’T MAKE ANY DECISION NOW AND TALK IT OVER WITH YOUR WIFE AND IF YOU DON’T WANT THIS APPOINTMENT WE WILL PLACE YOU SOMEWHERE ELSE’ I capitalized this statement because later on the leaders would tell the members a lie and say that they offered me a position and I didn’t accept it
So that’s why they were not appointing me THIS WAS A LIE STRAIGHT OUT. Then the meeting ended with Mr. Ihara saying who do you want to communicate with in the Territory I said Richard Wiskowsli since I had been talking with him and at least he had known what had happened within the Joint Territory. Maybe you are thinking I am talking to strong but I am proud of my service in. he SGI and I do not deserve to be treated like some emotionally disturbed child because I protected so vehemently about such hideous actions of the leaders and a system that would support such actions. Those of us that have served the people unconditionally do not have to stand for such demeaning treatment from such people just to prove our humility to them for they just look down at the pure hearted as a bunch of fools dreamers for we remind them of there own impurity and they fear such people this and it angers them because we make them look at themselves and because they have no sense of justice because they are lost in their own sarcasm or piety and cowardice not have the courage to take the to stand alone on the side of the people even if its means there own osterazation. Therefore they’ll never put their status at stake for they are self-involved people lost in the world of recognition and acceptance and self-importance. They would be better off serving Nikken for they are already doing his bidding. That is why President Ikeda states that we should look down at these people ‘Poem Songs From My Heart ”What’s so difficult is that when this happens in our own organization it is hard to dismantle That is why President Ikeda states people wise enough (1900 Speech)
Two weeks later Richard Wicksoski meet at my house and a serious of new talks began After chanting we started to talk I first told Richard that I had decided after talking with my wife that being a Vice Chapter Leader in Jamaica would not be a suitable place to practice at this time because of the travel time I was 56 years old and was starting to build a bushiness career I suggested to Richard maybe something closer to home because I would be committed to doing home visits in Jamaica and this would leave me home very late at night taking the bus and subway each time and in accordance with what was said at the leaders meeting we attended could you please find me another position that might be closer to home and more suitable to my situation. I also suggested to Richard because he and Larry May and Eugene Ihara were so busy in their own jobs that they might need help at the Territory level it might be helpful for all involved and since we all were in the youth division together we had many experiences on common ground.
Now traditionally we are never supposed to talk about ourselves when it comes to position but Mr. Kasahara once told me if you are suited to a position and it would be helpful speech up and tell the leaders you would take full responsibility. So I asked Richard about me working at the Territory level because of my experience with the priesthood and the youth division and prior to that I was a Headquarter leader in Brooklyn. I also said to Richard while me meet if you have any criticism of me while we have our meeting please be honest enough to speech up so we are always clear is that alright with you he said yes. He then said Stan my main concern is that I fell you are a revolutionary I said is that it He said yes and he said he would love to work with me. I then said Richard do you call being a revolutionary a person who calls for the leaders to be accountable for their action directly to the members he had no answer After all I had not been considered a revolutionary when I stood up to the priest hood or when I was a Headquarter leader in Brooklyn prior to Jim’s shenanigans I had gotten the reputation of a of rebel because I was outspoken to the seniors when they were nonchalant and irresponsible when the members became the brunt of their condescending attitude and irresponsible behavior when the assaulted verbally and sometimes physically by the senior leaders Its when I stood up for change and the buck would stop with me is what Richard was referring to he just wanted me to remain silent and shut my mouth like himself and full into line not making waves and not protect the membership against such unchecked behavior of certain leaders so . I did not make a pledge to protect leaders while members suffered I was not going to a part of cover-ups for the leaders after all is the SGI promoting a good old boy club a blue wall of silence This is what happens when there is no accountability directly to the members of the leaders Then phases like iron clad unity and support the central figure no matter what become tool for oppression and submissions of the members by the leaders submissions.