I've Just Completed....

  Tuesday, January 25, 2000

Dear Phil & Alma:

I've just completed reading your letters and document. Frankly speaking, Phil, your life for so many years was this tiny Lotus seedling, so deeply imbedded in the mud. How awe-inspiring that your life has become the brightest flower of all! I have much to say to you my dear friends. I continue this letter by asking the following question:

What is the purpose of a bureaucracy?

Now here's my answer….

To perpetuate itself!

Be it government, university, large company or religious organization. For those who care to see things clearly as they are; just look at how your actions have so vividly illuminated how the status quo will attack to defend itself against the forces of change. For those who would doubt such a result, four thousand years of written history is there as supporting evidence. Has not this been the way since the first homosapien raised his/her hands from the ground? Don't ever waiver in the slightest, lest this badge of honor you now possess would become tarnished for all time. You need look no further than the reaction of the status quo to know that your actions are just and right. What a path you have illuminated, my friends! It is the path of a true pioneer. New York's Lewis & Clarke, you are! Like you have previously stated, Phil, look at the company you are with. It is my fervent prayer that you use such company as a rock-solid staff, a source of strength, a bedrock foundation for this is exactly what it is. Look at all those who came before you; catalysts for change who were ridiculed and persecuted. Yet now look at how history honors their memory; their light shines bright even now! Of course you've brought forth hatred and animosity, of course you've been ousted and exiled. Did you expect a different result? Did you expect history to make an exception for your courageous actions?

I must tell you of the myriad of emotions I am experiencing with regard to your brave endeavors. First and foremost, Phil & Alma, are my feelings of irony. SGI leadership positions are voluntary by nature. That some SGI leaders are deriving self-esteem and self-importance from their inappropriate interpretations of what power accompanies their positions is a sad state of affairs. How much guidance has been given on the topic of this evil?… it could fill volumes! Yet persist it does because of the seemingly distastefulness of speaking out. Even the Daishonin lamented about his predicament in this regard.

From one perspective, since we know that the staff derives their livelihood from the SGI, it is somewhat easier to understand there may arise the inclination for some of them to attempt to protect their position. We can consider, for the volunteer leaders, acting in a totally authoritative fashion is proof of a personality devoid of the character necessary to serve in a leadership capacity. My wife, Lidwina, who is not an SGI member, has been privy to your actions and current circumstances. She offered up to me the following question:

With so many people affected in the NY organization, what has been the response from the top leadership in Japan (namely Pres. Ikeda) with regard to changing the organization for the better?

If all you hear from Japan is silence in regard to your efforts to affect change; then silence (unfortunately) is an answer unto itself. How utterly distressing, if all the guidance you've been struggling to implement has just been words of "lip service" and if so, how horrifying, the motive behind it. I pray this is not the case. Nevertheless, it is how I feel and so I feel compelled to express it.

Do you know Phil, for many years, my SGI leaders urged me to take a position, which I constantly declined to do, because I despised the "admin" of the bureaucracy the SGI has now become. Of much greater value were my efforts at the "grass roots" level of the district to encourage the membership life to life. Phil, these past 6 years, with the Gohonzon as my foundation, I have become a master of prioritized action. I have become a millionaire investing in real estate and the president of 6 companies. Many people are in my employ and I know something about what real power is all about. Yet tempered by the Gohonzon, I am able to treat all persons fairly and with respect. This has been a great secret to my business success. It is no wonder why I find the volunteer SGI leadership so detestable? A sad testament to "petty authority" that should not even exist in the first place! I remain, though, a strong advocate for the self-actualization of all sincere SGI members. Is it no wonder that SGI members are inspired by the kind of determination and proof I am able to offer?

Well, Phil and Alma; I congratulate you on your courage and tenacity!!! …don't you feel totally free and unfettered because of your actions??? ….you should!!! I hope you never retreat a single step in you determination toward correctly spreading the Daishonin's teachings. Watch carefully as the demons and protective deities swirl about you….it must be a sight to behold!!!!

Much Love,
Your friend forever!
Howard Sklar

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