Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mahikari skin "cleansings"

Did any of you have skin "cleansings" when you were kumite? I did see some, but I didn't ever have one myself, so this is something I don't know much about.

I'm hoping someone reading this can provide some information about the sort of skin conditions (regarded as a cleansing) that some kumite experience. Are these like skin conditions experienced by non-members? I had the impression that these cleansings were different from eczema, for example. Did anyone ever get a medical diagnosis (or similar) of a skin cleansing?

I started vaguely wondering about skin cleansings the other day when I was writing about colds, flu, and other common ailments in the posts concerning okiyome. It occurred to me then that the skin conditions experienced by kumite were rarely (if ever?) seen in non-members, and that these conditions were perhaps somehow induced by Mahikari.

I think I only ever saw one or two ordinary kumite with a skin cleansing, but people training to become doshis (kunrensei) seemed particularly prone. Mahikari doctrine says that really toxic substances can only be safely eliminated through the skin, so I think we assumed that these cleansings were produced by the purification experienced during intense training.

At kunrenbu, the kunrensei who had skin cleansings lived in separate quarters and were not allowed any contact with the other trainees. They followed different schedules and were rarely even seen. I originally assumed (was told?) that this isolation was because the skin conditions were contagious. Were they? Does anyone know?

Later on, it was implied (we were told?) that these skin cleansings would clear up as soon as the kunrensei changed their sonen (attitudes). This doesn't seem to fit that well with the notion that the cleansings were contagious. Did anyone observe any connection between a skin cleansing disappearing and a change in sonen? (Of course, it would be difficult to be sure if one caused the other...)

Apparently, the Moonies separate new rectruits into "sheep" and "goats"....people who follow and people who tend to question, respectively. Perhaps the kunrensei with skin cleansings were kept separate for a similar reason, rather than due to any fear of physical contagion. I don't know. It's just a thought.

From time to time there were other "visitors" (kanbu) living in the isolation quarters. One in particular was a fairly high-level kanbu who did not have a skin cleansing. We were told that person was there for "retraining". These people spent a lot of time working in the yoko garden.

Anyway, I'm hoping someone can share more information about skin cleansings, mainly because of a comment Steve Hassan made when talking about his notion that cult indocrination attempts to suppress and destroy a person's authentic identity. He says that the indocrination is never completely successful and that, over time, the authentic, pre-cult self seeks ways to regain its freedom. He says that one strategy of the authentic identity is creating illnesses, such as skin problems, asthma, or severe allergic reactions that give the cult member an excuse to sleep and take some time off. (Page 188 of Releasing the Bonds.)

You've guessed it! I'm now wondering if skin cleansings result from the stress caused by a crisis of faith when a kumite really wants out but doesn't quite dare to leave Mahikari. Some of the kunrensei who spent several months in the isolation section of kunrenbu did eventually rejoin their fellow trainees, complete their training, and graduate from kunrenbu. Some, however, returned home. We assumed these people would either come back to kunrenbu once they recovered from the skin cleansing, or continue Mahikari activities as ordinary kumite.

At this stage, I can't help wondering if these people actually left Mahikari altogether at that time, but if they did, we were never told so.


Blogger Darcy said...

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January 06, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Darcy,

Thank you for the comment.

I hasten to say that I never, ever saw any indication that kanbu deliberately injure trainees (and I was in a position to know if they did). Perhaps other cults do things like that, but I really think Mahikari is innocent on that count.

Any will-breaking mechanisms in Mahikari are more subtle than that.

January 06, 2006  
Anonymous KitKat said...

There were some people at my Dojo who had quite dreadful 'skin cleansings' and didn't get treatment... any form of medicated cream was a big no-no, as you know. There were children with eczema and rashes, and some adults with things like rosacea - which really needs to be treated to avoid permanent scarring and deformity, and is a life-long skin disease...

One doshi used to love collecting 'solid toxins' that came out of cleanings - like hard bits of stuff - how TOTALLY GROSS is that?!!

I used to have a dry, irritated cough, for years. I was giving Light to some women who were into some other form of religion (I can't remember which it was). They said that my cough indicated that I was anxious and not convinced about the teachings. I then tried to suppress it of course. I now think I had this cough because I lived in a very dry place, nothing more, nothing less.

Stress can certainly cause all sorts of physical ailments, it's very interesting to hear about the 'retraining' in Japan...

January 08, 2006  
Anonymous dexter said...

well, the skin cleansing that occurs during trainings can be easily explained!. When many people attend such activities and they remain in contact with each other for a long time, they may use towels, soaps, sheets or other personal utilities which may contribute to the spread of skin diseases. Moreover it also depends on the general atmospheric condition inside the training place (warmth, moisture etc are perfect conditions for the rapid spread of skin diseases), general sanitary conditions etc. Certain places may also harbour centipedes/millipedes that can trigger an itchy skin rash. Clorinated water is also known to trigger allergic reactions among some people. This also explains why not all the trainees develop these symptoms!

January 10, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Dexter,

Thanks for your comment. The possible causes you identify for skin conditions may well apply in some circumstances, but I really don't think any of them apply to the doshi training school (kunrenbu).

At kunrenbu, the trainees (kunrensei) did not use each others' personal items and, in any case, those who had skin conditions had no contact at all with the other trainees. In addition, the trainees with skin conditions who were living in the isolation section of kunrenbu washed their sheets, etc. every day.

In summer, it was warm and humid, but actual spreading of skin diseases didn't seem to be an issue. The skin conditions that did occur seemed to arise spontaneously.

Certainly, the general sanitary conditions would not have been a factor. The trainees cleaned every square inch of the place every single morning, and I don't think I saw a single bug of any type inside the buildings for the entire year I was there!

I'm pretty sure the water wasn't chlorinated, either. I think it came from a natural mountain spring.

January 10, 2006  
Anonymous Dexter said...

Dear Anne,

Yes ofcourse you are right that it might also be to do with psychological factors. This can be considered as a reason "iff" these skin diseases do not appear in similar patterns in the body. If the physical features of the infection does appear the same, (for example reddish patches which appears to be circular, and is the case with every person that inccured it) then it is highly unlikely that there are psychological reasons behind it. We could then suspect pathogens at play. Ofocurse we do not have any way to know that, but if we were told by some forumites that they had seen infection of very similar nature, then that would be extrordinary (Since it violates the axioms of science, causality and time invariance!). But if the trainees complain that they have an itch and maybe reddish swellings at some arbitrary place in their body, then ofcourse I would say that its a product of the mind!

January 10, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Well, hopefully some of the people who did have skin "cleansings" will provide us with some details.

I remember most (maybe all?) of the trainees who did have skin conditions reporting extreme itchiness, and I've seen the scarring on arms and legs (I'm not sure if the scarring would have been temporary or permanent) left after the skin conditions disappeared. Beyond that, I'm relying on visitors to this blog to supply information.

January 10, 2006  

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