Monday, February 27, 2006

Tenjō - Myths used to substantiate Sūkyō Mahikari (Part 3)

As I mentioned in the first post in this series, the tenjō investigation of Okada's soul and his missions is one of the myths that is used by Sūkyō Mahikari in an attempt to bolster Okada's spiritual reputation.

As I understand it, tenjō is a form of automatic writing in which two people hold the ends of a T-shaped stick. Some sort of spirit moves the stick in response to questions and thereby writes the answers in the sand (or a brush may be used to write on paper). The Mahikari intermediate kenshū textbook has the following to say concerning Okada's claim that the results of a tenjō (heavenly stick) investigation by a Shintō sect confirmed his own revelations about his divine role:

As Sukuinushi himself was surprised at the Divine Revelation, it is quite natural that some of the Shintō sects who considered themselves to be the legitimate religion were also surprised. It is likewise reasonable that they were suspicious of Sukuinushi (('s Soul)).

At that time, a proposal was made by some of the people of the Shintō sects not specifically connected with the Yōkōshi tomo-no-kai (Community of Friendship of Yōkōshi) to determine whether it would be all right to make a prayer for an indication from God about the identity of Sukuinushi's soul and his mission. Sukuinushi agreed to this proposal fully and said with conviction, "It is all right.....please go ahead."

A little further down, the Japanese kenshū textbook (but not the English one) says:


Translation: The advent of the soul of Yo would indicate that the work of ra-ru-ro would be starting on earth. Therefore, some Shintō sects were very concerned to know when and where the soul of Yo (yo being the last of the ya-yu-yo series) would appear. [In the Japanese syllable system, ra, ru, and ro come immediately after ya-yu-yo.]

The English text then goes on to say:

As for the Mission of the Soul of Yo, it had already been explained by Dr. Shioya in 1948 on the basis of a revelation given to an old hermit by the name of Ōmine. According to him, "The Mission of Yo means acting as a proxy on this Earth for Yonimasu-Ōamatsu-kami to do his divine work".

This first sentence is slightly different in the Japanese kenshū textbook. It translates as, As for the Mission of the Soul of Yo, Dr. Shioya had already received the revelation from Ōmine Rōsen, in Shōwa 23 (l948).

The original idea to investigate the validity of the above claims came a few weeks back when a friend mentioned that she had stumbled across posts on some Japanese discussion sites that seriously questioned the tenjō (heavenly stick) claim. (For those of you who read Japanese, these discussions are here, here, and here.) I'll paste parts of this material, and the translations kindly provided by my friend, at the end of this post.

Since then, we have been searching all over the internet for information concerning the people and religious groups mentioned in the Japanese discussions, and almost got distracted by the topic of Okada's connections with and influences from various pre- and post-war religious groups. This is a fascinating area...and I definitely want to write about this sometime soon...but for the moment I'll try to stick to the topic of tenjō!

Okay. The kenshū textbook does not say which Shintō sect conducted the tenjō investigation but implies that it was one of the established, respected groups. (No details are given about the identity or credentials of Dr. Shioya and Ōmine Rōsen.) Okada pointed out in his Commentary on Kamimuki Sanji that the tenjō technique is mentioned in the Kojiki and Nihonshoki. These books date from the 8th Century and contain the written oral history of Japan, including the lineage of the gods and the Japanese Imperial line, so references to tenjō in these books would tend to validate tenjō itself as an ancient and legitimate divination technique.

One would think that, if a respected Shintō divination method revealed such momentous information about Okada's soul, surely there would have been headlines about it (there weren't). Okada should have become venerated within Shintō itself, especially if some Shintō sects were waiting for the soul of Yo to appear, as is claimed in the Japanese textbook.

Anyway, here is a summary of what we found. The investigation of Okada's soul was not performed by one of the established Shintō groups. It was performed by the Makoto-no-michi religious group, in June 1960. Apparently, SMBK literature mentions that Sekiguchi took Okada to a Makoto-no-michi place for this investigation. (There is no mention of Makoto-no-michi in current Sūkyō Mahikari literature.)

Makoto-no-michi was a post-war religious group, originally the Chidori-kai spiritual research group, which was co-founded by Makoto Ogiwara and Dr. Nobuo Shioya (the man mentioned in the Mahikari kenshū text) in June 1948. These groups inherited much of their doctrine, and also the Fu ji divination technique, from the World Red Swastika Society. This is not a neo-Nazi group! The swastika is a Buddhist symbol, and this group is the charitable arm...not unlike the Red Cross...of the Dao Yuan religious group, established in China in 1921.

Apparently, Dao Yuan is basically Taoist. They place great faith in divine messages that they obtain using an automatic writing technique, which they call Fu ji (フーチ or fūchi in Japanese). From the little I've managed to find about this Dao Yuan technique, it sounds very much like the Mahikari description of tenjō.

[Note: Parts of the rest of this post have been modified since I originally posted it yesterday. My apologies to any of you who may have already read the original post. Please bear in mind that the posts on the Japanese discussion sites contain second- or even third-hand information, and may not be completely reliable. These posts have been a useful starting point for our investigations, but our investigations so far have raised more questions than they have answered! If you have any corrections or additional information that would assist with our ongoing investigations, I'd be delighted to hear from you.]

In Commentary on Kamimuki Sanji, Okada claimed that, long ago, the Chinese got the ancient divine art of tenjō from Japan, and that it has been passed down via Chinese Taosim to the World Red Swastika Society as Fu ji. Is Okada trying to make Fu ji sound respectable by saying that it was originally a Japanese divine art? Why would he do that? Sukyō Mahikari claims that the tenjō technique was used for the investigation of his soul, not Fu ji, so why talk about Fu ji at all? (Incidentally, the information provided here is from the Japanese edition of Commentary on Kamimuki Sanji, which I have heard is no longer available.)

Originally, I thought this story was going to be simple. I thought that the Makoto-no-michi group had used Fu ji to investigate Okada's soul, and that Okada had deliberately lied and said that tenjō was used. Here's where it gets complicated. Makoto-no-michi did use the Fu ji technique that they had adopted from the Dao Yuan group, but, according to the current Makoto-no-michi website (in Japanese), they call this technique tenjō, rather than Fu ji. I originally had the impression, based on the Japanese discussion sites, that Makoto-no-michi called this technique Fu ji (fūchi in Japanese). Since they in fact call it tenjō, it makes sense that Okada also used tenjō as the name of the technique used to investigate his soul.

So, why did Okada try to validate Fu ji by claiming it was descended from tenjō?

At this stage I can only speculate on the basis of the evidence we have found so far. One of the Japanese discussion posts includes a quote from Makoto-no-michi doctrine, which sounds suspiciously similar to Okada's teachings concerning the origin of the five main religions, the notion of Japan being God's country and the origin of all, and the concept of hinagata (spiritual patterns). I wonder if the claim that Fu ji is descended from tenjō originated in Makoto-no-michi doctrine rather than with Okada himself? Perhaps they felt the need to validate their divination technique in this way.

One of the Japanese posts suggests that Okada was closely connected with Makoto-no-michi at one stage...if so, maybe this was during the few years between leaving SKK and establishing Mahikari. It would be very interesting to read all of Makoto-no-michi's doctrine and see how much of it is included in Okada's teachings. Does anyone have access to reliable documentation of their doctrine? Something in English would be nice, but I'm not optimistic about that! So far, we have only found Japanese and Italian Makoto-no-michi sites.

Also, can anyone tell me where I can find details about Fu ji and tenjō? Are these really the same thing? I've not been able to find any details at all about tenjō, apart from what Sukyō Mahikari tells us. Right now, I'm starting to wonder if the divine art of tenjō really existed, outside of the Kojiki and Nihonshoki. Did Okada (or Makoto-no-michi) perhaps just make up the details about it? Does anyone know?

The Japanese post that claims that Okada knew the Makoto-no-michi people also suggests that it would have been easy for the people involved to manipulate what was revealed during the tenjō/Fu ji investigation. Apparently, the results of Okada's investigation were not reported in the Makoto-no-michi bulletin, so one must wonder how genuine the investigation was.

Our investigations concerning Dr. Shioya and Ōmine, mentioned in the above quotes, turned up even more interesting results. Apparently, Ōmine was not a real person at all. According to one of the Japanese discussion posts, he was a just an old man who often appeared in Dr. Shioya's dreams, and Shioya used to refer to him as Ōmine Rōsen. However, the Makoto-no-michi website refers to Ōmine Rōsen as being one of their guiding divine spirits.

Of course, the Japanese textbook does not say that Ōmine Rōsen was a real man, but it doesn't explain who (or what) he was either. Most people receiving kenshū would not have heard this name before, so it would be understandable if they thought he was both real and extremely knowledgable about esoteric matters. (This might explain the mistranslation in the English textbook mentioned above.) Think about it for a minute. If I just said, "Dr. Jones explained the 12th theory of thermo-nuclear-dynamics to me", and you had never heard of Dr. Jones or this theory, you would probably assume that Dr. Jones was a real person and a very knowledgable scientist, and that such a theory existed.

Primary kenshū gives quite detailed explanations concerning the role of Yo, and says that these explanations came from Dr. Shioya, who received revelations from Ōmine Rōsen. Remember, this role of Yo is supposed to be pretty important to "some Shintō sects", and is supposed to indicate the coming of the storms of ra-ru-ro. One would hope that Okada got this information from a reliable source, yet this "information" comes from, either, a character in someone else's dreams, or a guiding spirit revered by Makoto-no-michi. Even if the latter is correct, this information seems rather unreliable, particularly if we take into account the claim made in one of the Japanese posts that Dr. Shioya (the man who received the revelation) has since left Makoto-no-michi (which he co-founded).

Actually, new pre- and post-war Japanese religions seem to be chockfull of revelations received by the founders of religious groups and other people. After a while, one almost starts to believe that revelations are a valid means of obtaining information. Did these people actually believe these revelations themselves? Surely they can't ALL have been deliberately trying to deceive their followers.

Dr. Shioya's full name was Nobuo Shioya, and he was a member of Shinsei-ryūshin-kai (more on that group in a future post) before his Makoto-no-michi days. A Google search on this name found a number of sites that talk about this least, on the basis of dates, it looks like the same man. This Dr. Shioya is now something like 103, in excellent health, a keen golfer, the originator of a special breathing technique that uses pranic energy and positive affirmations to heal one's own body, and author of a couple of books on this technique. It seems the "blessing- the-water" group draws inspiration from him, and he's got something to do with the "water crystals" notion as well.

Does anyone happen to know if this is the same man? If it is, I'd love to have a chance to talk with him! He could probably tell us quite a lot about Okada and his activities prior to the establishment of Mahikari, and also provide background information concerning the other people and groups that influenced each other at that time. It seems he still has an excellent memory, thanks to his pranic self-healing. Perhaps, after all his cult-hopping, he is finally on to something!

The following are excerpts, and their translations, from some of the Japanese posts mentioned above. Please bear in mind that these and similar posts were merely the starting point of our investigations, and that the contents may not be completely reliable.

154 :名無しさん@3周年:2006/01/11(水) 00:42:08 ID:mkIqamv7


In Commentary on Kamimuki Sanji, [P.33] Kōtama says:
. . . . . Therefore, it is quite natural that the people in the field of Shintō doubted me at that time. Several people, whose names I avoid mentioning, came to me and said, 'Can we
ask God about your soul?'
This asking God for revelation has come down secretly from the age of gods, and is called tenjō, and it appears a lot in Kojiki and Nihonshoki.

This went to China later, and became 'Fu ji', which the World Red Swastika Society conducts. In Japan, it has been the secret practice among the secrets. In this way, 'the man who excutes Yo'
was shown in front of the authorities who have protected Japanese National Shintō.

真 光では、神道界の大御所が、初代光玉師の御霊伺い(天杖)を行った、天杖とは古事記や日本書記に出きており、秘伝中の秘伝で後に支那(中国)に渡りフーチ なったと説いているが、実は、御霊占いは、神道界の大御所どころか、新宗教真の道教団の、キの宮において(中田華風の所)、フーチ(道教祭儀)という自動 書記で、大峯老仙の神霊が「ヨはいつきなり」と伝えたのです。

Mahikari claims that the authorities in the Shintō field conducted a divine investigation (tenjō) about Koutama's soul, and that tenjō appears in Kojiki and Nihonshoki and is the secret of the secrets, which later went to China and became Fu ji. In fact, the divine investigation was conducted at the Ki-no-miya (at the place of Kafū Nakada) of a new religious sect called Makoto-no-Michi, which certainly wasn't the "authorities" of the Shintō World. It was automatic writing called Fu ji (a Taoist ritual). A divine spirit called Ōmine Rōsen gave the revelation of "the man who executes Yo".


'Fu ji' is an oracle which has come down from the ancient Taoism in China, and is practiced in a World Red Swastika Society temple in Okutama.
Fu ji came to Japan after the war with the Japanese soldiers who had learned it from the Chinese. It can't be found in Kojiki or Nihonshoki.


The automatic writing called Fu ji is a Chinese version of the ouija board and requires a human intermediary. There's no need to comment on its credibility.

147 :名無しさん@3周年:2006/01/10(火) 07:15:55 ID:LuKARXQe

The Sūkyō Mahikari kenshū textbook says a Shintō sect, which Mahikari claims had no connection with Okada's group, and which, according to his doctorine, should only have teachings of pseudo-truth, conducted the divine investigation. Sekiguchi of SMBK states that Kōtama, 'led by Sekiguchi', visited Makoto-no-Michi for the first time and received the 'Tenjō revelation'.
Mahikari doesn't say any more than that about the connection between Mokoto-no-Michi and Okada. There is no documentary evidence of the series of events that Mahikari claims happened.

155 :名無しさん@3周年:2006/01/11(水) 00:45:14 ID:mkIqamv7

Makoto-no-Michi and Kōtama were associated with each other. Therefore, they put on a pre-arranged act and claimed that Kōtama was 'the man who executes Yo" and had the role of Yonimasu-Ōamatsu-kami. It deserves to be called a 'farce'.

[Feb 2007 note: Since writing this post, we have found quite a lot of additional information concerning Makoto no Michi and Dr. Shioya, so a follow-up post would be good (time permitting). The influence on Okada from SKK has been well documented, but it now seems that Makoto no Michi and Dr. Shioya may have had an even greater influence. Incidentally, Makoto no Michi is listed first as one of the religions related to the various Mahikari organizations on this site.

Just briefly, yes, the Dr. Shioya mentioned in kenshu and the man who now promotes affirmations and deep-breathing are the same person. In 1955, he formed an off-shoot group from Makoto no Michi, called Makoto no Michi Kyokai, and it may have been this second group that performed the tenjo investigation. Around that time, it seems that Dr. Shioya himself practiced tekazashi and had a degree of fame as a healer.]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What do cults do?

This morning I happened to see a three-minute television interview with a cult counsellor. Within that format, he managed to give quite a good overview of what cults do and how they affect people.

While I was doing the dishes (one has to think about something while doing the dishes), I started trying to identify the essential points concerning how cults control people. I've certainly read plenty over the last few months about cults in general and Sūkyō Mahikari in particular, so I figured I should be able extract the essential features.

Perhaps you've already come across Lifton's 8 points for identifying cults and Steve Hassan's BITE Control Model points (which are the basis of excellent discussion here). These are very thorough and useful, but can be a bit overwhelming. I wanted something simpler to quickly convey the essence of cults.

So, my attempt at an overview, filtered as always through the lens of my experience of Sukyō Mahikari, is as follows.

1. The cult promises a benefit to the person: often an immediate this-worldy benefit, such as happiness of some sort. The first topic in primary kenshū is the promise of ken, wa, fu (health, harmony, and prosperity).

2. The cult somehow persuades the person that the doctrine of the cult is the highest and only truth, and that the person's own perceptions and logic are unreliable.

3. The cult negates outside sources of information and criticism by explaining that everyone else is ignorant of the "true path" and/or misled by evil forces.

4. The cult negates any criticism by members themselves as being evidence of the person's own failings.

5. The cult unites members in a mission (often to save the world). This appeals to their altruism, gives a sense of purpose, cultivates a sense of community, and takes up most of their spare time.

6. The cult plants fears of what will befall the person if they leave the "right" side and go over to the "wrong" side.

Very broadly speaking, the first three feature manipulation of the intellect, and the last three work on more of an emotional level. (Of course, there are elements of both in all points.)

In looking back over this list, it seems to me that the first step in becoming free of a cult is to re-engage our ability to think for ourselves. I think this starts with questioning/rejecting either the doctrines themselves or the basis of the cult's claim of infallability (which probably involves discrediting the founder or leader in some way).

We can then start to rely on our own perceptions and intellect, and use our thinking powers to work on the emotional control aspect (the hard part!). I don't claim to have all the answers, but I certainly think it helps a lot if we educate ourselves about mind control techniques, and examine our own experiences carefully to see how particular doctrines and customs within the cult played on our emotions.

It helps, too, to communicate with other former members and see that the fear of leaving is groundless. It does take time, but people do go on to lead happy productive lives....or should I say, new improved more exhilirating lives!...after leaving a cult.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Prophecies - Myths used to substantiate Sūkyō Mahikari (Part 2)

The next substantiating myths of Sūkyō Mahikari that I want to look at are the Biblical and Buddhist prophecies that Mahikari say refer to Okada. I must admit, I did not find these quoted prophecies particularly convincing, or particularly relevant, even when I was a dedicated kumite.

In kenshū, Jesus is quoted as saying, When He, the spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. The wording of this quote can certainly be seen as being consistent with Okada's claim that he, for the first time ever, conveyed all the truth rather than just part of it. Isn't there something a little illogical here though? Okada claims that Christianity is a brake religion that contains only part of the truth, so why should we think that this part of the Bible is correct? Is it logical for Okada to rely on something that he regards as "partial truth" to prove that Okada himself knows the full truth?

In addition, kenshū cites various Biblical mentions of "Light from the East", etc. The East is a very wide area. Perhaps these quotes refer to Rev. Moon, or Muhammad, or the founder of any of the numerous Japanese sects.

What about the word "Light"? We are told that Okada studied the Bible, amongst other things, before starting . You'll recall that Okada originally called his new religious organization L. H. Yōkōshi Tomo no Kai, but soon after changed the name to Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyōdan. Did he perhaps change the name to emphasize the "Mahikari" (translates as "True Light") aspect, and therefore conform to the Biblical prophecies of Light from the East? Incidentally, I can think of other reasons for abandoning a name like is a strange name!

Since Sūkyō Mahikari uses Biblical quotes in an effort to substantiate Okada's claims, it seems fair to point out that there are many other Biblical quotes that Christians might like to use to do the opposite. I don't put great store in Biblical quotes myself, but here's one from a Christian website:

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matt 24:24

Let's move on to the prediction attributed to Buddha that is used to bolster Okada's credentials. This one is probably already well-known from this page of the Mahikari Exposed site. Buddha said, The man who preaches the true spiritual path will appear from among laymen 3000 years after my death.

This one is very broad in meaning indeed, and could refer to almost anyone (most people are "laymen"). At first glance, it merely seems presumptuous to assume that Buddha was referring to Okada. At second the math!

You know, for many years after I received kenshū, I assumed, on the basis of the way this quote is used, that Buddha must have died about 1000 BCE. Well, I just checked Wikipedia, and no...Buddha lived from around 563 to 483 BCE. We still have to wait another 500 years!

[PS: (Dec. 2006) A reader has just pointed out to me that there are conflicting opinions on the date of Buddha's death, and that the Nichiren branch does claim that Buddha died about 3,000 years ago. When I wrote the original post above, I checked several sources, all of which placed his date of death about 2,500 years ago. Obviously, I did not check enough sources!]

[Feb 2007 note: Koya Okada (the acting leader) refers to Buddha on a number of occasions in his monthly teachings. In each case he says that Buddha lived about 2,500 years ago. Huh? I'm not sure what we should conclude from that... ]

It seems quite foolish of Okada and/or the Sūkyō Mahikari organization to try to use this quote as verification. At best, it is laughable. However, it becomes very foolish indeed when you consider that they had to lie about Okada's years as a kanbu of SKK in order to make this prediction "fit".

I might not have bothered to comment on this particular prediction at all if it weren't for the fact that this prediction has now become the core of a major comedy of errors. I think ordinary kamikumite would not have been particularly fussed to know that Okada was once a kanbu in another religion, but the fact that blatant lies have been told concerning this point has damaged Sūkyō Mahikari's reputation enormously.

Kenshū used to state categorically that, Before he received the revelations from God and started saving people by raising his hand, Sukuinushisama was absolutely no official religious practitioner (e.g. priest etc) as regards religions. I imagine that statement is omitted from kenshū these days...can anyone who left Mahikari recently confirm that?

In All the Emperor's Men, Greenwood tells the story of how his wife wrote to Keishu and asked if Okada was ever involved with SKK. Mr Tomita, who is (or was) her secretary, a tertiary kenshū lecturer, and a long-term personal friend of Okada, replied on her behalf and denied that Okada had ever been a member of SKK. Tomita's letter said, It seems that Yoshikazu Okada, our great saviour, studied the organization, but it is not true that he was a member of it. He and Keishu must both have known this was a lie (Keishu herself was a member of SKK at the same time Okada was).

Greenwood talked with various members of SKK (Sekai Kyūsei Kyō) who remembered Okada well from when he was a member and kanbu of their organization. They gave Greenwood a photograph taken of some SKK kanbu in can see this photo on the Mahikari Exposed site here.

In the light of this evidence, the Mahikari organization has been forced to admit that Okada was a member of SKK at one time. The following quote can be found here: In order to further his spiritual development and deepen his spiritual practice of humility, Okada undertook a period of ascetic training at a Zen Buddhist temple. He also joined several religious organizations (one of them was Sekai Kyusei Kyo) and studied the Bible extensively.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Myths used to substantiate Sukyo Mahikari

Since the Meiji era, many "new" religions have appeared in Japan. Many of these began when the founder received some sort of revelation and, subsequently, developed some sort of healing powers. In the pre-war years, not all such people went on to establish a new religious group, partly because of restrictions that applied to establishing new religions. Generally, a new religion had to be approved by one of the established Shinto or Buddhist sects before it could establish itself. When these restrictions were waived after the war, it became considerably easier to establish a new religion.

In Healing in the New Religions: Charisma and 'Holy Water', Masako Watanabe and Midori Igeta report that, "In The Rush Hour of the Gods, H. Neill McFarland notes that all of the new religions in Japan have been established with a core of healing activity, and that such faith healing forms one of the most effective means of maintaining the groups' membership."

Watanabe and Igeta go on to say, "Whatever the case, it is no doubt true that the practical activity of helping and giving comfort to human beings through faith healing plays an important role within process whereby the founders of Japan's new religions progress from the status of ordinary human being to charismatic mediator between human and divine, or even to the status of a living deity itself. [Italics mine] A religious founder's charismatic authority is confirmed as he or she cures ills which cannot be healed by the normally available cultural remedies, thus resulting in the establishment of a charismatic linkage between founder and believer." I think this more or less sums up the origins of the Sukyo Mahikari and SMBK organizations.

In Okada's case, the originating incident was the dog story discussed in my previous post, Which version of the Mahikari dog story is correct?. After that incident, Okada, like the leaders of others of the new religions, proceeded to observe, cogitate, record further revelations, research various matters, etc., and thereby developed doctrines and explanations concerning a wide variety of spiritual and historical matters...or so he claimed. He also claimed, again like other leaders, to have been given a special mission by God.

For Westerners like myself, with little or no prior exposure to any spiritual healing techniques, the fact that okiyome appeared to be effective as a healing method was sufficient "proof" that Okada knew what he was talking about. (My Open Letter to Kamikumite includes discussion of this fallacy.)

Okiyome and the dog story may have been sufficient "proof" in the West but, in Japan, it seems that revelations and the ability to heal were not particularly novel. Even the apparent ability to pass on the power to heal to other members of the organization, and the concept of spiritual purification (with physical healing as a nice secondary effect), were not new.

In addition, since Okada had spent a number of years as a member and kanbu of SKK, and since there are a number of similarities between SKK and Mahikari, I imagine that he felt he needed to bolster his credentials as a genuine founder of a new and different religion. Okada's emphasis on spirit disturbance...firstly, that it occurs, and secondly, that he could solve it...does provide a major point of difference between the two groups. Even so, primary kenshu includes a number of claims which seem to be designed simply to bolster Okada's spiritual reputation and make it believable that he was the one true messenger for this age.

The claims I see as substantiating myths are: the dog story, the Biblical and Buddhist predictions that are interpreted to refer to Okada, the Shinto tenjo (heavenly stick) automatic writing concerning Okada's divine missions, meeting the Pope and being friends with Swami Rama, receiving the order of St. Dennis of Zante, the claim that Okada completed bosatsu no gyo in just five years, the archeological "findings" that support Okada's version of history...have I forgotten any?...oh yes, and Okada's mother's dream that a white mouse from the Ise shrine bit her on her left big toe. Can you think of any others?

I've not included okiyome in this list of substantiating myths since it is a core aspect of Mahikari. (There is discussion of why okiyome works and/or appears to work under Does okiyome "work"? [Parts 1 to 4] in the December 2005 archives of this blog.)

At the time I first received kenshu, it would not have been easy to check the validity of most of these claims, but I must confess that I didn't pay too much attention to them. For me, okiyome was sufficient "evidence", so it never occurred to me to analyze or try to check any of these claims. (Even now I'm going to ignore the one about the white mouse!)

What about you? Have any of you checked the validity of any of this other substantiating evidence? If so, I'd love to hear your findings.

Fortunately, some of the substantiating claims have now been checked and discredited by other former members, as you will know if you have read All the Emperor's Men or the material on the Mahikari Exposed site. This post is already getting rather long, so I'll save a summary of those findings for my next post. I plan on getting to the other items in this list also in subsequent posts (soon, I hope).

In the meantime, are any of you familiar with Buddhism as practiced in Japan? I've been looking round the internet for information concerning bosatsu no gyo (relates to becoming a Bodhisattva). What does Okada actually mean when he claims to have "completed" bosatsu no gyo? I'll continue to look for information, but would love to hear from anyone who can explain this to me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Which version of the Mahikari dog story is correct?

Anyone who has ever been a member of Sukyo Mahikari will remember the story about Okada and the dog. The gist of the story is that Okada received a revelation from God (or heard a voice) telling him to raise his hand and give okiyome. Apparently, Okada was reluctant to believe that he could heal (or purify) people in this way, so he first tried it on a dog he came across in the street. The dog was in pain (or blind), and when Okada gave it okiyome, the dog appeared to become well and walked away (or could see again). This encouraged Okada to begin giving okiyome to human recipients, and to found what was to become the Mahikari organization.

This story is short and simple, but Mahikari gets a lot of mileage out it. Firstly, it's a nice human interest story that kumite can easily relate to. It sets the scene for claiming that Okada was an ordinary man, rather than a priest or similar in any other religion. It "proves" that okiyome is from God, rather than something Okada invented. In addition, for those that believe okiyome works, it "proves" that Okada did receive the revelations from God, as opposed to Okada making them up himself. Since the beneficiary of the healing is a dog rather than a human, it also "proves" that okiyome does not rely on the power of persuasion for it to be effective.

Obviously, it is possible that this story, in whatever variation, is just a myth, but let's assume for now that it actually happened.

In the version I heard at kenshu, Okada received some sort of revelation telling him to raise his hand, and the dog was cured, so Okada began believing he could heal/purify people, which lead to founding the Mahikari organization. I don't remember any indication of what year this was supposed to have happened, but I had the distinct impression that it was around the time Okada started receiving the revelations that are included in Goseigen. (This impression has been confirmed by one other person who received kenshu in that era.)

This is consistent with the material in Garry Greenwood's All the Emperor's men. The material there seems to be quoted from the primary kenshu lecturers' textbook. It says:

In the early hours of the 27th of February, 1959, he began to receive revelations from God. .... God revealed to him how he must raise his hands and allow God's light to flow from them .... At first, our great saviour doubted these revelations, and that he could transmit God's light through his hands. Initially he raised his hand to a blind dog, and miraculously the dog improved and could again see.

In the Introduction to Dojo: Magic and Exorcism in Modern Japan, Winston Davis says:

Okada was awakened at five o'clock in the morning by a divine voice saying, Get up. Change your name to Kotama (Jewel of Light). Raise your hand. Trials and tribulations are coming! ..... The first to be healed by the new Savior was a dog.

All of the above sources, which predate it becoming common knowledge that Okada was a SKK kanbu, suggest that the dog incident must have occurred in 1959. So, why is this date important?

We now know that Okada was a member (and kanbu) of SKK leading up to that time. According to the Crumbling Foundations article on the Mahikari Exposed site:

Okada joined SKK in the Nagoya area around 1947 and became a very enthusiastic member. In 1949 he became a full time paid minister assigned to the Hauai church in its branch church located in Nishiogikobo Tokyo. ..... In 1953 he was sacked as a minister of SKK for unacceptable behavior, although he maintained a close affiliation with SKK until 1957.

Does it make sense for the dog story to imply that Okada needed a revelation from God to start raising his hand, or that Okada doubted the effectiveness of this and therefore tested it out on a dog before giving okiyome to people, or that he was surprised that it healed the dog? During his 10 years in SKK, Okada was already "raising his hand" to give jorei (very similar in technique to giving okiyome) to heal/purify people. He had no need of a revelation to think of this technique, and had no need to test it out on a dog.

Once Okada's SKK involvement became well known, the dating of this story obviously needed to be changed, or, at least, it needed to be specifically dated rather than dated by implication.

A version of the dog story told now does specify a date. A pro-Mahikari article on the Human Rights Without Frontiers site says:

In 1948, filled with regret for his shortcomings and negative karma, and overwhelmed by his responsibility to repay the enormous debts he had, Okada contemplated suicide. Before deciding wether to take such a drastic step, Okada felt he should first visit the shrine of the family deity that his ancestors worshipped. When Okada left the shrine, a mysterious thing happened. Okada saw a dog in obvious pain lying in the street. As he approached the dog, he suddenly heard a voice, seemingly from nowhere, saying “Raise your hand”. After hesitating a moment, he raised his hand over the dog. Okada felt a warm energy pouring forth from his hand and after some minutes the dog got up and walked away, in apparently good health.

I've spoken with a former member of Mahikari who received kenshu comparatively recently. It seems the dog story is still included in primary kenshu, but with this much earlier date.

So....what if this incident did take place in 1948 rather than 1959? Certainly, if the incident occurred then, it has more credibility to imply that Okada felt he needed to test okiyome out on a dog. Did the Mahikari powers-that-be perhaps decide to move the date of the story as a damage control measure when Okada's SKK history became known?

However, this story is supposed to explain the genesis of Mahikari. If the dog incident took place in 1948, why did it take Okada 11 years to get around to starting Mahikari?

According to the dates we have for Okada's SKK involvement, it looks suspiciously like the dog incident, if it occurred at all, was the impetus for Okada to join SKK, rather than the impetus for the foundation of Mahikari. If that is the case, it seems more likely that the impetus to establish Mahikari was simply that Okada had been sacked as a kanbu of SKK.

Does anyone still have the notes they took at primary kenshu? If so, I'd really like to hear what date, if any, you recorded for the dog story. Please also indicate whether you recorded these notes before or after Okada's SKK involvement became known.

Do you have any other details? Was the dog blind, or in pain, or something else? Did Okada hear a voice telling him to raise his hand just as he was walking down the street towards the dog, or did he get this command in one of the revelations included in Goseigen?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

体験談ーー真光をやめるにいたった経緯ー御み霊を外すのが怖くてで きない人の参考になれば . . .

これはインターネットの<真光関係者集合!!(4)>のサイトに あった書き込みです。ちょっと長いのですが、元信者の、非常に興味 深い体験談です。

327 名前: 退会体験談 1/14 契機 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:23



328 名前: 退会体験談 2/14 思案 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:25

今の道場に奉納か? なんてね。 神様とは、どこででも波長合わせはできるだろ?

していればいいんだろ? 人類に対して、組み手の人数は少なすぎるんだから、
私のことは何もかも知ってるんだろ? ならば、今回の経緯も全て知ってるわけで。

329 名前: 退会体験談 3/14 転換 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:26

「手かざしは素晴らしい」だ。 甘えるな。社会でそんなことが通用するか。


330 名前: 退会体験談 4/14 勉強 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:27
4/14 勉強
怒るわけもないだろ? と妙な自信を持ってしまった。居直ったというか。



331 名前: 退会体験談 5/14 比較 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:29


332 名前: 退会体験談 6/14 氷解 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:30

という解釈もあり得る。自分じゃ、もう真光を信じていなくて、 騙されていたと
でも、霊動は? 霊査は? あちこち捜して、「霊動は変性意識状態」という一文を


333 名前: 退会体験談 7/14 感情 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:31



334 名前: 退会体験談 8/14 決行 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:33



335 名前: 9/14 1日目 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:49



336 名前: 10/14 2日目 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:50

全部お炊き上げか? うへー。一度では、無理だよな。

337 名前: 11/14 2日目(2 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:52
わかるか? この気持ち。車内時計を時々見ながら、あれから30時間経った、



338 名前: 12/14 3日目 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:53
車で出かけて(今日も友人が運転)、適当に遊んできた。途中で一度、 M

339 名前: 13/14 4日目 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:55



340 名前: 14/14 現在 投稿日: 01/12/07 17:57
「暴かれた真光 日本語版」は、組み手をやめてから読んだ。


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Straw men and red herrings

Dr. Tebecis appears to be the main English-language "voice" for Sukyo Mahikari. He has published two books, and his influence can be seen in sites such as Thomas David's Sukyo Mahikari Australia site, where Dr. Tebecis' Answers To Critics appears.

Dr. Tebecis writes with a very authoritative tone, and has the unfortunate knack of writing very persuasively. To people who have at some stage been under the influence of Mahikari indocrination, he can sound amazingly first glance, at least.

In Steve Hassan's Releasing the Bonds, pages 169-170, he says, One of the most common disinformation tactics used by cults is a logical fallacy known as the "straw man," where a person weakens his opponent's position by misrepresenting his arguments and attacking an indefensible "straw man," rather than addressing the real issues.

I think Dr. Tebecis has done exactly that in his Answers To Critics. He has subtly managed to distort, or change the focus of, the original criticisms he claims to be answering, thereby making the critics of Mahikari sound rather silly. He makes it sound like the critics have made claims that they haven't, and for the most part fails to address the claims they have made.

For example, critics have pointed out that Mahikari promotes veneration of the Emperor and that Mahikari doctrine promotes Japanese imperialism. Dr. Tebecis did not address these claims at all! Instead, his "answer" consisted entirely of statements about the Imperial family's supposed attitudes towards religions (including Mahikari). He manages to give the impression that critics have made claims about the Emperor's attitude towards Mahikari, when they have in fact made claims about Mahikari's attitude towards the Emperor. He tried to make the critics look ridiculous by attributing claims to them that they had not made.

Next he suggests that the imperialism claims are based on teachings related to "the land of the origin of spirit", and conveniently ignores other written material and practices that support this claim. He states that, "In ancient times when humankind appeared on earth, there was no country called Japan, no nationalities or borders, only land." He cleverly makes it sound like Mahikari's critics think these did exist at that time, and that only he and his readers are smart enough to realize they didn't. This is not only a straw man, but also a red herring. There is plenty of material to indicate that Mahikari regards Japan and the Japanese people as special, despite the fact that he cites a few quotes that seem to contradict that.

Next, Dr. Tebecis attempts to refute the anti-Semitic claim by referring to various Mahikari members who are Jewish. This "evidence" is quite irrelevant, since the critics' anti-Semitic claim is based on Mahikari doctrine, not on exclusion of Jewish people. This topic has been quite thoroughly covered elsewhere, including the Mahikari Project Blog. Incidentally, there is an interesting update there, posted on 31/12/05, concerning the fate of the money donated by Sukyo Mahikari.

The topic of connections with Aum Supreme Truth is tackled next. By mentioning that The Japanese police have discredited Aum Supreme Truth as a terrorist organization, so it is understandable that people who know little about Sukyo Mahikari would be shocked, Dr. Tebecis not-so-subtly suggests that the Mahikari critics think Mahikari was directly involved in Aum's terrorist activities. No-one has claimed that. Dr. Tebecis makes it sound as if the sole basis for discussion concerning whether or not there is any sort of connection is that Ms Yasuko Shimada was a pioneer of Mahikari in Australia and later joined Aum. He fails to mention that Shimada was a vital link in Aum buying property in Western Australia to test/destroy? some mysterious object, (one wonders if a third, behind-the-scenes group hired her to assist both Mahikari and Aum). He does not mention that both groups had the same political sponsor in Japan, and that both make reference to the Protocols of Zion. In short, he has magnified the critics claim, and minimized the evidence that suggests the possibility of a connection to the point where it again makes the critics sound ridiculous.

Most of the rest of Dr. Tebecis' article deals with government investigations of Sukyo Mahikari in various countries. This is not a straw man...ex-member critics and media critics have reported such investigations...but it is a red herring. After Dr. Tebecis' many paragraphs detailing these investigations and their outcomes, the naive and/or less-than-alert reader would probably be lulled into thinking that Sukyo Mahikari is "alright".

But what are government investigations looking for when they investigate a group? Primarily, they look for any evidence of terrorist or dubious political activity, such as stockpiling of guns, making of bombs, or funding of suspect groups. Next, they look for child abuse and any other illegal activities. In countries that support freedom of religion, the content and practice of a religion is not (and cannot be) relevant to government investigations...if no laws are being broken. If a group is registered as a religion, it is not illegal to persuade the adherents to believe nonsense.

Being cleared by a government investigation is not as reassuring as it sounds. It is not illegal to cause mental anguish and waste peoples' time (and money).

You'll notice that Dr. Tebecis picked his topics carefully. I think he only attempted to answer the points where he felt he could win...yet his article still has an air of having "answered all the criticisms". Amazing!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mahikari sales techniques - new tea

One well known sales technique is to first get the customer to say "Yes" several doesn't matter much what s/he is saying yes to...then to introduce the notion that you really want the customer to agree to, and s/he will be much more inclined to agree.

For example, the salesperson might ask if you hate cleaning the shower (Yes!), if soap scum and calcium deposits are hard to get off (Yes!!), and wouldn't it be nice to have bathroom tiles to which nothing can stick (Yes!!!). Then the salesperson says that smart, busy people like yourself would want to buy some sort of teflon-like spray to keep your tiles permanently clean. (Actually, I might buy that!)

Or, it might be getting you to agree that world peace would be nice, that terrorism is awful, and God is love...all things that most people would find easy to agree with... and that, therefore, you should vote for party X or come to a meeting at religion Y.

In the Mahikari primary kenshu, I remember the lecturer going on and on about the "new tea" analogy. The notion was quite simple, but still seemed to be explained at length. We were told that, if we want to taste the nice new tea, we need to tip out the old tea first, because if we added the nice fresh tea to a half-full cup of stale old tea, it would not taste so nice. Simple. Easy enough for everyone to agree with. In the case of tea, it is obviously a good idea to tip out the old tea first. Who wouldn't!

The lecturer then went on to say that, isn't it a good idea to tip out all our old beliefs before putting in the new teachings we were hearing at kenshu. If we don't tip out our previous beliefs, we cannot appreciate the taste of the lovely new Mahikari teachings, can we?

Well, I suppose not...if we continue to believe commonsense notions and everything we have learnt from our life experience so far, it would rather spoil our appreciation of Mahikari teachings...

But what has that got to do with enjoying a cup of tea? Absolutely nothing. This is a very misleading analogy. There is no logical connection what-so-ever between this analogy and the question of whether or not Mahikari teachings are true. Agreeing that the former makes sense, in no way should lead logically to agreeing that the conclusion is correct. Yet, somehow, I think we were more inclined to agree to listen to the kenshu teachings with an open mind than we would have been if we hadn't first agreed that the tea example made sense.

Most people would also agree that, if we don't learn from history, we are destined to repeat it. Isn't that a case for keeping the half-full cup of old tea and adding new experiences to it?

I wonder what a dedicated kumite would say to the idea that we must tip out the old tea consisting of Mahikari doctrines before we can appreciate the luscious taste of being free to think for ourselves?

Does anyone else have a "favourite" sales technique that is used in primary kenshu (or elsewhere in the teachings)?