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?

1 Comments:

Blogger Jejune said...

My recollection is that the dog was lame or sick (not blind), and that he'd received the teachings to 'raise his hand' before he saw the dog. It was more like he thought he was going nuts, but then thought he'd try it out on this dog and see what happened.

I don't recall the date, sorry, and don't have my original notes any more...

March 02, 2006  

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