Saturday, April 22, 2006

Healing vs spiritual purification in Sukyo Mahikari

As mentioned in my previous post, in an interview (dated February, 1974) published in Gotaidanshu, Okada is quoted as saying:

.........I was then told to "Raise the hand and cure people of diseases".

My previous post focused on the "Raise the hand" part of the above, but in this post, I'm more interested in the part that does not appear in the current Goseigen - the cure people of diseases part.

The stories told relating to the genesis of the Mahikari organizations are quite up front about healing. We are not told that Okada gave light to the sick dog and the dog became more purified spiritually. We are told that the dog was cured.

Daiseishu, page 194, quotes part of an interview conducted at the Paris dojo in 1972. In response to the interviewer's questions, the Mahikari spokesperson said, Cancer? Oh yes, we cure cancer. Typhus, cholera? Certainly.

In his book, Dojo, Winston Davis reports his experience of receiving primary kenshu in Japan, in 1976. He describes the section of kenshu that gives details of where to give okiyome for specific diseases, then states,

Finally, we were warned not to advertise that we could cure diseases or make diagnoses, since according to Japanese law only doctors can perform these functions. In order to stay clear of the law and the wrath of the medical profession, Sensei suggested that we should offer only to purify souls and bodies.

Even I recall, in the early years of my Mahikari involvement, that kumite and kanbu were quite up front about saying that okiyome heals diseases. I recall people explaining that Mahikari healing was different to faith healing, for example, partly because no faith was required, and partly because okiyome purifies spiritually, as well as healing physically. I remember hearing that okiyome could cure everything except leprosy and AIDS, and that cancer patients could be cured, but only if they had not received chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. (We were told that these treatments kill the spiritual cells.) I also remember hearing that blood transfusions were to be avoided because the blood no longer contained live spiritual cells...or something like that. Medical intervention was regarded as necessary only for setting broken bones, and for stopping bleeding if an artery had been severed.

I don't remember ever seeing any written teachings saying things like the above, but such notions were definitely part of the dojo culture at that time. I suspect most people reading this became kumite somewhat later than I did, so I won't be surprised if some of these notions had changed by the time you joined.

Somewhat later, I remember we were all warned that we should not say that okiyome can heal people due to the possibility of legal repercussions if someone did not get the result they expected from receiving okiyome. So, we started to stress that the purpose of okiyome was to purify the spiritual aspect of people...and to say that a follow-on effect of this was improved physical health. Kumite still tended to point out examples of what they regarded as miraculous cures, of course.

In retrospect, I wonder if there was some incident about that time...some sort of tragedy, or some sort of legal problem...but if there was, kumite were not told about it. Certainly, the attitude towards seeking medical intervention changed significantly. By the time I left Mahikari, people were told that they should seek medical help in life threatening situations and follow the medical advice...and then apologize profusely and receive lots of okiyome to make up for it!

Clearly, there has been a gradual shift over the years in what Mahikari says, and does not say, about healing. To an "oldie" like me, these days Sukyo Mahikari seems to be bending over backwards to avoid being seen as a healing path. I believe many dojos now display printed signs saying that the purpose of okiyome is spiritual purification, not healing. (I can't remember offhand where I read that, so I can't quote the exact words, sorry.)

The new Sukyo Mahikari North America site gives the impression that Mahikari is reinventing itself in many ways (or adopting a false public face?), but especially so in relation to healing/spiritual purification.

In the 250 words in the section entitled Art of True Light, the only hint that okiyome might heal diseases is in the statement that the purpose of true light is to purify and revitalize our spirit, mind and body.

In the section on Mahikari centers, this site says, It is emphasized that the Art of True Light is not a healing art, but a spiritual practice to purify and nurture the spirit, mind and body.

The section of the site specifically devoted to health is entitled Health - A holistic approach. In this section, one would expect some mention of something like "Raise the hand and cure people of diseases"....wouldn't you? This entire section gives no hint whatsoever that okiyome is supposed to heal physically. It merely brings out the buzzword "holistic", and claims that Sukyo Mahikari wants to promote a more holistic approach to health. I don't believe dojo culture has really changed that much, has it? Surely this is false advertising.

That's it! There is nothing else in that entire site that suggests that okiyome can cure anything.

The interview in Gotaidanshu in which Okada said that God told him to "Raise the hand and cure people of diseases" was dated 1974. Now, just over 30 years later, we have the official Sukyo Mahikari site saying, "True Light is not a healing art".


Is it because, if okiyome fails to produce good health, the failure is obvious to all, whereas success or failure to purify spiritually is not visible?

Have there been health-related lawsuits that we haven't heard about?

Have there been tragic and avoidable deaths due to relying on okiyome rather than seeking medical treatment?


Blogger Asher Kennedy said...

Yes, Anne, most of the "Oldies" do still say that okiyome heals as well as spiritually purifies.

Actually...anyone over primary kenshu level tends to say that.

They are warned about saying that to new people, people who have recently completed Primary Kenshu, or people who are seriously ill.

I guess now only people over primary kenshu level are permitted to know that okiyome heals.

April 24, 2006  

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