Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mahikari healing (and related matters)

Ash's comment on my last post made me wonder just how much Mahikari rhetoric has changed, even amongst members, on the subject of healing vs spiritual purification. Perhaps the new official US site reflects current teachings on this matter better than I thought...are we looking at rewriting of the teachings, rather than false advertising in this case?

Why should I care if Sukyo Mahikari is starting to reinvent itself and modify Okada's teachings? Well, I don't really. A bit of modification may well be an improvement!

Seriously though, is it legitimate for Mahikari teachings to change and evolve over time? That would certainly be legitimate for any group of human origin, but Mahikari claims divine origin. Kumite are not allowed to question the teachings, because they are regarded as revelations from God, and therefore absolutely true. Logically, those teachings should not evolve or change under the influence of mere human wisdom.

I personally don't believe revelations are valid...I'm still trying to decide if Okada suffered from religious delusions, or simply made them all up...but for the leaders and kanbu who teach that all of Okada's words were "golden", isn't it hypocritical to change the teachings?

Okada said, on page 20 of Sunkyo, a collection of Okada's short teachings published in 1984:

Due to human nature, as time passes people are apt to become proud and conceited and they add their own exaggerated embellishments and personal interpretations to original teachings instead of repeating them exactly as they were taught. Eventually the real meaning of the original teachings becomes vague and meaningless. All the religions of the world have followed this historical pattern.

Within our organization this is absolutely out of the question.

I then had a look at what Tebecis says in Is the future in our hands? (2004) on the subjects of healing and change.

From my experience, I can see that the Mahikari organization has been evolving. Of course, the art of True Light and the teachings do not change, but [various factors] have all helped to clarify various misconceptions and are leading to positive changes. [Page 46]

Continuing with this theme, on pages 50-51, he says:

One misconception, for instance, was that Mahikari was regarded as an organization for healing and other self-benefits, much more than occurs nowadays. The founder indicated that the aim of True Light is not for healing disease...Ultimately, it is to enable people to become divine in nature and participate in fulfilling the divine plan.

[Page 53] There is nothing wrong with having an initial attitude of seeking benefits. However, in the longer term, there may be a big difference in the results if people come to serve God out of a genuine desire to do something for God rather than simply a desire to be healed.

Incidentally, this entire section (pages 46 to 58) is a masterful example of manipulative writing, which weaves together several different threads. The thread illustrated by the above quotes basically says that the healing notion was a misconception, but that kumite now understand teachings better. However, woven in amongst that, Tebecis takes every opportunity to offer examples of the miraculous benefits he claims people have received from okiyome! A third thread makes the reader feel that seeking self-benefit is rather small-hearted, and no doubt nudges kumite to resolve to make greater efforts to serve God selflessly. Finally, there is a nasty little thread that suggests that people who have left Mahikari and become critical of it were insufficiently altruistic and were disappointed at not getting expected benefits for themselves, and simply "gave up"!!!

Unraveling all that is going to take a while, so please bear with me.

Firstly, Tebecis does stick much closer to Okada's teachings concerning healing than the official Sukyo Mahikari US site. The latter has pretty much written healing out of the teachings, whereas Tebecis has merely made it seem like a selfish pursuit. I must admit, though, in this, Tebecis is reflecting teachings given by Okada in other parts of Goseigen.

For most of us, altruistic motives, such as wanting to help other people and wanting to help God with his so-called divine plan, probably sound much more noble than wanting benefits for ourselves. However, Sukyo Mahikari does make promises of enormous benefits to those who practice it diligently.

There is an interesting article, by Brian McVeigh, called The Vitalistic Conception of Salvation as Expressed in Sukyo Mahikari. McVeigh points out that religions such as Christianity and Buddhism emphasize benefits in the next world, after death. In contrast, folk religions tend to emphasize this-worldly benefits, such as improved crops and miracle cures. He suggests that the "new" Japanese religions, which includes Mahikari, have a foot in both camps. They are similar to folk religions in that they promise benefits to practitioners in this life, but they also incorporate notions of postponed benefits to be reaped after death.

I wonder if people from different cultures would see pursuit of the supposed health benefits of Mahikari as selfish? Or, is this attitude a product of the Christian-based culture many of us grew up in? Perhaps Okada felt it was only natural for religions to promise this-worldly benefits...and so he did, in quite an up-front manner. I wonder if Sukyo Mahikari kanbu in Japan are writing healing out of Okada's teachings to the extent that is happening in the Western world? If anyone in Japan can comment on this, please tell us!

It's interesting to look again at primary kenshu in the light of McVeigh's comments. Right at the beginning, during the introductory remarks concerning the nature of the organization and the kenshu process itself, the promises of self-benefit start.

During Primary kenshū there are numerous people who have had experiences such as, a hand paralysed by stroke began to move, or those who could not walk started to walk, or those who have been blind for many years began to see.

Then, right there in Chapter 1, in the section concerning ken, wa, fu (health, harmony, and material prosperity) we are told:

It is important to fulfil these three conditions of health, harmony and material well-being.
These are the minimum basic requirements for happiness so make them your primary goal. And as you achieve these three, keep improving them step by step.

Well, it depends on the person, but within three to five years even the condition of the slowest people will improve.

That sounds like a promise of this-worldly self-benefit to me!

Of course, there are other teachings that encourage members to put God first and to not worry about their own welfare. Other teachings stress that one needs to become spiritually purified in order to reap the benefits of health, peace, and material prosperity. Still other teachings imply we all have enormous amounts of ancestral and personal karma, so that we might not receive the promised benefits any time soon...

Altogether, its an interesting mix. There are the promises of observable, this-worldly benefits. These may attract new members, but they are a two-edged sword. If these promises fail to materialize, it is all too obvious. In terms of retaining members in the long-term, it is probably much smarter to shift the emphasis to spiritual purification and selfless service to God.

According to the above kenshu quote, members should be observing improved ken, wa, fu within three to five years. Some of course do observe improved health (for whatever reason). However, by then, I suspect most people who continue to be members have indeed come to believe that they are effectively serving God...whether one is, or not, is of course much harder to measure.

Finally, is Tebecis' assumption that many kumite join Mahikari because they expect self-benefit, and leave due to disappointment, a valid assumption? Sure, we all know some people were encouraged to join because they had health or other problems, but I also know quite a few who were quite healthy. Why did they join?

In my case, I was attracted by what seemed to be a simple, magical, and quite exciting health breakthrough. If one could solve incurable health problems, who wouldn't want to learn how to do that? My health was fine, but I guess I was altruistic enough to want to be able to help other people solve their problems. In his online book, Garry Greenwood talks in some detail about his introduction to Mahikari. I don't recall any particular self-interest motivating him or his wife either.

The picture Tebecis paints of people seeking health cures, and leaving due to disappointment, fits my own observations of some people who came and went fairly quickly. And why not? If Okada is quoted as saying that God told him to "raise his hand and cure people of diseases", and we were taught that omitama gave us the same ability to transmit the light of God, isn't leaving a perfectly valid response for those people?

However, the above picture certainly does not fit my observations of the long-term members who left Mahikari and who now write in criticism of Mahikari. Those I have spoken to had, for many years, bought into the entire myth of selfless service to God. In general, I'd say they left because they had good reasons for no longer believing in that myth.

Incidentally, in the pages I referred to above, Tebecis claimed that Greenwood was a good friend, but he then proceeded to imply that Greenwood "gave up" due to "disappointment" and lack of altruism. I assume that Tebecis has read Greenwood's book. He obviously does not agree with Greenwood's evaluation of the nature of Sukyo Mahikari, but he must realize that Greenwood had much more substantial reasons than "disappointment". There is no obvious reason for Tebecis to mention Greenwood specifically in this section of his book. I can only conclude that Tebecis was trying to belittle Greenwood as a tactical maneuver, in an attempt to make kumite disregard his claims.


Blogger Joe said...

Of course leaving is valid. When you are recruited and go to kenshu, you are told you can become a 'little christ'. A majority of the premise they used to recruit people with is the idea of MIRACLES, healing or otherwise. If it were just "serving God" why would you need to practice okiyome, you could just go to a church or start a soup kitchen.

So of course people become disappointed, because they see enormous suffering and the okiyome does nothing. I will refer readers here to visit Lara's blog and find out how okiyome and lack of medical care took a child's life. According to the stories of Christ, I have never read anything that said he had to attend dojo or give REPEATED okiyome constantly to heal anyone. Which reminds me of the inconsistancies they tell you when you first receive omitama... They tell you that often some new members give "stronger light" at first, then later you are told not to expect differences in light. Often I heard people comment on a perceived difference in the strength of light between the higher level members and the "plain old primaries" (my quotes here) IF it is the light of GOD, why would it matter???

Of course they have to change the emphasis. They have always been aware that claims of healing would attract the scrutiny of the officals. So now that everything is out in the open, the REALLY have to retreat, and make it all sound like the teachings were being misinterpreted.

May 03, 2006  
Blogger Joe said...

You can tell Tebecis I left because of the LIES. I also am very happy to have left after reading the continued whitewash and hypocrisy, and after the criticism he has leveled without knowing anything about me or other ex-members. Here is some more of the wishy washy crap he published on his site:

Chapter 6 Whole person medicine – spiritual, mental and physical
Chapter Contents
Principle of cleansing
Cleansing in nature
Cleansing in humans
Applying the principle of cleansing
Understanding and appreciating the processes of cleansing
Avoiding further contamination
The practice of True Light
Experiences with True Light concerning health
Roman centurion
Discharge of old medication
Solving mental problems
Case of schizophrenia
Mahikari therapists
The old approach – material-centred medicine
Truly holistic medicine
Incorporating a spiritually oriented approach
Dealing sensibly with the ‘downstream’
The role of microorganisms
Experiences with True Light in clinical situations
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infection
Miraculous recovery from a coma
Remarkable recovery from multi-organ failure
Rapid disappearance of a gallstone
The practice of spiritually oriented medicine by Mahikari clinicians
Cancer research scientist recovers from chronic fatigue
Mahikari in dentistry
Mahikari doctors in India
Doctor treats doctor
Mahikari clinicians in Japan
Whole person medicine for the public
Yoko Clinic
Research on rheumatoid arthritis involving Mahikari

The practice (art) of True Light
Comments from a reader
"This is a fascinating book in which Dr Tebecis' visionary scholarship and extensive experience in matters of the realm of spirit show us how to incorporate the spiritual, the missing dimension, into major human activities crucial to the survival of humankind.

As a medical practitioner, I was especially intrigued by the chapter on health, and found myself wishing that the principle of cleansing (an understanding of how the body detoxifies itself) and the influence of spirits on health were taught and understood in medical schools when I was a student. The phenomena of the Light of God and changing innermost attitudes described in the book make the implementation of these ideas a practical reality and fill a void in the post-modern era left by the decline of organised religion and a paradoxical rise in interest in spirituality.

For the first time since the scientific age caused the separation of the spiritual aspect from medical and health matters, it now appears possible to initiate a spiritually oriented, truly holistic medicine which can fulfil the noble role of freeing humanity from disease."

Dr John Broderick, medical practitioner, Canberra, Australia

About this chapter
This chapter gives the author’s understanding of the principle of cleansing – cleansing in nature and in humans – with examples, making it easy to understand. What is normally known as disease is really a cleansing. He writes about applying the principle of cleansing – to understand that cleansing is natural and essential; to appreciate the cleansing and show gratitude for it; to avoid further contamination as much as possible; and to promote purification through the Light of God.

Some experiences with True Light illustrate cleansing of a spiritual, mental and physical nature, and the kinds of things that can be done to improve the situation. The section on solving mental problems is particularly eye-opening, as this is a field of many medical viewpoints and little progress in achieving solutions. Dr Tebecis believes that most disease, including mental disease, is due to spirits and that this is why approaches which involve only physical intervention have had limited benefit for most disorders.

This chapter makes it clear that Sukyo Mahikari is not opposed to material-centred medicine. It is a matter of making a correct balance of spiritual, mental and physical medicine, that is, whole person medicine. The author points out some limitations of conventional, material-centred medicine, and the direction that truly holistic medicine is to go if increasing, long-term health is to be achieved for most people.

There are experiences showing the valuable results of giving and receiving True Light on health disorders, observed in clinical situations with non-Mahikari clinicians present. These include improvement from methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infection, recovery from a coma, remarkable recovery from a multi-organ failure, and the disappearance of a gallstone.

SO there you have it...What the "doctor" is saying is ...we really deny that it heals because we need to cover our legal rear ends, but here is what it heals and how it heals , and don't believe the people who say we told them it heals! flip flop!

oh yes, and it's from "god" BUT IT DOESNT WORK ON CAVITIES AND BROKEN BONES (or anything they deem to be "your fault") or cancer treated with chemo. That makes their god less than all powerful and omnipotent.

May 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm that's interessting but frankly i have a hard time figuring it... I'm wondering what others have to say....

March 09, 2010  

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