Saturday, April 15, 2006

"Raise the hand"?

I thought I'd pretty well covered the topics of the dog story and that first revelation in Goseigen, but believe it or not, there's more!!

For previous discussion of these topics see Which version of the Mahikari dog story is correct? in the February archives , and here and here.

As stated in the above posts, there are a number of logical inconsistencies, and inconsistent circumstantial details, in the stories concerning the above. Any further discussion is not really relevant if we regard the revelations as delusions or deliberate deception, but for Mahikari members who do believe that the revelations are valid, there are further problems to consider regarding these stories.

For the moment, lets just look again at the basic form of the story I remember from when I first joined Mahikari.

This goes something like: Okada woke from 5 days of high fever and received a revelation from God, which finished with the words, The time of Heaven has come. Rise. Thy name shall be Kautama. Raise the hand. [Or, Exercise the Art of Purification. in some translations] The world shall enter severe times. According to the basic story, Okada thought at first that he was going mad, or being tricked by a possessing animal spirit, and did nothing. About a week later, he came across a sick dog, raised his hand, and cured the dog. He then proceeded to give okiyome to people and witnessed many miraculous cures.

I'm not concerned here about the different translations of the "raise the hand" part. "Raise the hand" in Japanese is the verb form corresponding to the noun "tekazashi", which is commonly used even in English (within Sukyo Mahikari, if nowhere else) to mean to give okiyome. So that detail is not really relevant here.

Now, we all know that "raise the hand" means to give okiyome. But, we probably found out about giving and receiving okiyome before we read that first revelation. How did Okada know what God meant by "raise the hand"? There is nothing more about raising the hand, or radiating the light of God, or purifying spiritually (or healing) in the rest of that revelation, nor in the Teaching of How to Perceive God, which is the second revelation in Goseigen and also bears the February 27, 1959, date.

The implication of this story is that Okada knew nothing about raising the hand and radiating the light of God before this revelation...yet he tested this out on the sick dog. What made him think that raising his hand and pointing it at the dog could cure the dog? There was nothing in those revelations to indicate how or why he was supposed to raise his hand, or that he could cure anything or anyone by doing so. (Of course, we do know now that Okada had been involved with SKK and therefore did understand all about "raising the hand", and would not have had any need to test it out on a dog.)

Why didn't I notice this years ago? Even now, despite examining these stories in detail, it still did not occur to me that this was strange. This was only pointed out to me in a private email just recently.

Now, the teachings do say that not all the revelations have been published, so it is possible that Okada did receive revelations, around the time of the first published revelation, specifically explaining about raising the hand to give purification. Still, this particular revelation is supposed to be the genesis of the various Mahikari organizations, and okiyome is perhaps the main feature of those organizations. It would be reasonable to expect that any revelations around that time that specifically concerned okiyome would have been published, don't you think?

With that thought in mind, I started paying attention to the exact wording of that revelation. This is why the previous two posts (one in Japanese and one in English) ask if anyone has any of the early Japanese editions of Goseigen.

Funnily enough, the 1973 Japanese edition does not have the words "raise the hand" at all! I found this frankly astounding. According to the SMBK websites (Japanese and American), their Goseigen does include those words, and I think the current Japanese Sukyo Mahikari edition would include those words, so what happened?

Did Okada himself, or someone in the original SMBK organization before Sukyo Mahikari split off from it, add in those words? Remember, these are supposed to be the golden words received directly from God...the absolute divine truth. How can Mahikari make that claim if some words have been added?

If we assume for the moment that the revelations genuinely were from God, perhaps a mere human has added in all the references to Mahikari no Waza, okiyome, raising the hand, etc. If someone has added even just 3 words, how can kumite be expected to trust that the rest are from God?

Of course, there may be a simple explanation. Perhaps these word were not present in the 1973 edition due to a printing error, or similar. I would need to see an earlier edition of the Japanese Goseigen, or a version of this revelation from the early years in the Mahikari magazine Okada published. Are you sure you don't have something like this in your attic? Or your parents' attic? If any kumite happen to be reading this, perhaps you should try to check this. Surely senior kanbu should have access to the Mahikari magazine archives.

In the meantime, however, an interview (dated February, 1974) with Okada, published in Gotaidanshu, offers further food for thought. Okada is quoted as saying:

It was February 27, 1959, I think. I was worshiping God at my own house when I heard a loud voice say, "Thy name shall be Kōtama. The world shall enter severe times."

In the interview, Okada then talks of other things, then gets back to the revelation subject and continues:

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

The circumstances of the revelation are a little unclear here but, as mentioned in an earlier post, this seems inconsistent with the story about 5 days of high fever. However, lets leave that inconsistency aside for the moment and focus on the sequence and flow of the words Okada claims God said to him.

From the above quote, it seems that the "Raise the hand" part was not originally where it is now, and the "cure people of diseases" part has now been omitted. So...what has happened here? Has someone been editing the text of that revelation? Was Okada perhaps losing his memory and getting confused about what happened?

Certainly, if the "cure people of diseases" part were still included in the version of this revelation published in Goseigen, it would solve the logical problem of how Okada knew what God meant by "raise the hand". (But of course, he did already know anyway, because of SKK, but at the point I joined Mahikari, we did not know about that.)

One possibility is that the entire "Raise the hand and cure people of diseases" part was published at some stage, and may have all been deleted later to protect Mahikari from legal liability related to practicing medicine without a license. Then, perhaps just the "raise the hand" part of it was put back in? Certainly, over the years, Mahikari seems to have made fairly drastic changes in its publicly stated stance on the subject of healing. (More on that in a future post!)


Blogger Joe said...

Another great post. This is a point brought out in Winston Davis'book Dojo. He already knew what raise the hand meant, because he practiced Johrei.

April 21, 2006  
Blogger Asher Kennedy said...

Wow! I never even noticed that and my parents had a Japanese Goseigen and an English version. Kumite can't deny that this is a little fishy. How did he know to raise his hand unless he was an SKK minister? Even if God did say raise the hand, there are so many ways that this could have been misconstrued. If he wasn't a minister then he never would have known how to do this properly.

April 21, 2006  

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