Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mahikari rules derived from "Universal Principles"

In my last post I commented that the so-called universal principles in Mahikari teachings, at first glance, seem more like explanations of the way the world works, rather than the sort of rules that would impact on our everyday behavior. However, it seems to me that some rather far-reaching behavioral rules are derived from these principles.

For most people these days, any notion that women should be subservient to men is no longer tolerated. However, Sukyo Mahikari sends us back to the dark ages on this one with the "principle of the cross". Fire is regarded as spiritual, vertical, and male. Water is regarded as material, horizontal, and female. We are taught that in this age of dominance of fire over water, husbands must be dominant and wives must obey them. Yeech! Just as well I was not married during my time in Mahikari! (Does this mean that before the conversion of divine will and the start of the age of fire in 1962, women were supposed to dominate? And now we've missed our turn? Not fair!)

Next there is the Mahikari notion of a vertical hierarchy rather than a horizontal equality. I'm not sure if this notion derives from the above principle of the cross, or from the spirit first, mind follows, body belongs principle (upstream-downstream). Either way, it gives rise to behavioral rules. There is a strict hierarchy within Mahikari: God, Keishu, divisional and regional leaders, dojo kanbu, group leaders, then members. Within the ranks of dojo kanbu, there are precise rankings such that practically everyone is higher or lower than someone else.

If there is a decision to be made, a person is supposed to consult his or her immediate superior and follow the advice received. Use of initiative and solving problems oneself is definitely frowned on. Discussion or debate of the advice received is also not acceptable. Anything advised by one's superior is supposed to be followed without question. Members are taught that, even if the advice given is actually "wrong"in some sense, the correct thing is still to follow that advice, and God's protection will somehow magically make that advice "right".

The above hierarchical approach may not be expected quite so strictly amongst ordinary members. However, ordinary members are encouraged to accept the advice of kanbu, children are expected to respect and obey teachers, workers are expected to respect bosses, etc. The ultimate "rule" derived from this hierarchical approach is the teaching that we should be striving for a theocracy, rather than democracy.

According to primary kenshu, the principle of balance is the basis for the rule about people being as they should be. This rule says that men should behave and dress in a manly way, and women should behave and dress in a womanly way. Okada did not go so far as to define exactly what "womanly" clothes are, but when I was a member, this was always interpreted as being modest feminine dresses or skirts, rather than pants.

The principle of balance also applies to marriage. Okada taught that people are only able to marry if they are spiritually balanced with each other. In other words, you get the partner you deserve. Okada taught that divorce is not permitted. Unhappily married people are supposed to think that they are paying off negative karma (law of compensation) by staying with a spouse who mistreats them. They are also supposed to feel grateful for the chance to compensate in this way (the law of being grateful for everything).

Then there are the rules about sex itself: no sex outside marriage, no contraception, and no homosexual acts. When I was a member, people were not allowed to receive kenshu if they were "living in sin". They needed to either separate or marry if they wanted to receive kenshu.

I'm not sure if all of the rules in Sukyo Mahikari can be traced back to "universal principles", but one way or another, there are certainly many, many rules. Anyone who has ever been a member of Sukyo Mahikari will remember hundreds of detailed rules relating to the care of omitama, ancestors, and goshintai. There are also detailed rules about how to give okiyome and how to behave at dojo...wear socks, wash hands, greet God first, don't cross spiritual lines, don't put the palms of the hands or prayer books on the floor, and don't race off home before closing ceremony. Go to dojo at least 3 times a week, don't miss the monthly ceremony, go to study periods, and re-attend kenshu as often as possible.

Next we have all the rules concerning eating and health. No vaccinations for your kids, no medication, and no herbal remedies. Avoid artificial food additives, avoid really cold food, avoid massages, and avoid microwaved food. Don't use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, and eat organically grown food. Give light to all your groceries, and eat with gratitude.

There are also rules governing acceptable attitudes: always be bright and positive, don't complain, don't judge others, be humble and obedient, be altruistic, don't be stingy, and be grateful for everything.

Have I forgotten any? I imagine I have...


Anonymous Butterfly said...


Since Odairi took the helm at SM there has been nothing to keep the kumites buzzing and so during 2004 he put out worldwide the following 10 rules:

The ten points for practice to become a God centred person are:

1. Diligently practice the art of True Light
2. Do your best to spread the light and teachings to others
3. Offer gratitude for God's blessings in concrete ways
4. Follow the will of Su God in an accepting manner
5. Become a practitioner of genuine humility
6. Make mutual concessions and acknowledge the help of others
7. Maintain purity of the body and soul as well as the physical environment
8. Maintain cleanliness and tidiness
9. Avoid waste and use materials efficiently
10. Conduct yourself in a calm manner and do things in an orderly fashion.

These 10 points are displayed prominently in all dojos. To this day I have never seen the Bible's 10 Commandmants displayed prominently in any churches Ive attended.

No 8 used to read Maintain cleanliness and tidiness AT ALL TIMES. Obviously they got heap of complaints from kumites whose families couldnt stand their
OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in their homes.

These rules suppress the right to have "feelings" and obviously they are swept under the carpet so that the kumite is "seen" to be doing the right thing in SM's eyes. Those 10 rules convey to me that kumites arent good enough. That is according to SM. Why else would they put out such a practice?

Well the good news is that the Creator of All That Is accepts me (and you) perfectly just as I AM.


May 28, 2006  
Blogger Joe said...

Thanks Anne for this great post.

One of the first things I remember thinking after I found out about the schism in mahikari was in reference to the balance of the cross and the fire/water switch that Okada said was supposedly occuring. Frankly, I am of the mind that men are no more superior than women, that each has strenghs and weaknesses, and the idea of a totally subservient woman is actually kind of robotic and creepy. However, I couldn't help but thinking: If this teaching were true, why would Okada ever hand over the organization to a woman when the whole thrust of his teachings goes against it??? Of course I know why now, but that in itself is just another of the inconsistancies of SM.

I wonder sometimes if there are women who remained with abusive husbands because of the SM teachings. That would be as abhorrent as the medical neglect of children.

As for Omitama, I can't think of a better way to take the joy out of life. I used to fear changing the wrappings for fear of an "accident". The constant washing of the hands to remove it, the worrying about being caught in the rain, or even concerns of sweating, were just dreadful. Travel was a nightmare, as I was constantly worried about finding a place high enough to place it or hang it while showering. Frankly, it became worse than a daily chore, it was truly a spirit killing albatross around the neck.

May 30, 2006  
Anonymous Butterfly said...

With all those rules rolled out by SM it appears their main motivation is to turn all their members into robots so they can manipulate them like puppets, programming them into human doings instead of allowing them to be human beings as God decreed. Sadly, isnt this what Hitler did?

Dear kumites who read this, please wake up and take back your power so that organisations such as SM can no longer exist.

May 30, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Thank you Butterfly for posting the 10 points, and thank you Joe for reminding me about the worry of getting caught in the rain...I'd actually forgotten about that!

Regardless of whether or not Okada intended Keishu to take over the reins, the spiritual heirarchy was always given precedence over the male-female thing. So, for example, if a female doshi had graduated as a doshi one year before a male doshi, then the female doshi would be "boss". If both had graduated in the same year, making them on the same rung of the ladder in everything except gender, then the male would be "boss".

The interesting thing was that people were treated more tyrannically by "superiors" who were only one rung higher than by "superiors" who were 10 rungs higher.

May 30, 2006  
Anonymous KitKat said...

And don't forget the fear of being splashed by friends fooling around at the pool or beach, or sprayed with a garden hose, or needing an x-ray, or going through a security screen and 'beeping'... no wonder we had nightmares! At least I can say that I *never* had an omitama accident, even after I left, so there - so much for 'God's Warning System'.

I certainly know of kumite who stay in pretty awful marriages because of teachings on karma. I really wish they'd wake up and move on - but that's not something anyone else can do for them, sadly. Their husbands certainly play on the whole 'superior male' aspect of teachings.

I used to use the whole 'subservient wife' thing to my advantage. If I didn't want to go to Ceremony, or some other event, I'd just tell Kanbu that 'My husband didn't want me to attend.'

The fact that he wasn't a kumite was bad, of course; I clearly wasn't 'elevated enough' for him to have become a devote kumite - but at least I was "being sunao (obedient) to him" (well, as far as Kanbu knew, anyway - we were really taking advantage of their own stupid rules).

June 02, 2006  

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