Thursday, August 10, 2006

Translation of Part 1 of the Mahikari "First Revelation" posts

Sorry for the delay in posting translations of Phoenix 3000's Japanese posts concerning the Mahikari "first revelation". Some of the material here duplicates information presented in previous English posts, but I feel it is sufficiently important to be repeated.

So, here is the English version of Part 1. (The original post is at 真光の祖師が受け取ったとする『啓示』について  ー その真偽 <その一>.)

Authenticity of the "Revelations" supposedly received by the founder of Mahikari (Part 1)

The most frequently quoted parts of Yoshikazu (Koutama) Okada's "first revelation" are: Rise. (1) Thy name shall be Koutama. (2) Raise the hand. (3) The world shall enter severe times.

Rather dramatic, isn't it? A person who was completely inexperienced with religion was suddenly chosen by God, given a new name, received far-reaching "Truths", and rose up to save mankind. Even though he was ordered to "Raise the hand", he did not understand the meaning of this at first. Despite being bewildered by this, he spontaneously extended his hand towards a sick dog (not a dog which just happened to be lying asleep beside the road) and shining energy gushed out and enveloped the dog. Soon the dog became well again, stood up, and walked away. Surprised by this result, he stayed still for a while. How does this scenario sound?

Re (1), the name "Ko(u)tama":

From about 1947, Okada belonged to Sekai Kyusei Kyo (SKK) and practiced "tekazashi" (jorei). He was employed as head of an SKK center and, according to various Internet sources, had people address him as "Kotama Sensei" (Sensei is the polite way of addressing a leader or teacher). Thus, "Kotama" was a name he gave to himself, and seems to have been his preferred name. Accordingly, this was not a new name given to him by God in 1959.

After the name "Kotama", Okada claimed he was given another name, "Seigyoku", in 1961. Refer to the Sukyo Mahikari 30-year Chronicle, page 79 (1989).

According to the Internet article "Kotama's medal is a bogus award", Okada functioned as a director in Shinrei Igakukai, a psychic medicine society formed by Michikazu Okada in 1958. In an endorsement of Michikazu Okada's book, Reiyu no Kagaku (The Science of Spiritual Healing), Okada used the name Seigyoku Okada.

Does anyone know when this particular book was published? The first edition was published in 1956. Does this mean that Okada was already using the name Seigyoku in 1956?

If Okada's endorsement was before 1961, we can determine that Seigyoku was a name Okada thought up for himself, as was the case with the name "Koutama." Even if that endorsement was after 1961, which is less likely, it doesn't sound right to use a "divine name" casually. According to the 30-year Chronicle (page 79) and the Commentary on Kami Muki Sanji (page 40, published in 1982), Okada felt dreadfully awed by the kanji "sei - 聖" (meaning "holy") and he was extremely reluctant to use this kanji as a part of his name. If that really was the case, shouldn't he have felt even more reluctant to use such a "holy name" in a book that was not part of Mahikari divine matters?

Re (2), "Raise the hand":

As shown in 真光と犬の話 - the Mahikari dog story (this blog, March 25 2006), there are discrepancies in the date when Okada raised his hand to a dog as the first recipient of tekazashi. Which date is correct (if there is any truth in the story at all)? Did he raise his hand to the dog (a) soon after the "first revelation" on February 27 1959, or (b) before that time? Okada raising his hand to the dog is inextricably associated with the first occurrence of Okada raising his hand. Therefore, this is the same as asking, did Okada first raise his hand (a) after the "first revelation", or (b) before that "revelation"?

The fact that questions arise about such a simple matter is, in itself, truly strange. The existence of discrepancies between the first story by Okada and the story subsequently told by the sect that followed Okada makes one wonder what actually happened and how much of the story is true. This is a real problem, not a matter of differences in interpretation.

According to the writings of Okada himself, (a) is correct.

In Gotaidanshu (a collection of interviews with Okada published in 1985), pages 280-281, Okada said:

It was 27 February 1959, I think, when I was worshipping God at home, and I heard a loud voice say, "Thy name shall be Koutama. The world shall enter severe times." My daughter said...(omitted)..."if God gives you a name, you should ask him for a little more elaborate name." I said, "It's not right to complain." So, I called myself Koutama. Then He said to me, "Raise the hand and cure people of diseases."... (omitted)...For about a week, I was not at all inclined to act on this. However, without planning it, I tried raising my hand to a dog, and this cured the dog. [Note: the person whom Okada refers to as "daughter" is probably Keishu (Kouko) who is "officially" the "adopted daughter."]

Davis also says, in Dojo (1980), that it was a dog that Okada first raised his hand to, after the 1959 "first revelation." It seems Okada thought, "At least a dog won't laugh at me when I raise my hand".

The version of Okada's tale at the beginning of this chapter, that is, that he received the 1959 "first revelation" and then hesitatingly raised his hand toward a dog as his first attempt at tekazashi, and that the sick dog recovered, would certainly give a dramatic impression to a person hearing about this "first revelation" for the first time. This is probably exactly what Okada intended.

According to the story told by Okada in Gotaidanshu (pages 280-281), he was first told, "Thy name shall be Koutama. The world shall enter severe times." So, he called himself "Koutama", and some time after that (it is not clear whether it was hours later, days later, or weeks later) he was told to "Raise the hand and cure people of diseases". Here the purpose of "raising the hand" is explicit.

In an early Japanese edition of Goseigen, part (2), "Raise the hand", was not included between parts (1) and (3). It seems likely that this was not omitted due to a printing error, but because part (2) was not originally in this place in the revelation. It's hard to believe that such an important item was forgotten to be included. It makes more sense to think that part (2) was not originally between parts (1) and (3). This revelation was probably related orally during kenshus. There is a strong possibility that through the oral deliveries, "Raise the hand and cure people of diseases" became shortened to "Raise the hand" only, which sometime later found its place between (1) and (3) in Mahikari literature as a part of the "first revelation."

However, if the "cure people of diseases" part is dropped and only the "Raise the hand" part appears in the form Mahikari claims now, a question arises. If Okada had no prior knowledge of the act of raising the hand, or in other words, if he had no prior experience of religions, wouldn't that have made him wonder what "Raise the hand" meant?

The revelation at 5:00am on 27 February 1959 appears in Goseigen as two parts, Everything in Heaven and on Earth is the Voice of God, followed by Teaching of How to Perceive God, but neither part contains anything about "raising the hand", or performing Mahikari no Waza (giving okiyome, or True Light). In spite of this, Okada knew or immediately understood what this meant. He certainly did express perplexity, as if he had known nothing about this tekazashi until the astounding "first revelation" suddenly came to him, but not in a way that sounds like he was wondering, "What will happen if I do that?" Something doesn't sound quite right, does it? This is a subtle inconsistency that tends to be overlooked. We probably all heard various miracle stories, received okiyome, and so on, before attending primary kenshu. Therefore, we already knew what "Raise the hand" meant before we heard about the "first revelation", and so we probably did not notice this inconsistency.

As Okada accumulated more and more followers, perhaps he felt more relaxed. Perhaps he didn't feel it was strictly necessary to stick to the original story as he had intended, causing some fluidity in his stories as time went by. The implication in some of his statements is that he had known about raising the hand and was doing so before the 1959 "first revelation," despite the fact that he put on an act of being perplexed and hesitant about tekazashi in his original story.

For example, according to No. 934 in "Complaints against all Mahikari groups (Yokoshi Tomo no Kai, Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan, Sukyo Mahikari, Seiho no kai, etc.)", sometime in his later years, Okada said to his close friends, I cured a woman who had six breasts and made her normal by doing tekazashi. This gave me confidence that I was a person who could save people. It was immediately after that when the revelation came to me.

There are inconsistencies in the stories Okada himself told. Sukyo Mahikari selected which stories to tell, and whichever it selected, it could not avoid inconsistencies. Since the latter part of the 80s, Sukyo Mahikari appears to have promoted version (b). That is, it now claims that Okada's first use of tekazashi (equates to Okada giving tekazashi to the dog) was before the "first revelation".

It was reasonably well-known to people outside the Mahikari organization that Okada once belonged to SKK. However, those amongst Mahikari kanbu who knew of this said nothing publicly because Okada's SKK history contradicts his claims -- such as the "first revelation", and "True Light" being permitted to all people for the first time in human history -- and it would jeopardize Mahikari's credibility. Yet there seem to be some older followers, who became Mahikari members in the early Mahikari years, who also knew of Okada's SKK background. In addition, Okada left some statements which reveal that he had been doing tekazashi before the "first revelation", so the fact that Okada had practiced tekazashi (jorei in SKK) could not be completely erased. Thus, the sect promoted the idea that Okada had been doing tekazashi before the "first revelation", and also moved the dog story to before the "first revelation". The sect may not be aware that this reduces the dramatic impact that Okada originally intended, and also comes closer to the fact that he was practicing tekazashi (jourei) in SKK. The sect glosses over the fact that Okada belonged to SKK by saying that he "studied other religions."

The members' ability to think objectively has been weakened by the emphasis on tekazashi (Mahikari no Waza), "Firstly, tekazashi. Secondly, tekazashi . . . .", and by information control. They make great efforts to accept whatever the sect says, even if it sounds a bit strange. Therefore, the sect is able to say what it wants to say to the followers without causing any problems.

Even Okada himself omitted inconvenient parts of his history and made contradictory claims. Sukyo Mahikari follows his example and does not clarify facts. It remains silent, changes statements to suit its convenience, and replaces facts with other "facts" or completely changes stories.

There are very few objective and factual statements in Okada's biography in Daiseishu and in the 30-year Chronicle. Many of the facts surrounding Okada remain vague or ambiguous. This may be sufficient to satisfy Mahikari devotees, though.

If the sect informed the followers of facts accurately, without any lies, distortions, or cover-ups, the world of Mahikari would cease to exist. Goseigen, page 5, refers to the principle of the major religion's secret creed, that is, "The followers shall follow but they shall not know". Mahikari is not a major religion but, even so, the same could be said for Mahikari itself.

So, let's look again at the words of Sukyo Mahikari. The Sukyo Mahikari 30-year Chronicle, page 66, says, From the time that Sukuinushisama spontaneously raised his hand and saved the dying dog, his interest in the divine spiritual world deepened, and he studied the divine world while working on paying off his debts.

In other words, soon after the war, Okada supposedly discovered tekazashi alone, despite no relationship with SKK, started to have an interest in the spiritual world, and, without belonging to any religion, studied the divine world by himself. What's more, he did this while "repaying his enormous debts". Presumably, Mr. Tomita's letter that denies that Okada belonged to SKK expresses Sukyo Mahikari's position on this matter.

The quoted statement of Sukyo Mahikari from 30-year Chronicle implies that it is just "by chance" that Mahikari no Waza is similar to SKK's jorei. Well. . . since the teachings say that nothing happens "by chance", perhaps the wording should be that these are simply not related, even though they are almost identical. Sukyo Mahikari seems to think that saying that Okada was interested in and studied other religions creates a possible explanation for the similarities between his teachings and those of other religions (in particular, for the many similarities with the teachings of SKK), and supports the claim that Okada previously had "no experience of religions", and was an amateur researcher of religions.

In addition, Sukyo Mahikari seems to have decided to imply that there were other "revelations" before the "first revelation". For example, they tell of voiceless voices saying "Up, look up!" when he was in the bath, and say he heard the words "Your sins are being erased" when he was contemplating suicide. Some members tend to count the "spiritual dream" which Okada claims to have had during his "five days of unconsciousness" as a revelation. Some day the sect might add "Raise the hand" to the content conveyed by the "voiceless voices" Okada supposedly heard before the "first revelation."



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