Monday, November 20, 2006

What do we know about this man?

By "this man", I mean Yoshikazu Okada, the person that the various Mahikari organizations claim as their founder. You would expect that it takes a very high level of trust for people to believe anyone's claim that he received revelations from a high-level deity.

For one thing, such a claim is almost literally "incredible". For another, a revelation experience is kind-of outside observers see or experience it. There is no way Okada or Sukyo Mahikari can prove that revelations occurred, if they did, or prove where or what the revelations came from. If anyone believes Okada's claims, they do so on trust.

So, for most people, I imagine, any hint of lies on the part of Okada should be enough to cancel that trust.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will have seen that, even within official Sukyo Mahikari publications, there are plenty of inconsistencies concerning Okada's revelation claims. Inconsistencies are usually a pretty good indicator that a story involves at least some lies.

In addition, there are the blatant lies...Okada claiming to be a "lay-man", claiming that the name Kotama was given to him in the first revelation, making out that the "raise your hand" revelation was something surprising and new to him. Since we have very good evidence that Okada was a staff member of SKK, was already being called "Kotama", and had previously practiced "raising the hand", all these are obviously lies.

Perhaps it would be a nice change to move on to things that can be physically seen (can potentially be proved or disproved), rather than unseen things like supposed revelations. One would think that the potentially provable/disprovable biographical details about Okada provided by Sukyo Mahikari would be least, it didn't occur to me for a long time that some of them might be false.

The basic overview provided of Okada's life after he left the military goes something like this: he invested his family's fortune in various factories; the factories were all destroyed by bombing, leaving Okada with enormous debts; Okada then devoted himself to paying off these debts and worked for a construction company from 1949 till about 1959; and he completed paying off these debts just before starting Mahikari.

I've seen numerous references to these debts. They appear to have been Okada's main focus from the end of the war till the start of Mahikari. Why did Okada mention them so often? Was it to bolster the claim that he worked for the Tada construction company? We now know that he was employed as an SKK staff member during at least some of those years, but Okada apparently didn't want us to know that.

If SKK staff worked the long hours that Sukyo Mahikari staff do, it seems unlikely that Okada could have simultaneously worked for Tada. Perhaps he worked for Tada at some stage...we really don't know...but someone must know these details! (There is an experience story in the September 2005 International Journal which supports the claim that Okada worked there at some stage, but few details are given.)

Similarly, if SKK staff received the low wages that many Sukyo Mahikari staff do, its hard to see that being an SKK staff member would have helped much to pay off Okada's debts.

Not only that, in a tape transcription in the first edition of the Sukyo Mahikari International Journal, Okada claimed he trained under a Buddhist monk for at least a year and a half in what sounds like a residential manner. (He gives no details of when or where.) Logically, this could not have been while Okada was in the military, nor after he started Mahikari, so this must have been during these years when he was supposedly trying to pay off his enormous debts. Do Buddhist trainees get paid anything?

If Okada did not earn much money, who paid the debts? (I can't help wondering at this stage about Greenwood's suggestions that there might have been some sort of right-wing imperialist "sponsor" behind Okada.)

So, which is the lie? Did Okada lie about trying to pay off his debts? Did he lie about the Buddhist training? Did he lie about the construction company? Did he lie about succeeding in paying off his debts?

Okay...what DO we know? Did Okada actually have any debts at all?

In Okada's acceptance speech for the infamous medal of Zante, quoted in Daiseishu, he says:

During the war I was the president of a company that manufactured military aircraft. In addition, I ran three other companies, including one that dealt with textiles. As these were all enterprises of national importance, I was immediately impoverished when the war ended.

Hang on...didn't he claim elsewhere that all his factories were bombed in one night near the end of the war? There's no mention of bombing here. Doesn't this sound like he was impoverished simply because his "enterprises of national importance" no longer had a market? Were his factories not bombed after all?

Anyway, to continue the above quote, Okada then said:

But thanks to the swift measures of Shoshiro Kudo, who is now chief manager of the Tomin Bank, and of Fukuda-sensei [who later became Japan's Prime Minister], I was able to get out of the situation smoothly.

Huh? What's this? Again, we are told no details, but this certainly doesn't sound like the words of a man who supposedly had to spend over a decade trying to pay off enormous debts!

Were the debts a lie, too? How much DO we know about this man?

Were the factories a lie? (Sukyo Mahikari could always claim that all records of those were lost in the bombing, I suppose.)

Was the military history a lie? So far, I've not managed to find Okada's name on any of the military record lists I've searched, but it seems silly for me to keep on searching lists when someone somewhere probably knows exactly what is true and what isn't.

For that matter, was his name actually Yoshikazu Okada? He could have been anyone!

[April 2007 note: Since writing the above, I have found a listing of all the 1922 graduates from the military academy that Okada attended. Yoshikazu Okada did indeed graduate in that class, so the name and that part of his military history is verified. I've not managed to verify any of the other details of his military history yet though.]

Isn't it about time kanbu and/or kumite started asking for details and proof of the various claims made about Okada?

For example, who exactly were the "Shinto authorities" who did the tenjo investigation of Okada's soul? Where and when did Okada do his Buddhist training? Where exactly were the factories and the coal mine Okada invested in when he left the military? Who employed him, and when and where, after the war? What exactly did he do during the war? Are there bank records that show Okada paying off his enormous debts? Where is the list of Imperial Guards that shows Okada was a standard bearer?

Probably some of the biographical details supplied by Sukyo Mahikari are true, or partially true, but which ones?

I can imagine kumite brushing aside one or two minor inconsistencies in the stories simply because they think they have proved from their own experience that okiyome "works", and because various experiences have seemed to be proof that the "laws of the universe" are as taught by Okada. How many lies need to be uncovered before kumite rethink, very carefully, whether their experiences could perhaps be interpreted differently?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Part 2 of the Mahikari "First Revelation" posts (translation)

Sorry for the delay! Here is the translation of Part 2 of Phoenix 3000's Japanese posts concerning Mahikari revelations:

Authenticity of the "Revelations" supposedly received by the founder of Mahikari (Part 2)

Re (1):

Since I’ve noticed that some Mahikari devotees seem to think that the wording in the “first revelation” is “Call yourself Kotama”, rather than “I give you the name Kotama", I quote more from the kenshu textbook and Okada's own words.

From the Mahikari Secondary (Intermediate) Kenshu Textbook, "The Divine Name of Sukuinushi-sama," page 8:

The saviour was given the divine name Kotama in the first revelation concerning founding Mahikari. Later he received the divine name Seigyoku. [Note: This is what the Japanese textbook says. The wording in the English textbook is slightly different.]

From Commentary on Kami Muki Sanji, published in 1982, pages 39-41:

Next I will explain briefly about the divine names I received. First I was given the divine name "Kotama", but at first the people in the world of Shinto doubted this divine name. Therefore, they asked God and were even shown the origin of the name. [Omitted] This is how they came to know that this was not a name that I had casually given to myself.

Next I was given the divine name "Seigyoku". [Omitted] I felt dreadfully awed by the character "sei-"
(meaning "holy") in this name. [Omitted]

However, in 1961 when I received this name, the participants at Taisai numbered only about 170, so I felt the organization had not yet reached the stage where I could use such a divine name as Seigyoku.

[Omitted] At first I was too afraid to use the divine name "Seigyoku".

However, various arrangements and signs that occurred around me indicated that I must use this name, so I started to use "Seigyoku".

I will relate some of these mysterious experiences. Firstly, on 15 May 1964, I was writing a Goshintai and somehow I spoiled it partway through. Each time I tried to write "Kotama", the ink would splatter onto the holy characters in Goshintai, or the paper would tear. I tried writing three Goshintai, but for some reason it wouldn't go right.


After the third Goshintai was spoilt, I thought, "This is because God is not pleased." Then, when I wrote "Seigyoku", things went happily and I began to write smoothly.

The Mahikari text uses the expression "received", and even Okada himself says First I was given the divine name "Kotama" in Commentary on Kami Muki Sanji. Therefore, it is irrelevant what Mahikari devotees think is the correct wording. In reality, during his Sekai Kyusei Kyo (SKK) years, Okada preferred for the members around him to call him by the name Kotama, so this was not a "new" divine name given to him by God in 1959. In short, Okada hid the facts and declared that Kotama was "a name given to him by God in 1959".

In addition, where Mahikari (Okada) mentions "the people in the world of Shinto" in cases like the above, these were actually Makoto no Michi people. Replacing “Makoto no Michi people” with "people in the world of Shinto" gives a false impression of authority to these people and what they said.

When the Makoto no Michi people "asked God", this may have been a pre-arranged incident. If Okada was already a member of Makoto no Michi, it was only natural that the answer was a favourable one to Okada. Whatever explanation there is concerning the origin of the name Kotama, it does not change the fact that Kotama was "a name Okada originally gave to himself". (Various Internet sites present facts concerning Makoto no Michi people “consulting spirits” about the name Kotama.)

Concerning the name Seigyoku, Okada said that he was given this name by God in 1961, and that he felt dreadfully awed by it. The same thing is said in the Sukyo Mahikari 30-year Chronicle. In Commentary on Kami Muki Sanji, Okada goes on to say that when he tried to write "Kotama", he failed, but when he wrote "Seigyoku", everything went smoothly, and he explicitly stated this date as being 15 May 1964. So, according to Okada, he started using the name "Seigyoku" from that date. Please refer to Part 1 of this series of posts for information concerning use of the name "Okada Seigyoku" when he endorsed Michikazu Okada's book, Reiyu no Kagaku (The Science of Spiritual Healing).

Leaving aside the question of whether or not the incident that Okada refers to here as a “mysterious experience” actually happened, is this “mysterious experience” really so mysterious?

Even ordinary people experience this sort of thing. When writing something, a person might make the same mistake two or three times, then later, when feeling better, the writing proceeds well at the first attempt.

Isn't it possible to say that Okada arbitrarily interpreted his own carelessness as "This is because God is not pleased", and that when he changed to using a different name, the writing went smoothly.

Many parts of the world Okada invented have been constructed from this type of “interpretation method”.

You may recall I mentioned, in Part 1, that Sukyo Mahikari claims that Okada received “revelations”, in the form of “voiceless voices”, even before “the first revelation”.

The Sukyo Mahikari 30-year Chronicle, published in 1989, says the following on pages 64-65:

Finally, I wanted to apologize to God, so, as an Otamagushi, I took the 300 I got by pawning the uniform I had received from the army and made a prayer of apology. Then, when I started to look for a place to die, I suddenly heard a voiceless voice from somewhere saying, "The impurities of your ancestors are going to be erased, erased". Then, for the first time, Sukuinushi-sama thought about the sins committed by his ancestors.

How did Okada himself express what happened at that time? Compare the above with the following closely related extracts from Okada’s own words:

…Then, there was nothing I could do but kill myself and I searched for a place to commit suicide.

Then, I remembered my older sister’s words. She was a Christian believer and, when I was in middle school, she taught me, “Blessed are the poor”.

However, I rebelled against that and went in the opposite direction towards making money. I invested money in various businesses, such as an aircraft company, coal mining, salt works, and timber wholesale. I invested all the inheritance from my ancestors. Then, I lost everything due to war damages.

It was then that I realized that, “Something more powerful than human efforts determines what happens.”

I thought that this must be what Jesus meant when he said “Blessed are the poor”. In short, the sins and impurities accumulated during the cycle of rebirths and transmigrations and/or from one’s ancestors are erased by losing one’s fortune. In kotodama, “fortune (財 = zai) leads to sins (罪 = zai)”.


Looking back now, I tremble at the thought of the fate I was following.

If, when I was looking for a place to die, I had found a place, I wouldn’t be here now. However, I think what I heard at that time could have been the voice of God. Something reminded me of my sister's voice saying the words of Jesus, "Blessed are the poor", as she used to say when I was in middle school.
[From Mahikari Journal No. 379 – April 1994, Sukuinushi-sama’s teachings, pages 24 to 28]

Here, Okada’s own expressions are “I remembered”, “I realized”, and “I thought”, rather than schizophrenic-sounding expressions like hearing a “disembodied voice” [will appear in the next post in this series] or a “voiceless voice”. Later, when Okada is reminiscing about this time, he interprets the remembered voice of his sister as possibly being "the voice of God". And that “voice” said “Blessed are the poor”, not “The impurities of your ancestors are going to be erased.”

What is Sukyo Mahikari trying to achieve by changing what Okada wrote in this way? Why do they want to claim that the "first revelation" in 1959 was about the establishment of the organization and that there had been previous "revelations" before that? What credibility do Sukyo Mahikari assertions have, since they change what is written about major events involving the founder of Mahikari in this way?

Or, do these contradictions arise from inconsistencies in the stories told by Okada himself?

Since there are inconsistencies in some things said by Okada himself, he can be an irritation to the Mahikari sect, even though they praise him by calling him “the saviour”.

The following excerpt is from Okada’s own words concerning the “first revelation”:

As written in the current Goseigen, I just followed the divine revelation: “Call yourself Kotama. Raise your hand.” This is the very first divine revelation I received from God.
[From Gotaidanshu (interviews with Okada), published 1985, page 232]

- By phoenix3000

PS from Anne:
If you've not seen the survey for former members yet, please look under "Previous posts" in the sidebar and submit your responses. Thank you very much to all those who have responded so far...there've been some very interesting responses already...but I still need responses from a lot more people for the results to be considered valid. Thanks!