Wednesday, 28 November 2012


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Mahikari is a Japanese new religious movement (shinshūkyō), with a number of variants or offshoots, founded in 1963 by Yoshikazu Okada (岡田 良一) (1901–1974). The name "Mahikari" means "true light" in Japanese, being a compilation of the words "ma" (真 – true) and "hikari" (光 – light).[1]
Mahikari borrowed its cosmology and values from another Japanese new religion, Sekai Kyuseikyo, which in turn was strongly influenced by Oomotoko, one of the oldest "new religions" of Japan; each of these "new religions" contain elements of Shintoism (the emphasis on purity, the reference to gods, and the veneration of the emperor), Buddhism (belief in karma and reincarnation), and shamanism (the divine status of the leader, miraculous healing, etc.) [2]



[edit] Foundation

Okada claimed that he experienced a revelation on February 22, 1959; while suffering a high fever, he was transported to the world of divine spirits and saw a god with white hair standing on a beautiful white cloud, washing clothes in a golden tub. "Later Okada would tell his followers that this experience was a revelation from God concerning his future mission of cleansing the world and human kind."[3] To support this mission, Okada founded a religious corporation called "L.H. Yokoshi Tomo no Kai" (陽光子友乃会 – Company of Sun Light Children) and started recruiting followers. In 1963, he registered this group under the name "Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan" (World Divine Light Organization).[4]

[edit] Okada's world view

Okada claimed he received revelations from a deity he called Mioya Motosu Mahikari Omikami ("Original Parent, Lord, God of True Light" – 御親元主真光御み神 ), or Su ("Lord" – 主) God for short. He maintained that this god was the supreme creator of everything. Okada's role was to inaugurate a new era as a heralding messiah (sukuinushi) for this god and to introduce Mahikari no Waza, a method of channelling a 'divine' invisible energy, or true light ("mahikari" – 真光), which could eliminate the causes of illness, poverty, and strife from the world.
Okada claimed that the world was facing a great upheaval, or baptism by fire (hi no senrei)[5] and that the world entered this period on 1 January 1962, during which the spiritual energy of fire would restore the earth and humankind to their original pure state, in harmony with their creator.[6] Okada gave examples of what to expect during the baptism by fire:[7] group (mass) spirits causing disturbances driven by fierce hatred would be reincarnated as people in this world causing battles. He taught that some of these spirits fought in atomic-hydrogen wars between the mythical continents of Mu (lost continent) and Atlantis. He also claimed that there have been battles between the spirits from planets such as Venus and humans with physical bodies in this world. It was his mission, and that of Mahikari members, to help people to prepare for and to survive the baptism of fire.
Okada claimed that Mahikari no Waza was a means by which possessing spirits, earth bound souls, and ancestor spirits could be purified,[8] saved, and receive enlightenment.[9] Okada claimed the increase in energies of purification would also mean that medications would lose their effectiveness, he claimed, due to the need to eliminate impurities from spirit, mind, and body. Similarly, stronger and stronger agricultural herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides would have to be developed to cope with the increasing purification of toxic products from the soil.[10] The new age of progressive dawning also meant that many phenomena not fitting in with divine will would be progressively exposed, as would all falsehood and deceit, just as when night becomes day and all becomes illuminated. Entities that had theretofore opposed the will of heaven would progressively be exposed, admonished, struggle, and face dead ends, but would ultimately awaken and reform.[10]
Okada's writings include a book called Goseigen (御聖言), a collection of songs/poems called the Yokoshi Prayer Book (Norigotoshu, 祈言書), and a book called Kamimuki Sanji Kaisetsu.[11]

[edit] Influences behind the formation of Mahikari

The mythology of several Shinshūkyō feature in the formation of Mahikari. Similarities include claims by Okada and other founders of Shinshūkyō:
  • To be a spokesperson of a Japanese deity-god, whose mission was to save mankind from destruction.
  • To receive revelations from this deity-god, which were recorded using automatic writing.
  • To be the person to return mankind to a state of spiritual purity by using a healing/cleaning energy administered from the hand.
  • That Japan was the spiritual origin of humankind.

[edit] Tenrikyo

Tenrikyo was founded by Miki Nakayama (1798–1886). Its name means “Heavenly Wisdom” ("tenri" means heavenly wisdom and "kyo" means teaching or religion). During a healing ceremony, Miki reportedly entered a trance and said, “I am the True and Original God. I have been predestined to reside here. I have descended from Heaven to save all human beings, and I want to take Miki as the Shrine of God and the mediatrix between God and men.”

[edit] Konkokyo

Konkokyo, which may be translated as “Golden Light,” was founded by Bunjiro Kawate (1814–1883) in 1859. "[Kawate] found Parent of all men, the Parent-God of the Universe, who revealed himself ... as Tenchi-Kane-no-kami. It was on November the 15th of 1859 that the words of God came upon the Founder, calling him to the sacred mission of saving men, and revealing at the same time that the prosperity of mankind is the ultimate purpose of the Parent-God of the Universe, and that without the realization of that purpose God Himself is morally imperfect."[12]

[edit] Oomoto

Oomoto, which means “The Teaching of the Great Origin,” was founded in 1892 by Nao Deguchi (1836–1918). She claimed she had a visitation of a supernatural entity bestowing a mission on her to save humankind, that the origin was one, that mankind must return to that origin, and that humankind faced a great upheaval. Oomoto was promoted as the catalyst to unite all religions. Deguchi claimed to receive revelations from her god-deity, which she wrote down as the Ofudesaki, "From the Tip of the Brush," and used a healing method called Miteshiro (honorable hand-substitute) to drive out possessing spirits.

[edit] Sekai Kyūsei Kyō

Sekai Kyūsei Kyō (世界救世教 – Church of World Messianity) was founded by Mokichi Okada (1882–1955). In June 1920, he joined Oomoto. Okada was a teacher in an Oomoto church in Tokyo in 1934 when he started using a process different from the official Oomoto healing method and was expelled.
Okada claimed he received revelations from his god-deity in 1926 but kept them hidden. Due to the political climate in Japan at the time, he destroyed the written revelations and rewrote some from memory years later. In 1945, with the conclusion of World War II, Okada moved his base of operations from Tokyo to Hakone and Atami, and launched his full-scale activities. His devotees called him Meishu-sama, which could be translated as 'Master of Light.' In the words of a devotee, "It is also fitting here because the phrase, 'the light from the east,' steeped in the antiquity of western civilization aptly describes Okada’s birth and life of activity in Japan, which has traditionally been considered as the most eastern part of 'The East.' "
Yoshikazu Okada (岡田 良一) (1901–1974) joined Sekai Kyūsei Kyō following the end of World War Two, in the late 1940s. He became a minister in the group for a brief period, but was expelled under allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment of female members.[citation needed]
Some of the practices practiced by devotees of Sekai Kyūsei Kyō are very similar to those practiced by Mahikari members. For example, the practise of Johrei (Purification of the Spirit), the imagined energy radiating from the hand, is similar to Mahikari no waza (True Light), and the Ohikari, the pendant worn around the neck by members of Sekai Kyusei Kyo, is similar in concept to the Omitama pendant worn around the neck by Mahikari members.[13]

[edit] Other Influences upon Yoshikazu Okada

[edit] Hikari wa tōhō yori (Light from the East)

"In a collection of [Okada's] sermons we find a chapter entitled “Light from the East,” which explains that the founders of the world’s great religions realized their teachings could not reveal the ultimate truth, and knew that such the truth would eventually come from the East. He further says that Moses and Jesus, among others, came to Japan to undergo spiritual training in preparation for their missions, and that they later died in Japan. For him their careers are further proof that their teachings are only transient and that ultimate salvation will come from the East, that is to say from Mahikari and/or Japan (SEIÕ 1973, pp. 82–106)." [14]
"Where one does find stories of this type, detailing how the teachers of the world’s great religions trained in Japan and eventually returned there to die, is in a book entitled Hikari wa tōhō yori [Light from the East] (YAMANE 1988), first published in 1937. In the postscript to the latest edition the author’s son mentions that parts of this book were republished in a journal that functioned as the more or less official journal of an organization called the Taiko Kenkyukai (Group for the study of the ancient past). One of the contributors to this journal was none other than Sekiguchi Sakae, Okada’s close companion for many years and his successor as Oshienushi (and who later served as head of the Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan following the separation from Sukyo Mahikari). Under these circumstances there can be little doubt as to what Okada’s real sources were, at least for certain parts of his teachings." [15]

[edit] Lost continent of Mu

"On a quite different plane, we must also remember that Okada was influenced by ideas about the lost continent of Mu. According to Okada, Japan forms the last surviving portion of this continent, once the home of a superb, sun-worshipping culture. The people of this continent were builders of pyramids, a fact reflected in the activities of the lost continent’s last survivors, the Mayas, Egyptians, and, of course, the Japanese. We might thus conclude that Mahikari’s teachings comprise a collection of esoteric knowledge of various origin, some from published material and some from Okada’s earlier experiences as leader in another religious group, the Sekai Kyuseikyo (Church of World Messianity), whose cosmology and rituals bear many resemblances to Mahikari’s." [15]

[edit] Takenouchi Documents

"Many of the ideas Okada wove into Churchward's account of Mu were taken from the Takenouchi Documents, said to be preserved by the Takenouchi family in a shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture. This information has been set forth by Yamane Kiku in a book called The Authentic History of the World Secreted Away in Japan. It is from this book – which the Saviour (Okada) regarded as the last word on ancient history – that we learn that Jesus died in Japan, and that nearly all the other saints and holy men of the world at least visited the country." [16]
"The originals of this (Takenouchi) document and the "sacred treasures" were confiscated by government authorities and later lost in air raids during World War II. As a result, it is impossible to confirm or deny the authenticity of any of these items. For documentary criticism of the "Takeuchi Document" and its alleged copies, see Jindai hishi shiryô shûse, appendix "Kaidai" [Explanatory notes] by Ôuchi Yoshisato, and Kanô Ryôkichi,, "Amatsukyô komonjo no hihan" [Criticism of the Amatsukyô document], Shisô (June, 1936), 983–1027." [17]
Kiku Yamane's grandson, Ichiro Yamane, Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, Nagoya, states on his web site; In his opinion the Takenouchi Document (also known as the Takeuchi Document) is so nonsensical that the danger of its ideas tends to be overlooked. It is necessary to closely examine that aspect. He states, In his opinion it was created by an extraordinary braggart right around the time that the Japanese military had an ambition to march out to the continent. It provided the myths to justify the Japanese Emperor ruling the world under the same logic that the Emperor ruled Japan at that time.[18]

[edit] Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters

"Much earlier Mahikari mythology is attributed to the Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters, which was written circa 712 CE. Though the Kojiki is a depository of Shinto myths, it is well known to scholars as a “late compilation in which political considerations and specifically Chinese conceptions intrude themselves almost everywhere.” Mahikari utilizes many of the mythological deities found in the Kojiki but focuses on the Su god who personally chose Okada as his savior." [19]

[edit] Mahikari organizations

The following organizations (listed in order of establishment date) are Shinshūkyō that were influenced by the world-view and practices of Yoshikazu Okada:
  • 1959 : "L.H. Yokoshi Tomo no Kai" (Company of Sun Light Children) – name later changed to Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan
  • 1963 : "Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan" – nominal membership – 50,000 to 100,000 worldwide (2007)
  • 1974 : "Shin Yu Gen Kyu Sei Mahikari Kyodan"
  • 1978 : "Sukyo Mahikari" (Japan) – nominal membership – 1,000,000+ worldwide (2009)
  • 1978–1979 : "The Light Center" (Belgium)
  • 1980 : "Suhikari Koha Sekai Shindan" – nominal membership – 4,500 (2007)

[edit] Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan

Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan (World Divine Light Organization) is the name of an independent organization originally founded by Yoshikazu Okada in 1959 as "Yokoshi Tomo no Kai" (L.H. Company of Sun Light Children). Okada was the organization's first "Holy Master" (Holy name: Seio, Kotama). After Okada's death on June 23, 1974, the Reverend Seiho Sakae Sekiguchi (1909–1994) became the second "Holy Master" of the organization by "divine degree". During his leadership, the organization established the "Su-za World Main Shrine" in Mount Amagi on the Izu Peninsula on August 23, 1987. On January 3, 1994, the Reverend Seisho (Katsutoshi Sekiguchi (1939–) became the third "Holy Master" of the organization, also by "divine degree".

[edit] Sukyo Mahikari

Sukyo Mahikari (崇教真光) is the name of an independent organization originally founded by Yoshikazu Okada in 1959. The name Sukyo Mahikari was established by Keishu Okada in 1978, the adopted daughter of Yoshikazu Okada, following his death and the subsequent legal dispute over leadership of Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan. The Sukyo Mahikari World headquarters is located at the "World Shrine" to its Su-God, which was completed in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture, in 1984. The Takayama site also includes the Hikaru Memorial Hall, a museum opened in 1999 that depicts the life and world-view of Mr. Okada and the Sukyo Mahikari organization.
The succession dispute that led to the foundation of Sukyo Mahikari started following the death of Yoshikazu Okada in June 1974. Sakae Sekaguchi and Keishu Okada each claimed the right to leadership of Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan. Ms. Okada's claim to leadership was based, in part, on Okada's last revelation before his death.[20] The parties pursued the dispute in legal proceedings. In 1982 the Tokyo High Court had decided it did not have the jurisdiction to settle the dispute, leaving the parties in their current position as leaders of independent organizations. Mr Sekaguchi’s group retained the original name of Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan and published their view of this matter on their web site.[21] A Japanese journalist gave an independent account of the legal proceedings in 1996.[22]
Sukyo Mahikari members also practice mahikari no waza, which they claim has been practiced by over eight hundred thousand people since 1959.[23] Sukyo Mahikari members believe that the practice purifies the cloudiness in the soul and pollution of the body (toxins) permitting them to help themselves and others and thereby improve society.[24] To become a practitioner of this art, one attends a three day lecture course and receives a sacred locket called an Omitama.[25]

[edit] Suhikari Kōha Sekai Shindan

Suhikari Kōha Sekai Shindan was founded in 1980 by the spiritualist and manga artist Kuroda Minoru (1928– ).[26] Kuroda had been a follower of Yoshikazu Okada and Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyōdan. After Okada's death, Kuroda left that organization and, after receiving a revelation, established the "Shūkyō Dantai Kōrin" in 1980, registering the group as an independent religious body under the Religious Corporations Law (Shūkyō Hōjinhō). In 1984 the group assumed its current name. Its headquarters are in Hachiōji City, Tokyo.
Doctrines of Suhikari Kōha Sekai Shindan emphasize spirit possession, and core practices focus on the ritual of tekazashi (raising the hand and emitting spiritual light) as a means of purifying such possessing spirits. In its central focus on the deity Sunokami, the style of the movement's shrine, and the form of the pendant worn by devotees, resemblances can be seen to the practices of Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyōdan. Unlike the latter group, however, the practice of tekazashi is not called mahikari no waza, but rather honō no waza (lit., "practice of the flame"), and has been changed from using one hand to using both hands. Otherwise, the movement follows Mahikari's worldview and ideas about spirits.[27]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Yasaka 1999, p. 25
  2. ^ Cornille, Catherine 1991, p. 265
  3. ^ McVeigh, Brian 1992, p. 41
  4. ^ {{[1]}} Official website of World Diving Light Organization based in US
  5. ^ Young, Richard Fox 1988, p. 263. "Having chosen Okada to be the savior (sukuinushi), Su-God, the True God of Light (whence the organizational name, Mahikari [True Light], is derived), declared his intention of bathing the world in a Baptism of Fire (hi no senrei), a healing light for the seed-people (tanebito) who respond to it, but a burning and destructive light to those who hide themselves from it. If the imbalance between good and evil in the world cannot be corrected, Su-God will incinerate the world. 2000 A.D. is said to be the deadline...."
  6. ^ Davis 1982, p. ?."A photographer with Japan's Yomiuri newspaper happened to take a picture of Mount Fuji that by chance caught in it the face of the god Kunitorozu Tsukurinushi, leader of the forty-eight fire deities spread out over the side of the mountain. A specialist at the Sophia University, a Catholic University in Tokyo, allegedly identified this as the face of Yahweh himself, obviously a strict deity. The Saviour took this as sure proof that the Eschaton, the Age of the Baptism by fire, had begun."
  7. ^ Okada 1982, p. ?. Among Okada's predictions was a noticeable disorder in established weather patterns, general and steady increase in global atmospheric temperatures, the eventual melting of the global ice caps, and increasing problems due to rain with a high acidity. Okada said an increase in what he called the spiritual energy of fire would result in increased phenomena of fire, but that because this same fire energy moves water energy, phenomena such as flooding, cold snaps, and the like would increase. At the same time, potable water would become increasingly scarce, and he said humankind needed to work hastily to develop techniques of removing the salinity of sea water.<
  8. ^ Okada 1982, p. ?."Today God does not need those souls who cannot keep up with the progress of the divine plan and who are useless for the construction of the new Spiritual Civilization (Do not be conceited just because you are Japanese or Jewish.) It is the divine will that such useless souls will be erased from existence by the baptism with fire. The divine plan is that only the souls who have been sufficiently purified will be permitted to remain on earth as tanebito (seed people)."
  9. ^ McVeigh, Brian 1992, p. 41,"The Mahikari cosmos forms a multi-layered hierarchy with positive associations of high spirituality, purity, power, brightness, and warmth positioned toward the top, culminating with the Divine Source, Su God. Moving toward the bottom we find negative associations of low spirituality, impurity, lack of power, darkness, and coldness, ending in an ocean of mud."
  10. ^ a b Okada 1982, p. ?
  11. ^ Knecht, Peter 1995, p. 321."Kamimuki Sanji Kaisetsu is regarded as the most authoritative exposition of Mahikari's fundamental teachings, although it is hardly systematic. The Sekai Mahikari Bunmai Koyodan informed me that it contains Okada's fundamental teachings."
  12. ^ Thomsen 1963, p. 70.
  13. ^ McVeigh, Brian 1992, p. 41. "The notion of a divine energy administered through the hand can be found in other New Religions. In Omoto there is the belief in shinki / reiki (divine spirit) that is radiated in a ritual called miteshiro (divine hand-substitute). Sekai Kyiiseikyb's hikari (light) is given in a ritual called jorei (spirit cleaning). Jorei is very similar to Mahikari's okijome, as is Omoto's miteshiro."
  14. ^ Knecht, Peter 1995, p. 337
  15. ^ a b Knecht, Peter 1995, p. 338
  16. ^ Davis 1982, p. 70
  17. ^ Tsushima, Michihito et al. 19179, p. ?
  18. ^ Yamane,Ichiro
  19. ^ Weston, Erin Leigh 2002, p. 45
  20. ^ Yasaka 1999, p. 29.This revelation detailed the urgency of completing the World Shrine to the Creator God (considered the Noah’s Ark of this age) and entrusted the leadership of the Mahikari Organisation to his foremost disciple, his adopted daughter, Ms. Keishu Okada.
  21. ^ [2] Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan Homepage
  22. ^ Tebecis 2004, p. 79
  23. ^ Yasaka 1999, p. 63
  24. ^ Yasaka 1999, p. 28
  25. ^ Tebecis 2004, p. 29
  26. ^ Inoue, Nobutaka 1991 Kuroda is a known for his themes of ghost stories or the curses of spirits. His cartoons are popular especially among junior and senior high school girls. Since initiating his religious activities, Kuroda has used his cartoon drawings as a medium of missionary activities. He is also engaged in counseling young people.
  27. ^ Tsushiro Hirofumi 2006

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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