Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2007 Letter to Kumite

Dear Kumite,

This letter contains information that I feel is important for all kumite. Please read it through once, and think about it for at least a little while. Imagine the consequences if you found proof that Yoshikazu Okada did not receive revelations from God. What would you do? I'm not sure if I have absolute proof, but I do have some strong evidence, which I have summarized in this letter. You can easily verify much of this evidence for yourselves from Sukyo Mahikari publications and other cited sources, so please do not brush it off as merely the words of 'evil spirits'.

I've always admired the sincerity, unstinting effort, and large-heartedness of Sukyo Mahikari members, even though I left Mahikari some years ago and no longer believe the teachings. Could all that sincerity and effort be misdirected? I needed to be 100% sure, so a couple of years ago I began a quest to find proof of whether or not Yoshikazu Okada's teachings are correct.

I did find enough evidence for me to feel quite sure that Okada's teachings are not true, but by then I really wanted to know why Okada started the Mahikari organization. Did he deliberately set out to con people (and if so why), or did Okada genuinely believe what he taught?

In pursuit of that answer, I found a surprising number of examples of provable deception. Some of these are summarized below, and I hope you will evaluate this evidence for yourselves. Of course, it is entirely up to you to decide whether or not you think these items are significant, but I feel honor-bound to at least share them with you.

1. Mr. Tomita lied about SKK.
You are probably already aware that Yoshikazu Okada and Ms. Okada were members of Sekai Kyusei Kyo (SKK) from about 1947, and that Y. Okada was an SKK staff member from about 1949 to 1953. There are a number of academic studies of Sukyo Mahikari that mention this, and the online Shinto Encyclopedia also states that Y. Okada served as the head of a branch of SKK ( http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=638). Verbal confirmation from SKK staff is reported on the Logan website at http://home.earthlink.net/~delogan/expstory.htm. Even so, in a letter written on behalf of Ms. Okada in 1994, Kazumi Tomita claimed that Y. Okada studied the Jorei [SKK] organization, but it is not true that he was a member of it. A scanned copy of this letter can be seen at: http://mahikariexposed.com/letter.htm. Ms. Okada, and probably Mr. Tomita too, must have known this was a lie. Why was it so important to hide Y. Okada's SKK past?

2. The dog story and/or the first revelation cannot be true.
You probably remember the story about how Y. Okada wondered if he was being tricked by a fox or badger spirit when he received the revelation from God that included the words Rise. Your name shall be Kotama. Raise your hand. The world shall enter severe times. So, at first Okada did nothing. Then, when walking down the street, he saw a sick dog, raised his hand, and the dog became well. As a result, Okada had the confidence to begin giving tekazashi to people. The dog story gives the impression that tekazashi was something new and unbelievable to Okada. However, he had practiced the SKK version of tekazashi for years. How could he have been surprised? This photo shows people performing the SKK style of tekazashi (note the different symbol on the box, far right).

3. Okada was called "Kotama" before 1959.
Okada himself mentions this dog incident on pp. 280-281 of Gotaidanshu (a collection of interviews with Okada published in 1985). 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 Kotama. The world shall enter severe times." My daughter said..."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 Kotama. Then He said to me, "Raise the hand and cure people of diseases."... 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. Here Okada is clearly claiming that God gave him the name Kotama as part of the February 27 revelation, and that he started using the name Kotama from that time. However, according to SKK sources and various people writing for the Japanese-language online Mahikari discussion groups, SKK members habitually addressed Okada as Kotama Sensei (teacher) when he was an SKK staff member, years before the 1959 date given for the above revelation.

4. Raise the hand and cure people of diseases.
You will notice in the above that Okada quotes God as saying, not just Raise the hand, but Raise the hand and cure people of diseases. Why, then, does the Sukyo Mahikari North America website (at http://www.sukyo-mahikari.org/) say It is emphasized that the Art of True Light is not a healing art ?

5. Who has edited Goseigen?
You probably also noticed that Okada quoted God as saying, Thy name shall be Kotama. The world shall enter severe times. Later (Okada does not say how much later), Okada mentions the "raise the hand and cure people…" part. This change in sequence of God's instructions might seem like a minor point at first (deleting the healing part is not minor). However, if you look at the 1973 Japanese edition of Goseigen, you will see that the text of this revelation does say, Thy name shall be Kotama. The world shall enter severe times. In the 1973 edition, there is nothing in this revelation at all about raising the hand. Why? The 1969 edition includes "raise the hand", and the current edition does too, but this text does not match the above quote from Okada in Gotaindanshu. Has someone been editing the words that supposedly came from God? And if so, who? This raises a sticky question. If Okada (or the Mahikari organization) really believed that the content of the revelations were the words of God, would they have dared change even one word?

6. Which Shinto authorities performed the Tenjo investigation?
Okada perhaps anticipated that people might think he had made up the revelations himself, and the revelations are the main "evidence" of Okada being some sort of special soul. According to the secondary kenshu textbook, the Shinto sects who considered themselves to be the legitimate religion were suspicious of Okada and asked permission to investigate his soul. We are told that a Shinto divination technique, called Tenjo, was used to ask God about Okada's soul, and that the Shinto authorities were amazed to discover that Okada was the Soul of Yo. Who exactly were these "Shinto authorities"? According to printed matter seen by people writing on the online Japanese Mahikari discussion sites, this Tenjo investigation was conducted by either Makoto no Michi (co-founded by Dr. Nobuo Shioya in 1948 and previously known as the Chidorikai psychic research group), or by its offshoot Makoto no Michi Kyokai (founded by Dr. Shioya around 1955). There is a little information about Makoto no Michi at http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=617. These groups were new minor post-war psychic/religious groups, rather than generally accepted Shinto authorities. Since we've not seen the printed matter mentioned above (we've just read about it), perhaps you could check this information by asking senior Sukyo Mahikari staff where Okada's Tenjo investigation was performed.

7. Omine Rosen and Yo.
To return to the problematic dog story for a moment, kumite might think that Okada was surprised by being told to raise the hand because he was no longer an SKK member (and presumably no longer wore the SKK "omitama"). However, it would seem that Okada had a close association with Makoto no Michi in the late 50s and early 60s, and the members of that group perform tekazashi without any sort of omitama. For those that read Japanese, there is a lot of information concerning Makoto no Michi at http://www.makoto.or.jp/. According to this site, specially trained members receive revelations from the divine spirit world via guiding spirits, including a spirit known as Omine Rosen. Makoto no Michi people use Tenjo and other forms of automatic writing to conduct divinations, and use seance-like techniques to receive "revelations" from spirits. Page 7 of the 2004 primary kenshu text book tells us that points (1) to (4) of the explanations of the role of Yo are based on divine revelations which Dr. Shioya received from Omine Rosen on Dec. 24, 1948. Since his role of Yo is a cornerstone of Y. Okada's teachings, this implies that Okada had a very close connection with, and enormous respect for, Dr. Shioya and the spirit known as Omine Rosen.

8. Origin of the "Mahikari" name.
The above kenshu text indicates some sort of connection with Dr. Shioya, but written material from a March 1962 Makoto no Michi Kyokai journal, quoted by a writer on the Japanese discussion sites, suggests that Okada was a member of that group. Apparently, some sort of divination technique was used to assign each member (referred to as a "kumite") one of the 50 Japanese syllables as his or her role, and Okada is referred to as a "Yo" person. He appears to also have been a group leader, and his group is referred to as the "Mahikari" group. The intriguing thing is that, at the time this journal was published, Okada's spiritual organization was still called L. H. Yokoshi Tomo no Kai. (Okada changed the name to Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan [SMBK] in November 1963.) What does this signify? Did Okada name his organization after a Makoto no Michi group? Did Okada's group within Makoto no Michi perhaps break away, under Okada's leadership, and form a separate new religion? We simply don't have enough facts concerning this time to know what happened, but something is odd.

9. Buddha's "after 3,000 years" prediction.
According to primary kenshu, Buddha predicted that, After 3,000 years a man will appear from ordinary folk who will reveal the correct (righteous) laws and teachings. It is claimed (or implied) that this man was Yoshikazu Okada. A quick Internet search on Buddha will show that most Buddhists believe that Buddha lived about 2,500 years ago. The Nichiren school, though, does claim that Buddha lived about 3,000 years ago, which may be what Okada had in mind when he quoted the above. However, over the last few years, Koya Okada has mentioned Buddha in his teachings on several occasions, and each time he has said that Buddha lived around 2,500 years ago. Incidentally, some Buddhist predictions mention the coming of the Maitreya after the teachings of the current Buddha are completely forgotten, or after 5,000 years. Have any of you actually seen the text that contains the 3,000 years prediction?

10. Einstein and God.
Again from primary kenshu, on the subject of mesons, Y. Okada quotes Einstein as saying, There is will in the universe (cosmic consciousness), and Okada interprets this as meaning that Einstein was referring to God. Somehow, Okada makes it sound like Einstein, if still alive, would have been in agreement with Okada's teachings concerning mesons, high energy particles, and the Principle of Pa. However, if you read Albert Einstein's 1939 article entitled Science and Religion, you will see that Einstein did not believe in God. It would be interesting to know the source and context of the above quote from Einstein.

11. The St Dennis of Zante hoax.
Most of you probably know by now that the St. Dennis of Zante decoration that Y. Okada was supposedly awarded by the International American Institute (Daiseishu, p. 175) was a hoax. For those who have not heard about this, there is an explanation of the hoax under Credibility? on the Mahikari Exposed site at http://mahikariexposed.com/mahikari.htm. This site seems to suggest that Okada was the victim of this hoax. However, according to Daiseishu, there were no representatives of the International American Institute at the glittering reception held to award this decoration to Okada. The award was presented and the speeches were made by a Japanese politician and a banker, supposedly on behalf of "the sponsors". It is hard to imagine what actually happened. Did Okada receive the medal in the mail? If this was a genuine award, surely the people giving the award would have hosted the reception and been eager to present the award in person. Did Mahikari staff organize the reception and ask the Japanese dignitaries to "represent" the sponsors (since there were no genuine sponsors)? Okada, at least, must have known the award was not genuine.

12. Okada's war debts.
According to various Sukyo Mahikari publications, Okada had massive debts to pay off after the war due to the bombing of his factories. We are told that he sold boots immediately after the war, and that he worked for the Tada construction company from 1949 until he resigned to start the Mahikari organization in 1959. We are told that his prime focus during those years was paying off those enormous debts, and that he did not complete paying them off till just before the revelation discussed above. Okada himself said that he was disinclined to believe that revelation because he was a businessman who had been solely concerned with paying off war debts. We now know that Okada was employed as an SKK staff member from 1949 to 1953, but Sukyo Mahikari claims he was working for Tada at that time. In addition, Okada claimed (in taped teachings transcribed in the August 2002 Sukyo Mahikari International Journal) that he trained at a Buddhist temple. According to the details mentioned in that story, this training must have spanned at least 18 months. No dates are given, but that also must have been during the years when he was supposedly working for the Tada construction company. If Okada was really focused on paying off debts (if the debts in fact existed), would he have spent time on SKK and Buddhist training? Some of these claims may be true, but they can't all be!

13. War criminal.
Finally, again from Daiseishu, you may remember the various mentions of Kiyoharu Tomomori, a senior staff member in SMBK and later in Sukyo Mahikari. There is a long story by Tomomori in which he reminisces about his time at the military academy with Yoshikazu Okada (pp. 15-19). Tomomori led the group who accompanied Okada on his 1973 trip to Europe (p. 185). Tomomori, as one of Okada's long-term friends, held his hands as he died (p. 223). Tomomori is also mentioned several times in the account of the court proceedings at the time of the split into factions after Okada's death, which you can see at http://mahikariexposed.com/truth1.htm. According to this site, Tomomori cautioned Ms. Okada to not take any action without first consulting with him. He represented her faction in discussions, and accompanied her in court. You perhaps mistrust this information related to the court case, since it was originally published by SMBK, but it does suggest that Tomomori was quite an influential figure in the formation of Sukyo Mahikari. According to an official list of war criminals at http://home.comcast.net/%7Ewinjerd/IMTFE_2.htm, Kiyoharu Tomomori was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death (later changed to life imprisonment) at the Yokohama war trials. You can easily check this information for yourself from the links and references provided under Okada, Sukyo Mahikari, and the Japanese Military (Parts 1 to 3) in the February and March archives of the After Mahikari blogsite at http://anne987.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html.

So, what is the relevance to me of all the above? Sometime during the early stages of my involvement in Sukyo Mahikari, I decided that Y. Okada knew more about how the universe really works than I did, simply because okiyome seemed to be a good thing. With time, this morphed into believing that everything Okada said was absolutely true, although I don't remember ever consciously deciding that. In adopting that belief I, in effect, gave Sukyo Mahikari almost complete control over my life. It enabled them to convince me that I had enormous sins and impurities from my previous lives, despite the fact that I had no evidence of that (other than the content of Okada's teachings), and that I should do everything possible to erase those impurities. It enabled them to convince me that there are previous lives, again without any hard evidence, and that our lives are determined by our karma (no hard evidence).

The belief that everything Okada said was true led me to channel my altruism into countless hours of giving light. It made me devote all my energy to helping to save the world, and made me think that the practice and promotion of Sukyo Mahikari was the most effective way of doing that. Okada's teachings encouraged me to think that human wisdom is worthless, and that human emotions are largely controlled by attaching spirits (again no hard evidence). These teachings implied that my own thoughts and feelings were unreliable, and that I should therefore just do what Okada said (what Sukyo Mahikari said).

Now, I admit that I cannot disprove any of the teachings about the unseen world. However, the starting point for me "giving" Sukyo Mahikari the above degree of control over my life was that less-than-conscious decision to believe that everything Okada said was absolutely true. Would I have decided to believe that if I had known, at that time, that Okada lied about the dog story, the tenjo investigation, the name Kotama, the Zante award, etc.? Or, would I have trusted that the Sukyo Mahikari organization passed on Okada's teachings correctly if I had known that they had lied about Okada's SKK past, hidden his connection to Makoto no Michi, and distorted the doctrine concerning healing?

Looking back, I find it hard to believe that I accepted Okada's unverifiable claim that he received revelations from God, and that he therefore spoke the absolute truth about the universe. That was an extremely flimsy basis for giving away years of sincerity and effort.

After years of practicing Sukyo Mahikari, perhaps you feel, as I did, that you have proved the truth of Okada's teachings by your own experience. The way I interpreted my experiences, however, was governed by my beliefs. One simple example would be the kenshu promise of ken wa fu. If someone becomes ill despite practicing Sukyo Mahikari for years, a non-member might interpret that as proof that Sukyo Mahikari does not "work". However, since members are taught to believe that they have a lot of negative karma that needs to be erased, a member will probably interpret a serious illness as a wonderful opportunity to erase impurities. These are two very different interpretations of the same experience, and the key belief responsible for that difference in interpretation is the unprovable belief that the sick person has heavy karma.

When I joined Sukyo Mahikari, I did not have access to any of the information outlined in the above summary. My decision to believe Y. Okada's claims was not a fully informed decision. I imagine yours wasn't, either.

I hate to think that your efforts to make a difference in this world might be going to waste. When I left Mahikari, I did not leave behind my desire to make a difference, or my desire to know the truth. I did, however, learn to be very wary of being misled by any "gurus" who claim to have superior knowledge about unseen, unprovable matters.

Best wishes,


PS: I believe that all members of Sukyo Mahikari, and all former members, have a right to know about the findings outlined above. Since kumite tend not to read Mahikari-related information on the Internet, I hope that some of you who are reading this will want to pass this on to other current and/or former members. (Give them the URL for this page, print this page and give it to them, or just talk to them.)


See the evidence for yourself

I've just discovered a mistake in the above letter. Sorry! In Item 5 above, I mentioned that the first revelation in the 1969 edition of Goseigen includes the words 'Raise your hand'. It does not.

The words 'Raise your hand' (te o kazase) are not included in the text of the first revelation as published in both the first and third editions of Goseigen. This means that 'Raise your hand' was not part of the text published in Goseigen until the fourth edition, or later.

This raises a number of questions. Who inserted 'Raise your hand' into the Goseigen text? When? And Why?

My mistake arose because the person who sent me photocopies of the "1969" edition thought it was a 1969 edition on the basis of the date at the end of Y. Okada's preface. There is no publication date given in that edition. It is now clear that this edition must have been published after Y. Okada's death, because Ms. Okada is shown on the publication details page as being the copyright holder. This must have been either the fourth edition or a later edition.

I've just received a photocopy of parts of the first edition of Goseigen...the real first edition this time! According to the publication details page, this was actually published on January 1, 1970, even though the preface is dated 1969. It does not say if this is the first edition, but the publication details page of the 1973 edition says that the first edition of Goseigen was published in 1970.

I've posted scanned images of the relevant pages so that you can see for yourselves that text has been added in later editions of Goseigen. Just click on the "See the evidence for yourself" link.

If 'Raise your hand' was not originally part of that revelation, the first implication is that the dog story discussed above has no credibility at all. Why would Okada need to test out tekazashi in response to that revelation in 1959, as claimed in the intermediate kenshu textbook (1983), if the revelation did not include the words 'Raise your hand'? The next implication is that someone has edited the 'words of God'. Was this Y. Okada, or someone else?

The current SMBK edition of Goseigen has the same wording as the current Sukyo Mahikari edition, that is, it does include the words 'Raise your hand'. This suggests that 'Raise your hand' was first included in the text published in Goseigen either just before or almost immediately after Y. Okada's death in June 1974. If either faction of Mahikari had added these words after the split occurred, then these words would not appear in both the current versions of Goseigen. In any case, these words did not appear in the text published in Goseigen until the next (or later) edition after the 1973 edition.

If we assume that God exists and that God gave Y. Okada the revelations that he published in Goseigen, then the exact content of those revelations would obviously be a secret between Okada and God. It is possible that Okada decided, for some reason, to omit those three words temporarily when he authorized publication of the first few editions of Goseigen. However, he did not indicate in any way that he had omitted anything at that place in the text (even though he did indicate an omission earlier in that paragraph). Since we are told that Okada enthusiastically promoted tekazashi as a core activity of his organization, it seems highly unlikely that he would have chosen to omit those particular words from the published text (if God had in fact told him to 'Raise your hand'). It seems much more likely that either he or someone else added in those three words sometime after March 1, 1973.

Since I don't know the date of publication of the fourth edition of Goseigen (if that is in fact the edition in which 'Raise your hand' first appeared), I don't know if that edition would have been authorized by Y. Okada or someone else. I wonder if the photocopies I was originally sent are from the first edition that included 'Raise your hand'? You'll notice that the scanned copies of the relevant revelation look identical, exept for the addition of those few characters. The publication details from that edition look highly irregular. There is no publication date at all, and no publisher is shown. The publication details page shows Y. Okada as the person who received the revelations, and shows Ms. Okada as the copyright holder. (Is she really the copyright holder?) Was this edition deliberately left undated so that kumite would not know when 'Raise your hand' was first included in Goseigen?

Perhaps the most far-reaching implication, for those who believe that Goseigen contains the words of God, is that it is highly likely that God did not say "Raise your hand". Why, exactly, have we all spent 1,000s of hours raising our hands?

The above discovery highlights the fundamental problem with any revelation claims. How do we know that God said any of the things that Y. Okada claimed were the words of God? In addition, how do we know that Y. Okada actually said any of the things that Sukyo Mahikari material, published after his death, claims he said?

Sukyo Mahikari might claim that God told Y. Okada to raise his hand at some other time, as they suggest in the "Sukyo Mahikari 30-Year Chronicle". However, this does not alter the fact that, according to the 1970 and 1973 editions of Goseigen, 'Raise your hand' was not part of that highly significant 1959 revelation, and later editions of Goseigen say that it was.

See the evidence for yourself

Monday, August 10, 2009

2007 Letter Aperta Ai Kamikumite (iniziati di Mahikari)

Cari Kumite,

questa lettera contiene informazioni che reputo importanti per tutti i kumite. Vi prego di scorrerla tutta almeno una volta e di riflettervi sopra almeno un poco. Provate ad immaginare cosa fareste se vi trovaste le prove che Yoshikazu Okada non ha mai ricevuto nessuna rivelazione da Dio. Cosa fareste? Io non vi assicuro di avere la prova in assoluto, ma sono in possesso di alcune potenti testimonianze che ho riassunto in questa lettera. Potete verificarne la veridicità voi stessi attraverso le pubblicazioni di Mahikari e le altre fonti citate e vi prego pertanto di non cestinarla, bollandola semplicemente come "parola del diavolo".

Ho sempre ammirato la sincerità, il massimo sforzo e la grande generosità degli iniziati di Mahikari sebbene abbia lasciato Mahikari alcuni anni fa e non creda più ai suoi insegnamenti. Potevano tutta questa sincerità e tanto sforzo essere volti in una direzione sbagliata? Mi occorreva essere sicura al 100% e così un paio di anni fa iniziai una ricerca per verificare se gli insegnamenti di Yoshikazu Okada fossero giusti.

Trovai prove sufficienti per affermare con certezza che gli insegnamenti di Okada non sono veri, ma al di là di questo volli conoscere realmente per quale motivo Okada fondò l'organizzazione di Mahikari. Iniziò deliberatamente ad imbrogliare la gente (e in caso affermativo perché) o credeva sinceramente in ciò che insegnava?

In conseguenza a tale domanda, scopersi un sorprendente numero di esempi di comprovati inganni.

Alcuni di questi sono riassunti qui di seguito e spero che vogliate valutare questa prova da voi stessi. Naturalmente sta esclusivamente a voi decidere se credere che questi dati siano significativi o no, ma da parte mia reputo un obbligo d'onore almeno condividerli con voi.

1. Il Signor Tomita mentì riguardo a SKK.
Probabilmente sarete già a conoscenza che tanto Yoshikazu Okada, che la signora Okada furono iniziati di Sekai Kyusei Kyo (SKK) a partire dal 1947 circa e che Yoshikazu Okada ne fu un dirigente dal 1949 al 1953. C'è una quantità di scritti accademici di Sukyo Mahikari che lo menzionano ed anche l'Enciclopedia Scintoista on-line indica che Y. Okada prestò servizio come responsabile di un settore di ( http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=638) La conferma verbale da parte della direzione di SKK viene riportata sul website Logan http://home.earthlink.net/~delogan/expstory.htm. Nonostante ciò, in una lettera scritta per conto della signora Okada nel 1994 Kazumi Tomita dichiara che Y. Okada studiò l'Associazione Johrei (SKK), ma non è vero che ne fu un membro. Una copia a scansione di tale lettera si può vedere sul sito http://mahikariexposed.com/letter.htm. La signora Okada e probabilmente anche il signor Tomita devono aver saputo che questa era una menzogna. Perché dunque era così importante nascondere il passato di Okada in SKK?

2. La storia del cane e/o la prima rivelazione possono non essere veri.

Ricorderete certamente la storia di come Y. Okada si meravigliasse di essere stato ingannato da uno spirito di volpe o di tasso quando ricevette da Dio la rivelazione che includeva le parole: "Sorgi! Il tuo nome sarà Kotama. Alza la mano. Il mondo andrà incontro a tempi molto duri." All'inizio Okada non fece nulla, ma poi, camminando per strada, vide un cane malato, alzò la mano e il cane guarì. Il risultato fu che Okada ebbe fede ed iniziò a trasmettere tekazashi alla gente. La storia del cane dà l'impressione che tekazashi (okiyome) fosse qualcosa d nuovo e sconosciuto a Okada. Invece egli aveva praticato il sistema di tekazashi di SKK per anni. Come poteva essere tanto sorpreso? Questa foto mostra alcune persone che trasmettono Okiyome alla maniera di SKK (nota il simbolo di SKK sulla scatola a destra).

3. Okada fu chiamato "Kotama" prima del 1959.
Okada stesso menziona l'episodio del cane al par. 280-281 di Gotaidanshu (una raccolta d'interviste rilasciate da Okada pubblicata nel 1985). Okada disse: Era il 27 febbraio 1959 credo quando, mentre stavo pregando Dio a casa mia, udii una voce potente dire: "Il tuo nome sarà Kotama. Il mondo andrà incontro a tempi molto duri." Mia figlia disse… "Se Dio ti ha concesso un nome, dovresti chiedergli di dartene uno un po' più elaborato." Io risposi: "Non è giusto lamentarsi." E così mi chiamai Kotama. Poi Dio mi disse: "Alza la mano e cura le persone dalle malattie." … Per circa una settimana non fui affatto convinto di volerlo fare. Tuttavia, senza averlo pianificato, quando alzai la mano su un cane, questo guarì. Qui Okada afferma chiaramente che Dio gli diede il nome Kotama durante la rivelazione del 27 febbraio e che egli iniziò ad usare quel nome da quel momento. Tuttavia, secondo le fonti di SKK e secondo varie persone di lingua giapponese che hanno scritto nei gruppi di discussione on-line su Mahikari, Okada volle essere chiamato Kotama già quando era un dirigente di SKK, molti anni prima del 1959, la data della suddetta rivelazione.

4. Alza la mano e guarisci le persone dalla malattie.
Rileggendo quanto sopra scritto, noterete che Okada riferisce che Dio gli disse non solo "Alza la mano", ma "Alza la mano e cura le persone dalle malattie". Perché allora il sito web di Sukyo Mahikari del Nord America ( http://www.sukyo-mahikari.org/) dice: "Va sottolineato che l'Arte della Vera Luce non è un metodo di cura"?

5. Chi ha redatto il Goseighen?
Avrete anche notato che Okada riferisce che Dio gli disse: "Il tuo nome sarà Kotama. Il mondo andrà incontro a tempi molto duri." Più tardi (Okada non specifica quanto più tardi), aggiunge la parte: alza la mano e cura le persone. Questo cambiamento nella sequenza delle istruzioni divine può sembrare a tutta prima un punto di minore importanza (ma cancellare la parte terapeutica non è minore). Tuttavia, se si consulta l'edizione giapponese del Goseighen del 1973, vedrete che il testo dice espressamente: "Il tuo nome sarà Kotama. Il mondo andrà incontro a tempi molto duri." Nell'edizione del 1973 non c'è proprio nulla che riguardi l'alzare la mano. Perché? L'edizione del 1969 include "alza la mano", come pure l'edizione corrente, ma questo testo non corrisponde a quello di Okada del Gotaindanshu. Qualcuno ha pubblicato le parole che si supponeva provenissero da Dio? E se è così, chi? Ciò solleva una questione spinosa: se Okada (o l'organizzazione di Mahikari) credeva veramente che le rivelazioni fossero parole di Dio, come avrebbe osato di modificarne anche soltanto una?

6. Quali autorità scintoiste hanno effettuato la prova di Tenjo?
Okada ci anticipò che alcune persone avrebbero potuto pensare che le rivelazioni fossero opera sua, mentre queste costituivano la prova principale che lui fosse un'anima veramente speciale. Secondo il testo del Corso Medio, le sette scintoiste che si consideravano come religione legittima ebbero sospetti su Okada e gli chiesero il permesso di verificare la sua anima. Ci fu detto che fu usata una tecnica divinatoria scintoista, chiamata Tenjo, per chiedere a Dio il suo vero valore. Ci fu detto che le autorità scintoiste furono meravigliate nello scoprire che Okada era l'Anima di Yo. Ma chi erano esattamente queste autorità scintoiste? Secondo gli scritti del sito on-line di Mahikari giapponese, la prova Tenjo fu svolta o da Makoto no Michi (co-fondata dal Dr. Nobuo Shioya nel 1948 e già nota come Chidorikai Psychic Research Group) o dal suo ramo cadetto Makoto no Michi Kyokai (fondato dal Dr. Shioya verso il 1955). Qualche informazione si può prendere dal sito http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=617. Questi gruppi furono nuovi gruppi minori psico/religiosi del dopoguerra, e non proprio autorità scintoiste ufficialmente riconosciute. Poiché non abbiamo ancora visto il documento che riporta quanto sopra (ne abbiamo solo letto l'informazione), forse potreste controllare se è vera chiedendo ai dirigenti senior di Mahikari dove fu effettuata realmente la prova Tenjo di Okada.

7. Omine Rosen e Yo.
Per tornare un momento alla problematica storia del cane, gli iniziati potrebbero credere che Okada fosse sorpreso che gli venisse chiesto di alzare la mano poiché non era più un membro di SKK (e pertanto non portava più "omitama" di SKK). Tuttavia sembra che Okada fosse in stretto contatto con Makoto no Michi alla fine degli anni '50 e inizio degli anni '60 e che gli iniziati di quel gruppo praticassero tekazashi senza nessun tipo di omitama. Per chi conosce il giapponese c'è un mucchio d'informazioni relative a Makoto no Michi sul sito http://www.makoto.or.jp/. Secondo questo sito degli iniziati particolarmente preparati ricevono rivelazioni dal mondo degli spiriti divini attraverso gli spiriti guida, incluso uno spirito noto come Omine Rosen. I seguaci di Makoto no Michi adoperano Tenjo ed altre forme di scrittura automatica per praticare divinazioni ed usano altre simili tecniche per ricevere rivelazioni dagli spiriti. A pagina 7 del testo del Corso Elementare del 2004 (nei punti da 1 a 4) ci sono spiegazioni sulla missione di Yo, basate su rivelazioni divine che il Dr. Shioya ricevette da Omine Rosen il 24 dicembre 1948. Poiché la missione di Yo è una pietra angolare degli insegnamenti di Okada, ciò implica che lo stesso Okada aveva un collegamento molto stretto e un enorme rispetto per il Dr. Shioya e per lo spirito conosciuto come Omine Rosen.

8. Origine del nome "Mahikari".
Il suddetto testo del Corso Elementare indica una qualche sorta di collegamento con il Dr. Shioya, ma alcuni scritti del marzo 1962 sul giornale di Makoto no Michi citati da uno scrittore che partecipa alle discussioni giapponesi del sito, sospetta che Okada fosse un membro di quel gruppo. Evidentemente veniva usata una certa tecnica di divinazione per assegnare ad ogni membro (indicato come kumite) una delle 50 sillabe giapponesi quali missione di lui o di lei e Okada viene indicato come la persona "Yo". Pare inoltre che fosse il capo di un gruppo, e che tale gruppo fosse citato come "il gruppo Mahikari". La cosa strana è che, ai tempi in cui questo giornale fu pubblicato, l'organizzazione spirituale di Okada era ancora chiamata L. H. Yokoshi Tomo no Kai. Okada cambiò il nome in Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan (SMBK) in novembre 1963. Che significa ciò? Okada nominò la sua organizzazione dopo aver lasciato Makoto no Michi? Oppure il suo gruppo si staccò da Makoto no Michi e sotto la leadership di Okada formò una nuova religione separata?

Purtroppo non abbiamo elementi sufficienti relativi a quel periodo per sapere cosa accadde realmente, ma c'è qualcosa di strano.

9. La profezia di Buddha "dopo 3000 anni".
Secondo il Corso Elementare Buddha predisse che "dopo 3000 anni sarebbe apparso un uomo, un uomo comune che avrebbe rivelato la giusta legge e i giusti insegnamenti." E' stato detto (o era sottinteso) che quell'uomo fosse Yoshikazu Okada. Una rapida ricerca su Buddha vi mostrerà che la maggior parte dei buddisti crede che Buddha sia vissuto circa 2500 anni fa. La scuola Nichiren, intransigente, afferma che Buddha visse 3000 anni fa, cosa che Okada avrebbe tenuto a mente nel fare la sua affermazione. Tuttavia, negli ultimi anni Koya Okada, menzionando Buddha in più occasioni nei suoi insegnamenti, ha affermato ogni volta che Buddha visse circa 2500 anni fa. Incidentalmente, alcune profezie buddiste predicono la venuta del Maitreya, quando gli insegnamenti dell'attuale Buddha saranno completamente dimenticati, dopo 5000 anni. Qualcuno di voi ha forse visto il testo che contiene la profezia dei 3000 anni?

10. Einstein e Dio
Di nuovo nel testo del Corso Elementare, a proposito dei mesoni, Y. Okada riferisce le parole dette da Einstein "C'è una volontà nell'universo (consapevolezza cosmica)", parole interpretate da Okada come riferite a Dio. In qualche modo Okada fa credere che Einstein, se fosse vivo, sarebbe stato d'accordo con i suoi insegnamenti relativi ai mesoni (particelle ad alta energia) e con il principio di Pa. Ma se leggete l'articolo di Albert Einstein del 1939 intitolato "Scienza e Religione" constaterete che Einstein non credeva in Dio. Sarebbe interessante conoscere la fonte ed il contesto della sua suddetta affermazione.

11. La beffa di San Dionigi di Zante
Molti di voi probabilmente sanno che la decorazione di San Dionigi di Zante di cui Y. Okada fu presumibilmente insignito dall'International American Institute (Daiseishu p. 175) fu una beffa. Per coloro che non ne sono informati c'è una spiegazione sotto Credibilità? sul sito Mahikari Exposed http://mahikariexposed.com/mahikari.htm. Su questo sito pare che Okada sia stato la vittima di questa beffa. Tuttavia, secondo il Daiseishu, non era presente nessun rappresentante dell'International American Institute al brillante ricevimento tenuto in occasione di tale riconoscimento. Questo gli fu presentato e i discorsi furono fatti da un politico giapponese e da un banchiere, presumibilmente per conto degli "sponsor". E' difficile immaginare cosa accadde veramente. Okada ricevette la medaglia per posta? Se fosse stato un autentico riconoscimento sicuramente i mandatari sarebbero stati registrati alla reception e avrebbero voluto offrire la decorazione personalmente. Fu la direzione di Mahikari ad organizzare l'evento chiedendo a dei dignitari giapponesi di "rappresentare" gli sponsor (non essendoci dei veri sponsor)? Almeno Okada doveva essere al corrente che il riconoscimento non era autentico.

12. I debiti di guerra di Okada.
Secondo le varie pubblicazioni di Sukyo Mahikari Okada aveva enormi debiti da pagare dopo la guerra, dovuti ai bombardamenti delle sue fabbriche. Ci è stato detto che subito dopo la guerra vendeva stivali e che lavorò per la Tada Construction Co. dal 1949 fino al 1959, quando diede le dimissioni per iniziare l'associazione di Mahikari. Ci è stato detto che il suo principale obiettivo in quegli anni era quello di estinguere quegli enormi debiti e che non riuscì a coprirli se non poco prima di ricevere la prima rivelazione. Okada stesso disse che non era portato a credere a quella rivelazione perché, essendo un uomo d'affari, era unicamente impegnato a pagare i suoi debiti di guerra. Sappiamo però che fu impiegato come dirigente in SKK dal 1949 al 1953, mentre Sukyo Mahikari afferma che in quegli anni lavorava per la Tada. Inoltre Okada (in alcuni suoi insegnamenti trascritti sul Giornale Internazionale di Sukyo Mahikari dell'agosto 2002) afferma di aver fatto un tirocinio in un tempio buddista. Secondo i particolari ivi riportati, il suo tirocinio durò almeno 18 mesi. Non vengono fornite date, ma anche questo avvenne presumibilmente durante gli anni in cui lavorava alla Tada. Se Okada fosse stato realmente concentrato nel pagamento dei suoi debiti (ammesso che siano realmente esistiti) come mai avrebbe perso tempo con SKK e il tirocinio buddista? Qualcuna di queste dichiarazioni può essere vera, ma certamente non tutte!

13. Criminale di guerra
Infine, di nuovo dal Daiseishu, ricorderete le varie affermazioni di Kiyoharu Tomomori, dirigente senior di SMKB e poi di Sukyo Mahikari. C'è un lungo racconto di Tomomori, in cui egli ricorda i tempi trascorsi all'Accademia Militare con Yoshikazu Okada (pp. 15-19). Tomomori fu a capo del gruppo che accompagnò Okada nel suo viaggio in Europa del 1973 (p. 185). Tomomori, come amico di vecchia data di Okada, gli tenne la mano alla sua morte (p. 223). Tomomori è anche menzionato molte volte come presente durante il processo negli anni della divisione di Mahikari in due fazioni dopo la morte di Okada vedi http://mahikariexposed.com/truth1.htm. Secondo questo sito Tomomori avvertì la signora Okada di non intraprendere nessun azione senza averlo prima consultato. Nei vari dibattiti rappresentò la sua fazione e l'accompagnò in tribunale. Voi forse diffidate di queste informazioni relative al processo poiché ciò fu pubblicato originariamente da SMBK, ma vi è stato detto che Tomomori fu una figura di notevole importanza nella formazione di Sukyo Mahikari. Secondo la lista ufficiale dei criminali di guerra http://home.comcast.net/%7Ewinjerd/IMTFE_2.htm, Kiyoharu Tomomori fu processato per crimini di guerra e condannato a morte dal tribunale di Yokohama (condanna cambiata in seguito con il carcere a vita). Potete facilmente verificare voi stessi questa informazione dai dati forniti sotto Okada, Sukyo Mahikari e le Forze Armate giapponesi (par. 1–3) negli archivi di febbraio e marzo del sito blog After Mahikari http://anne987.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html.

Dunque che attinenza può avere con me tutto ciò? Nelle prime fasi del mio coinvolgimento in Sukyo Mahikari mi convinsi che Y. Okada sapesse molto su come l'universo funziona realmente, semplicemente perché okiyome mi sembrava essere qualcosa di buono. Col tempo questa convinzione si trasformò nel credere che qualsiasi cosa dicesse Okada fosse assolutamente vero, sebbene non ricordi quando lo decisi a livello conscio. Adottando questo tipo di fede, diedi in effetti a Sukyo Mahikari il controllo quasi totale sulla mia vita. Questo permise loro di riuscire a convincermi di aver ereditato enormi peccati e impurità dalle mie vite precedenti, nonostante il fatto che non ne avessi nessuna prova (se non quanto riportato negli insegnamenti di Okada) e che avrei dovuto fare il possibile per cancellare tali impurità. Permise anche loro di convincermi che esistano delle vite precedenti, di nuovo senza nessuna prova, e che le nostre vite sono determinate dal nostro karma (con nessuna prova effettiva).

La convinzione che tutto ciò che diceva Okada fosse vero m'indusse ad incanalare il mio altruismo in infinite ore di trasmissione della luce, fece in modo che io impegnassi tutta la mia energia nel cercare di salvare il mondo e mi fece credere che la pratica e la diffusione di Sukyo Mahikari fosse il modo più efficace di realizzarlo. Gli insegnamenti di Okada m'incoraggiarono a pensare che la sapienza umana non ha alcun valore e che le emozioni degli uomini sono in massima parte controllate dagli spiriti possessori (di nuovo senza nessuna prova effettiva). Gli insegnamenti implicavano anche che i miei pensieri e i miei sentimenti erano inattendibili e che pertanto avrei dovuto fare solo quello che diceva Okada (ossia Sukyo Mahikari).

Ora, ammetto che non posso confutare ogni insegnamento relativo al mondo invisibile. Tuttavia, il punto di partenza per me nel "dare" a Sukyo Mahikari il suddetto potere di controllo sulla mia vita fu quella alquanto inconsapevole decisione di credere che tutto ciò che diceva Okada fosse assolutamente vero. Avrei forse preso quella decisione se avessi saputo allora che Okada mentiva sulla storia del cane, la prova di Tenjo, il nome Kotama, il riconoscimento di Zante, ecc…? O avrei forse creduto che l'associazione di Sukyo Mahikari mi passava correttamente gli insegnamenti di Okada se avessi saputo che mentivano sul passato di Okada nell'organizzazione SKK, nascondevano il suo collegamento con Makoto no Michi e travisavano la dottrina relativa alla guarigione?

Guardandomi indietro, stento a credere di aver accettato l'affermazione di Okada, priva di ogni prova, di aver ricevuto delle rivelazioni da Dio e che dicesse pertanto l'assoluta verità circa l'universo. E' una base troppo fragile per avergli dedicato anni ed anni di fedeltà e di sforzi.

Dopo anni di pratica di Sukyo Mahikari forse pensate, come ho fatto io, di aver verificato la verità degli insegnamenti di Okada con la vostra esperienza. Ma il modo d'interpretare la mia esperienza era diretto dalle mie convinzioni. Un semplice esempio sarebbe già la promessa di ken wa fu. Se qualcuno si ammala nonostante abbia praticato Mahikari per anni, un profano lo interpreterebbe come una prova che Mahikari "non funziona". Invece un iniziato, al quale è stato insegnato di avere un sacco di karma negativo e della necessità di cancellarlo, interpreterebbe la stessa malattia grave come una meravigliosa opportunità di eliminare le sue impurità. Queste sono due diverse interpretazioni della medesima esperienza e la chiave fede responsabile di tale differenza d'interpretazione è semplicemente la convinzione, priva di prove, che l'ammalato avesse un karma pesante.

Quando entrai nell'organizzazione di Sukyo Mahikari non avevo accesso a nessuna delle informazioni elencate in questo sommario. La mia scelta di credere alle dichiarazioni di Okada non fu una scelta esaurientemente informata. Immagino che anche la vostra non lo sia stata.

Detesto pensare che tutti i vostri sforzi per realizzare una differenza nel mondo vadano sprecati. Quando lasciai Mahikari non abbandonai il desiderio di ottenere una differenza, o il desiderio di conoscere la verità. Imparai però ad essere molto prudente sul fatto di poter essere fuorviata da qualsiasi "guru" che dichiarasse di possedere una conoscenza superiore sul mondo invisibile in modo non dimostrabile.
Con i migliori auguri
da una ex-iniziata che serba ancora un affettuoso ricordo di tanti kumite.

PS: ritengo che tutti gli iniziati di Sukyo Mahikari, come pure gli ex-iniziati, abbiano il diritto di conoscere gli accertamenti qui descritti. Poiché i kumite tendono a non leggere le informazioni su Mahikari riportate su internet, spero che qualcuno di voi che le state leggendo voglia trasmetterla ad altri iniziati e/o ex-iniziati. (Fornitegli l'URL per questa pagina, stampatela e distribuitela, oppure semplicemente parlatene.)


Verifica la prova tu stesso

Ho appena scoperto un errore nella mia lettera. Mi dispiace. Al punto 5 ho scritto che la prima rivelazione pubblicata nell’edizione del Goseighen del 1969 include le parole: “Alza la mano”, ma non è così.

Le parole “Alza la mano” (te o kazase) non sono incluse in questo testo della prima rivelazione, come è stato pubblicato sia nella prima, che nella terza edizione. Ciò significa che “Alza la mano” non faceva parte del testo pubblicato sul Goseighen fino alla quarta edizione, o oltre.

Questo fatto fa sorgere molte domande. Chi ha inserito “Alza la mano” nel testo del Goseighen? Quando? E perché?

Il mio errore è dovuto al fatto che la persona che mi ha inviato le fotocopie dell’edizione “1969” pensava che fosse l’edizione del 1969 basandosi sulla data posta in fondo alla prefazione di Y. Okada. Invece non esiste una data di pubblicazione indicata in quella edizione. E’ pertanto chiaro che tale edizione deve essere stata pubblicata dopo la morte di Y. Okada, dato che Keishu Okada è indicata come titolare del copyright nella pagina delle informazioni. Questa deve essere stata la quarta edizione, o forse un’altra successiva.

Ho appena ricevuto una fotocopia di alcune parti della prima edizione del Goseighen … questa volta la vera prima edizione ! Secondo la pagina delle informazioni, questa pubblicazione è uscita il 1 gennaio 1970, sebbene la prefazione sia datata 1969. Non viene detto se questa è la prima edizione, ma la pagina delle informazioni dell’edizione del 1973 dice che la prima edizione del Goseighen fu pubblicata nel 1970.

Ho scaricato le immagini delle pagine in questione, così potete vedere voi stessi che quel testo è stato aggiunto nelle edizioni successive del Goseighen. Basta cliccare sulla scritta “Verifica la prova tu stesso”.

Se “Alza la mano” non faceva originariamente parte di quella rivelazione, la prima conseguenza è che la storia del cane non ha alcuna credibilità. Infatti, che necessità avrebbe avuto Okada di verificare okiyome in seguito alla rivelazione del 1959, come dichiarato nel testo del Corso Medio (1983), se la rivelazione non includeva le parole “Alza la mano”? La seconda conseguenza è che qualcuno ha aggiunto “le parole di Dio”. Questo qualcuno fu Okada o qualcun altro?

L’edizione corrente del Goseighen di SMBK ha la stessa formulazione dell’edizione corrente di Sukyo Mahikari, ossia, include le parole “Alza la mano”. Ciò fa pensare che questa frase sia stata inclusa nel testo del Goseighen o appena prima, o immediatamente dopo la morte di Y. Okada nel giugno del 1974. Se le due fazioni di Mahikari avessero aggiunto queste parole dopo l’avvenuta scissione, queste parole non apparirebbero in entrambe le correnti versioni del Goseighen (pertanto l’aggiunta è stata fatta prima della divisione). In ogni caso questa frase non è presente nel testo del Goseighen fino all’edizione pubblicata nel 1973, o subito dopo.

Se noi riteniamo che Dio esiste e che abbia concesso a Y. Okada le rivelazioni che ha pubblicato nel Goseighen, l’esatto contenuto di tali rivelazioni avrebbe potuto anche costituire un segreto tra lui e Dio. E’ possibile che Okada avesse deciso, per una qualche ragione, di omettere temporaneamente quelle tre parole, quando autorizzò la pubblicazione delle prime poche edizioni del Goseighen. Egli tuttavia non indica in nessun modo di aver omesso qualcosa in quel punto del testo (sebbene indichi un’omissione precedente proprio in quel paragrafo). Poiché ci è stato detto che Okada promuoveva “tekazashi” (okiyome) in modo entusiastico come il nucleo principale dell’attività della sua organizzazione, (se Dio gli abbia effettivamente detto:”Alza la mano”) sembra molto improbabile che egli abbia deciso di omettere dal testo proprio quelle particolari parole. Sembra invece molto più plausibile che o lui stesso, o qualcun altro abbia aggiunto quelle tre parole qualche tempo dopo il 1 marzo 1973.

Dal momento che non conosco la data di pubblicazione della quarta edizione del Goseighen (quella in cui appare per la prima volta “Alza la mano”), non so se quella edizione sia stata autorizzata da Y. Okada o da qualcun altro. Mi domando se le prime fotocopie speditemi siano quelle della prima edizione che includeva “Alza la mano”. Noterete che le copie scaricate della rivelazione in oggetto appaiono identiche, a parte l’aggiunta di quei pochi caratteri. Le informazioni sulla pubblicazione di quella edizione si mostrano molto irregolari. Non appare la data di pubblicazione e neppure l’editore. La pagina delle informazioni indica Y. Okada come la persona che ha ricevuto le rivelazioni e Keishu Okada come titolare del copyright. (Ma lo è realmente?) Questa pubblicazione fu deliberatamente lasciata senza data in modo che i kumite non conoscessero quando la frase “Alza la mano” fu inclusa per la prima volta nel Goseighen?

La principale e più verosimile conseguenza per coloro che credono che il Goseighen contenga le parole di Dio è forse quella che Dio non abbia detto: “Alza la mano”? Per qual motivo allora avremmo passato migliaia di ore ad alzare le nostre mani?

Questa scoperta mette in luce il problema fondamentale relativo ad ogni presunta rivelazione. Come possiamo sapere se Dio abbia realmente detto una qualsiasi delle cose che Y. Okada pretende siano le parole di Dio? E inoltre, come possiamo sapere se Y.Okada disse realmente le cose che, nel materiale di Sukyo Mahkari pubblicato dopo la sua morte, si afferma che disse?

Sukyo Mahikari potrebbe sostenere che Dio abbia detto a Y. Okada di alzare la mano una qualche altra volta, come si accenna nella “Cronaca del 30° anno di Sukyo Mahikari”. Ciò tuttavia non modifica il fatto che, secondo le edizioni del Goseighen del 1970 e 1973, “Alza la mano” non faceva parte di quella così significativa rivelazione del 1959, mentre le successive edizioni dicono che lo fosse.

Verifica la prova tu stesso

Scans of Goseigen editions

Above is a scan of the entire first revelation in the edition of Goseigen published on January 1, 1970. The "Raise your hand" part (te o kazase) is not in the last line of text (or anywhere else in this revelation).

Above is a scan of the first revelation in Goseigen, as published in the undated edition that shows Ms. Okada as the copyright holder. The "Raise your hand" part (te o kazase) is marked in the last line of text.

The above scan is the publication details page of the 1970 edition of Goseigen, showing December 15, 1969, as the stamped date, and January 1, 1970, as the publication date.

The above scan is the publication details page from the edition of Goseigen which does include 'Raise your hand'. Ms. Okada is shown as being the copyright holder, but no publisher or publication date is shown.

2005 Letter to Kumite

The teachings of Sukyo Mahikari tell us that divine wisdom is superior to human wisdom, and I'm sure you have all heard Mahikari kanbu (leaders) say things like, "Don't think. Just give okiyome (purification) and you will eventually understand."

Lately I've been doing an awful lot of thinking.

Think back to when you first heard about Mahikari and were deciding whether or not you wanted to attend primary kenshu (introductory 3-day course). Can you remember what convinced you to join Mahikari? You probably did an awful lot of careful thinking at that time. After all, for newcomers, okiyome (giving and receiving purification) is rather mysterious and many of the teachings seem pretty weird... they may not seem weird to you now, but if you're honest and think back carefully, you probably can remember your first reactions to Mahikari.

At first you may not have believed all the teachings, but there must have been something that you felt was really worthwhile... something that convinced you to devote a lot of your time and energy to Mahikari activities.

Later, you probably also did a fair bit of thinking about what was important to you and how to be as persuasive as possible whenever you were telling outsiders about Mahikari. In my case, I saw okiyome as being the most important thing. I would start with something like, "Okiyome is primarily spiritual purification, but spiritual purification automatically also purifies on a mental and physical level...", then I'd quickly move on to mention various examples of people who had been cured of physical illnesses by receiving okiyome. I didn't mention much about other teachings, even though I did believe them myself by that stage, because I remembered how doubtful I'd been about many of them when I first heard Mahikari teachings.

Over the years, there were other times too when I thought a fair bit. Perhaps you too have had moments when you've taken a step back... perhaps even tried to look at Mahikari from the perspective of your "old self" (who you were before becoming a kumite)... and asked yourself really basic things like, "Do I really believe the teachings about...", "Does okiyome really work?", etc.

In my case, after joining Mahikari, I quickly became a very dedicated and active member, and so I didn't often have this sort of doubt session. I do remember, though, having a rather major doubt session several years after I joined. I systematically looked at all the teachings in turn and asked myself, "How do I know this is true?", about all of them.

Karma is just one example. Mahikari teachings say that giving okiyome erases negative karma, and that if we regularly practice okiyome we will elevate spiritually and not experience as much misfortune. When we do experience misfortune, we are told that we must have a lot of negative karma from a previous life, and that we should apologize for those misdeeds and be grateful for the misfortune (because experiencing misfortune is another way of erasing negative karma). So, whatever happens, we have no way of proving or disproving that giving okiyome erases negative karma... especially since the only evidence we have to indicate how much negative karma we have is the amount of misfortune we experience. Am I missing something here, or is this a circular argument?

Similarly, if things are going well, we are taught to have gratitude for God's protection, which we receive when we have sincere God-centered attitudes (sonen). If things don't go so well, we are taught to reflect on our attitudes (and we always do manage to find some reason to blame ourselves...after all, none of us are perfect) and try to change them. Now, this may in fact be how the spiritual world works, but since we can't physically see the spiritual world, how do we know if this is true? It seems that whatever happens, there is a teaching to explain it.

You can probably think of other similar examples...if X happens, then it is explained by one teaching, and if the opposite happens, a different teaching can explain that. Since most of the teachings concern the unseen world, I quickly realized that I could neither prove nor disprove them on the basis of my own experiences.

The above realization almost made me leave Mahikari, but the bottom line for me was my belief that okiyome "works"...I'd seen many cases and heard of others (as I'm sure you have) where health problems seemed to miraculously disappear as a result of receiving okiyome.

This period of doubt was quite a turning-point for me. Since I felt that okiyome itself was very worthwhile, I decided to just practice okiyome and not think....exactly what kanbu had been saying all along! This was quite an odd decision for someone like me to make. Before joining Mahikari, I had always prided myself on my ability for independent thought and objective analysis, and had always attempted to evaluate myself and everything else as honestly as possible.

From then on, I became even more dedicated. I spent hour after hour giving okiyome and all my free time was taken up by Mahikari activities. I started living at a Mahikari center and eventually took on various leadership roles.

In addition to okiyome, I began to see sonen as being one of the most fundamental aspects of Mahikari. I began to think that our attitudes affect what happens to us almost as much (or maybe even more) than okiyome does. For me personally, Items 5 and 6 of Shinga no Ware (The I of True Self), which say how to become fearless and overcome self-limitation, seemed like the key to freedom. It is a fairly common notion that, in many cases, there is "nothing to fear except fear itself".

I began to see fear as being the single thing that limits us the most. For example, "If I don't have to fear being hungry or homeless, then I can devote all my time and energy and money to serving God and helping other people without ever thinking about myself." Or, "If I don't fear the pain in my legs... or at least, I use my sonen to overcome it... then I can happily spend all day sitting on my knees giving okiyome." Or, "If I don't worry about being overly tired tomorrow, I can stay up really late giving okiyome, studying teachings, etc." (By that time, as you may have gathered, I was believing all the teachings again.)

Perhaps you think I focused overly much on this "becoming fearless" aspect of sonen, and perhaps I did. Even so, over the ensuing years, I did manage to reduce my sense of personal needs to the point where I was reasonably comfortable with almost no personal time or space. I needed very little money, and was fairly flexible about what I ate and when I ate it. I didn't ever manage to become as fearless as I would have liked. However, each time I recognised a fear and refused to let it control me, I grew stronger.

Let me now skip over quite a number of years... during which time I began doubting again and in fact left Mahikari... to something that happened a few months ago.

Quite by chance, I read a short story called "The Gamblers' Club", by Ellery Queen. There is an interesting twist to this story and some clever detective work, but the plot revolves around a fail-safe stock market scam.

In this story, the con-man selects stock that is fluctuating wildly in value and sends anonymous tips to 16 members of the gamblers' club. Half the tips say the stock will rise, and half say that it will fall....the con-man himself has no idea which will happen. The 8 members who happened to receive the correct tip make an awful lot of money. A week later, the con-man again selects volatile stock and sends tips to only the 8 men who received the correct tip the week before. This time he tips a rise in 4 of the letters, and a fall in the other 4. The 4 men with the correct tip again make a lot of money. The pattern is repeated in the third week, so this time there are only 2 "winners". These 2 men have now cleaned up three weeks in a row and have come to assume that the person supplying the tips has extremely reliable inside information.

Next, the con-man writes to these 2 men saying that something new has come up that looks like being even better, but he says it has to be secret and he has to handle it all personally. He tells them that, if they want to gamble $25,000 with a hot chance of doubling that within a week, they should deliver the cash to a specified spot that night. In this story, the con-man gets sprung at the last minute, but he very nearly gets away with $50,000 in cash.

When I read this story, the first thing I thought was, "That's just what happened to me with Mahikari!". Because I had satisfied myself that okiyome "works" (that the teachings concerning okiyome seemed to be true), I began to assume that Sukuinushisama (the founder of Mahikari) must have had inside information about all aspects of the spiritual world.

Before you get upset at me, let me stress that I'm not trying to imply that Sukuinushisama was a con-man. Some people may think he was, but for the purposes of this analogy, it doesn't matter much whether he was sincere or not. The thing that matters is whether or not his teachings are correct.

In the above story, the victims of the con were initially sceptical, but decided to tentatively believe the anonymous tips just in case the tipster knew something they themselves didn't know...after all, there was a lot to gain if the tipster was correct. Once the con-man gained his victims' trust by repeatedly coming up with the correct tip, he, in effect, had "proved" that he had crucial inside information.

Then, when the con-man said he needed $25,000... and needed it that night... the victims were aware that this might be a trick but, even so, they were quite eager to participate. They only had a matter of hours to think about it, and they were reluctant to let their slight suspicions get in the way of this chance to make a very large sum of money.

Mahikari teachings don't offer us the chance to double $25,000. They offer us a chance to become spiritually purified, and to help purify others, so that as many people as possible can survive the Baptism by Fire (Mahikari's version of Armageddon). We are told that we must be dedicated members of Mahikari and make every effort possible, as a matter of extreme urgency, because the teachings say that the Baptism of Fire is already beginning. We don't have the luxury of thinking about it later... we must act now in order to save ourselves and as much of the world as possible. That's more important than $25,000!

But is it true? That's for you to decide. I've already admitted that I can neither prove nor disprove any of the teachings of Mahikari.

I never donated $25,000 to Mahikari, although I might have done at one stage if I'd had that sort of money. Probably most of you haven't either. In our cases, it's more a question of how many years of our lives we have wasted... if the teachings are not true.

As you've no doubt already noticed, the above analogy between the con story and our belief in Mahikari teachings is not a perfect analogy. In the story, the con victims would have realized they'd been conned as soon as the perpetrator disappeared with their money. What happens in Mahikari? Why do we keep on believing the teachings year after year?

Sure, okiyome does continue to "work"... for some of the population at least. We've all come across people who insist, "I didn't feel a thing!", after receiving okiyome and, as in the above analogy, we tend to leave those people alone and just concentrate on nurturing the people who do experience a favourable result from receiving okiyome. Presumably, we're all in the group of people for whom okiyome does "work", but I think we should still ask what it is and why it works. Is it actually the Light of God, as the teachings say? After all, there are a variety of other apparently miraculous healing techniques (yogic-type self-healing, healing that results from hypnotic suggestion, faith healing, etc., etc.) that achieve very real physical effects (such as feelings of warmth, sweating, shaking, discharge, etc.) and that achieve verifiable cures. Our minds are very powerful things. Perhaps one such mechanism makes okiyome "work" for some people, and other mechanisms make it "work" for others. This is a fascinating area... I would love to know exactly what is going on here.

Also, we probably continue to experience how much our own sonen (attitudes) affect our lives. Does anything else make us continue to believe?

Some critics suggest that members of Mahikari are victims of mind control. I know for a fact that I never attempted to control anyone's mind when I was in leadership roles during my Mahikari years. I'm equally sure that none of you - regardless of whether you are a kamikumite, a group leader, a Doshi (teacher), or even a Dojo Cho (head of a Mahikari center) - have ever tried to practice mind control over anyone. Sure, we might have tried to be as persuasive as possible (in ordinary ways) when giving advice to other members or telling outsiders about Mahikari, but I don't think ordinary persuasion counts as mind control.

However, even though I believe no-one ever deliberately practiced mind control techniques on me, I've come to think that my day-to-day activities in Mahikari may well have produced a mind control effect. I've started to wonder, for example, if the intense concentration involved in giving and receiving okiyome might produce an altered mental state (some sort of shallow trance) in which the teachings become implanted in our subconscious. This is just speculation, but if okiyome, chanting, attending kenshu, and so on, do have this effect, then this may have been the most crucial factor that kept me believing Mahikari teachings for years, despite all my logic and careful thinking. This would also put a new perspective on the fact that we are often told that if we don't receive okiyome regularly, or reattend kenshu, we might "drift away" from Mahikari.

Influence at a subconscious level could explain why we fear that something dreadful will happen to us if we ever leave Mahikari (nothing dreadful has happened to me yet!). It could explain why we come to believe all those teachings about world history and Japanese supremacy, the astral world, the spiritual world, the Baptism of Fire, male and female roles, etc. It could explain how people who used to be atheists can fairly quickly adjust to bowing and praying in front of what originally seemed to be a quite alien sort of altar.

Have you ever read any studies of mind control and how it works? There's lots of information out there on how it is used in advertising and marketing, in scams, in religious and other types of cults, in politics, etc. Just look at your library or search the Internet. It seems that a lot of what has been written on mind control focuses on deliberate deception in cults such as the Moonies, Children of God, etc. Even so, books such as Steve Hassan's "Combatting Cult Mind Control", and "Recovery from Cults", edited by Michael D. Langone, make interesting reading.

If you do get a chance to read any of this material, I'd be very interested to hear what you think. Indeed, I'd be very interested to hear from any of you about which teachings you may have found hard to accept, and why you have now come to believe them. (If any ex-members are reading this, I'd of course also be interested in hearing your views.)

In closing, I feel I must state the obvious. If all the teachings of Mahikari are correct, then the above comments are just the result of influence by attaching spirits, and should be ignored. However, if the teachings are regarded as at all questionable, then the notion of spirit disturbance must also be questioned and, if that is the case, some careful thinking might be in order.