Friday, September 29, 2006


I was looking over some of my old posts for comments today and I found the following comment from a person who chose to remain anonymous. I read the comment with an open mind, but something about it compelled me share it with everyone. The person clearly didn’t read any of my other posts and clearly does not know that I was a member of Sukyo Mahikari pretty much my whole life and herego know probably just as much as them if not more about the organization.

Anonymous said...

Although much of the information you offer here reflects practices of the SM movement, there is so much that is untrue that it is overall not a fair evaluation of the organization. I don't have time to address all that is incorrect but I'll try to clarify what I can. First, no promises are made to anyone that they will be "saved" if they give and receive enough enough divine light. The emphasis is not on our own individual salvation but on serving God. We hope,of course, to be saved but it is always said that we don't know who will or won't be saved. Futher, people not in Mahikari will be saved as well but, again, we don't claim to know who will or won't be among them.

-I will be interrupting throughout this to put my two-cents in. Okay…maybe I’ll give you that SM does not promise that you will be saved, but they do say that if you give okiyome every day and receive okiyome every day, that you will be more spiritually cleansed and will therefore be more acceptable in the eyes of God. They might not come right out and say “you will be saved”, but they do VERY STRONGLY imply that the only way to be pure enough to possibly be saved is through divine light. Therefore, one must logically assume that to Kumite the only way to be saved is through Sukyo Mahikari; given the fact that they claim to be the only religion (besides Johrei and a few others, which they do not acknowledge) who offers okiyome.

There is within Mahikari an organizational structure and many decisions are made at higher levels. That is not to say that individuals may not make their own decisions about how to live their own lives.

-Organizational Structure? Well, given the fact that if you don’t follow the Organizational Structure you are frowned upon, considered disobiedient, or spiritually disturbed…what option do Kumite have? Read Lara’s blog to find out more about the Organizational Structure SM sets into motion. Kanbu sometimes make poor decisions and the results can be deadly when Kumite cannot stand up and say ‘no’. The right to say no and disagree is always there, but when the religion teaches that the people put in charge are connected strongly to Keishu who is connected to God…naturally they assume that the Kanbu members have some sort of divine knowledge that they do not possess.

Further, obedience to staff (kanbu) is neither suggested nor required.If individuals ask for guidance from staff, there is a belief that the guidance that is offered in this type of situation should be followed because it is divinely inspired. There is no requirement that anyone do so. Members are also encouraged to seek assistance from appropriate agencies, therapists and physicians when needed.

-This is 100% incorrect. Obidience is strongly encouraged. You are told to be like a child and pay Kanbu the respect that a child gives their parents. Which means that you look at them in awe and treat them as though they are the all-knowing ultimate source of truth; the way a baby does until they turn about two years old and start saying ‘no’ and ‘mine’.

Obedience to and dependence on staff is not encouraged.

-More non-sense. You are told that all big decisions need to be discussed with Kanbu. They will know the best solution out of the myriad of options. I once knew a man who received a promotion from work; the new salary he was going to be offered was almost double what he was receiving at the time. However, the job would have required him to move to Egypt; where he would stay for six years. The Kanbu members told him that because where he was moving was not near a center it would be spiritually crippling for him and his family to make the move.
Not only was there no center, but there would be limited people to receive and offer divine light from. By moving he would have possibly been standing in the way of the salvation of someone he was supposed to come in contact with. The man refused the position based on Kanbu’s assessment of the situation. Now, yes, he could have refused their answer and gone anyway, but he would have been discussed behind his back by members and frowned upon; not to mention the salvation of others rested in his hands alone.

I don't understand your point regarding the absence of independent thinking. I can't think of any church that encourages independent thinking regarding, for example, God's law or that encourages research. Research on what?

-Again incorrect. In Bible study class we are given a text to read over. For instance Phillipians 4. We read the text and select the verse in the text that stands out the most strongly to us. We then talk about why God has chosen to bring that verse to our attention, interpert it, and then apply it to our lives. The Bible is all about interpertation.

When I spoke of doing research I was speaking of knowing the truth about your religion. Researching it’s origin and knowing all the facts about it. Sukyo Mahikari does not encourage people to research the background of the organization; unless you research it through the organization where you will receive their version of events. You are told that the people who write against Sukyo Mahikari are spiritually disturbed and therefore cannot be trusted as a reliable source; thus you must rely on the organization for your answers. Christianity has nothing to hide; our history is out in the open for anyone to read about. Sukyo Mahikari tries to bury the truth and prevent members from coming in contact with oposition.

It's simplistic to say that Mahikari says that doubts or questions are the result of spiritual disturbance. They may or may not result from some disturbance but in my experience, questions from members are taken seriously and addressed thoughtfully.

-Really…so if I were to ask about say…the Johrei and why SM claims to be an original religion when the SKK was founded almost 20 years before them and practice the same thing…would my questions be answered thoughtfully and enthusiastically? If I were to ask why in the Goseigen it states that Okada was apprehensive when he raised his hand for the first time when we have photos that prove he was a member of the SKK and therefore must have raised his hand before in order to practice their religion, would I again be answered? I don’t think so.

Your points regarding members being discouraged from taking vacations or enjoying time outside the center are simply untrue. Members are encouraged to live balanced lives and, in particular, to put their families first before the organization. Mahikari, as a rule, doesn't accept prospective members whose families object to their membership. The reason for this is that there is a desire not to cause dissension or disharmony within families.

- Really? Because SM has caused a lot of disharmony within my family. Not only do I disagree with it, but my grandparents are against it as well…being that they are strong Catholics. My grandmother and mother have fought about it constantly, but my mother has not been denied membership. My mother practically disowned me over my leaving the organization, in fact, Kanbu told her that maybe it was better for her to keep her distance because I could be disturbed. As for vacations, my family took vacations but always to locations where there was a center near by.

It is also untrue that the statue of Izonome is really meant to be Okada. I have never heard such a comment in over 10 years with this organization. Explanations are frequently given about who is who and where they came from and this is just not so. Okada's picture is displayed on certain occasions and he is clearly differentiated from Izunome.

-That’s your center. In my center the statue has been called Okada several times. My mother has always told me that was who the statue was. As for Okada…I remember leaving out alcohol and cigarettes on the shrine on his birthday. For someone who stressed not putting impurities in the body, he sure didn’t take his own advice.

Control over people and having some traditional or spirtual practices are not related. Catholics dip their hand in holy water and make the sign of the cross. That is no more to establish control over their popluation than Mahikari's washing of hands,taking off of shoes or greeting people when you arrive.

- That’s because Catholics (no offense) like Sukyo Mahikari put more emphasis on works and tradition. To them religion is about rituals, not a relationship with our Creator. God doesn’t care how you worship Him as long as you love Him. He doesn’t want robotic, repetative non-sense. If you want to go through the motions and rituals and traditions that is your preogative, but do not tell people that you do it because that is the way God wants you to do it.

Again, in my experience , questions are always encouraged at seminars. It is true that prospective members are encouraged to abandon pre-conceived ideas about God and religion when they take the course to become Mahikari members. That is because they will hear some information that will be different from what they have heard earlier in their religious lives and, if they wish to become members of this organization, it is good to be open minded about the information that you will receive. There is no obligation to do so or to believe anything in particular. What is true is true irrespective of who believes it.

-Yes, they do hear some new things when they take Kenshu and yes, they are told to dump out the old tea to make new. However, they are not told that the organization considers itself the only path to God. On the contrary they are told that it doesn’t matter what you believe; that okiyome is all that matters and that any religion can fit with Sukyo Mahikari…that it is universal and that it is not necessary to throw away your old beliefs entirely. That’s a lie, especially for Christians who join. When you take Secondary Kenshu you hear their distorted history of Jesus Christ. You hear that he was never cruxified, that his twin brother died on the cross in his place, that he lived to be 107, that he studied Shintoism, and that be is buried in Japan. Now, given the fact that the basis of all Christian beliefs is that we are saved from our sins because Jesus died on the cross for us…there’s bit of a problem.

All in all, the focus of Mahikari is to make the world a better place through giving divine light and by living by certain principles which make one a better person . I have partcipated in many religious organizations in my life and I've never seen another one in which the members make so much effort to become better human beings, to as well as to make their communities and the world a better place.

-How are you making the world a better place by sitting on your knees in dojo, and participating in absolutely zero humanitarian efforts? Sukyo Mahikari does not support acts of chairity because they say that you are interefering with the karma of others so how in the hell is Sukyo Mahikari doing anything to better the planet? They are peddling beliefs that may or may not be true. I pity Sukyo Mahikari members because one day when they come face to face with their Creator they will learn that it was all for nothing. If you speak in tongues of angels, but have not love you’re only a resounding noise. If you have the gift of knowledge and if your faith moves mountains high, but have not love you are nothing. God wants your hearts, not your fear and half-assed efforts to try and appease those fears.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Baptism of Fire

I spoke with a member of Sukyo Mahikari recently and we began to chat about the Baptism of Fire and why it did not come in the year 2000 as scheduled. I was prepared for an array of reasons as to why and was not shocked when this person replied, “The Baptism was delayed because we have been so sonao in our efforts to spread Mahikari far and wide. We have been putting more and more effort into erasing our sins and impurities through true light and helping non-believers find God through the teachings of Sukuinushisama. Due to the constant efforts of Oshienushisama and Odairisama God has decided to spare us from the Baptism until the year December 21st, 2012.”

So there you have it folks; due to the efforts of Sukyo Mahikari members worldwide, in edition to the constant pleading Oshienushisama and Odairisama have been doing with God, we can now sleep easy until the end of the world six years from now. It never ceases to amaze me how conceited some SM members are. Do they really think that because they packed their emergency kits and sat in the dojo praying while the rest of us were watching the New York count down to the year 2000 that God spared us?

The Bible says that when the Lord comes it will be like a ‘thief in the night’ like a ‘lightning fast hurricane’.
1 Thessalonians 5
1. Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2. for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

No one will expect it and no one will be able to predict it. It could happen at any moment; at this moment. No one will know. Not you, me, or Keishu Okada. Why would God give us a deadline so that the sinners could continue to live in sin and then repent at the last possible moment? That would be moronic. The only thing we know is that it will be a seemingly peaceful time, without war, when we would least expect it. The verse continue to say

4. But you, brothers (referring to Christians not Sukyo Mahikari members), are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

I did a little research about the year 2012 and found it was the year the ancient Mayan’s predicted the world would end; their calendar ends on December 21st, 2006. The Mayan’s were very sophisticated mathematically back in their time, but there is no evidence to support that the world is going to end six years from now.

It looks as though Keishu needed to set a date, due to the fact that she is supposedly more connected to God than the rest of us and is therefore all knowing, and the only date she could come up with was the day the Mayan calendar ended. I wonder what year the world will end when this prediction falls through.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I saw this today and my jaw dropped. Introducing... *drum roll please*...Sukyo Mahikari in a box! Now you don't need to go to dojo in order to cure your aches and pains; you have Light Relief! This is a bit taken from the official site...

A Gentle Stream of Soothing Energy!
Pain—it attacks your body when you least expect it, stops you in your tracks, preys on your mind, and robs you of your happiness, spirit and freedom.
Introducing Light Relief, the safe and natural alternative to pain relief that gets you back to living well, spending time the way you really want, having fun, and enjoying the people you love.
Light Relief is an infrared light therapy device that is so effective it comes with a money-back guarantee. Light Relief uses light emitting diodes or LEDs to create a powerful stream of warm therapeutic light that penetrates deep, increasing circulation, and relieving minor muscle pain, joint pain, and stiffness where and when you need it.

Light Relief is the natural way to soothe your aches and pains and get you on your feet again. You will be amazed at how much better you feel!

Light Relief's innovative and compact design is durable, lightweight and portable. It goes anywhere, and fits in the palm of your hand. You can easily remove the comfort pad and it's flexible to fit every curve of your body.

Light Relief is made to the highest quality standards and is backed by a two-year warranty.
So get back to living life to the fullest and feeling good again, like thousands of people have. Climb that mountain, spread your wings and fly.

This infomercial provided me with a half hour of entertainment...especially when they started talking about toxins! Seriously...this thing sounded like promotion for SM. I am going to order like twenty of these and then open up my own store next to the dojo and offer light relief healing.

For more details visit...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Karma: Is Misfortune Good or Bad?

I have been thinking a lot about karma. In Sukyo Mahikari karma has a huge impact on the life cycle; in fact, it is due to ones negative karma that it is supposedly essential to join SM and take kenshu, bring in new members, receive okiyome daily, and adhere to all the other tedious tasks that SM deems mandatory to ridding oneself of the clouds on the soul. It is like a domino effect and negative karma is the first domino knocked over, setting off a chain reaction.

However, there are two completely different kinds of karmic belief.

The first belief states that bad things happen to people because they have done terrible things in their past lives. The religions who teach this belief, like SM, believes that mishaps in life are due to accumulated negative karma; therefore a person must compensate through misfortune for their sins of the past. SM teaches that the worst thing one can do for a person going through suffering is aid them to make the suffering less painful. For example, if you were to give a homeless man on the street some money for a meal; you are interfering with his compensation process and thus preventing him from working off his sins and impurities through physical suffering. SM believes in no charity of any kind for this reason.

The second belief states that bad things happen to people who are more spiritually elevated. For example, Gnostism teaches that everyone makes a contract with God prior to coming to Earth to live their life. The contract is a promise to live a life exactly the way it is written on a chosen chart. A chart is a blueprint of life; which documents everything that will happen to a person throughout their lifetime: their parents, birth, spouse, kids, job, death…everything is preordained, discussed, and chosen by the soul in question and God before life begins. People have the opportunity to live multiple lives because Jesus died on the cross so that all sins could be forgiven; it is due to his sacrifice that people have the opportunity to be born multiple times to learn new life lessons with every chart.

The hope is that someday a soul will be spiritually pure enough to go to Heaven and be with God eternally. Now, with that established…Gnostics believe that, just like school, you start out with easy lessons and work your way up to harder lessons. Thus, a homeless man on the street that is going through an extreme amount of suffering is more spiritually elevated than someone who has a simple life, makes a lot of money, and has not a care or worry in the world. Therefore, people who have difficult lives should be revered for their strength; because they are so far along in their spiritual evolution that they have to go through a harder life.

Quite a contrast in the karmic belief! SM would have members believe that they are the spiritually superior group; that they have to stay so busy purifying themselves because they have a divine mission that they cannot be bothered with any other act of kindness or aid. To them, being at the dojo, being available to offer okiyome to SM members on call, is the best thing they can do for humanity. They turn their noses up at people in trouble. They turn their noses up at people who ask for charity. They scoff at the humanitarian effort. But what if karma works the opposite way? What if misfortune is a natural part of spiritual evolution and the people who have a carefree life, a life where they can sit at dojo all day without a care while time slips by, where they can offer okiyome and avoid the rest of humanity selfishly, only worrying about their own purification and the few people they are able to sucker into joining…are the ones who still have a lot of work to do through reincarnation?

It got me thinking…

Friday, May 26, 2006

Plea to Sukyo Mahikari Parents

Silhouettes above the cradle hold me down
They won't let me go the wrong way
My mother taught me all the fables, told me how in the end all the sinners have to pay
But I don't wanna live like my mother

I don't wanna let fear rule my life
And I don't wanna live like my father
I don't wanna give up before I die

When I have kidsI won't put any chains on their wrists, I won't
I'll tell them this; there's nothing in this world that you can't be if you want it enough

I don't wanna live like my mother

I don't wanna let fear rule my life
And I don't wanna live like my father
I don't wanna give up before I die

Alright, I know some of you who have been reading my previous posts are going to say “someone kick the damn record player”, but I cannot stress this enough. This issue pisses me off to no end. I chose the above song (Silhouettes by Smile Empty Soul) because this is what parents do to their kids; predestine their religious beliefs and political thinking.

For those of you who do not typically read my blog, my penname is Asher Kennedy. I will not reveal my real name in order to protect the identities of my family members. I was a member of Sukyo Mahikari, like yourselves. I joined when I was ten, but my parents have been involved in Mahikari for as long as I can remember. I am not going to bore you with the details of how I came to leave Mahikari or try to persuade you to leave the organization; instead I am going to plea with you about a different subject.

Your religious preference is your choice, while I might not agree with it you are entitled to it; just as I am entitled to my opinion. Now, clearly we do not agree on Sukyo Mahikari because if we did this blog would not be necessary. Whether we agree or not is irrelevant because what it boils down to is this…

Religions are hereditary beliefs and opinions. To quote the headline of an article in the Guardian by Reverend Don Cupitt: 'We need to make a clean break with heritage religion and create something better suited to our own time.' We vary in our opinions and our tastes, and it is one of our glories. Some of us are left-wing, others right. Some are pro-abortion, others pro-life. Some listen to Beethoven, others Mozart. Some watch birds, others collect stamps. It is only to be expected that our elders should influence us in all such matters. All this is normal and praiseworthy.

In particular, it is normal and pleasing that parental impact should be strong. I'm not talking particularly about genes, but about all the influences that parents inevitably bring. It is to be expected that football fathers will teach the sport to their sons or daughters on the back lawn, take them to NFL games, and pass on their love of the game. There will be some tendency for ornithologists to have bird-watching children, bibliophiles book-loving children. Beliefs and tastes, political biases and hobbies, these will tend, at least statistically, to pass longitudinally down generations, and nobody would wish it otherwise.

But now we come to religion, and an extremely odd thing happens. Where we might have said, 'knowing his father, I expect young Matthew will take up football,' we emphatically do not say, 'With her devout Catholic parents; I expect young Bernadette will take up Catholicism.' Instead we say, without a moment's hesitation or a qualm of misgiving, 'Bernadette is a Catholic'. We state it as simple fact even when she is far too young to have developed a theological opinion of her own. In all other spheres, a good school will encourage her to develop her own tastes and opinions, her own skills, penchants and values. But when it comes to religion, society meekly makes a clanging exception. We inexplicably accept that, the day she is born, Bernadette has a label tied around her neck. This is a Catholic baby.

That is a protestant baby. This is a Hindu baby. That is a Muslim baby. That is a Kumite baby. This baby thinks there are many gods. That baby is adamant that there is only one. But it is preposterous that we do this to children. They are too young to know what they think. To slap a label on a child at birth - to announce, in advance, as a matter of hereditary presumption if not determinate certainty, an infant's opinions on the cosmos and creation, on life and afterlives, on sexual ethics, abortion and euthanasia - is a form of mental child abuse.

I do not believe it is possible to mount a decent defense against my charge. Yet infant belief-labels are almost universally accepted. We don't even think about it. Just in case any lingering doubt remains, consider the following: This child is a Gramscian Marxist. That child is a Trotskyite Syndicalist. This third child is a Wet Conservative. This baby is a Keynesian. That baby is a Monetarist. This baby is an ornithologist. Not, 'This baby is likely to become an ornithologist if his father has anything to do with it.' That would be fine. But, 'this baby is an ornithologist'? Unthinkable, isn't it? Yet, where religion is concerned, you don't give it a second glance. Oh, and by the way, nobody, least of all an atheist, ever talks about an 'atheist child'. Rightly so. But why the double standard?

I presume you need no more convincing. For parents to influence their children's opinions and beliefs is inevitable and proper. But to tie labels to young children, which in effect presume and presuppose the success of that parental influence, is wicked and indefensible. But, you may soothingly say, don't worry, wait till they go to school, it'll be fine. The children will be educated in a variety of opinions and beliefs, they'll be taught to think for themselves, they'll make up their own minds. Well, it would have been nice to think so.

But what do we do? We deliberately set up, and massively subsidize, segregated faith schools. As if it were not enough that we fasten belief-labels on babies at birth, those badges of mental apartheid are now reinforced and refreshed. In their separate schools, children are separately taught mutually incompatible beliefs. Sukyo Mahikari has been tossing the idea around about creating Sukyo Mahikari schools, where children will be taught Sukyo Mahikari doctrine in correlation with their lessons. Subsidized Christian schools were bad enough, but what will Sukyo Mahikari teach children when it is time to study history? That the Holocaust was punishment from God because the Jews did not construct a proper shrine? Or that Japan is God’s pre-chosen holy country? These teachings could not hold up most countries.

‘Kumite children' go to the state-subsidized Sukyo Mahikari school. If they are lucky, they won't actually be taught to hate Jews, but I wouldn't bank on it, especially in Republican States. The best we can hope for is that they will come out thinking only that there is something a bit alien or odd about Jews. ‘Protestant children' go to the Protestant school. Even if they are not taught to hate Catholics (again, don't bank on it), and even if they don't get passed the gauntlet of hate, we can be sure they won't be taught the same US history as the ‘Catholic children' down the street.

Opening new faith schools is downright insane; churches need to offer a consciousness-raising exercise for parents. Just as feminists succeeded in making us wince when we hear 'he' where no sex is intended, or 'man' for humanity, we need to raise our consciousness about the faith-labeling of children.

In case you haven’t come to this conclusion, I strongly discourage the use, in all households, churches, and school the use of phrases that presume theological opinions in children too young to have any. I hope that we can some day foster a climate in which it becomes impossible to use a phrase like 'Catholic children', 'Protestant children', 'Jewish children', 'Muslim children', or ‘Kumite Children” without wincing. It only costs two words more to say, for instance, 'children of Muslim parents' or 'children of Jewish parents'.

One of the more frightening aspects of human nature is a tendency to gravitate towards 'Us' and against 'Them'. Worse, Us versus Them disputes have a natural tendency to reach down the generations, leading to vendettas of frightening historical tenacity. Where labels are not provided to feed our natural divisiveness, we manufacture them.

Children separate out into gangs, often with distinguishing labels. In certain districts of Los Angeles, a young person innocently sporting the wrong brand of trainers is in danger of being shot. Experiments have been done in which children, with no particular reason to sort themselves into gangs, are provided with, say, green or blue shirts. In short order, enmities spring up between the greens and the blues: fierce loyalties to one's own color, vendettas against the other. These can become surprisingly vicious.

That's what happens when you don't even try to segregate children. Now, imagine that you deliberately stamp a green or a blue label on a child at birth. Send this child to a blue school and that child to a green school. Encourage green boys to assume that they will grow up to marry green girls, while blue girls will marry blue boys. Take for granted that, the moment they have a baby of their own, it too must have the same colored label tied around its neck. Passed on down the generations, what is all that a recipe for? Do I need to spell it out?
Hereditary peers, though undemocratic and often mildly eccentric, are not dangerous. Faith schools almost certainly are.

From the moment I was born, my parents had decided that I was a Kumite (a member of Sukyo Mahikari)…I was going to attend dojo, become an official member at the age of 10, join Sukyo Mahikari youth group (Tai), marry a Kumite, and have Kumite children. That was always my parent’s plan for me. For a long time it seemed that was the road I was taking…I went to dojo when I was young, joined when I was 10, became a Tai-Cho in the youth group….and I never questioned anything. I accepted everything I was taught as fact without examining other religions or checking the facts.

Well, I met a girl and this girl saw things in a way that I didn’t. My whole life I had heard about Christianity because my friends were Christians, but I never really gave it much thought…I knew enough about Christianity to know that it was very different from Mahikari and because I feared the reactions of my friends, I tended to remain quiet about faith. This girl however, got me talking about faith. We did not agree and she was constantly butting heads with me…until one day she asked me, “Why do you believe these things, Asher? Because it was your choice; a decision you made because it is what feels right in your heart? Or was it because your parents taught you it was right?”

I could not answer that question truthfully by saying that Sukyo Mahikari was my choice. It wasn’t my choice it was just what had always been taught to me, what was there…I had no choice; my parents took my ability to choose from me, not because they wanted to hurt me or deny me anything, but because it was what they thought was right. My parents believe whole-heartedly that Sukyo Mahikari is the true path, but does that make it right for them to choose the right path for me? Sure, as parents you want to make sure your child is going to be saved, but their salvation is not up to you, it is between your child and God.

Now I know that this was just put on the official Sukyo Mahikari site to try and entice new members to join, but it says that Sukyo Mahikari is not the only path to God, but one of many paths leading to the same universal truth…if you Kumite parents truly believe what your religion is promoting on its official site, then let these children make their own choice. If Sukyo Mahikari is right for them they can join when they are old enough and can make a decision that will make them happy. If Sukyo Mahikari is what will make them happy, fine, I am happy for them. I really do wish them all the luck in the world and I hope their lives are fulfilled.

But if they are going to feel pressured to join by parents or by other kumite (because we all know as soon as a child hits ten years of age, everyone and their dog is asking these kids when they will take Kenshu), that is not right. It is my personal opinion that the age to become a member should be raised to 16 years of age, but Mahikari would never consider that because they are too afraid of losing kids along the way (kids who choose not to join are lost revenue)…they think it is better to gather them at this young, vulnerable age so that when they are teens and young adults, their free-will to choose is already corrupted.

Some Kumite have emailed me saying that “the child is choosing, it is their choice whether they take Kenshu or not” but that is wrong. Some parents, the fanatics like my mom, basically twisted my arm about joining. Not to mention the youth group is not open to all children, only to the children who have omitama…so it’s either join or miss out on the “fun”. Plus, you have all other Kumite asking the child constantly whether they will join, telling them they will have so much fun, telling them it is what God wants, etc…peer pressure is not just from children, but from anyone the child interacts with.

I beg you parents to let your child choose. I understand when they’re young you have to help them make some choices (Ex: if they have the option of eating nothing but sweets or vegetables…most of them will eat the junk unless a parent is there to guide them) however, a child gets to choose their spouse, their profession, and their religion…those are all sacred things that should not be chosen for anyone. I hope you will think about that…because if your child wakes up on day, like me, and finds that they have been conditioned by faith and teachings to believe what you believe and not have their own choices, opinions and aspirations, they will resent you and rebel. If they have a choice there is no need to rebel because it is their option.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sukyo Mahikari & Johrei (SKK)

I wanted to use this post as an opportunity to show Sukyo Mahikari members who are reading this the similarities between Kotama Okada’s organization: Mahikari, in comparison to the SKK or Johrei, the organization he was once a minister of. I have gathered the official stances and practices of Sukyo Mahikari and Johrei from their official sites and I will compare them in categories.

Yoshikazu "Kotama" Okada (founder of SMBK/Mahikari)

Mokichi Okada (founder of SKK/Johrei)

Symbol of Sukyo Mahikari

Symbol of SKK/Johrei

Sukyo Mahikari members receiving okiyome

SKK/Johrei members receiving Johrei

Sukyo Mahikari on Kotama Okada:

“When Mr. Kotama Okada founded the Mahikari organization, his intention was to help people throughout the world create a more peaceful and harmonious civilization based on the tenet that "The origin of the world is one, the origin of all human beings is one, and the origin of all religions is one." The one is Creator God, whatever He may be called in various religions and elevated philosophies of the world.”

“Our aim is to help make possible a world filled with love and harmony where people will overcome the many barriers facing them today. In such a world, people will naturally love, care for and respect one another as co-habitants of this one planet – Earth.”

SKK on Mokichi Okada:

Mokichi Okada (1882-1955) also known as Meishu-sama, founded the worldwide movement of Johrei. He was a poet, artist, businessman, visionary and spiritual teacher. Meishu-sama's vision was to create a world of health, peace, and prosperity: a paradise on earth.

Sukyo Mahikari on the Aim of the Organization:

“Our organization aspires to cooperate with others in society who share the same vision of a world where a spiritual outlook will naturally be integrated with humankind's material development and progress.”

“Sukyo Mahikari aims to provide opportunities for people to further their spiritual growth, by helping people to awaken to the existence of God and the principles that govern the universe.”

“Sukyo Mahikari is not the only path to God nor is it the only way to come closer to God. It is one of many paths leading to the same Universal Truth.”

SKK on the Aims of the Organization:

“We are a non-profit organization, a fellowship, with membership open to all. Our members come from a diverse background. All are joined by a common desire to work together and create a better world by eliminating the three major causes of humanity's suffering: disease, poverty, and conflict. For some it is a religion, for others, a spiritual practice, for most, it is simply a way of life.”

Sukyo Mahikari on the purpose of Okiyome:

“The purpose of the practice of the Art of True Light is to purify and revitalize our spirit, mind and body. Through this spiritual practice, people can accumulate experiences that help them grow spiritually and become more in tune with God's will.”

“The Light of God is the spiritual energy or vibration of God's love, wisdom and will. Transmitting and receiving True Light is the basic practice of Sukyo Mahikari.”

“The Art of True Light is generally practiced between two people, with one receiving True Light and the other transmitting it. True Light is transmitted from the palm of the hand, which is held at a certain distance from the body.”

“Through the practice of giving and receiving True Light, it is possible to experience the existence of and the power of God. One can also become aware of the great influence that the unseen spiritual world has on the physical world.”

“Through their practice of the Art of True Light and their efforts to cultivate an innermost attitude attuned to the divine principles, people can grow spiritually and revive their true nature as children of God. As a result, in a natural way, people will be able to manifest their love for themselves, others and all of creation and so make possible a harmonious civilization on Earth.”

SKK on the purpose of Johrei:

“Johrei (joh-ray) is Japanese, means " to purify spirit." Johrei purifies the spirit of the recipient by intensifying or focusing divine light or universal energy through the instrument of the human body.”

“Spiritual clouds are formed by negative thoughts, words and deeds, the accumulation of toxins in our bodies, and also they can be inherited. These toxins include certain medicine or drugs, impure food and environmental toxins. Most people have spiritual clouds that they have accumulated consciously or unconsciously. Johrei enables one to eliminate these clouds more quickly.”

“Johrei manifests through the focusing of Divine Light. Johrei initiates a natural purifying process which promotes inner spiritual balance, and eases physical, mental and emotional distress. Repeated over a period of time, Johrei purifies the spiritual body, allowing it to become more radiant and encouraging our Divine Nature to unfold.”

“An Underling principle of Johrei is that suffering, as well as health, is a reflection of our spiritual condition. A Clouded spiritual condition will manifest in some form of disease, conflict or poverty. A bright spiritual condition will manifest as health, peace and prosperity.”

“As our spiritual awareness and understanding begins to unfold, our consciousness expands, positively affecting all aspects of our being. Gradually, we become self-realized as to our mission in life: to help others become happy. Our spiritual condition becomes brighter and we return to our natural state of true health.”

“Johrei is not merely another technique to be applied for the health of physical ailments. Its main purpose is to awaken the soul to the self-centered lives into God-centered ones"

“A Johrei session takes about 20 minutes and does not require physical contact. Johrei sessions are offered by Fellowship members.”

“Johrei, originated in Japan, purifies the spirit of the recipient by intensifying or focusing divine light or universal energy through the prayer, love and intent of the person transmitting the Light. Universal energy, or the divine light, when focused on the spiritual body of an individual dispels “clouds” or negativity, from the spiritual body and raises the spiritual vibration, thereby causing reactions in the spiritual, mental and physical bodies.”

“Through Johrei the spirit is uplifted and the divine nature unfolds itself more and more, causing the finest spiritual qualities of the individual to come to the fore. The mind is properly focused, relieving it from confusion. When clouds are dispelled from the spiritual body, toxins in the physical body dissolve and are eliminated to a large extent. Pain or discomfort felt by the individual is part of the purifying process and Johrei accelerates this process, bringing it to an end more quickly than it would terminate otherwise.”

Sukyo Mahikari on Yoko Gardening:

“As we enter the twenty-first century, the pollution of the Earth's environment and the human body are becoming serious threats to the future of humankind.”

“Sukyo Mahikari promotes yoko gardening, a spiritual approach to organic gardening, farming and agriculture. One aim of yoko gardening is to remove poisonous toxins from the land and to revive the soil to a healthy condition so that crops filled with the vitality and spiritual energy of nature can be produced.”

“The yoko farming method involves:

-Revitalization of the land with True Light.

-Directing positive vibrations (gratitude) to nature, especially the plants, soil and the micro-organisms living in it.

-The use of compost and organic methods that avoid the use of artificial agricultural chemicals.”

SKK on Nature Farming:

“Meishu-sama began developing the Nature Farming philosophy and methods in 1935, as an alternative to chemical farming, which was becoming very popular in Japan at the time. Meishu-sama recognized that survival of human is also depending on agriculture must meet five basic requirements. These are goals and guidelines of Nature Farming:”

-Through Johrei produce foods which are beneficial to maintain and advance our health.

-To be advantageous economically and spiritually both farmers and consumers.

-To be sustainable and easily applied.

-To conform to nature and protect the environment.

-Finally, to provide sufficient foods to feed the whole world.”

“Nature Farming uses no synthetic chemicals. Nature Farming does use biologically sound methods such as Effective Micro-organisms (EM) and other natural practices to enhance fertility and to manage pests and diseases. Nature Farming produces safe, good tasting foods that promote health and vitality.”

Sukyo Mahikari on membership:

“Sukyo Mahikari holds three-day courses at its centers (dojos) throughout the world for people wishing to practice the Art of True Light. These courses are open to anyone over the age of ten (minors need parental consent).”

“In the three-day course, one learns about the universal principles that govern the divine world, the world of divine spirits, the astral world, and the physical world. In addition, one learns about the influence that the unseen spiritual realms have on life in the physical world and vice versa.”

“Upon completion of the course, a person becomes a member of Sukyo Mahikari, and receives a sacred pendant (Omitama) that enables one to practice the Art of True Light. In the spiritual practice of the Art of True Light, the Light of God is transmitted from the palm of the hand to purify and revitalize the spirit, mind and body. As people practice the Art of True Light and accumulate spiritual experiences, they can progress to the intermediate and advanced courses where they study more about universal principles, the unseen spiritual worlds and God's plan for humankind.”

SKK on membership:

“A series of highly interactive classes is offered on an on-going basis. To receive Johrei, visit the Johrei Center. Introductory classes are offered on demand basis, and membership is open to all. To become a member of Johrei Fellowship requires taking six membership classes. The class costs $150.00 and upon completion the student will receive an amulet as a gift for finishing the course. Additional information can be learned by contacting the center.”

Sukyo Mahikari on Donations:

“For all its activities, the organization relies on a recommended membership fee, which varies from country to country, and voluntary donations from members and non-members. It is entirely at the discretion of each person to decide whether or not to make a donation, and how much.”

SKK on Donations:

“There is no charge for Johrei. We express our gratitude through offerings that are of value to us: our time, our labor or our materials. If you would like to offer service in gratitude, please feel free to do so. Your monetary offering of appreciation is gratefully accepted. Johrei Fellowship is supported solely through the expression of gratitude from individuals.”

I can’t find anything on the Sukyo Mahikari page about flower arranging, but I know this is an activity they participate in as my mother used to attend classes (if anyone can find any information about it please email me or leave the link in a comment…here is what the SKK says about flower arranging.

SKK on flower arranging:

“The art of flower arrangement is called "Ikebana" in Japanese. Ikebana literally means to make flowers live, or to give life to them. It represents our desire to bring out the hidden beauty of the flowers themselves.”

Sangetsu, meaning "mountain moon", is a school of flower arranging inspired by visionary and master artist, Mokichi Okada, who promoted a spiritual approach to life through beauty. He taught that beauty has the power to transform-to purify the spirit and evoke the highest qualities of character from within. He also taught that nature is the greatest teacher of truth and beauty. An artist in many regards, Okada arranged flowers in a simple yet beautiful way, resulting in works of art that uplifted and inspired all who saw them.”

“In the Sangetsu technique, we strive to present this hidden beauty in a simple way, rather than imposing our own will on the flowers and the arrangement.”

I’ll leave you all to ponder this without saying anything further. Please leave your comments and opinions. Quickly so I do not get sued since Mahikari has decided to put a copyright on God’s teachings: I did not create the ideas or practices mentioned above; not that Sukyo Mahikari is going to want these teachings back now that I am done with them.

There are a few small differences between Sukyo Mahikari and the group called the SKK or Johrei, but one of the differences that I found the most diverse is that the leader of the SKK, Mokichi Okada, was quoted as saying that a pendant is not necessary to offer Johrei (true light/okiyome) only the desire and intent to help others must be present and God will supply His healing light.

Associates of the Johrei organization wear their pendants as more of a symbol of membership, rather than as a holy object. Their position is that God’s light is for all and you cannot patent it. They charge a fee to teach the technique (they have to keep the center open somehow), but people are free to practice Johrei at their homes or anywhere else as well as teach the art to their families and friends without the hassle of a divine pendant.

Quite a contrast from Sukyo Mahikari’s stance on pendants and okiyome which states that people have to join Sukyo Mahikari in order to radiate the light of God. Non-members can only receive okiyome and are thus being a hindrance rather than a key player in the spiritual growth of others. This is why more pressure is put on new people to join the organization.

Sukyo Mahikari thinks that it is possible to put a copyright on God’s light. That is what a pendant is; a copyright which makes members feel as though they are special and can exclusively radiate the light of God. It is also a wise marketing decision on SM’s part because everyone the member introduces to the teachings has to take Kenshu ($150) in order to receive the pendant, which they teach is essential to offering okiyome. Whereas the SKK teach that members can show others how to practice Johrei and no pendant is necessary…

So lets say my mother joins the SKK, she can learn how to offer Johrei and then come home and teach my father, sister, and myself. In Mahikari she has to take Kenshu, and then if the rest of my family is interested they have to individually take Kenshu…its more money for Sukyo Mahikari once again proving that it is all about money.

Keep in mind that the Johrei (1935) was founded 24 years prior to Sukyo Mahikari (1959), which means that the Johrei perfected this art long before Sukyo Mahikari was even born; Okada would have been in his early 30’s. My question is where did this belief in pendants suddenly come from? I could be wrong, but in early revelations in the Goseigen I cannot remember God telling Okada that pendants were necessary to offer okiyome.

Think about it, the first time Okada offered okiyome he did not have a pendant (unless he still wore the one he received after joining the SKK, which only further proves his membership); he was strolling down the street and came upon a sick dog, he would not have had a pendant, and he heard the voice of God say ‘raise the hand’. The dog’s condition was improved or the dog got well (depending on which version of the Goseigen you have) so obviously according to Okada this healing technique worked…and if my assumptions about the pendant are true, then it worked without the use of an omitama. Of course, this is me speculating that Okada was actually telling the truth.

However, Okada did have a pendant after he founded the organization because Keishu and Sekiguchi were arguing over who had received the omitama after Okada’s death, which is strange because members are supposed to be buried with their omitamas on. I remember being told that if a family member were to die, it was crucial to get their pendants on them as soon as possible so that they could take it with them in the spirit realm.

How was it possible for Okada to radiate the light of God without a pendant? Of course, SM members will say because he was the messiah and therefore did not need a pendant, but that is not good enough folks, if he didn’t need a pendant why did he wear one? My best guess is that the teachings were too similar to the SKK and therefore Okada had to make small changes in order to be able to claim, if it ever came out that the teachings were plagiarized, that his teachings were the new and improved version of God’s word.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Christianity: Cultish Undertones

Throughout my readings I have been finding more and more that even standard religions that everyone accepts could be considered cults if thoroughly examined. Like Sukyo Mahikari, Christianity could also fit the cult mold if its practices and teachings were held up to scrutiny. Below are some of the standard cult characteristics. I have described the practices of Christianity that could be considered cultish.

1. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

-This is true in Christianity as well as in Mahikari. Christians are discouraged from doubting the Bible. They are told by Priests, Pastors, Bishops, etc…that the Bible is the unaltered word of God and that nothing within it is inaccurate so why bother to doubt? The only questions that are welcomed are questions concerning the deciphering of difficult scripture. Otherwise they are simply told to pray about the issues/doubts and ask that God show them the right path.

2. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

-There are many Christian churches that practice speaking in tongues and receiving the Holy Spirit. This practice could be compared to SM’s okiyome. The Pentecostal Christian churches as well as some non-denominational churches invite their members to come to the platform and receive the Holy Spirit after mass. Many people who participate in this have similar reactions to those who have spirit disturbances; much like the ones displayed in Mahikari…they call out, lash out, speak in foreign languages they do not know, or speak in what sounds like gibberish to most, but is supposedly their secret language that only they and God understand.

3. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

Leadership and the Bible dictate what the members of Christian churches think, feel, and do.

Some Christian families do not allow their children to date until a certain age. Other families do not allow their children to date at all; only have friends until one decides to propose.

Christian women are allowed to work, but it is frowned upon in the church. When God punished Adam and Eve at the fall He told Adam that his punishment would be to work for all of his days, while he told Eve that she would suffer great pain during childbirth…many Christians believe that it is the man’s job to work and the female’s job to tend to the children. Many mothers who work because their family cannot make ends meat are frowned upon.

Christians are discouraged from marrying anyone who is not Christian. They are told that if they marry a non-believer, but then have issues concerning faith after the marriage is performed that they are not allowed to divorce due to these problems. There is even scripture that reiterates that sentiment.

Women are discouraged from wearing anything revealing as they are told that this provokes the men’s high sexual drive and could even cause a married man to lust after a women so strongly that he might stray from his wife. (I think the men just need to control themselves).

Christians are encouraged to raise their children within the faith. From the time the children are born they are brought to church, when they are four or five they start attending the children services, when they’re teens they join the youth group, and then they grow up to be Christians. There is a reason religions try to program children…children believe everything their parents tell them and they are more absorbent, thus by the time they are adults they are full indoctrinated.

4. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

-Christians have a name for themselves within the organization. Member who they consider to be saved are called the ‘elect’. Christians teach their followers that the only way to be saved is to become a Christian and devout your life to Christ. If a person does this successfully they will go on to heaven when they die. Everyone else, including all followers of alternate religions go to hell. For this reason Christians must spend most of their time evangelizing AKA saving humanity, by spreading their teachings around the world.

5. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

-Christians will go door to door if necessary in order to bring new members into their organization in order to ensure that they too will be saved. They are also encouraged to bring their families into Christianity and sometimes other members of the church will go with new members to help them talk to their families about the importance of joining the church.

6. The group is preoccupied with making money

-Like Mahikari, Christian churches ask that their members pay a monthly 10% tithe to God. The Bible has scripture that talks about how money belongs to God and therefore it should not be difficult to part with. Some texts say things like, “God will provide”, leaving no room for argument even when it comes to people with little money. My personal opinion is that when the Bible was edited in the Council of Nicaea in 545AD...maybe Emperor Justinian added that bit into the Bible.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is love God with all your heart and soul, but be yourself and don't conform to any sort of religion that is going to dictate every aspect of your life; Mahikari or any other. In the end you rearrange your whole life to live according to the religion's teachings and you sacrifice yourself in the process.

1892 - Oomoto Kyo sect
1934 -
Sekai Kyusei Kyo sect - It has given birth to 21 factions
1959 -
Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan sect - It has given birth to 5 factions.
1974 -
Shin Yu Gen Kyu Sei Mahikari Kyodan
1978 - Sukyo Mahikari
1980 - Subikari Koha Sekai Shindan
? - Mahikari Seiho No Kai -
? - Yokoshi Tomo No Kai -

All of these factions of Mahikari still exist today...that means that the 'one true religion' is now at least 33 religions. Christianity has at least 50 denominations, but most people who study Christianity agree that it is probably a much higher number. With so many faiths claiming to be the 'right one' how can anyone hope to find salvation? Every religion in the world thinks they are the right path, that they are doing what God the end to trust in God, believe in Him, hold your breath and pray for the best.
The DaVinci Code and Christianity

Before I begin I will apologize if this offends anyone because I know there are a lot of Christians in the world. I myself am Gnostic Christian (note I said Gnostic, not Agnostic. Gnostic means to ‘seek truth’, Agnostic means to ‘ignore truth’) so while I believe in the basic principles of the Bible I am also open to the possibility that in the years since the Bible was written that it could have been tampered with.

The DaVinci code is coming out this Friday May 19th, 2006 and I know that is going to start up a lot of controversy, but what most people don’t know is that The DaVinci Code has some truth in it. The book sits in the fiction section of the library and book store, but that is only because some of the claims cannot be proven as 100% accurate.

I rented a movie with my girlfriend recently called Exposing the DaVinci Code…the movie was of a very bias standpoint as all of the people who were speaking out against the DaVinci Code were Christians…there was one woman who was in support of the book (she spoke maybe twice in the whole documentary), but everyone else was pretty much Christian and Right-Winged…the point I am making is that without diversity of belief you have nothing to argue with. If that movie had Atheists of Gnostic Christians who were in agreement that everything in the DaVinci Code is false…then I might have been a little more apt to reconsider my beliefs.

The point of the movie was that everything in the DaVinci Code is lies and that the Bible has been unaltered in the thousands of years since its publication. The movie seemed to cover every angle except for one…the movie quoted the Council of Nicaea of 345AD…saying that Constantine had nothing to do with getting the priests to vote that Christ was divine…this is probably true…

However, the movie failed to address the Council of Nicaea of 545AD…where Justinian wanted all illusions to reincarnation taken out of the Bible. He threatened to throw any pope in jail that supported reincarnation. The council was established to vote in favor of reincarnation of against reincarnation. In the end with only one pope brave enough to test Justian’s word and vote in favor of reincarnation…many texts were taken out of the Bible in order to stop the belief of life after death. All Bible’s were taken up, burned, rewritten, and redistributed.

Most people say you have to have faith that the Bible in the unaltered word of God, but here is my take on it…perhaps at one time the Bible could have been the unaltered word of God. Maybe God guided the hands of the men who wrote the Bible, however the Bible has come in contact with many Emperors and Kings since its publication who wanted their people to submit to their demands and beliefs. Many Christians dispute that God has protected the Bible throughout history, that He would not allow it to be altered…however, there is Biblical support to the contrary…

22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book. 22:19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

This shows that God will punish anyone who alters the Bible, but it does not say that the Bible CANNOT be altered. If God controlled man and made sure that they did not change the Bible then that would mean there is no such things as free will. If there is no free will then there is a lot about the Bible that needs to be discussed.

In the end the Bible states that the only thing one need to believe in order to have treasure in Heaven is that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save humanity from their sins...nothing more. It is not necessary to believe in every single solitary thing written in the Bible, merely in the son of God.

This will serve as an introduction to my next post…I will be writing a post that will be discussing how all religion, even Christianity can be perceived as a cult.