Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sukyo Mahikari Discussion Forum

Hey Everyone! I have created a proboards site where we all can have discussions. It is open to both former members and current members of Mahikari. Check it out and sign up!

http://ashjke.proboards91.com/index.cgi

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What Makes Mahikari A Cult?

On the Mahikari Information Site (MIS) there is an excellent cult outline. I have created a cult outline of my own, as well as provided an outline created by Lagone on my blog, but I have never come across an outline that more accurately depicts the cult characteristics which make up the foundation of Mahikari. I am going to write a post which incorporates all the characteristics from MIS and explain how and why they apply to Mahikari.

1. The so-called religion will be started by a self-proclaimed messiah who will claim to give members the opportunity to work off their sins if they offer their slavish obedience to him/her and their teachings. These followers are more often than not told that they are God’s chosen people who will be welcomed into a new civilization when the world comes to an end.

-Mahikari was started by Yoshikazu Okada (Kotama), a Japanese soldier during WWII. Kotama claims to have been ill and suffering from high fever when he heard the voice of God one fine night which told him to raise his hand and heal/spiritually purify (depending on which copy of the Goseigen you have) souls by raising his hand. According to Kotama he was reluctant to do this, but eventually raised his hand to a blind dog who was miraculously restored to good health. Shortly after, he began his religion called Mahikari, claiming to be a new-aged Messiah and God’s only representative on Earth. Kumite (or Kotama’s followers) were told that they were God’s chosen children and that by offering okiyome (spiritual purification) to others, they would be able to heal ailments as well as spiritually purify souls, erasing sins and impurities in the process. The promise to all members of Mahikari was if they continued to offer and receive okiyome eventually they would be so spiritually purified that they would survive the Baptism of Fire (Armageddon) and be the occupants of God’s new civilization.

2. The organization will be a pyramid-shaped dictatorial rule with a person or small group of people at the top having total control.

-Mahikari was run by Kotama Okada, God’s supposed representative on Earth. Kotama claimed to be connected to God through an invisible spiritual cord thus making him the only person who was in tune with God and His wishes. He taught his followers that the only way they could be connected to God was if they chose to follow Kotama’s teachings, take a three day class called Kenshu, and receive, wear, and maintain the holy pendant (omitama). After Kotama’s death his adoptive daughter, Keishu Okada, branched off to make Sukyo Mahikari and now claims to be God’s Representative on Earth.

3. The leaders will encourage obedience, humility and dependence, rather than independent thinking, spiritual research, and wholesome, adventurous fulfillment outside of the organization.

-One of the main philosophies of Mahikari is ‘be like a child’. How does a child behave? Well, if they are a good child they obey their parents and accept their every word as fact, or in this case Kanbu (Kumite who lead and maintain the dojo). Members are taught that they must be obedient to Kanbu and trust that whatever they say is the word of God passed down from Keishu. Kumite are taught that instead of seeking their own truths when they have doubts they should consult with Kanbu and get the “correct” answer, which is usually, “Don’t think, just give okiyome and you will eventually understand.” Humility is said to come with obedience and this is something all Kumite must strive to achieve. Members become dependant on Kanbu for spiritual answers because they are discouraged from looking elsewhere for information. Mahikari teaches that united they stand divided they fall; as a group praying, evangelizing, and offering okiyome, they have a chance of pleasing God and preventing the end of the world…or at least purifying themselves to the point that they will be accepted by God into His new civilization.

Independent thought, doubts, and questions are considered signs of a spirit disturbance. Members are taught that any doubts or questions they have concerning the group are the result of evil spirits confusing their minds. When the doubts occur members are expected to seek answers from Kanbu or read the Mahikari literature in the dojo to reinforce their beliefs. All other references outside of the group are unreliable as they are considered the words of evil spirits who have possessed the authors. Life outside of the organization is discouraged as well because according to Mahikari the end of the world is coming and all their efforts must be focused on offering okiyome and saving as many souls from the Baptism of Fire as possible. Vacations and other such luxuries are looked at as selfish unless they are located near a dojo where divine service can still be done.

4. The group practices subtle but highly effective behavioral modifications, (which lead to mind control) techniques.

-Behavior modifications within Mahikari are subtle. Most people wouldn’t even notice them unless they had researched mind control and behavioral modifications. Mahikari controls the behavior of their members from the time they walk into the dojo.

Controlled Action #1: When you first enter the dojo you are asked to remove your shoes, this is a typical Japanese custom, but in a cult setting it is a behavior modification. Members are expected to remove their shoes and get into stocking feet; no bare feet are to touch the carpet.

Controlled Action #2: Members are told that they must wash their hands and mouth out at the sink at the entrance of the dojo; this is to remove any physical impurities from the mouth and hands before spiritual activities commence.

Controlled Action #3: Members then step into the main room, where they are expected to bow before the statue of their founder, Kotama Okada. The number of bows is always two when you enter followed by three claps and a prayer; the first prayer is to be a prayer to God. Next the member will offer one bow and four claps and offer a prayer to Kotama to ask for the ability to offer okiyome.

Controlled Action #4: The member then stands, walks backwards to the back of the room and then says, “Good morning, afternoon, or night” depending on what time of day it is. The members who have already prayed-in will respond with the same reply, “Good morning, afternoon, or evening”. This controlled action is designed specifically to make members feel welcome and at home and to also set the tone for a group atmosphere.

Controlled Action #5: When a person offers okiyome (spiritual purification) they chant a prayer called Amatasu Norigoto. Chanting is one of the main practices done in cults, because some chants when done repeatedly puts its members into an altered state of mind, more receptive to believing the teachings. This behavior modification is especially effective if done as a group repeatedly.

All of these forms of behavior control are repeated when a person leaves the dojo. Once Mahikari has succeeded in modifying a person’s behavior and gets them involved in the repetitive spiritual practice of the group, it becomes much easier to encourage the person’s belief system. Generally Mahikari uses study classes, seminars, ceremonies, and experience stories to encourage their members to believe their teachings. Experience stories can be especially impacting when told by the actual person who went through the trauma because it appeals to our emotional side as human beings, while also reinforcing the teachings in our minds because the person in front of us speaking has experienced the proof of the teachings.

5. The leaders encourage members to attend seminars and classes where students are asked to just listen to the teacher, absorb, and accept, rather than encouraging questions or debate.

Mahikari members are told from the first time they take Kenshu, that in order to understand the truth one must discard their previous beliefs. The reason they are asked to do this is to keep questions to a minimal because usually any problems or questions that might arise from a Kumite-in-training is brought on by their previous belief system. Usually the old tea story is used in order to explain to students what is expected of them during their Kenshu training. Members are told that before making a new pot of tea, they must first discard the old cup of tea; otherwise they will end up with a nasty mix of the old and new tea. Once inside the organization, if the Kumite asks questions they are told to “just give okiyome and they will eventually understand” because they are not purified enough to understand the full truth of Mahikari No Waza.

6. The organization may distribute "divine" or "holy" objects or talismans which are purported to connect the members with God, allow the members to have a special power, and allow the members to receive increased "divine protection." Usually members are expected to make regular payments and donations or risk

Mahikari members, upon completion of Primary Kenshu receive a holy locket called the omitama. They are told that their omitamas connect them to God through the current leader of Mahikari. Strict rules are given in regards to the care of omitama (ie: they cannot touch bedding, cannot get wet, monthly membership fee paid on time, etc.) and members are warned that if these rules are ever violated they risk having their connection to God “shut off”. For Kumite, this is too terrible to comprehend as they are told that God will not protect them if they do not properly care for omitama. Omitama is considered a gift from God, more precious than the life of the wearer.

(More to come in my next post)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"Try it and See"/"Don't Think"

Hey all! I covered this briefly in the last post I did concerning a kumite’s review of Winston Davis’ book Dojo: Magic and Exorcism in Modern Japan. Mahikari is often quoted as saying “don’t think, just give okiyome and you will eventually understand” as well as “try it and see”. This is typically used when speaking to potential members who might be reluctant about receiving okiyome or joining Mahikari.

In the novel Davis is quoted as saying that these catch phrases are “manipulative”. The word manipulative means to tamper with or falsify for personal gain. I don’t agree with Davis on this issue, but essentially everything else is an accurate depiction of what it is like to be in a cult like Mahikari. I think the proper word to use here would be “deception” because deception can take place without the perpetrator being aware of it because they, like the victim, are being conditioned to think and say certain things.

From the time you join Mahikari you hear these 2 phrases and you are told to say them to any new members or potential members who might be having doubts or difficulty comprehending the teachings. For Kumite these words are a mechanical response. I can’t even remember all of the times I would ask questions and I would be told,

“Just give light and continue doing meritorious works and eventually the truth will present itself to you.” Or “Just give okiyome and you will eventually understand.”

I always hated that answer…I felt like a child being told by a parent, “Because I said so.” Whenever your mom or dad says that there is a finality that tells you to drop it and just accept their answer. Being the type to question…that was difficult, if not impossible for me. However, eventually I found myself saying this to younger Tai members even though I still didn’t understand. I wonder if any of the members who say that ever really “understand” or if they just say it because they themselves really don’t know how to answer the difficult questions.

The people who have been obediently going to dojo, but have not yet made the leap to join are often told that it is just as important to offer okiyome as it is to receive okiyome and if they want to fully experience the miracles, they must offer okiyome as well. This pretty much forces the individual to join in order to experience the “miracles” that all the other kumite are supposedly experiencing (though I don’t really think anyone in the dojo has ever learned the truth from offering okiyome). Eventually, these potential members get tired of feeling left out of the loop. They get curious and want to know what kumite are supposedly experiencing.
Like I said in my previous post, I really believe that people get so tired of getting told “don’t think, just giving okiyome” when they do not comprehend, that they eventually stop asking and stop thinking because a better answer is never supplied. I never became any more aware of miracles or the truth when I offered okiyome. Most of my miracle stemulai came from the expirience stories which spoke of people healed by the light, but I myself never expirienced anything miraculous.

“Try it and see” can get you in a lot of trouble…because in Mahikari “try it and see”leads to “join the organization if you want to truly expirience the truth” and then if you leave you are ridiculed or deemed “not strong enough/spiritually disturbed/throwing God’s gift in His face”…Kumite will never associate with you again because they are warned that you will pull them down before they will pull you back up. If a Kumite decides to leave Mahikari, as many do because they get tired of the unfulfilling task of giving light and doing constant Gohoshi, they are immediately cut off from the group. It is impossible to maintain friendships with Kumite once you have decided to leave the organization or told them you are not interested. If any of them do remain in contact with you, it is merely to try and coax you back into the organization. As you will find, most conversations between you (the former member) and your friend (current kumite) will consist mainly of ‘how much everyone misses you at the dojo and wishes you would come back’.

Mean while at the dojo you will be labeled either spiritually disturbed or no one will speak of you in order to avoid exposing any flaws within the organization. All members will be told that you are disturbed and therefore they could be influenced by your negative attached spirit if they remain in contact with you…this usually scares most Kumite into submission and prevents them from looking up information that might explain why you departed.

In the end “try it and see” has a heavy price. If you are friends with a Kumite and truly value their friendship, stick with receiving light if you must go to dojo, but NEVER join because when you get out your friendships are mangled and if you’re really unlucky, like myself, your family is torn to pieces. It’s better to observe from the outside if you are interested in Mahikari, and even then I would be cautious.
Contact Info

If anyone wants to email to talk in private, my email address is ash_j_kennedy@hotmail.com ...
It might take me a few days to get back to you, but I always respond.

Peace!

-Mr. Ashke

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bias from Both Sides

I was looking on Amazon.com, trying to see if I could purchase a copy of Winston Davis’ book Dojo: Magic and Exorcism in Modern Day Japan when I came across the one and only review written on the site about the novel. The name of the individual was not provided; it simply said “a Reader”, however the author of the review was not pleased with the book, and his/her review would probably discourage kumite who are considering departing Mahikari from reading it. The review said:

As a practitioner of Sukyo Mahikari for over ten years, I found this book somewhat baffling if not down right insulting. Although the author seems to take the objective perspective of a scientist/researcher, what I found was mis-information, mis-interpretation and frankly, a very biased, point of view. Winston Davis finds the Mahikari practitioners phrase "Try it and see", a "manipulative" one. How else can one understand a phenomenon unless one is willing to look at it from many points of view? One can only see the surface from the outside. And, what is found within, through direct in-depth experience, can change the view of the surface.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0804711313/sr=1-2/qid=1145907137/ref=sr_1_2/002-3312553-8088020?%5Fencoding=UTF8&s=books

Well…first of all, Winston Davis has past involvement in Mahikari; therefore he did experience it and look at it from both the surface and the outside. His experiences are completely relevant to people who might be considering Mahikari as a spiritual path, as they need to see both the positive and the negative aspects in order to make an informed decision.

I have no problem with someone reading all there is to read about Mahikari and still deciding to join the organization, at least those people know what they are getting into before hand. However, I have a major problem with people who get sucked into Mahikari by current Kumite because of the appealing front Mahikari presents. Kumite are very welcoming, friendly, and open people…they have to be if they are to get you to join, gain your trust, and gain access to your pocket book.

You wouldn’t join an organization that was filled with nothing but cold people, would you? I am not saying all Kumite are aware of the scam the organization is attempting to pull off, but I know members of Kanbu who cannot possibly be unaware of what is going on.

In the end no matter who the book is written by…be it a former member or a current member…the bias is going to sway more one way than the other. Even an outsider’s approach would be biased, as Mahikari looks very appealing and inviting when you are just looking at the surface. You really don’t know what is going on until you take Secondary Kenshu, as Primary Kenshu teachings are the only ones taught during ceremonies in order to be “non-member friendly.”

Kanbu wouldn’t want to present the bizarre teachings when there are people there who are just giving Mahikari a try, without commitment. They have to get you to pay the $150 membership fee before they tell you anything more than their environmental stance; then you will be permitted to know some of the truth, but still not all of it.

As for Mahikari’s “try it and see” stance…I wouldn’t say manipulative as much as I would say deceptive. Most Kumite don’t even realize they are being manipulative and the word manipulative implies that the perpetrator is fully aware of what he/she is doing.

When you go to dojo for the first time to receive light you are told that in order to get the full experience and see miracles that you must join the organization, as one cannot fully understand without actually offering okiyome and one cannot offer okiyome without an omitama. So as displayed above, “try it and see” quickly turns into “you have to join to fully understand”.

Once you join and still lack the understanding you believe you should have, you are told by Kanbu to “not think, just offer okiyome and you will eventually understand”, eventually you get so tired of not understanding that you just stop asking and start accepting.

“Try it and see”? When you decide to leave the organization you are ridiculed by Kumite. They will not speak to you anymore and deem you spiritually disturbed. It is impossible to merely “try it and see” because you eventually have to join to fully experience Mahikari…and when you do join and leave…you lose all your friendships in the process. So if you decide to listen to Kumite and “try it and see”, remember getting in and trying it out is easy, it’s getting out that’s the pisser.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Mahikari Tai: Naive Brainwashed Youth

Poem#1
Thousands assemble before the Golden Shrine.
Excitement fills the air.

Mahikari youth, so strong, so pure,
Confident faces, all bright and fair.

The music plays and the march begin.
Hear the rhythm of their feet.

See the flash of white-gloved hands.
Breathe the fragrant air, so sweet.

Their eyes ahead on the Master's face,
Their joy springs forth from a hidden place.

The Grace of God, the Civilization of the Sun
Let us pray for the Millennium of Light at dawn!

Poem#2
We're dancing this day at the Golden Shrine
On the steps near the fountain. What joy! So sublime!

Su God and our Master are dancing, too.
Holding hands and celebrating with me and with you!

We are all one, all races, no fears.
A world of peace springs forth through joyful tears.

We'll remember this day,
True happiness, no strife, and dance in His Glory The rest of our lives.

Poem#3
Yokoshi, rise up,
Like clouds high in the sky

Dancing o'er the land.
Reflected in our ancestors' eyes

Move swiftly,
Our time is at hand.

Yokoshi, rise up,
Like clouds high in the sky

Dancing with the Master.
A straightforward response,

The Divine Wind blows by,
Encouraging our souls to move faster.

In the quiet of your heart
Feel the forest, fresh with dew,

Your mind is peaceful,
Stable as the mountain, in a distant view.

Prepare yourself, to achieve the goal.
Advance brightly, like a wind-blown flame.

Let the Light penetrate your inner soul
Raise the torch of God's Holy Name!

Yokoshi, rise up,
Like clouds high in the sky

Absorbing the heart of a samurai.
Kindness is the friend and conflict the foe.

Imagine the Master's face,
Wherever you go.

And always remember,
God's Plan is quite clear.

Move swiftly, with purpose,
For there's nothing to fear.

I was surfing the net today and came across a site that had all sort of Mahikari Tai promotion. The poems above were among the teachings and photos available on the website. These poems sent a shiver up my spine, and no Mahikari Tai members, not because I fear the truth or because I regret leaving. The pictures and literature took me back to the old days, and not in a good way.

My mother was involved in Mahikari ever since I was 5, but it might as well have been from the time I was born, as I don’t remember much else. I know she was Christian when I was born, as my name is biblical, but I don’t have any concrete memories until I was about seven, when my younger sister (Nijon) Japan was born. When I was ten I was reluctant to join Mahikari, I enjoyed hanging out with my friends in the kids facility and didn’t really want the responsibility of offering okiyome every time I came to dojo. I remember a lot of pressure being put on me to join. My mother was Hancho by that time, my dad was a member, and so naturally everyone assumed I would be a member as well. Every time I came to dojo I was asked about Primary Kenshu and I know my mother must have felt the pressure as well; as parents are taught that they can save no one if they cannot save their families first. My mother asked me if I wanted to join, but when I expressed little interest, she stopped speaking to me until I agreed.

It didn’t take me long to buckle and agree to join. Primary Kenshu is a blur, I was bored out of my skull. I joined Tai when I was very young…I think I was 11 or so, but I could have been a little older. No older than 12 definitely. I think the main reason I joined was because I felt left out; all of my friends joined Tai.

What I remember thinking after I joined, specifically, was that Tai youth group was nothing like my friend Justin’s youth group. Justin was a Christian and one time when I spent the night with him we went to youth group the next day. There we played games, sang, studied the Bible, hung out, ate dinner…it was fun. Everyone was welcome, no matter what religion they were and no one judged you.

I guess fun was what I was expecting when I joined Tai, but it was far from fun. First of all, the only way one can participate in Mahikari Tai is if they have become a member. It is not negotiable or debatable… you have to be a kumite to participate in anything Tai related. Children involved have to be able to offer okiyome, otherwise they are a waste of space.

There is one reason and one reason only why Mahikari does this: because it forces children to join Mahikari. Children are vulnerable and feel left out if they are not allowed to do what all the other children are doing. One of Mahikari’s main priorities is initiating the children of members into the sect. Members are even encouraged to have as many children as possible to ensure that an acceptable number of seed people are brought into the world. Children want to be included so they join Mahikari in order to gain acceptance within the group they have been raised.

However, most Mahikari children must be disappointed once they are allowed to join the Tai program…I know I was. I remember thinking that Tai was more work than fun. When we arrived we were quickly ushered outside to run laps around the dojo, if it was raining we exercised inside the dojo. We were taught that a healthy body was mandatory for Kumite because if you did not exercise you were neglecting the body Su-God had created for you and would be severely punished. We exercised, offered okiyome to one another, went to bed at 11:00PM and rose at 6:00AM to purify the dojo from the outside-in with okiyome, and set up for ceremony. Exercise, discipline, obedience to our parents and Kanbu, loyalty to Keishu, and pride in our organization were stressed.

We all wore the same uniform in order strip us of our individuality. Fashion is a visual language that people employ to communicate with each other. It is about creating an identity in response to the culture we live in through fashion. When fashion becomes uniform we lose our individuality, we lose our ability to think independently and we start adjusting to the mold of uniformity...or in this case, we start thinking like a group of Mahikari members as opposed to Asher, the Mahikari member, the individual.

John Stuart Mills said:

There is a different type of human excellence...a conception of humanity as having its nature bestowed on it for other purposes than merely to be abnegated...It is not by wearing down into uniformity all that is individual in themselves, but by cultivating it and calling it forth...that human beings become a noble and beautiful object of contemplation...and whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.

The whole concept of group thought prevails, and working together is the only way to accomplish anything was majorly stressed. The youth members are made to undergo severe military drill and submitted to long hours of indoctrination. There were strict rules that we as Tai members were expected to adhere to. I won’t go into detail of everything…because I have tried to put it out of my mind but…

No sex before marriage
No drinking
No partying or hanging out where drinking might occur
Offer light/ receive light at least 20 times a week
Protect Keishu with your life if you are called to do so
Never read anything contrary to Mahikari teachings
Abide by all holy object rules
Obey your parents no matter what

The list goes on and on…

I remember being so scared…because we were threatened with 9 kinds of hell if we ever strayed from Mahikari. For someone like myself who had so many doubts in Mahikari, that was the most frightening thing to hear. I remember being anal about making sure my pendant was on at all times, that if got the proper care, that it was never left unattened…I was sure that if I left it off for too long spirits would possess me and hurt me. For a child it is terrifying to hear things like spirit possession and Baptism of Fire, but of course…that is what Mahikari is aiming for…to scare children out of their wits so they never dare leave.

The thing is…if Mahikari was really as true as Kanbu would like us to believe, parents would simply be able to tell their kids what they believe, without the pressure, and kids would simply graviate towards the truth. Kids are the most psychic little beings, they can sense the truth when they hear it, they know when something is wrong no matter what lies are used to cover it up. The fact that Mahikari stresses indoctrinating children at such a young age, implies that maybe they think kids are intelligent and will be swayed in a different directions if they hear the truth from outsiders…better to keep them in a little bubble where outside interferance is to a minimal. If you are a Kumite and you have a child who is not yet a member…I beg you…do NOT pull them into it. If Mahikari is really a God-centered venture, they can join when they are mature enough to understand all of the concepts of Mahikari. They don’t need to cope with fear of spirits…and having to care for a pendant that is more precious than their lives when they should be having fun, playing with friends, going to school…not sitting on their knees at dojo trying to save the world.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Power of Fear

Throughout this post I am going to talk about fear and how it has been used throughout history and religion to keep its followers in check. This will talk about religion, but please bear with me and read it because I would like to hear your comments about this matter. I judge no one, but the people who cause emotional damage within these religions and organizations.

I am going to try to keep preaching to a minimal because I know that a lot of you have differing faiths from my own, or you might not have any faith at all, but that is irrelevant. In my faith I believe that God loves everyone, irrespective of their beliefs…if you’re Atheist, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Kumite, Jewish, Gnostic, Agnostic, Witness, Moonie, etc…our lives on earth are merely learning experiences that help us work towards perfecting our souls. We try out different beliefs, races, and backgrounds to learn different things and experiences different prejudices. Hopefully, by the end of it we have become better people with pure souls.

I think we can all agree that one of the main things that religions preach is the love of God. We, as His creations, are supposed to love Him with every fiber of our beings. The Bible teaches “love God with your whole mind, body, and soul”…Mahikari repeats this sentiment as do many other religions.

Most religions, as well as Christianity and Mahikari, also preach that God loves all of His creations more than any of us could ever fathom. The love of God is unmatchable. There is nothing stronger, right? I once spoke with a member of Mahikari who said, “Imagine how much you love Kara and multiple that times 100 Billion and that is how much God loves us.” I started thinking about that and came to the conclusion that God must love us all an awful lot. The only problem with this whole theory of perfect love is that all religions stress that if you do not follow their way of life that you will be wiped out or burn in hell.

Is it just me or is there something wrong with that? It seems to me this is a blatant contradiction. God loves us more than we could ever fathom, but if you don’t follow a specific religion He will send you to hell or kill you? Does that sound loving to anyone else? Or does that sound like the Nazi dictatorship of WWII? I love Kara very much, but no matter how angry she made me, or how much she disobeyed me I would never wish eternal damnation on her or harm her in any way. If God could do that to His children then I would have to logically say that I love Kara more than God loves any of us. Spare me the whole God is perfect love, but strict. Strict is an understatement when we are talking about eternal damnation or being cut off from God. When you really love someone you don’t want them to ever hurt or experience pain, no matter what they do to anger you or no matter how many mistakes they make.

I suppose my question is, “Why do all these religions ask that you love God, but then turn around and make Him out to be an unlovable tyrant who takes no prisoners and will wipe out anyone who does not follow His word?” God is perfect? A God who can coldly murder the human beings He created because of technicalities (race, religion, background, not taking appropriate Kenshu classes, etc), pettiness, greed, and jealousy is not a perfect God. There is no arguing this; jealousy, greed, pettiness are not perfect qualities. So why has God been portrayed this way? This brought me to one of three conclusions…

1. If the religious perception of God is true: God is a hypocrite.
2. There is no God.
3. Or God is perfect love and past religious perceptions of Him are incorrect.

I am going to have to believe 3 is the correct answer. I can’t believe God is a hypocrite because if He is He is not worth following, let alone worshipping. I can’t believe that there is no God because I feel His presence. I have to believe that God is pure love. Pure love means that God contains no negative human traits that we carry. The Bible says that God is jealous…that is a human quality and a far from perfect quality. The Goseigen says that God wiped out the Jews because they failed to construct Solomon’s gold covered temple, which is greed and pettiness. So then what can we conclude?

Here’s my theory…fear is the ultimate form of mind control. Fear fills churches not love. Why do I say this? Because it is impossible to love someone and fear them at the same time. I know so many people, but one woman in particular, who went to dojo constantly because she was told she had so many sins and impurities backed up, her misfortune was proof of that, and if she wanted God to forgive her and life to get better she had to erase this negative karma through light. The poor woman must have been scared to death, but that is not the point, the point is why was she coming to dojo? Because she loved God and wanted to serve Him? Or because she was afraid of the repercussions through physical compensation if she didn’t erase negative karma?

Fear renders people paralyzed. It is fear that keeps the battered wife with the abusive husband, fear that prevents the molested child from turning in their perpetrator, fear that keeps people coming to dojo week after week when the fulfillment has gone…Kumite go to dojo for the wrong reason.

Anne, Steve, JeJune, ZT, Lara, Joe, Kit-Kat, Darcy…be honest did you become so adamant about dojo because you loved God? Or because of the fear aspect?

Initially, I am sure it was because you thought Mahikari was going to have a positive impact on the world, but after that, when you realized the most Mahikari did for the world was yoko garden small plots of land…when you got tired of offering light and money only to be asked to offer more, why did you keep going? If you can truly say you went on because you loved God then I give you mad props, but I know I can’t say that. Some of you might not have even wanted to go, like myself, but when my mom said I would suffer physical compensation I made sure I went.

Religions tell their followers that non-believers will meet a tragic end because it keeps their members in submission. They fear what will happen if they leave, so they stay and continue on with their church’s activities. If God is love and is going to love you no matter what you do, no matter how much you screw up…then why go to church, dojo, or mosque? Why not just enjoy life and do whatever you want? That is why those threats are added in…because without them people wouldn’t come to those facilities and donate all their time to these religions/groups/sects/organizations.

Without those fears people are left to live their lives as they see fit.

In the Bible there used to be text about reincarnation, but at the Council of Nicea they were removed. This was because half of Christians believed in reincarnation and the other half believed in one shot. In the end all Bibles were taken and burned and new editions, removing text about reincarnation and adding text about donating money and making 10% ties to churches were added...at the time government ran the churches and all money was flowing back to them…just the way Mahikari money does.

More emphasis was put on sin, the devil, and hell; which is funny to me because the word sin, in ancient Aramaic simply meant to “miss the mark” as if one was shooting a bow and arrow. Not such a bad thing, people make mistakes. The old texts from the Bible have been popping up, but the new Christian church rejects everything that is not currently written in the bible as written by Gnostics (Christians who believe in reincarnation and science mixed with faith over faith alone)…the point I am trying to make is that those things were added in to make people fear…the other aspects about reincarnation were removed because the church knew that if people thought they got second chances they would not be as devoted to the church and donate money.

If you’re a Mahikari member and you are reading this you really need to ask yourself, why do you do the things you do? Is it because you love God? Or because you fear Him? If the answer is the latter, is that the way you want to live your life? Afraid of the wonderful, loving creator who made you? He wants your devotion motivated by love, not your devotion motivated by fear. It’s not a happy way to live, nor a healthy way.

Live life to the fullest, experience, learn, and grow. You can’t do that within the dojo walls. You live how they tell you to live, you experience what they want you to experience, you learn only what they want you to know (unless you pay for more), and you grow as much as they allow. It’s the truth, you must know that. You’re trapped in a bubble, a bubble called Mahikari. When you pop the bubble and finally realize that God loves you so much that He allows you to live as many times as necessary in order to grow and become better…your love grows and overpowers your fear.

To those of you who do not believe in God anymore because Mahikari has done that much damage to your faith, don't worry...you don't have to believe in Him because He believes in you. He knows you have grown from being in Mahikari and it has helped you become more caring, loving, and compassionate individuals, despite the emotional scars it has left. That's the great thing about a truly perfect, loving God; one that is not tainted by money-making religious practices.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Light Works: The Ultimate Mind-Control Trap

Today Kara said something to me that made me stop and think. She said: The reason I remained in Mahikari despite my doubts was because light seemed to work. I know there have been thorough investigations on other blogs, discussing what okiyome is and why it seems to work. For me okiyome was the aspect that kept me bound and believing in Mahikari all 17 years of my life. I naturally assumed that because okiyome worked, Kotama Okada had to be telling the truth. Basically I had come to the conclusion that because one part of his doctrine seemed to be true the rest must also be true without a second thought. I didn’t question whether or not everything else was legitimate, okiyome worked and that was good enough for me…at least at the time. Now I have been doing a lot of thinking about why or if okiyome works and why it seems to be so easy for people to just accept that light works and rearrange their lives to fit the Mahikari mold.

The first thing that came to mind was whether or not I was even a good judge of whether or not okiyome worked. I was born into Mahikari, my mother and father offered me okiyome from the time I was born. I was going to the dojo ever since I was a few months old. I knew all the people at the dojo, I was friends with their children…the point I am trying to make is that I was never without Mahikari and okiyome; so therefore how would I even know what life without okiyome was like? I had always assumed that light healed and made me feel better, but that was because I had been told by my parents my whole life that okiyome has those sorts of effects. Until recently I had never gone without okiyome. What I have found now that I have left Mahikari is that I feel the same way I did when I was a member receiving light. To me, okiyome is kind of like meditation. I have been practicing meditation as a way of calming myself and leveling out. In order to explain to those of you who have never meditated what it like I will first need to explain to you what okiyome is like.

Okiyome is very relaxing. When the Amatasu Prayer begins you close your eyes and focus on relaxing your body and absorbing the light. While receiving #8 (okiyome to the forehead) your eyes are closed and you do not speak. In Mahikari we are taught that this point is where the soul resides behind the third eye, therefore it is absolutely imperative to remain quiet in order to avoid damaging the soul. The person offering okiyome will alternate between their left and right hand periodically as their arms will get tired from holding them up. This part of okiyome can be uncomfortable both for the receiver and the giver as they are both expected to remain in Japanese Seiza sit. Your legs quickly become numb and for the rest of the time you are waiting for this portion of the session to be over. You receive this point for 10 minutes and then you move onto points in the neck, there is no mandatory sitting position for this so you get to relax. Then the lungs, kidneys, legs etc, all while lying down on a mat and pillow. While you receive light from the other points, the person offering okiyome will use their fingers to search for warm or hard spots, they are taught this is where the toxins have built up, and where the light energy must be focused. Kumite will message these points periodically to work away the toxins and also to feel if the spot has cooled off or softened.

The sensation of this is much like receiving a massage, it feel good and relaxes you, especially after you have been sitting in Seiza for the first ten minutes of the session; it feels good to lay down and relax. Many people fall asleep and take a short nap, as a full session can take about an hour. When the session is complete you feel calm and relaxed, which is usually what gives people the impression that okiyome has worked. Mahikari teaches that if you feel better than before the session that the toxins have melted. If you feel sick or have a headache then the toxins are melting away, but you still have some build-up. Mahikari teaches that pain is positive because it means that you are suffering and therefore also clearing away sins and impurities. On the flip side, a relaxed body after okiyome is also positive. If you feel nothing then the toxins and impurities are so built-up that you need to receive light as much as possible, which is always good for Mahikari business.

For a long time I assumed that okiyome worked because I felt good after I received. However, if I took an hour long nap the way I did during a light session, I felt just as rejuvenated. The same goes for meditation.

During meditation you sit somewhere comfortable with your legs out in front of you, your hands on your thighs, palms facing the ceiling. It helps to play some music that relaxes you. Then you focus on your toes, focus on them relaxing, then you move onto your feet, and focus on them relaxing, then you your ankles, and so on and so on, until you have relaxed your entire body. Once this is done you simply sit there and pray if you feel it is necessary, but focus on something positive or a change you want to come into your life. You do this for about an hour. Once this is complete you feel relaxed and rejuvenated exactly how you feel after okiyome.

The point I am trying to make is that if the only indication we have of whether okiyome is working is whether or not we feel better afterwards, then should we assume that everything that gives us that relaxed after effect is spiritually cleansing? Or should we assume that maybe okiyome doesn’t do what Mahikari says it does regardless of how we feel? As Anne said, “It is stupid to assume A caused B just because B followed A.” Mahikari works in a double-standard kind of way.

For example, I once knew a girl who started going to dojo because she had cancer. The girl was about 13 or so and had been going through chemotherapy. Eventually she was cancer free and the dojo used her story as experience propaganda, despite the fact that she had been going through chemo the entire time. Kumite assumed that because the cancer went away (A), after the girl started receiving light (B) that the cancer (A) must have gone away because of okiyome (B). However those variables could also be rearranged like this…the cancer (A) went away, after the girl went through chemotherapy (B), because the cancer (A) went into remission while she was on chemo (B). Notice how Mahikari likes to use these experiences without presenting all of the information. During the experience story at the ceremony, the fact that the girl was on chemo was downplayed or not even mentioned. So Kumite, before you buy into those stories, make sure that the person was not on any other form of medication or therapy besides light therapy.

On the other hand, when light does not work, Mahikari tends to avoid talking about the subject. Here is another example, a man I knew at the dojo, whose mother passed away…her death was hardly mentioned. However, weeks before she died the Kanbu were talking about how much better she was doing with the aid of okiyome and how light was so miraculous that it could bring her back from even this terrible condition. When she was getting better it was the work of the light, when she died nothing was said. Prayers for her mourning family were at the very end of the prayer requests that ceremony.

Same with my mother…whenever something negative happened to me; my mother naturally assumed it was because I was not doing enough divine service. Negative things (A) happened because I did not offer enough divine service (B). It wasn’t that shit just happens… for Mahikari there is always a spiritual reason; lack of effort, money, or service, etc. After a while I started adapting that mindset…that all my misfortune was because I wasn’t putting enough time into Mahikari. For at least a month after I left Mahikari everything negative that occurred was because I had left Mahikari, at least in my mind. Their mind control worked. They had convinced me that the world would come crashing down on my head for leaving. They also had me thinking that everything negative that happened to Kara was because she was not a member and hated Mahikari with such a passion. It was like a Mahikari curse, a plague on anyone who left the organization…it is the very thing that has so many kumite trapped in Mahikari now. This almost made me go back…almost. I still struggle with that…I find myself thinking that way whenever life doesn’t go right.

The thing I finally realized is that even when I was a kumite life didn’t go my way 24/7…I don’t know why I was assuming that it would after I left Mahikari. Life isn’t perfect, shit happens. I know now that I can’t blame everything on the Mahikari curse. The fear of the curse was holding me back, preventing me from living…I have to admit, Mahikari is deranged and wrong, but in a very smart way. They truly have thought of all the angles to make sure that their members remain within the organization and continue to pay. Fear is the ultimate way to control a person. Mahikari makes you fear God, and it is impossible to love someone you fear. I will save that for a new post, but for now it’s food for thought.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sukyo Mahikari North American Website: The Uncut Version Continued Again

“Sukyo Mahikari believes that a very effective way to improve the situation in society today is for people to unite together to establish a civilization based on universal principles. In this vision, we anticipate that people will integrate a spiritual outlook with humankind's material development and progress while, at the same time, making spiritual values and faith in God the true focus in their lives.”

I fail to see how Mahikari plans to improve the situation of society today considering they want little if anything to do with charity or the outside world. They might plant their little yoku gardens and push environmental issues within the dojo and the organization, however when have you ever seen Mahikari help out through Habitat for Humanity or other organizations that want to better the planet and make it a wonderful place to live? The best way to build a society is to be in the public eye, donate to charity, and participate in environmental projects. Mahikari talks the talk, but where’s the walk?

Practice what you preach.

If you think the environment is in bad shape, do something about it. If you think poverty is a problem, do something about it. Planting your little gardens is not enough…besides isn’t the purpose of those gardens supposed to be to show members the effort and nurturing it takes God to mold us all? Even Mahikari’s environmental efforts have nothing to do with changing the situation of society.

Why?

Because Mahikari does not believe in charity. The only charity they have done is donating to the Hebrew college and the only reason they did that was because they were getting a reputation for being anti-Semitic.

To help achieve this goal of establishing a "Yoko civilization," a well-balanced and harmonious civilization that is bright and positive, like the Sun, Sukyo Mahikari promotes different activities including those described below.

“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.”

Yeah…Mahikari has caused its fair share of pollution in Takayama by cutting down thousands of trees to build that humongous, 200 million dollar, mega-structure, Suza. Oh…not to mention gold mining is one of the worst man-caused pollutants…the top of the main world shrine is covered in gold, but you won’t hear Keishu preach about that.

“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.”

Mahikari members need to stop wasting time yoko gardening their backyards and focus on replanting trees, promoting electric cars, opening community homes for the homeless, building animal shelters for the millions of stray animals that get put to sleep each year, there are tons of things that kumite could do to help out but they don’t.

Why?

Because Mahikari activities keep them bogged down 24/7…and Mahikari teaches that it’s wrong to participate in charitable activities because you are interfering with God’s plan. Well if helping a person or animal in need is interfering with God’s plan, then one must assume also that it is against God’s plan to help the environment. Humans and animals are just as much a part of nature and the environment as flowers, veggies, fruits, and trees. Yet Mahikari detests aiding people and animals in need.

Why?

Perhaps it is because giving light to the soil and planting a few seeds in the ground is a minuscule cost as opposed to donating to help a family or animal; there’s less money going into Mahikari’s pocket if members are donating to charities.

“In general, the Western approach to health does not acknowledge a spiritual dimension. However, this attitude is gradually changing. By introducing more people to the principles that govern the universe, Sukyo Mahikari anticipates an era where good health is enjoyed by more people. A Yoko Health Clinic, staffed by health professionals (doctors and nurses) who are Sukyo Mahikari members, opened in Takayama, Japan, in November 1989. Its purpose is to serve the local community. Those members who work in the medical profession are encouraged to continue their spiritual growth, and to pray for their patients. Throughout the world there are now many organizations and individuals who are striving to introduce a spiritual approach to healthcare. Sukyo Mahikari hopes to work with such organizations and individuals to help develop and promote a more holistic approach to health, one that respects the close interconnection between spirit, mind and body.”

Don’t take medication and go to the doctor, receive light and come to the dojo instead. Makes sense, right? Then Mahikari is getting your money instead of your health care professional. This is what happens when Mahikari decides what is best for the health of its members…here is an experience story by Christiane, a Belgium woman who allowed Sukyo Mahikari Kanbu decide what was best for the health of her husband:

Thanks to the translation by Fabien Cheslet, I will tell you my "story" about the Mahikari sect.

I was an active member of this sect from July 1986 to December 1995.
As most members, I entered the sect because of medical problems. Till 1989, everything "was right", but I had not realised to what extent I was manipulated. I had, for example, stopped working in order to better follow the teachings and be more available for the organisation...

In October 1988, my husband had heart trouble and took medical advice with a cardiologist. During the medical tests, the doctor told my husband he had to go urgently to hospital to undergo more extensive tests, and probably surgery, in order to avoid an infarction.

Directly after talking with the doctor and before going to hospital, we went with our 13-year-old son to the Mahikari Center of Verviers to meet the leader and ask her advice, so that we could apply the teachings in a correct way. It was indeed of primary importance to leave everything in God's hands and accept his will!

During this interview, Miss A. Krickel firmly advised us against going to hospital because, she said, it was for financial reasons that physicians were doing medical tests. Moreover, my husband would be given drugs which would be seriously harmful for his health, as medicine is a synonym for poison, both for the body and mind.

So my husband, who did not want to disappoint me in the faith I had in the teachings, did not go to hospital. Yet, I would have agreed for him to go there, but I was extremely frightened by the possible spiritual consequences.

At that moment, I significantly increased my activities in the Center and months went by without mentioning the problem.

My son became a member and when he and my husband could not go to the Center, they gave Light to each other.

As far as I am concerned, I was convinced that everything was well and, as the leader had said, God was taking care of us and nothing could ever happen!

August 17 1989 was my birthday. At around 4 pm I called my husband in his office to propose to him some projects for the evening. He replied he was quite exhausted and there would be time to think of it when he came back home.

He came back with our son at around 5.45 pm. After he passed the flat door, he suddenly felt faint and dropped the flowers and his suitcase from his hands. I rushed to him and took him to the living room, on the sofa. I immediately called the Mahikari leader to ask what to do. My husband could not breathe and he was unable to tell me what he felt as he was suffocating.

During the phone call, my husband was getting increasingly ill. I hung up and it was only then that I called a doctor. During all that time, my son and a friend were giving him Light.

When the doctor came, he made me call a resuscitation ambulance and gave my husband an injection to sustain his heart and liquefy his blood. At a moment, just before the arrival of the ambulance, my husband looked at us, me and my son, and clearly said these words : "It is the end". I did not believe it, because he had not ceased receiving Light from three people in the same time. It was only a simple faint, and with a lot of love and tenderness, I shook my head and gave him a big smile.
Alas, as soon as he arrived in hospital, my husband died. Then the doctor told me that if my husband had had correct medical care in time, he would certainly be alive. At that moment and long after, I thought he was mistaken, because my leader had told me again and again that I had to thank God, because my husband, by dying in such a brutal way, had compensated for a lot of errors made in previous lives. Thanks to this fact, our family would have a lot of happiness. And I believed her!

After that, I got increasingly involved in the movement. I went to all the meetings in Belgium and Luxembourg, I took part in all seminars and lectures, and all possible ceremonies (3 per months). I did not realise I was neglecting my son who was completely left to drift. He did not believe a word of what they said. He wanted to get revenge at all costs, considering they had "assassinated" his father and that someone had to pay for it. We could not talk to one another, because I lived "in another world" called Mahikari and nothing else mattered.

Years were going by not so happily, as I suffered a lot from this situation. I began to feel guilty. I thought I was responsible for my husband's death and I had increasing doubts about the truth of the teachings.

In September 1993, unfortunately, I felt on the Center's stairs and broke my arm. Then, the leader completely rejected me. She expelled me from the group that was making flower arrangements for the altar. She put me "in quarantine", just because, in members' eyes, this fall in front of God's altar meant God was punishing me for my bad "Sonen" (innermost attitude). Moreover, I was not a good example for those going to the Center.

I felt "guilty" about something (I did not know of what) and I got out of it with a lot of difficulties, trying to stay involved the best I could. But, my heart was no longer in it. I was frightened to death, I felt guilty. Besides, I began to have a lot of doubts. My oldest son asked me not to get involved in such a way, because, anyway, I was still alone to face my numerous problems. I did not receive any comforting words from the leaders or the members of the association. Far from it, they told me I had to thank God and ask Him to send me more "purifications", as it was a sign He was taking care of me and my family!

In late 1994, I was told that I probably had bone cancer, but, refusing to undergo the tests, I was not sure of it. I could not go up the Mahikari Center stairs any more or get on my knees. When I got up in the morning, I had a lot of difficulties putting my feet on the ground. So, as I was responsible for the morning turn at the center, I was not reliable any more in my "service" from 6.30 to 7.00 am. As I could not get on my knees any more, I was unable to lead the opening prayers, or any other prayers.
Then, overnight, without any warning, I was replaced. After this, they made me feel guilty as much as they could. I can say that they dropped me down like an old rag, as we say in French.

I must also add to this account my experience in the financial field.

When I stopped working, I was highly surprised that my employer gave me a huge allowance. At that moment, they were restoring the Castle of Ansembourg in Luxembourg which was to become the Mahikari headquarters for Europe and Africa. A large scale operation!

As I could not get this amount without giving a part of it to "God" via the movement, I was advised to make an important donation for the restoring works. So I gave 150.000 Belgian francs (+/- 6000 AUD). To balance it, I gave 75.000 francs to the Dojo of Belgium and 75.000 francs to the Center of Verviers. In all, I gave 300.000 francs (I must admit here that my husband did not completely agree, but as it was money I had earned (!) personally, he let me do it). This was in early 1989.
After the death of my husband, I made unconsidered "offerings", as I was so frightened that my husband was suffering in "the other world". The amount was sometimes, and even very often, as high as 8.000 francs a week and this, during almost one year.

In 1991, the Treasury Administration reimbursed me 338.000 francs, an amount I of course gave immediately to the association.

I only mention the most important "offerings". I cannot evaluate the amount given for courses, travels, seminars, etc. And it had to happen...

When my older son got married, I had to take a loan, because, without realising it, I had exhausted almost all my capital! I also had to stop my life insurance to recover the sum I had given. But this was not so serious, because we should not have attachment to material goods and, anyway, the cataclysms were about to come and I was going to loose everything!

After all these unhappy experiences, I could progressively leave the movement, and was able to abandon it completely in late 1995, helped by my family.

How did I get out of it? Completely destroyed. I had no more personality, I was unable to make the distinction between truth and lies, who was right or wrong. I felt guilty for everything.

I was extremely frightened, expecting the wrath of heaven to fall on my head! Each time I had a little problem, I wondered if they were not right, if Mahikari teachings were not true. I did not know exactly where I was.

Then, one of my sisters advised me to go to a psychiatrist, who found I was completely empty of all energy and needed a lot of rest. Moreover, he told me I had really been brainwashed, before being indoctrinated. Then, he did everything to give me back a kind of serenity, as well as a correct view of life. It was necessary for me to find my personality again and act according to my own will. It was no easy thing.
What helped me so much was the help Fabien and his parents gave me when they discovered the truth about Mahikari. This family had also worked a lot in the organisation but had kept its balance. I immediately trusted them, because such people could not invent things. If they left the movement, I was convinced their reasons were right.

Now, what I wish for most would be to do something for those who, like me, have suffered enormously, and for those who could be attracted by the "octopus" Mahikari really is.

Although this account is quite long, I have a lot of other things to tell, but I hope this has helped you.


As we can see here, Mahikari methods of comparing medicine to poison can have catastrophic results. Mahikari tries to avoid giving medical advice these days, in order to avoid lawsuits…however, most members know quite well what the organizations opinion of medicine and physicians is like.
Sukyo Mahikari North American Website: The Uncut Version Continued

“A core teaching of Sukyo Mahikari is "The origin of the world is one; the origin of all human beings is one; and the origin of all religions is one." Therefore, all human beings are brothers and sisters whose purpose is to cooperate and to live together in harmony.”

In a Japanese fashion, of course. We are called to live in harmony and be at peace, we are also called to conform and submit to a Japanese way of life. The shrines, the language, the customs and manners, the superstitions about pendants and spirits, those are all Japanese ideas and beliefs. Mahikari wants to push Japanese supremacy. In their minds Japanese is better than everyone else. Why would any other race sacrifice their dignity, their culture, and their self-respect to join something that will force them to submit to another ethnicity’s way of life?

“One thing that is encouraged, based on the teachings, is the attitude of helping each other, with love and respect, and without judgment, resentment or blame. Through an understanding of the universal principles and God's plan for humankind, people can more easily fulfill their responsibilities in their families and as members of society.”

Fulfill their responsibilities as a member of the Mahikari society, more accurately. Mahikari pushes the idea of family values on their site, but I am living proof of what can happen to a family whose involvement in Mahikari becomes their number one priority. The structure goes as follows: Mahikari #1, family #2. Parents don’t parent because they are too busy with Mahikari activities. I am not the only one who has suffered from a Mahikari lifestyle. I have talked to numerous people who have parents that would rather be at dojo than at home taking care of their families.

Housewives, like my mom, are the worst because they get up, go to the dojo, stay at dojo all day, and then return home at almost 8:00 or 9:00PM. Now I ask you…where in between waking up, going to dojo, and coming home at night is there any time for family activities, unless the family has decided to take on a nocturnal lifestyle. I heard of a family who had a mother who would take on the schedule my mother has…she would wake up at 12:00AM, go to dojo all day until it closed at 6:00PM, then she would go and do all the errands she should have done during the day, which would put her back home by 8:00 or 9:00PM, then she would make dinner which would be on the table by 9:30-10:00PM and then she would stay up until 2:00-3:00AM talking to her family, then she’d wake up at noon the next day (because she stayed up until 3:00AM the night before) and repeat the whole process all over again.

Her junior high aged children would stay up until midnight or later when they had school the next day at 6:30AM. Half the time the kids wouldn’t even go to school because she would be too tired to get up and take them there. Is this the way a parent should be? Should spirituality and offering okiyome come before your family? I suppose, if you’re a selfish person who is only interested in going to the dojo day in and day out to save your own skin from the Baptism of Fire.

The mothers who do this are BAD MOTHERS.

You do not deserve to have children, but I’m guessing if your children don’t mean more to you than this, that the only reason you had them in the first place was because you wanted to be the ideal seed person and bring more seed people into the world. WRONG REASON to have children.

“The teachings are not about intellect but are tools that may help one's spiritual growth as well as personal development. As such, they require consistent effort and regular practice so that the benefit from these tools may be maximized. By putting the teachings into practice on a daily basis, one can deepen one's spiritual understanding and find a higher purpose in life.”

And sacrifice their family life in the process.

“The international headquarters of the organizations are located in Takayama, Japan. Regional headquarters are located in Latin America, North America, Australia, Singapore, Europe and Africa. There are Sukyo Mahikari centers in more than 75 countries.”

Note: Mahikari only needs 1 person to open a center in their home in order to be counted in a country as a religious group.

“Courses are organized for people wishing to assume responsible roles within the Sukyo Mahikari organization.”

This is true. It is impossible to simply be in Mahikari, uninvolved, just offering okiyome occasionally and receiving okiyome occasionally. No. As soon as you join when you turn 10 years old you are asked to give okiyome every time you come to the dojo, without fail. So for those of you who are young and are thinking of joining, just know, as soon as you do you can forget about just hanging out in the nursery with your friends. The adults will be on your case to offer okiyome every time you attend. If you’re an adult you are expected to do divine service whenever possible. If you don’t every time you go to the dojo you will mauled by people who seem to have endless projects for you to sink your teeth into.

“Sukyo Mahikari has its roots in an organization that Mr. Kotama Okada founded on August 28,1959, to promote Mahikari practice. This was in response to a revelation he received from Creator God on February 27, 1959. Mr. Okada’s heartfelt desire was to help people live in a more God-centered and spiritual way based on the universal principles that God established at Creation. In this way, people will be able to fulfill God’s prayer for humanity, which is to create a Heaven on Earth, a world of peace and harmony. He said that it is God’s greatest joy to see his children happily co-operating with each other and living fulfilled lives. Mahikari spread from Tokyo to other parts of Japan. It was then introduced to countries abroad. In 1971, Mahikari was introduced to Europe, and from there it spread to Africa and the Caribbean. On June 13, 1974, Mr. Kotama Okada appointed his adopted daughter Keishu as the second spiritual leader in accordance with a revelation from God. Ten days later, on June 23, 1974, Mr. Okada passed away. However, soon afterwards, there was confusion and misunderstanding about the succession within the organization. Mr. Sakae Sekiguchi, a senior director of the Mahikari organization, went to court to support his claim as the rightful successor to Mr. Okada." (Taken from the official Sukyo Mahikari North America Site)

Confusion? No. More like Greed. Here are articles which follow the court battle that ensued between Sekiguchi and Keishu. You can read them via Mahikari Exposed, but I have also included them below."

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~skyaxe/truth2.htm


Sukyo Mahikari’s version of events differs significantly from the actual events. “On November 3, 1984, Suza, the World Shrine, was inaugurated by Ms. Keishu Okada in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, Japan.” The Mahikari organization ran by Sekiguchi has also built a Suza Shrine. So now God has two places of enshrinement.

Here is the article about the debacle where the shrines are concerned.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~skyaxe/suza.htm

Sukyo Mahikari North American Website: The Uncut Version

Through this post I plan on exposing Mahikari for what it really is. Taking their words to describe the organization and then re-writing them in order for potential members to get a thorough perspective.

Sukyo Mahikari North America is one regional part of Sukyo Mahikari, an international organization with HQ in Takayama, Japan. This post will contain a very extensive description of this organization's activities and spiritual practices. As a former member of this group, I have had my own experiences with Mahikari. Throughout my seventeen years I have learned a lot about Mahikari through my own experiences as well as from my mother, sister, and step-father who are all currently members. As most can observe from my past posts, my involvement in Mahikari hasn’t necessarily been like the sunny pictures used to illustrate Sukyo Mahikari’s official North American site.

Those pictures set a very safe mood, but it is a cover up for a lot of secrets and lies. The pictures may look happy, but if you look beyond the photo, a little deeper, you will see a whole new perspective of Mahikari. From the very first page of this site there is already tons of false advertisement.

The site states:

Sukyo refers to "the universal laws God established at the time of the Creation so that all things in the universe can prosper eternally," and Mahikari means "True Light," the Light of God that purifies the spiritual aspect of all things. Through the experience of receiving True Light, Sukyo Mahikari believes it can become much easier for a person to awaken to the existence of God, and God's universal principles.”

This is incorrect. As a Japanese person, fluent in Japanese, I can assure you that the word “Sukyo” means supra-or supreme. Throughout Mahikari teachings, one will hear the Kanbu and instructors refer to Mahikari as a Supra-Religion. As kumite we are taught that Mahikari is better than all other religious practices and that all other religions will disappear as they have lost any power they once held. The word “Mahikari” does mean true light, but that is about the only truthful thing written on this entire web page.

The site also states:

“As people cultivate a deeper understanding of the universal laws, Sukyo Mahikari believes that such people will wish to work together to establish a civilization on Earth in which spiritual values are given priority over material values, and where peace and harmony exist for everyone.”

It sounds like a great idea on paper, but the reality of it is that it is impossible for everyone to live in harmony and peace without several groups making sacrifices where religion and culture is concerned. Culture and religion is what cause diversity and disagreement in the first place. In order to rid the world of diversity we would all have to think and act the same way and settle for uniformity. The reason we have wars and controversy is because everyone wants the right to live their life and worship the way they see fit. There’s nothing wrong with that. God gave us minds to think with and we are entitled to our own beliefs. If we all thought the same way and believed the same things the world would be in a state of perfect harmony…we wouldn’t have war or problems because their wouldn’t be countries to conqueror or boundaries to tear down, nor politics to argue about, nor religion to debate. I would love for war and poverty and all other negative aspects of our world to be wiped out, however, if the only way to do that is to strip people of their individuality and make them conform to ideals set down by a supreme-leader(Okada), then I would rather have those negative aspects.

The site then says:

“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.”

This I agree with. No problem here. There is one God who created us all. Some of us might have the wrong perspective of what God is like and how He governs this planet, but ultimately we all know that He is there and that He created us. God is like the wind, you can’t see Him, but you can feel Him.

The site then says:

“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.”

Like I said before, it’s a wonderful idea if it could be done without making everyone conform to Mahikari ideals and way of life, but since the only way to achieve this is by making everyone on the planet a robot…I would rather just leave everything as is. The site says that Mahikari wants to “overcome the many barriers”, but in the end the way Mahikari wants to overcome them is by erasing the barriers all together and making everyone conform to a Japanese way of living; which is not right. I might be Japanese, but I was raised American. I love my freedom and liberties and I have to admit that every time I travel to Japan and have to adapt to their customs, which I am not used to after having lived in America for so long, I feel out of place and awkward. I don’t want to bow, I don’t want to remove my shoes, I don’t want to take food up to the ancestral alter…nor do I think any other hot-blooded American would either, not initially at least.

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.”

This is true; Mahikari does is accepting of other religions and cultures…initially. However, once a new recruit joins it is assume that once the divine principles have become clear the new member will abandon their culture and previous religious beliefs in favor of Mahikari doctrine. Mahikari cooperates with society in hopes of society and other groups bringing in new members and more revenue.

“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.”

The “principles that govern the universe” are karmic principles that state that the victim is always at fault when something negative occurs in their life. A child who is molested is to blame because in a past life they did something that remedied that kind of punishment, a person who is dying of a disease is deserving of it because they did something in a life years before, the Jews that died in the Holocaust were deserving of their fate because they failed to build proper enshrinement for Su-God (Mahikari’s name for God).

Mahikari blames the victims and not the people who harm the victims. The principles of the universe is simply this, “You deserve what you get, so deal with it and be thankful that you have been permitted to live through this punishment.”

“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.”

This is a bold face lie. In the Goseigen it is reiterated over, and over, and over again that Mahikari members (especially Japanese members) are God’s chosen children. Kumite are the only people on earth who will survive the Baptism of Fire (Mahikari’s version of Armageddon), and go on to live in the next holy civilization. If a person hasn’t at least taken Primary Kenshu in their life time, Mahikari members believe that when God wipes out mankind a terrible fate will await those individuals.

Mahikari members fully believe that they are the only path to God, a person might be able to participate in another religious practice as long as they have taken Kenshu, however those who have not taken Kenshu…you get the idea.

“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.”

I have never experienced anything more than a feeling of meditation while receiving true light. If you have never meditated, try it, and you will see what it feels like to receive okiyome. Mahikari uses true light as their main sales pitch, however, anyone who takes the time to relax and center themselves will feel the same effects. An okiyome session is like adult naptime.

“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. People from all walks of life and religions practice this art that is open to all.”

I find it profoundly disturbing that Mahikari talks about God in such loving terms, but then slanders the name of God by proposing that He is a money driven tyrant who has absolutely no problem wiping out His people, killing billions, if they don’t take a three day seminar and receive an omitama (holy pendant). Is it just me or does that sound ridiculous?

“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.”

One becomes more aware of the spiritual world around them by going to the dojos monthly ceremonies and listening to the hogwash about attaching spirits that will attack you if you don’t wear the pendant and adhere to its proper care, offer and receive okiyome, and donate money to the dojo and spiritual leader. I was no more aware of the unseen spiritual world than I was before Mahikari, only aware of the threats of what might happen to me if I didn’t play by their game.

“Sukyo Mahikari teachings are about universal principles rather than rules. One of the objectives of Sukyo Mahikari teachings is to help people become more aware of the divine principles that govern all creation. The universal principles are goals towards which anyone can aspire and work, step by step.”

More lies. Mahikari is littered with rule after rule after rule. It’s ridiculous how many restrictions and rules Mahikari imposes on a person. The pendant alone needs an entire rule book. The wearer cannot touch the pendant without clean hands, as it is more precious than their life. The wearer must keep the pendant in tiny bags to make sure that it does not get wet, get damaged, or touch flesh. No one else is allowed to touch the pendant besides the wearer, the person rewrapping it, or a Kanbu member. The pendant cannot touch anything below waste level. The wearer has to purify the soap they are going to use with a prayer, they must pray before they put on the pendant, and the process is repeated when they take it off.

If a member has any kind of shrines the rules are even worse. When a person receives a Goshintai the Doshi has to come to the home and decide which room the shrine wants to be in. Once the shrine has decided which room to inhabit, nothing else can be put in that room, as it then becomes a holy place. I know someone who just moved to a new home and lost their game room because the Doshi decided that the Goshintai wanted to go in the game room upstairs.

I have to admit; those Goshintai’s sure do know how to pick the best room in the house. There are all sorts of things that one must do in order to properly care for a Goshintai. Members must perform a daily opening and closing ceremonies to perform at home, a monthly thanksgiving ceremony, elaborate cleaning rituals, and restrictions on the use of their house. The care of an ancestor's altar involves dusting and cleaning the altar and name tablets monthly, serving a meal and washing their crockery daily, and offering prayers and Light weekly or so. Mahikari prides itself on being a spirit-centered organisation, with God as the head.

There are many strict rules and regulations to be adhered to, so that the members will correctly follow God's will. It is frequently mentioned how God has a very strict side, and that the astral world is much stricter than this world. Here are some examples: It is not permitted to photocopy any divine teachings, holy books, or other group literature. If members want copies, they need to write them out by hand. Holy books and journals must not be placed on the floor, or anywhere that feet would go, as they carry the Light of God. In a multi-storey house the Holy Altar [Goshintai] and ancestor's altar have to be on the top floor.

(As I mentioned earlier) All members must offer a 'Spiritual Line Maintenance Donation' before the end of every calendar month, to keep their spiritual cord connected between their Omitama and God, and to show their gratitude. If this donation is not made, the member will be called by a staff member and reminded of their responsibility. It seems to me that Mahikari is a stickler for rules; quite a group of marionettes.
More Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups

Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship. Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool. -The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

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

-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).

-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).

-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).

-The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

-The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

-The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

-The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

-Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

-The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

-The group is preoccupied with making money.

-Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

-Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

-The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

This checklist will be published in the new book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias