Mahikari Exposed

The Canberra Times

(front page) March 2, 1997



A Japanese-based religious sect, under investigation in a number of countries, has been given a hectare of prime land in Canberra for a national headquarters. Documents providing for the use of the land in Holder were signed with the Sukyo Mahikari organisation in December, according to ACT government officials.

An official announcement is to be made next weekend at a national gathering of sect members in Canberra.

Officials involved in the process were not aware of any investigations into the activities of Sukyo Mahikari, according to sources.

A parliamentary commission in Belgium is examining the activities of the sect there, and a number of other European countries have also begun scrutinising it.

In Singapore, officials are reviewing the sect's tax status as a charity in view of the funds being channelled offshore.

The head of Sukyo Mahikari in Australia, Dr Andris Tebecis, who has just returned from a visit to South Africa where, he says, the sect has the blessing of the President, Nelson Mandela, says he is surprised at allegations levelled against it by former members.

Dr Tebecis said there seemed to be a vendetta against the organisation.

"We have a lot of people prominent in public life as members, and I am a member of Rotary," he said. Dr Tebecis said he could not understand why former members such as his one-time number two, Garry Greenwood, a former Canberra photographer, could claim that the organisation was anti-Semitic.

Mr Greenwood has published a widely circulated book on the Internet, All the Emperor's Men, alleging it is a sinister and racist organisation whose financial dealings are highly questionable. "It is nonsense to claim that our teachings are based on the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Dr Tebecis said. "I am certain that most of our members would never have heard of them." Dr Tebecis said he was most reluctant to get into a slanging match with his organisation's critics, but he did want to emphasise that Sukyo Mahikari stood for peace and unity of religious thought, not division. "I don't think it is possible to accuse us of being anti-Semitic as we have many Jews among our members, even a rabbi from Melbourne." "We are compatible with all religions and I think the composition of our membership bears that out," he said.

(Front page of Sunday feature section)

Secrets of a doomsday sect

An organisation which believes in Japan's right to world sovereignty has gained a toehold in the ACT, says Norman Abjorensen.

Ms. Okada

Oshienushisama, left the head of Sukyo Mahikari, which she founded after losing a court case in which she sought to become the successor to her adoptive father, Yoshikazu Okada, as head of Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan. Making her one of the richest people in Japan.  Below is Okada, a senior army officer and fervent believer in the divinity of the Emperor of Japan, who founded the predecessor of Sukyo Mahikari.


A JAPANESE doomsday religious sect which is becoming an increasing object of official scrutiny in several countries has been given a grant of land, at the Australian taxpayers' expense, by the ACT Government.

The sect, known as Sukyo Mahikari, has, behind a facade of benign spiritual enlightenment, a doctrine based on world domination and veneration of the Emperor of Japan. It is also profoundly anti-Semitic, drawing part of its teaching from the discredited and fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

At a more mundane level, it also has links to a failed business venture in which adherents were encouraged to invest and lost their money.

Sukyo Mahikari (Japanese for True Light Supra-Religious Organisation) enjoys charity-religious status in Australia as a non-profit organisation and is therefore exempt from income tax. Many people who have left the sect have complained about the constant pressure to make donations, all of which are sent back to Japan where a lavish headquarters has been built.

According to former members, some of whom held high office in the organisation, untaxed funds running into hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars have been sent to Japan. Total Australian membership, now thought to be about 2000 (several hundred of whom are in Canberra), is falling, largely because of an exodus of members uneasy over links with the Aum Supreme Truth sect, responsible for the deadly gas attack on a Japanese subway station two years ago. Both share a world view based on the Protocols; both believe the end of the world is at hand.

Sukyo Mahikari Australia Ltd is registered as a non-profit company whose principal activity according to the articles of association is "conducting and maintenance for religious worship". The sect is asset-rich, a fact not known to many of its members, overwhelmingly middle-class professionals. According to records, it owns several thousand hectares of property in NSW, including a rural property near Canberra.

A prominent member of the sect in Perth, where a third of the membership has reportedly left in the past 12 months, boasted that a story on the sect would never get into print. He declined to elaborate. A high-profile member of Sukyo Mahikari is Jo Court, wife of the Premier of Western Australia, Richard Court. Sect members in Perth say he has accompanied his wife to many gatherings at the centre in Second Avenue, Mount Lawley.

An inquiry to Mr Court's office about the sect was not answered. (The West Australian reported on February 18, 1994, that the Premier's office had confirmed Mrs Court's membership of the sect, but added that it was none of the newspaper's business.)

New members are introduced to the sect's philosophy slowly. For example, they are not told that Sukyo Mahikari is based on the concept of the Japanese Emperor being the divine supreme ruler of the world. Nor are they told of the belief in Japan's imperial right to reclaim world sovereignty based on the notion that the world belonged to Japan in ancient times. Nor that Australia was named after a Japanese god, or that the Japanese people are the chosen people of God.

IN JAPAN, the sect runs a military-style youth wing and is active in politics, using its youth members to work for candidates for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Not only does the sect adopt most of the discredited Protocols, alleging a Zionist conspiracy for world domination, it teaches that the Jewish Star of David actually belongs not to the Jews but Sukyo Mahikari, and that the Jews deserved the Holocaust because they betrayed God by letting Solomon's temple be destroyed. A chilling link with the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway by the Aum Supreme Truth sect is contained in the advanced members' seminar texts for Sukyo Mahikari, obtained by The Canberra Times. A chapter drawing on the writings of one Kido Honda, extracted from his The Future Course of Japan, makes reference to an 'awesome plan which will terrify the bravest hero: it is the subway. Before long the capital of every country in the world will have a subway, and we will be able to destroy all the government institutions and the important papers of these governments at the same time."

SUKYO Mahikari has long planned a national headquarters in Canberra and last December documents were signed with the ACT Government for a 1 ha land grant in Mulley Street, Holder, for, as the documents say, "a place of worship, religious association and community activities". The sect has five years in which to build on the site.

A major thorn in its side has been the defection of its former No 2 in Australia, former Canberra photographer Garry Greenwood. Greenwood, who now lives in northern NSW, has published a damning critique of the sect on the Internet, entitled All The Emperor's Men, in which he alleges financial irregularities and the systematic brainwashing of members.

In Belgium, a parliamentary commission is investigating the sect's activities, especially after it was found to have infiltrated the police force; similar investigations are under way in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

In Singapore, the Government is reviewing the sect's status under the Charities Act which requires that 80 per cent of all collections after expenses, to be spent on charitable activity in Singapore. Former members say not one cent is spent locally.

The soldier who began it

WHAT is known today as Sukyo Mahikari was established in June 1978. Its acknowledged founder is a senior Japanese army officer, Yoshikazu Okada, who took part in one of the most brutal events of the century, the rape of Nanking in 1937.

A fervent believer in the divinity of the Japanese Emperor, he became after the Japanese defeat in World War II a minister in a Shinto-based religion called Sekai Kyusei Kyo (SKK) but was asked to leave after 10 years because of his growing interest in the occult, notably exorcism and magic.

He then founded a new religion which he called Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan (SMBK), promoting "divine revelations", essentially the same as SKK, and the practice of radiating light from hands as a healing force.

His adopted daughter, who took the name of Oshienushisama, became his chief devotee, and when Okada died in 1974 a bitter court case was fought over who should succeed him. Oshienushisama lost and broke away to found Sukyo Mahikari.

All property of the sect is in her name, making her one of the richest people in Japan, where she has built lavish memorials, shrines and a 45 m-tall pyramid, most of which are closed to members.

An American academic, Winston Davis, in a 1980 book entitled Dojo, made a comprehensive study of the sect and its practices of magic. He described it thus: "as a religion...virtually slow magic, and magic it is fast religion".

It has spread all over the globe, its Australian regional headquarters based in Canberra looking after a mini-empire stretching as far as South Africa. The head of Sukyo Mahikari here, variously described as spiritual director, president, and chairman, is Latvian-born Andris Tebecis, a highly qualified scientist who was once at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, where he carried out micro-electrode research on the cat brain and studied altered states of human consciousness in the Psychology Department at the Australian National University.

He came across Mahikari while he was in Japan in 1975 as a visiting professor. He, his Japanese wife, Yasumi, and a Luxembourg-based Japanese man, are the listed directors of Sukyo Mahikari Australia Ltd, a company incorporated in the ACT, and set up as a trustee of four trusts - Sukyo Mahikari School Building Fund, Sukyo Mahikari Australia Fund, Sukyo Mahikari South Africa Trust, and Sukyo Mahikari School Operation Fund.

According to the latest detailed returns lodged with the Australian Securities Commission, Sukyo Mahikari Japan is "the ultimate controlling entity of trust funds" and $90,242 was remitted to Japan in 1995, and $196,832 in 1994. In 1995, $105,922 was paid to the directors, one of whom received more than $100,000. There is no suggestion that Dr Tebecis or his fellow directors have either acted improperly or taken part in business activities other than as described in the articles of association.

Attempts to talk to Dr Tebecis last week were unsuccessful, as Sukyo Mahikari headquarters in Canberra said he was in South Africa. A woman who answered the telephone said there was no-one else who could speak on behalf of the organisation, and it was not usual to respond to criticism.


STEVE ALLERTON is a down-to-earth sort of a bloke, a marine engineer by profession, who devoted 14 years of his life to Sukyo Mahikari, met his Japanese wife through the sect, and was married under the organisation's auspices. He was also skinned for $10,000.

"Sure, the money hurts," he said in his Kaleen home, "but what hurts far, far more is the fact of feeling betrayed, of being sold out by something you believed in as a real force for good in the world.

"I think it is only when you get outside something like this you see how dangerous it really is - not dangerous in the physical sense, but in the far more subtle way of mind control. You can be intimidated without knowing it at the time.

"The whole time you are told that only members matter and that everyone else, the outside world, is of no relevance. That's why people suffer a bit when they leave, because they have been cut off from something they were taught to rely on, and I have found that mostly they don't want to talk about it. There is something morally sick about it all."

A computer buff, Allerton decided to look into the Internet to see if anyone else had been burned by the organisation, and to his surprise he has become the virtual linchpin of an international movement of former Sukyo Mahikari members.

"You know, I was made to feel as though there was something wrong with me, and for a while I suppose I believed it - until I found there were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people with similar experiences in the United States, Asia, Europe and so on. There is now a world-wide opposition movement."

Another Canberra resident, a woman who spent 20 years in the sect, says she was attracted by the belief in building a better world, and while she enjoyed many beautiful spiritual experiences, "mind control came in later and the whole thing went sour for me".

The woman, who did not want her name used, says she had to undergo counselling for the damage that had been done to her.

Louise Sullivan, a former journalist now working as a story teller and stand-up comedienne in Canberra, devoted 16 years to Sukyo Mahikari, attracted by the ideals, but eventually repulsed by what she calls "the sheer hypocrisy...of a business run on religious principles". She says she needed counselling to extricate herself. "I was told I would be attacked by spirits if I left...There was that sort of intimidation... "Look, a lot of good things happened in those years, a lot of miracles, but now I'm furious, raging and angry with myself for being so naive." While an active member interstate, Sullivan says she became aware of embezzlement going on, but it was covered up. "This is a very dogmatic organisation. No questions are to be asked."

When Allerton started asking questions, he was firmly told he was out of line, and that he was suffering "a spiritual disturbance". One particular response to his questions irks him intensely: "If the answer does not help with your elevation, then you don't need it."

The $10,000 lost by Steve and Yumi Allerton was invested in a venture called International Corporate Golf Tours Unit Trust, a business which aimed to capture a slice of the lucrative Japanese golf-tourism business in Australia. "It was set up as a business run on religious principles and I guess we felt we were putting something concrete into our faith," he says. The trust was established by deed dated November 1, 1991, with a total unit investment of $270,000, but failed to lodge required annual returns in 1993 and 1994 and was placed in liquidation on application from the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation on October 6, 1994.

Craig Shepherd, of Ferrier Hodgson and Company, the court-appointed liquidator, said last week that the matter had been finalised, but there was "no way in the world" that any investor had been able to recover any funds. He could not say what had happened to the money. The matter has been referred to the Australian Securities Commission.

One investor engaged a private investigator to probe the company's affairs and the subsequent report noted anomalies from day one. After the trust was established, a promotional booklet produced in conjunction with AN Travel Australia Pty Ltd, now called QGS Tours Pty Ltd, sought funds from the unit trust which were invested in the trustee company for the unit trust, International Corporate Golf Tours Pty Ltd. Here was a prima-facie conflict of interest: how can a company which is acting as trustee for monies belonging to others, ie, the unit holders, invest in itself?

The anger of sect members who got out

CORRESPONDENCE relating to the trust's administration appears on the letterhead of International Corporate Golf with a central Melbourne address. It also contains other corporate names: ICG Sport, ICG Tours, ICG Golf Academy and Professionals Golf Shop.

A search of Australian Securities Commission records located a company called ICG Sports Pty Ltd, whose directors were listed as Roland Simpson, Alfred Orpen, and Ross Woodham, the last-named a signatory to the trust deed of International Corporate Golf Tours.

"Both Roland Simpson and Alfred Orpen are members of Mahikari, a Japanese religious movement," the private investigator's report says. "A number of other Mahikari adherents appear to have been the main people approached to participate as investors in the unit trust." The report has since been handed to the Australian Securities Commission. ASC records show that both Orpen and Woodham, who live in Melbourne, are directors of a company called Top Green Cleaning Products Pty Ltd, which markets a detergent under the brand name Down to Earth which is being sold as an environment-friendly product through the Scout Association and the Mahikari organisation.

The other director, Simpson, now ill with cancer, was interviewed for this article, and explained that he was no longer connected with Sukyo Mahikari, but with the sect from which it had sprung, known as SKK.

Simpson, the former managing director of International Corporate Golf Tours, said the cancellation of tours by Japanese in 1992 had hit the company hard and money had been lost in promotional costs. The venture had no connection with Mahikari other than the sect's adherents being among the directors and investors.

"I had retired as managing director because of my health by the time of Liquidation, which I think had more to do with poor management than anything else," he said.

He had lost his house in the business and was now living with his parents-in-law. Asked if he was aware of any questionable practices involving the sect in Melbourne,Simpson said he had become aware of "certain irregularities" which he had detailed in a report to headquarters in Canberra, but had heard no more about it.

"I'm not saying they were corrupt, but I saw enough to make me very uneasy, and the secrecy just seemed to make it worse," he said. "A lot of people who found the truth were upset."

The Allertons are by no means the only people in Sukyo Mahikari to have seen their money vanish in front of them.

A Brisbane businessman, Andrew Campbell, said he had bought a building for the sect for a headquarters and a church in suburban Taringa for $150,000 and spent a further $100,000 on renovations, but it had never been used. "But a year or so later the property was sold and the money just disappeared," he said,. He said it was no use asking about it as he would have been told that it was "better to build upstream -- that is, Japan, because once Japan was right, the rest of the world would follow". He has been out of the sect for three years but remains angry at the disparity between ideals and practice. "If I'd been ripped off by God's representative on earth, I might feel differently," he said. "If things are good you are asked to give, and if things are not good, you are asked whether you are giving enough. Either way, they win. But they will destroy themselves--and all from the inside."


Most religious movements have been investigated but nothing adverse has been found about Sukyo Mahikari,
writes Andris Tebecis

SUKYO MAHIKARI is an international, apolitical, non-denominational organisation which originated in Japan. It is concerned with trying to establish a better world by improving the quality of life through the Light of the Creator God and universal principles expounded by the founder, Kotama Okada, generally known as Sukuinushisama.

Since he died in 1974, the organisation has been headed by Keiju Okada, generally known as Oshienushisama.

Mahikari members are encouraged to incorporate the practice of the Light and the teachings in a common sense way that fits with their lifestyle, and is appropriate for their family, work, school or other situation in society. A major theme of practice is to achieve love and harmony in families.

Sukuinushisama and Oshienushisama have received awards not only in Japan but internationally for their efforts towards promoting humanitarian principles, assistance to the needy, international exchange, elevation of human resources, education and so on.

On behalf of the Sukyo Mahikari movement I wish to correct some of the many mistaken claims and allegations in the story published by The Canberra Times last Sunday, which was based largely on the unquestioned acceptance of statements by former members of the organisation with axes to grind.

Sukyo Mahikari is not a "doomsday sect", nor does it have any connection with the Aum Supreme Truth sect. Given the intensive investigation within Japan of the Aum sect, any such connection would have become exposed and become a matter of public notoriety. Sukyo Mahikari is not based on the "concept of the Japanese Emperor being the supreme ruler of the world". Nor are its teachings in any way based on the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Sukyo Mahikari has hundreds of thousands of followers in almost 100 countries. They come from all walks of life and all kinds of religions--Christians, Buddhists, Shintoists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and so on. Members also include leaders from the major religions, including rabbis. To allege that Sukyo Mahikari is anti-Semitic is not only false but inconceivable. One of the major aims of Sukyo Mahikari is to unite all religions.

Another major aim is youth education, involving the teaching of ethics, morality and decorum. Some Mahikari educators have been able to introduce high-level values to the curriculums of a number of primary and high schools in both Australia and New Zealand. One of the activities of Mahikari youth is community service, such as cleaning up the environment, planting trees and so on. It is nonsense to claim that the Mahikari organisation runs a "military-style youth wing".

Mahikari members are not involved in politics. Members are taught to follow the laws of their country and to be good citizens. Sukyo Mahikari Australia Ltd has been incorporated in Australia since 1977. For more than 10 years all its legal matters have been taken care of by the law firm Deacons, Graham and James (formerly Sly and Weigall), who would not have done so had they not regarded the organisation to be of high integrity and reputation.

The allegation that the organisation's "financial dealings are highly questionable" are totally false and unfounded. The organisation's financial records are audited annually by the accounting firm Ernst and Young, and submitted to all appropriate authorities, including the Australian Taxation Office. No irregularities have ever been reported. The failure of a golf company that was formed by some Mahikari (and non-Mahikari) members reported in the story has nothing to do with the Mahikari organisation. It was an entirely private matter.

Sukyo Mahikari Australia Ltd derives no income from any businesses. It is totally funded by voluntary donations made by members. There is no coercion to make donations In fact, there is not even a membership fee. The land approved by the ACT Government to build Sukyo Mahikari's Australian headquarters has been bought by the organisation, not by "the taxpayer"

IN KEEPING with Sukyo Mahikari's aims, it is intended not only to consult with the community concerning this project, but to encourage the involvement of the community so that as many as possible may benefit from the spiritual, educational community and other benevolent activities that will be held there.

Sukyo Mahikari Australia does own a small rural property near Canberra which is used for training in organic agriculture and youth education. It does not own "several hundred thousand hectares of land in NSW" as alleged, nor any other rural property in Australia. The article referred to investigation of the Mahikari organisation by authorities in Europe (including Belgium) and Singapore.

This is understandable, as in the recent past some religious movements have received adverse publicity(such as the sarin gas attack by Aum Supreme Truth, the mass suicide by a Christian movement in Europe and so on) and so most religious movements have been investigated. Such investigations are to be welcomed. The fact is, nothing adverse has been found about Sukyo Mahikari.

The very essence of the Mahikari organisation is the Light of God, a point that is not mentioned in the Canberra Times article.

My book, Mahikari, Thank God For The Answers At Last (available at Mahikari centres, most libraries and possibly some book stores) is a comprehensive introduction to the Mahikari organisation and contains many cases of the wonderful effects of the Light of God.

I was a neuroscientist, a professor of psychosomatic medicine, when I first learned about the benefits of Mahikari more than 20 years ago.

One of the things that first impressed me was that the energy radiated from the hands actually works, not only on humans but also on non-human systems, such as plants and animals. Sukyo Mahikari is something that can be researched objectively as well as through experience. Sukyo Mahikari has been an open organisation since its inception. Its many centres are open to everyone, non-members as well, without any obligation.

There is no coercion to join the movements. Also, member are free to leave any time. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about Mahikari is welcome to visit the Canberra Mahikari Centre at 3 Badham Street, Dickson. Dr Tebecis is Regional Director of Sukyo Mahikari Australia-Oceania in Canberra.

CANBERRA TIMES Sunday May 11, 1997
report by NORMAN ABJORENSEN CT Sunday May 11, 1997

A Japanese-based sect with an Australian regional headquarters in Canberra has been labelled as dangerous by a parliamentary commission in Belgium.

The sect known as Sukyo Mahikari, granted tax-free status as a charity by the Australian Taxation Office, already is being investigated by the Australian Federal Police for possible links with another Japanese sect, Aum Supreme Truth, which was responsible for the fatal sarin gas attack on a Japanese subway station two years ago.

Sukyo Mahikari has denied any connection and accused disgruntled ex-members of trying to smear the organisation.

Police said they also were concerned at allegations of brainwashing, especially of children, raised by ex-members of the sect, according to AFP sources.

The Belgian Government established a parliamentary commission on sects last year after increasing public concern about their activities. In a 700-page report issued last week Sukyo Mahikari is listed along with Sukaya Yoga and Scientology as being among the most dangerous.

The report, to go before Parliament, recommends a number of counter-measures including the establishment of a permanent watchdog body to monitor various sects, inform the public of their activities and offer help to ex-members. The report quotes a senior investigating official as describing Sukyo Mahikari as "one of the most important and dangerous in our country".

The sect, along with several others, is criticised for illegal practice of medicine and the potential danger it represents to people's health. The Belgian commission, which heard representatives from the various sects defend their practices, took issue with Sukyo Mahikari's claim of "light" radiated from the hands being able to cure illness, including the disappearance of cancer cells in a short time.

The commission said this kind of "ambiguous teaching" could influence vulnerable people unduly.

According to testimony of former members, Sukyo Mahikari was said to be "a far-right group using the swastika". Another former member, echoing comments by ex-members in Australia, testified the "Sukyo Mahikari tries to reinforce the guilt feelings of members who should purify for mistakes they made in a previous life". "They are invited to work voluntarily to compensate their errors. In fact, the group creates a so-called problem in order to give it a solution."

Sukyo Mahikari Australia (estimated membership, 2000-3000) signed an $81,000 lease with the ACT Government late last year for a new national headquarters complex on community-use land at Holder.

The office of the Attorney-General and Minister for planning, Gary Humphries, said the ACT Government had made no independent assessment of Sukyo Mahikari in processing the application, which represents a significant public subsidy, but had relied on the religious-charity status conferred on it by the Australian Taxation Office.

Letters to the Editor

The Canberra Times Thursday March 6 1997

YOUR Sunday feature (CT, March 2, p.17) missed the fundamental fact that Sukyo Mahikari is truly non-sectarian and bases its totally positive world view on the understanding that the origin of the world is one; the origin of all human kind is one; and the origin of all religions is one.

Jewish members can see in your anti-Semitic slurs yet another attempt to promote hate of Jews in the guise of support, and Shinto members will reject your racist anti-imperial doggerel aimed at capitalising on yellow-peril fears of some sections of our society.

Buddhist members of Sukyo Mahikari know that the golden age predicted by Buddha for the coming millennium has nothing to do with doomsday cults and destruction of society by subways. These allegations play on the fears of the culturally isolated in Australia who are experiencing difficulty with our experiment in multiculturalism.

With a Christian background that took me into monastic life for 10 years and with 19 years' experience in Mahikari, I have found in Mahikari a wondrous way of evolving into a non-sectarian, universal, - yes, really catholic - world-view that sets me free with the freedom of children of God.

Truly non-sectarian, Sukyo Mahikari is uniting all religions, races and creeds. My friends with back-grounds in the religions mentioned, as well as Hindu and Muslim friends in Sukyo Mahikari, are deeply disappointed by your blatant pushing of fear buttons in the Australia psyche that have exceeded their use-by date as we move optimistically into the 21 st century.


The Canberra Times Thursday March 6 1997

CONGRATULATIONS to The Canberra Times for taking on the issue of the dishonest and distorted religious group, Sukyo Mahikari (CT, March 2, p.17).

The Australian Government's active support of Mahikari's expansion in Australia shows that they too have fallen victim to the organisation's untruths, resulting in gravely misplaced public funds, also resulting - much more importantly, I believe - in the strengthening of the organisation's very firm grip over its Australian members' spiritual and mental freedom.

I was involved with the sect from the age of six when my mother joined in Canberra. My parents were going through the process of divorce at the time and my mother no doubt found in Mahikari a sense of new purpose and social support that she badly needed for her new life as a single mother.

Just over a year ago, at the age of 21, I came across information that claimed that our supreme and unquestionable "divine revelations" had been stolen straight from another Japanese spiritual organisation.

After undergoing my own research in Japan, I found this and other harsh condemning facts concerning the organisation to be true. I was shocked in the deepest sense and, like every other ex-member, went through serious emotional trauma in the process of extricating myself from the perception of reality that Mahikari had built so solidly within me. The article was wonderful for alerting the Australian public to the unsavory nature of the organisation's roots. However, I would like to sent out a special and caring plea to Mahikari members.

The organisation seems to attract to its suspect ranks particularly caring and dignified human beings. I would like to ask them all to step back for a moment and truly allow themselves to take a fresh look at the new information that is now easily available to them.
Ermington, Sydney

( C.T.13/3/97)

As a neutral observer in the Sukyo Mahikari debate fired by the article of Dr Andris Tebecis (Canberra Times Friday 7 March) I was willing to give the cult leader the benefit of the doubt and located his book 'Mahikari; Thank God for the Answers at Last'.

Within a few minutes I came across the following interesting quotes: "Christ did not die on the cross but died peacefully in Japan. I visited the grave and confirmed all that I had read.... Christ first arrived in Japan at the age of 21. After studying Shintoism for 10 years he returned to Judea to teach it. The authorities opposed this and decided to crucify him. Jesus' brother Isukuri volunteered to die on Jesus' behalf. Christ returned to Japan at the age of 37 and ultimately settled in Japan passing away at the age of 106." (P.355)

Well there go the foundations of all my Christian beliefs. Presumably Dr Tebecis' cult plans to become the universal religion by undermining, not uniting, the teachings of all the others.

Other interesting quotes spread through Dr Tebecis' Mahikari book: "I can now understand why the Japanese people have held the long held belief that their Emperor is Divine." (p 396) "Japan is the cradle of all religions......, the Country of the Origin of spirit, where humans were first created." (p 417)

Obviously all my history and religious teachers got that wrong too.

Dr Tebecis on the Jews: their "promise with God has been broken. It is no wonder that the Jewish race has been persecuted." (p 416).

These quotes seemed at odds with the glowing words in Dr Tebecis' article in your newspaper so I decided to investigate further and found in official Mahikari documents the following gems:

"There is no need for the observance and support of the religious teachings found in the various established religions." (p 25 Sunkyo)

"The principle of democracy is not acceptable. Therefore the words, orders and indications of the master of divine teachings (the leader of Sukyo Mahikari) should be supreme." (p 21 Sunkyo)
"Before the turn of the century there will be a widespread cataclysm".(p269 Mahikari Bible)

That to me (if not to Dr Tebecis) sounds suspiciously like the teachings of a doomsday sect.

As a humble Australian taxpayer I returned to more mundane matters revealed by the Canberra Times.
How can a so called-charity send tax free to Japan over $200 000 in one year clear profit notwithstanding the millions of dollars sent there to build and buy real estate ? On what basis did the Australian Tax Office give this organisation tax free status?

Do the members know, and approve, that one of Mahikari Ltd's directors in Australia is paid over $100 000 a year from their donations? Why is the ACT government subsidising expensive real estate in Holder for this organisation to recruit and train lieutenants for its army? Direct answers from somebody (on earth) please.

Perhaps then the rewrite of Dr Tebecis' book could be called, "Thank you the Canberra Times for the (Honest) Answers at Last".

John Durham,

(CAN.TIMES March 13 1997)

I refer to the wild allegations made about the Sukyo mahikari organisation in the Canberra Times(march 2 and March 8). Not only are they untrue, but the most important essence of the Mahikari organisation, the True Light. is missed entirely.

As a health professional, I have observed the healing/ purifying effect of this True light with great interest and amazement, on simple injuries, to more complex ones like helping control high blood pressure where drug therapy was ineffective, as well as total recoveries from chronic and life-threatening diseases where modern medicine has not been able to help.

Although our understanding of how this healing/purifying energy works is so far limited, the universal common sense teachings seem to work with the "light", to help achieve an inner change, usually seen with unusual recoveries.

It should be emphasised here that the Sukyo Mahikari organisation does not negate modern medicine where necessary. It is compatible with and works in harmony with all fields of health.

To support any form of spiritual, mental or physical suffering with "light" and to guide people to this organisations peaceful atmosphere is very effective, a privilege and a joy.

Besides the unusually high human qualities each member strives for, members give their time with love, and at no cost!

Now, that is practically unheard of in our materialistically-orientated society.

Stella Ashton,
Sutton NSW

(Canberra Times 13/3/97)

It is not surprising that Dr. Tebecis should spring to the defence of the Sukyo Mahikari organisation of which he is director for the Australia-Oceania Region (CT,March,p.11).

What is surprising is that he should go so far as to state that there is no membership fee. Unless the organisation has waived the requirement in recent years, he simply must have forgotten that to become a member of Sukyo Mahikari one undertakes a primary three day course. The attendance at this course requires a not inconsiderable sum to be paid to the organisation.

If he does not regard this as a membership fee, then how does he regard the monthly donation that is sought from members in order to maintain their spiritual connection?. His leaders are not slow to point any break in this donation. To say that these payments are not membership fees is specious.

The success of most voluntary organisations depends on the ability to encourage members to pay fees, and in this Sukyo Mahikari is singly effective.

Dr.Tebecis' statement that there is no coercion to make donations does not additionally explain the engendered climate in which members make oblation for numerous events occurring in their lives.

My disenchantment after a number of years' membership come not in relation to payment of donations but from the obfuscation surrounding the facts of the organisation's origin, the life of it's founder, and its present leader.



When I read N. Abjorensen's "Secrets of a Doomsday sect". (CT March 2, p.17) I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

If what he says is correct, then it's Australian membership is thought to be about 2000 (with several hundred in Canberra) and the ACT Government has given the sect a hectare of prime land in Canberra for a national headquarters, at the Australian tax payers expense. He states that, behind a facade of benign spiritual enlightenment, its doctrine is based on world domination and veneration of the Emperor of Japan, its founder, Yoshikazu Okada, having taken part in the brutal rape of Nanking in 1937.

Many members are resigning in disgust and another claimed to have been skinned of $10.000 and now feels betrayed.

I myself have never heard of this sects existence, and all I can say is this: Is that, what I and thousands of ex-AIF soldiers risked our lives for (and many died for) in the second World War, to find that 2000 fellow Australians were seemingly conned into a sect believing the Emperor of Japan to be the divine supreme ruler of the world sovereignty, the Japanese being the chosen people of God?

And our ACT Government welcomes them with a block of land at Holder? Are we complete idiots?

V.E. Lederer,

(CAN.TIMES March 7 1997)
Sukyo Mahikari sect unjustly slurred

THE RECENT articles concerning Sukyo Mahikari (March 2, p.17) have demonstrated once again that the commitment of The Canberra Times to adhere to its own published standard of ethics is indeed hollow, and proof of the adage that the truth should never be allowed to get in the way of a good story. It is also interesting to note that The Canberra Times has given similar treatment to Sri Chinmoy. It is a pity that your paper's own standards of service to humankind - and the Canberra community in particular - are so grossly insignificant in comparison with those of spiritual leaders such as Sri Chinmoy and Sukyo Mahikari's Oshienushisama, whom you so freely criticise.

Furthermore, this is not "news": Sukyo Mahikari has had a centre in Canberra open to interested members of the public for 20 years, and for around 10 of those years our regional headquarters has also been here. The purchase of land in Holder (purchase, not free gift) is to accommodate a larger and purpose-built facility for worship and educational uses as the regional headquarters.

Over the organisation's 20 years in Canberra, Sukyo Mahikari has been active in the community, with stalls, for example, at ACT Alive during the Canberra Festival, and we have also held many public meetings, library displays, etc, to give members of the community the opportunity to find out what values Sukyo Mahikari represents. Had your reporter even done the most cursory of research for his piece, he would have discovered the book Mahikari: Thank God for the Answers at Last, which would have gone some way to present a more accurate view of the organisation.


(Canberra Times March 10 1997)
Mahikari has served me well.

I TAKE issue with the gross inaccuracies in the sensational article, "Secrets of a doomsday sect" (CT, March 2, p.17). Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma that spread into my lymphatic system. I also had a serious gambling addiction.

My experiences are recorded in the book Mahikari - Thank God For The Answers At Last, which has been in circulation for many years and is available in public libraries. Thanks to Mahikari, I no longer suffer from these afflictions.

Your reporter should have read this book. He would have found on page 25 that the Mahikari founder was made a Knight Commander of the Sovereign Greek Order of Saint Denis of Zante in 1971.

This organisation, founded almost 1000 years ago, is a benevolent order devoted entirely to the humanitarian principles of brotherly love and assistance to the needy without discrimination as to colour, race or creed.

Allegations linking Mahikari with the Aum Supreme Truth Sect are ludicrous. In September 1996, [Mahikari leader] Oshienushi-sama guided that Mahikari members are required to live in love and harmony with all people and that they should never, ever resort to violence or upset the harmony of society.


Note: This letter from John Teagle stimulated a world wide search for The Sovereign Greek Order of Saint Denis of Zante......with interesting results, we were advised by experts that this "award" is a fraud!

Last Modified: 15 June 2010