Mahikari Exposed

MAHIKARI - locked into a dead end for years!

Some inside observations, opinions and experiences
by Charles

May 2001

I was in a rut but did not know why. I had been living in Canberra for a year working as a graduate recruit with the less than dramatic Department of Transport. I hated office work in a big Department, but was determined to make a go of it, having graduated at 27 years of age with a Master's degree. I took leave over Christmas 1982-3 and spent eight weeks in the United Kingdom with my parents and relatives. What a happy time revisiting old familiar places and friends with the dollar at 70 pence to the pound buying that bit extra.

Shortly before I returned to Australia, I spent a mind-expanding weekend with an old school friend. We took the flight to Australia with JAL, and had a stop over in Japan for 3 days. Little was I to realise that the threads of coincidence and wishful thinking were setting me up.

During the stop over in Japan, we stayed in a sub-temple of Kiamisu dera, the large wooden temple in Kyoto. We were the first-ever western guests and I received a shiatsu massage from the grateful sub monk who I had given a bottle of good malt whisky to. He was not what we would think of as a stereotypical monk, as he was an albino and wore a lime shot silk suit over a Mickey Mouse T shirt. He was in the temple as a refugee from Japanese society that would not tolerate an albino because of the way he looked. I was latter to think what a stuffed society to have this type of person shut away, unable to join in normal society because of his looks. Mahikari is a home for misfits in Japan, a society that tolerates no deviation. However, Mahikari is an organisation that tolerates no deviation from its own dogma. Despite a fuzzy line to new recruits about the necessary belief in the dogma, the line is hardened as members get in deeper. Knowing nods and conspiratorial glances of group members silently deride those indulging in questioning and alternative views.

In the room at the temple there was a poster of the pyramids and the recent talks with my old school friend had me thinking about the Sphinx and pyramids - lower nature and higher nature of the self. We had a whirlwind tour for 3 days in Japan and left for Sydney. On arrival we stayed with my brother Don. Don had become a kumite [member] recently with his girl friend Sue. He gave some Light to my arm and I felt it. He also showed me experiments with lemons irradiated and not, and the irradiated lemon looked fresh while the control looked mouldy. He mentioned God and some dogma. It all seemed fascinating and I determined to check it out myself as soon as we got back to Canberra.

My family had always been a bit wary of my older brother Don, who was at the time alcoholic - no doubt he thought Mahikari might help solve his desperate drink problems (it never did, and perhaps delayed his early attempts to dry out because the easy Mahikari solution of "just give Light" stopped him making any personal effort of a practical nature), He dropped out of Mahikari after a few years, and then by huge personal effort got himself off the grog with the help of St John of God and AA.

On return to Canberra, I was desperately unhappy, back away from close friends in UK and in a totally unsuitable job that I hated. I walked out of work one day in a large office block in Dickson and passed the Mahikari centre in Badham Street on my way to the shops. I thought - why not I will try this I thought - up the stairs I was met by a cheerful lady who I immediately warmed to. She gave me Light and I noticed positive results, both physical and emotional.

I continued attending the Centre at lunchtimes, and after three months had slipped into the Light habit. The teachings seemed right wing and decidedly odd, but being a pragmatist I dwelt on the fact the Light was working and decided that the administration and teachings were an optional belief. I found their idea of intercession personally uncomfortable but the habit was setting in and the great mission to build Suza, the Main World Shrine, was on. Against a backdrop of the Cold War, the Mahikari message that we must save the world before it's too late was attractive.

Mahikari capitalised on widespread belief that Doomsday was around the corner and that it had a monopoly on the solution - a mass solution. Mass solutions were the answer for the post-war reconstruction period of the 50, 60 and 70's but were becoming outmoded as people looked for quality individualistic solutions. I hung my hat with Mahikari's solution to the problems of the world and my own unhappiness. Instead of looking carefully at my own situation to develop my own customised solutions to my problems, I put self-analysis on hold and accepted that my problems were a result of negative karma and that Mahikari had the answer. Regrettably it did not!

I was lucky; my wife did not like what she saw in Mahikari. She took an instant dislike to its Australian leader's manner (Tebecis). I found him a cold person but was prepared to take a broad view that he was there on God's work. In hindsight, one should always take heed of one's first impressions, those gut feelings and the views of those close to you. My wife held out against Mahikari and her being outside it was the one life raft I had to get myself off what I now see as a dead end.

My wife put up with Light-giving meetings at our house, my absences at Dojo [the Mahikari Centre], and endless condescending knowing looks by me and Mahikari members [kumite] that she was not in the know about the Mahikari view of the world and therefore on the bus to salvation. How arrogant kumite were to those outside, and how quickly they dropped members who no longer followed the faith or became hard to help.

I recall a roster to help a girl who became terminally ill. Her kumite mother misguidedly, in my view, spent more time at Dojo than with her dying daughter. Many Kumite had very fixed ideas and needed lives without change. No change meant no growth. Despite a system of 3 levels of Kenshus [training courses], Mahikari did not deliver any personal development. Secret advanced customised personal prayers in the Prayer Book were not actively taught to senior members. Teachings and study periods took the form of monologues by senior bureaucrats in the organisation exhorting the faithful to follow the leaders' rehashed dogma (much of it rehashed from Omotto and other religions/theologies).

The bureaucratic nature of Mahikari management was agony for Australians - not even a regional Dojo's sunshade and awning could be put up without approval from the Headquarters in Japan. The Japanese hierarchy did not sit easily on the local Australian kumite who privately thought the endless rules (that sometimes changed without explanation) around religious articles, prayers, and seniority was nonsense, and without real purpose except to maintain order and acceptance without question by the troops.

1983 rolled on. I got wound up doing 3 Primary Kenshus, Intermediate Kenshu, visiting Japan for the opening of Suza [the Main World Shrine] and attending Advanced Kenshu. I was hard-core Mahikari, doing announcing at Ceremonies, and exchanging Light three times a week. In January I visited friends in Tasmania. During the visit I stayed with my mate Tim in Deloraine. He had a friend whose finger was seized up after a severe burn a week or so earlier. I gave the finger Light while having a beer. I finished giving Light and went to get another ale, and a few minutes later the finger opened up and bled and then regained mobility. Naturally this apparent miracle deepened my belief that this Mahikari was the right stuff.

Perhaps the story about the renowned Sufi master who was cooking in the kitchen is relevant here. The Sufi master was cooking and there were no onions - hey presto, an onion appeared from nowhere - the disciples all fawned with amazement.

The Sufi master's comment was " Is God a greengrocer?". - Do not be confused about the meaning of apparent miracles - some things are just plain mysterious. In hindsight I think we should all consider whether or not a miracle cure necessarily means you have found the right stuff or the sole channel to source this energy.

I introduced my friend Robert, who worked with me, and so opened the door for his brother, who later became a Doshi [priest]. My friend got out of Mahikari once he moved away from Canberra. It also took me a move from Canberra to escape.

My wife was to observe that the folk in Mahikari were frequently desperate cases, and in many situations Mahikari was a staff for some people facing devastating personal circumstances. However, in some cases Mahikari's dogma of avoiding surgery and proven pragmatic and basic medical treatment denied these people dignified death or years of unnecessary pain. I recall one elderly lady who put off a hip replacement operation for several years, and suffered terrible immobility only to be released when at last she saw sense and had the operation.

Delayed visits to doctors, due to a grin-and-bear-it mentality, may well have also played a part in diseases not being tackled when they might have been cured. I recall one delightful chap who had stomach cancer going down in brave form. He lasted a long time, sliding to death. Mahikari belief was held firm by those cured by the Light, and there is some evidence that many were helped by Light. There was a desire for it to work by those involved that precluded balanced assessment. The problem was that once sucked into Mahikari as the only solution, the judgement of those involved became slanted, and that became a risk to balanced perspectives regarding health. I think members, in the mistaken belief that they were getting closer to salvation, unnecessarily endured a lot of pain. I know for sure that endless kneeling while giving Light did not assist the long-term health of my knees!

One of my problems with Mahikari was that it was elitist while professing not to be. Early on I attended a monthly ceremony and a young eager Doshi [priest] stood up, encouraging us to go out and find suitable young seed people for the cause. I was frankly appalled at this target on youth and discussed the matter with my friend Robert; I was ready to drop Mahikari there and then (aah what a pity I did not!). He was conciliatory, feeling that this was the outburst of a keen person frustrated by the lack of growth of our group, which held the obvious solution to the world's ills. However, it said heaps about the lack of judgement by management that this person was allowed, with no redress, to profess what I considered were Hilter youth type recruitment views at the major organisation meeting.

Energy in the organisation was strong on spiritual aspects, and only the Japanese leader could permit events and activities. The reliance on one decision maker in the organisation made Mahikari's administration inflexible and very unfriendly. Garry Greenwood was the people manager and while he was second-in-charge, the organisation managed to maintain a human face. His defection, and that of others, was deemed spirit disturbance, a very convenient tag that closed the subject to discussion. Mahikari full time workers were always poor and kept reliant on the organisation. Like any work where you are housed and in limited pay, you have no choice if you doubt the company view. I found this aspect despicable as it robbed many good people their freedom. I could accept free people believing in Mahikari, but the tied slaves who worked for the organisation was another matter, and I never liked it.

In fact, what (in my view) was a forced move of one Doshi to New Zealand from Perth by the organisation, was the final straw that made me see sense. This Doshi was the local Perth Dojo chief, and he had just bought a house with family money, and had young kids in the local schools. Life was looking stable and solid for his family, and he had a great personal following from local members who liked him. So what does the organisation do when their hold on him was threatened? They forced him to move, sell his house at short notice - a fire sale - and tear up all his local ties. His loyalty to the organisation is assured providing they can move him around at the drop of a hat. I wonder if he will ever get out of the Mahikari net? I doubt it.

My Mahikari activities were a severe disruption to my family harmony. Weekends were eaten with Kenshus and monthly ceremonies. Altars and cult pendant washing gear curtailed spontaneous family life. My wife put up with it, but it soured our relationship. I made donations - I believe in making some charitable donation in life so I do not regret making donations regularly, but perhaps the funds might have done more good in a charity that actually does good works in the flesh.

I still think the Light energy is a great thing. However, Mahikari has no monopoly on Light. Several other, less rigid organisations, offer spiritual growth with intellectual understanding and safety. I would recommend anyone thinking of joining a spiritual organisation to think long and hard at how open the organisation is. Mahikari had annual general meetings put on at times when the general membership would find it very hard to attend. Accounts were not circulated to members. It was a closed society run by the top brass with a culture of secrecy.

Since my departure from Mahikari, I have found my self again and notice that things are changing for the better. It is as though my life was on hold while with Mahikari. God has allowed me to move on - God has given us reason and intuition - we should all use it well. I believe I just hit Mahikari at a vulnerable time in my life. It has been a long haul getting out of the shadow of Dojo.

Love and Light to all of you out there in cyber-space - trust in your own judgement.


Last Modified: Sept 2015