We hope that these frequently asked questions, and our answers to them, will help you out.
1 My friend / family member is in Mahikari and I'm really worried about them.
What can I do? Can I get them out?
Firstly, we're really sorry to hear this, and we know all too well how worrying it is for you.
Unfortunately, there isn't really a great deal you can do. It's highly unlikely that they will
take on board anything you say, or any articles you show them which are critical of the group. You will be
dismissed as being "controlled by evil spirits", and that's that. No amount of discussion is going to
change their mind (unless they already have doubts).
Try not to worry too much. For all its failings and
deceptions, Mahikari is relatively innocuous as cults go. Members aren't
encouraged to break ties with family, or to live in special compounds,
or give up work, or to completely shun modern life. The other "rank and file" members
are generally lovely people who have a strong, genuine desire to help
others and the world.
Another reason not to worry too much is that the vast majority of members do leave, often within
a few years of joining. Some people do stick it out for much longer, but even then people do tend to leave, even if it
takes ten years or more.
The best thing you can do is be there for them. One day you may be able to support them
through leaving. This means staying in touch with them, being a good friend to them, and listening
without being critical when they want to talk about things at the Mahikari centre (Dojo).
Have fun times, go out, play games, go to the movies, do normal stuff with them. If they feel they can talk with
you, they may eventually come to you if they're having troubles or doubts, and at that time you may be
able to help them to leave.
Our only proviso in all this is if your friend has a serious health problem, such as cancer, a heart condition, or epilepsy,
and they stop having medical treatment for it. This can and does happen within Dojos, and can be life threatening. In this situation you
may need to be more forceful. Take your friend aside, preferably with another person to back you up, and explain that you are
really concerned for them and their health, that you love them and care about them, and that you wish they would go back to the recommended
modern medical treatment. Mahikari teaches that "all medicine is poison" so this can be a bit of an
uphill battle, but at least you will have tried your best.
Some resources for you to check out :
If you are within Australia, exit counsellor Raphael Aron of Cult Consulting in Melbourne,
has experience with Sukyo Mahikari.
2 I've been a kumite for a while now, but I'm less happy with
it all, have doubts, and want to leave. What should I do? How do I go about it?
First of all, congratulations! It's no mean feat to get to this point, and you can feel justifiably proud of yourself!
As to the practicalities, there are no set ways to go about it.
Keep in mind that you will lose nearly all your friends within the group instantly. If you have lent things to them
(books, DVDs, music, clothes etc) now is the time to gather your belongings back, and to return anything you've
borrowed from them. Finish off any projects or commitments you have with kumite.
Just do this in a low-key way, you don't want to tip your hand just yet.
When it comes to dealing with the Omitama, you may choose to:
- Return it to the Dojo in person, and talk with the Doshi
- Post it to the Dojo, along with an explanatory letter if you feel so inclined (but it's more than they deserve!)
- Have a family member or friend return it to the Dojo for you
- Put it in its box, and push it to the back of your closet (but most ex-kumite don't feel comfortable with having it in the house)
- Devise a ritual that is meaningful to you to mark the separation, and dispose of the Omitama as a part of the ritual
- Throw it into the rubbish bin
- Throw it into the ocean
- Bury it
We've even heard of someone who went to the Dojo one last time, went to the bathroom, and left her Omitama in the
toilet bowl — now that's making a strong statement!
Then clear your house of any Mahikari paraphernalia you still have
lying around. Tip it in the bin, take it to the rubbish tip, burn paper
materials, shred them, recycle them, whatever makes you feel better. If
you feel like contributing to better public awareness about Mahikari,
see if your local library, national library, or university library is
interested in your collection of material. Primary source material like
this is very valuable to researchers!
3 I'm too scared to leave. What will happen to me if I stop
wearing Omitama? I've heard some real horror stories!
We know and totally understand. The teachings have done their job,
and you're petrified. Without Omitama's protection, what will happen to
you? Will God destroy you? Will you die in a car accident?
Honestly, this is all rubbish. Keeping you scared is a part of
keeping you involved. If you're too scared to remove the Omitama from around
your neck, they've won.
The Omitama is just a rather cheap metal
pendant, with a scrap of paper inside. It has no mystical powers,
apart from the power to influence your emotions and actions as dictated
by the Mahikari teachings and staff. Not wearing it will free you. You
can even open your Omitama and have a look inside.
None of the thousands of members who have left Mahikari have been
struck by a bolt from God for taking it off. Sure, maybe some people had
an accident, or got sick, or had some other misfortune after leaving,
but these are things that commonly happen to people in the course of a normal
life, and not a punishment from God or the universe. It's just that
Mahikari seizes upon such occasional anecdotes with glee and blows them out of all
proportion, embroiders them to make them more dramatic and frightening,
and then publishes them in their journals as spurious illustrations of their
teachings and warnings.
4 My friend keeps asking me to come along to the
Dojo, and they keep offering to give me Light. I don't know what to do.
This can be a tricky situation, as you don't want to mislead your
friend into thinking you're a potential convert ... but you also want to
maintain your relationship with them in the hopes that you can help them
to leave the group in the future (see above).
The main thing to do in this situation is to remain friends with your
friend/relative, maintain your boundaries (of not attending the Mahikari
Centre or receiving Light), and be clear with your friend as well. Maybe
you can say something like "I like being around you, and I value you as
a friend, but I'm really not comfortable about the Mahikari stuff. I'd
really rather it if you didn't pressure me to receive Light or go to
If the recruitment attempts get too onerous, you may just need to let
go of the friendship. Let's face it, once people are sucked into
Mahikari, they often don't really "connect" very well with other people.
Don't feel too bad if things don't work out, and you need to maintain
more distance in the relationship, or break off contact altogether.
5 I left Mahikari a while ago, but still have nightmares now and
then. What can I do about this?
As a psychologist once told us, cults do an even bigger "number" on
your head than difficult mothers! They are past masters of creating
little "voices in your brain" that keep whispering things to you, even
years after having left the group.
Trust us, the nightmares do fade over time. If things are really
bothering you, it is definitely worth looking for a psychologist who has
experience with cult survivors, and having some sessions with them, even
if it's 10 years after you've left!
Writing about your feelings and experiences in a journal can be very
therapeutic as well, it's very valuable getting it all out of your head
and onto paper. Another thing you can try with nightmares is to write them
out in your journal, and then write in the ending you'd like to have to the
dream. This can help your subconscious 'rescript' your nightmares to end the
way you'd like them to! Very empowering :)
As you probably know, the Dojo will encourage one or two of your
closest friends (who are still kumite) to stay in touch with you, to
maintain some level of connection, in the hope that you will return one
day. You may find that, despite being good friends with these people,
the contact is just too distressing. In this situation, you may need to
break off all contact with kumite. You can explain the reasons to your
friends, if you like. While we're sure your kumite friends are genuine
about wanting to see you, they don't realise the psychological distress
that close contact with kumite causes.
6 I'm researching Mahikari, is it
possible for me to get a hold of some original primary source material?
The National Library of Australia has a good
collection of many of the Mahikari Australia-Oceania and Asia
Journals (1983 to 2002), as well as the books by Andris Tebecis, and
Winston Davis's book Dojo: magic and exorcism in modern Japan and
some other related texts. They also have a collection
of primary source material, including the Mahikari 'bible'
Goseigenshu and prayer book Norigotshu, Kenshu textbooks,
and other Mahikari publications, and some ephemera.
These books and publications are available to anyone, but you do have
to access them at the actual library in Canberra, in the Petherick Reading
Room at the National Library. It is not possible to request this material
from other libraries or to remove it from the Reading Room.