Mahikari Exposed

Behaviour Control in Mahikari

by Fiona
September 2001, last updated November 2005

  1. Introduction
  2. Behaviour Control <
  3. Information Control
  4. Thought Control
  5. Emotional Control

Behaviour Control

1. Regulation of individual's physical reality

  1. Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with
  2. Mahikari does not officially restrict where, how, or with whom members live. They do frown upon couples who 'live together' instead of being married, and I know of one instance where a woman was not allowed to attend the Primary Training Course until she and her long-time de-facto partner were legally married. There is a strong focus on traditional family values, so members are encouraged to stay within marriages.

    Many group members like to live near their local Dojo (Mahikari Centare), but this is not required.

    Teachings are given about who you associate with, and that it's better to be around 'high level' people of good character.

    "If you keep company with a stubborn person, you will end up becoming stubborn, won't you? If a husband is stubborn, his wife will become stubborn as well. It is terrifying. People are influenced in this way, due to their connections through spiritual cords.

    "Once you meet someone, you are both connected with spiritual cords. Of course, the number of spiritual cords connected depends on how close you become, but accordingly, spiritual energy from others will stream into you"

    [Extract from Teachings of Sukuinushisama, Wondrous Method of Going-Towards-God, given on 13 June 1993, MAAJ Volume 11, Number 7, July 1993, pg 10-11]

  3. What clothes, colours, hairstyles the person wears
  4. There is a preference for women to wear 'feminine' clothes, such as skirts and dresses, however, this is not strictly enforced for general members. Women Doshis (priests) had to wear skirts or dresses, have their blouses buttoned all the way up, and weren't to show their underarms, so they were not allowed to wear sleeveless tops. Their hair had to be cut short or tied back.

    There are no strict clothing colour preferences, or hairstyles, however black was seen as an inappropriate colour for women to wear. Men could wear black suits, but women were supposed to wear brighter colours. There are also teachings on how modern society is close to collapse when women start to look like men (wearing pants, suits), and men start to look like women (long hair, earrings etc).

    "Today is March 3rd, the day of Ohina Matsuri (In Japan generally known as the 'girl's festival' or 'doll festival'. However, in Divine Teachings it is one of the ancient node-day ceremony days, a celebration day for females). Females must display feminine characteristics even more and serve God even more."

    [Extract from Teachings of Oshienushisama, Foremost Duty of Children of God, given on 3 March 1987. Published in Mahikari Australia Journal, Volume 5, No 4, pg 3]

    All members have to make small pockets in their bras or singlets to hold their Omitama (Holy Pendant), which is worn all the time, unless bathing or swimming. Any female member who doesn't wear a bra needs to wear a singlet. These pockets must be made from new fabric, and sewn in vertically, so the Omitama isn't worn at an angle. The pockets are then held shut with safety pins once the Omitama is in place.

  5. What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
  6. Members are supposed to eat 'physiologically simple food' [Primary Kenshu Textbook, pg 30] and organically grown food as much as possible. Food colourings are to be avoided, as are other artificial food additives. Much of this is common sense, but many of these teachings are given further impact with members being told such things as if parents give their children brightly coloured candies, they're poisoning them and don't care for them.

    Frozen foods are said to freeze toxins in the body, so ice creams and other cold foods are frowned upon in summer.

    "Avoid cold things on summer days. This would be a problem afterwards when toxins become solid."

    "This means, 'Do not have cold things during summer.' Typical of cold things is iced [food], which is below freezing point. Also, overly consuming foodstuffs close to freezing point is not good for your body. It is of key importance to avoid food and drinks that use ice as an ingredient.

    "Cold things chill and harm internal organs beginning with the stomach, and they have the function to stop metabolism. What it means by [saying] cold things oppose metabolism is they disturb the function of the biological body to take in what is needed and to remove waste outside the body. That is to say, the function of old cells being replaced by new cells is disrupted.

    "If one consumes cold things, old cells will not be discharged out of the body but will begin to accumulate within the body. Then sooner or later this will even cause disease such as cancer. Cold things lead to such horrible phenomena to such an extent."

    [Extract from Teachings of Oshienushisama, Construct the Foundation for the 21st Holy Century, Heaven on Earth, given on 7 July 1988. Published in Mahikari Australia Journal, Volume 6, No 8, pg 3]

    Mahikari Ancestors' Altar

    A small, choice portion of every dish from the daily main meal is to be offered to the ancestors in their altar, if the member has one of these.

    Members are advised against using microwave ovens (although this is not an 'official' teaching) as they are said to destroy the spiritual aspect of the food thus making it not as nourishing. Microwaved food can not be offered to ancestors.

    Food offerings [Hosai] are made at Thanksgiving Ceremonies. After the Ceremony, the food is removed from the altar, and divided up for distribution amongst members and visitors. This Hosai food is said to be full of True Light and healing power. Many members would have a small jar of Hosai rice at home, for example, and put a few grains into the pot when they're cooking, to give Light to the whole meal. A Hosai egg would be used in a cake, and the cake given to family members and friends so that they would receive 'abundant Light'. Various stories abound through most Dojos on how a sick child couldn't eat anything, but recovered rapidly once they had some Hosai rice.

  7. How much sleep the person is able to have
  8. Sleep is not strictly limited within Mahikari , but much is made of Oshienushisama, who is said to only need 3 or 4 hours of sleep each night. Comments are made about how the more elevated and purified a person is, the less sleep they need. I feel that this is a subtle influence, encouraging people to make do with less sleep than they need, in trying to improve themselves within the group.

    "...just by practising Mahikari no waza and following a few Divine teachings it is possible to become totally healthy, that is, to be free of disease, illness or other disorders, not just to remove symptoms. It is possible to become free of undue tiredness. Apparently five hours of sleep a night is sufficient if people are purified enough."

    [Mahikari - Thank God for the answers at last, Dr A. K. Tebecis, 1982, pg 214]

    " 'I shall live in love for humankind in this way as God tells me to. I will change my heart to one of loving others. And no matter what happens, no matter how tired I become, or even if I cannot eat, it doesn't matter. I must save others.' I gave okiyome day after day with this kind of determination. As a result, it was I who received salvation. This is why I say to you, 'Copy me and enjoy removing your impurities.'"

    [Teachings of Sukuinushisama, Be a practitioner of raising the hand altruistically, given on 2 August 1995, MAAJ Vol 13 No 9 September 1995]

    Trainees at the Kunrenbu (Doshi Training School in Japan, pictured below) generally had only 6 hours of sleep a night - 11 pm to 5 am. Sometimes they would be woken in the middle of the night by a siren, don a backpack and run around the mountains as 'Convulsion Training" in case of emergencies.

    Kunrenbu Doshis would also often have to stay up late into the night to complete office work at Mahikari Centres, even working until 3 am, to rise again for a full day of work at 6 am.

    Members who do without sleep so that they can give Light to others are highly praised. For example, mothers who stay up for an extra hour or two to give Light to their children while they are asleep, and members who get up early to go out and distribute pamphlets.

    "In those days I began extending visits to the dojo every day as a practice. It would take me about 40 minutes to reach the dojo from my place by car. I would have to leave home early in the morning due to my work. Even though I considered quitting the practice many times due to the difficulties involved, I continued it, thinking, 'God is testing me now.' Then, feeling somewhat uneasy that I needed to purify myself before it was too late, I began visiting the dojo by reducing the length of time that I slept."

    [Extract from personal experience story, We are a family going towards God by TF, 7 November 1994. MAAJ Volume 13, Number 8, pg 16]

  9. Financial dependence
  10. Most members have jobs or are students. Staff of the organisation, however, have to live on a very minimal wage, which is tied to the value of the Japanese Yen. Junior staff have to survive with very limited means.

    Since it is such a privilege to be 'permitted to serve God full time', staff positions are not treated as proper paid employment. Their wages are minimal. Doshis [priests] who are trying to support a family have a difficult time trying to make ends meet. Other Doshis live at the Mahikari Centres, and have few belongings. The Centre Chiefs' travel expenses are paid for by donations by members, and they are given many gifts, free meals, free accommodation, and treated with great reverence.

  11. Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations
  12. This is not an official position, but there are so many group activities, that dedicated members find that they have little time for non-Mahikari activities. The group does not have social gatherings, but all activities are focussed on 'offering Divine Service', giving True Light, or studying teachings. Oshienushisama gave teachings on taking holidays, where she advised Japanese members to go to Itami if they wanted a seaside holiday, and to go to Takayama if they wanted a mountain holiday (both being places of important shrines). One member, when discussing her plans, was told "How can you contemplate going on holidays when the Baptism by Fire is so close?'

    There is an attitude within most Dojos that if you're a serious member, you would prefer to be at Dojo, offering service, and spending money on donations, rather than wasting your time and money on material possessions or entertainment. Most of the teachings end with exhortations for all members to make ceaseless efforts. This quote illustrates this typical attitude:

    "...I heartily urge you to make even more efforts without slackness in this path, and I cannot help praying for this."

    [Extract from Teachings of Sukuinushisama, The Mystery of 5 and the Serious Responsibilities of Yokoshi, The Origin of Creation (Birth, Growth) of all Creatures, given on 4 and 5 May 1987. Published in Mahikari Australia Journal, Volume 5, No 7, pg 9]

    "Speaking of devotion, it is important to accumulate a little higher devotion than your present capacity. If you make too much devotion beyond your capacity, you will be disjointed and destroyed. You must make a-little-beyond-your-capacity devotion obediently [Sunao]."

    [Goseigen [The Holy Words], The Most Important, English pg 227, Japanese pg 380]

2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals

The Primary Training Course takes up 3 full days, typically running from around 8 am til 6 pm. Candidates have a list of pre-requisites to fulfill. These have changed over the years, but they have included all or some of : reading Dr Tebecis' book Mahikari - Thank God for the answers at last, receiving Light at the Dojo at least 10 times, memorising the Amatsu Norigoto (Main World Prayer - this is a constant requirement), offering a donation (another constant requirement), attending a series of pre-Course training lectures, attending ceremonies, and an interview with a staff member.

Whenever a Training Course is held, existing members are encouraged to re attend, and to offer service in helping to run the Course. This can involve cooking meals for the Course Lecturer, erasing the board during the lectures, help with setting up, offering extra donations to cover costs, housing out-of-state members, and looking after candidates.

Each monthly schedule holds many activities. There is the Monthly Tuning-In Ceremony, which is held at the same time as the Monthly Thanksgiving Ceremony in Japan, and then the Dojo's own Monthly Thanksgiving Ceremony, usually held the Sunday afterwards. The Ceremony Day is a major event in the Dojo calendar, and can take up to half the day, as well as Dojo Cleaning the day before. There are also study classes, youth activities, and various sub-groups (mothers, farming, teachers etc).

Members are also invited to attend as many of the daily Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Dojo as they can. Spirit Realm Okiyome (giving Light, teachings, and food offerings to spirits at schools, accident sites, nature, as a group) is often run monthly, and typically runs very early on weekends.

The members are divided into groups, which are run by a Group Carer. These groups usually have monthly meetings, either on weekends or evenings, and they often run special activities themselves. The Group Carers will often have training themselves, and extra meetings.

The biggest time commitment is the daily exchanging of True Light that is strongly recommended for all members. A basic session takes 30 minutes, and a full session take nearly an hour. Parents are encouraged to give Light to all of their children every day. Devoted members would hope to find the time to exchange at least a basic session every day. Members are also supposed to give True Light to their house and surrounding area every day, offer morning and evening prayers, purify their groceries with at least 20 minutes of True Light, and do their best to give Light to others whenever possible. The catch-cry is to give Light anywhere and anytime, to anyone and anything.

Handling the Omitama every day also takes extra time. When a member wishes to have a shower, they need to wash their hands with purified soap, dry them on a purified towel, and then offer a short prayer, remove the Omitama, placing it in a special box. The procedure is repeated when they put it back on again. The Omitama also needs to be re-wrapped monthly, usually at the Dojo.

Members who have Mahikari holy objects at home have an even heavier load. 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. Members with a Goshintai (Holy Altar) have daily opening and closing ceremonies to perform at home, a monthly thanksgiving ceremony, elaborate cleaning rituals, and restrictions on the use of their house.

3. Need to ask permission for major decisions

This depends on who you are. Mahikari Doshis [priests] have to have Oshienushisama's permission to marry, and they are often subjected to an enforced year separation from their intended, with each Doshi serving in a different city.

Doshis needed to 'report upstream' and gain approval for most major life decisions, such as courtship, marriage, and leave. One Australian Doshi wanted to travel to see her husband, who worked in New Zealand at the time. She was only permitted to have a few days away with him if she ran some study classes in New Zealand Dojos. The same thing happened in Thailand - the Doshi had to perform an Ancestor's Altar inauguration while away on her brief honeymoon. Her time was not her own, even when on leave.

In the past, Mahikari staff had no reservations about giving advice and suggesting what to do in difficult situations. Nowadays, they won't often give direct advice, and they do encourage members to make their own decisions about things.

4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors

Members are encouraged to 'report upstream', which means to tell your spiritual leaders of anything significant in your life, problems, disturbing thoughts, upsetting events, challenges, and decisions.

Usually members will tell their Group Carer, who then contacts their Dojo Chief or Doshi and passes on this information. This is said to be following 'correct order', and supposedly allows God to arrange things smoothly in your life. Group Carers are also expected to report 'errant' behaviour to the staff, without the member's knowledge.

5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques - positive and negative).

Members who have done helpful or good things within the group are often thanked individually, not in front of the whole group. No-one is ever singled out, so the team of people who work very hard to produce the Mahikari Australia-Asia Journal each month are never named.

'Hidden good deeds' are the best. The more you are thanked in public, the less you will receive from God, so members generally submit to being unrecognised.

"The more self perceived and self motivated divine service (HOSHI) and hidden virtuous deeds one accumulates, the more reward he shall be given by God."

[Norigotoshu, Hoshi no Kokoro - Heart of Service , pg 170 (verse 110-6)]

6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails

Unity within the group is a major focus in Mahikari. At the Monthly Thanksgiving Ceremonies all hymns and prayers are chanted enthusiastically in unison. Some prayers are practised before the Ceremony, so the congregation will be better at it. The Mahikari Youth group practises united marching, chanting, and they have a special uniform.

"There are those who mix up Divine teachings with their own thoughts. If such people then force their mixed up thinking upon others, it will lead to confusion. This is a matter in which you should make discernment clearly."

[Teachings of Oshienushisama, Be a person who receives Divine teachings seriously, given on 7 July 1990. MAAJ Volume 8, No 8, August 1990, pg 5]

7. Rigid rules and regulations

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 a few 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.

  • 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.

    "If you forget or stop offering this Reisen Hoji Onrei [Spiritual Line Maintenance Donation], it means that you regard yourself as being more important than God, and your spiritual cord to Him will shrink and finally break."

    [Mahikari Primary Kenshu Reference Textbook, pg 86]

8. Need for obedience and dependency.

Being sunao [obedient to the Will of God] is a big focus in Mahikari. Members are encouraged to agree with tasks requested of them without thinking about it too much, and to be enthusiastic about offering service whole-heartedly. Examples of this abound in Mahikari literature.

"When one truly attains the spiritual awakening of SUNAO (sincere obedience to Su No Kami), he will be praised and loved by God as a man who has established the way of Tuning-oneself-in-with-God (Kamimuki)"

"Human wisdom can never lead anyone to the spiritual awakening of God's Arrangement. It can be mastered only when one becomes sincerely obedient to Su No Kami (SUNAO)"

[Norigotoshu, Sunao - Sincere Obedience to Su No Kami , pg 147 (verses 96-4, 96-5)]

Last Modified: 12 July 2011