- Behaviour Control <
- Information Control
- Thought Control
- Emotional Control
1. Regulation of individual's physical reality
- Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with
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]
- What clothes, colours, hairstyles the person wears
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
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.
- What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
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."
'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
[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]
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
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.
- How much sleep the person is able to have
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.
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
"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]
- Financial dependence
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.
- Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations
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
[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,
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
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
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
"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)]