Towards a God-Centred Civilization
Sukyo Mahikari believes that a very effective way to improve the situation in society today is for people to unite together to establish a civilisation based on universal principles. In this vision, we anticipate that people will integrate a spiritual outlook with humankind’s material development and progress, whilst at the same time making spiritual values and faith in God the true focus in their lives.
To help achieve this goal of establishing a “yoko civilisation”, a well-balanced and harmonious civilisation that is bright and positive, like the Sun. Sukyo Mahikari promotes different activities including those described below.
As we enter the twenty-first century, the pollution of the Earth’s environment and the human body are becoming serious threats to the future of humankind. It is becoming increasingly evident that the agriculture of the future has to involve a respectful and harmonious interaction between human beings and nature.
Sukyo Mahikari promotes yoko gardening, a spiritual approach to organic gardening, farming and agriculture. One aim of yoko gardening is to remove poisonous toxins from the land and to revive the soil to a healthy condition so that crops filled with the vitality and spiritual energy of nature can be produced. The yoko farming method involves:
- Revitalisation of the land with True Light.
- Directing positive vibrations (gratitude) to nature, especially the plants, soil and the microorganisms living in it.
- The use of compost and organic methods that avoid the use of artificial agricultural chemicals.
Yoko gardening is practised by members throughout the world.
In general, the Western approach to health does not acknowledge a spiritual dimension. However, this attitude is gradually changing. By introducing more people to the principles that govern the universe, Sukyo Mahikari anticipates an era in which more people enjoy good health and well-being.
A Yoko Health Clinic, staffed by health professionals (doctors and nurses) who are Sukyo Mahikari members, opened in Takayama, Japan, in November 1989. Its purpose is to serve the local community (members and non-members). Those members who work in the medical profession are encouraged to continue their spiritual growth and to pray for their patients.
Throughout the world there are now many organisations and individuals who are striving to introduce a spiritual approach to healthcare. Sukyo Mahikari hopes to work with such organisations and individuals to help develop and promote a more holistic approach to health, one that takes into account the close interconnection between spirit, mind and body.
Nurturing Young People
Sukyo Mahikari advocates that young people be nurtured in such a way that they can realise that they, like everyone else, are children of God.
Sukyo Mahikari teaches that the condition of children depends much on their “upstream”, that is, their parents and teachers. Therefore, if children are to be encouraged to develop an understanding of their true nature and responsibilities as children of God, it is important for parents, as well as teachers, to also strive for their own spiritual growth. By elevating themselves spiritually, parents and teachers can, in a natural way, become people who radiate a positive and nurturing vibration that can help children to feel more secure, confident and joyful.
Through their awareness and practice of universal values, young people will be able to establish a heaven-like civilisation on Earth in the twenty-first century.
The development of science and technology has been one of the most impressive achievements in recent history. However, today it would seem that decisions regarding the use of science and technology are often made without any real understanding of how these decisions might affect people and the environment in the long term.
When Mr Kōtama Okada established the Mahikari organisation in 1959, he observed that there were only a few scientists who could relate to or understand the divine revelations he had received. Nevertheless, he persevered in his efforts to introduce Mahikari teachings to scientists and other experts. He often said that scientists and religious people should work together to identify universal principles that would explain different phenomena.
Many of the predictions made fifty years ago by Kōtama Okada concerning impasses that would be faced by society in the future have been confirmed. As a result of these deadlocks, their personal experiences and new research in physics and other fields of science, an increasing number of scientists now have a more open attitude to spiritual matters.
One objective of Sukyo Mahikari is to help broaden the discussion on how science and technology affect people, not only at the physical level but also at the spiritual level. In this way, Sukyo Mahikari hopes to help scientists and others in society to cultivate a more spiritual outlook.
In our time, wealth and economic power are coveted in most parts of the world. One consequence of this attitude is that many natural resources and life forms in nature are being ruthlessly exploited with little thought for future generations.
Today, economic considerations dominate most major decisions. With globalisation, it is difficult to escape the consequences of such decisions.
An appropriate way to solve economic problems would be for people to integrate spiritual and ethical values into economics. People need to consider future generations and choose a way of life that is more in balance with nature and that uses the earth’s resources in a sustainable way.
The multitude of material resources and the bountiful gifts of nature exist so that people can create a heavenly world on Earth. Mr Kōtama Okada explained that it is God’s will that material resources be shared fairly, according to need, and that human beings always express their innate nature as children of God by being generous.
Sukyo Mahikari encourages people to be appreciative of what they have and to use the resources of the earth with the realisation that many of them are finite. As part of this approach, members are encouraged to avoid waste and to use materials wisely.
Co-operation with other organisations
One aim of Sukyo Mahikari is to encourage dialogue between different religions and spiritual organisations as an effective way of transcending barriers between people.
In August 2000, Sukyo Mahikari was one of the co-sponsors of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the UN Headquarters in New York.
In May 2008, the organisation participated in the Third Forum of the “Global Network of Religions for Children” (GNRC), which took place in Hiroshima, Japan. Around five hundred participants, including religious leaders, representatives from UNICEF, UNESCO and other UN agencies, and a group of young people, took part. Various intercultural and interreligious activities were launched at this forum with the aim of promoting peace and mutual understanding.
Today, co-operation between religions and spiritual organisations is becoming more commonplace in many parts of the world and the desire for unity and peace is spreading. This is wonderful news for humankind.
There are many paths but only one truth, which is God. Mr. Kōtama Okada said that the world would become a better place if each person became one of the best practitioners of his or her own religion because, at their core, all religions are one.
Yoko Civilisation Research Institute
In order to create a better world for everyone, it is important to share wisdom and knowledge and to work towards common goals.
In 1973, Kōtama Okada set up the Yoko Civilisation Research Association with the desire to create an appropriate forum to share different ideas and to identify common values. This association preceded the Yoko Civilisation Research Institute, which Ms Keishu Okada inaugurated in 1985.
The Yoko Civilisation Research Institute promotes research and dialogue that may further the integration of spiritual values with contemporary science, medicine, agriculture, economics, education, politics and other fields of human endeavour.
To date, the Yoko Civilisation Research Institute has held four international conferences, the first three in Takayama, Japan. The first conference in 1986 had the theme “Creating the Future of Mankind”, the second in 1989, focussed on “What it means to be Human”, and the third in 1999 was on “Life and the Environment”.
In 2005, the fourth conference, “Science and Religions in the Age of Crisis”, was held on Awaji Island, Japan. More than thirty experts from Japan, Europe and the United States including physicists, scientists, ecologists and theologians discussed in depth the role of science and religion in relation to the multitude of crises facing by humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
In 1993, a European regional conference on the theme “Human Responsibilities: Approaching the Twenty-first Century” was held in Luxembourg, and in 2008 a Latin American regional conference on the theme “Life and the Environment” was held in São Paulo, Brazil.
Smaller-scale conferences, symposiums and seminars are also organised by the institute. For example, in 2010 a symposium, “Conventional and Organic Agriculture: Towards a New Agriculture”, was held in Takayama. In 1994, the European branch of the Yoko Civilisation Research Institute organised a seminar on the theme “Spiritual values: Hope for Humanity” in Assisi, Italy, in collaboration with representatives of the city and churches of Assisi.
Hikaru Memorial Museum
The Hikaru Memorial Museum (Museum of Light) is located on the outskirts of Takayama. It was officially inaugurated by Ms Keishu Okada in 1999.
In addition to commemorating the life and work of Mr Kōtama Okada, the museum’s World History Hall displays a collection of artefacts from the major ancient civilisations of the world (Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, the Indus Valley, China, Mesoamerica and the Andes). Many of the artefacts give an idea of how ancient civilisations manifested the desire to worship God. There is also a display of pottery from the ancient Jōmon era of Japan.
Another hall explores the geological history of the Hida Takayama region, where some of the oldest fossils and rock formations in Japan have been found. In addition, there are rotating exhibitions of Japanese art based on the museum’s permanent collection and visiting exhibitions.