Seicho no Ie

magbahagi

SEICHŌ NO IE (生長 の 家)

SEIKO NO IE TIMELINE

1893  Taniguchi Masaharu was born.

1920  Taniguchi Masaharu married Emori Teruko.

1922  Taniguchi left Ōmoto after its suppression in 1921.

1923  Taniguchi’s only child Emiko was born shortly after the major earthquake in Tokyo.

1929-1933  Taniguchi received twenty nine divine revelations.

1930 (March)  The first issue of magazine Seichō no Ie was published. This is the official date of Seichō no Ie’s foundation.

1936  The Women’s Association was founded.

1945 (August)  The Pacific War and the nationalistic era ended, followed by a new constitution (1946) and a new law governing religious organisations (1951).

1948  The Youth and Young Adults Association was founded.

1954  A hierarchical structure of the branches was established.

1954  Headquarters were moved to a new location in central Tōkyō and the temple complex in Uji (near Kyoto) was opened.

1963  Taniguchi’s visit prompted proselytisation in Brazil.

1977  The temple complex in Nagasaki was completed.

1985  Taniguchi Masaharu died.

2002  The first fathers’ study groups were founded.

2006  The Sundial Movement was initiated.

2008 (October)  Taniguchi Seichō died

2009 (March)  Taniguchi Masanobu was inaugurated as third president.

2013  Headquartes were scheduled to move to Yamanashi prefecture.

FOUNDER / GROUP KASAYSAYAN

On November 22, 1893 Taniguchi Masaharu ( 谷口雅春 , originally written 谷口正治 ) was born in a hamlet in today’s city of Kōbe. Siya ay pinagtibay ng kanyang tiyahin na may pinansiyal na paraan ng pagpapadala sa kanya sa paaralan. Nagtapos siya mula sa Waseda High School bilang ang pinakamahusay na mag-aaral sa programang panitikan at naka-enrol sa Ingles Literature Department ng prestihiyosong Waseda University. Pagkatapos ng isang kapansin-pansing pag-ibig, kinailangan niyang ihinto ang kanyang pang-akademikong karera at kumuha ng iba't ibang mahihirap na pagbabayad ng trabaho. Nakipagkita siya sa isang sakit sa tiyan at, na naghahanap ng lunas, ay naging interesado sa tradisyonal at espirituwal na pagpapagaling pati na sa hipnotismo at iba pang mga espirituwal na gawi na medyo naka-istilong sa panahong iyon (Maaaring matagpuan ang mga Biographies ni Taniguchi Seimei no jissō volume 19 at 20 at Ono 1995).

In September, 1919, he took up residence with the new religion Ōmoto near Kyoto where he helped edit Ōmoto’s magazine and newspaper and became an important member of the staff. In November, 1920, he married Emori Teruko ( 江守輝子 , 1896-1988). Taniguchi left Ōmoto in 1922 because he was disappointed with its failed prophecy of world renewal and had begun to doubt the existence of a judging and punitive creator god and also because of Ōmoto’s suppression by the nationalistic authorities the year before (Lins 1976:74-112).

The next few years were tumultuous. Because of his wife’s illness, Taniguchi tried various forms of faith healing. He assisted a former colleague from Ōmoto with editing a spiritualist magazine. He completed his first novel, pay for which he would have needed desperately, just before the 1923 earthquake entirely destroyed Tokyo. His only daughter, Emiko ( 恵美子), was born in autumn of 1923. His family moved to the Osaka area where at last he found work as a translator for an oil company in 1924. Because the job paid so well and he found it so suddenly, Taniguchi was convinced that it had materialized after he had pictured it during meditation.

Nagpatuloy si Taniguchi sa pagsulat at pagsasalin ng mga tekstong espiritista at Bagong Mga Pangkaisipang, nagse-save ng pera upang mag-publish ng kanyang sariling magazine sa kalaunan. Sa panahon at sa pamamagitan ng pagmumuni-muni nagsimula siyang marinig ang mga tinig, nagsusulat ng mga relihiyong tula at nakakagamot na mga sakit. Noong Disyembre 13, 1929, narinig ni Taniguchi ang isang malakas na tinig sa kanyang sarili na nagsasabi sa kanya na magbangon, huwag maghintay hanggang ang mga kondisyon ay tila tama, ngunit upang simulan ngayon dahil ang materyal na mundo ay hindi umiiral at siya ay bahagi ng banal na katotohanan at perpekto na ngayon . Taniguchi agad na kinuha ang kanyang panulat at nagsimula ang kanyang magasin Seichō no Ie , official publication of whose first issue in March, 1930 is now regarded as the date of foundation of the new religion Seichō no Ie. Between November, 1929 and September, 1933 Taniguchi received twenty nine divine revelations informing him about the nature of the divine and of human beings, thus laying the foundations of some of Seichō no Ie’s key practices and doctrines (Seichō no Ie Honbu 1980:246-78).

Sa mga sumusunod na taon, Seichō no Ie, na ang mga pangalan ay literal na nangangahulugang "House of Growth", unti-unti na binuo sa isang relihiyosong organisasyon na may mga sangay sa iba't ibang mga komunidad, suborganisasyon, isang sistema ng mga tagapagturo, at isang pagtaas ng bilang ng mga publikasyon at pampublikong lektura ni Taniguchi. Sa 1940, ang Seichō no Ie ay opisyal na itinatag bilang isang relihiyosong organisasyon, at sa 1952 ito ay nakarehistro bilang isang Relihiyosong Korporasyon ayon sa batas ng post-digmaan. Sa mga taon sa pagitan ng 1945 at 1983, Seich ō no Ie ay aktibong kasangkot sa konserbatibong pambansang pulitika, na sumusuporta sa iba pang mga isyu ng isang malakas na posisyon ng emperador. Si Taniguchi Masaharu ay namatay sa 1985 at pinalitan ng kanyang manugang na si Taniguchi Seichō. Itinalaga niya ang kanyang buhay sa pagpapahayag ng Seichō no Ie sa Japan at sa ibang bansa na nagbibigay ng mga lektura, pagsusulat ng mga libro at naglalakbay sa mga sangay sa ibang bansa Inatasan niya ang "kapayapaan ng mundo" bilang isang pangunahing isyu sa Seichō no Ie (Seichō no Ie online b) . Current head is Taniguchi Seichō’s son Taniguchi Masanobu who is currently shifting Seichō no Ie’s practical emphasis to environmental issues.

Ang Seichō no Ie ay nakikita ang sarili bilang "Humanity Enlightenment Movement," isang tema na unang ipinahayag noong Marso, 1930 at muling pinatibay at ipinagpatuloy ang kongkretong mga form mula noon. Ipinaliwanag ni Taniguchi na hindi na siya maaaring tahimik na mapanood ang paghihirap ng tao, ngunit tulad ng apoy ng isang kandila ay dapat na humantong sa sangkatauhan sa kaligtasan ( Seichō no Ie 1/1:3f.). The motto communicates that members should be conscious that humans are children of god, should live accordingly, feel grateful and responsible for their environment, bear Seichō no Ie’s mission in mind and, last but not least, spread the message to as many other people as possible (Taniguchi S. et al. 1979:73, 80-94).

In anticipation of the twenty first century, the “International Peace by Faith Movement” was added to the Human Enlightenment Movement as Seichō no Ie’s general guideline in 1993. It aims at enhancing Seichō no Ie’s international activities, arguing that information technology seemed to be making the world smaller. Consequently, internationally coordinated actions against environmental problems and local natural disasters had become increasingly desirable and possible (Taniguchi Masanobu 1993). Concrete measures towards world peace also include a prayer for world peace and imagining a peaceful world during meditation (the doctrinal explanation for this is given below.

Since 2000, Seichō no Ie’s publications and activities have shifted their focus to environmental protection and the sparing use of natural resources. Initially, this translated into popular campaigns of using one’s own (cotton) bags and plastic chopsticks rather than plastic bags and wooden one-way chopsticks. In a second step, meat-free communal meals were introduced, and members were assisted in equipping their homes with solar panels. In 2011, Seichō no Ie became a founding member of the Religious and Scholarly Eco-Initiative (e.g. Religious and Scholarly Eco-Initiative online ) (Personal na Komunikasyon, Marso, 2009 at Pebrero, 2013).

DOCTRINES / BELIEFS

Ang Seichō no Ie ay nabibilang sa tinatawag na Shimazono (1992: 74-75) na tinatawag na "intelektwal na uri ng pag-iisip" ng mga bagong relihiyon, samakatuwid nga, mga relihiyon founded by widely read, well-educated men with a logically written, abstract yet easy-to-understand doctrine. Taniguchi Masaharu had enjoyed literature and read widely on topics, including Freud, Western theology and philosophies as well as on traditional and scientific schools of medicine (all of which eventually contributed to the formation of Seichō no Ie’s doctrine).

Sinasaksihan ang isang ahas na sinusubukang tukuin ang isang palaka at napunit sa simpatiya para sa parehong gutom na ahas at ang palaka Taniguchi na natanto na ang isang mapagmahal at perpektong diyos ng manlilikha ay hindi maaaring lumikha ng isang hindi perpektong mundo kung saan ang ilang mga nilalang ay pinapatay ang iba para sa kanilang pamumuhay. Sa halip, nakabukas siya sa mas maraming pananaw sa mundo ng Budismo batay sa paniniwala sa di-pagkakaroon ng materyal na mga bagay kabilang ang mga katawan ng tao, at sa pagkakaroon ng kanilang True Image (実 相, jissō ) only. Seichō no Ie’s main object of worship is, thus, not a specific deity but absolute divine reality, the Great Universe itself, which is represented by the calligraphy of the word “ jissō "(= True Image). Ang mundo na nakikita natin ay hindi umiiral. Ito ay isang pagmuni-muni lamang ng Totoong Imahe nito tulad ng nakikita sa pamamagitan ng lente ng ating isip. Ang Totoong Imahe ay itinuro upang maging perpekto, maayos, maganda at kumpleto. Gayunpaman, dahil ang isip ng tao ay nadumhan sa pamamagitan ng mga bisyo o krimen, ang katotohanan ay maaari lamang mahulaan bilang di-sakdal, puno ng mga kalupitan at mga karamdaman.

Ang mga tao ay tinuturuan na maging mga anak ng pinakadakilang diyos na katulad sa Dakilang Sinaunang Universe. "Ang tao ay isang anak ng Diyos" (人間 · 神 の 子, Nangen, kami no ko ) is Seichô no Ie’s central creed. Human beings are, therefore, really perfect and harmonious but they are not usually able to perceive themselves that way. These doctrines, that humans are really perfect children of god and that this world only exists in our imagination, coupled with the New Thought philosophy that a positive perception positively affects this world, led Taniguchi to emphasise that by imagining positive things, humans can manipulate their perception of the world and thereby improve it. Imagining things strongly and sincerely enough, for instance that humans are perfect and powerful and illness does not exist, is, therefore, believed to make these things come true. Consequently, Seichō no Ie places great emphasis on a positive attitude towards life, the most important element of which is gratitude. Members are taught to feel grateful for every aspect of their lives, positive and negative alike. Numerous testimonials narrate how feelings of gratitude saved members from otherwise unbearable situations (Fieldwork Observations).

One essential element of a positive, grateful attitude is Seichō no Ie’s Neo-Confucianism-influenced emphasis on filial piety. Filial piety ought to be expressed in everyday tokens of respect for and compliance with one’s parents (and for female members particularly their in-laws) as well as in regular rituals of veneration of the deceased. Seichō no Ie’s doctrine also includes Christian elements, such as the belief in an absolute life-giving force, the Great Universe, of which humans are believed to be children. In his writings, Taniguchi frequently referred to the Bible, especially the power of the spoken word for the creation of the visible world as described in Moses 1,1 and John 1,1 (e.g. Taniguchi 1974 [1923]:303f.). Taniguchi explained that all religions have the same core and only differ in details and appearance due to local developments. Hence it was quite logical that his doctrine included elements from various traditions ( Seimei no jissō dami ng 6).

Seichō no Ie’s most important publication and key doctrinal text is Taniguchi Masaharu’s 40-volume Seimei no jissō 「生命 の 實 相,
na ibinigay sa Ingles bilang Katotohanan ng Buhay , na nakasulat sa 1932. Seimei no jissō ay ganap na isinalin sa Portuguese ( Isang Verdade da Vida ), but only partially into English and even less into other languages. Taniguchi’s second series of books is his eleven-volume Shinri (「真理」, Ang katotohanan ) na kung saan ay isang pagpapakilala sa doktrina expounded in Seimei no jissō at unang inilathala sa pagitan ng 1954 at 1958. Kanro no huu 「甘露 の 法 雨」, opisyal na isinalin sa Ingles bilang Nectarean Shower ng Holy Doctrines , is the most important of Seichō no Ie’s four holy sutras. It has been translated into several languages and has recently been published in Braille. Kanro no huu ay divinely ipinahayag sa Taniguchi Masaharu ng Bodhisattva Kannon sa Disyembre 1, 1930. Ang pagdadala, pagbasa o pagkopya ng sutra ay sinabi upang pukawin ang mga himala, tulad ng hindi inaasahang pagbawi mula sa mga sakit at proteksyon sa panahon ng mga aksidente.

Bukod sa mga pangunahing doktrinal na teksto na ito Taniguchi Masaharu, pati na rin ang kanyang mga kahalili at ang kanilang mga asawa, nag-publish ng hindi mabilang na mga libro at mga artikulo na nagpapaliwanag ng iba't ibang bahagi ng doktrina at kasanayan at ang kanilang pagsasakatuparan sa pang-araw-araw na buhay. Ang lahat ng mga aklat na ito ay ginagamit sa mga lektura, mga seminar at mga grupo ng pag-aaral, at maraming miyembro ang may sariling malaking koleksyon ng mga ito, sa gayon nag-aambag sa Seichō no Ie sa ekonomiya. Ang Seichō no Ie ay nag-i-publish ng isang buwanang pahayagan at tatlong magasin, na kung saan ay madalas na ipinapakita nang hayagan sa mga tindahan o istasyon upang akitin ang mga bagong mambabasa. Bukod pa rito, nagho-host ito ng isang network ng mga malalapit na kaugnay na mga website (Seichō no Ie online a; Kienle and Staemmler 2003), Taniguchi Masanobu’s private weblog (Taniguchi Masanobu online ), at humigit-kumulang tatlumpung minuto ng pagsasahimpapawid ng radyo nang maaga sa mga umaga ng Linggo sa iba't ibang mga istasyon ng radyo.

RITUALS

Seich ō no Ie m embers are encouraged to read passages of Taniguchi’s scriptures and sutras, practice meditation, and do something good every day. They are also strongly encouraged to tell others of Seichō no Ie’s doctrine and lead them to its way of life. Apart from this general ideal, however, Seichō no Ie offers a large number of private and communal rituals and activities in which members (and potential members) are encouraged to participate.

Based on the doctrines that the world exits the way we perceive it and that positive thoughts and words have creative power, Seichō no Ie emphasizes the necessity of transforming one’s attitude to be harmonious, grateful and cheerful. This is done by small everyday habits, such as using “ arigatō gozaimasu "(Salamat) bilang isang pagbati at pagpapahayag ng pasasalamat para sa mga pagpapalang natatanggap pa sa mga panalangin (Fieldwork Observations). Gayundin batay sa mga doktrinang ito ay ang "pagsasagawa ng pagtawa," kung saan ang mga miyembro ay nakikibahagi sa maligayang mga kaisipan hangga't sila ay tumatawa nang malakas, at ang sundial movement na pinasimulan sa 2006 kung saan ang mga miyembro ay hinihikayat na itala - sa isang talaarawan o online - isang masaya na sandali para sa araw-araw, halos tulad ng isang sundial lamang ang pagmamarka ng mga oras ng sikat ng araw (Taniguchi J. 2008 at Seichō no Ie online c).

Ang mahalagang mahalagang ritwal ay shinsōkan 神 想 観, isang anyo ng pagmumuni-muni (Taniguchi 1996 [1970]; Seimei no jissō dami 8; Taniguchi S. 1991; Staemmler 2009: 305-08). Shinsōkan ay tinukoy bilang isang relihiyosong pagsasanay kung saan ang walang hugis, nasa lahat ng pook at tunay na banal na katotohanan ( umakyat ) ay maaaring pag-iisip tungkol sa ( ) at nakikita ( maaari ) nang direkta at walang paggamit ng mga mata o ng utak. Shinsōkan ay itinuturing na isa sa mga pangunahing pamamaraan upang malaman ang katotohanan na kung ano ang mga taong nakikita bilang katotohanan ay hindi katotohanan sa lahat at ang mga tao ay mga anak ng diyos, perpekto dahil diyos ay perpekto, at may parehong supernatural kapangyarihan bilang diyos. Pagiging ganap na malaman ito sa pamamagitan ng shinsōkan ay sinabi na palayain ang banal supernatural kapangyarihan sa sinuman.

Shinsōkan may be performed either on one’s own or as a group exercise and ideally twice a day every day for about thirty minutes in bright rooms to further bright and happy thoughts. There are no restrictions on the age from which children may begin to practise shinsōkan , at walang mga regulasyon tungkol sa naaangkop na damit o oras ng araw. Shinsōkan ay nagsisimula sa isang maikling awit ng papuri sa lahat-ng-nagbabantaw na nagbibigay ng buhay na diyos na kung kanino ang pagkakaisa ay itatatag. Sinundan ito ng isang isang-kapat ng isang oras ng tahimik na pagmumuni-muni. Ang isang variant ng shinsōkan ay ang inori-ai shinsōkan sa panahon kung saan gumanap ang mga tao shinsōkan alang-alang sa iba, malungkot o masamang tao. Ito ay pinaniniwalaan na ang positibong kapaligiran na nilikha ng isang grupo ng mga taong gumaganap shinsōkan will contribute towards alleviating or eliminating the sufferer’s problems. Similarly, shinsōkan ay isinagawa bilang isang ritwal ng komunal para sa karagdagang kapayapaan sa mundo.

Seichō no Ie’s religious practice includes various ceremonies (private and communal, daily and annually) of reverence for ancestors which are quite common in the Japanese religious repertory. In Seichō no Ie their primary aim is not to ask for ancestors’ assistance or protection. Rather it is to express one’s gratitude towards one’s ancestors and to please them with a bright, grateful heart, positive words and the delightful smell of incense, which contributes towards one’s salvation. Most prominent is the annual ancestor ceremony in August at the main ancestral shrine in Uji. For this occasion paper strips bearing names, dates of birth and death of members’ ancestors are collected to be ritually read and finally burnt in a large purificatory fire (Fieldwork Observations). In 1977, rites for stillborn and aborted babies were separated from those for ancestors because of unborn babies’ distinct spiritual status. The suffering and respite felt by the souls of unborn babies finds its expression, it is thought, through disorderly siblings or other family problems and needs to be alleviated through special rituals as tokens of parental love and repentance ( Seichō no Ie Uji Bekkaku Honzan 1997: preface).

As in most other new religions, seasonal festivals of various scale and frequency may also be found in Seichō no Ie. Some ceremonies, such as annual celebrations in memory of Taniguchi’s revelations and monthly memorial days for Taniguchi, Taniguchi Seichō and Teruko (as well as larger annual festivals) are only or primarily performed in Nagasaki (see Shūkyō Hōjin Seichō no Ie Sōhonzan online b). Ang iba, gaya ng karangalan ng mga ninuno, at lalo na ang taunang Ancestral Memorial Festival noong Agosto, ay magaganap sa Uji (tingnan ang Seichō no Ie Uji Bekkaku Honzan online b). Ang iba pang mga kaganapan, tulad ng mga seremonya sa simula ng bawat buwan, ay ipinagdiriwang sa lahat ng mga pasilidad.

Ang Seichō no Ie ay nagpapatakbo ng maraming uri ng mga kaganapan sa pagsasanay. Bukod sa mga lokal, pribadong grupo ng pag-aaral ay may malalaking pampublikong mga pulong sa panayam ni Taniguchi Masanobu at kanyang asawa pati na rin ang "espirituwal na pagsasanay sa pagsasanay" (錬 成 会, reinseikai ). Renseikai take place on a regular basis and instruct new members (or refresh older members) in Seichō no Ie’s doctrine and key rituals. They last for three to ten days and include overnight stays and communal (and recently meat-free) meals. Lectures during renseikai ay binibigyan ng mga hinirang na lecturer at sinanay na may mga testimonial, pagganap ng iba't ibang mga ritwal pati na rin ang pagkanta ng komunidad at pagsamba sa umaga at gabi. Ang isa pang mahalagang elemento ay maliit, impormal na mga sesyon para sa talakayan at personal na palitan. Ang bilang ng mga kalahok ay mula sa tatlo o apat hanggang limampu o animnapu depende sa oras at lokasyon. Mayroong iba't ibang mga uri renseikai depende sa mga target group (tinedyer, kababaihan, nakaranasang miyembro at iba pa) at foci (tulad ng mga pangkalahatang pagpapakilala at pana-panahon). Ang mga lugar ay ang pangunahing at panrehiyong punong-himpilan pati na rin ang dalawa rensei ang mga sentro ng maginhawang matatagpuan sa loob ng madaling maabot ng Tokyo (Fieldwork Observations; Shūkyō Hōjin Seichō no Ie Sōhonzan online c).

ORGANISATION / LEADERSHIP

When Taniguchi Masaharu died in 1985 he was succeeded by his son-in-law Taniguchi Seichō ( 谷口清超 , 1919-2008, born as Arachi Kiyosuke 荒地清介 ), who had been the first head of Seichō no Ie’s youth assocciation. Simultaneously Taniguchi Seichō’s wife, Emiko, succeeeded her mother as president of the women’s association (both associations are described below). When Taniguchi Seichō’s health began to fail in 2005, his second son, Taniguchi Masanobu ( 谷口雅宣 , born 1951), gradually succeeded him and became officially inaugurated as Seichō no Ie’s third president on March 1, 2009, four months after his father’s death. Simultaneously, the presidency of the women’s organisation was passed from Taniguchi Emiko to Taniguchi Masanobu’s wife, Junko ( 谷口純子 , born 1952).

Ayon sa opisyal na website ng wikang Ingles, noong Disyembre, ang 2010 Seichō no Ie ay mayroong mga miyembro ng 651,119 sa loob at mga miyembro ng 1,032,108 sa labas ng Japan (Seichō no Ie online d). Ang Seichō no Ie ay, kaya hindi lamang isa sa mga pinakamalaking bagong relihiyon sa Japan, magkasama with Sōka Gakkai it is also the largest Japanese new religion outside of Japan. Missionary activities in Brazil began in the mid-1950s when members immigrating to Brazil transmitted their faith to fellow Japanese immigrants. After Taniguchi’s visit to Brazil in 1963, however, missionary efforts turned to non-Japanese as well. Recently, Seichō no Ie’s membership in Brazil (the Brazilian headquarters are Seichō no Ie’s missionary headquarters for all of Latin America) has been estimated at around half a million members, eighty to ninety per cent of whom have no Japanese ancestry ( Carpenter and Roof 1995; Maeyama 1992; Shimazono 1991 ). Although missions to Hawai’i and other parts of the United States began before the Pacific War, membership figures do not compare to those in Brazil and most members are of Japanese descent. There are Seichō no Ie branches in several European countries, such as Germany, France, Great Britain and Portugal. However, they have only a few members, many of whom are Japanese students or employees or of Brazilian origin (Clarke 2000:290-93).

Seichō no Ie’s International Headquarters is its doctrinal and administrative center. It is scheduled to move from central Tokyo into an “office in the forest,” that is, a zero energy building in the mountains of Yamanashi prefecture, in autumn of 2013 (Taniguchi M. at J. 2010 at Seichō no Ie online e). Ang pangunahing templo sa Nagasaki ay pangunahing nagsisilbing seremonyal na mga tungkulin at naglalaman ng pangunahing dambana na nakatuon sa Sumiyoshi Daijin, isang diyos ng Shintō na sinabi na "protektahan ang estado at linisin ang uniberso" (Shūkyō Hōjin Seichō no Ie Sōhonzan online d) . The third religious center is the Additional Main Temple in Uji, near Kyoto, which focuses on the veneration of members’ ancestors and the care for stillborn or aborted babies. Hence it includes the main ancestral shrine (Fieldwork Observations; and Seichō no Ie Uji Bekkaku Honzan online a) . Additionally, Seichō no Ie has 129 hierarchically structured regional and local branches in Japan ( Seich<o no Ie online d ). It runs its own publishing company, Nihon Kyōbunsha, and a young women’s boarding school ( Seichō no Ie Yōshin Joshi Gakuen), whose educational focus lies on Seichō no Ie’s scriptures, on housewifely skills such as childcare and nutrition, on artistic courses such as music and traditional Japanese arts, and on basic office skills ( Seichō no Ie Yōshin Joshi Gakuen online ).

A key function in Seichō no Ie’s internal, horizontal structure, however, is fulfilled by its three suborganisations, membership in one of which implies full membership in Seichō no Ie as opposed to mere reading membership. Headquarters of these organisations are in the International Headquarters in Tokyo, activities are conducted nationwide in local branches. All of these groups are official yet small and informal study groups. Members meet regularly to read current issues of monthly magazines or listen to lectures on Taniguchi’s doctrine, to exchange news and talk about current and often very private problems.

The largest of these suborganisations is Shirohatokai, the women’s association. It was founded in February, 1936 and derives its name (White Dove Association) from the fact that doves are associated with purity, friendliness and peace (attributes women, too, ought to have). Shirohatokai’s aim is to teach women how to make their families paradises and to establish enlightenment of love and peace (Seicho-no-Ie online f). Ang "Association of Brotherhood" (Sōaikai) ay inilaan para sa mga nasa edad na lalaki (Seicho-no-Ie online g) aiming to assist them in coping with problems of work, family and health. It also aims at spreading Taniguchi’s message into male-dominated areas of society. Parallel to the long-standing mothers’ study groups within Shirohatokai, the Sōaikai successfully took up recent social trends and in 2002 established fathers’ study groups to assist and instruct men in their parental duties (Personal Communication). The “ Youth and Young Adult Association” (Seinenkai), finally, was founded in 1948. It addresses young men and women between junior high school and their late thirties, that is, those in education and early working years. In addition to regular study groups, members may participate in special weekend courses or training seminars and, as in other new religions, in other (for instance environmental, fund-raising or, recently, disaster relief) activities on a local level (Seichō no Ie online h).

ISSUES / CHALLENGES

Seichō no Ie is more overtly patriotic than many new religions. The 1890, the Imperial Rescript on Education, whose importance for Japan’s nationalistic period is well documented (e.g. Antoni 1991:44-47), is included in Seichō no Ie members’ “indispensable” collection of texts (cf. subtitle of Taniguchi S. et al. 1979). In addition, a recent edition of the youth group’s magazine answers questions about the emperor, the national flag and anthem, with emphasis on nationalistic auto-stereotypes of Japan as a peace-loving country and its unique imperial lineage uninterrupted since times immemorial ( Risō sekai 2009 / 2: 12-16).

Seichō no Ie’s Confucian-influenced ideal female role is readily discernible in the policies of its girls’s school, countless testimonials and, above all, Taniguchi’s own writings (see e.g. Seimei no jissō volume 29; Taniguchi 1954-1958 volume 5). Rather than equality between men and women or superiority of men over women, Taniguchi teaches that men and women are fundamentally different and that women, like men, should strive to fully develop their innate potential. As Seichō no Ie regards the family, especially husband and wife, as society’s basic unit, peace and harmony (which are prerequisites for a peaceful, prosperous society), it encourages women to be loving housewives and caring mothers who “obey their husbands without hesitation” (Taniguchi Masaharu 1991:135) because husbands are head of the family endowed with fatherly, that is divine, wisdom (Taniguchi 1954-1958 I: 63-67).

As in many other new religions, testimonials describing people’s release from illness, misery or strife through belief in a new religion’s doctrine or the performance of its rituals are commonplace in Seichō no Ie. Frequently new, often female, members report their change of attitude from anger, disappointment and frustration towards gratitude, forgiveness, optimism and endurance (and in effect often to a large degree towards a denial of the member’s true needs) (Fieldwork Observations).

Parallel to these aspects which my own political and moderately feminstic point of view might induce me to regard as more problematic than others, however, it must be noted that Seichō no Ie has recently taken up environmental issues with more seriousness than most Japanese people and organisations. This is based on the founder’s doctrine to “be grateful for everything in the world” ( Passage from Taniguchi’s founding issue of Seichō no Ie quoted in Taniguchi M. and J. (2010:229) ) includes all natural phenomena and resources. Additionally, the current leader is convinced that religious practice is not only a matter of performing rituals but should reflect on one’s everyday behaviour and activities (Taniguchi Masanobu 2009: 290-94), that, secondly, changing circumstances required changes in religious practice, and that, thirdly, living in harmony means not only harmony with humans but also with nature.

Samakatuwid, ang Seichō no Ie ay isang kamangha-manghang halimbawa ng isang organisasyon na kumukuha sa iba't ibang tradisyon sa relihiyon at sabay na napaka-konserbatibo at napaka-progresibo. Habang ang pokus ng kapaligiran ay isang medyo bagong pag-unlad sa loob ng Seichō no Ie, ang pag-unlad nito sa loob ng susunod na dekada o kaya ay nakasalalay na manatiling kaakit-akit.

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May-akda:
Birgit Staemmler

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8 / 1 / 2013

 

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