Doctrines The teachings of Sukyo Mahikari combine 'Shinto' elements such as purity and belief in kami with Buddhist beliefs in karma (innen) and reincarnation, an emphasis on healing and faith in the divine mission of the leader, Okada, Yoshikazu (or Kotama) who died in 1974 and was succeeded by his adopted daughter Keishu-sama. Okada claimed to have received a directive from God Su which explained how the Divine Light of the creator can produce health, harmony, happiness and freedom from emotional pain and financial hardship. Mahikari beliefs focus on the efficacy of a spiritual healing ritual known as okiyome, in which divine light is transmitted from the palm of an initiate, who has received an empowering amulet (omitama), towards any part of the body of another person suffering from illness. This process of healing is understood to involve not just physical healing but also a a purification of the recipient's astral and spiritual bodies. In fact the whole world is 'poisoned' and needs purification by this method. The revelations of Okada, whose mission fulfils that begun by Moses and Jesus, are written down in a text called Goseigen (The Book of Sacred Words).

History Sukyo Mahikari (true light supra-religion) was founded in 1959 by Okada, Yoshikazu, a former soldier known to his disciples as Suku-inushi-sama (lord saviour). Mahikari derives most of its cosmology, values and rituals from another postwar new religion, Sekai Kyusei-kyo (The Religion of World Messianity), itself derived from the prewar Omoto-kyo sect. The movement in Japan has developed training centres (dojo), centres for the transmission of light (okiyome-cho) and home centres (han) adminsistered by a hierarchy of presidents, ministers and leaders. The movement has successfully spread abroad and now has a substantial following in Europe, Asia, North America, Brazil, Mexico and central Africa.

Symbols Apart from the divine pendant (omitama) worn during practice, three symbolic objects are found in every Mahikari centre: the goshintai or sacred scroll with the word Mahikari inscrbed, a chon or comma-shaped symbol of the God Su from which the divine light is thought to emanate, and a statue of the god Izunome-sama who represents the materialisation of spiritual energy and is thanked for material benefits.

Adherents Mahikari was estimated to have 350,000 - 400,000 members worldwide in 1992. (Source: B McVeigh 'The Vitalistic Conception of Salvation as Expressed in Sukyo Mahikari' Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 19:1 (1992).

Main Centre
 Takayama City, Japan