Happy Science, a 21st Century Religion or an ancient pagan religion?
When a religion increases its numbers to the millions we need to pay attention, especially if that religion is less than 30 years old.
Happy Science goes by several other names Kofuku-no-Kagaku, Institute for Research in Human Happiness (IRH). Its Headquarters are Utsonomiya City, Japan.
Officials of Happy Science say they have about 11-12 million members spread in over 90 countries.
Ryuho Okawa is called master, and is the author of the Science of happiness, Guideposts to Happiness, the starting point of happiness. He has published nearly 800 books, many of which have sold millions of copies. His books are sold in Barnes in Noble and online bookstores.
His topic is focused on a supreme being and the next world
An Existence of a Supreme Being
“That is why I dare say to you. There exists a world that surpasses humans and the world of humans. In Heaven, there exists a Sacred Being that transcends this world. The struggles and conflicts of this world will never cease if you forget about this existence” (Happy Science p.10)
1985 he published his first book Nichiren Shonin no reigenthen four collections of spiritual messages, from Kukai, Jesus Christ, Amaterasu-o-mikami, and Socrates.
June 1986 various high spirits advised him to retire from the company, and he made up his mind to devote his life to God’s truth. In the same year October he “established Kofuku no Kaeaku to help fulfill his divine mission to secure “salvation for all humankind.”
In 1987 the first theoretical book, “The Laws of the Sun” was published. ATrilogy which represents Happy Science’s core teachings. In August the second book of the Trilogy, “The Golden Laws” was published explaining of humankind’s history. In October “The Eternal Laws” – the final book of the Trilogy was published, on Happy Science’s perspective of space. Over 100 million books have been sold worldwide.
They write “in 2010, he published 52 books, setting the Guinness World Record for “most books written in one year by an individual.” In Japan, Master Okawa’s new books have landed on the bestselling list for 21 consecutive years. Happy Science is growing, with 12 million members in more than 90 countries. Master Okawa’s teachings of love and enlightenment are bringing the world together, and people of all backgrounds and faiths are studying together in joy, in harmony and with deep-found respect for each other. His latest book “The Nine Dimensions: Unveiling the Laws of Eternity”
Its two main publications are Happy Science Monthly, The Liberty.IRH Press publishes Ryuho Okawa’s books as well as periodical magazines (published in more than eight languages). The Liberty has articles on news commentaries and opinions in politics, economics, social issues, religions based on the teachings of Master Ryuho Okawa.
With more than 800 titles some are best sellers for 20 years in Japan. These include The Laws of the Sun, The Golden Laws and The Laws of Eternity known as “the law series.” Translated versions have been published in as many as 18 languages (Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish) and the readership overseas is rapidly expanding. IRH Press has also produced six feature-length films since 1994 with nationwide distribution and has been involved in producing television and radio programs on a regular basis, based on Okawa’s teachings. The trilogy of Happy Science: The Laws of the Sun, The Golden Laws and The Laws of Eternity have been made into movies.
Their income is generated through its publishing, membership, lectures, and seminar fees, along with donations.
The group’s considerably wealthy (In fiscal 1991 Okawa was one of Japan’s top one hundred taxpayers, with a tax payment of over 243 million yen (Daily Yomiuri, 2 May 1992, p. 2).)
New religions coming out of Japan seems to be a tradition, they mostly reject Christianity and are Shinto and more Buddhist. Happy Science claims it is Japan's biggest and most influential religion and has members in over 90 countries.
Shinto is Japan’s major indigenous religion, some say as old as Japan itself. Shinto, means "the way of the gods". Shinto has no organized body of teachings, no historical founder or moral code. Its teaches on worship of nature, ancestors, and a pantheon of kami, (deities) sacred spirits that personify aspects of the natural world. Spirits can represent both good and evil forces.
Japan is not a religious country. According to Johnstone (1993:323), 84% of the Japanese claim no personal religion. In census questionnaires, less than 15% reported any formal religious affiliation by 2000 (Lockard, Craig A. (2010). Societies, Networks, and Transitions Since 1450 (2nd Ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 7870)
According to the Agency's annual yearbook, 107 million persons identify themselves as Shinto, 89 million as Buddhist, 3 million as Christian, and 10 million follow "other" religions, including Tenrikyo, Seichounoie, Sekai Kyusei Kyo, and Perfect Liberty. There are an estimated 100,000 Muslims in Japan, of whom an estimated 10 percent are Japanese citizens. The Israeli Embassy estimates that there are approximately 2,000 Jews.” (www.unhcr.org 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom – Japan [Covers the period from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009]
Many of the other Japanese religions incorporate elements of various religions, syncretism.Thus in the tradition of the majority of Japanese religions Kofuku no Kagaku is eclectic, mostly centered in Buddhism. Yet they do incorporate the teachings of “all religious traditions.”
This religion is patriotic:
“As the Sun of God’s Truth gradually rises, a great light will glow from a corner of the earth. That very corner is the chosen land, Japan. Therefore, many people will hereafter see the Sun of God’s Truth rising in full radiance and grandeur with Japan as the focal point”(Okawa 1991a, pp. 9-10 cited in p. 363 The Transformation of a Recent Japanese New Religion Okawa Ryuho and Kofuku no Kagaku)
“We teach you how to be happy or how we can make others happy. We teach the method of creating happiness. That is the meaning of 'Happy Science'." (What's Happy Science)
They answerWhat is a Spiritual Message?
A spiritual message is the words of spirits that exist in the spiritual world. And cite that, “There have been many cases that some religious figures receive messages from God or spirits. These cases could be found throughout history. In the Bible, Jesus Christ said “The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work”(John:14-10 ). That in ancient time communicate with God or spirits. They understood the words from the spiritual world and told those words to other people verbally or in writing.
Okawa who has attained Great Enlightenment has the spiritual powers and his ability to summon any spiritual beings, different than others that wait for contact. This includes “spirits of the dead, angels, devils and gods at any time.”
This practiced in ancient times was paganism and sorcery and the occult according to Jesus and the Bible, Israel was forbidden to do what the other nations did.
They claim his spiritual messages prove the existence of the spiritual world. Which include influential figures such as Jesus Christ, Socrates, Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx, Edgar Cayce, Helen Keller, Friedrich von Hayek, Peter. F. Drucker, Steve Jobs, Confucius, Muhammad, Mahatma Gandhi and others.”
Okawa hears from nearly everyone. So the answer to this new religion is spirit contact. The Bible teaches there is only one Spirit we should be in contact with is God, the Holy Spirit and all other pursuits of contact is forbidden and dangerous. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 states “There shall not be found among you any one that” and names various practices to be warned of among them are, … that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter… or a consulter with familiar spirits, a necromancer...” (one who calls up the dead). Leviticus 19:31: “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” See Deut.29:29
The same God in the New Testament has not changed his mind on this. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1)
The founder: Ryuho Okawa is considered a living Buddha of the 21st century and a World Teacher of True Happiness. They claim “Master Okawa” teaches the Truth and the principles that bring people true happiness in the tradition of Shakyamuni Buddha, Jesus Christ, Confucius, and Moses.
His teachings incorporate all truths discovered by enlightened humans that have become shining beacons of light throughout human history. It is offered as a universal religion open to people of all religious backgrounds. Happy Science is called a global religion that teaches the global and universal Truth of El Cantare. The aim is to teach the truth about life, the world, and ourselves, the mission is to create harmony and prosperity for all people. In other words they have ALL answers.
Happy Science claims it is a religion that has the power to save all humankind through the worldwide dissemination of universal Truth from El Cantare, taught by Master Ryuho Okawa.
We read that “El Cantare is the Lord, Buddha and Savior. He is the supreme God of the terrestrial spirit group who has the highest authority over the planet Earth and is directly connected to the Primordial Buddha or Primordial God – the Creator of the whole universe… Lord El Cantare resides in the ninth dimension (Cosmic realm) of the Spirit World and is a leader among other highly evolved spirits, such as Jesus Christ, Moses, Confucius and others, who are known as Angels, Archangels, Tathagatas, and Bodhisattvas. Lord El Cantare is Lord of all people, transcending all races, borders and even this planet.”
So they are teaching polytheism there is gods over other gods. Then he cannot include Moses or Jesus or any Christian thinker because they all taught and believe there is only one God and all other gods are false.
Before an audience of over 40,000 at the July 15 1991 Birthday Festivalheld at Tokyo Dome. In his lecture titled “The Victory of Faith” he declared his spiritual name – El Cantare and his mission:
The one who stands before you is Okawa Ryuho, yet it is not Okawa Ryuho. The one who stands before you and speaks the eternal God’s Truth is El Cantare. It is I who possess the Highest authority on earth. It is I who have all authority from the beginning of the earth until the end. For I am not human, but am the Law itself.(Okawa 1994，pp. 16-17 source quoted: Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1995 22/3-4 The Transformation of a Recent Japanese New Religion Okawa Ryuho and Kofuku no Kagaku by Trevor Astley)
“He later beseeched all to have faith, leaving no one in any doubt as to his identity: Believe! Believe! Believe! Believe in me! Believe in the Eternal Buddha! (Okawa 1994 p. 41 ibid.)
Okawa isthe incarnation of El Cantare, the highest being" in the ninth dimension (the highest spiritual realm that
governs this planet). El Cantare is, according to Kofuku no Kagaku cosmology, the “supreme grand spirit of the terrestrial spirit group.” Part of El Cantare consciousness had previously incarnated on this earth as Sakyamuni Buddha and as Hermes.
We are told “the teachings of El Cantare go beyond the differences of all religions, all nations and all races.
Who is he?
I am the Being Who Expels Darkness
“For a long time, I have been watching allof you and the history of humankind from Heaven. I have constantly thought about how to create human history. Now I came to earth myself to teach the
Truth and to teach the ideal state of the world to all people.I truly feel from my heart that this is a very difficult task to accomplish. Our powers are still limited, but my teachings have now spread to over 80
countries. In every country, our members are very active in studying, spreading and practicing my teachings to serve and create an ideal nation in the future. These teachings have come down to this earth from a faraway world. These teachings are the light, the power, the direction that brings happiness to all beings in this world.
I am the Being who expels darkness. All people pursue happiness, but are suffering in their relationships with others. Many people are creating sadness and increasing the darkness in their hearts. This does not just pertain to the individual, but also to companies and governments as well.
These institutions and organs of society are pursuing happiness and making various efforts in this world. I truly pray that each person will develop their own unique character, enjoy success and achieve happiness(Issue 210 Master Ryuho Okawa)
There are number of points that come to mind reading this. Jesus was sent from heaven to earth, Okawa claims to come in the same manner. The claim that he expels darkness in the light of the Bible is a counterfeit.Okawa says his knowledge had been passed down to him from the God of the Earth, Lord Antonius. When one brings Moses and Jesus into their eclectic religion it becomes a problem.
El Cantare - Ryuho Okawa
Ryuho Okawa was born on July 7th 1956, in Tokushima, Japan. Graduated from the University of Tokyo, he studied finance at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His story is that On March 23rd 1981, he achieved Great Enlightenment, and awakened to the hidden part of his consciousness, El Cantare, whose mission is tobring happiness to all humanity. He established Happy Science in 1986 to convey what he says is the Truth.
He describes this Great Enlightenment: “In the warm afternoon spring sunshine… Suddenly, I sensed an invisible presence with me in the room, and almost simultaneously understood by intuition that whatever it was wished to communicate with me. I ran to get a pencil and some blank cards. My hands holding the pencil began to move as if it had a life of its own. On card after card it wrote the words “Good News,” “Good News.” …I realized then that I had just experienced a sort of religious awakening.”(From The Laws of the Sun Chapter 6)
On 23 March 1981 Okawa describes his “Buddha Enlightenment：
I was suddenly struck by the feeling that somebody was trying to speak to me. I hurried to get a card and a pencil. My hand, which held the pencil, started to move as if it had its own life, and wrote “Ii shirase，ii shirase” (good news, good news) on one card after another. When I asked who was speaking, my pencil
signed “Nikk6；it was [Nichiren Shonin’s disciple] Saint Nikko. (Niju Isseiki 1991, p. 65)
Communication from Nikko ceased a week later, when the first message from Nichiren himself was communicated: “Love others, nurture others, forgive others” (Okawa 1991a，p. 254). These
three ideas would later form the basis of Okawa’s teachings on love.
Clearly he was chosen to convey a message by spirits, having no standard except his Japanese background, what he is told by the spirits he believes and gives himself over to them.
The spirits began with automatic writing and then a month later spoke through Okawa. Their names were Kukai, Shinran, and Confucius to Jesus Christ, Moses, and Nostradamus (p.346 Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 22/3-4)
“One night in June, Okawa writes, the spirit of Takahashi Sninji the founder of the New Religion GLA, informed him of his vocation to found a new religion. At this news, Okawa continues, a friend from his hometown, Yoshikawa Saburorushed to Tokyo. Yoshikawa subsequently became one of Okawa’s most important followers and aides. From the following month the spirits, which had hitherto communicated via automatic writing, started to speak through Okawa. An impressive array of famous spirits spoke, from Kukai, Shinran, and Confucius to Jesus Christ, Moses, and Nostradamus.Yoshikawa Saburo and another friend Tomiyama Makoto
g (who acted as interviewer to the spirits)taped the proceedings. Later such recordings would be transcribed and reworked into publishable format.”
Happy Science claims that it transcends the barriers of race, nations, cultures and religions, and is a major force in uniting a world that is becoming increasingly fragmented, isolated and chaotic. They believe the teachings hold the key to resolving the escalating conflicts between major religions around the world. That its wisdom has universal appeal through the unity of his religious and spiritual philosophy attracting hundreds of millions of readers.
The El Cantare mission is “to reorganize the high spirits in heaven, while also integrating all the various religions on Earth to create a new world religion. He has a mission to gather all the people of the world into this new faith, to see the development of a new civilization, and so herald the advent of a new age for the world”happy-science.org/
The Golden Laws:
We read “Throughout history, spiritual beings have been present on Earth at crucial times in our history to further our spiritual development. Amongst these have been the Buddha, Krishna, and Confucius in the East, and Socrates, Jesus Christ, and Muhammad in the West. The Golden Laws “explores the secret history of humankind, explaining how Buddhas Plan has unfolded on Earth with the passage of time. Once we understand the true course of history past, present, and future we cannot help but become aware of the significance of our spiritual mission in the present age.”
This is one mans opinion on what is true. Similar to Bahai, Okawa has all the teachers working together as near equals to further the world’s spiritual development. He insists they all have common spiritual origin even though they have opposing views on God and man.
This religion synthesizes elements of numerous others making it an eclectic blend. Similarities can be seen in statements by Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
For example “Humans are born from a spiritual world, which is the real world. When we are born, we lodge inside our physical bodies which we live with throughout this material world. In this test, we are being challenged on how much of a spiritual perspective on life we can manage to grasp, as we live in this material world. (P. 7 Issue 211 Happy Science)
Using familiar names in other religions gives one clout and people are willing to listen who are into open spirituality and non traditional religion.
Okawa’s amalgamation of the more acceptable portions appeals to a market of those seeking enlightenment.
It appeals to our basic hopes and aspirations, our knowledge of discovery to improve ourselves. However, the mixing of contradictory teachers and their varied religious teachings reveals a neglect of understanding that there are fundamental differences that cannot be merged because one claims they hear from them in a spiritual dimension. These differences negate and are even hostile to one another and cannot be resolved by merging them into a cyclic system.
In this next part we will look at the specific teachings that are contrary to the Bible