DO GODS AND BUDDHAS EXIST?
That I was able to discover this great method of medicine [Johrei], which was motivated by my having been able to know the real existence of spirits. In other words, the principle that physical illness is cured by treating the spirit, which we must regard as a suggestion of great importance for the coming civilization. Indeed, it is a big scientific revolution. That is because when this principle is applied also to every phase other than the treatment for illness, advancement of human welfare will be immeasurable. Furthermore, we can anticipate that if the study of this principle is driven forward, it will reach to as far as what religion really is.
The dispute as to whether God exists or not has yet to be settled for thousands of years, and it has been an age-old question all the time. Because people are generally tend to see everything only from a materialistic point of view, it is no wonder that they cannot recognize God, being a sprit, which is physically no different from nothing. However, based on the spiritual science which I advocate, even the real existence of God can be known; at the same time, various problems in the unknown world (which I also call the second world): the problem of the after life and restoration to life of human beings, the reality of spiritual world, the phenomena of possession by spirits, etc. will be solved as well.
I first need to explain the transition of my thoughts in the past. I had been an extreme materialist since my young days. To take some examples of how materialistic I was, I had never prayed to gods or buddhas until I was about forty. For I thought such a thing as the object of worship in a Shinto shrine was actually a mirror, a stone or a piece of paper on which some characters were written and they were put in a box-like miniature shrine made of cypress by carpenters or joiners; it was totally meaningless for people to worship such artificial things and there was nothing more stupid than these customs in the world. And as regards buddhas, I hold in the same way that people prayed the objects in the shape of Kannon, Amida, Shakyamuni or the like, which were painted on the paper or carved from wood, stone or metal by artisans; in addition, it was all the more meaningless because there was no real existence of Kannon, Amida, etc., which had to be, in a sense, what humans made up from their imagination and all of them were nothing but the worship of idols; such was my pet theory. In those days, I read a view of Rudolf Eucken, a famous German philosopher, and agreed entirely with him. According to his view, "Man has originally an instinct that he cannot be satisfied unless he has something to worship. For this reason, man makes some idol for himself, adorning and praying to it, he indulges in self-satisfaction. The evidence which supports my view is that the votive offerings on alters are set toward men, not toward gods."
Such was my thinking as described above, which extended to the view of nations. It seemed to me that countries like Italy, where there were a lot of old temples, were on the decline, while countries like America, where there were few temples, had developed very much; this fact showed that temples, shrines and the like were obstacles to the development of nations. However, in those days I made some contribution to the Salvation Army every month, so its minister sometimes came to me and recommended Christianity. He said to me, "Those who contribute to the Salvation Army are usually Christians, but you are not a Christians, so why do you contribute to us?" I answered, "You Salvation Army make released prisoners repent of their sins and convert evil people to good people. Therefore, without the Salvation Army, someone of released prisoners would have broken into my house. Yet, if the Salvation Army prevented the disaster for me, then is it very reasonable for me to thank them and help them with their activities in some way?" There were many other things like this, and in any case, I wanted to do good but did not believe in gods or buddhas; that was my frame of mind in those days. So you will understand how strongly I held the belief that we must not believe in invisible things.
In those days, I was very successful in business and on the crest of a wave, but owing to the disloyalty of my subordinate, I was a complete failure in my business, and in addition to that, I met with the death of my former wife, went bankrupt, had my properties seized several times, and so forth. Suffering that terrible fate, I fell into an abyss. This consequence led me to where most people had to go to ask for salvation. That was a religion. I could not help asking Shintoism or Buddhism for salvation as a usual pattern. As a result, however, I finally came to acquire the knowledge of spiritual sphere: about the reality of gods and buddhas, the existence of the spiritual world, the life after death and so forth, and reflecting what I had been before, I laughed myself off because of the silliness. This is how my view of life after that conversion made a radical change, and realized that man receives protection from gods and buddhas and that "Unless man knows the real existence of spirits, he would be no better than an empty person." I was also able to know that in teaching morality, "Without getting the listener to recognize the real existence of spirits, the teaching is no more than a useless sermon." In this sense, my readers, I hope your eyes will be opened to the spiritual phenomena which I will explain successively.
Tidings of Great Joy from Heaven, February 5, 1947 (the 22nd year of Showa)
This essay, or chapter rather, has previously appeared in translation twice. The citation is given below for reference.“Do God and Other Divine Beings Exist?” Foundation of Paradise, 1984, page 63.“Does God Exist?” A Hundred Teachings of Meishu-sama, no date, page 21.