What Is the True Civilization?
I did prepare a text because my talk is to be recorded and also as reference for possible future articles, so I thought it better to have something well organized. But between writing the draft and coming here today, I began to think the speech may sound too boring if just read, so with just a brief peek at the text once in a while, I would like to speak what comes to mind.
My talk may probably be found to be very peculiar, because today I am going to refer to that which has not been discussed in great detail by others. Some may think there is no need for the guy from Atami to come here and mention these things, but I am going to talk about matters that till now others have not.
First I would like to begin with the progress of culture. Most think that culture nowadays is very advanced. It is said that we are living in an age of culture, but culture and civilization have been confused. The two are very different. Civilization and culture. What is called civilization is an ideal world with no hint of barbarism. This is what I mean by a civilized world. Culture, a world of culture is not that. Culture is an intermediate step between barbarism and civilization. Culture is the surface, a form in disguise. As we look out at the world’s people today, they seem to be enamored of the surface, of disguise, that a world of disguise is quite sufficient, and that as long as there is progress, a good world will be established. But the civilized world I am referring to differs from what contemporary people have in mind.(2)
So, to explain how my understanding of civilization differs from others, simply put, a true civilization is where human life is secure, a time when the security of human beings is guaranteed. It must be this way. But, as Mr. Suzuki has just described, with that such as the atomic bomb, biological warfare, and the last judgment, the world seems dangerous, terrifying. It is terrifying because it is an age where the security of human life is threatened. This is not civilization. Let’s call it just an age of disguise, of culture. Today we are living in a transitional period of moving from barbarism to civilization. What I would like to talk about now is not culture, but civilization, and what civilization really is.
What truly threatens security is sickness or disease and war. If just those two calamities were eliminated.... If we could just have an age of no war and an age of no disease…. If the security of human life could be completely guaranteed, we would have a truly civilized world. And, the time has arrived when humanity must proceed to such a civilization. Therefore, the reason for World Messianity’s motto, a world totally free of sickness, poverty, and conflict. Constructing a world completely without disease, poverty, and conflict—of course the biggest example of conflict being war. The cause of these three misfortunes is disease, sickness. When we say “disease,” we think of physical hurts and complaints, itchiness and such, but that is not all. There are two sides to disease, disease of the physical body and disease of the spirit, the mental. Just on the physical are tuberculosis and infectious diseases—for example everyone is worried about dysentery which is quite prevalent this year—but if issues like these cannot be solved, an ideal civilization will not be created.(3)
As circumstances are now, the problem of disease would probably not be solved after a hundred or even after a thousand years. And then, there is the issue of poverty. The cause of poverty is disease in the physical body. Just look at the reasons why an individual is impoverished. They will inevitably turn out to be sickness. Because of sickness, one gets sick, loses a job, and cannot work. With physical sickness, if one cannot work, then one loses a monthly salary, hit by two levels of suffering. This adversely affects not only the self, but one’s family, relatives, and acquaintances.
The cause of war is also sickness. By which I mean disease of the spirit. That is, mental disease. It is often said of those who manufacture war that they are mentally diseased. These mentally diseased are the instigators of conflict. History shows many such cases. Historical personages were and are called “heroes” or “champions.” These individuals called “great” were and are quite powerful. They are quite smart. But they suffer from a form of mental disease. So, both these conditions, mental disease and physical disease must be healed. Modern medical science, however, thinking it can heal physical disease, exerts great effort, but it does not heal mental disease. There is nothing other than religion that will heal mental disease. Well, that is the logic, but in any case, there arises the doubt as to whether modern medical science can heal either physical or mental diseases. What Mr. Suzuki has just mentioned in his talk, Johrei. It is Johrei that will heal both mental and physical conditions. Once these diseases have been healed, then for the first time will there be the basis for constructing the civilized world.(4)
So now, when I look at humanity, at the culture of this world, I say that it is not civilization at all. Rather the opposite, it is barbarism. It is an age in which we could say barbaric deeds, indeed the most barbaric deeds have been performed. It is most terrifying. The wars we have today are more terrifying than anything we ever saw in the so-called barbaric ages. For which we could say the following. The culture of today, or, if you want to call it civilization, is simply a surface phenomenon, and humanity has been taken in, bewitched, by the surface. And, humanity is deeply thankful for this surface culture. But the issue is its substance; the substance of our culture is barbaric. At the beginning I mentioned the words “half-civilized, half barbaric,” and these are most apt. The best analogy that could be made is to a seemingly beautiful woman in gorgeous clothes. She may look perfectly stunning, but take off the clothes and she is syphilitic and full of pus. That is what our present culture is like. Hence I say that World Messianity is not a religion. If religion had been able to solve these problems and conditions, they would already have been solved. The great founders of various religions, denominations, sects, philosophers, moralists—various kinds of such people have appeared in history. For the most part, we certainly have come a long way from roaming in the jungles naked with tattooed faces. We have resolved many problems since then. We have advanced. And, the world has become beautiful, cultured. That is good. But the fact that even though culture is so advanced, that we still cannot guarantee the security of human life means that those of religion, and such, have lacked the power to do so. They only had the power to bring humanity from barbarism to the level of culture. They do not have the power to take humanity further.(5)
Religions had the power to bring humanity to the level of culture but they do not have the power to take humanity to the level of civilization. In bringing the world to the level of culture, there have been many wonderful inventions and discoveries. These wonderful inventions are not used for good but for evil. As I mentioned in the beginning, the atom bomb is capable of totally destroying twenty million people in one moment. That is an evil purpose. But used for good, uranium about the size of a tip of a finger can power trains and automobiles for several days. There is no transport more fast and convenient than aircraft, but if used to drop bombs, the airplane can be a terrible machine. So, our material scientific culture has come to this point, but we still lack an essential element. We lack this element, and therefore our technology has the propensity to be used for evil. This is the bane of humanity.
The basis so that our technology can be used for good, this is the soul. The soul, if transformed from evil to good purposes, can be used to construct a wonderful world. This is what Jesus Christ meant by saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This is what Shakyamuni meant by saying that after the fall of Buddhism, the Bodhisattva Maitreya would appear and the world of five, six, seven, of Miroku, would be created. Shakyamuni said this world would come about in 567 millions years, but I believe Shakyamuni expressed time in this way to emphasize the numbers, five, six, and seven. If Shakyamuni had really meant to prophesy 567 million years in the future, he would have been crazy. A prophecy about so far in the future would have no value as prophecy, because we cannot imagine what the planet or what humanity will be like so far in the future.
The numbers, as my followers well understand, have a deep significance. It would really take too long to explain the essential points here, so I shall just give an abbreviated summary. What these these various great people from the past prophesied is, according to my way of thinking, the same as when Christ said that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Christ could have said that he would construct the kingdom of heaven on earth, but actually the world had not advanced to the level where such was possible.(6)
The progress of our culture had not come to the stage where a true world civilization could be constructed. This was unavoidable but also sufficient for the times. Nevertheless, this materialistically-based culture has developed and has come to be shared by practically the whole world. The words I speak here today can reach all corners of the globe. Our transportation system can take us to the United States overnight while we sleep. Viewed in this way, materialistically-based culture has, for the most part, brought about the conditions for a world civilization. The most essential element which is its basis, a soul, is lacking. For this materialistically-based culture to be used for good, humanity must be informed of this deficiency and humanity must put this soul into our present culture. I am continually writing in order to inform the world of this change in culture. And, at frequent intervals I let my followers read my writings.
About a half a year ago, I started working on the manuscript for a book to be called Creation of Civilization. I am writing this book to tell people that our culture is not a true civilization and to explain what a true civilization is in terms of all fields, such as medical science, politics, education, art. I am also writing about how the true civilization will function. The section I am writing on healing is almost complete, but I need to work on other sections. The manuscript should be finished this year. When finished, it will be translated into English and various methods used to try to take it to and have it read by as many persons as possible throughout the world, to universities, to those in academe, and other prominent people. Of course I will also send copies to all those who sit on the committees that decide the various Nobel prizes, but these people are the top authorities in their various fields of our materialistically-centered culture, so they may find it difficult to readily accept what I have to say. But, I am writing about what everyone, including prominent people, have been longing for, pursuing, so I am sure there will be those who read what I write, and say, “Yes, this is it!”(7)
For what I bring to humanity, I should receive ten or twenty Nobel prizes. When the volume Creation of Civilization is completed, it is a book I want the people of Japan as well as the whole world to read.
My work is to inform the world of the impending change. Also, there is Johrei. Johrei heals disease and sickness. Johrei heals not only the physical body, Johrei heals the spirit, the soul. The evil covering humanity’s soul is slowly eliminated. To make it easier to understand, what I mean by “evil” is the barbaric nature inside humanity. This barbarism cannot simply be taken away, removed by physical means. Because human beings cannot live without a soul, one way of expressing it is to say their way of thinking has to be changed. The evil “particles” in individuals have to be dissolved and the number of good “particles” increased. Thus everyone becomes good, everyone does good. Doing good becomes second nature.
Another point I often raise with my followers is the human propensity for doing bad things. Or, even if people do not want to do bad things per se, they feel foolish trying to do good things, that they will lose out in some way if they try to be honest. They spend their time trying to adhere to appearances, to do things cleverly. But this is the reverse of what behavior should be. In my younger days, I did not think so. I also tried to make my way through life as easily as possible, to be clever and shrewd. There was a time when I thought that was the smart thing to do. However, gradually, as I came to understand God through the vehicle of faith, I realized that my way of thinking was upside down, and I made it a practice to try to do something good, that no matter how much it may take, to try to do good. When I started to make it a practice to do good deeds, I found people became happy, people started to feel better, they become joyful, and I became concerned with whether they were satisfied or not. In that state, my own situation became very fortunate. So, even before one becomes aware of and regularly practices a life of dedicated faith, lots of good things come to those who come to this realization, only happiness comes to oneself. If I were to inform the people of the world just this lesson, its benefits are beyond telling. As I began to experience these lessons in real life, I truly began to truly understand….(8)
…. that God and demons really do exist, and at this point I was given various forms of spiritual trainings. Through the experiences of various miracles, I was graphically informed that I had an important mission. I therefore founded what could be called a religion, World Messianity, on which basis I am now conducting my activities.
But there is something else I would like to talk about today, and that is the last judgment as taught in Christianity, or, the world of the end of the law as spoken of by Shakyamuni. Various holy men and founders of religions have referred to this concept, but today I will confine myself to what Jesus and Shakyamuni had to say. The last judgment is often thought of as an event where a force or person will appear, not in hell, but here on earth to judge people. But such is not the last judgment. Those who have not followed my writings may find this hard to comprehend, but here I introduce the concept of the spiritual world. The world we can see and touch is the material world, our present world, but behind our present world is the spiritual world. Between the physical and the spiritual is the world of atmosphere. The atmosphere has been explained and accounted for by human beings but the spiritual world remains largely unknown. In the beginning of my talk I discussed the three steps in the progress of human beings from barbarism to culture and then to civilization. Those three steps are akin to our present, material world, the atmosphere, and the spiritual world. Our world has cycles of light and dark, becoming daylight, then night, not just in a twenty-four-hour cycle, but these cycles also exist in the space of a year, the winter being dark and the summer, bright. The rays from the sun are also strongest during summer and are weakest during winter. The seasons are also thus a cycle of light and dark. There are also cycles of ten years, and also of one hundred years. We can also see this rhythm in the historical cycles of periods of peace and of dark times.(9)
And, there are also periods of a thousand years and of ten thousand years. Until now, we have lived in a dark age, an age of darkness, but at present we are entering a period of brightness, an age of clearness. In Japanese, the written word for “civilization” contains the ideogram for “bright,” “brightness.” The Japanese word for “culture” includes the ideogram for “change” which means it is a form of disguise, so it shows it is not appropriate for this new age. As we enter the bright age, the present, dark culture has to be taken to account, to be put in order. I often speak of the world of night and the world of daylight, and the culture of night and the culture of daylight. There is much from the culture of night that will come to be unnecessary. When it becomes daylight, lampposts and other such fixtures are not needed. Thus, that from the age of night which is not needed will disappear.
Judgment will separate night from day. That which is not needed will either fall away, come to an end, or be destroyed. Elements of a bright civilization will be created in ever increasing numbers. As the spiritual world becomes brighter, it will affect human beings. Human beings consist largely of moisture, vapor, that corresponds to the atmosphere that is between the physical and the spiritual worlds. Of the three levels that comprise the human being, the spirit, which could also be called the soul, belongs to the spiritual world. As the spiritual world becomes brighter, the souls of these human beings who do not correspond to that brightness will have to come to do so. The clouds will be taken away. These cloudy parts of the human soul cannot be simply removed because one wishes it, they have to be purified naturally, the impure elements have to be transformed into clean parts. As the spiritual world brightens, the souls of impure individuals are cleansed. This cleansing takes the form of suffering. We explain the principles of disease and sickness in this way. This is how the place of disease and sickness in the human condition can be understood.
The role of the spirit in the human condition has been largely unknown. It has been ignored. Mr. Tokugawa just spoke of the soul, and the role, or function, of the soul is tremendous. Suppose yesterday I met someone I haven’t seen for over a year. But actually, because I hadn’t seen this person in over a year, just the day before yesterday, I had been thinking of him and wondering how he was doing. But when he actually appears the next day, I think to yourself, “Ah, his spirit came to visit me first”…. Just now, Mr. Tokugawa talked about how he was writing about a Mr. Matsunami and his thought actually went to Mr. Matsunami, entered his body, remained in his head, and thus Mr. Matsunami thought of Mr. Tokugawa.(10)
Thinking about meeting, people actually meet. In this case, what is called the spiritual cord acts as a conduit. The function of the spiritual cord very interestingly helps to explain the phenomenon of falling mutually in love. But I am not here to talk about love today.... After entering faith, we come to understand such phenomenon. So, a mutual falling in love is very good, but it also ends in tragedy. In order to understand such phenomenon, knowing about spiritual matters and the spiritual cord is the best way. This cannot be done simply. It is often said whenever something big, good or bad, happens in society, that there is a woman behind it…. In other words, that is how falling in love works. What we think of as tragedies and social ills now don’t seem to be so bad…. Well, let’s leave that topic there.
What matters most is the spirit. When the clouds on the spirit struggle to correspond to the brightness of the spiritual world, the result until now has been the cleansing action of sickness or disease, and what can be purified by sickness is good, but as the spiritual world becomes brighter, some individudals will not be able to withstand even the sickness and will die. When sickness comes in small amounts, it is good because it purifies the clouds, but when sickness hits with full force, the human body fails. That is what the last judgment is. The spiritual world will gradually become brighter and as it does, some will lose their lives in the purification. It will occur on a large scale. Because it will occur on a large scale, it is pitiful that such a large number will lose their lives, so people have to be told. It is God’s intention that as many as possible be informed and helped. I was ordered to do so by God, and thus, and I am here right now, working to warn as many people as possible. This work involves what Shakyamuni mentioned and what Christ meant when he prophesied that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, that a good world was coming. Christ and Shaykyamuni were prophets; I am the one who carries out that mission. God has commanded me to construct a heaven on earth free of disease, poverty, and conflict a world …. to build such a world.(11)
The construction of paradise on earth is a tremendous task, but it is not I who will actually do it. I do not have to overexert myself in any way. God is doing everything. All I have to do is put this new world into form. This is very easy. Easy but the responsibility is great. There is probably no one in history who has had such a great responsibility to bear. As I fulfill my responsibility, the prophecies of the great ones will come to fruition. What I say in this regard is that if Christ’s and Shakyamni’s prophecies had not had possibility of being realized, they would be liars, not seers. A lie is a falsehood. Since these great ones have no reason to lie, someone sometime has to realize these prophecies. I was chosen to be the person in charge of this undertaking. It is very painful for me to make such bold statements. It is very difficult to talk about such an awesome undertaking, so I haven’t spoken of it till now. But now, the transition from night to day is pressing, and as many as possible must be told so they may be saved. I talk about this subject before a large audience for the first time today.
In his talk, Mr. Suzuki mentioned the flood and Noah’s ark. The last judgment and what I am doing are much like the flood and Noah’s ark. Once there were brothers. These brothers were divinely possessed and received a message from God. The message was basically, “There will be a flood soon. The majority of humanity will be caught up in the flood, so try to save as many as possible.” The brothers proclaimed their message to all, everywhere, but only six persons believed them. So, together with the two brothers, there were only eight. Only eight individuals believed. They were told to make an ark. The ark was shaped so that during the flood creatures like wild beasts and snakes could not enter it as they sought refuge from the flood.(12)
To save themselves, the eight made the ark, boarded it and waited. There are theories that say it rained for forty days and others that say one hundred days, but in any case, it rained for many days…. The water level rose and became a flood. Only those on the ark were saved, but those in regular boats or those who had escaped to the tops of mountains, all those who ran to the tops of mountains were eaten by wild animals and reptiles. Only eight people were saved and the descendents of these eight are said to be the ancestors of the present Caucasian peoples. For the most part, this story is not wrong. In Japan as well, we have the story of Izanagi and Izanami. These two heavenly beings stood on the floating bridge of heaven and thrust a sword into the swirling waters and as they stirred the sword, islands and a nation were born. There is no mistake that this story is also about a flood. In Shinto, this is referred to as the work of the ebb tide and the work of the flood tide. The ebb tide dries the water out. So Izanami performs the work of drying out. The fact that islands and a nation were born shows that the flood waters were cast off, and what had been under water became visible…. Such is the way I understand it.
I think that is what it was like at the time of Noah’s flood. Now, with Christianity….there are descriptions in texts such as the book Revelation and other places. John performs baptism by water and Christ performs baptism of fire. John’s baptism of water was accomplished with the flood at the time of Noah. So, the coming baptism of fire will be tremendous and great.
There are many aspects and also significance to the baptism of fire, but as time is up, I will end my talk here.
Hibiya Public Hall, May 22, 1951.
translated by cynndd
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“Shin Bunmei to wa Nani ka” is the title given to the transcription of the speech that Meishu-sama delivered at the Hibiya Public Hall on May 22, 1951. The transcription, remaining unpublished while Meishu-sama was alive, did not appear in print until 1971, and even then only to a select audience. The one translation of “Shin Bunmei to wa Nani ka” that has been published is based on a slightly abridged original Japanese text that appeared in 1982 and is probably based on this 1971 text. Citation is given below for reference. “Shin Bunmei to wa Nani ka” would only become available to Okada’s followers and members of the general public on April 23, 1998, with the publication of Okada Mokichi Zenshū Kōwa-hen, Daiyonkan (Complete Works of Mokichi Okada, Transcribed Works, Volume 4). Meishu-sama had prepared a manuscript for the speech but set it aside and spoke extemporaneously. Later, after the speech was over, he published the manuscript he had prepared for the May 22, 1953, talk under the title “Chijōtengoku o Tsukuru” on the front page of Eikō, Issue 108, June 3, 1951 [on this site, Essays / 1951 / E26-104]. When first published in 1971, the text was divided into twelve parts. To facilitate ease of reading, these divisions are replicated in this translation.“Address by the Founder of Sekai Kyusei Kyo, Delivered at the Hibiya Public Hall, Tokyo,” True Health, 1987, page 179.