oomoto english visitor's review reading "The Great Onisaburo Deguchi" contact

Ruth Reiner


12. Religion and it's message


When we think about this century, it is sometimes incomprehensible to measure how intense this century was in terms of development, destruction, communications and modern technology compared with at least the known history of human existence. But nevertheless, it seems like people always kept some kind of religion, and even with all the extreme developments today, it seems like it is an always increasing phenomena.

I’m telling you this because all these new religions springing up in the 20th century in such incredible numbers is an enigma for me. Of course the human race has also multiplied itself this century...

Well this item I would like to begin with introducing to you another new religion from China that is described in chapter 21, in the book “The Great Onisaburo Deguchi”. This new religion called Dao Yuan came into being in the spring of 1921. They built a Mother Temple in Jinan, and their world headquarters in Peking. It also had an organization, to deal with worldly activities, called The Red Swastika Society.

Well I just want to mention a small personal thing. It is sometimes quite strange to me how in Asia the swastika is a common symbol. Of course in the 1920’s the symbol was still clean of the second world connotations, and it is also important to point out that this symbol was used long ago already in this part of the world, especially in Buddhist context. But it seems like today, on this side of the world in contrast to other to the US or Europe, the Gnats meaning of it is forgotten.

For example, last week, I went to this “happening” in Kyoto with a Japanese friend of mine. It was a collection of Vanguard arts. All works were done by young Japanese artists most of them only in their early 20’s. Most of the audience were also quite young and some dressed up quite uniquely. And then there was this really gentle-looking Japanese girl, that had on a jacket, and on the upper part of her sleeves she sowed swastikas, resembling almost exactly... For a second there, I was shocked to see that. As I shared that with my friend we both agreed that girl must have had no idea!

Anyway sorry about the interruption, it is just that....anyway:

Onisaburo and members of the
World Red Swastika Association
“In Dao Yuan, divine messages are obtained by means of a kind of automatic writing called fu ji. One day a message came that a great earthquake would hit the capital of Japan and ordered them to go and offer assistance...The divine revelation also said that, ”In Japan there is a religious group similar to Dao Yuan. Search for this group and offer to cooperate with it.” (Ch 20)

Well in our context, it is not hard to predict what finally happened, as The Earthquake did occur and they came to offer their help, and:

“They looked near and far... They had made up their minds to go home and arrived at the port of Kobe, when someone in the party became aware of the existence of Oomoto through a newspaper article, one abusing Oomoto. They had a flash of inspiration... Putting off their departure, the party hurried to Oomoto and met Onisaburo and his wife Sumiko on November 3, 1923.” (Ch 20)

Onisaburo and the Dao Yuan representatives then signed an agreement linking the two groups together. At that time it was said that the Red Swastika Society had more than six million followers, and as Mr. Kyotaro Deguchi adds here, ”Oomoto... joined hands with a powerful new Chinese religious group, increasing the authorities’ headaches by one more.” (Ch 20)

Three years exactly after the outbreak of the first Oomoto persecution, Onisaburo left the country secretly, accompanied by a small number of attendants, and bound for Mongolia, prior to his departure he gave a speech to the Oomoto people (you may find it in Ch 21), I would just like to share with you a few notes:

“Oomoto is not like the established religions, which regard this world as an impure world to be abhorred, religions that only aspire to a future heaven or paradise... It is quite impossible to rule the people of the world with military or intellectual power. I believe that in the end, this can only be achieved by the power of a new religion free of old conventions, a religion that is essential to spiritual union...”

Onisaburo saw it crucial to develop a progressing relationship with Japans neighbors... and saw Manchuria as a great place to start “...a new religion free of convention...”

Then the book presents to us a beautiful description, which I will not bring it all now, but you can find it in chapter 20. It tells the story of a priest from Mongolia, who was sent by his master, the great chief priest of all Taoists in Manchuria at that time (we are told it had thirty million followers), to go and meet the“Saint of the East” who is now in Shenyang...”

Well I would have loved to write now that next week I will go with you and Onisaburo on this great journey to the magical scenery of Manchuria, but actually next week I’m already going on another voyage. I am going to give a speech in Tokyo, and when I return I am grounding myself for four weeks of intensive Japanese language studies, since I signed up to one of those “Intensive Courses”. So, I guess you can relax for a while, and when I return in late summer, I promise to start where we left off. So have a wonderful summer, and enjoy (not like me, that I am going to study, study, study....).

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