Church of World Messianity
The Church of World Messianity (世界救世教 Sekai Kyūsei Kyō in Japanese), abbreviated COWM, is a Japanese new religion founded in 1935 by Mokichi Okada. There are three pillars of the religion, of which the key concept is johrei, claimed to be a method of channeling divine light into the body of another for the purposes of healing. The Art of Nature which includes nature farming, and the Art of Beauty which includes practices such as Ikebana, a form of Japanese flower arranging, are the other formal practices. In 1926, Okada claimed to have received a divine revelation that empowered him to be a channel of God's Healing Light (johrei) to purify spiritual realm to remove the spiritual causes of illness, poverty, and strife from the world and inaugurate a new Messianic Age. He went on to teach Johrei to his followers allowing them also to achieve Messianity and spread the teachings across the world. Members are given permission to channel Johrei by wearing an O-Hikari pendant which contains a copy of one of Mokichi Okada's calligraphies. He is often referred to as "Meishu-Sama" (Lord of Light) by his followers.
Okada's teaching is represented by a number of his works, such as Foundation of Paradise and Johrei: Divine Light of Salvation, which has been edited and translated by the Society of Johrei, an offshoot of COWM.
The movement currently claims 800,000 followers, including many in Brazil. Shinji Shumeikai (神慈秀明会), also known as Shumei, also follows the teachings of Okada and is considered a descendant of the church by CFAR.
Japanese Brazilians are the largest concentration of Japanese and people of Japanese descent outside Japan. According to Hideaki Matsuoka, University of California, Berkeley, in a presentation at the Summer 2000 Asian Studies Conference Japan entitled "Messianity Makes the Person Useful: Describing Differences in a Japanese Religion in Brazil," Japanese new religions have propagated in Brazil since the 1930s and they now have at least a million non-Japanese Brazilian followers. Four major religions ranked by the number of followers are Seicho-no-Ie, Messianity, Mahikari and PL Kyodan.
- Matsuoka, Hideaki. University of California, Berkeley, "Messianity Makes the Person Useful: Describing Differences in a Japanese Religion in Brazil", presented at the Summer 2000 Asian Studies Conference Japan.
- Wilson, Andrew, ed. (1991). World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts (ISBN 0-89226-129-3). New York, NY: Paragon House Publishers. Contains over 4,000 scriptural passages from 268 sacred texts and 55 oral traditions gathered by Wilson, a follower of Sun Myung Moon. The material is organized under 145 themes common to the texts and traditions. This site contains the complete text of the printed book.
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