Most of the people who have seen me for the first time say that they have been stunned by my unexpected simplicity and straightforwardness. They say they were timid and nervous until they saw me, thinking that I would be hard to approach, that I would perhaps be surrounded by attendants, and that they could speak to me only after making most respectful salutations. It is a generally accepted idea, it is true, that such an individual as the founder or the head of a major religion exists in an exalted atmosphere; therefore, there are even some of my disciples who wish me to live and act in that way. But I have never liked such things, so I simply behave like the ordinary person I have always been.
Some may want to know why I don’t act like a living god, so I will describe my present state of mind. Perhaps it is partly due to my having been born an Edoko* that since my youngest days I have a strong aversion to any kind of falsehood. I believe that to put on airs or to create a false setting is a kind of pretense which is offensive to others. After all, to be natural and simple, to be just what we are, always makes the best impression.
Considering my circumstances, I might look more dignified if I stayed within the deepest part of the sanctuary like a living god and when I gave an interview assumed an air of importance. It goes against my nature to behave like that, however. Thus, the principle I always adhere to is this: Those who do not like my attitude and my ways of doing things can feel free to stop coming to see me, and those who do like it can continue to come. Observing the fact that our fellowship is expanding day after day, month after month, I am satisfied with knowing that the people who like my ways must be in the majority.
Let me tell you another thing here. I feel I am quite different from other spiritual leaders and have a strong aversion to imitating them or anyone else. This is the reason I don’t behave like a living god; I wish to give the impression that I am an ordinary human being. On this point, too, I am perhaps unconventional.
This character trait of mine has proved to be quite useful, for it is my insistence on being individual that has led me to Johrei, an unprecedented work of helping humanity. Not only that, as members know, God has opened the way through me for them to be able to channel His healing Light by their wearing the Sacred Focal Point, which is the Japanese character for Light written on a piece of paper. Also, I have taught that no matter what name He is called by, there is only one God, the Absolute Being, the Creator; I have constructed prototypes of paradise on earth; I have stressed the importance of the arts and have given a great deal of encouragement in that field; I have avoided making the Work appear too religious. When I enumerate the unconventional point, it can be seen that there are quite a number.
The other day, when a journalist from Fujin Koron, a major women’s magazine in Japan, came to see me, she remarked that she was very much surprised. Upon my asking why, she said that when she entered our temporary headquarters, she thought it strange that she did not feel any sense of “religiousness” in any part of our building.
As we advance the various spiritual projects we are planning in many areas, we are going to do things in most unconventional ways. I would like you to watch with great expectation.
May 13, 1950
Foundation of Paradise
* Edo was the name of Tokyo until the Meiji Restoration. An “Edoko” is a person who was born and bred in Tokyo. The characteristics of an Edoko are said to be unpretentiousness, outspokenness and impatience. Also, a true Edoko is a member of a family which has lived in Tokyo for generations.