(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Simply put, Johrei is a method of channeling divine light to an individual through the hands of a practitioner, and as such shares much with manyother forms of spiritual healing. However, the particular practice known as Johrei was initially propounded by Mokichi Okada (1882–1955), a Japanese businessman, art collector, mystic, and teacher. A former member of Omoto, one of the early Japanese new religions, Okada had a vision of the Buddhist bodhisattva Kannon (Kuan Yin) in 1925. She gave him the Divine Light (Johrei) and told him to step out as a prophet. Several years later he founded the Great Japan Association for the Veneration of the Bodhisattva Kannon. Divine healing was a major purpose of the association. The organization made several transformations over the next decades and eventually emerged as Sekai Kyuseikyo (the Church of World Messianity).

Okada called members to work for an accelerated coming of paradise on Earth through an outpouring of Divine Light. This outpouring will be accomplished primarily through the giving of Johrei by the members trained within the church and a parallel practice of shizen noho, a form of natural agriculture.

Johrei understands the human condition as one in which individuals accumulate impurities that lead to illness. Thus, as part of the regular worship services and at other times throughout the week, Johrei is shared to create purification. Those channeling the Johrei wear a symbol, called an ohikari, around their neck. It is considered to be a sacred focal point. As the healers begin healing, they hold the palm of their hand a few inches from the body of the person receiving the healing. They believe a ray of healing light moves from their palm, and they often experience this ray. The ray ultimately is traced to Okada, who is regarded as a bodhisattva, or enlightened one. The healing may be done in silence or accompanied with prayers and chanting. Besides healing physical conditions, Johrei is believed to remove bad karma, deal with stressful life situations, and bring spiritual purification.

Sekai Kyuseikyo began to expand beyond Japan in the 1950s, and the practice of Johrei was introduced to America in 1953. It generally operates in North America as the Church of World Messianity or the Johrei Fellowship. Centers may be found around the Pacific basin and in Europe.


Okada, Mokichi. Johrei: Divine Light of Salvation. Kyoto: Society of Johrei, 1984.
________. Teachings of Meishu-sama, Vols. I and II. Atami,Japan: Church of World Messianity, 1967–1968.
Spickard, J. V. “Spiritual Healing among Followers of a Japanese New Religion: Experience as a Factor in Religious Motivation.” Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 3:135–156, 1991.
The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena © 2008 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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