Some friends of mine belong to a religious cult from Japan, and they believe that they can shine the light of God through their hands. It is very similar to what is called “Johrei.” In the view of HBS teachings, is such practice/belief heretical because it goes against the Lotus Sutra?
Yes, it is heretical because it goes against the fundamental principle of the universe – Cause and Effect. Even if you have some kind of supernatural power, you cannot save people using it, as you have not achieved Buddhahood and therefore do not have the understanding and awareness of the universe that Buddha has. Only the power of Odaimoku (the compassion of Buddha) can save people.
In that specific cult, you attend a two or three-week course to become a special member, and afterward, you get a license and a pendant. They say after completing the course, you’ll be able to emit a special light to save others, thanks to the power of the pendant. It sounds so attractive, doesn’t it? They say you can become a hero and immediately start saving people if you become a member! In reality, however, you cannot obtain such powers without practicing in accordance with Buddha’s teachings.
Of course, placing your hand on a hurting part of a person’s body in itself is meaningful. Since ancient times, it has been said that it can ease the pain, but it’s not related to that particular cult or their special “light.” The cult mentioned in the question, however, just picked up some teachings from Christianity, Buddhism, and Japanese Shinto and mixed them. They changed their fundamental teachings lots of times for their convenience in their history. In short, they are not even worthy of being called a religion.
Questioned by a non-HBS-member American man
Answered by Ryosetsu Ikemoto
Very articulate explanation