SEICHO-NO-IE (HOUSE OF GROWTH) (Religious Movement)

Founder: Taniguchi Masaharu (b. 1893; d. 1985)

Seicho-no-Ie was founded in Tokyo in 1930 by Taniguchi Masaharu, a graduate of Waseda College Tokyo and former member of Omoto. He was also an avid reader of both Eastern and Western philosophy and alternative ideas on health and personal growth. Along with Omoto New Thought ideas proved to be particularly influential in shaping Taniguchi’s thinking.

Like many other New Religious Movements (NRMs) Seicho-no-Ie is non-denominational in accordance with its belief that all religions emanate from one universal God and that human beings are children of that God and, therefore, divine in nature. However, human beings need to be made aware of their divinity and of the divine attributes, which they possess.

Seicho-no-Ie also teaches that evil, suffering and difficulties in life are illusory and can be overcome through self-reflection. Through the power of the mind and the substitution of positive for negative thoughts people can transform their spiritual condition.

Though it teaches about the power of thought to heal in both a psychological and physical sense Seicho-no-Ie also advises members to visit their doctor when necessary.

The movement is concerned to spread the message that everything in life is a manifestation of God and, therefore, good in principle. The following constitute the core tenets of Seicho-no-Ie:

1. one truth, one God, one religion;

2. human beings are children of God;

3. perfect harmony in the universe is made possible by the reconciliation of all things;

4. and there is an obligation to show gratitude to everyone and for everything.

Gratitude to parents both living and dead receives particular emphasis. Our ancestors are described as our roots, the trunk of the tree represents our parents, the branches present day fathers and mothers and the leaves or fruits or flowers today’s children.

Seicho-no-Ie’s main scripture is the Sutra known as the Nectarean Shower of Holy Doctrine which the founder received from God while in meditation in 1931. The founder also was deeply interested in Christianity and wrote commentaries on St John’s Gospel, which his followers study with great interest. He also developed the notion of the Eternal Christ a statue of whom can be found in Seicho-no-Ie places of worship. Apart from the founder’s birthday there are no religious festivals.

A form of meditation known as shinsokan or meditation to visualize God aids self-reflection and spiritual advancement. While meditating an invocation is recited which attributes all actions to God and a meditative thought which speaks of the six attributes of God is dwelt upon.

Often regarded as a philosophy of life rather than a religion, Seicho-no-Ie has an estimated 900,000 members in Japan. It has enjoyed little success outside Japan apart from Brazil where the membership is estimated to be around two million.

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