A world where benevolent spirits regularly assist humanity, and where humans again can become angels and help others? Who wouldn’t like that? (Picture from the anime “The Laws of Eternity”, based on the book with the same name.)
I got my first two Happy Science books! (Although it was called Institute for Research in Human Happiness at the time the book was printed, it is the same organization, Kofuku-no-Kagaku.) I mentioned this briefly on Thursday. As I try to write a review of sorts, I will treat the two books together, as they are very similar. The Laws of the Sun is more focused on history and giving an overview, while The Laws of Eternity goes into more detail on the Spirit World, but they are both set in the same world. They are part of a trilogy, with The Golden Laws still missing from my collection. That one is supposed to go into recorded history in greater detail, chronicling the lives of Moses, Jesus, Gautama Buddha etc.
First let me mentally prepare the casual reader that these books can be read in two very different ways. You can take them as a description of our reality, or think of them as describing an alternate version of our world. If so, it is a world with far more depth: This planet alone exists in 10 dimensions, of which we live in only 3. Our biosphere is surrounded by that of the fourth dimension, which again is surrounded by the fifth and so on. The total population of humanoids in these spiritual realms exceeds the people on Earth by a factor of ten, so it is no wonder the spirits are constantly interfering in life on Earth.
If you have a hard time thinking of anything supernatural that you have seen or heard of from sane people, you are probably going to treat this as science fiction. But with Happy Science already having about 10 million members after a generation, there seems to be a good number of people who think otherwise. And I can certainly see why: It is a world I’d love to live in myself. Unlike some religions, it really has a happy attitude. Hell is considered a corner of the fourth dimension, and plays the role of a temporary purgatory rather than eternal damnation. The vast majority of spirits are benevolent, and many of them are quite powerful. The people in this world can easily have the same kind of experience that I have of not being alone and receive encouragement and advice from an invisible companion.
The Laws of the Sun also presents a world with a far longer history of human habitation, going back to the age of the dinosaurs, and mentioning several waves of immigration from other planets. And continents rise and sink several times per million years, unlike the leisurely pace we are used to. This is because the planet Earth has its own godlike consciousness and reacts violently to human crimes, such as killing Jesus. We got away easy last time, but the Atlanteans were not so lucky when they buried him alive with most of his family. Jesus, Buddha, Newton and several others are fairly regular visitors according to these books.
When I just present these things out of context, you probably get the distinct impression that you have to be an idiot to believe these books and Happy Science in general. While it is certainly not hard to imagine there being 10 million idiots in the world, or even in Japan, this would be a grave failure. The books have a completely different side that I will now go into. They are deeply pious and contain treasures of wisdom.
This is the thing that keeps me confused about the books and the organization in general, as I already said before. When it comes to human life, there are profound insights that are likely to help the average person improve their lot in this world (and the next, if any) greatly over time.
There is also a calm acceptance of human weakness and folly, quite different from the fire and brimstone anger found in some religious books. It is as if the author has no dark repressed wishes that comes out the back door in the form of flaming hate against this or that particular type of sinner. For people familiar with American religion, for instance, this difference is pretty dramatic. Sure, you can go to Hell, but it is for your own good. Not because God is angry, or even because you deserve it. In Hell you get to play out those dark fantasies that you secretly believed in, and see what they result in. Hopefully you sooner or later wake up to your true nature as a shining diamond, a child of the Creator, and everything will make sense.
Now the Christian reader may find this theology unbearably liberal, but instead of going on and on about the eternal damnation, the books go on and on about the glories of Heaven. Or the Heavens, rather, as these are the afore mentioned higher dimensions. And Okawa manages to make them seem really attractive, places you’d want to go even if it means spending your free time polishing your soul. Whereas most people probably at one time or another has questioned the fun of playing harps on a cloud or singing Hallelujah for an indeterminable length of time, any good-hearted people would probably feel right at home in one of the many heavens described here. Take pride in your work? Like to make others smile? Come to Heaven! We have limitless job opportunities for people like you, and you can continue to improve yourself over countless eons until you have godlike powers to bless others. Of course, you won’t be able to use those powers for selfish means, but blessing others is the true happiness anyway.
And this is the red thread that runs through the books (and also other books I have read excerpts from). It is a deep and real understanding of what happiness is, what love is, and how it corresponds to everyday life. According to Happy Science, the primary source of happiness is a love that gives. Receiving love is important to humans, and can make the difference between despair and joy. Receiving love is like getting water in the desert. But far greater is the love that gives: It is like a river itself, that flows in cascading waterfalls from the higher heavens through the lowers until it reaches us here on earth, and even Hell itself will become a Heaven if reached by love. A person who is full of giving love will belong to Heaven already in this life.
I agree without reservation with this. As does Jesus Christ, evidently, since he is quoted in one of the oldest books in the New Testament as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Jesus is, not by accident I think, also a favorite inspiration in Okawa’s books, despite his own Japanese background. Or perhaps because of it? I sometimes think that we have become immunized by the contemporary religion so that we don’t see the revolutionary message of Jesus, while a stranger may be astonished by it.
Apart from a theory of happiness, there is also one of the best definitions of love that I have seen so far (and I have written quite a few of those here over the years, as my own view has changed, generally becoming more cynical over the years.) To Okawa, love is the power that unites. It unites man and woman, parent and child, teacher and student, doctor and patient, coworkers, entire nations. Wherever we are pulled together into greater unity, the power of love is at work. As we ascend through the heavens, love intensifies, because we become more at one with each other. At the very top, after all, God is One, the Father of all. Therefore, the closer we come to The One, the closer we come to each other. Elementary, my dear Watson!
I hope you now see my dilemma. The clarity of this man’s practical spiritual wisdom is embedded in books that read like the manual of a science fiction roleplaying game. Which is it? Of course, some of the more blasphemous readers would say the same about the Bible. Woe unto you! Fire and brimstone… oh, wait…