Dreaming of “Happy Science”

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. This morning, just before I woke up, I had a lifelike dream where Happy Science in Norway held a congress on the south coast, so it was convenient for me to attend. It turned up that there were actually very few members who attended (though there may have been others who for various reasons could not). The national leader, a woman, was there though, and at least one other guy who was a member.

I apologize for the fact that if you google Happy Science Norway, my blog will come at the top of the list. I did not ask Google to do that! I guess I am just that popular. -_- There actually is a small division of Happy Science in Norway, or at least there was last summer. Unfortunately it seems to have gone underground again, if it still exists, I have not seen any mention of them since last fall. As I am not actually a member of the organization, I feel that it is not appropriate for me to give out any kind of contact information on the Web. For all I know, the Norwegian leader in real life may have left the organization or the nation or even the mortal world. Oh well, if Mr Okawa’s plans come to fruition, they will definitely be back, very much so, until the whole country is brightly lit with Buddha’s golden Light. But for now at least, my dreams are not the reality.

Back in my dream, the female boss turned out to be polite but very hard-nosed / businesslike. She spent a lot of time with me, reviewing the changes that the Truth had made in my life. There was quite a number of them, something that made her happy. She also inquired about my plans for the future, among other things how long I thought it would be before I was a millionaire. Even in the dream, that was a “what the heck” moment.

In real life, Happy Science in Japan has a reputation for being an upper class cult, with a disproportionate number of successful businessmen and even high-ranking politicians as members or closely aligned with it. Due to its financial freedom, the organization even participated in the country’s general election in competition with the two main parties, although in the end almost no one voted for them. They still have indirect influence though because the doctrine mostly appeal to the rich and the intellectual, whereas most other religions condemn prosperity to some degree and discourage people from thinking too deeply. Mr Okawa however feels that good people ought to be the richest and smartest, that way goodness will get the upper hand in society, so he encourages innovation and lifelong learning and seeking positions of power and responsibility.

Back in the dream, someone appeared with some papers regarding the congress, and the boss gave them to me to read through and sign, presumably because I was local to the area. Reluctantly I decided to sign them. Where was the other guy who I had assumed was the second-in-command? How had I ended up becoming Happy Science’s face toward the Norwegian public? 

And then I woke up, made a Google search and ended up asking myself the exact same thing.

A thoughtful silence?

I haven’t been writing much lately, but I have been thinking some, and observing myself as usual. I have been observing my dreams each morning. This morning I dreamed that I had moved to (or perhaps built) a house on the road to the farm where I grew up. The road goes through a stretch of wilderness with trees, bushes, shrubs and stones, where the nearest farms are at best distant lights. I remember when I was little, walking to school in the morning, during the dark season here in Norway, and I afraid of the dark. I would talk loudly or sing to hold at bay my fear of the dark and the things that might lurk there – wolves or giant animals, perhaps. This was a more innocent age, where the fear of children was not men. In any case, this was the stretch of road where I now dreamed that I had set up my home. While living there, I was approached by an angry fox, which I eventually befriended, and later a lynx, which I was still trying to befriend when the dream ended.

Not very useful information for future historians, perhaps. Who knows?

Part of the reason for holding my tongue is that I am, as usual, pondering the lessons I have learned from sect leader and acclaimed author Ryuho Okawa. He pretty much ticks of the check list for Antichrist: He tries to transcend and include existing religions, including Christianity. He claims to be the God who resurrected Jesus Christ, and even has temples built where he can claim to be a god. Not the Creator, mind you: He stresses the enormous distance between us and the Primordial God. El Cantare is simply the spiritual leader of this planet – in fact, the name can be translated as “god of the world”. That alone should make the neck hairs rise on a Christian. And yet, for all that, this man is the first I can think of that has so much understanding in common with myself. So what does that say about me?

I don’t know. I try to review my life as it goes on, watching my thoughts and feelings and actions. I am only at the beginning of everything I do. But if I keep the current course, if I live to a ripe old age, will I end up becoming more and more like that man? My conscience really does not allow me not to, with the notable exceptions of claiming to be a god and an extraterrestrial and so on. Let us hope that exception keeps up, at least. But the principles of love, wisdom, self-reflection and progress? Hard to disagree with those. Working toward a happiness that increases the happiness of other people, rather than taking away from it? That should be obvious to anyone. Love is something you give, not something you can claim? That is an eternal truth. Just because a scary person agrees with it and preaches it does not mean it won’t remain true forever.

In the end, I will have to simply continue becoming more and more myself. If that means I become more similar to controversial people, then I can do nothing about it.

But I am thinking that I need to build on the “iceberg that is under the surface” – the 80-90% that should be hidden from sight. I cannot just blurt out every spiritual truth that I discover. But if I don’t, then to some extent I don’t get much new either. Because some of what I write is probably not really meant for me in the first place, but for some poor chap at the other end of Google. It is my dubious task to say the words that must be spoken, before they are lost forever. And “for each useless word that a human speaks, he shall make account on judgement day”, as Jesus says. Between these twin demands live I, and I suppose anyone who thinks seriously about words. There really is no other meaningful way to relate to words. The normal is to just let them flow out, like a dog who pees on every bush along the road. There seems to be no end to the pee and the words that the dog and the human use to mark their territory. But past a certain level of consciousness this becomes no longer tolerable.

Today is St John’s Wake, an important festival in Norway, and one of the few that have survived the transition to a post-Christian society. I was invited to gather with the neighbors this evening. I have not really had the opportunity to meet most of them since I moved here. I wish it could continue that way – not because I have anything against them or even fear them, but because I doubt my ability to be of any benefit to them whatsoever. Even if I go, it will surely be a waste of all our time. But then again, so is befriending foxes in a place that never even existed. So here I go, may God have mercy on my soul.


I am home unharmed except for a cough. The whole event was very dignified, and I think I blended in pretty well after a little while. Two policemen showed up at the end, probably because of the bonfire. I am not sure open fire is legal at this point, as it is very dry. The bonfire is an essential part of the tradition though, so we had a small one. Nobody got arrested.

Review: “Tips to Find Happiness”

Suitable illustration picture from the animated movie “The Laws of Eternity”, also by Ryuho Okawa. Florence Nightingale points out that it’s up to us to become the force of love. This book applies this to the family, for those who have that.

I already finished reading through the book “Tips to Find Happiness” by Ryuho Okawa. It is fairly short, and quite a page turner, so it did not take me long to finish it.

Like several of his books, this one is mostly down to earth. There is no way to guess from the book itself that the author is worshiped as a living Buddha and divine savior of all mankind by thousands of Japanese. Sure, he does recommend his own books and recordings of his lectures to help drive away negative spiritual influences, but then again he hardly consider these “stray spirits” a worthy adversary: He compares them to roaches. Clean up your soul and keep it bright, and they won’t appear.

Most of the book consists of practical advice in different situations of life, with focus on the family. It is clear that Master Okawa favors traditional gender roles, which are still common in Japan. Here in Scandinavia a woman is just as likely to work outside the home if her husband is rich as if he is poor, whereas in Japan it seems to still be a bit of a shame to need your wife to work to pay the bills. In any case, workplace stress is seen as a common reason for disturbances in the family, and the home is seen as a place to unwind in a constructive manner. Parents are encouraged to spend time with their children, and spouses to be accepting of each other’s faults and rather work on their own.

There are also other themes, like how to live with elderly relatives, and how elderly relatives should live out their life. An intriguing advice (also found in another of his English books) is to assume a lifespan of 120 years. If you are called home before that, so be it, but it would be a shame to end up finishing your life while still alive and have to just sit down and die for lack of reason to live.

(Master Okawa does not mention this, but life expectancy in the developed world is still increasing with approximately 5 hours a day. Yes, despite getting fatter, we are still living longer. So it is not entirely impossible that Japanese in particular, already a long-lived people, may actually live to see 120. A few people already do. I guess it would suck to spend the last 40 of those just tossing and turning in bed! But most old people die quickly when they no longer have anything to live for. This may well be a mercy.)

Overall, the small book, based on questions from his readers, is an easy read and quite practical. It will appeal only to conservatives and preferably those at least a bit religious though. I cannot imagine a liberal feeling happy about reading this book.

There is some reincarnation stuff, about how the spirits of future children match up with their parents and such. This makes up only a small part of the book though, and Christian readers can safely ignore this. Of course, Christianity also includes some degree of reincarnation (of the spirit, not the soul) but it is a fringe part of the religion and most Christians barely even know about it. Most of the rest of the book should be familiar to the western reader though.

Happy Science’s christology

If only he had listened to Ryuho Okawa, this would not have happened.

OK, this is bound to have a VERY narrow reader base. But I just finished my re-read ofThe Laws of Eternity today so it is fresh in my mind.

On that note, I am pleased to find that re-reading the book after several months was a whole new experience. While I won’t exactly say that I had forgotten everything or even most of it, the details had faded into a vague background information, which actually made the book more interesting the second time around.

While the religious organization Happy Science (in Japanese Kofuku-no-Kagaku meaning “Science of Happiness”) has a lot in common with Christianity, it can not with any stretch of words be said to be a Christian sect. It combines Christianity and Buddhism, with some influence from other religions and philosophies, but it is mostly rooted in Buddhism, as can be expected since Shakyamuni Buddha and Ryuho Okawa are each supposed to be 1/5 of the religion’s main deity, El Cantare. Despite this, Jesus Christ is accorded a very high place by non-Christian standards. One gets the distinct impression that Christ and Okawa are best friends since at least when the dinosaurs were young, if not before.

That said, the christology – the teaching about Christ – is what most of all sets the new religion apart from Christianity. When it comes to ethics they are strikingly similar, and the religion’s teaching about the afterlife and much of the spirit world is fairly similar to mainstream Christianity. Admittedly the concept of Hell in Buddhism comes closer to the Catholic concept of Purgatory, not the Final Solution to the Sinner Problem that the Christian Hell is supposed to be. But the various Hells are vaguely similar to those of Dante, and the heavens are quite familiar. Jesus Christ is also fairly familiar – but in the end, there are a few differences that just cannot be reconciled.

Most notably, Jesus is not unique. In Happy Science, a large number of planets are inhabited, and each of them has various spheres of spirit world surrounding them. Jesus lives in the 9th dimension, also called the cosmic dimension, so he is presumably able to communicate with other 9-dimensional spirits around the galaxy. He was already familiar with El Cantare before Earth was settled, after all. But his special role as savior and source of love is for this planet only. Other planets have their own saviors as needed.

Furthermore, even on Earth there are 10 cosmic spirits in the 9th dimension, of which El Cantare is the leader. (No big surprise there, given who is writing the books.) It seems to be a fairly relaxed atmosphere among these saviors, except for some palpable tension between Enlil and El Cantare, but El Cantare is a bit more than “first among equals”. He still shares the same dimension as the rest of them though. It is strongly implied that Jesus is the second in command, so to speak, and actually said to be in charge of the heavens while El Cantare is partially incarnated in the 3-dimensional world. (One should bear in mind that 80% of El Cantare is still up there, though.)

As for Jesus being God’s son, that is not a big deal in a worldview where every living thing (and then some) is a child of God. The primordial God (or primordial Buddha, depending on the audience) is unimaginably far above the created universe, but still every person has a small core of divine nature. There is no need for Jesus to give people this divine nature, it was invested at the moment of creation, according to Happy Science. (They do not refer to the episode where Jesus tells the pharisees that the Kingdom of Heaven is inside them, a very strange claim giving that he spoke to people who violently rejected him. Some later readers have concluded that Jesus could not possibly mean that, and must have meant that the Kingdom was “among” them instead. But in the Buddhist worldview, Jesus’ words are trivially obvious.)

So while Jesus is still the incarnation of Love and still a Savior, he is certainly no longer God’s only begotten Son and he does not have all power in Heaven and on Earth. If you believe Happy Science and its leader Ryuho Okawa. Which means no Christian is ever going to believe him, at least in this regard.

As for the historic Jesus, this part is treated in The Golden Laws and is also a bit different, though not all that much. The virgin birth is written off as a mythunderstanding, while on the other hand Jesus was originally called Immanuel (as per the prophecy) and later changed name to Jesus (perhaps like Ryuho Okawa who originally was named Nakagawa Takashi, according to Wikipedia.) Most of the extra stuff is placed in the “hidden years” from Jesus was 12 till he was 30. Supposedly he spent some time in Egypt, possibly instead of his babyhood detour there. After all, it was prophesied that he would be called from Egypt, which makes somewhat more sense if he was old enough to realize his calling at the time. Supposedly he later went to India and studied spiritual concentration and miracles. He also studied the Persian religion of dualism. By the time he was 30, he had a very thorough education in several of the world religions. (Incidentally, 30 was also the age when Ryuho Okawa began his great mission to save humankind. By then Jesus had already spoken to him many times. But back when Jesus was incarnate, it was the other way around – it was El Cantare who was mentoring him, in his aspect as Hermes.)

Hermes was not too happy about the whole cross thing. He would have preferred that Jesus had been more diplomatic and lived a long life teaching people, like Shakyamuni Buddha did. Having only a few years to get his message across was bound to cause vagueness in the doctrine and a splintering of the religion over time. But Jesus was adamant. No compromise, even in face of Calvary. Never compromise. And it turned out fairly well: Despite some internecine war, Christianity has become a world religion and its vagueness has actually made it easier for it to adapt to changing times and different cultures.

According to the Golden Laws movie, Jesus actually did call for Elijah when he was about to die on the cross, as onlookers reported according to the Gospel. (The Bible gives four different interpretations of his last words, none of which include Elijah, though one sounds similar.) Angels then came and escorted his spirit back to Heaven. The Catholic belief that Jesus went straight to Hell is anyway somewhat poorly founded in Scripture. The verse that says that he went in spirit and preached to the spirits who were incarcerated seems to place his visit there after the resurrection and make it a somewhat less depressing event. I don’t have any revelation either way. In the movie, Hermes is credited with resurrecting Jesus, rather than the Creator acting directly. I am pretty sure this is a view only held by Happy Science.

There is supposedly a whole book which Okawa wrote down that Jesus dictated to him, but it is (probably wisely) not translated into English. I suspect more differences to mainstream Christianity would be found there, but what do I know. In any case, I think I have proven beyond doubt that there is some conflict of interest between Christianity and Happy Science, despite striking similarity in ethics and sanctification.

And while I truly admire Master Okawa and find his books and speeches deeply inspirational, I can’t help but think that the world today is better than it would have been if Jesus had written 500 books and gone into politics. (Your Jesus may vary.)

From Jennicam to Happy Science

“You never thought angels wore business suits,” says Edison in the anime “The Laws of Eternity”. Well, I am starting to see lots of angels around, even if some of them may be angels only for me.

Stephen Jay Gould is famous for his claim that if we could rewind evolution and run it again, we would end up with a completely different biosphere, and certainly not with anything resembling humans. I have to admit that my life looks a lot like that too. But strangely, both evolution and I somehow moved in the right direction, as if subtly influenced by some Great Attractor far beyond our sight. Today I will regale you with the tale of how I ended up with half a bookshelf full of Ryuho Okawa’s books. It is almost as unlikely as life itself!

I know exactly where my reality branched off from what should normally have happened. It was the day I bought, on a whim, an issue of the Norwegian magazine Komputer. It was a magazine for owners of home computers, and this was back when the World Wide Web was fairly new here in Norway. One of the fascinating sights on this new medium was Jennicam. Jenni was a young American woman – a student back when she started this – who lived her life on webcam. She had cameras in both the living room and the bedroom, taking one picture a minute throughout the day and night. People watched her spend her days in front of the computer, and nights sleeping.

I was one of the curious people who checked out her web site after reading about it in Komputer. Naturally I would be curious about what women actually do, strange and unfamiliar beings that they are. Unlike some of her viewers for sure, my curiosity was not primarily sexual, although I did collect a few nice, small (by today’s standard) pictures of her butt, usually in jeans. Pretty tame, I guess. My “buttpic of the month” was a homage to her for getting me started down the path to my own journal.

It was another girl of the same sort, Debra of Soyaratcam (New Zealand) who actually showed me how to do it. She was also living a pretty tame life on the web in the same style, but then her software broke down. For many days, she could not show the automatic pictures of her life. So she wrote a few lines and had a typical picture from the day on top. I pretty much adopted her format, down to the size of the picture, in my original JPG diary. (I think I even took that phrase from her. I searched the Web but found no one else who had it, so for months I thought I was the only one in the world after she went back to her webcam and eventually disappeared.)

After some months, I happened upon another like me. I found that they did not call their diaries diary but “journal”. Searching on this revealed a small community of several hundred people. This was before the age of the blog, so that was pretty much the world population of online diaries at the time. We were pioneers. But more pioneer than I was Al Schroeder, author of the journal Nova Notes. You will find numerous references to this in my early archives. We were strikingly similar in temperament and outlook, despite living on different continent, and despite him being married to a fellow geek and having three sons, two of which were autists. OK, that may be a similarity rather than a difference: It seems now that autism, or at least the main form of it, comes from geeks having children with each others. The same genes that make people smart and able to concentrate, in double dose causes them to become hypersensitive and apt to disappear into their own world.

I counted Schroeder as a friend for several years, and I guess I still do, but he eventually stopped writing his journal to concentrate on his online comics. Before he got that far, however, he had already established contact with other web comic artists, and started to review some of them. One of the first was Sinfest, which despite its name is not about a lot of sin but a kind of philosophical comic with stereotypical people and frequent appearances by God, angels and the Devil. There is a surprising dignity to it, for a humorous comic. I never saw any malice in it, even as it relentlessly revealed human folly in its many forms. If it had not been that good, Schroeder would not have recommended it, and neither would I have continued looking at other online comics.

But I did. I started reading lots of them for a while. Over time, it became common to have forums where readers could write about their impressions, and this often turned into general discussions about life, the universe and everything. Many of the comic creators were college students, and so were many of their readers. Intelligent, curious and often lonely, they were interesting people to get to know. I made many of my online friends this way. And especially from the Acid Reflux forum. Despite its name, it was not about the illness (which I also have to some degree) but a comic that seemed to attract particularly interesting readers. It also saw two of those readers marry each other, and then two more. But unfortunately the writer and the artists did not. So it came to an end, but not before putting me on the next path.

One of my friends there was very enthusiastic about something called “anime”. It turned out to be Japanese cartoon movies. Both these and comic books are even more popular in Japan than here, perhaps because their books are written in an extremely hard to read script, with a mix of sound signs and concept signs. In any case, this girl was in love with these cartoons. She also fell in love with one of the guys on the forum – not me, luckily for them both – and they are still married. But I had found a new interest. While I read very few online comics anymore (mostly those by Al Schroeder, actually), I watch anime fairly regularly.

Japanese culture certainly is fascinating. It is different but still kind of understandable. It is also very varied. Here in Scandinavia at least, Japanese manga (comics) and anime (cartoon movies) are mostly famous for sexually explicit content. The line between pornography and art goes quite a bit further to the sexy side in Japan, it seems. It is perfectly normal for non-religious anime to have random sightings of girls’ panties, for instance. In all fairness, Japanese school uniform skirts really are that short, so in school buildings with stairs it may well happen much the same way in real life. I am not sure why they do this. Then again, it is a foreign country.

I don’t watch anime for that purpose. (That would be crossing the river for water, seeing how I live in Scandinavia, but I also try to live with some degree of self-control when it comes to such things, despite being single.) My favorite are humorous slice of life movies. Luckily there are many of those too.

I was expecting something like that when a fellow anime fan shared a copy of the anime The Laws of Eternity last year. It seemed to be an interesting adventure by a bunch of friends who more or less by accident end up in the spirit world. Well, it is that, but mainly it is a way to visualize the teachings of the religious organization Happy Science (Kofuku no Kagaku, literally “Science of Happiness”). This particular movie was about the spirit world, which can be seen as both the afterlife and our state of mind while we are alive. The attitudes of the various heavens or hells are actually found in people alive in this world, and I could recognize them easily.

This was how I bumped into Happy Science, and I was surprised by the effect of the movie. I watched it repeatedly, sometimes twice in the same day, something I almost never do. I felt that watching it made it easier to live the way I wanted to in my daily life. I have tried to buy this and other movies from the organization, but this seems to be hard to do for an individual. They probably have their reasons for that, though I don’t know what.

Google Books lets you read a few scattered pages of a book online if the publisher allows this. That is the case with the English translations of the Happy Science books. By reading those few pages, I realized that these books were even more inspiring than the movie. They were more practical and down to earth, an everyday wisdom that added to the understanding I had gained through my own Christianity. Seeing the same things from a different perspective gave me a sense of depth that I had lacked before, or at least had less of.

I am still not sure what to say about this, or what will happen with my life from here on out. But this came into my life just when I was finally ready to understand it. If not for idly buying that magazine that day, it is quite unlikely that I would have bumped into them in my lifetime.

There are many such “coincidences” in my life. But then again there are many such coincidences in the world. Suspiciously many, don’t you think?

High Spirits and history

“The cherry blossoms have not changed at all in the last thousand years….” Some things change daily, some not in a thousand years. Telling these apart is in itself a very useful skill, and can make a fool wise.

If we are to believe Happy Science (the Japanese religion movement, not just any happy scientist) there is a limited number of super high spirits for this planet, like archangels and saviors, and they are being incarnated from time to time to put history right. So this coincides with the conservative view of history I mentioned, that history is largely the work of a relatively few people, while the rest more or less drift with the currents, unaware of their part in the larger picture.

To make it worse, each of the High Spirits will show up repeatedly, making the numbers even smaller. For instance Newton was formerly Archimedes, and Buddha was Hermes (at least to some degree). So even though most of the really important people through history was one of these, there are only about 500 in total. So far Happy Science.

According to the substantially less happy science we know from ordinary history books, things were pretty harsh in the past. Life was poor, solitary, nasty, brutish and short. (Not so sure about the solitary part, since people had to crowd together with aunts and cousins in tiny houses or even tents. But nasty for sure. And smelly, let’s not forget smelly. Life was poor, smelly, nasty, brutish and short. The reason Hobbes forgot to include smelly was probably that at his time, life was STILL smelly. It was also still considerably shorter than now, on average, not least on his continent.)

If we go back a few generations from Hobbes, we also have another problem: Eyeglasses were not invented yet. Therefore the few sages who actually existed (and who did not die to war or plague or infected hangnails) were rendered unable to read on their own around the age of 50. Since those who had lived that long were likely to hang on for another 20 years or so, the invention of glasses would effectively double their time as a sage. (You aren’t born a sage, you know. Well most of us aren’t.)

Now what I am trying to say is that having even a limited number of non-idiots in the past is a miracle of Biblical proportions. Even if you could read, how many books were you likely to see in a lifetime before the printing press? And how broad would the background be of those books? What were your chances of gathering the wisdom of two or three or more different cultures or religions? Add to this that some of the great minds of the past were not scribes at all, but warriors or shepherds or some such.

While some of the famous people from the past were more known for their deeds than their thoughts, it is certainly true that some had a very high level of consciousness. They had an overview of life that is rare today, even though we are so well informed. They did not have our encyclopedic knowledge, but from the knowledge they had, they came to insights that have stood the test of time.

In contrast, many people today have a fairly low level of consciousness, even though so much knowledge is readily available. They continue to blame others for problems they could easier fix by changing themselves. They believe in random conspiracy theories that are easily disproved, and their beliefs make them unhappy.

Let me take a random example, not sure if I have mentioned this before. In the western world, a very large number of women (and even some men) believe that women are systematically paid less for their work than men. This would certainly look so if you look simply at the pay checks. But let us take a few seconds to draw this to its logical conclusion. If women were generally paid less for the same work, then you could start a business and hire only women. Businesses who hired only women, or almost only, would constantly earn more money, and eventually squeeze the competition out. This would cause massive joblessness among men and lack of female workers in the private sector, causing the men who were employed at all to mainly work in government-funded jobs where profit didn’t matter. Reality check! Is this your world?

Obviously any individual woman may be underpaid. The way to find out is to look for an employer who is willing to pay more. This is the same for women, men, eunuchs and hermaphrodites. It is also the same as a potato farmer trying to sell his potatoes. He may strongly dislike that people are paying more for wheat, even though potatoes are superior in every way and deserve a much higher price. But reality takes precedence. There is no worldwide conspiracy of billions of potato-haters, and likewise there is actually no such conspiracy of misogynists. Life if tough for everyone. Projecting the cause of our unhappiness on others may seem to help for a short time, but it also keeps us from making the best out of what we actually can change, namely ourselves.

There are many, many such projections. People blame the Jews, the Muslims, the Whites, the Hispanics, the Gypsies, the Republicans, the Democrats, their parents, teachers, employers, neighbors. All of these people who are blamed have actual, real faults. Who hasn’t? But because people have a low level of consciousness, they trip over the various faults of others which they rarely can do anything about, and forget to correct their own faults which are right there for the taking. Seen from a higher perspective, these are much like an animal in a cage, which claws randomly on the walls because it is unable to figure out the fairly simple lock to the cage.

By listening to the words of high spirits, whether you believe they come down from Heaven or grow up from the Earth, you can learn from them and become more and more like them. After all, humans are born with a phenomenal ability to learn. Just to go about your daily life you need to know a large number of things. You need to know how to dress yourself, how to find your way in a town or city, basic economic knowledge like having to pay for food, and of course you probably keep track of a large number of human relationships. By applying this learning ability toward the words and deeds of the people whose lives shine across history like brilliant lights, you can rise up to become a brilliant light yourself.

It’s gonna take its sweet time though, judging by myself. Well, all the more reason to get cracking!

Infinite Prosperity

Screenshot from the anime “The Laws of Eternity”, also by Ryuho Okawa. The protagonists visits the angelic realm in heaven and is surprised to find a number of famous Japanese industrialists there. Because creating prosperity for others is the will of the Light / God / Buddha. Just in case this wasn’t obvious, he also wrote a book about it.

Infinite prosperity — wouldn’t that be nice around now? What with the move and the frozen water pipes and all. But I am talking about the book I ordered from Amazon.co.UK before Xmas and which I found in my mailbox when I came home late yesterday. Another book by Ryuho Okawa, its full title is The Philosophy of Progress – Higher Thinking for Developing Infinite Prosperity. Both Okawa himself and the publisher inform us that the book will need to be read several times, but what don’t you do for infinite prosperity. Or even for higher thinking, I suppose. Your enthusiasm about thinking may vary. Then again, so may your prosperity.

The book is, as usual, made from several sections that originated as speeches and were later adapted to written form. They vary in tone, more than usual, with one being very simple, as if aimed at children or people with well below the IQ of the average Japanese. Okawa strives to be easy to understand, but this was unusual even for him. Anyway, the different speeches help see things from slightly different angles, which should be helpful.

This is not a New Age book about “attracting” wealth, like the popular understanding of “The Secret” and “Think and grow rich”. The idea of attracting wealth is an abomination to Okawa, as it is to any right-thinking person. On the contrary, the purpose is to CREATE prosperity, so that it flows out from you, not toward you.

In contrast to the right-thinking person, who wants to create prosperity and let it flow out to others, I sometimes talk about “left-thinking” people, who want to draw in prosperity from other people and consume it. This is of course a kick in the shin to socialism, which by historical accident has become associated with the left hand. But it actually goes much further back, to the Old Testament, where Ecclesiastes says that “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.” (Ecclesiastes 10:2) The idea that we should all divide the cake and not bother about baking it is as foolish as they come. But this is not merely, or even mainly, a political problem.

For instance, you may feel that someone does not give you the respect you expected. A left-thinking person will say, out loud or in their mind: “You better respect me!” They may then go on to treat the other person with disrespect and even encourage others to do the same, to restore the balance. But a right-thinking person will first jump to another conclusion: “Perhaps that person sees some flaw in me that I have overlooked, or perhaps I have just not done enough to merit their respect. I have to do better.” It may of course be that the other person lacks respect and gratitude in general, but unless you are their parent, this is not something you can fix directly. And it could certainly also happen that you just haven’t done anything particularly impressive. (I know this is generally the case for me, but then I don’t expect much above bare civility either.)

Now in all fairness Okawa is mainly a spiritual teacher, and so the prosperity he talks about is mainly spiritual. But he certainly isn’t opposed to a little cash for the true believers. He does discuss Jesus’ warning about rich people, camels and needle eyes. Much like me, Okawa believes the problem was attachment to material things, rather than the things themselves. (Not unexpected, since Okawa claims to be the Buddha reborn and the Buddha was very much about getting rid of attachment.) Unlike me though, Okawa is fairly optimistic about people having lots of money without getting attached to it. That may be doable for someone who vividly remembers being king of Atlantis and stuff like that. But for us commoners, it is hard to not get carried away by riches. I would not be so sanguine about it. I’m more with Jesus on this one. Big surprise, eh?

Okawa does make the valid point that these days, if you go the route of poverty you will be tempted by communism. Jesus presumably did not have that dilemma. Also, according to Okawa, it would be a problem if only bad people got rich and not good people, because the bad people would have way more power compared to their numbers, and there is plenty enough of bad people in power as is. My problem with this is the good people who turn to bad people when they get rich, because they fall in love with the power and prestige and forget their original purpose in life. I tend to hold the attitude of Proverbs 30: Give me neither poverty nor riches, “Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” Of course, “not poverty” today is a bit different from 3000 years ago…

Luckily Okawa goes on to focus in great detail on the purpose of progress in this world. It is not to hoard stuff for ourselves, but to expand our mission of causing as much happiness as possible in this world while we are here. And financial progress is only one contribution to that, not the goal. For instance, a company cannot be said to truly make progress if the employees don’t feel joy about working there. A company should be run in such a way that the happiness of the employees and business associates increases over time. The company should also contribute to society through taxes. Okawa foretells continued decline for America as long as the nation continues to see tax evasion as an admirable activity.

(As leader for the Happiness Realization Party, Okawa favors drastic tax cuts in Japan. What he refers to in his book is presumably not having as high taxes as possible, but being as honest as possible and paying the taxes intended by the society you live in.)

The book is quite multifaceted, as are his books in general. One of the unsuspected jewels appears while he discusses the hells relevant to greedy people, the Hell of Hungry Spirits and the Hell of Strife. While there anyway, he stops by the Hell of Lust for a paragraph or two. I think I will write about that in a separate entry, if ever.

Anyway, to not get completely lost in the details: Prosperity is not about having lots of money. That’s incidental, although people who know the Truth cannot possibly become destitute. True prosperity is about manifesting an ever increasing amount of happiness: First in your own life, and as soon as practically possible to begin spreading this happiness to people around you, in ever wider circles, until the whole world is brightly lit with hope and joy.

Okawa should know what he speaks of in this regard. From being a fairly ordinary young man he has brought forth an organization that is dedicated to creating utopia through love, wisdom, self-reflection and progress. Millions of people have bought at least some of his books, and if they enjoyed them as much as I do, that is a good amount of happiness right there.  And take my word for it, it is not easy to write in a way that fills people with hope and strength of will. I’m still working on it though!

As I said when I ordered the book: “When I have infinite prosperity, I’ll be sure to share it with my friends.” Work in progress!

Icebergs of revelations


Picture shamefully stolen from Sciencebhakta, a blog at Good Shepherd Catholic School. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how a spiritual iceberg should look!

Ryuho Okawa, founder of the religious organization “Happy Science”, occasionally says some strange things. For the most part, however, he says things that seem obvious once I see them, but for some reason were not quite as obvious before. That is good, I think. We need more obviousity. We need to see these truths as self-evident, in an age where people doubt so many things but have faith in their own superiority in spite of all evidence. (Only 6% of Norwegian parents have children who are below average in school. In America, 90% of male drivers are above average while the women are about average. And pretty much everyone who thinks there is a Heaven thinks they are going there, except Jehovah’s Witnesses who modestly intend to colonize the new Earth instead. Compare this to Jesus’ statement that “narrow is the path that leads to life and few are those who find it.” In short, whether it is in this world or the next, almost all of us think we are one of the few. Oh well. If you have found this website, you are definitely one of a few!)

One of the obvious things is to not put all your goods in the shop window. That is to say, if you talk about spiritual things, you should know a lot more than you say. Okawa recommends being like an iceberg, with only a small part of your revelations visible to people, and the rest below the surface. For actual physical icebergs, the proportion that is above water is about 1/8. So for every revelation you share with others, you should have seven more revelations of the same sort.

I wasn’t there, obviously, but according to Okawa he was getting spiritual messages from various high spirits from Heaven for years before he started his organization. But having seen what happened to other religious leaders, he was quite wary of telling everyone until he understood everything clearly.

I have to agree there. I don’t want to mention names, but there are a number of people in the New Age movement at least that strike me as “one trick ponies”. They have one big revelation and they are going all out with it, but not all people are the same. So we get various specialists and people who follow them. You see the same in Protestantism. Perhaps it is something in the culture of northern Europe, but we seem to have a lot of small churches that break out from some other church because they get some revelation that the others don’t have. Each of them is convinced that their revelation is a matter of life and death. Often these revelations are purely theological, that is to say, you cannot actually see that these people become better by believing in this or that particular detail of doctrine. They don’t become happier, more helpful and more merciful. Of course it could still be an important piece of doctrine, but how will you prove it when you don’t have “fruits”?

Okawa is not the first to bring out that idea, of course. Jesus seems to have pretty much shut up about spiritual things from he was 12 till he was 30. He is later quoted as saying that a teacher who is trained for the Kingdom of Heaven is comparable to a host who brings out old and new things from his storage. That is the same thing, is it not? To have a storage of good stuff before you start hosting a large party.

So I’ve been thinking a bit about how I measure up in that regard. But then again I don’t really think of myself as a religious teacher. It is a dangerous job. It is bad enough to destroy your own life, but destroying others surely is worse.

I should write about games, or snow or something, I guess. But this stuff is also interesting.  I wonder if the other people who buy his books have the same experience. That seems unlikely, there is supposedly sold millions of them by now and the world is pretty much the same, isn’t it? So much so that I had never head about Happy Science until I accidentally came across one of their movies. But perhaps most of the readers are just busy storing their revelations beneath the surface.

Sixth-dimensional programmer


The Light is a source of absolute power, as I am sure I have told you repeatedly. But this time it is an illustration from the anime “The Laws of Eternity”.

I have thought about this so often the last month or two, I almost believed I had written about it already. So I better do, or I will think I have said all the words that should be spoken, and then they are lost forever.

I’ll use the concepts from Kofuku no Kagaku (Happy Science, formerly IRH) to look at a part of my life from a different angle. I don’t really expect westerners (or indeed most Japanese) to believe that the sect leader is actually from Venus etc. I certainly don’t, but then again I will just let that rest, because I honestly don’t know how literally that is meant. He does say right out that his description of the spirit world is NOT some kind of “other world” that we go to when we die. I already knew this. It makes a lot more sense if, as he says, these dimensions are all in your mind. (That does not make them any less real: Everything is contained by the human mind, even this “real” world. This is why Democrats and Republicans live in different worlds and cannot even agree on measurable facts, such as whether the planet is warming or cooling.) People think they have to go somewhere when they die, but we are actually “there” already. In my case, I think, somewhere in the lower reaches of the sixth dimension, although I am not sure if I can stay there.

Now, what do I really mean by “dimension”? We already agreed it was not a physical thing.

If you really were a materialist – which nobody really is in practice – then you would basically be like an animal. You would have no goals or values above what your instinct told you from moment to moment. But all of us actively remember the past (while most, if not all, animals only recognize it when they see it) and think about the future. This means we all have access to Time, the fourth dimension.

But according to Happy Science (and this is the least happy part of it) many people these days don’t have access to the fifth dimension, which is spirituality. For some reason, this is also called the realm of good (or realm of the good). I guess “spirituality” is not a perfect translation of the Japanese concept? I mean, ouija boards etc should probably not be included. Intriguingly, the voice in my head reminds me that the Bible (Jude, vers 19) supports the view that there are “natural men who don’t have spirit” (or “the Spirit” – obviously one must have some degree of spirit to be human at all, much less religious.) So, since I still have not found any explanation in Okawa’s book for this feature, I rely on the voice in my head (or heart) for the following: The fifth dimension is characterized by the ability to reflect on your life, see your imperfections and repent. Without this there cannot be progress or true spirituality. The “natural men” cannot do this. They will excuse or explain away their mistakes and not grieve over their sins unless they are caught and punished, in which case they grieve over their lost reputation and opportunity, but not their lost purity, otherwise they would have repented alone as soon as they became aware of it.

Well, even though calling me “good” would be a bit of an overstatement, I do keep afterthought, or self-reflection, and I do pent and repent over and over. (Sometimes even without being sick! No, really!) It is just that some things seem to find their way back in. Still working on this, but it does not seem to be unique to me. And as Smith’s Friends say (this is another group of people again, and pure Christian, no Buddhism at least that they know of): The sin you see as most grievous is the one you first get victory over. This seems to be perfectly, accurately true. If you think your sin is not a crime and God is just easily squicked, then it will come back again and again, like muddy footprints in a house where the children never learn to take their shoes off.

The sixth dimension, finally! It is the Realm of Light. All who live here know that there is a higher power, which they may call by different names, but they are all aware of it. And not just in a theoretical sense, like when you learn in geography class that in Japan there is a mountain called Mount Fuji, but more like living in a place where you can view Fuji-san from your window. In the same way, one who lives in the sixth dimension, or should we say, the sixth dimension lives in him, is well aware of the Light. This divine Light is different from the light of the material sun, and it has two unique properties. One, it is able to create. Two, it is able to grow. When the divine Light meets a soul which has affinity with it, that soul will radiate more Light than it received, as if the Light was a living, growing thing. When the Light shines on a group of souls that are drawn to it, it can move from one to the other and back, growing all the while, so that they together radiate a great amount of Light. This is how a true religious organization should work. But this is not restricted to religion. Andrew Cohen talks about “enlightened communication”, and says that there is a greater consciousness beyond ego, which can be reached by groups of people who dedicate their talk to a greater purpose and abstain from making references to themselves. This greater consciousness has abilities beyond what each member of the group has, and even beyond the sum of the members of the group. I will add that exceptional cases of teamwork all over the world may be caused by Light amplification, for the Light has many projects going on.

People from the sixth dimension are active in various areas, doing exceptional things. They tend to be leaders in their fields, or outstanding artists or inventors, people who create something of lasting value. They do this not only by their own inherent connection to the Light, but also by the inspiration of their fellow spirits. Each of us has a guardian angel and many of us has one or more spirit guides, according to Happy Science. These are high spirits from the sixth realm or above who assist us when we seek to achieve something worthy but which we would have a hard time doing on our own. The muse of an artist or writer could be such a being from the sixth dimension, who is currently not in the flesh but is aching to contribute to the world through acting as inspiration (a word clearly related to spirit). I cannot swear that this is true, but long time readers will vaguely remember that I have written about this years ago.

When I was creating the debt reclamation software that later helped numerous companies here in Norway save millions, I would frequently get revelations on how to write a particular piece of code. It was as if someone had figured it out for me and placed it in my brain, and I just had to write it down and test it. This happened many times and I found it remarkable. At the time, I ran rings around a 20-man team of educated programmers with expensive equipment. Alone with a few workers who tested my programs as soon as I had coded them, I made this masterpiece on my free time and mostly for the joy of it, as well as helping an old friend. Because my motivation was pure and my creativity was beyond material rewards, it would seem that the high spirits of programming would quietly pitch in. If you believe in the afterlife world of Happy Science, it may be that spirits like Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace were looking down from Heaven and decided to give me a hand. Of course, this is figuratively speaking. Remember that everything is in our mind. But the effects are very real.

The sixth dimension is the dimension of truth, or true knowledge. People who love knowledge for its own sake, not as a tool to success in the material realm, will be blessed from time to time by random moments of bliss or ecstatic joy that comes for no reason or is out of proportion to its trigger. I call these “joy attacks” or “pleasure attacks” as a pun on the well known phenomenon of panic attacks. Actually, Okawa is the first other person I know of who has mentioned this! But we are not alone. A few days ago I had a poll on my LiveJournal to find out whether my friends had these experiences too, and whether they really only happened to people know loved knowledge, as Ryuho Okawa says. Not many answered, but all who did had these “joy attacks” and loved knowledge. One even commented to ask whether there were still people who did not love knowledge for its own sake. There certainly are, and I think you can ask any high school or college teacher about that if you are in doubt. Even better, look at advertisement for higher education. We may not know our motivations, but the advertisers know. They study humans with the same professional detachment as scientists study lab rats, because their success depends on knowing what really makes us tick.

Anyway, how do I know that I belong in the sixth dimension and not the seventh? That is easy: The seventh dimension is forgiving love. This is where the bodhisattva belong, and their western equivalents, the saints. (For some reason, Okawa always refers to the Christian version as “angels”.) Let us explain how love reacts at the different levels here. At the fourth dimension, you love your family (natural love). Apart from that, you expect tit for tat. At the fifth dimension, you expect gratitude. If people don’t praise you, you quickly lose your motivation, but if you can see that other people are happy and grateful, you get motivated to keep helping them even if they don’t pay you for it. At the sixth dimension, you don’t need gratitude, just acceptance. I have elsewhere compared this to a young mother whose breasts are full of milk. She does not need the baby’s gratitude, she is aching to let him drink, it is a need of her own. In the same way, we of the sixth dimension have a need to create and to share with the world, and all we ask for is that our gift be accepted. But those in the seventh dimension are not so easily turned away. Their love is unconditional, so that they will keep giving even if they are loved less the more they love. If you look at the official saints of the Catholic church, you will find that a disproportionate number of them were persecuted and many even became martyrs. This makes perfect sense because it is a kind of final proof that they were indeed saints. Normal people would have stopped well before it got that badly out of hand. But there are many other saints, and because they were never tested in such a dramatic outward way, they are not officially known. But those who have met them may realize it in time.

I am not a saint. I pray to God repeatedly that I may never be severely tested in forgiveness. As a Christian I am required to forgive everyone, and I believe this is needed even if you do not belong to this religion. If you cannot forgive someone, there will be a spot of evil on your soul, and this would put a serious dent in any plans you may have for your afterlife. But some of us, like me, are better off the less we are tested, as we could break easily and be overcome with evil. Therefore I pray that I not be tested in this regard, except for the most trivial situations which we all have to face. Like my bosses not respecting my vacation, for instance. To forgive is to forget, so don’t be surprised if I forget to show up for that mandatory training course that is slated inside my vacation… ^_^* But that’s a far cry from being persecuted for the Truth. I just know I could not possibly take that, at least not in the long run. They say that it is easier to die for your faith than to live for it, but I would rather prefer not to test that. Well, perhaps I could die as a martyr at the age of 90… Somehow I don’t think that would impress God or the angels very much though!

As I said, you can (and perhaps should) be a saint without being a martyr. But I also know that I simply am not that kind of person. I don’t have that level of love and dedication. It is a human trait to want to see oneself at the top of the pyramid, or very nearly so, “next to God”. But I cannot honestly believe that I am anything more than a barely sixth-dimensional programmer. Can I even stay at that level constantly? I don’t know, but I sure hope so.

Of course, that’s just one way of looking at it. I have used many other descriptions in the past, my favorite probably being Spiral Dynamics. But they don’t quite say the same thing. Also, one is more dry and scientific, while the other is colorful and filled with the mythos of several cultures. Even I see myself from different angles, and perhaps someone will understand me better one way than another. Is that not a big part of why we are on Earth in the first place, to understand and be understood?

Science of happiness and prettiness


There is beauty for the eyes, beauty for the ears, and beauty for the mind. Today I have enjoyed them all.

Got book from Amazon in my mail! Actually it was too big for my mailbox, because they used a huge flat package. In a small box it would have fit right in, but I suppose they have their reasons. For me it was a nice walk to the post office and back, and then I could open yet another Happy Science book. This one is actually called The Science of Happiness: 10 principles for manifesting your divine nature. As usual it is written by the astoundingly prolific Ryuho Okawa, but let it not be said that he is a miser who keeps secrets. He has already explained how he has been able to write more than 500 books since the mid-1980es when he started his happiness movement. The secret? He does not write them, he holds speeches. After making an outline, he then holds a series of speeches (something he does regularly anyway) on those topics. Afterwards, he edits them into a book. This book is no exception, and you can clearly see it when you know it. It has a living, unstilted form that is quite suitable for a public performance.

Yes, I still buy and read books by Okawa. No, I still don’t believe that he was king of Atlantis or ruled Venus when it was a tropical paradise. Apart from his personal biography, however, the voices in his head are disturbingly sane and even wise. Much like mine… ^_^ But of course I’m not some grand savior, just an ordinary guy from the sixth dimension, at most. If I had been incarnated before, I was probably called Ibn something and dabbled in alchemy… Anyway, the voice in my head tells me to pay attention to THIS life so I can get it at least somewhat right. I don’t exactly see a lot of divine nature in my life to date.

Speaking of divine, I have ordered the Saga CD I wrote about yesterday. Even though it is sold by Sony, I have not heard that the original Japanese division engages in the same random attacks on their customers as the American recording companies do. Therefore I don’t feel that I am supporting injustice when buying from them. And I don’t think it would be divine – or even humanly decent – to keep playing their song over and over and not pay for it, even though this is easily possible. Still, I would rather prefer to buy songs in non-physical form. Unfortunately the European iTunes does not have Japanese songs, and I don’t read kanji well enough to even find out whether it is possible for Europeans to use the Japanese iTunes or any similar service.

While waiting for the CD (which will probably arrive after I have left this address) I still enjoy listening to the full song on YouTube with the best conscience. It may not exactly be divine, but it sure is pretty. And beauty is also in its way a reflection of the divine, or so say the perennial traditions. According to Happy Science, great works of art are inspired from the sixth dimension, the Realm of Light. I won’t argue against that. There certainly seems to be an element of Light in it.

Scientists work long and hard days to prove that the consciousness is only a product – some even say byproduct – of the brain, and the same for beauty and religious experience. But by the same token, their own relentless search for “truth” as they see it must also be an unfortunate side effect of a brain that has forgotten its only purpose, to raise as many healthy children as possible to pass on the genes. It is an irony that just like the religious hypocrite is unable to practice what he preaches, so too is the anti-religious crusader unable to live up to his professed non-faith. The Light keeps shining on us all, and even the blind feel the sun on their face at times.