chapter  XVIII
24 Pages

The Faith-Healing Sects : Tenri Kyo

Tenri Kyo has been called the Christian Science of modern Japan. The comparison is not inaptly made. At heart both are faith-healing societies that profess to displace a negative evil, manifested in the form of the maladjustments of sickness and wrong, by establishing a normal relationship with the great health-giving stream that flows from the Great Source of all life. Each was founded by an extraordinary woman. During the creative periods of their lives, all unknown the one to the other, these two women were contemporaries. The churches which they established took form during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the Japanese institution slightly antedating the American. The similarity extends even to names and their significations. Tenri Kyo means " The Teaching of Divine Reason." It claims to inculcate a reasonable or " scientific " attitude towards life's fundamental verities. It says that this is a reasonable universe. Final reality is a divine reason. He who lives according to reason shall prosper, he who violates reason shall perish. It is the will of the Heavenly Reason that man should attain here and now a full and free life, abounding in health and happiness. The name Christian science suggests practically the same thing. Yet there is absolutely no possibility of any connection whatsoever existing between these two movements in their origin and early growth. Finally, the phenomenal development of Christian Science in the world today has been matched by the extraordinary expansion of Tenri Kyo. The latter is undoubtedly the most rapidly growing religious body in present-day Japan. Statistics kept by the national government show four million three hundred thousand adherents. Tenri Kyo on its own part claims a membership of five million. Its missionaries are already carrying its gospel of faith and healing all over the Pacific area.