Seeking for a Non-violent World: Sharing New Values based on the teachings of Onisaburo Deguchi

Posted: 28.04.2014

8th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action


About Onisaburo Deguchi

Onisaburo (Onisavulo) Deguchi, often called holy master by his followers, was born in 1871 in Sogabe-Cho, Kyoto prefecture. When he was 31 years old, he got a revelational experience at Mount Takakuma near his birthplace. At the moment, he realized his fate as a savior. Since then, Onisaburo had been conducted guiding and teaching people for the cause of world peace. However, soon he faced a hardship under the rule of imperial Japan. When “Omoto”, the religious group created by him, rapidly increased its followers, the Japanese government recognized it as a threat to the regime, partly because Omoto’s idea of social change. In 1935, the Japanese police arrested him and his followers on violation of the Maintenance of Public Oder Act. Many shrines and religious facilities were illegally destroyed before the court trial. Onisaburo had been in prison for 2435 days during the war. He died on Jan. 19th, 1948 shortly after World War Two. He left many poems, writings, paintings and art bowls. A gigantic work of 81, “The story of spirit world” is his best known work.

Seeking a non-violent world

War is the worst form of violence that mankind can make. This goes along with Onisaburo Deguchi, our spiritual leader’s teachings. And my point of view has not changed since then. In fact, the current world affairs keep my viewpoint intact.

Over the past 5 years, we’ve heard sad and tragic news worldwide. A lot of people were murdered during civil war in Syria. The world still faces constant risk of terrorist attacks. There was also a big man-made disaster in Japan, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. In spite of the fact that Japan is an earthquake country, the Japanese government and major electric companies keep deceiving people by saying “nuclear power is safe and inexpensive”. The three clipped nuclear reactors keep spewing out dangerous radioactive materials, and they spread out not only in Japan but to the rest of the world. It is concerned that those radioactive materials will eventually contaminate a food chain, and cause serious health problems.

Climate change is also a big threat to civilizations. Human activities are responsible for the climate change. Onisaburo also indicates that there is a close relationship between natural disasters and collective consciousness of the human species. It may sound illogical to some, but the famous UNESCO constitution says “wars begin in the minds of men”, and as such, all human activities are based on their minds. Therefore it is no wonder that there is a relationship between human minds and an occurrence of natural disaster.

Warfare, climate change, and the economic crisis are the biggest threat to sustainable development. To realize a sustainable society, we need a twofold approach, an individual effort and the improvement of the society. Changing the society is important because, even if we practice non-violence life style, a totalitarian government may start a war. In other words, we need a political system that contributes to non-violence and human happiness.

Aizen and Aiaku

For a better political and economic system, I would like to share my perspective on sustainable development. Onisaburo Deguchi, our spiritual leader mentioned that there are two kinds of love in the world. One is called “Aizen”, and other is called “Aiaku”. Aizen roughly means benevolence. When your heart is filled with Aizen, your love is directed to your neighbors. On the other hand, Aiaku is considered self-love. It’s an ego-maniacal love that only protects yourself. When your heart is filled with Aiaku, you may lie to your neighbors or even steal things from your neighbors with the sole purpose of satisfying your own interests and feelings to satisfy your desire.

The point here is not ‘good and evil’. Onisaburo emphasizes on striking a balance between Aizen and Aiaku. Aiaku is necessary for individual survival, and not totally evil as long as Aizen controls it.

With that mindset, let’s take a look at current socio-economic situations. Now, thanks to casino capitalism, the gap between rich and poor is growing. Multinational companies are exploiting cheap labor, and creating their corporate colonies all over the world. This should be called economic violence, and there is no Aizen there.

In the stock markets, a day trading and swing trading is in a full swing. And those speculative trading practices make the market instable. The original purpose of buying stocks is to join the decision making of the company and share profits that company make, not to flip one stock to another. A speculative credit transaction is also a big threat to the society. This is typically seen at the so-called subprime mortgage crisis. As you remember, a collapse of the housing loan market in the U.S. triggered worldwide economic disaster.

Onisaburo warns that human civilizations will face hardship unless people wake up to learn history and what it teaches. History proves that mankind cannot survive without Mother Nature, which provides us food and natural resources. For a sustainable development, we all should appreciate what Mother Nature has to offer, and share it with others. Following a vegetarian style diet is effective in terms of protecting the environment.

As I mentioned, he teaches us Aizen and Aiaku as a guideline for making decision. Warfare, climate change, neo-colonialism, and economic disaster all come from Aiaku, a self-love. If we change our path towards Aizen, we are one step closer to the non-violent future. And I hope our mutual communication will help it through this conference. World peace and human happiness are ardent wishes of God, Onisaburo says.

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