Hikari no Wa

A spiritual reformation movement advocating for a new understanding of religious philosophy and equality among all beings.

Hikari no Wa, also known as The Circle of Rainbow Light, is a Japanese new religious movement founded in 2007 by Fumihiro Joyu, a former spokesperson and executive of the controversial Aum Shinrikyo. Emerging as a distinct entity from Aleph, the successor of Aum Shinrikyo, Hikari no Wa sought to establish a fresh spiritual direction, emphasizing a departure from the extremist views and activities associated with its predecessor.

Origin and Development

The movement was initiated as a response to the perceived failings of traditional religious systems, particularly those demonstrated by Aum Shinrikyo’s violent history. Joyu and his followers aimed to create a spiritual community that rejects blind faith, overcomes dualism, and integrates religious practices with societal well-being. This ambition led to the formation of Hikari no Wa, symbolized by a sun surrounded by a gold wheel and a rainbow, representing wisdom, spirituality, and equality among religions.

Beliefs and Practices

Hikari no Wa presents itself not just as a religion but as a “place of learning for a new spiritual wisdom,” focusing on the cultivation of sacred consciousness within individuals without necessitating belief in a transcendental being or an absolute leader. It emphasizes compassion, benevolence, and the equality of all beings, drawing on symbols and teachings from various religious traditions including Buddhism, Shintō, and others. The movement incorporates practices such as meditation, yoga, qigong, and Buddhist rituals but distances itself from the extreme asceticism and supernatural beliefs that were part of Aum Shinrikyo’s doctrine.

Rituals and Community Engagement

The group organizes training activities, lectures by Joyu, and seminars that incorporate a variety of meditation and healing techniques. It also engages in pilgrimages to sacred sites across Japan, promoting a message of peace and equality among religions. Hikari no Wa’s approach to spirituality is highly inclusive, offering counseling and encouraging open participation without formal membership, a stark contrast to the exclusivity and secrecy that characterized Aum Shinrikyo.

Surveillance and Public Perception

Despite its efforts to distinguish itself from its controversial origins, Hikari no Wa has remained under the scrutiny of Japanese authorities due to its historical connections with Aum Shinrikyo. The Public Security Intelligence Agency of Japan initially kept the group under surveillance, reflecting ongoing concerns about the potential for religious movements to harbor extremist elements. However, the organization has worked to present itself as a transparent, open community dedicated to fostering a positive spiritual philosophy.

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