The name “Perfect Liberty” refers to being liberated from our negative mental habits which limit our self-expressions. These are habits which can cause stress, sickness and other problems. True mental freedom, or perfect liberty, is a state of mind we can attain when we successfully tap into our true God-given self. This is the state of mind of being free from our ego attachments. Our lives continually improve and we achieve greater enjoyment and success the more effort we make to practice this through following the PL teachings in our daily lives.
From 1936 until the end of World War II, our religious organization, then called Hito-no-michi (The Way of Humankind), was unreasonably suppressed by the military government of Japan because it was popular and peace-oriented. Our leader at that time, the Second Kyoso (Founder), and some senior disciples were imprisoned, but in 1945, after the war ended, all of them were released and exonerated of any charges of treason.
In September 1946, the Second Kyoso re-established the organization giving it an English name, “Perfect Liberty,” declaring that, “English will be the most popular international language from now on.”
PL respects all the world’s religions. We believe that all true religions are just different paths to the same Creator – God. PL openly welcomes everyone whether they belong to another religion or not and will not ask an interested person to give up his or her present affiliation in order to become a PL member. We believe the important thing is for people to have faith. Also, if we are ever to have world peace all religions have respect each other.
Service to one’s country and to humanity as a whole is a cornerstone of the PL faith. The Church encourages members to be of service wherever or whenever needed for the sake of society and especially for the sake of world peace. PL always suggests that its members abide by and uphold the laws of the land and live striving to follow the PL teachings.
In PL we call God “Mioya-ookami,” meaning “the creator of the universe.” We view God or Mioya-ookami as the whole - everything. We can also say that God is infinite, all powerful, omnipresent and the essence behind the natural and divine laws of the universe. However, it is impossible for mortals with finite capacities to fully comprehend or accurately describe God.
The founders of the world’s religions have each tried in their own way to describe the “Divine Reality.” However, this description has always been influenced by the cultural background of the person describing God. Although there are many descriptions of God, all of the religious founders were trying to describe the same essence.
Although God is beyond our comprehension, nevertheless He is felt and made known by all those who have grown spiritually and believe in Him. In fact, in PL God is an everyday practical reality. PL members are taught how to regularly listen to the “silent voice of God” also known as our “inspiration,” “intuition” or our “first thought.” God’s existence is real to all those who make the effort to be open and in tune with their true selves and with God.
In PL, we are taught that human beings are the manifestation of God. Our souls come from God and when our bodies die our souls return to God. Although everything is a part of God (the whole), souls are more like a part of the essence of God. Therefore, all human beings have a spark of the divine within them.
We often use the analogy that God is like the water of an ocean and we human beings are but drops of that water. We have a similar quality as God, but the quantity is different.
No. PL members come from many different religious backgrounds and are not asked to renounce their original faiths. We believe that all religions should learn to harmonise if we wish to achieve world peace. We teach our members to accept and appreciate our differences.
PL does not have a holy book like a Bible or a Koran. What it does have, however, are the PL 21 Precepts which were revealed by divine revelation to Tokuchika Miki, the Second Founder of PL in 1947, as the truths for humankind in this era. The PL 21 Guidelines on the other hand, guide us in leading more enjoyable, fulfilled and faithful daily lives based on the 21 Precepts.
PL members pray by performing the unique PL Prayer form in front of their Omitama (PL prayer symbol). Members do this prayer at least once in the morning and then again in the evening, but likely a lot more often, especially if they have special wishes or they need help in solving problems or curing an illness.
The hands above the head movement of the prayer form, is similar to the prayer of the Tibetan monks, while the position of the hands together under the chin with the head slightly bowed, is common to many of the world’s religions. The movements were revealed to our previous Oshieoya-sama (spiritual leader) in 1946, while the chant, the powerful “Oyashikiri” (Oh-yah-she-kee-reee), was revealed to him by divine revelation in 1958. Oyashikiri directly connects us to God, the life force, helping us to bring about our highest spiritual potential. Each month there are numerous incredible testimonies in the PL newspapers and magazines about the blessings of PL members from around the world that result from this prayer, many of which can only be classed as miracles.
Any minister, assistant minister or qualified member may conduct the regular PL Sunday Services.
PL Sunday Services like all PL services, consist of both the ceremonial and informal parts. We begin with the ceremonial part of the service that includes the opening Exalted Prayer, the reading of the PL Prayer and Morning Prayer, then closing with the Exalted Prayer. This takes about 10–15 minutes.
The more informal part of the service often begins with a few PL songs, followed by testimonials from those members who wish to share their experiences on the results of practicing the PL teachings in their daily lives. The minister will then give a talk or lead a discussion.
After this the members gather for refreshments and during this time the minister and assistant ministers will perform Oyashikiri Prayers for those members who request them for their suffering, and for their special wishes.
Members are urged to attend the monthly Thanksgiving Day Ceremony (the 21st of each month) and the ceremonies for the four major celebrations that are important to PL, these are:
Attendance at other services is suggested for the benefit of the members.
While group worship is encouraged, a member unable to attend the services may conduct an abbreviated blessed version of the service alone, with his or her family or with other members if they have a home altar or a portable Omitama. Some members will also conduct group morning and evening services in their homes.
The usual requirements for home worship: (1) An Aramitama (temporary prayer symbol) or the family Omitama; (2) The PL Prayer Book; (3) The member’s binder with their personal divine Instructions (Mioshies); (4) The Hosho envelope for making their personal offerings.
PL members with other faiths are also free to observe and worship the special days in these faiths, such as Christmas for Christians or Hanukkah for those of the Jewish faith, to name several examples.
GOD APPEARS THROUGH ONE’S SELF.
Our souls and our true unique individuality that we were given at birth come from God. When we are operating through our true self, free of ego, it is like a reflection of our essence that comes from God. Therefore, God appears through one’s self, but as explained this “self” is more like our true self that is free of ego.
Often when people hear we are members of Perfect Liberty, a religion they have never heard of, they immediately ask suspiciously: “Is that like a cult?” In this use of the word “cult,” they usually mean the contemporary negative reference to the worst image of a cult as a group that is led by an egotistical, charismatic leader, perhaps like a “Jim Jones” type of organisation, or the Japanese “Oomu Shinrikyo” cult which gassed a number of people in the Tokyo subway system a few years ago.
In response to this question of whether or not PL is a cult, I’ll explain some of the differences.
In most cults the will of the individual is subservient to the group – the group being all-important. This group will is normally whatever the leader on his or her whim, demands of the followers. Although a cult is supposedly based on spiritual or religious principles, any true spiritual or religious principles are usually only a thinly veiled disguise for what the leader needs to fill his own desires or abnormal perception of reality, which in some cases even leads to mass suicides like the well-known cult of Jim Jones.
First of all, in PL there is no “group will” other than that all PL members practice the same beliefs, just as Christians, Muslims or Jews do. Rather than being subservient to the “group will,” in PL on the other hand, we learn how to expand our own individuality to achieve greater levels of self-expression. This would not be permitted in a cult, where the only one allowed to express their individuality is the leader. Anyone else who attempts to do this is usually chastised, banned or punished.
In PL, our spiritual leader Oshieoya-sama is a very humble individual. He does not resemble a typical cult leader. When you speak to him, he waits patiently until you are finished before he even attempts to speak, and if he thinks you have something more to say he will stop speaking to let you go ahead. Oshieoya-sama is also there to serve the members and that’s what he does, even unseen, day and night he continually removes the pain and suffering of members when they do the Migawari Prayer. This is not at all like someone trying to assert the power of their own ego. Cult leaders are not known to actively demonstrate this much compassion for their members. They tend to be very selfish people.
Another thing, cults usually have only a short history. You may find ones that have been in existence for perhaps 20 to 30 years, but most are very short-lived. The history of PL on the other hand, goes back well over 100 years.
Once a person becomes a member of a cult, it is often difficult to leave and coercion is often used to keep people in the group. Obedience is very important. There are also many cases of people being programmed or brain-washed to conform to a cult’s perception of the world and then having to be de-programmed when they escape or are rescued. In PL, no one is ever coerced physically or mentally – it’s free choice, just as the name implies – perfect liberty or perfect freedom.
Many cults will often try to persuade their members to give up all their worldly possessions and donate them to the organisation. PL members give through their Hosho envelopes and by other means, but the amount is a personal decision and no one is ever requested to give all their possessions to the Church. In fact, members are sometimes told not to give so much that they become financially strapped. Giving is encouraged, but to the extent the members wish to do so through their own sincere “heart felt” amount. It also encourages the members in becoming more generous people and thereby learn not to be overly attached to material things. Again, this is in the sense of freeing members from their psychological attachments – not freeing them of all their worldly possessions.
Through their giving, PL members also learn how to treat money properly. By this form of teaching and practice many PL members have actually become financially well off, not poverty stricken.
In many cults everything is very secretive and only the leader and perhaps several close trusted disciples know all or most of the secrets. These secrets are gradually revealed as a member demonstrates greater and greater allegiance to the leader and the group. In PL on the other hand, everything is very transparent to all members and to anyone else who wishes to know. There are no secrets!
In PL we practice the teachings openly in daily life within society and the teachings help us to improve our lives and to become better citizens. Within a cult the teachings are usually designed to draw its members further and further away from normal society and closer and closer to the group and its leader. Moreover, the teachings tend to draw people away from their own personal lives and individual traits into closer and closer interactions with the group until they emulate its characteristics.
These are some of the differences you will find between PL and what we usually refer to as a “cult.”
Their main duty is to convey the teachings of PL to members and non-members alike and to assist the members in living an “enjoyable life”. PL ministers are required to perform the PL divine rites, the services, ceremonies, all the PL rituals and devotions wherever they are stationed. PL ministers are always available to serve their members in times of need for counselling, prayer and moral support 24/7 (view contact information). They also act as leaders of the congregation and are administrators for their churches. They are invested with the authority for their particular mission by Oshieoya-sama.
None. The church’s teachings advise the practice of “healthful living” and moderation. However, PL teaches that food should be appreciated and enjoyed in order for it to be fully digested and benefit the body.
There are no restrictions. However, before any medical treatments or operations, PL members are advised to receive the sacred Oyashikiri Prayer from a minister or an assistant minister to ensure everything goes smoothly and they recover quickly.
This is a matter of individual choice. If the deceased member has made his or her wishes known to follow the PL ceremony, then the family would consult a PL minister to conduct the service. For a member who has a family Omitama, a special “Soul Transference Ceremony” is held within 24 hours after the death (before the funeral, the burial or cremation service). Then the family is assisted with the laying to rest of the remains and a PL funeral service may be held.
PL members believe that our souls come from God and will return to God when we die. We do not dwell on the afterlife, but rather focus on doing our best in our life here and now, each moment.
Yes, PL accepts all human beings.
Homosexuality is a personal matter. So if someone is a homosexual but feels that it’s like a Mishirase (God’s divine warning) and is uncomfortable in the role, then we can counsel them. But if someone is homosexual and feels it’s natural and is comfortable in the role, then that’s fine.
We should definitely not treat human beings differently because of their sexual persuasion. Following PL Precept 9, HUMAN BEINGS ARE ALL EQUAL.
An abortion is normally the personal decision of a woman, but if she has a partner, then it should be a joint decision. However, that being said, it should be avoided as much as possible by people being careful in their sexual relations. With care it should not be as necessary as it now seems to be.
However, we do not believe a foetus is a true human being. In PL we believe a person becomes a true human being at birth. What we mean is that the soul enters the body at birth. For this reason, we do not place the same importance on a foetus as we do on a child. Nevertheless, we do not advocate the liberal use of abortions and believe that better sexual education and contraception could reduce the present number of abortions.
As long as the means of contraception are proven to be safe for human health this is also a part of our “human art”. If proven safe, they should certainly be widely used to avoid the need for abortions.
PL does not believe suicide is an acceptable way to die because it’s contrary to God laws for human beings. Also, the families of those who have committed suicide suffer terribly. Unfortunately, it’s usually the rash action of someone who is extremely angry and depressed.
In PL we try to help someone in a suicidal state to understand the value and preciousness of their life that has been given by God.
If people are living together out of wedlock and deeply care for each other, then from God’s perspective it is the same as if they are married. If people are following the laws of the country with respect to the appropriate age to be living together, then we believe there is no problem if they are both caring consenting adults.
In God’s eyes, killing the enemy as a soldier in the military is a responsibility of the country. It’s not a personal responsibility. As ministers of Hito-no-michi (the predecessor of PL) in Japan were forced into military duty during the Second World War, the Second Founder told them to fight fearlessly because otherwise they would likely die. He said with fighting on the ground to always act first and look for things to hide behind, even if it were only a blade of grass. This was the way to survive. With regard to taking human lives in war, this is the responsibility of the country and it would suffer because of its involvement in war.
On the topic of women as ministers and women’s rights in society, first, there are many women who are PL ministers and there may even be a woman Oshieoya-sama in the future. In referring to
Precept 9, HUMAN BEINGS ARE ALL EQUAL, this means that men and women are equal in value; one doesn’’t have a higher value than the other. Then with
Precept 13, THERE IS A WAY FOR MEN AND A WAY FOR WOMEN, it means that although there are differences between them they are equal in value.
The Second Founder in his writings always regretted that some men are tyrants in the way they treat women. He also felt there are too many societies where woman are repressed and not allowed to express themselves freely. This is not God’s way and he felt truly sad about it.
On the topic of the Islamic faith, in PL we are taught to respect and accept all religions.
However, PL is totally against any form of fanaticism, the killing of human beings and the continual breeding of hatred within any society from whatever faith it may originate: Christian, Moslem, Hindu, etc.
“Most people don’t see themselves as artists, and they don’t feel they are creative people, PL teaches you to find fresh ways to solve problems and gives you the courage to apply creativity to all things that happen.”
Member for over 20 years, Ottawa