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Miki Tokuharu

Miki Tokuharu (1871–1938). Founder of the Japanese religion Hito-no-michi, and indirectly of PL Kyōdan. He was a Zen Buddhist priest who joined a movement called Tokumitsukyō. This had been founded by Kanada Tokumitsukyō (1863–1924), who had identified the sun as the source of all appearance. He introduced a form of faith-healing called ofurikae, through which he would take on himself, like a bodhisattva, the afflictions of all who came for help. When Kanada died in 1924, it looked as though the movement would disappear. But Miki Tokuharu followed the instructions of Kanada and planted a memorial tree at which he worshipped for five years, experiencing the presence of Kanada. As a result, he and his son, Tokuchika, reestablished the movement with the name Hitono-michi Kyōdan (‘The Way of Man Society’), which was renamed again after the Second World War as P(erfect) L(ife) Kyōdan. The twenty-one precepts revealed by Kanada remained the basis of belief, but the central practice of life now became summarized in the words, jinsei wa gejutsu de aru, ‘living life as art’, or ‘life is art’, which means that any activity honestly undertaken can be converted into a work of art and beauty. PL Kyōdan not only sponsors art extensively, but also encourages a wide range of activities, from sports to medicine, all of which exemplify the human possibility of converting life into art.

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