About the Sacred Grounds – Prototype of Paradise on Earth
While advancing the salvation of human beings, Meishu-sama carried out the construction of prototype of paradise on earth which shows in visual form the ideal world where people live in happiness, as “Sacred Grounds” and worked on expanding it to the world.
He stated, “It is obvious that God’s Will is constructing the prototypes of paradise on earth as the first step of it’s creation. However, it is not only prototypes; human beings, individuals must become paradisiacal people.” By saying so, Meishu-sama perceived individuals and families as prototypes of the world.
Also, he said, “In order to understand how the world can become a paradise, one must first consider the units that constitute the world. It begins, after all, with human beings. The world is composed of people, who form countries. Countries are composed of cities, towns, and villages, which are made up of families, and families are made up of individuals. Therefore, if the individual who constitutes the basic unit cannot be saved, then there is no way the world can be saved.”
In other words, he states that if individuals and families are saved, it expands and save the society and the world. At the same time, as the world is saved, it is reflected to the salvation of the individual. In this way, salvation is carried out bi-directionally.
The Sacred Grounds carry the desire for healing people and uplift the soul through the natural beauty of the four seasons, and the manmade beauty such as the museum and the art pieces.
In other words, there is a wish on the Sacred Grounds to spread salvation through beauty and to make it a prototype of promoting a life with art in the actual life of people.
Meishu-sama composed the poem, “I have constructed / A prototype of paradise, / To provide a place / Of rest and tranquility / For the world’s exhausted people,” and chose the places of scenic beauty of Hakone, Atami and Kyoto and proceeded on the constructions as the “sacred ground of the soul” and the “prototype of paradise on earth.”
He indicated the concept as “The vision of such prototypes is to make miniature paradises which contain in harmonious union the characteristic beauties of Japan and also those of other countries. These prototypes include big gardens with a beauty of mountains and water, museums dedicated to the arts, religiously unconventional style buildings, and so forth.”
Introduction of the Sacred Grounds
In 1944, with his opportunity of moving to Hakone, Meishu-sama purchased the property of the former Japan Park in Gora, and started the construction of Shinsenkyô. Meishu-sama himself directed the construction and the creation of the garden, and, though it was a chaotic time right after the WWII, with the participation of many followers’ voluntary works, it was completed in 1953.
Shinsenkyô consists from: “Shinzansô,” Japan’s Registered Tangible Cultural Property; “Kanzantei,” a sukiya style house with shake roof; “Sekiraku-ên Garden” made of the boulders’ arrangement from the nature; Moss Garden with a beautiful contrast of the maple leaves and the moss; “Nikkoden” designed by Isoya Yoshida, the famous sukiya style architect, constructed mainly for the performing entertainment; “Sangetsu-an” tea house built by Seibei Kimura, a master teahouse carpenter, under Meishu-sama’s instructions; and the “Hakone Museum of Art” designed by Meishu-sama himself; etc.
From its artistic nature, it was registered as a National Registered Monument (in the category of the Place of Scenic Beauty) in August, 2013. Then, in March, 2021, it received the evaluation, “From the landscape composition and history of Japanese gardens, it is exceptional for its unique and original qualities not found in other modern gardens,” and was officially designated as Japan’s “Place of Scenic Beauty.”
On it’s essential values, it is indicated in the “Evaluation and Research Report for the Preservation of Shinsenkyô” that it “is a garden created as a utopia which presents ‘prototype of paradise on earth’ which Mokichi Okada had created with his aspiration for peace, by sophisticatedly making use of the natural environment of Gora, Hakone, and has an exceptional design and structure which is unique and brilliant.” It is also pointed out that “it is also a case in which it was created as a place of comprehensively spreading and enjoying Japanese arts and culture together with the art pieces collected at the museum and therefore, it has a unique characteristic in the history of modern garden in Japan.”
Meishu-sama chose a piece of land on a hill in Atami, holding a great view of the Sagaminada sea including the floating Hatsushima and Oshima islands, the Izu Peninsula, and further out to the Boso Peninsula, and started the construction of Zuiunkyô (approx. 61.2 acres) in 1946.
Many followers volunteered on the construction which, just as the construction in Hakone, was carried out with the desire of having people enjoy the place as a prototype of paradise on earth.
In Zuiunkyô, there are: “Kyusei Kaikan”, the Le Corbusier-style architecture built for multi-purpose including theater; “Suishoden” (Cristal Hall), a semi-circular observatory of white walls designed by Meishu-sama where people could enjoy the panoramic view; “Azalea Hill” on the front slope of the Suishoden, in which about 3600 azaleas are planted on a round artificial hill; and “plum tree garden” at the lower part of the hill, with about 360 old plum trees representing the world of the Ogata Korin’s “Red and White Plum Blossoms.”
At the higher ground of Zuiunkyô, there is the MOA Museum of Art which owns and displays about 3500 art pieces—including the 3 National Treasures and 67 Important Cultural Properties—collected by Meishu-sama, where many people enjoy the moment filled with beauty.
At the time of his visit to Kansai area in 1951, Meishu-sama thought about constructing sacred grounds in Kyoto, along with Hakone and Atami. He purchased a piece of land (approx. 1.2 acre) and a building next to the Hirosawa Pond in Sagano, Kyoto, and named the land, “Heiankyô” and the traditional Japanese building on the property, “Shunju-an.” He used the Shunju-an as a base, staying there when he visited Kansai area, and also as a place to meet with the followers.
Heiankyô, which is located in the special preservation area for historic landscape, has a calm atmosphere with the remnant of the Heian Period. In the garden which makes full use of the beauty of the gentle curve of the refined and elegant landscape of Kyoto, flowering trees, grasses and flowers of the Spring and Autumn are planted, and two streams run gently on the land.
Places Related to Meishu-sama
Place of Birth
Meishu-sama was born in today’s Hashiba-cho, Taito-ku in Tokyo.
He was born on December 23, 1882, as the second son of a second-hand goods dealer, Kisaburo Okada (father) and Tori (mother), and lived there until he was 6 years old.
Sekai Kyusei Kyô purchased this land in June, 1972, and erected a monument of “Toho no Hikari” (Meishu-sama’s handwriting) in December of the same year.
The following words of Meishu-sama at the inauguration of the organization is engraved in this monument.
“God is Light, and where there is light, Peace, happiness, and joy abound Where there is darkness There is illness, poverty, and conflict Come to me, all who seek light and prosperity”
Sacred Site of Divine Revelation
On June 15, 1931, Meishu-sama followed a divine instruction and with a several dozen disciples, he climbed Mount Nokogiri in Kyonan-cho, Awa-gun in Chiba prefecture. He chanted a prayer toward the eastern sky at dawn, and received a revelation that from this date, the spiritual world will transition from the Age of Night with many unhappiness to the Age of Day filled with happiness.
At the same time, he deepened the awareness of his mission of creating a new civilization free of illness, poverty and conflict.
To honor this mystical and significant divine event eternally, Sekai Kyusei Kyô erected a monument of “Sacred Site of Divine Revelation” at this site on June 13, 1965.
In 1935, Meishu-sama inaugurated the Japan Kannon Society (present Sekai Kyusei Kyo) at the temporary headquarter in Kojimachi, Tokyo. In October of the same year, he purchased a house whose property is about 2.4 acres in Kaminoge, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo and moved the headquarters there. He named the site, “Gyokusenkyo” and he advanced the Divine Work from here afterwards.
In October 1936, he built a house in the southwest area of this large property, where Mt. Fuji could be viewed, and named it “Fujimitei (Fuji view lodge).” From that time until April 1944, he lived in this house and carried out activities such as the writings of the Divine Scroll and “Ohikari” and giving guidance to executives and disciples. It was the first building he built since the establishment of Japan Kannon Society.
In 1955, the Fujimitei in “Gyokusenkyo” was dismantled, and was preserved with its architectural blueprint. Then, it was rebuilt within Shinsenkyô in Hakone in 1974.
In 1944, Meishu-sama purchased the second house of a business person in Higashiyama, Atami-shi in Shizuoka prefecture, and named it “Touzansô.” For 4 years until 1948, he lived there mainly from Autumn to Spring, and used the main building for his daily life, and the annex for meeting with his followers, writing “Ohikari” and the Divine Scroll, and writing the teachings.
At this Touzansô, Meishu-sama expressed his plan, “In the future, on the mountain over there, I will construct a building that can accommodate thousands of people.” In 1945, he purchased the land and started the construction of Zuiunkyô prototype of paradise in Atami.
The 7 buildings including the main building and annex of the Touzansô, and the storehouse for storing the art pieces he collected, were indicated to be valuable as a modern Japanese second-house architecture containing the history from early Showa to today, and were designated as Japan’s Registered Tangible Cultural Property (architecture) in August, 2016.
Sakimicho Temporary Headquarter
It was used as a temporary headquarter until the Kyusei Kaikan was completed in Atami Zuiunkyô. From December 23, 1950, it was used as a place for Gomenkai (meeting with the members) and for enjoying performing arts and movies with the followers.
It is still used for various events today.
“Hekiunsô” was Meishu-sama’s residence in the city of Atami at the busiest time of his life, and the time when most multilateral Divine Plans were realized.
He had interviews with the executives of the organization, did the dictation of the teachings, did the writings of the Divine Scroll and “Ohikari,” and from here he went to the temporary headquarter in Sakimicho for the Gomenkai (meeting with the followers) and visited the construction site of Zuiunkyô. From the point that he spent his last years of his life and ascended to heaven at this place, it is a facility with great significance.
In 1949, while Meishu-sama worked on the construction of Zuiunkyô, he purchased the land in the hilly region of Atami and expressed the construction plan of “Zuisenkyô.” His aim was to practice and expand the Three Major Enterprises there in order to solve the issues of Japan after the WWII, such as the hardships of life coming from inflation and food shortage, and healthcare issues such as tuberculosis. Starting from creating a sanatorium for weak persons and those who need to rest after recovering from an illness, he planned creating orchards, growing flowers, and constructing a farm including the poultry farming and dairy farming.
Meishu-sama mentioned the Zuisenkyô concept every once in a while, taught the necessity of directly solving the issues in the society by taking actions and not through theories, and continued to visit the site until his ascension.
Due to the issues involving the land, the construction did not advance at this place, but his vision was realized in Izu-no-Kuni City, and now the various enterprises are being practiced and expanding as Ohito Zuisenkyô.