You are on page 1of 9



The Relationship
Between Scientology and
Other Religions

Fumio Sawada
Eighth Holder of the Secrets
of Yu-itsu Shinto

i. INTRODUCTION may not correspond to the Western def-

inition. For this study we shall use the
This writer is Japanese, and this paper is Japanese definition. For the purpose of
about the similarities and differences of the Japanese law one can add that to be a
Scientology religion with other religions of religion the religious organization must
the world. This paper will also take a spe- also disseminate the teachings, perform
cial interest in the similarities and differ- religious ceremonies and train parish-
ences from a Japanese perspective and thus ioners. Scientology does all these as
will be comparing Scientology to Japanese outlined in the following pages.
religions. It is said in a 31-syllable Japanese
The term religion in Japan means to poem called a “Waka” that there are
teach the origin, teach the source of the ori- many paths at the foot of the mountain,
gin. That is the Japanese definition, but but the view of the moon is the same at

of Scientology

the peak. This is an old poem and pre- Dianetics movement grew and the
dates Christianity’s arrival in Japan. research expanded from the mind into
Mostly it refers to the two main religions the spirit, another subject was born —
of Japan, Shinto and Buddhism, where it Scientology — and the first Church
was said that you end up the same no was founded in 1954 in the United
matter which sect you belonged to. The States. Dianetics first entered Japan
point being made was, why quarrel? But shortly after that, but the first formal
more importantly, when there are so Scientology missionary expansion into
many similarities among religions, why Japan occurred in 1962, making
concentrate on differences? this the actual starting point of
Scientology’s history in Japan. On 10
The Scientology religion is relatively September 1962 the first official lecture
unknown in Japan, although many on Scientology was given to a packed
libraries contain Scientology books writ- auditorium.
ten not only by the founder, L. Ron
Hubbard, but also by the Church of The word “Scientology” comes from
Scientology itself. Having read 30 books the Latin scio, meaning “Knowing — in
on the subject, this writer feels that any the fullest sense of the word,” and the
person wishing to know more on the Greek logos, which means “to study.”
subject is well-advised to read these
books. In the book Scientology — The
Fundamentals of Thought, Mr. Hubbard
explains that the subject is actually
ii. WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY? descended from the roots of psychology,
but that we must understand that it is
The origins of Scientology date back not descended from current psychology,
to the 1930s when L. Ron Hubbard, the but rather the older psychology as was
American who was to become the taught in the religions of the world
founder of Scientology, travelled the before the spiritual essence of the study
East and asked himself why man was liv- was removed in the last century.
ing such a miserable life. No one had
been able to answer his questions, when, Psychology means literally “the
as a young man, he had asked where study of the spirit.” Psychology of today
man came from and where man was has lost this meaning and no longer
going. studies or recognizes the spirit as a bona
fide field of study. In this sense
In 1950, Mr. Hubbard wrote a book Scientology is very different, as it does
on a subject he called Dianetics study the spirit, as most great religions
(“through mind”), which was his early of the world do.
research into the mind. The book,
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Religions generally accept that the
Health was very popular and soon human spirit is related to the great “life-
became a bestseller, and has sold more force” of this universe. However, the
than 17 million copies. As the word “spirit” is difficult to define. Some

Appendix Eight

of Scientology

would argue that the spirit is in fact the backgrounds. Being a member of more
human mind. But in Scientology the than one religion is very common in
term “spirit” would mean “oneself” and Japan and the East. In this tradition,
it means much more than just the some Japanese students of Scientology
mind. In one Japanese Shinto religion, also do not give up their other religions,
Seichi-no-Ie, it is expressed as what but from what this writer can under-
would be translated into “the child of stand, have used their study of
God.” It would correspond to the Scientology to strengthen their previ-
Japanese words “hime” or “hiko.” In ous religious commitment and faith in
Scientology, Mr. Hubbard coined the God. This is slightly similar in concept
word thetan, from the Greek for spirit, to what is practiced in the relatively
as no other existing word could fully new Shinto religion, Seico-no-Ie,
describe it. which also has followers coming from
Buddhist, Christian and other faiths.
The concept of coining new words
to explain new concepts that have no
existing words is not new to religion. In iii. SCIENTOLOGY AND ITS
Japan, Master Kobodaishi, the founder INTERRELATION WITH OTHER
of Shingon (a very old and traditional, RELIGIONS
large esoteric Buddhist sect) coined
many words that needed to be Scientology has an obvious similari-
developed so that the religion could be ty with Buddhism. So much so that Mr.
practiced. Hubbard once asked the question of
Buddhist leaders in Asia if it were pos-
Yet at the same time there is no new sible that he was the Metteya who had
word for God coined in Scientology. been prophesied by Buddha. Buddha,
Though the framework of God may not Guatama Siddhartha, had told his fol-
be part of the Scientology study, and lowers when he was about to die that in
members may have their own ideas of the future a Buddha would come to
what this term is or is not, the words complete the job he had begun, and
used for it are “the Supreme Being,” the that he was to be known as Metteya. If
“infinite,” “the allness of all,” “the Mr. Hubbard is to complete the
author of the universe,” and of course humane intentions of the great
“God.” Siddhartha, only time will tell. It is not
the purpose of this paper to answer the
Unlike some other religions, question that Mr. Hubbard raised.
Scientology has no particular dogma However, the fulfilling of prophesies is
about the concept of God, but rather another similarity to other religions,
allows the person to develop his own great and small.
understanding of how he fits into the
universe and the nature of things. From The first book that this writer read
there faith may follow. Thus was Scientology — The Fundamentals of
Scientology students not only appear to Thought. In reading this book, this
come from all walks of life and nation- writer immediately thought of how sim-
alities, but from very diverse religious ilar the contents were to Shinto reli-

Appendix Eight

gions. Specifically there is the under- Itsu Shinto, what could be a corre-
standing that life is but an apparency, sponding term means “The Great Life
and that the physical world is actually Force of the Universe.” It is also in
the apparent world, there to be seen by common with Hakke Shinto, which
the senses. This is very similar to the had been in charge of religious services
teachings of the founder of Seicho-no- for the Imperial Household until the
Ie, Master Masaharu Taniguchi. time of the Meiji Restoration. This
(Master Taniguchi was one of the four same concept then became the basis of
people to write down the newer Shinto religions such
Story Of The Universe for as Mahikari, which boomed
Holy Master Onisaburo Religions after the war.
Deguchi of Oomoto, anoth- generally accept
er Shinto religion of Japan.) that the human The concept of a person
Both Oomoto and Seicho- having lived before is old
no-Ie are relatively recent in
spirit is related to and fully accepted by
Japanese history with the great Eastern religions. Scien-
Oomoto beginning at the “life-force” of this tology theory and practice is
end of the last century and universe. Some based around this concept,
Seicho-no-Ie beginning in that one is a spiritual being
the 1920s. would argue that which Mr. Hubbard has
the spirit is in fact called a thetan, and that
In Buddhism, this same the human mind. one can recall his past lives,
idea of the “apparency of and that as a spiritual being
life” is expressed as “Shiki
But in Scientology his actions of his past deter-
soku, Ku soku ze shiki” the term “spirit” mine his situation in the
which means simply that would mean present. There are more
anything that can be per- “oneself” and it than 180,000 religious bod-
ceived with the five senses is ies in Japan, and I would
simply nothingness or means much more expect that this concept is
empty. The Buddhists also than just the shared by most of them in
maintain that the universes mind. one way or another. Of
of man are only manifesta- course this concept dates
tions of the mind. Of course back not only to the time of
Buddhism also has a much deeper Buddha, but also to the Veda, the
meaning, as does Scientology. source of the great Indian religions.

Other explanations about life and

the mind are also comparable to some iv. SCIENTOLOGY
Shinto beliefs, such as that the memo- PRACTICE–AUDITING
ries of experience are recorded in a film-
like memory, each frame duplicating The central practice of Scientology
the events for the person. This again is called auditing, from Latin audire,
has similarities to Seicho-no-Ie. But which means to listen. The person
one term in Scientology that was of answering questions put to him by the
great interest is the term theta. In Yui auditor (“one who listens”) brings about

of Scientology

Appendix Eight

for himself a senior state of mind and Clear. As the preclear answers the ques-
spirit, and a curing of bodily psychoso- tions put to him by the auditor, he expe-
matic ills. This is very much in common riences relief of stress, a betterment and
with some of the newer Shinto religions peace of mind, and general spiritual
that come from the Yui-Itsu Shinto line well-being. The training time to
which dates back 1,400 years in Japan. become a proficient auditor will vary
but it can take from months to years
Scientology thought began with Mr. depending on the level of proficiency
Hubbard’s early research in the 1930s, and exactitude the auditor is striving to
which is the same time the newer achieve.
Shinto religions were searching for a In the Oomoto religion, the practice
means of applicable religious practice to of “Naikan” is still practiced and reha-
heal the spirit. Auditing began in the bilitates juvenile delinquents, resulting
USA in 1950, when Dianetics: The in regional governmental commenda-
Modern Science of Mental Health was tion for the practice. Again comparable,
published. In this book Mr. Hubbard Scientology has juvenile rehabilitation
outlines how one can attain the state programs operating in many parts of the
known as Clear — free from what is world. Of course Naikan and auditing
referred to as the reactive mind. It could have similarities, but are also fundamen-
be compared to the state of “Satori” or tally different. This is an example, how-
even “Naikan” in Buddhism. In some ever, showing two religions approaching
Shinto religions, where a person medi- the same problem from two different
tates on his experiences of childhood or cultures and arriving at answers that
his past lives, under a teacher’s direc- have obvious similarities. With audit-
tion, to self-reflect on the way he is ing, one would tell the auditor in
now. Auditing, which also can be minute detail of what he had found
described as a reflection on one’s past, troubling him in life from his past,
be it childhood or past lives, can also where with “Naikan” one would reflect
bring about the same reflection and for himself under a teacher’s tutelage.
understanding of one’s current state The end result for both is betterment in
in life. spiritual behaviour and a resurgence of
ethical conduct.
How to conduct auditing is learned
by a person who studies in Scientology In the practice of Seicho-no-Ie,
study rooms called academies and course called “Sin-So-Kan,” a person is trained
rooms. There, under the guidance of a to confront himself through his past.
supervisor, the student reads and prac- This also has a similarity with auditing.
tices the techniques of auditing. In both practices one has to confront his
Auditing is the practice whereby this own past.
trained auditor has a person who is not Scientology has a graded path to
Clear answer questions about his past. enlightenment which is called the
The person receiving this auditing is Bridge to Total Freedom. The result of
called the “preclear,” as he is not yet travelling this Bridge, by being audited

of Scientology

and learning how to audit, is not In the Christian confessional one also
only great enlightenment but also a has to confront one’s past. Again this is sim-
spiritual beingness comparable to ilar to Scientology, which also offers confes-
“Chin-Kon-Ki-Shin,” the great secret of sional procedure. A person has to look back
Shinto, which means “to appease into his past, confront another person with
the spirit of man so that he can return it — the auditor — and confess. The result
to a God-like state.” This is very is the same for both faiths — a betterment
similar in concept. This has been prac- of the spirit and a resurgence in life.
ticed by various Shinto reli-
gions, including Hakke One cannot This brings us full circle
Shinto, which was founded reach any other again to the prophecy of
in 1025 A.D. decision than that Buddha, who predicted that
one day Metteya would liber-
Making people better Scientology is a ate man from what is holding
with the natural spiritual religion. It has him back. In Japan, the
healing arts is not a lost more similarities Metteya prophecy is different
practice in Japanese reli- from those of the Pali. Here
to Japanese
gions, as it is for some other the prophecy is not so much
religions. Religions such as religions than that a person will necessarily
Seicho-no-Ie, Sekai-Kyusei- Western religions, return, but rather that man
kyo, Shinto-tenkokyo, Ananai- and for this could have a way of returning
kyo and others are all inter-
ested in practices in Japan
reason it may be to the spiritual state as
prophesied. Many religions
that bring out the state of misunderstood in in Japan have been waiting
Chin-kon-Kishin. The num- the West for not for such events to evolve,
ber of followers number 20 being similar to the both Buddhist and Shinto.
million. Though their tech- Scientology does have a
niques may be different,
other mainstream means of raising man’s spiri-
their purposes and goals religions. But, tual ability. Japan is a country
have a direct similarity to nevertheless, it is where religions place an
the Scientology practice of an international accent on the raising of one’s
auditing and having its spiritual ability. From a
members move up the
religion. very Japanese point of view,
Bridge to Total Freedom, similar to religions Scientology is indeed a
grade by grade. in Japan that similar religion to others
have adherents already here.
In other major world
religions, too, such a state is numbering
not without description. In 20 million. v. CEREMONIES
Islam, there is the term
“Imam Zamam” which means a person Religion would not be complete without
so enlightened that he can fully perceive ceremonies, and Scientology has a book
all the seven meanings of the Holy called Background and Ceremonies, used by
Koran. ministers of Scientology Churches for

Appendix Eight

funeral services, wedding services and for similar to the other mainstream
welcoming newborns into the world, to religions. But, nevertheless, it is an
mention but a few of the Scientology international religion, very similar to
services. In the West, Sunday services are religions in Japan that have adherents
also performed. numbering 20 million.

I would also like to introduce the

vi. CONCLUSION esteemed academic religious scholar and
Emeritus Fellow of Oxford University of
In conclusion, one cannot reach any England, Bryan Ronald Wilson. He has
other decision than that Scientology is written a very detailed study of
a religion. It has more similarities Scientology, and for further details on
to Japanese religions than Western Scientology from a Western scholastic
religions, and for this reason it may be point of view, I highly recommend this
misunderstood in the West for not being study for further reading.

Fumio Sawada

About the Author historical record of Japan. The third holder of the secrets
was the founder of the Shugendo religion.
Fumio Sawada is the eighth holder of the secrets of Mr. Sawada was once director of Sophia University,
Yu-itsu Shinto, the oldest religion in Japan. Yu-itsu one of Japan’s most distinguished universities. He is
Shinto means The Way of One God, Creator of Heaven Chairman of the Christian Democratic Party of Japan.
and Earth. The first holder of the Yu-itsu Shinto secret, He has been accorded the venerated Islamic title of Haji,
or Tamanoya secrets, as they can also be called, was having completed a pilgrimage to Mecca. He is president
Shoto-ku Taishi (Crown Prince of Shotoku) of 1440 of the Ahlut-Bait (A.S.) Center in Japan. His eldest son is
years ago. The second holder of the secrets was Emperor currently studying Islam in Iran, while his second son is
Tenmu of 712, who also wrote Kojiki, the first written studying in the Vatican.