The First Founder, the Rev. Tokuharu Miki (1871-1938), served as a Zen Buddhist priest of the Obaku Sect.
In 1912 he met the Rev. Tokumitsu Kanada, who instantly cured his chronic asthma by the Sacred Rite of Ofurikae (the power to temporarily cure illnesses). Tokuharu Miki was so impressed by this miracle, as well as by Kanada's personality and profound teachings, that he decide to become his disciple.
At that time in Japan, tuberculosis was one of the most deadly diseases and many bright, promising youths lost their lives to it. Tokuharu thought that this was a great loss to the country. so he asked Kanada to teach him this Sacred Rite of Ofurikae by which he could save young people afflicted by the disease. Four years later he was allowed to become a disciple of Kanada so he could master his teachings.
Before his untimely death, Kanada told Tokuharu that his Tokumitsu Church had 18 Precepts, but there were three more which were to be revealed to complete the teachings. Furthermore, he told Tokuharu to plant a sacred tree (Himorogi) on the site where he would shortly die and to guard and pray before it until a great man appeared and revealed the other three Precepts. Then he must establish a church and devote himself as a minister until the end for the sake of people and society.
After five years of praying before the sacred tree to fulfill Kanada's will, the remaining three Precepts were revealed to Tokuharu Miki himself, one after the other. He then established the new Tokumitsu Church in 1924 and became the First Kyoso (Oshieoya, Founder). But after the urging of the members in 1931, the name was changed to the Hitonomichi Church (meaning "the way of humans" ).
The Hitonomichi Church spread rapidly throughout Japan, Korea, China and to other Southeast Asia countries and its members numbered one million in a short period of time. In 1936 however, the Church was unjustly suppressed by the military government and ordered to disband. The Founder prayed and asked God to cut short his life by 30 years, so that by his sacrifice, these teachings would remain and true world peace would be realized sooner. During this persecution of the Church, on July 6, 1938, the Rev. Tokuharu Miki passed from this world at the age of 67.
The Second Founder,the Rev. Tokuchika Miki (1900-1983), together with his father, the First Founder, fully devoted himself to propagate the truth of Hitonomichi Church. In 1936 he succeeded the First Founder and became the Second Founder of the Church. (Founder in this sense means founding a religion appropriate to the current age--that is, PL is not static, but has adapted to the times.) He was also unjustly imprisoned and charged with "lese majesty," but when the war over in 1945, he was released and acquitted of all charges.
At Tosu City in Saga Prefecture, on September 29, 1946, Tokuchika Miki reestablished the Hitonomichi Church, but under the new name of the Church of Perfect Liberty, declaring the truth, "Life is Art."
On September 29 of 1947, he revealed the PL 21 Precepts, the basic teachings of PL. The Church expanded rapidly all over Japan and in 1953, construction began on the present Headquarters in Tondabayashi, on the edge of Osaka. On May 29, 1958, the Rite of Oyashikiri Prayer was revealed by the Second Founder. He worked hard for religious cooperation. He organized the "Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan" and chaired it for many years. He was appointed by the Ministry of Education to their Commission for Religious Cooperation.
Three times he visited the Vatican, meeting with both Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II to talk about world peace.
In 1970 he oversaw the completion of the PL Peace Tower, a 600 foot high non-sectarian monument, dedicated to all those from the beginning of human history who have died in war. Having greatly influenced the religious world and the lives of untold numbers of people, on February 2, 1983, at the age of 82, Tokuchika Miki passed away.
The Third Founder, the Rev. Takahito Miki (1957-) immediately succeeded to the divine position of Oshieoya, becoming the Third Founder of the Church of Perfect Liberty.
Rev. Takahito Miki is an adopted son of the Second Founder, and was raised by him and his wife according to the teachings of PL. He demonstrated his intelligence and high state of mind from a young age. When he was only 12 years old, along with many undergraduate students, he tried one of the most difficult exams for a national computer degree and passed. He continues to show us the joy of practicing the "Way of human beings" in daily life.
Since becoming Oshieoya, he has been energetically visiting the approximately 700 PL churches around the world and meeting members to give his blessing.
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