Shumei International Institute
Interview Conducted by: Jaymie Oppenheim and Cassie Hoffman
Yoshiyuki Yominaga is a practicing member of the Shumei International Institute in Crestone, Colorado. Shumei, formally known as Shinji Shumeikai, “is a spiritual organization dedicated to elevating the quality of life…There is no conflict between Shumei’s approach to spirituality and any religion that seeks universal wellbeing. People who participate with Shumei come from diverse backgrounds and, many maintain and deepen their various religious beliefs and practices after becoming members” (www.shumei.com). The three fundamental practices of Shumei include the spiritual exercise of giving and receiving Jyorei, the appreciation and promotion of art and beauty, and the practice of natural agriculture.
Throughout his childhood, Yoshiyuki did not believe in God nor did he ascribe to any one religion. However, at the age of seventeen, he was introduced to Shumei when he received Jyorei from his older brother, who had recently become a member of the tradition. In Yoshiyuki’s words, “Jyorei means the purification of the spirit…any person can receive it…when we give Jyorei, we think the prayer of health and happiness for the receiver…it comes from the divine light”. At the time, he was suffering terribly from migraines, backaches, and nightly insomnia. After receiving Jyorei only three times, Yoshiyuki began to experience exceptional healing; his migraines went from once a week, to once a month, to once a year, while his insomnia and backaches disappeared completely. It was this experience that ignited Yoshiyuki’s belief in the divine light, and influenced his decision to embark on a new spiritual path. At the age of nineteen he became an official member of Shumei.
After several years of practicing Shumei in Japan, Yoshiyuki moved to the Philippines not only spread knowledge of this modern custom, but also to practice in a new and different culture. After living in the Philippines for nearly a decade, he and his wife sought a more pristine and spiritually active location in which they could carry out Shumei rituals. The recently established center in Crestone seemed the perfect fit, hence their decision to relocate to Colorado. As Yoshiyuki mentioned, “One year ago I came here because I was in the Philippines and my wife was suffering from air pollution…this place is much clearer.”
After moving to Crestone it became apparent to Yoshiyuki that he and his wife had found a unique place. Not only was the spiritual energy more powerful in Crestone than any place he had been before, but the unspoiled environment also served as an immediate aid to his wife’s respiratory illnesses. Because of the power of the spiritual energy within Crestone, Yoshiyuki has recently experienced a deeper religious understanding. He has found the energy here can be channeled into promoting peace and harmony around the world. “There is more spiritual power here than other places… If we pray for world peace here it will be realized easier than in other places.”
The potential natural gas drilling in the Crestone area will undoubtedly alter the pristine and unique environment that Yoshiyuki, as well as countless others, benefit from. “If we damage nature it will come back to human beings…it will of course come back to us.”