A garden that has nothing of an Eden

Le Soir/October 27, 1998

By André Riche and Mar Vandermeir

"I entered the sect in 1986. I had health problems and my aunt, I didn't know she was a member, introduced me." Christiane Jacob has been morally destroyed by the Sukyo Mahikari sect in which was practiced a medecine by the light, a kind of imaginary flow the members are exchanging as a sign of love, doing what looks like a hitlerian salute.

In Japan, the sect is promoting nazi ideas such as "The Jews deserved the Holocaust", and the young paramilitary guard does not hesitate to parade publically. The European facade looks more presentable and is flooding the Japanese facade with money. The main point is to gain the highest number of members and urge them to show their faith doing money donations. "I gave 125.000 Frs for the restoration of the castle, in addition to donations from 5.000 to 8.000 frcs I did almost every week at a particular period", tells Christiane. Her husband was cured by the "light" for serious heart problems. A surgery was necessary, but the sect did not agree. He died. Now she has come back to a normal life, ruined, Christiane Jacob bursts out when we tell her that the park/garden received European funds. "It is really a shame! I can assure you that the park was not restored for 2.4 million. The members cared for the plantations and maintenance!"

Hanging on the gates, an advertisment proudly indicates that the park has been choosen as a pilot project by the European Commission in 1993. It is open to the public. Visitors discover terrace gardens adorned with statutes and some basins and fountains, some of which are empty and in a bad state. The lawn, if well maintained, is only meadow grass. In some places, the branches of old fruit trees, if well cut back, are tearing the space with their twisted forms. Between two terraces, a balustrade overhangs a fountain : the painting of the gilts seems to be fresh.

Nice gardens. But it is hard to see the trace of such a funding. All the more that it seems that these gardens were already in their current state before 1993. As far as the castle is concerned, we feel a strong atmosphere of nostalga and sadness. A wing is restored, as well as, on the other side of the yard, three little houses for the personnel. Some 150 million would have been swallowed in the works, the competent authorities in Luxemburg say there was no public help. The second part of the castle is in a very bad state.

Except for the park, "Private" small pannels are warning the visitor who comes across the yard. This yard where the Japanese high priestess, Mrs Okada, was welcomed with great pomp in 1992; Luxemburg officials were present. "On that day", Christiane remembers, "we could not wear the emblem, nor exchange light. Suddenly, we should pretend to take no notice, as thought we had something to hide.

This article obtained from Mahikari Under investigation In Europe

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