Books on Mindfulness

Our Story

A Mother’s Love:

The Healing Art of Naikan

Shinkō Ōyama, Tutvivado Production,

ISBN 978-1-9161861-1-8

3 December 2019


We invite you to read about spiritual awakening in Japan. Drawing on the wisdom of Zen, this book introduces us to the Japanese practice of Naikan, a program of self-healing through profound mindfulness. This book is a basic guide for complete beginners who wish to take the first steps on this journey.

This therapeutic system encourages us to delve into our past to find a deeper understanding of ourselves and new hope for the future. Through Naikan, we are asked to reflect upon our mothers who gave us life and are invited to discover mother love perhaps for the first time. Our journey begins with three simple questions. Searching for answers takes us on a quest which will rejuvenate our perception and encourage us to find fulfillment.

The therapeutic results of undertaking the program are not only a release from emotional pain but also an understanding of our relationships with others and the essence of human existence. Shinkō Ōyama demonstrates how profoundly transformational this healing practice is.





About the Author

Shinkō Ōyama grew up in the south of Japan as the eldest son of a local brewer. As a graduate of economics, he began a promising corporate career. He then unexpectedly lost his mother to an illness before discovering Naikan from its founder, Ishin Yoshimoto. Subsequently, Ōyama gave up his career to become a monk. Now, as one of the most senior teachers of Zen in Japan, Ōyama runs a Naikan retreat center and has spent over 31 years helping individuals find lasting solutions to their personal problems.






Higher Potential

The healing method, known as Naikan, is a close cousin of Zen. The potential of Naikan as a therapy has been unknown to the West, although the healing center of Shinkō Ōyama and other healing centers in Japan have already catered for the needs of foreign visitors, including researchers who are not familiar with Japanese culture and the language. 

For most of us who grew up in the West, it is difficult to imagine that something like meditation or reflection can actually heal or alleviate human suffering like stress, depression, eating disorders and panic attacks. 

Naikan is different from Zen, because it uses a room divider or partition to create seclusion for indoor meditation. Zen can be practiced in groups. The participants can see each other sitting and meditating in the same room. By contrast, in Naikan, you are alone: usually, a Naikan session takes place in a quiet room with a single participant sitting continuously for seven consecutive days. It’s a staff-assisted retreat with meals and boarding provided. Ōyama’s book is about what people go through psychologically during the seven-day retreat. It is quite an odyssey.

The practice of Naikan aims to awaken the natural healing power of the human memory. The outcome of Naikan is not determined by the participant’s background: age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, and social status do not make a difference.

The healing process is about delving into our past and rejuvenating our perception of what has happened. It encourages us to meditate on our mothers. Unless we remove all our hang-ups about our upbringing, especially as regards the relationship between us and our biological mothers, we cannot expect any positive outcomes from any therapy. This point has been recognized by the Japanese medical profession.

In Naikan, healing, including the significant reduction of emotional suffering, seems to take place, not because of what has already happened, but from the rebirth of one’s perception.

This is what Shinkō Ōyama says in his book:

“Close your eyes for a while and take three deep breaths. Picture yourself and your mother together during your childhood. Imagine a time when you were bathed in your mother’s love. It was a time when you felt protected and cared for. Try to apply this love to your everyday living.”

This is easier said than done; hence the necessity of the book.