Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Our Minds Create Our Bright Future

Thank you very much for attending today’s service. Some people asked about the result of the Presidential Election last Tuesday and sought for my opinion. So, I would like to briefly speak about it.

Some people wonder what will happen when Mr. Donald Trump becomes the President of the United States of America next year. Meanwhile, a couple of people said why did God allow him to be elected. You have to know that God never chose Trump as the new President-elect but the citizens of America did. In other words, the phenomenal world is actually a manifestation of our minds. In Seicho-No-Ie we have learned that our environment is created by our minds and we should be grateful to the current environment because it is a work of the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World. We have to learn from a phenomenon which is unfolded before us.

Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi, founder of Seicho-No-Ie, said, “The Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World appears in different forms and gives us lectures of salvation.” (Song In Praise Of The Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World, p. 2) Therefore, our environment is the best teacher to give us lessons to improve ourselves. We need to learn from our environment. This election is no exception.

Many people have resentment and are in disbelief of this result based on some of Trump’s disgusting remarks. These people thought he should not be the President-elect, but he was elected. Why? As you often heard that the candidates of this election were very unpopular and voters often thought their main criterion was who is worse. Trump’s comments were in disbelief because these words were uttered by the future President. Any remark given during the Presidential election is very important and influential to not only American citizens but also people in the world, but what he said was beyond our common sense.

Trump’s comments are as if a doctor who gives a serious diagnosis jokingly to his patient. For example, if a doctor told his patient that she had cancer and would not be able to live more than 6 months. Doctors never say this kind of joke to their patients. The future President of the United States of America is the same. As a candidate for the Presidency he should not have said certain things like this doctor’s joking comment. The worse was that these remarks were not jokes but part of his belief. However, the result of the election was that Donald Trump was elected as the future President.

Why was he elected? The next morning of the Presidential Election Day, Matthew Dowd, a political consultant, was talking about an interesting thing on the TV show Good Morning America. He spoke about the popular vote of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in California. He said, “112 of 115 polls in the last four days had Hillary Clinton winning in this election… First, there’s about 6 million or 7 million votes out in California. Hillary Clinton is going to get a net of 2 million or 3 million more votes in California and going to win the popular vote by a fairly large margin, a million to a million-five. Right now Donald Trump has less votes than John McCain did when he lost to Barack Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney did when he lost to Barack Obama in 2012 and one of the things I looked at for all of the work that everybody did there was about 3 million to 4 million democrats that did not show up and vote yesterday in the course of this election. This election will have the lowest turnout percentage-wise in 20 years.”

The fact is that people did not like Trump’s comment, but obviously many democrats in California did not vote. They did not support Hillary Clinton to win. This phenomenon showed not only in California but all of the United States. Many people did not vote and as a result Donald Trump was elected. This result is not his fault at all. Of course it is not God’s fault either. Last Wednesday over 10,000 people gathered in Manhattan to oppose Donald Trump or the result of this election. My daughters who live in Santa Barbara, California also said that about 1,000 young people gathered in the city of Santa Barbara and marched to oppose the future President Donald Trump. I think they should have marched as many times as they could before the election. 

Everything in this phenomenal world is created by our minds. We have to deeply realize this truth, decide our plans and carry them out immediately and courageously in accordance with the plans. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote as follows:

             Turn your decision into action now. Thoughts are only dreams until they are put into practice… Go! When you proceed boldly, the road opens up. When a person proceeds with firm resolve, a countless number of people will pay homage and ask if they might not help. Difficulties fade before those who would insist on advancing courageously, without losing heart when others would lose heart, without despairing when others would despair. (Truth of Life Volume 7, p. 159)

The first step is to make a decision. To make a decision means to give up something. Rev. Taniguchi wrote as follows:

             When a decision is needed, there is a choice that has to be made between one objective and another that also has its merits. When there is only one aspiration that draws a person’s attention, there is no need for anything like a decision. He will easily decide to go in the direction of that aspiration.
             Therefore, a decision means that something has to be given up. To give up something means that a clean break is needed with whatever it is that has been rejected. A person must be good at making a clean break with what he has rejected. (Truth of Life Volume 7, p. 163)

I think Mr. Trump is a person who is good at making a decision and proceeding with it immediately. Because he is a man of action, I think he was elected this time. However, you should know that whatever we decide and proceed immediately is not enough. We need to choose a right decision. Basically, Trump’s decision is to make America to go back to the old time and revive the economic power again by using the underground resources because he seemingly does not believe climate change and global warming. The “great America” should not go back to that old economic power. The “great America” should be the eco-friendly power which creates a bright future for future generations. In that sense the Seicho-No-Ie movement is very critical to change our future.

To conclude my lecture, I would like you to be strong to perform what you believe in. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi also emphasizes this. I share Rev. Taniguchi’s encouragement and conclude my lecture.

             To have a loving consideration for those about us is a necessary virtue that we must cultivate by all means. But, to be considerate toward others and to worry about others are two different things. To have a deep consideration for others is a virtue that comes from a deep and healthy love; to worry about others is an attitude stemming from personal weakness. Since the former comes from a strong personality, he who has consideration for others does not hesitate and worry about what others thing…
             Once you have decided that a task is good and it should be done, tell yourself that this is a final pronouncement of the God who dwells within you, and carry it out. (Truth of Life Volume 7, pages 160-161)


I hope all of you practice Shinsokan Meditation daily, receive inspirations from the higher spiritual world, make a right decision, and carry it out promptly. You are a child of God. You can do it. Thank you very much.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

How to Improve Your Relationships

In many consultations I’ve conducted, I have noticed that the problems people have brought to me and sought guidance for are usually related to their relationship and financial problems. Today I will talk about a relationship problem. Relationship problems are varied and happen between a couple, among family members, among people in the work place, and/or neighbors.

While listening to people’s stories, I find they often have a communication problem. If they can solve the communication problem, they will be able to solve half of their problems. However, many people do not know how to properly communicate with other people.

First I listen and then give the following suggestions to have good communication:

1)     Believe in yourself and that you are a wonderful person because you are a child of God. Also believe in the person with whom you need to speak and also believe he or she is also a child of God and a good person.
2)   Get more information about the person with whom you have a problem. You have to know the person well to better communicate with him or her.
3)   Use a better choice of words. Speak clearly and articulately.
4)   Ask yourself about your problems with “why” and find the real root cause of the problem.

The first suggestion is the basic Seicho-No-Ie (SNI) teaching and I have explained this on many occasions. I will not explain it thoroughly this time, but still I need to emphasize that you have to know that you are a child of God just as you are and this fact never changes. You have to recognize this not only intellectually but also in your heart. It means your actions need to follow your belief.

When you realize that you are a child of God, your acts should always be as acts of a child of God. When you reflect on your actions and do not think that they are not truly the actions of a child of God, it means you have not truly and totally convinced yourself that you are a child of God. You need to practice more deeds of love because they are basic practices.

If you want to play tennis well, you cannot ignore the basic practices such as practicing with a racket, running to increase your strength, muscle-building training, and so on. Without these basic practices you cannot improve your skills to play tennis well.

In the same manner you cannot solve your problems without basic practices to realize that you are a child of God. In this case you need to practice Shinsokan Meditation, reading the Holy Sutras/Songs of Praise and SNI books, and practice deeds of love.

The second suggestion is to know other people more. In the Bible it is said, “How much better to get wisdom than gold!” (Proverbs 16:16) Wisdom and knowledge are the important powers to solve your problems. I sometimes watch the TV program “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.” Cesar who is a dog trainer receives many requests to solve dog owner’s serious problems. Amazingly, he solves various kinds of problems so effortlessly. One of the reasons why he can so easily solve the problem is, I think, that his knowledge and observation of dogs are incredibly great and accurate. He also loves dogs and has patience with dogs.

I can see that dog owners who have problems with their dogs often try to understand their dogs through a human perspective. We see our lives through the human’s perceptions. However, when we think of other living beings, we have to think of them through their perceptions. When Japanese think of themselves, it is okay to think as Japanese. However, when they try to communicate with people in another country, they have to think of people’s perception in a different country. We have to remind ourselves of this fact. It is an ordinary and common idea but we often forget it. The nature of birds is to fly, fish swim and dogs walk. For example in the case of a dog, the average time to walk a dog is at least 45 minutes a day and if you don’t do this, a dog will become frustrated according to Cesar. If all the dog owners know this fact and do walk the dog more than 45 minutes every day, their problems with a dog might decrease dramatically.

In case you have a problem with your partner, you should know your partner better and act accordingly, then your problem will be solved much easier. If you have a partner, think about how much you know him or her. You should create questions, review them, and find out how much you know about your partner.

Next, ask the same questions to your partner and compare the answers to find out your compatibility with your partner. You can create your own questions and do it with your family members (parent, child and/or sibling), a neighbor, superior, co-worker, subordinate, etc.

For example, use the following questions (or you can make your own list of questions) and find out how much you know about your spouse or partner.

-         What is your partner’s favorite color?
-         What is your partner’s favorite flower?
-         What are your partner’s parents’ and grandparents’ names?
-         What is your partner’s favorite movie?
-         Who is your partner’s favorite movie star?
-         Whom does your partner respect most? Give two names.
-         What is your partner’s shoe size?
-         Who is your partner’s mentor?
-         Name the favorite restaurant of your partner? Where is it?
-         What is your partner’s profession?
-         Describe briefly what he/she does when he/she is at work?
-         How many hours does he/she work in a day?
-         If your partner is a full-time househusband or housewife, how many hours does he/she work a day?
-         What does he/she eat for lunch mostly?
-         How many times do you send a gift to your spouse during a year?
-         What is the best time to talk with your partner during the day?
-         What kind of topics is your partner most uninterested in? And why?
-         What is your partner’s favorite book?
-         What does he/she currently read?
-         How many times a day do you call (not text) your partner? If you think you call him/her less than once a day, how many times do you call him/her during a week?
-         How many times does your partner call you during a day? If you think he/she calls you less than once a day, how many times does he/she call you during a week?

There are many questions you can create and ask, but the important thing is to compare your answers and your partner’s answers to determine how much your answers and your partner’s answers match because if these answers are often in discrepancy, it is proof that you do not know your partner well.

I will share my personal experience. I believed that for some years my wife loved bouquets of roses, but one day she asked me why I bought a bouquet of roses every month for her. I told her because the rose was her favorite flower. Then, she said “no” and I found out that her favorite flower was tulips.

This is another example. For more than 6 or 7 years I bought a purse, clothes, or accessories for my wife on occasions such as our anniversary, my wife’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, or Christmas. One winter, I bought a nice, rather expensive winter coat for her right after we moved back to Japan from Hawaii. She had one but needed another one. A couple of weeks later I found out that she gave it to her sister without wearing it even once. I was upset with her, but instead I should have been angry at myself because I did not know what she wanted. It sometimes happens that what you think is not what your partner thinks. The more you know your partner, the better communication you can have. This can apply not only to your partner but also to anyone with whom you have a relationship problem.

The third thing is also important in order to have better communication with others. The words you choose and how you reply makes your partner angry or happy, concerned or at ease. We often use our cellphone. Sometimes we need to answer during a meeting or an important conversation. If my family member calls while I am in a meeting, I sometimes answer it. But it is important that you should know how to reply to him/her. In this situation you may say, “I am in an important meeting right now and cannot talk with you now.” If you say this, usually your tone of voice is rigid and serious because you cannot talk or should not talk but are actually talking.

I understand and it is okay to say this. But your wife, son or daughter may feel disappointed. He or she maybe wanted to let you know his or her great news. To avoid this you should say in the beginning, “Hi I’m glad you called, but I am in an important meeting right now. So, let us talk later. Thank you for calling.” The meaning of the conversation is the same, but to convey your feeling to the person on the other side of the line is quite different and acceptable because of this language.

Some people have their own style of speaking. When I worked part-time job for a fisherman, his way of talking was like very different than mine. When it was time for breakfast, he yelled at me saying, “BREAKFAST! EeeeAT!” In the beginning I didn’t know what his problem was, but later his wife said, “Don’t worry, he always speaks like that.” He worked on the ocean, so he had to scream. Thinking about his background it is understandable. However, majority of us are not fishermen. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi suggested that we use only good, polite words in our conversation:

        It is hopeless for us to shout at our sons and daughters, claiming that we wish to help them or that we do so with a loving concern. Even if a loving concern should exist, it is a concern that wears the mask of a demon. Even love has no power other than to inspire fear so long as it wears a demon’s mask. Take off your demon’s mask. And bring out your real face of love. The person you are trying to help will become most friendly, sense your love, and willingly change for the better. (Truth of Life Vol. 7, pages 263-264)

Some people say that constructive criticism is necessary. To ignore an evil action or attitude which is not fitting for a child of God is not good; however, it doesn’t mean that you can describe how bad the other person’s action is. When answering a phone, you will be able to have good conversation if you say, “I’m glad you called” or “I’m happy to hear your voice” before engaging in a real conversation. It is important to choose the right, proper words for the conversation. Rev. Taniguchi wrote:

        To think that you can bring about improvements in others if you keep complaining, keep yelling to express your anger, and keep pointing out their shortcomings is a superstition similar to that of expecting harmony to be produced from disharmony... it is hardly possible for disharmony to give birth to harmony. If you should wish to make those whom you meet virtuous, you have to first of all make your own mind harmonious. (Truth of Life Vol. 7, page 264)

In other words, Rev. Taniguchi said that if your mind is not in harmony, your words will only criticize others and cannot make others or a situation improve but will make it worse. So, if you think your criticism is constructive and will make the situation or other’s better, you have to first practice Shinsokan meditation and say “thank you very much, John” or “I love you, John” over a hundred times and say what you think. Then, the situation may improve. However, to just describe what others did does not help at all. You also have to first say 2 or 3 good things about that person and then say one criticism.

Rev. Taniguchi clearly said that it is unreal to expect harmony be produced from disharmony. Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi also wrote the same thing in the Song In Praise Of Nature:

Awaken from the delusion that peace is born from conflict.
Be rid of the delusion that good is born of evil. (p. 22)

We cannot produce harmony with criticism. After you practice Shinsokan meditation and recite that the person is a child of God and call his or her name and say “I love you” many times, you may face the person and praise him or her 2 or 3 times and give your suggestion to improve that person or situation. I wish all of the Seicho-No-Ie New York members to do this in their daily practice.

However, if it is a constructive criticism instead of a suggestion, you only make the situation or that person worse because you recognize his/her fault. Criticism is a criticism no matter how much it is constructive or destructive. Your motive may be good and intended to make the person better, but the more you say, the worse the situation becomes.

In particular, it becomes worse when you give even suggestions (not criticism) right after you recognize his or her fault because you have recognized his or her fault in your mind. In this case it is better to not say anything. If you really want to speak to this person, first do the prior suggestions which I gave and then speak to him or her a week later. It is because if you can wait a week, your emotions affected by the situation will tone down due to the passing of 7 days.

One more thing you should consider is to speak articulately. Rev. Taniguchi suggested:

The first thing needed in daily conversation is clarity. There are people who pronounce their words so indistinctly that you can hardly make out half of what they have mumbled, and people like this fail to convey even half of their ability. (For Young People, p. 15)

The fourth important thing is to ask yourself about your problems, ask “why” and find the real root cause of the problem. I learned this while I was working as the internal auditor to receive the certificate of ISO14001 which is an environmental managing system to improve the environmental condition of the workplace.

When we identify a way to improve the environment of SNI United States Missionary Headquarters, we do the Plan-Check-Do-Review-Improve cycle. When we plan to improve something, we think of a solution, check it, apply it, and review it. Then, we will find out if the solution to improve the situation. If I say the reason why it did not work is because "no one knew a particular regulation," then, I have to ask myself "why no one knew the regulation." It may be because it is new for us and no one is familiar with this. Then, what shall we do to solve it? I should study about the law, but I am not an expert on the law and also legal terms are different than regular English. Then, we need a specialist, but we cannot hire a new person for this. Why can’t we hire a new person and if we cannot do this, what is our alternative? We ask many times until we find the real root cause. If we find the real root cause, we will often be able to find the solution because there is no problem without a solution. However, we have to know that the solution does not come with the problem at the same time. If it comes at the same time, the problem is no longer a problem. We have to make an effort to find the root cause because in doing this we can find the essence of the problem.

I did not go into much detail about the last suggestion, but you can find the root cause when you ask yourself why many times. The relationship problem will be solved if you apply these 4 suggestions. Thank you very much.

Friday, November 15, 2013

No Deadlock in the Kingdom of God



This lecture was delivered at the Second Sunday Service on May 5, 2013.

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Thank you very much for coming to this Sunday Service. In Seicho-No-Ie we learn about the True-Image World and that there is no deadlock in that world. However, in our everyday life we see many people who have no way to move forward. They seem to be stuck at a dead end. We learn how to get out of a dead end bring out our inner power which dwells in us by fully living in the present moment. If we want to live our life fully, we put everything in one moment and one thing. In the third article of Seicho-No-Ie Articles of Faith, it is sated: “I am sincere in my every word and action! –Troubles do not come from the outside. When sincerity is not manifesting—that condition is in effect trouble. It is not that one has no sincerity within himself. It is just that he does not manifest it. Sincerity means with one’s entire mind, total power, all one’s might. Sincerity gives life to now. Wherever sincerity is demonstrated the place becomes a heavenly paradise at once.”

In other words, when we demonstrate our sincerity, it is the same thing as living our life fully. Then, God’s salvation comes to us. In the Truth of Life Volume 7¸ Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote about this as follows:

“When a person puts his entire body and soul into what he is doing, a certain sincerity of intent is displayed. Sincerity in Japanese is makoto, which literally means the ‘total mind,’ or ‘wholeheartedness.’ It is an attitude that would concentrate one’s entire power on one thing. That is the power to which Lord Michizane Sugawara alluded in his poem:
    If only with the way of sincerity the mind accords,
    Even without praying, God protects.
When one’s entire strength is concentrated on one thing, completely, the infinite power of God goes into action.” (Ibid., p. 82)

It is essential for us to live this way of life. Then, without praying God protects us. When I was in Southern California, I went to a restaurant in front of beach in Malibu for a wedding. It was a very small wedding only for the couple, their parents and family members. There were 10 people including the photographer and me. I was asked to officiate the ceremony by Mrs. Shigeko Sasamori who is a Hiroshima Atomic Bomb survivor. According to Mrs. Sasamori, almost all people who were within 1.5 km of the bomb explosion were killed. However, she was an exception. Her life seemed at an impasse because although she survived from Atomic Bomb, she has been a bombing casualty since then and has had to live with its consequences. Fortunately, she was able to be grateful to everyone and everything and her life was changed completely.

When she was 13 years old, Mrs. Sasamori and her friend saw something falling from the sky. Then, suddenly a big explosion occurred. Her friend died instantly. Mrs. Sasamori’s entire upper body was exposed to radiation and her skin was all black. It came off and was partially hanging. She wandered around, and fell down in front of the elementary school. She murmured her name and address. Someone heard her and four days later her parents were able to find her. Her upper body was keloidal like scars from a fire.

Fortunately, Mrs. Sasamori found a church whose music brought healing of her mind. Then, she was selected for an aid program started by Norman Cousins and was able to go to the United States after World War II to have surgery. She had surgery over 20 times. When I saw her, her face remains with little scars like burns and some of her fingers are shorter than a regular person’s. However, because of this surgery her attached fingers were separated and implanted skin from her legs was applied to her face and upper body. She was saved by kind American doctors and nurses.

Through this experience she decided to become a nurse. Norman Cousins helped her. She went to a nurses’ college in Connecticut and started working in New York. Later she married and had a baby boy. She named him Norman. She later divorced and moved to California. Through her life experience she was able to forgive America and decided to live in the United States.

In June, 1980, Mrs. Sasamori was asked to speak of her experience of the bombing first and then she has helped whatever she could to contribute to world peace. Last year she was not able to come home for 6 months because of her business trip sharing her experience. She went to Europe, Japan and South America. One time she had a layover at the Los Angeles airport from South America, and she decided to go back to her home to exchange her summer clothes for winter clothes, so she was able to continue her trip to Japan.

She is almost 80 but works hard to help others and world peace through her experience. In 2010, she was invited to the graduation ceremony at Winona State University in Minnesota. At first she declined because she didn’t think she was a person to speak at a university graduation. However, they insisted and persuaded her saying “Students will graduate by listening to your experience.” She gave a speech and, at the same time, received an honorable doctor’s degree of humanities from the university. I believe she deserved it. She lives her life fully with honest and heartfelt gratitude toward the people who helped her. At the wedding reception where I officiated, she told me that she totally agrees how important it is to be grateful to our parents and everyone and everything in the universe as described in the Divine Message. Our founder wrote:

    “When we say that sincerity is lacking we mean that a person is not doing his best. He can put forth much greater effort, that is do much better, but he is only trying to get by. He who tries only to get by does not live the Seicho-No-Ie way of life. He does not tread the path of spiritual growth. He does not walk the road to victory.” (Truth of Life Volume 7, p. 83)

Mrs. Sasamori’s life was once destroyed by the bomb, but her thoughts of gratitude and actions changed her life completely. Let us walk the road to victory by living sincerely. Then, although the situation seems to be at an impasse, everything will go well because God appears when we can be grateful to everyone and everything in the universe, i.e. reconciled with the whole universe. In the Divine Message of Grand Harmony it is stated, “To be reconciled with the whole universe means to be grateful to everything in the universe…If you wish to call on me, first be reconciled with everything in the universe. Since I am Love, I shall appear when you have become reconciled with the whole universe.” Please share this teaching of gratitude to as many people as possible and let other people who encounter difficulties become free. Thank you very much.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mind Creates Destiny



This lecture was delivered at the Second Sunday Service on April 14, 2013.

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Thank you very much. I often talk about how important it is to have a positive attitude and encourage people to practice the use of positive words such as “I am a child of God. I am happy, healthy and wealthy. Only good things come my way.” I’d like to emphasize the importance of practicing reciting good words before going to bed and just after waking up along with Shinsokan Meditation. You have to know that positive words have power to create and shape our positive destinies. So I read Open The Doors Of Your Life, Children’s Prayer, and For Young People every day both English and Japanese with my family before Shinsokan Meditation. However, positive words are not only written in books but include our thoughts, utterances, actions and expressions. Why can positive words create and shape a positive destiny? Because the law of the mind permeates the universe. One of the very important laws of the mind is that what you recognize appears. Therefore, by learning this law of the mind and applying the power of the word we will be able to realize what we recognize in our minds.

There is a parking garage right next to the Seicho-No-Ie New York Center there is a parking building. Recently the building became available for sale. Adriano Westfal, Chairman of Seicho-No-Ie New York, brought me a brochure and said, “The parking garage facing 54th Street is $20 million and the 53rd Street side is $3 million. Why don’t you buy this property for SNI NY?” I told him, “The 53rd Street side is almost the same size as the SNI NYC building. So it is a good idea to buy the $3 million parking site. However, I would prefer to buy a spiritual retreat in the suburb of New York so that we can have a spiritual training seminar regularly. The spiritual training seminar gives joy to its participants. By making people joyful and grateful we will be able to increase our membership. Last Sunday I read 5 minutes in Portuguese during my lecture, and many people were so happy. Although I read, I didn’t know what I said but I was so moved that many people were so happy about it. So I decided to learn and master Portuguese at least equivalent to my current level of English in two years.” Then, Adriano said, “Wow, paying $3 million to buy the property next door is much easier than that!” Adriano was joking, but I think sometimes we limit ourselves by our own misconception or belief that “I cannot do this or that.” 

For a long time I thought I needed to buy a home for the future in the U.S. When I came to the U.S. in 2000, I originally planned to go back to Japan in 3 or 5 years. However, due to the SNI ministers’ situation in the U.S., I was told to apply for a green card. I got my green card in 2008 and at that time my daughters told me that they wanted to live in the U.S., not Japan. So, after retirement I would need a place to live. In twelve years or so my retirement time will come and I would have to finish payment of the mortgage if I bought a house. Until recently I believed that it is difficult to pay a mortgage and my daughters’ college fees and taxes and at the same time maintain a comfortable family life. It is not like paying $200,000 or $3 million at all. However, I was restricting myself saying it is very hard. On the other hand, Adriano said it was much easier to pay $3 million than to master Portuguese. I had misused the power of the word. To put it in a different way from Adriano’s perspective, I will be able to do something more than paying $3 million if I can master Portuguese in 2 years. I have a dream to have full attendance at our regular Sunday Service. For someone it might be very difficult to achieve, but it might be easier than mastering Portuguese. When I think in this way, a number of possibilities unfold in front of me, and I believe I can but be successful. 

Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi often used a metaphor as follows: If your parent, husband or wife secretly hid a $10,000 check in your wallet, you won’t be able to use it unless you recognize it. In other words, it is the same as if it doesn’t exist. Imagine that one year ago you borrowed $10,000 from your friend and gave your car as a security deposit. One year later your friend asks you to return the $10,000, but you don’t have such an amount. You would like to pay it back if you had the money, but you don’t and you are about to give up your car. If you knew that your parent/husband/wife had put a $10,000 check in your wallet, you would be able to use it. Infinite abundance, abilities and power are already within you, but you would not be able to use them unless you recognized them. 

To perceive learning Portuguese and paying a mortgage or $3 million is the same. Seicho-No-Ie founder Masaharu Taniguchi explained it in very plain language. He taught us that man is not a physical body, not matter. The physical body and matter do not exist. Diseases and poverty do not exist. Disasters and sufferings do not exist. They exist in those who recognize them in their minds. When founder Taniguchi proclaimed this truth, those who had suffered from diseases were healed, those who had been in need were saved. However, someone told me, “Rev. Taniguchi himself was dead at the age of 91. How can you explain this?” I don’t think Seicho-No-Ie founder Masaharu Taniguchi died at the age of 91. He taught that there is no matter, no physical bodies. In that sense he was never born in this world and never died. Those who saw him as a physical body thought he died. However, he himself clearly said he was not matter, not a physical body, and he would never die. Our physical bodies can be compared to material clothes. When your jacket becomes too old and torn, you will discard it. Then, do you think you have died? No, I don’t think so. You may think your jacket finished its purpose but we never die. Through our spiritual point of view, our physical bodies are the same. 

I have given so many analogies that I have probably confused you by now. This is because many people still believe they live in the physical world and deal with matter. In other words, they limit themselves. However, SNI teaches us that the world we see now is not the world of matter or physical existence but the existence which our mind recognizes. Then, if we recognize negative things, are they really in existence? No, they aren’t. In the “Prayer in Praise of God’s Abundant Protection,” founder Masaharu Taniguchi clearly explained.

    “God is all in all. He transcends time and transcends space. He is everywhere, at all times, without beginning and without end....I now become one with God, melding in oneness with Him, and receive His infinite life, infinite wisdom, and infinite love. I realize God’s infinite potential, I realize God’s infinite abundance, and I live a life filled with joy, harmony, and peace. All of these things have already been realized in my True Image. O God, Thy will be done in this world as it is in the True-Image World...”
    “I now contemplate the Truth that only the True Image is ultimate reality. I contemplate the Truth that in the perfect True-Image World there is no room for evil, conflict, or discord. I therefore affirm that in the True-Image World not even a nuclear bomb can wield its destructive force...”

The True-Image World is the only real existence; therefore, nothing can destroy it, not even nuclear weapons. However, in our physical eyes we think we see many imperfections and believe they exist. So, we must differentiate from the True-Image World and our daily lives. Founder Masaharu Taniguchi continued:

    “Life may be compared to a stage upon which the greatness of everyone’s True Image is portrayed. On this stage, the drama unfolds in a certain order, and its presentation requires the passage of time. A story calling for happiness does not unfold all at once, just as when a seed is planted, it does not burst into flowers and fruit the moment it germinates. Even before a seed is planted, within it is the original model of its flowers and fruit. And, as long as the seed is properly cared for, it will one day bear beautiful flowers and sweet fruit exactly as depicted in the original model.”
 
So, our journey through life unfolds gradually in accordance with the thoughts and words we create in our minds. Little by little we discover our God-given gifts, and our unique purposes in life which allow us to attain true happiness. Although your path to happiness and fulfillment might seem long, you will ultimately find what you seek. The important thing is that God gives all of us His good seeds. Whatever the seed of life you receive, it must bloom into a good life. Everyone and everything in the universe has only a good seed given by God. 

Then, why can we see bad things seemingly unfold? This is because the bad things you encounter are simply a reflection of your mind. I will explain it with a story from the Bible, Mathew chapter 20. 

The story in this chapter was about a vineyard owner and his workers. The point of the story was to liken the kingdom of Heaven to the experiences of the vineyard owner and his workers. The vineyard owner went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. He promised these workers that he would pay them with silver coins. They were very happy to hear this. The owner went out again at about nine o’clock. He saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he hired more workers. When he went out again at noon and then at three o’clock, he did the same. At about five he went out and found some people still standing around; so he said to them, “Why are you standing here all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” So, he decided to hire the rest of them. When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” People hired at about five o’clock received a silver coin. Now when the first hired came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received the same wage. So, when they received it, they grumbled saying to the vineyard owner, “These last laborers worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matt 20:1-16) 

We will be able to learn some lessons from this story. For example, obviously we cannot see Heaven (the True-Image World) if we obstinately cling to our egos. Founder Masanaru Taniguchi commented on these verses saying, “Indeed, Heaven is like this. Heaven cannot be taken by one’s own egotistic power. A person who insists on his own good will be placed last.”
 
Heaven is not the place of comparison of one’s own scale of good or bad but the scale of God. For example, imagine that you have worked for your company for 10 years. You considered quitting this company many times, and you complained many times about the company president behind his back. However, this March the president that you had grumbled about many times decided to give you an extra $10,000.  Would you be happy?  You most certainly would be happy.  You would probably say, “I never thought about how wonderful the president was, but today, to me he really seems like an angel.  I never expected this from him.  I am so happy and feel good that he has let me work at this company until today.”  So, you decided to treat your three subordinates who had all been hired three months ago. You brought them to a very expensive restaurant for dinner and let them eat whatever they wanted. When you returned from the bathroom, these three guys were whispering something. So, you asked one of them what they were saying. Then, the youngest subordinate replied, “We hesitated to tell you the truth, but you are so kind to us, so we decided to tell you. As you know, all of us just received a special bonus today. We didn’t know how much you received until you told us at dinner that you received $10,000 and therefore decided to treat us to dinner tonight. However, the three of us actually received $10,000 each. Therefore, we cannot really accept your treat. You are a very nice boss.”

Immediately, your happiness was gone. You were angry at the president again. Why did this happen? Where did the feeling of gratitude go, which you had shown to him president an hour ago? Did you lose something? Well, if you quietly considered your bonus, you would find that your $10,000 bonus was still there. However, you wouldn’t be able to be happy anymore because your mind compared your bonus to your subordinates’ bonuses.

This is an explanation of the law of the mind. When you heard about your subordinates’ bonuses, if you were able to be happy for their good fortune, you would generate happy thoughts in your mind. This example reinforces that our world is created in our minds. If you generate happy thoughts in your mind, it will appear. So, if you could be happy for each of your three subordinates’ $10,000 bonuses, your mind would generate $30,000 in happiness. Your happiness would actually total $40,000: $10,000 and your subordinates’ $30,000. This thought of happiness of $40,000 in your mind must appear in the future because what we recognize in our minds will appear. This is the key to become happy. Therefore, no matter what happens we should be grateful to everyone and everything in the universe.

You might think that anybody would rightfully be angry and unappreciative in such a situation because one person worked for 10 years and the other 3 persons worked only for 3 months but they received the same amount. However, if we see only the current phenomenal world, this world is always unfair. Therefore, we must be able to feel appreciation and gratitude for everything and everybody that we can in order to generate happy thoughts in our minds. It is these positive thoughts, or the power of the mind, that leads to happiness and fulfillment.