Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This message was given at the Seicho-No-Ie Southern California Missionary Area's Fall Festival held at the SNI United States Missionary Headquarters.
Thank you very much for attending the Seicho-No-Ie Southern California Missionary Area's Fall Festival. Today is the joyous day that our founder, Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi was born.
This world is full of God's life. God's life is also the Law. There are laws which include the providence of God, regulations and codes created by human beings and laws in nature (including the "law of cause and effect"). The Laws created by God permeate the universe; however, laws created by human beings cannot restrict a person if he quits his company or goes out of his country. The laws in nature also cannot affect them if people or things get out of the earth or the solar system.
In order to transcend phenomenon we must get into the "True World." However, that world is not a place of no law but a place in perfect order with the best and highest world "Law." In the section of "God" of the Holy Sutra, Nectarean Shower of Holy Doctrines God is the "Law that governs the universe," and the manifestation of the "Law" of God is the "law of karma," and that law permeates and exists in three times (worlds) in common in the past, the present and the future. By utilizing that law phenomenal human beings make an effort to become happy without realizing it. A prayer is an example.
By praying people try to solve their problems when they face them. For example, a person who wants to be married prays to find her soul mate and a person who is troubled by poverty prays to be granted money. In other words, those who have already been granted a thing that they need do not pray to be granted that particular thing.
It is natural that a thing which has already existed appears in this world. We do not care about it and do not pray for it. For example, when I went to Denver 3 weeks ago, I was very thirsty and didn't have a chance to buy a bottle of water. As soon as I checked in at the hotel, I couldn't resist but just drank the tap water which I usually don't. To my surprise, the water was delicious. The origin of the water is the Rocky Mountains. Not only do we not buy a bottle of water but also we do not pray to be granted water when we have delicious water from tap water if we have delicious water.
However, we tend to pray or want to pray for something which we need or want but do not have at hand, such as money, a soul mate, or ability. However, we are all children of God and God has already given us everything that we need, but unfortunately many people do not realize it. In the backyard of our home there is a persimmon tree and it bears delicious fruit every year. My children love persimmon fruit and they don't pray to God to be granted a persimmon fruit when they want to eat. All they do is ask me to take a persimmon from the tree and to peel the skin off because they already know that a persimmon tree is there. However, even though there is a persimmon tree on the backyard, it takes time for my children to actually eat a persimmon because it takes time to get a persimmon from the tree and make it ready to eat.
We must know that "although there are many bad things seemingly appearing in this world, they do not truly exist because God never created bad things." Instead, when we visualize that only goodness exists in the world, it will materialize because it already exists.
The infinite abundance or a soul mate which is already given to us needs time to materialize in this world. Even though you plant a flower seed, it won't suddenly bloom the next day. It needs a certain period of time, and the process in appearance of what we want in this phenomenal world does not suddenly realize. Instead, a thing that we want often appears in a different form in the process. This thing also appears in front of us in accordance with the law of karma and the law of the mind. In the process of appearing in this world a form often changes its shape and sometimes appears as despair in order for us to progress. Therefore, by visualizing the True Image we will be able to make an effort to achieve something although it appears as despair in the process. To visualize the True Image is in other words to continue making our effort and this means that we practice Shinsokan meditation everyday.
Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi taught us that difficulties and troubles are the disguise of the environment as a grindstone to improve our destinies. He also taught us that those who do not give up until the end would succeed. Those who can rise from any environment like a phoenix are the masters of their lives and this world is our "life's school" and "life's stage."
In any life's stage a common important thing is to not do bad things but do and accumulate good things. To make an effort to do and accumulate good things and do not do bad things is the most important thing for us. Founder Masaharu Taniguchi was able to start Seicho-No-Ie because he accumulated good deeds. Rev. Seicho Taniguchik the second President of Seicho-No-Ie, and Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, the third President of Seicho-No-Ie, are the same. They have accumulated good deeds in their past lives repeatedly; therefore, receiving the guidance of the Lord of Seicho-No-Ie they became the leaders of this movement to save people in the world and realize world peace.
However, those who do not pay attention to make effort in their life's stage will cease their improvement like a pianist who tries to perform on the stage without enough practice. Those who have practiced enough will get the result. Almost ten years ago, my friend who was a jass pianist once went to see the recital of Alexis Weissenberg at the Carnegie Hall because he had bought a year's ticket for Carnegie Hall. I was a big fan of Weissenberg when I was young and listened to his records, especially "Pictures at an Exhibition" and "La tombeau de Couperin" repeatedly. I might say that I listened to them over five hundred times. But listening to my friend's story, I was disappointed. My friend said that he could tell that Weissenberg had not seemingly had enough practice before this recital because of his mistakes. I don't know what excuses Weissenberg had, maybe he had been sick, but even such a famous pianist could not play the piano piece beautifully with a lack of practice.
Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi taught in the book, Tohigan no Shinji (means the divine message of reaching paradise) as follows: "In the Ten Epithets of the Tathagata there is a divine virtue called 'ougu' or 'one who deserves offerings'." (p. 15) We must accumulate our virtue to be deserved offerings.
Rev. and Mrs. Masaharu Taniguchi left Japan on March 10, 1964, for their World Lecture Tour and first arrived in Hawaii.
Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi wrote about this world tour in her book, Sekai wo Tabishite (means traveling the world) and on page 39 she wrote about Mr. Takehachi Ezaki and his ordeal when he had moved to Hawaii at the age of 18 (note: I believe it is about 1905 or 1906), but he was saved by the teachings of Seicho-No-Ie.
"When Mr. Ezaki came here to Kauai on a three-year contract to work at a pineapple factory run by an American, his joyful dreams were quickly shattered and a life of near slavery and suffering began. If he was even a little slow, a whip would suddenly come cracking down on him. Since it was forbidden by law to hit a person, he would be grabbed by the scuff of the neck and pushed down. If a Japanese person god sick and went to the doctor, the company and the doctor would conspire and because the doctor would say the person 'isn't sick,' the person would have to go work in the fields reeling with dizziness. Apparently there was no telling how many people died in the fields." (end of quote)
I cannot believe that these things happened unconcernedly in the early 1900s. In this situation the teachings of Seicho-No-Ie saved Mr. Ezaki and his family. The teachings healed diseases of those who read Seicho-No-Ie, restored harmony at home and changed people's minds and consequently they were able to restart at a new life of joy. This is wonderful deeds of love and thanks to Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi who started Seicho-No-Ie. He was indeed a person who deserves offerings. Rev. and Mrs. Taniguchi stayed at the new house which had been built for Mr. and Mrs. Ezaki as their retirement home.
In the Island of Kauai there were only 24 Seicho-No-Ie households; however, at the lecture about 500 people gathered. The next day Rev. and Mrs. Taniguchi were taken to the Kokee Mountain which was called a miniature Grand Canyon. However, deep fog covered everything and they could not see other than fog-like white curtain. However, when they stepped up in front of the handrail; lo and behold, dense fog disappeared as if opening a white curtain. Some said that was very rare. The canyon was very beautiful and Mrs. Taniguchi wanted to stay a little longer, but someone said, "Let's go home." So, Rev. and Mrs. Taniguchi started moving toward their car, but Mrs. Taniguchi wanted to see the magnificent view one more time and turned back. Then, the white curtain was just starting to close from left to right and the sight became a white world again. The view was served for Rev. and Mrs. Taniguchi, which they deserved.
Rev. and Mrs. Taniguchi stayed at a new house as their lodge when they traveled to Los Angeles after leaving Hawaii. It is written on page 69 in the same book as follows:
"The Ambo residence was in a quiet residential area on the outskirts of Los Angeles. In the front, there were azalea bushes in bloom. They had built this house for our use, and no one had used it as yet. I thought it was a little big for the couple, but Mr. and Mrs. Ambo told me that he had built it so that we could use it and therefore it had become bigger than originally planned. It even had a room for my husband to use as a study. We talked with Dr. and Mrs. Hornaday for a while, after which they went home.
"After a delicious dinner of Japanese food, we took a bath and washed the perspiration of Hawaii and the Mainland at once and felt very refreshed. With a soft breeze coming in from the windows, we looked out of the window and the beautiful lights of downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Ambo said, 'The garden isn't finished yet, but when you have finished your travels and come back here, there should be beautiful roses in bloom.'
"It seemed a shame to walk on the new carpet with our slippers--that's how beautiful the room was. We were only staying in Los Angeles for a day and leaving at 6:30 am the next day for New York. In a brand new, pure white bed, we felt like nobility as we lay down for the night. Ah, we had finally arrived on the American continent."
Mr. and Mrs. Ambo did not live in their new house before Rev. and Mrs. Taniguchi stayed. They not only did not live there but also changed the floor plan to increase bedrooms and even a study room for Rev. Taniguchi for their one night stay. Fortunately, they returned and stayed a few nights after their lecture tour in the U. S. This is "ougu" and indeed "one who deserves offerings." In other words, Rev. Taniguchi accumulated his good virtue.
By following Reverends Masaharu Taniguchi, Seicho Taniguchi and Masanobu Taniguchi let us accumulate good virtue in accordance with the laws, perform good deeds and disseminate the teachings to as many people as possible. Furthermore, let us contribute to the movement to protect our nature, accumulate good deeds more and more determine to join the people who deserve offerings.
Thank you for visiting this site and reading my message at the Fall Festival on Nov. 21, 2010. Have a happy Thanksgiving Day!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The following article was introduced in the October 2010 newsletter.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On October 10, 2010, we observed the second year memorial service for Rev. Seicho Taniguchi since his transition to the angelic world. Seicho-No-Ie was started by the founder, Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi, and Rev. Seicho Taniguchi became the second President of Seicho-No-Ie. Now, Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi is the President of Seicho-No-Ie. Rev. Msaharu Taniguchi, Rev. Seicho Taniguchi and Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi taught us the same truth that we are all children of God and were born in this phenomenal world to express the kingdom of God. We have learned that our lives are eternal, so when our physical bodies die, we still continuously express our divinity in the spiritual world in accordance with the level of our souls. In order to express the divinity we have to arouse God's love within our minds and hearts. It is also important to be grateful to everyone and everything in heaven and earth. In order to do this, first of all we need to recognize the blessings which are given by God. It is explained in the 365 Golden Keys To The Summit Of Fulfillment on page 3 as follows:
"Blessings of Heaven and Earth
Just stop for a few moments and think of the many blessings nature gives us that are essential to our life. Think of how much all that is living provides us without which our existence cannot be sustained. Have we not heretofore been too insensitive to the innumerable gifts accorded us in various forms, both visible and invisible? Indeed, we have taken too little notice of all those blessings. Because we have taken them for granted, we have neglected to be grateful out of ignorance.
Even though they are actually there, nothing comes into existence, so long as you do not recognize them. For example, even if there were a one-million-dollar check in your pocket, unless you are aware of it, it is as if it were not there. So it is with everything. Be it a blessing of nature, love of people, love of parents, or love of country, unless you yourself are perceptive enough to sense and acknowledge it, it is as if it did not exist. To be thus ignorant and unaware of what is actually there is the same as being blind. No matter what, we must never allow ourselves to become blind. It is indeed only when we perceive and recognize all the blessings and gifts provided that they are ours." (end of quote) (p. 3)
As stated in the Words of Wisdom in this book, Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi asked us to think of how many blessings and how much love we have been provided. He also emphasized that we should be awakened to and be grateful to the blessings of nature, to the kindness of others, to the love of parents, and the benefits from your society and country. He said that unless you are perceptive enough to sense and acknowledge them, it is the same as if they did not exist.
Let us recognize our blessings and love that sustain us first even though it's not easily recognized in our daily lives. Then, be grateful to them. Being grateful is not a passive but active action. If you feel gratitude toward something, you should express it. Unless it is expressed, it is the same as if it did not exist. Likewise, we see nature as the expression of God's love, we are grateful to it, and so we should try to protect them as our expression of gratitude.
Seicho-No-Ie United States Missionary Headquarters and the Southern California Missionary Area currently work hard to obtain a certificate of ISO14001. ISO means International Organization for Standardization and 14001 is the Environmental Management System. In other words, it is a global environmental standard. Everything needs a standard. If a product has no standard, it will have trouble. If people don't produce a product by following the standard, a problem will arise. For a very recent example, billions of eggs were recalled because of the threat of salmonella poisoning. So, by receiving an ISO14001 certificate we will be able to prove that SNI USMH and SNI SCMA are approved as organizations that care and protect our environment. The Seicho-No-Ie teachings are to be grateful to our nature and earth as expressions of God's life, and we have to express our gratitude as Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi said. Therefore, Seicho-No-Ie is now trying to express our gratitude through our performance in accordance with ISO14001.
Then, do you know what we are actually doing? We educate members and the public to preserve our nature. We recycle and reuse things as the life of God. To reuse means to reduce our waste; so we weigh our waste every week. We implemented the solar power panels to reduce electric energy consumption which was created by fossil fuel. There are many things that we are trying right now. I would like to explain in detailed information about this in the future again. I ask for your cooperation in order to receive this certificate. We need your cooperation, especially in separating waste in the designated bins. Last time when I checked a recycle paper bin, someone dumped his bento box with a remainder of rice and other food. These papers were not able to be recycled because of the residues from the food and soy source. So, I ask you again for your cooperation.
Although each one's effort may be small, practicing is important. Because in a small thing is indeed where God's love exists. Thus, you have to be careful about a tiny thing, like telling a tiny lie, committing a small evil, and squandering small change, etc. Rev. Seicho Taniguchi taught us that to neglect a tiny thing in one's life is to go against the purpose of one's life. For example, it is of course good to read an entire book, but if you read a line or a paragraph using a short time in a day and continue reading, it sometimes becomes a great inspiration. If every time you go to the bathroom and read the same book, you will finish it before you know it. If you practice a foreign language everyday for ten minutes, you will be able to practice 300 minutes in a a month. Therefore, you would have studied for 5 hours. In a year you would complete 60 hours of study and it will increase your knowledge. Everyone can find 10 minutes in a day. Rev. Seicho Taniguchi said that if someone says, "I don't have time to read such a thick book," it means that the person confesses that he or she does not want to read it. If you separate waste properly and reuse it again, we can preserve our resources.
From April of this year we started a monthly Ancestral Memorial Service in order to memorialize our ancestors as well as our predecessors who devoted themselves to the Humanity Enlightenment Movement in the Southern California Missionary Area. It is impossible for our church to exist without our predecessors' hard work and devotion. Although each donation by one person might be small, the accumulation made it possible to establish this church.
It is the same of our happiness in this phenomenal world. For example, we cannot see the spiritual love and protection from our ancestors, but they are surely there. First we need to recognize them and then be grateful to them. How wonderful it is if everyone can be grateful to their ancestors everyday using 20 minutes or so at home. This is a small effort but the entire family will surely become happy if one continues it. At this present time we have to be considerate to take care of not only our own family's happiness but also nature on earth as our family. It is important to care for every material existence by worshiping the life of God within.
Rev. Seicho Taniguchi taught us as follows:
"In order to efficiently use the resources on earth sooner or later we by no means will end up on cul-de-sacs if we continue using a thing once and then throw it away and increase futile waste. Furthermore, it will cause destruction of the environment by burning resources and realize the phenomenon of a declining birth rate." (Daidowo Ayumu Tameni [means to walk on the broad way], p. 71)
"A camera, a jewel, a watch or a personal computer, etc. is not often recycled. Few people will dump them, but the most precious, detailed machine is a physical body which we are accustomed to use. This physical body is not a real man but a mere tool for our souls. To express greatness as a Child of God Man on the earth by using this tool can be said the purpose of a human life in this world. Therefore, we must use this physical body with great care, never harm or discard it and have to achieve our life's goal." (end of quote)(Ibid., p. 74)
Please take great care of your physical body to express your child of God nature. In order to do this, we have to take care of small details of our daily meals and exercise. Furthermore, expression of the gratitude toward our ancestors or nature using a short time in a day seems to be a small effort, but by continuing and accumulating these small but important efforts, we will become happy. Thank you very much.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
There are some more exercises, but I would like to conclude this topic by sharing exercise 8.
Ex. 8: Everyone has his/her own problems and sometimes these problems are beyond his/her control. Then, all he/she can do is to try to enjoy the situations and take advantage of these situations. Write down your current problems and write how you can enjoy your situations.
This is an example. One of my friends, Rev. Otsuka, who is a resident minister in Germany, traveled from his hometown, Frankfurt, to Brussels in Belgium in June this year to provide a seminar. He used a train for this trip. While he was in the train, there was an announcement which told him that the train would use a different course due to some reasons. That would cause his arrival to be one hour late. He did not want to be late, but the situation was beyond his control. So, he decided to enjoy the beautiful scenery along with the Rhine River. This photo was taken while he was in the train. (http://yujio1957.cocolog-nifty.com/photos/uncategorized/2010/06/03/p5310111s.jpg)
In our lives we need to enjoy and be cheerful in order to become prosperous. We have to keep a smile on our faces when we awaken because our smile and laughter attracts more smiling and laughing, bright situations.