Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ougu (one who deserves offerings)

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!

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