Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Do We Learn from Nature?

The following message was delivered at the Spring Memorial Service.

Thank you very much for attending the Seicho-No-Ie Southern California Missionary Area's Spring Memorial Service. This memorial service is aim for memorializing the predecessors of Seicho-No-Ie Southern California as well as our ancestors. We pray for those who passed away that they will go on to the high angelic world by realizing the truth and, at the same time, we ask that they protect and help improve our Humanity Enlightenment Movement and International Peace by Faith Movement.

When these spirits deeply realize the Truth, from the spiritual world they can protect us and, at the same time, with their spiritual power to guide us, our movement will also increase. As you know, the Seicho-No-Ie movement is to hold the flame of truth high to guide humanity and realize world peace. This movement is not only for mankind in this physical world abut also for the spirits who live in the spiritual world. We perform our movement to realize peace on earth with guidance from the high spiritual world. Therefore, we must let people know the truth not only to the ones living in this physical world but also to spirits who reside in the spiritual world and help them also to hold the flame of truth high in the spiritual world. To do so we continue to memorialize the spirits through these memorial services.

Many people's lives were taken by the recent earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan. I extend my sincere and heartfelt prayers and offer my deepest condolences and sympathies to those who perished in this disaster. I also extend my sincere prayers to the disaster victims who are trying to survive the best they can without daily necessities, with hope and they will be able to return their normal lives.

The situation for some victims is grave. The hardships faced is doubled or tripled in their lives due to the earthquake, tsunami and/or failure of nuclear power plants. On the other hand, some people were able to escape disasters depending on the time, place and situation. Though a disastrous incident some people become unfortunate, however, some people become stronger and eventually fortunate. Therefore, I sincerely pray that although the earthquake disaster was so devastating, people in general will be able to improve their spiritual level and become fortunate and happy.

Now, I would like to quote some passages from the Truth of Life and how it explains about these kinds of disasters, misfortunes and difficulties:

"For me the three worlds (note:physical world, spiritual world and mental world) are reflections of the mind; therefore, when our minds are purified, earthquake or tsunami will not occur."(Truth of Life Volume 16, p. 109)

Every incident in this world is created by the mind; therefore, our founder, Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi, said even an earthquake or tsunami is created by our minds. Therefore, by purifying our minds, it will lead us to world peace. However, when such an disaster occurs, there are people who ask "Where is God?" and "Why does God make these disasters happen?" It is created by mankind's minds. So, God is not responsible for the earthquakes or tsunamis. However, we must know that in any situation such as this devastation, God's guidance always permeates the universe. By learning through these incidents, we can develop our souls.

We sometimes call this the work of Kanzeon Bosatsu (Goddess of Mercy). Rev. Msaharu TAniguchi explained this in the "Prayer in Praise of Kanzeon Bosatsu" from the Holy Sutra, Recitations of the Truth. "Kanzeon Bosatsu is not the name of a particular bodhisattva but the mercy, wondrous wisdom, and 'laws of the mind' that permeate the universe." Kanzeon Bosatsu also helps us by changing his appearance in 33 different ways. The change is not only to human beings but also to nature. "Kanzeon Bosatsu appears to us in every possible way to teach us the ways of salvation. The mountain air, moving clouds, whistling wind, flowing water--these all show us Kanzeon Bosatsu's mercy. Listen, with your mind's ears. See, with your mind's eyes." (Truth of Life magazine, May 2002)

The earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear power melt downs are all reflection of our minds in this physical world. It is written in detail in the Truth of Life:

"To think that we cannot avoid disasters is because we think that heavy rains, typhoons, earthquakes and such are physical phenomena. With only this type spiritual understanding, it is impossible to destroy the fundamental thinking that matter does not exist. The heavy rains, typhoons and earthquakes are the reflection of our minds or the materialization of karma. By realizing the wondrous wisdom of the Goddess of Mercy, in other words, enlightenment, we will be able to transcend these disasters." (Truth of Life Volume 25, p. 119)

Through these disasters, what do we learn? Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi writes in the "Prayer to Visualize Grand Harmony between Nature & Human Beings" as follows:

"If human beings think of Nature as being their enemy, or as being hostile, as a reflection of a deluded mind, conditions then appear from Nature from having been treated or dealt with as being hostile. Though human beings may chip away at the mountains, cut down forests, dam rivers, fill the lakes and oceans, and focus only on prosperity for themselves alone, that is not God's will. That is a failed creative work that does not in the least bit resemble the True-Image World that God proclaims to be 'very good.' The time shall always come when that which is not the True Image shall face destruction and ruin. That is the collapse of that which is false and the disintegration and self-destruction of karma."

We use nature as we desire and if it is not enough we continue to destroy nature. The Arctic glaciers will melt within 10 years. Without regards to this, we continue to use and destroy nature for our profit. To continue in this way is not towards the development of human's soul. It is written in the Truth of Life Volume 18 as follows:

"Many people pray for healing of their physical bodies, however, God guides man in the most loving way in order that man may find his best destiny. If man creates circumstances to improve his soul without poverty or misfortunes, then consequently poverty and misfortunes will disappear. It will vanish with the development of the spirit."

For example, if someone who loves sweets cannot eat them because of his diabetes, it is hard for him. On the contrary, someone stops eating sweets because of prayer to achieve his goal and takes a vow for abstinence of sweets. In both cases they cannot eat sweets but their situations are quite different because one chose to not eat sweets by his own will.

Someone presently suffers poverty. He cannot spare any money. He cannot even afford to buy a cup of coffee. If he was robbed and all his money was stolen, he would get into a predicament. On the contrary, imagine that the same person heard about the East Japan Great Earthquake and thought that he had to be grateful because he still had a place to live. He decided to give all his money to the charity. In this case it is not a situation that poverty strikes him because he willingly donated money. In other words, his mind is not attached to poverty but is actually purified.

So, we must purify our minds and continue to light the flame of truth to the world then our souls most certainly will improve and poverty, misfortune, and disasters will disappear. In the prayer, "Prayer to Visualize Grand Harmony between Nature and Human Beings" by our president, Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, I would like to share the following passage:

"However, we must not consider this to be 'God’s wrath. We must not look at the tsunami traveling at unfathomable speed, destroying vast expanses of farmland as it pushes its way forward and think of it as the actions of God, filled with anger and fury. God does not destroy mountains and fill the seas. He does not make the beaches into agricultural land. He does not build factories. He does not make airports or nuclear facilities. They are all acts of human beings thinking of their own profits and benefits without considering the extinction of plant and animal species. Earthquakes hitting the Japanese islands and the area in and around New Zealand are a part of the changes in the earth’s crust which have happened repeatedly since ancient times, and are definitely not anomalous conditions. They appear to be so because of the narrow outlook of human beings, the time axis of their thinking being so short, and because they are so self-centered."

The self-centered way of thinking, to think of only one’s own profit must be changed. The time is now to change our ways and live in harmony with nature. This is not the only thing we learned from the recent earthquake disaster. Many people have been given the wonderful opportunity to give and aid the victims of this disaster. That is God’s love, and the appearance of the four immeasurable minds of Buddha. This is the sprouting of that wonderful love.

Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi explained in the “Prayer to Receive God’s Protection and Wisdom” from the Holy Sutra, Recitations of the Truth that God has already given us everything abundantly; therefore, if we want to be happy, we have to give more and more. . In order to realize this, “First, I repay God by giving donations so that other people may receive salvation as I have. Second, I donate to help the needy.” (pages 28-29) Therefore, we first repay God by giving donations and then help people who are in need as much as possible. Furthermore, the Truth of Life states as follows:

“If you come in contact with someone who is crying because of a misfortune to his family or close relatives, cry with him. If you cry with him, it is important that you do not become attached to the sorrow. You must cry for him with the thought of helping him.” (Truth of Life Volume 18 page 190)

To feel compassion and cry with him, and to show sympathy is very important. However, you must not only cry with him but also do so with the thought of saving him, which is most important. This is what is meant by the completion of the four immeasurable minds of Buddha.

One of the Southern CA Missionary Area Seicho-No-Ie members relayed the following to me. Her son is presently living in Tokyo and seeing the situation with the disaster victims, he no longer could sit still and standby watching. He decided with his friend to travel today, Sunday, to Sendai and take necessary supplies to the victims of this disaster. After hearing this from his mother, my wife and I decided to help him with funds and donated a small amount toward his cause.

His mother is a Seicho-No-Ie member giving tithing through the Holy Mission Fellowship and receives the blessings of God through her many donations and deeds of love. Her son’s sole desire is to help the unfortunate people and without thinking of his own safety, chose to go on this dangerous and difficult mission. When I heard this story, I realized how wonderful this Seicho-No-Ie family was.

Everyone, I hope that learning from this disaster, and at the same time practicing God’s love and the four immeasurable minds of Buddha, developing our souls, bring about world peace and co-existing and mutually prospering with nature through the movement of Seicho-No-Ie, we can go forward with the guidance from the spiritual world.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your attendance today at the Southern CA Missionary Area Spring Memorial Service. Thank you very much!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sincerity Is the Power to Invoke God

Two weeks ago I gave the following lecture on our Sunday Service. I would like to share it with you.


Thank you very much for coming to this Sunday Service. As you know, on March 11 a devastating earthquake struck Tohoku District of Japan and over a thousand casualties is counted. (Now, the number is over 20 thousand people) There are many members in Seicho-No-Ie Japan working hard to contact fellow members in that area.

The International Headquarters' website informs current situation of each Missionary Center. There are three centers whose ceilings had fallen partially. Other than these, each Missionary Center is fine. They are currently busy to inquiring after their members in each Missionary Area. All we can do is to pray for the victims of this earthquake and send peaceful vibrations to them. After this Sunday Service we would like to read the Holy Sutra together in the mail hall at 11 a.m. If you have time to read after this service, please recite the Holy Sutra together with us and pray for them. I would like to have a short prayer for them right now with you. Please close your eyes and put your hands in prayer. (We prayed for the victims.)

Thank you very much for your prayer. Today, I would like to talk about life. 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 stated: "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. By sincerity is meant 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)

This is essential for us to live this way of life. Then, without praying God protects us. Last Tuesday, I went to a restaurant in front of the beach in Malibu for a wedding. It was a 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 at this wedding ceremony by Mrs. Shigeko Sasamori who is a Hiroshima's Atomic Bomb survivor. According to Mrs. Sasamori, almost all people who were around within 1.5 km of the bomb explosion were killed. However, she was an exception.

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

Fortunately, Mrs. Sasamori found a church whose music gave healing of her mind. Then, she was selected as 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 at the wedding, she was a very healthy person comparing with other people on her age. However, when she had surgery right after the World War II, her situation was different. Because of these surgeries, her attached fingers were separated and implanted skin from her legs to 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 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 time. Then, she has helped whatever she could to contribute to world peace. She believes that is her mission. Last year she traveled about 6 months because she volunteered and shared her experience. She went to Europe, Japan and South America.

Mrs. Sasamori works hard to help others and contribute to world peace regardless of her age by sharing her experience. Two years ago 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 that "Students will graduate by listening to your experience." So, she gave a speech and, at the same time, received an honorable doctor's degree of humanity from the university. I believe she deserved it. She lives her life fully with honest and heartfelt gratitude toward people who helped her. At the reception of the wedding she told me that she totally agree how important it is to be grateful to our parents and everyone and everything in the universe described in the Divine Message. "...first to be reconciled with your brothers before making offerings at the altar of God. The greatest among your brothers and sisters are your parents. Those who are grateful to God but cannot be grateful to their parents are against the Divine Will...Be grateful to the blessings from your country. Be grateful to your parents. Be grateful to your husband or wife. Be grateful to your children. Be grateful to those who serve you. Be grateful to all people. Be grateful to everything in the universe. Within those thoughts of gratitude you will find me and receive my salvation..." When you can be grateful to everyone and everything in the universe, God's salvation will appear. Mrs. Sasamori is grateful to everyone and everything in the universe and life her life fully. In other words, she demonstrates her sincerity. 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)

Let us walk the road to victory by living sincerely. Please show your sincerity and help those who are victims of the earthquake in japan as much as you can. Thank you very much.