Thursday, November 8, 2012

You Are the Master of Your Destiny!

The following lecture was delivered at the SNI Orange County Center's One Day Truth Realization Seminar on October 27, 2012:

We are all children of God; therefore, we are the master of our lives. We can change our lives to whatever we want. As today’s One-Day Truth Realization Seminar’s flyer states: “You are always the master. You control your own destiny. That is why you must not think that others are to blame for your misfortune. You are solely responsible for your misfortune or happiness.”

In Seicho-No-Ie, there are several important teachings that you should not miss such as “You are a child of God,” “You are the master of your destiny.” and “All environment by which you are surrounded are reflections of your mind.” You are the master of your life, but your wishes are not always realized because your fervent wish and sincere wish are different. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote:

“Your sincere wish will come true. Sincerity does not merely mean being fervent. It means your innermost truth. The innermost is the opposite of a superficial shallowness. By following fashion, satisfying one’s vanity, hastily welcoming the situation, rashly swimming with the tide, and being swayed by rumors, one wants to do something. But that something cannot be a sincere wish. Jesus fervently prayed with bloody perspiration in the garden of Gethsemane, ‘If you are willing, take this cup from me’ (Luke 22:42, NIV). However, this was not his actual sincere wish.” (Truth of Life magazine Oct. 2010, p. 25)

Jesus fervently wished to take that cup from him, but this was not actually his sincere wish. Rev. Taniguchi continued:

“Jesus’ sincere wish was that he himself be crucified on the cross for the sin-consciousness of human beings, in the same way that Moses had saved the Jewish people from the fury of God by lifting up the bronze snake and putting it up on a pole. Therefore, he prophesied that, ‘just as Moses lifted the snake up in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up’ (John 3:14, NIV). This was his subconscious sincere wish. However, his conscious fervent wish was ‘take this cup from me.’ However fervent the wish in your conscious mind, it shall not come true when you have the opposite wish in your subconscious mind.” (Ibid., p. 25)

Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi described the mind in the following manner: “The mind is like an iceberg, with the subconscious mind becoming increasingly larger as it goes deeper. The conscious mind, which appears above the surface, is only the tip of the iceberg. What appears above the surface of the water is only a small portion of the iceberg as most of its large mass is below the surface and out of sight...The subconscious mind is exactly like this. It becomes bigger as it goes deeper, and the lower portion of the subconscious mind is what is common to and interconnected with all mankind” (Prosperity and Health, p. 276).

Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi likened each person’s conscious and subconscious minds to the above diagram. The conscious mind is about 5 percent of the total individual mind. The subconscious mind is almost 95 percent of the mind. Within the subconscious mind there are several layers of consciousness. Rev. Taniguchi described the relationship between conscious and subconscious minds: “The conscious mind is merely a point that protrudes on the surface of the subconscious. It has the role of receiving or preventing unwholesome things from entering the mind. The subconscious mind, on the other hand, passively accepts whatever is impressed on it by the conscious mind, entrusting it further to the creative power of the grand Life (God) of the universe. The conscious mind is the surface mind that consciously selects whatever impressions that come” (Control Your Life By Your Mind, p. 63-64). Furthermore, Rev. Taniguchi explained the relationship between the subconscious mind and the Super-consciousness (God-consciousness) in the above-mentioned book, Prosperity and Health. I won’t quote the entire section of this, but his core point is that each individual person’s subconscious mind is directly connected to God through his or her God-consciousness. Therefore, we call every person a child of God.

Rev. Taniguchi said our subconscious minds control our lives. For example, if something embarrasses us, we suddenly blush and our heart rate goes up. How can we stop blushing and bring our heart rate back down? We cannot control these reactions with our conscious minds. When something negative happens to us, we just add another worry or concern into our minds. In other words, we have continuously accumulated negativities in our minds without cleansing them away. If we repeatedly hold old grudges, our minds are more inclined to become upset and angry, and even hateful. These emotions can cause great harm to our physical and mental health as well as our business and personal relationships. Many people do not recognize that our subconscious and conscious thinking habits are what prevent us from leading healthy and happy lives. One of the reasons is that people usually forget about their negative thoughts at the conscious level after a certain period of time has passed and assume that they feel fine. However, these negative thoughts did not disappear but have accumulated in their subconscious minds. This is like sweeping dirt and dust under a rug. It has simply been hidden from view. However, it is still there doing great harm from the deep recesses of the subconscious mind.

In order to remove these harmful thoughts from our mind, we periodically hold the Mind Purification ceremony at the centers. When we cleanse our negative emotions and thoughts from our minds and accumulate positive thoughts, our conscious and subconscious minds agree and our wish becomes sincere.

What then is a positive thought? A positive thought is enlightenment. To become enlightened we have to know the following three things:
1)      Deny the existence of phenomena. Phenomena are not true existences. They are reflections.
2)     Affirm that we are all children of God.
3)     Realize that our minds create our destinies.

We are all perfect spiritual beings and have God nature deep within ourselves. However, phenomenally we can still see imperfection through our physical eyes. Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi expounds this in his prayer, Prayer to Visualize the Non-Existence of Misfortune, in Daily Prayer (Hibino Inori). (Underline was the parts I read.)

Prayer to Visualize the Non-Existence of Unhappiness
  The world created by God is perfect.  All is sufficient, give to one another, support one another, and are in harmony.  There is no lack or deficiency, taking or stealing from one another, and there is no conflict.  All ideas, beauty, and goodness fill and permeate throughout, and are given order through various laws. That is what is being referenced when it is written in “Genesis,” “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good….”  I believe in God from the bottom of my heart, and because I have great confidence in Him, I believe in this, and declare, just as God did, “All things created by God are exceedingly beautiful, exceedingly good, and perfect and harmonious.
   This is the Truth, the True Image, and the true form of the world of the world of God, the Buddha Land, the Pure Land.  It is not possible for me to see it with my physical eyes, hear it with my physical ears, smell it with my physical nose, or taste it with my physical mouth, nor can my skin feel it.  As a child of God, I can simply visualize it directly with my mind.
   Because I deeply visualize the True Image that exists, I know that the “unhappiness” I see is not real.  I know that the “unhappiness” I hear with my ears is not reality.  I know that that which I smell with my nose is not real.  I know that that which I taste with my mouth is not the essence of things.  I know that that which I feel with my sense of touch is not the True Image.  The world I know through my five senses is not the true world created by God.  It is a “reflection of my mind” in two ways. The first is because our senses do not sense everything of all existence, but only what is necessary to maintain the survival of the entire body. The second is because I do not know the feeling itself but reinforce what I am trying to know with my senses.  In other words, I select from my senses only it is that I “want to know.”  That is why, when I feel that “there is happiness before me,” I am reflecting that “unhappiness.”  It is not God’s creation, and because it is not God’s creation, though it may be sensed as phenomena, it is not reality so is non-existent, false, a temporary reflection, and is something that shall eventually crumble.
   Although I may feel that unhappiness stands solemnly before me, it is not God’s “anger,” “punishment” or “trial.”  God does not create “unhappiness.”  He has created only the perfect and harmonious world of Grand Harmony. Hold fast to this faith.  Grasp tightly on to your trust in God.  That which “angers” is our own mind, that which “punishes” is our own mind, and that which seeks “trials” is our own mind.  That which our mind seeks manifests before us as phenomena.  That which appears to be “unhappiness” is a reflection of my mind. When my mind limits or restricts “happiness” to suit itself, any phenomena other than that manifests as “unhappiness.”  Although I may be happy, I am feeling unhappiness of my own volition.  Do not hold God responsible for whether or not you are happy.  He does not create phenomena.  He creates only the True Image and reality.  He creates only the world of God and the Pure Land of Buddha.  In the world of God, all people are happy from the beginning.  In the Pure Land, all living things are filled with infinite happiness from the beginning. 
   Now, as I deeply contemplate and visualize the True Image of existence, I truly know and feel that all things that truly exist are perfect and harmonious and filled with infinite happiness.  My existing is happiness.  My being able to use the tool that is my physical body is happiness.  My having parents who gave me that physical body is happiness.  My having a life that was “marked” by my parents and ancestors is happiness.  Being able to share cultures is happiness.  Being able to have relationships with animals is happiness.  Being able to love the flowers and fruits of plants is happiness.  Being able to feel and sense the sky, oceans, wind, and clouds is happiness.  That is not saying that the breeze, sudden showers, or the sounds of breaking waves, the voice of the thunder, lightning, the cries of the birds, insect sounds, the babbling brook, the sound of the waterfall, or the sound of the surf—the phenomenon itself that we know through our senses—is not in itself happiness.  The greatest and most certain fact behind those infinite number of things—there is a Creator that transcends all of this abundant and diverse phenomena, and there is, here, a perfect and harmonious world created by that God.  That is why, phenomena appearing as that “reflection”—this is the source of happiness. Because, as a “reflection” the phenomenal world is sufficiently magnificent, beautiful, filled with goodness and ideas, think of how the world of God, the True-Image world that is the “source,” must be. Contemplate this.  Meditate on it.  The True Image lies behind the senses.  I am in the center of the perfect and harmonious world of God, and if I visualize and feel only this, happiness is there.
    God is the source of my happiness.  God does not create unhappiness.  “Unhappiness” is merely the house of cards given birth to by the delusion that the physical being is the self.  I offer my heartfelt appreciation to God for teaching me this Truth.

I read Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi’s Daily Prayers every morning and they help me to enlighten my day. I will occasionally introduce his prayers. The next thing we should do is to affirm that we are all children of God. We have to practice Three Important Practices which are Shinsokan Meditation, reading the Holy Sutras and SNI books and perform deeds of love daily. Some may say that we can practice the first two but that the “deeds of love” is not easy to perform every day. You have to change your perceptions. “Deeds of love” in SNI is not only to subscribe to Truth of Live magazines and share them with other people. To be kind to your family members and neighbors, to clean up the streets, to give encouragement, to give a smile and bring joy to other people, or even to pick up trash are all deeds of love. You cannot say that you won’t be able to such things.

The third thing is to realize that our minds create our destinies. I’d like to share a recent book which I read. This book explains how to organize and clean your room. By reading this, I realized that to clean and organize our rooms depends on our minds. I also realized that keeping material things for a long time and cherishing and caring for them are completely different.

In my house there were many material things and I didn’t know how to organize them. However, by reading this book I understood why. The author, Mari Kondo, is an expert in teaching how to clean and organize rooms and offices. Under her guidance, every customer can clean and organize his/her room. In business, repeaters are important, but she has no repeat customer because everyone can do a better job after her guidance.

According to Ms. Kondo, with regard to organization problems, out of 100 percent 90 percent of the cause is related to one’s mind. She said, “There is no way to mess the room without involving you. In other words, you are the one who makes a mess in your room and it is the reflection of your mind.” She also said that she almost never cleans her room because her room is always clean and organized. She said probably once a year she cleans her room for about an hour.

Then, how do you start organizing your room? She gives us the following advice:
1)      What kind of room do you want to live in? Visualize the ideal room. If you cannot visualize the room, find an ideal room from magazines and put that model room or ideal room on the wall.
2)     Repeatedly ask yourself at least 5 times; Why do you want to live in that room/have that kind of lifestyle?
3)     Organization is not to rearrange things in your room or discard things that you dont need. Organization is to keep what you use and what you need.
4)     Organization is a process to select what you want to keep not what you want to discard. In order to do this, you have to set a standard of your things and decide what you want to keep by touching each item with your hands.
5)     Do not clean by room but clean by categories. Collect the same items in one room and start organizing and/or sorting.
6)     Start organizing things which are easy to sort such as clothes. Recommendation: clothes-> books-> documents-> small things (DVD, accessories, stationery, cosmetics, medicine, kitchen things, daily necessities, food, etc.)-> things rich in memories such as photos and letters.
7)     Sorting order of clothes: tops (shirt, sweater)-> bottoms (pants, skirts)-> hanging clothes (jackets, suits, coat)-> socks-> underwears-> bags-> small things (scarves, belts, hats, shoes)-> event clothes (Halloween, bathing suit, party dress)-> bags
8)    When you get rid of your personal stuff, do not give them to your family members and proceed disposing without letting them know. You will always be interrupted.

When I read this book, I thought the author did not think of material things as materials. She said, “A gift is to convey a person’s feeling. Recall the touching moment when you received it and be grateful and then discard it.” “To organize is to clean up the past.” “Please dispose all the letters from someone whom you associated with. The purpose of love letters belongs to the moment to receive and read it. Generally speaking, those who have sent a letter do not remember what he wrote or even remember the fact that he had sent it. Regarding accessories and jewelry, you should keep them if they are precious to you. Otherwise, get rid of them, or you may miss a new encounter.”

When I read this book, I realized that I did not fully utilize things that I kept at home. They accumulated in the closet, on the shelves, under the bed and in the garage, and I haven’t seen some of them for over 3 years, 5 years and even over 7 years. How can I say that I care for my personal things? It means I don’t care for them. So, I cleaned my room and separated what I really want to use and what I do not need and prayed in my Shinsokan meditation, “O God, I have many things that I haven’t used for years such as clothes, bags and personal belongings. I am sincerely grateful to them which brought me joy and surprise. Please send these things to those who most need them. O God, thank you very much for granting my sincere wishes.” I had a garage sale. I gave some of them to my friends and took some of them to the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Through this experience I was able to refresh my feelings towards my personal belongings and again be grateful to them. These material things are not things that I need or do not need but are the manifestation of God’s life. I am grateful to my experience that I could cherish my life again and feel passion toward the material things that I have. They are not matter but manifestations of the life of God.

We are all children of God; therefore, we are the master of our lives. We can change our lives to whatever we want. To do this, we need to realize the three things which are:
-         Deny the existence of phenomena. Phenomena are not true existences. They are reflections.
-         Affirm that we are all children of God.
-         Realize that our minds create our destinies.
We also practice Three Important Practices which are Shinsokan Meditation, reading the Holy Sutras and SNI books and perform deeds of love daily. Then even our rooms will be able to reflect on our minds and become organized. Thank you very much.