My name is Mario Kawakami, an Ordained Minister of Seicho-No-Ie. I share my personal experiences and my day to day thoughts. I hope this would help you be interested in and understand the truth. The content of this blog does not necessarily reflect on Seicho-No-Ie officially. All the contents shared in my blog are my own personal opinions for which I take full responsibility.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Let Us Genuinely Practice Three Seicho-No-Ie Practices
The following message was my message of the July/August SCMA newsletter.
this phenomenal life, there are many important things which are bestowed to us
by God as important. If there is no life, we cannot accomplish our mission
which was given to us by God. Therefore, the action to terminate life must be ceased
because it is a sinful act. However,
some people think and act that money or material things are more important than
life because they have their own moral reflection. But our morals should come from
God. In other words, goodness is one of God’s virtues. Goodness is not only
good for oneself but it is also good for many people. Goodness is not egotistical
or partial—it is impartial. Seicho-No-Ie prayers have positive words, but if
you only pray for your happiness and do not pay mind to others, that is not a
good prayer. In the phenomenal world, sometimes “good” is interpreted into
different meanings because every situation is different.
In July, Tomas Lopez, a lifeguard
in Hallandale Beach, Florida, was ﬁ red because he saved a person who was
drowning. The reason why he was ﬁ red was because the person who was drowning
was in the out of insurance coverage zone in which Tomas watched. This relates
to liability insurance. A company should have liability insurance. Liability insurance
means if something happens on a company’s property, they have to be legally
responsible for it. However, any company cannot prevent absolutely every accident
before it happens. So insurance is needed,
and insurance covers only incidents in a certain area. This applies to the
beach as well. The lifeguard company of Tomas Lopez was responsible for
whatever happens to their employees in their designated area. So, they had a policy for their employees to
not tend to any incidents happening outside their designated area. Tomas knew
that he would be ﬁ red if he didn’t abide by it, but he thought that saving a
human life was more important than this policy.
Consequently, he was ﬁred, and his fellow lifeguards also quit the
company in protest of their decision.
So, if you were a lifeguard, would
you do the same thing as Tomas did? I think the average person would answer, “Yes.” Many people would also probably think that
this company is wrong, but what is actually wrong? I believe most people think
that policies or rules, overall, should contribute to the happiness of human
beings. Life is very important. The lifeguard company’s policy was to protect
their business, not for saving the life of human beings.
That was probably not too difﬁcult
to ﬁgure out. Yet, how about the next example? The following is a true story
that took place in Afghanistan, revealed by Michael Sandel in his book, Justice:
What’s The Right Thing To Do? I will summarize between pages 24 and 30:
In June 2005, a special forces
team made up of Petty Ofﬁcer Marcus Luttrell and three other U.S. Navy SEALs
set out on a secret mission in Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border, in search
of a Taliban leader, a close associate of Osama bin Laden. According to intelligence
reports, their target commanded 140 to 150 heavily armed ﬁghters and was
staying in a village in the forbidding mountainous region.
Shortly after, the special forces
team met two Afghan farmers with about a hundred goats. One of them was a boy about
14 years old. The Afghans were unarmed. The American soldiers trained their riﬂes
on them, motioned for them to sit on the ground, and then debated what to do
about them. On one hand, the goat herders appeared to be unarmed civilians. On
the other hand, letting them go would run the risk that they would inform the Taliban
of the presence of the U.S. soldiers.
Four soldiers did not have any
rope to tie up the Afghans, so their choice was either to kill the Afghan goat
herders or let them go free. One of the soldiers voted to kill them and another
voted to set them free. The third one had abstained. So, Petty Ofﬁcer Luttrell’s
vote would decide the lives of Afghan goat herders. If you were him, what would
Since we are not in the Navy SEALs
and not actually in Afghanistan, it is difﬁcult for us to decide one way or
another. However, Petty Ofﬁcer Luttrell was in that situation and cast the
deciding vote to release them. About an hour and a half after they released the
goat herders, the four soldiers found themselves surrounded by eighty to a
hundred Taliban ﬁghters armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. In the ﬁerce ﬁreﬁght that followed, all three
of Luttrell’s comrades, except for Petty Ofﬁcer Luttrell, were killed. The
Taliban ﬁghters also shot down a U.S. helicopter that sought to rescue the SEAL
unit, killing all sixteen soldiers on board.
The reason why I introduced this
story is not because I am going to tell you that in our lives we have very difﬁcult
decisions in which we would need to sacriﬁce a human life. As a matter of fact,
Professor Sandel wrote:
Few of us face
choices as fateful as those that confronted the soldiers on the mountain. But wrestling
with their dilemmas sheds light on the way moral argument can proceed, in our
personal lives and in the public square.
Life in democratic societies is rife with
disagreement about right and wrong, justice and injustice. Some people favor
abortion rights, and others consider abortion to be murder. Some believe fairness
requires taxing the rich to help the poor, while others believe it is unfair to
tax away money people have earned through their own efforts. . . .
How, then, can we reason our way through the
contested terrain of justice and injustice, equality and inequality, individual
rights and the common good? This book tries to answer that question. . . . (pp.
Professor Sandel gave us deep
insight to consider and discuss moral philosophies in this book, but as long as
we discuss something from the phenomenal viewpoint, we cannot ﬁnd solution
because moral reﬂections change depending on time, place, and cultural and/or racial
background. During the Tokugawa Shogun
period between 1600 and 1868 in Japan, killing the parent’s or master’s killer for
revenge was allowed until it was legally prohibited in 1873. Traditionally in
the Muslim culture, a man may have up to four wives if he believes he can treat
them equally, while a woman may have only one husband even if she can treat men
equally. In the phenomenal world there is no absolute perfection, because this world
is a reﬂected world like a projected movie. Therefore, in Petty Ofﬁcer
Luttrell’s case, there is no absolute good decision.
Then, what should we do? What is
the best way to resolve our problems? First of all, in Seicho-No-Ie, we need to
know the Truth because the Truth shall make us free. We need to realize our True Image through the
three important SNI practices. In the phenomenal world, we sometimes run into a
stone wall and think there is no solution to our problems. As long as we see the situation from the
phenomenal viewpoint, we will not ﬁnd any solution. However, when we apply the
law of God’s love to our problems, we will be able to resolve them because
anything is possible in the world of God. Therefore, let us genuinely continue
to carry out our three important SNI practices (Shinsokan meditation, reading the
Holy Sutra and Seicho-No-Ie books, and acts of gratitude).