Friday, November 15, 2013

No Deadlock in the Kingdom of God

This lecture was delivered at the Second Sunday Service on May 5, 2013.


Thank you very much for coming to this Sunday Service. In Seicho-No-Ie we learn about the True-Image World and that there is no deadlock in that world. However, in our everyday life we see many people who have no way to move forward. They seem to be stuck at a dead end. We learn how to get out of a dead end bring out our inner power which dwells in us by fully living in the present moment. 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 sated: “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. Sincerity means with 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)

It is essential for us to live this way of life. Then, without praying God protects us. When I was in Southern California, I went to a restaurant in front of beach in Malibu for a wedding. It was a very 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 the ceremony by Mrs. Shigeko Sasamori who is a Hiroshima Atomic Bomb survivor. According to Mrs. Sasamori, almost all people who were within 1.5 km of the bomb explosion were killed. However, she was an exception. Her life seemed at an impasse because although she survived from Atomic Bomb, she has been a bombing casualty since then and has had to live with its consequences. Fortunately, she was able to be grateful to everyone and everything and her life was changed completely.

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

Fortunately, Mrs. Sasamori found a church whose music brought healing of her mind. Then, she was selected for 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, her face remains with little scars like burns and some of her fingers are shorter than a regular person’s. However, because of this surgery her attached fingers were separated and implanted skin from her legs was applied to her 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 divorced and 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 and then she has helped whatever she could to contribute to world peace. Last year she was not able to come home for 6 months because of her business trip sharing her experience. She went to Europe, Japan and South America. One time she had a layover at the Los Angeles airport from South America, and she decided to go back to her home to exchange her summer clothes for winter clothes, so she was able to continue her trip to Japan.

She is almost 80 but works hard to help others and world peace through her experience. In 2010, 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 her saying “Students will graduate by listening to your experience.” She gave a speech and, at the same time, received an honorable doctor’s degree of humanities from the university. I believe she deserved it. She lives her life fully with honest and heartfelt gratitude toward the people who helped her. At the wedding reception where I officiated, she told me that she totally agrees how important it is to be grateful to our parents and everyone and everything in the universe as described in the Divine Message. 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)

Mrs. Sasamori’s life was once destroyed by the bomb, but her thoughts of gratitude and actions changed her life completely. Let us walk the road to victory by living sincerely. Then, although the situation seems to be at an impasse, everything will go well because God appears when we can be grateful to everyone and everything in the universe, i.e. reconciled with the whole universe. In the Divine Message of Grand Harmony it is stated, “To be reconciled with the whole universe means to be grateful to everything in the universe…If you wish to call on me, first be reconciled with everything in the universe. Since I am Love, I shall appear when you have become reconciled with the whole universe.” Please share this teaching of gratitude to as many people as possible and let other people who encounter difficulties become free. Thank you very much.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mind Creates Destiny

This lecture was delivered at the Second Sunday Service on April 14, 2013.


Thank you very much. I often talk about how important it is to have a positive attitude and encourage people to practice the use of positive words such as “I am a child of God. I am happy, healthy and wealthy. Only good things come my way.” I’d like to emphasize the importance of practicing reciting good words before going to bed and just after waking up along with Shinsokan Meditation. You have to know that positive words have power to create and shape our positive destinies. So I read Open The Doors Of Your Life, Children’s Prayer, and For Young People every day both English and Japanese with my family before Shinsokan Meditation. However, positive words are not only written in books but include our thoughts, utterances, actions and expressions. Why can positive words create and shape a positive destiny? Because the law of the mind permeates the universe. One of the very important laws of the mind is that what you recognize appears. Therefore, by learning this law of the mind and applying the power of the word we will be able to realize what we recognize in our minds.

There is a parking garage right next to the Seicho-No-Ie New York Center there is a parking building. Recently the building became available for sale. Adriano Westfal, Chairman of Seicho-No-Ie New York, brought me a brochure and said, “The parking garage facing 54th Street is $20 million and the 53rd Street side is $3 million. Why don’t you buy this property for SNI NY?” I told him, “The 53rd Street side is almost the same size as the SNI NYC building. So it is a good idea to buy the $3 million parking site. However, I would prefer to buy a spiritual retreat in the suburb of New York so that we can have a spiritual training seminar regularly. The spiritual training seminar gives joy to its participants. By making people joyful and grateful we will be able to increase our membership. Last Sunday I read 5 minutes in Portuguese during my lecture, and many people were so happy. Although I read, I didn’t know what I said but I was so moved that many people were so happy about it. So I decided to learn and master Portuguese at least equivalent to my current level of English in two years.” Then, Adriano said, “Wow, paying $3 million to buy the property next door is much easier than that!” Adriano was joking, but I think sometimes we limit ourselves by our own misconception or belief that “I cannot do this or that.” 

For a long time I thought I needed to buy a home for the future in the U.S. When I came to the U.S. in 2000, I originally planned to go back to Japan in 3 or 5 years. However, due to the SNI ministers’ situation in the U.S., I was told to apply for a green card. I got my green card in 2008 and at that time my daughters told me that they wanted to live in the U.S., not Japan. So, after retirement I would need a place to live. In twelve years or so my retirement time will come and I would have to finish payment of the mortgage if I bought a house. Until recently I believed that it is difficult to pay a mortgage and my daughters’ college fees and taxes and at the same time maintain a comfortable family life. It is not like paying $200,000 or $3 million at all. However, I was restricting myself saying it is very hard. On the other hand, Adriano said it was much easier to pay $3 million than to master Portuguese. I had misused the power of the word. To put it in a different way from Adriano’s perspective, I will be able to do something more than paying $3 million if I can master Portuguese in 2 years. I have a dream to have full attendance at our regular Sunday Service. For someone it might be very difficult to achieve, but it might be easier than mastering Portuguese. When I think in this way, a number of possibilities unfold in front of me, and I believe I can but be successful. 

Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi often used a metaphor as follows: If your parent, husband or wife secretly hid a $10,000 check in your wallet, you won’t be able to use it unless you recognize it. In other words, it is the same as if it doesn’t exist. Imagine that one year ago you borrowed $10,000 from your friend and gave your car as a security deposit. One year later your friend asks you to return the $10,000, but you don’t have such an amount. You would like to pay it back if you had the money, but you don’t and you are about to give up your car. If you knew that your parent/husband/wife had put a $10,000 check in your wallet, you would be able to use it. Infinite abundance, abilities and power are already within you, but you would not be able to use them unless you recognized them. 

To perceive learning Portuguese and paying a mortgage or $3 million is the same. Seicho-No-Ie founder Masaharu Taniguchi explained it in very plain language. He taught us that man is not a physical body, not matter. The physical body and matter do not exist. Diseases and poverty do not exist. Disasters and sufferings do not exist. They exist in those who recognize them in their minds. When founder Taniguchi proclaimed this truth, those who had suffered from diseases were healed, those who had been in need were saved. However, someone told me, “Rev. Taniguchi himself was dead at the age of 91. How can you explain this?” I don’t think Seicho-No-Ie founder Masaharu Taniguchi died at the age of 91. He taught that there is no matter, no physical bodies. In that sense he was never born in this world and never died. Those who saw him as a physical body thought he died. However, he himself clearly said he was not matter, not a physical body, and he would never die. Our physical bodies can be compared to material clothes. When your jacket becomes too old and torn, you will discard it. Then, do you think you have died? No, I don’t think so. You may think your jacket finished its purpose but we never die. Through our spiritual point of view, our physical bodies are the same. 

I have given so many analogies that I have probably confused you by now. This is because many people still believe they live in the physical world and deal with matter. In other words, they limit themselves. However, SNI teaches us that the world we see now is not the world of matter or physical existence but the existence which our mind recognizes. Then, if we recognize negative things, are they really in existence? No, they aren’t. In the “Prayer in Praise of God’s Abundant Protection,” founder Masaharu Taniguchi clearly explained.

    “God is all in all. He transcends time and transcends space. He is everywhere, at all times, without beginning and without end....I now become one with God, melding in oneness with Him, and receive His infinite life, infinite wisdom, and infinite love. I realize God’s infinite potential, I realize God’s infinite abundance, and I live a life filled with joy, harmony, and peace. All of these things have already been realized in my True Image. O God, Thy will be done in this world as it is in the True-Image World...”
    “I now contemplate the Truth that only the True Image is ultimate reality. I contemplate the Truth that in the perfect True-Image World there is no room for evil, conflict, or discord. I therefore affirm that in the True-Image World not even a nuclear bomb can wield its destructive force...”

The True-Image World is the only real existence; therefore, nothing can destroy it, not even nuclear weapons. However, in our physical eyes we think we see many imperfections and believe they exist. So, we must differentiate from the True-Image World and our daily lives. Founder Masaharu Taniguchi continued:

    “Life may be compared to a stage upon which the greatness of everyone’s True Image is portrayed. On this stage, the drama unfolds in a certain order, and its presentation requires the passage of time. A story calling for happiness does not unfold all at once, just as when a seed is planted, it does not burst into flowers and fruit the moment it germinates. Even before a seed is planted, within it is the original model of its flowers and fruit. And, as long as the seed is properly cared for, it will one day bear beautiful flowers and sweet fruit exactly as depicted in the original model.”
So, our journey through life unfolds gradually in accordance with the thoughts and words we create in our minds. Little by little we discover our God-given gifts, and our unique purposes in life which allow us to attain true happiness. Although your path to happiness and fulfillment might seem long, you will ultimately find what you seek. The important thing is that God gives all of us His good seeds. Whatever the seed of life you receive, it must bloom into a good life. Everyone and everything in the universe has only a good seed given by God. 

Then, why can we see bad things seemingly unfold? This is because the bad things you encounter are simply a reflection of your mind. I will explain it with a story from the Bible, Mathew chapter 20. 

The story in this chapter was about a vineyard owner and his workers. The point of the story was to liken the kingdom of Heaven to the experiences of the vineyard owner and his workers. The vineyard owner went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. He promised these workers that he would pay them with silver coins. They were very happy to hear this. The owner went out again at about nine o’clock. He saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he hired more workers. When he went out again at noon and then at three o’clock, he did the same. At about five he went out and found some people still standing around; so he said to them, “Why are you standing here all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” So, he decided to hire the rest of them. When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” People hired at about five o’clock received a silver coin. Now when the first hired came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received the same wage. So, when they received it, they grumbled saying to the vineyard owner, “These last laborers worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matt 20:1-16) 

We will be able to learn some lessons from this story. For example, obviously we cannot see Heaven (the True-Image World) if we obstinately cling to our egos. Founder Masanaru Taniguchi commented on these verses saying, “Indeed, Heaven is like this. Heaven cannot be taken by one’s own egotistic power. A person who insists on his own good will be placed last.”
Heaven is not the place of comparison of one’s own scale of good or bad but the scale of God. For example, imagine that you have worked for your company for 10 years. You considered quitting this company many times, and you complained many times about the company president behind his back. However, this March the president that you had grumbled about many times decided to give you an extra $10,000.  Would you be happy?  You most certainly would be happy.  You would probably say, “I never thought about how wonderful the president was, but today, to me he really seems like an angel.  I never expected this from him.  I am so happy and feel good that he has let me work at this company until today.”  So, you decided to treat your three subordinates who had all been hired three months ago. You brought them to a very expensive restaurant for dinner and let them eat whatever they wanted. When you returned from the bathroom, these three guys were whispering something. So, you asked one of them what they were saying. Then, the youngest subordinate replied, “We hesitated to tell you the truth, but you are so kind to us, so we decided to tell you. As you know, all of us just received a special bonus today. We didn’t know how much you received until you told us at dinner that you received $10,000 and therefore decided to treat us to dinner tonight. However, the three of us actually received $10,000 each. Therefore, we cannot really accept your treat. You are a very nice boss.”

Immediately, your happiness was gone. You were angry at the president again. Why did this happen? Where did the feeling of gratitude go, which you had shown to him president an hour ago? Did you lose something? Well, if you quietly considered your bonus, you would find that your $10,000 bonus was still there. However, you wouldn’t be able to be happy anymore because your mind compared your bonus to your subordinates’ bonuses.

This is an explanation of the law of the mind. When you heard about your subordinates’ bonuses, if you were able to be happy for their good fortune, you would generate happy thoughts in your mind. This example reinforces that our world is created in our minds. If you generate happy thoughts in your mind, it will appear. So, if you could be happy for each of your three subordinates’ $10,000 bonuses, your mind would generate $30,000 in happiness. Your happiness would actually total $40,000: $10,000 and your subordinates’ $30,000. This thought of happiness of $40,000 in your mind must appear in the future because what we recognize in our minds will appear. This is the key to become happy. Therefore, no matter what happens we should be grateful to everyone and everything in the universe.

You might think that anybody would rightfully be angry and unappreciative in such a situation because one person worked for 10 years and the other 3 persons worked only for 3 months but they received the same amount. However, if we see only the current phenomenal world, this world is always unfair. Therefore, we must be able to feel appreciation and gratitude for everything and everybody that we can in order to generate happy thoughts in our minds. It is these positive thoughts, or the power of the mind, that leads to happiness and fulfillment.