Thursday, September 16, 2021

Prayer to God in the 20th Year Anniversary Since 9/11

 I cannot believe that I haven't updated this page for a year. 

Last Sunday, we had time to pray for the 20th Year Anniversary of September 11. The following is the prayer and I would like to share it with you: 

Pray to God in the 20th Year Anniversary since 9/11

            Oh God, who governs the True-Image World as well as this universe, we the Seicho-No-Ie New York members have gathered here in your presence during this Zoom Sunday Service and offer our sincere prayer.

           It has been twenty years since the September 11, 2001 tragedy. We pray that those who perished, including the first responders who dedicated their lives to helping others, are at peace in the spiritual world under Your guidance and blessings. We are sincerely grateful to You.

            We are also grateful for Your protection and guidance to the survivors, friends and families of this incident. We pray that they had come through the past 20 years with a great new life.

            The world of God is perfect and in peace. There is no misfortune or discord. Although misfortune or discord appears in the phenomenal world, it is because the life given by God is not properly expressed. Order is the manifestation of life, and freedom is obtained when each expression is in harmony with the whole. Misfortune and incongruity appear when the correct expression of life is missing.

            The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were the result of humans whose actions of plunder and poverty were caused by disparity and lack of true faith. Hurricanes and wildfires are also caused by humans whose greedy desires have accelerated global warming.

            To correct the manifestations of the chaotic desires of human beings, we will propagate and practice the truth that the absolute God has never created misfortune or calamity and that we are all wonderful children of God who practice goodness to realize harmony.

            Since God is good and we are children of God our movements and actions to correct injustice, to restore order and to help those who are suffering naturally emerge when imperfections appear in the phenomenal world.

            Those who worked to restore the order of God in the phenomenal world are the people who actively helped and devoted themselves to the 9/11 incident and to the families and friends who supported them.

            Oh God, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to You for Your mercy for guiding and blessing these people in the past and in the future. Today, we all gather at this Zoom Sunday Service and pray for these things. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to You for answering our earnest wishes.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Why Is Education of Rebirth Important?: Day 34

 Education of Rebirth

“Education of Rebirth” means that a person or a parent realizes one’s divinity and practices to be reborn mentally and spiritually. To apply this principle to a child, it is called “Education of Having Rebirth of a Child.” This is for a youth and young adult child who has many problems, and his or her parents have done the best that they can do but cannot teach their child anymore. The more the parents work to change their child, the worse he or she behaves. In such a case this “Education of Having Rebirth of a Child” will help improve your child.

The basic principle is this: Do not resist evil because evil phenomena is part of the process of getting rid of the delusion. Do not dwell on your negative thoughts. Release your child from your mind. Abandon your attachment toward your child. If you are a mother, visualize that you are pregnant with your child again with love and gratitude as a child of God and at the same time re-start your child fetus education again.

For example, when Mariko’s (not her real name) son became a middle school student, he started to get into trouble and became rebellious. Mariko had a consultation with a Seicho-No-Ie minister and he said that the first reason a child has problems is because his or her parents were not sincerely happy and joyous for their pregnancy.

In Mariko’s case, she did not want to get pregnant because her superior of her company asked her to restrain from getting pregnant while she was on a particular project. However, she later found out that she was pregnant. She worried about the circumstance. When she thought about it, she realized that in the beginning she did not enjoy and was not happy about her pregnancy. However, she decided to have the baby.

In accordance with the suggestion of the minister, Mariko practiced “Education of Having Rebirth of a Child.” She placed a maternity belt around her belly and visualized that she was pregnant again with her son. First, she sincerely expressed from the bottom of her heart her gratitude to God, her ancestors, and her husband for her pregnancy. Every day she talked with her imaginary baby with joy saying:


“Hello, my baby. Thank you very much for staying in my belly. You are an angel. I have an extraordinary wondrous love that I’ve never felt in my heart. It might be the same happy feeling that my mom and dad felt when I was born. Mom, Dad, thank you very much. Dear my husband, thank you very much. Your love brought a precious life in my belly. Let us find a great name for the baby.

My dear baby, you are a great child and bring joy and happiness to my family. I will talk to you with joy and great stories every day from now on. I pray for your health. I love you!”

 “Education of Rebirth” can be done anytime. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. We are all children of God, and our essence is life, spirit, and divine nature. Therefore, we are unable to damage our essence. When our essence shines, it is recognized as genius and talents. And that genius will appear when we realize our divinity. That time is “now.”


Seven Days Rebirth

It is important to give rise to thoughts of praise and gratitude “now.” In order to live now, you need to have objectives and goals and focus on them to achieve them. The following is a one week plan for rebirth.

Sunday: A day of gratitude for your child.

Monday: A day of thanking your parents.

Tuesday: A day of gratitude to your spouse/partner.

Wednesday: A day of warm and gentle words.

Thursday: A day of absolute “Yes.”

Friday: A day of full of smiles.

Saturday: A day of praising and being grateful to yourself.

<< Sunday: A day of gratitude for your child >>

Sunday is the day to be grateful to your child. Visualize him or her with God’s love. God’s love in Buddhism is the Four Immeasurable Minds which are benevolence, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

Benevolence is the mind that feels sympathy and that wants to release people from their sufferings. Observe your child to see if he or she is worrying or suffering from something. If so, pray to remove it from your child, find out a solution for him or her, and perform it as much as you can.

Compassion is the mind that sees sorrow become joy. Give joy to your child in whatever he or she enjoys.

Joy is the state of mind where you can see your child’s joy and rejoice as if it were your own joy. What is the most joyful thing for your child? Whatever it is, on this day, please be joyful for your child’s joy as if your own joy.

Equanimity or non-attachment is to believe in your child’s divinity and free your child from your attachment. Let your child do whatever he or she likes with a strong faith in their child of God nature. To execute this is the first step to deeply feel the appreciation of “Thank you very much, my dear child.”

<< Monday: A day of thanking your parents >>

Monday is the day to be grateful to your parents. The voice of your parents is the voice of God. You cannot see God here or there. The manifestation of God is your parents. They are like a mirror to show you your mind. By being grateful to your parents and everything will turn out better. At the same time you will find in your mind fulfillment. Your child’s rebellious attitude will vanish and you will establish good terms between you and your spouse. This is the power of gratitude to your parents. Write in your Sundial Diary, “Thank you very much, Father! Thank you very much, Mother!” as much as possible. Today is the day to give rise to thoughts of gratitude.

<< Tuesday: A day of gratitude to your spouse >>

For this day, in the beginning, you will stop binding your spouse in your thoughts. The usual thoughts between a husband and wife are “I will be happy if he or she does this or that.” Husbands and wives have an intimate relationship that our parents and siblings cannot enter. Because of this sometimes we forget moderation or constraint and we become too frank or without reservation and we restrain the partner with our mind. Stop wishing for them to do this or that and start practicing praising your spouse as much as possible. You cannot praise your spouse too much. Write positive things about your spouse in the Sundial Diary.

<< Wednesday: A day of warm and gentle words >>

Wednesday is a day to focus on your words. Words are vibrations of your character. When your character becomes sublime, your words also become purified. If your mind has thorns, your words are acrimonious because your mind creates your words and attitude. On the other hand, when you control your words and try to use warm and gentle words with love and joy, your relationship with your spouse becomes lovely and joyous and there is no apprehension between you. First, chose a word to describe your spouse and use an endearing tone.

<< Thursday: A day of absolute “Yes” >>

Absolute “yes” is the state of the highest realization of enlightenment because there is no bad thing in the world of God. We always visualize the True-Image World and practice, unconditional “yes,” “thank you,” and “sorry.” If someone asks for something from you, it is very different when you reply with a joyful “yes” or a gloomy “yes.” Practice “yes,” “thank you,” and “sorry” as much as you can.

<< Friday: A day of full of smiles >>

Having a good smile requires practice. You cannot see your face because your face exists for other people. Your face is not for you, but for others. Remember this. Who will see your face the whole day? Not you but other people. Let us practice smiling before a mirror. When you can find the best smile, close your eyes and inscribe that best smiling face in your mind. Open your eyes again and see your best smile in the mirror. Then, close your eyes and keep that image in your mind. Then, say to yourself, “I am happy.” Again, open your eyes and do the same thing and this time say, “I am joyful.” This will change your character and yourself. If you practice before going to bed, you may not realize it but you are practicing smiling while sleeping.

<< Saturday: A day of praising and being grateful to yourself>>

This day is the completion of the week. Praise yourself as much as you can. Write a lot of positive comments in your Sundial Diary. The fundamental moral of life is to believe that you are precious life, a wonderful child of God.

Why do you hate yourself or have an inferiority complex? It is because you believe that you are your physical existence. If your fundamental thinking is that you are a physical body, then you will suffer from diseases and physical desires, and consequently you have negative thoughts and subconsciously dislike yourself. Many saints practice fasting, torturing their bodies, or avoiding sleeping in order for their spirit to overcome these desires. The best way to praise yourself is to realize that you are not a material existence, not a physical body but life and spirit. For this practice, the Three Important Practices of Seicho-No-Ie and read more the Seicho-No-Ie books to understand the truth logically. This day, Saturday, praise yourself, read the SNI books, and believe that you are a wonderful child of God.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Nature Brings Peace and Harmony: Day 33

I delivered this lecture last Sunday, July 12, 2020.

            Thank you very much. Seicho-No-Ie believes that all religions emanate from the Great Universal Life that permeates the universe. In Christianity this Great Universal Life is called God. In Buddhism it is called the Tathagata of Light. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi said that the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World is the manifestation of the great compassion of the Tathagata of Light unhindered in all directions. In other words, the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World is the manifestation of the Great Universal Life.
            The Prayer to Praise the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World states:

This world manifests the power of the superb wisdom of the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World. The term, “the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World” is not a mere proper noun for one individual bodhisattva. It is great compassion, the power of superb wisdom, and the law of the mind that are omnipresent in the universe. Reflecting the sounds of the world means that great compassion as well as the principle of freely empathizing function that manifests in forms in accordance with the wishes of all living things to save them. This is what is meant when we say that the Bodhisattva changes into 33 different forms to save us. That the Bodhisattva manifests as the law of the mind, according to the minds of living things, is in itself great compassion. (Song In Praise of the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World)

            The Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World appears before us in different forms and appearances in accordance with our minds. Sometimes it appears as a father, mother, or friend. At other times it may appear as an enemy or foe. Sometimes it appears as nature. Rev. Taniguchi states as follows:

The Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World appears in different forms and gives us lectures of salvation. The shapes of the mountains, the coming and going of the clouds, the sounds of the wind, the flow of the rivers—they are all the lessons of compassion of the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World. Those who have ears in their mind should listen; those who have eyes in their mind should see. (Ibid.)

            We must learn from everything, not only from human beings but also from all incidents, circumstances, and nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It has already been illustrated that every natural process is a version of a moral sentence. The moral law lies at the center of nature and radiates to the circumference. It is the pith and marrow of every substance, every relation, and every process. All things with which we deal preach to us. What is a farm but a mute gospel? The chaff and the wheat, weeds, and plants, blight, rain, insects, sun—it is a sacred emblem from the first furrow of spring to the last stack which the snow of winter overtakes in the fields. But the sailor, the shepherd, the miner, the merchant, in their several resorts, have each an experience precisely parallel and leading to the same conclusion because all organizations are radically alike.” (Selected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson Vol. I)
            We are all a part of nature and are all alike because we all came from one Great Universal Life. Why is nature important in Seicho-No-Ie? Seicho-No-Ie follows the Seven Promulgation of Light. The first three promulgations are as follows:

1.          We resolve to transcend all religious and sectarian differences, worship Life, and live in accordance with the laws of Life.
2.         We believe that the laws governing the manifestation of Life constitute the path to infinite spiritual growth and that the Life within the individual is immortal.
3.         We study the creative laws of Life and publicize our findings so that mankind may tread the true path to infinite growth.

            The highlighted words are “life” and “life” not only includes human beings but ALL living beings. All livings beings cannot live without nature. We cannot live without nature. Nature is a part of our lives. Human beings are part of nature. We must coexist. Seicho-No-Ie has been educating its members and the public to change our attitude towards nature and change our treatment of nature. In Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi’s New Year’s message, which is also in the July newsletter, entitled, “Why do we need to change our lifestyles?” he wrote:

          Now, throughout the world, with traditional crops facing difficulty in growing due to the effects of climate change, fishing zones becoming less available, and droughts or heavy floods, wildfires and mudslides taking place more often, food shortages and water shortages are looming. In such circumstances, the world population has risen to 7.6 billion and will soon reach 9 billion. The gap between the economically “rich” and “poor” countries continues to widen. The widening gap between the rich and poor has various negative effects on society. One of them is that the majority who are put on the “poor side” would get increasingly indifferent to the wellbeing of society. There would be an increased tendency to curse society, disrupt order, and head towards destructive activities. This happens not only within one country but also between countries. We are witnessing this in the form of terrorism and the expansion of international conflicts.

            The exploitation of nature not only damages the environment but also to creates a gap between the poor and the rich and consequently disrupts the order of society and destroys nature. Please read this message in the July newsletter again. In the same newsletter, Mrs. Keiko Miura shared her eco-friendly lifestyle in the middle of the biggest city in the world, New York City. Her example shows us what is possible and shows what we can do to work in harmony with and help preserve nature.
            Learning from nature is important to changing the course of human life to create a better world. The world is seemingly moving in the wrong direction as human beings are destroying nature and climate change gets worse.
            The United Nations issued a stern warning in their July 6, 2020 report, “Preventing the Next Pandemic.” In this report, Ingar Andersen, Executive Director of UN Environment Programme, clearly writes that science shows that in the coming years, infectious diseases will shift from animals to human beings if wildlife exploitation and ecosystem destruction continue. This report talks about zoonosis which is an illness spread to human beings through animals.
            It is said that 60 percent of known infectious diseases in humans and 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. Ebola, SARS, the Zika virus, and bird flu all infected people by the way of animals. The report pointed out that the increase in zoonosis is caused by the demand for increased meat consumption, unsustainable agriculture, wildlife exploitation, and incessant increase in natural resource utilization. Currently, we have been fighting COVID-19 which is also zoonotic. COVID-19 has caused profound damages to human health, societies, and the economy throughout the world.
            As of July 10, 2020, COVID-19 has brought the death toll to over 565 thousand worldwide. In addition, two million people, mainly lower to middle income, die each year due to zoonotic diseases. To prevent a future pandemic, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “To prevent future outbreaks, countries need to conserve wild habitats, promote sustainable agriculture, strengthen food safety standards, monitor and regulate food markets, invest in technology to identify risks, and curb the illegal trade in wildlife.” (UN website)
            It is difficult to do something that we are no accustomed to, but we should all try to do our part to help protect nature. Seicho-No-Ie currently promotes PBS activities such as the Organic Vegetable Gardening Club, Bicycle Club, and Craft Club to do our part to help preserve nature and learn how to incorporate an eco-friendly lifestyle into our busy everyday life.
            Because of the pandemic and restriction of leaving home, like Keiko, my wife planted a mini vegetable garden. Every day after Shinsokan Meditation we walk around our neighborhood for an hour and return home at around 7 am. My wife then waters her mini garden. She is excited when she finds sprouts and buds on her vegetables and herb plants. She either brings shiso leaves, oregano, palely, or lemon thyme to our meals. Last Thursday, she started using oregano, sage, lemon thyme, and lemon balm to make natural yeast. I love basil paste, but since we don’t have basil in our garden, I used oregano to make a paste. It was not bad.
            My wife and I enjoy vegetables and herbs from our garden. We also enjoy our morning walks because it gives us a chance to spend quality time together and with nature. These are small steps towards decreasing meat consumption and working towards a sustainable lifestyle.
            As Seicho-No-Ie membership increases, the sustainable, nature-friendly lifestyle will increase. I admire Canada's endeavor to help decrease climate change. Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced on June 22, 2020, that their government would invest almost $100 million on Canada’s plant-based food industry. This is an example that countries can do to help the world.
            Seicho-No-Ie has invested money to build mega-solar panels in 3 different locations in Japan and also invested in geothermal power generation in Beppu Oita, Kyushu. These actions directly help manifest future world peace and contribute indirectly to decreasing the inequality of the distribution of wealth through decreased use of fossil fuels.
            When we are able to hold our Nature Blessing Festa in the future, we will have a mini-event to promote PBS at this center. Thank you very much.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Willingly and courageously let’s try to resolve problems we are facing now: Day 32

            A GOP leader outraged over a question about the President who used a racist term about the Covid-19 pandemic. This leader said that many people are actually dying because of Covid-19, but the media is asking only about the President's racist term when he had named the virus as a Chinese name.
            There are many ways to see an incident or an event of our lives differently. While many people died due to Covid-19, the President spoke in front of many people, many people were walking on the street to protest institutional and systemic racism, some people, especially young people, gathered at parties or pools ignoring social distancing and other guidelines recommended by health experts.
            I understand different people's views and their frustration while staying at home so many months, but I have to insist on the fact that racism and Covid-19 pandemic are connected. We cannot ignore one thing and discuss another thing as if they are totally different. I saw the news this morning that was a sad one. A Chinese doctor who was working in a hospital in Texas was refused by treating this doctor. While she was on duty, a white male patient who was carried into the hospital because of Covid-19, he refused to be treated by this doctor and spat on her with racial slangs. This doctor said it was not the first time she was treated during the pandemic. The doctor wanted to help him, so she just endured how much she was treated so badly. Are you willing to help this guy when he spat on you? This Chinese-American doctor is a truly professional one. We see the connection between racism and pandemic. Actually, everything in this world is connected.
            Racial discrimination exists in the phenomenal world so we must make unending efforts to manifest grand harmony in this world. To change the current situation we must willingly and courageously try to resolve problems we are facing now. First of all, we must visualize the True Image. Then, receive ideas to solve problems and carry out these ideas to manifest the True-Image World in this phenomenal world.
            The process of manifesting the True-Image World into the phenomenal world involves gratitude, visualizing the True Image, and blessing those with whom we have conflict. During this process, we may see destruction and confusion.
            To manifest a better world or a better situation, an old or uncivilized world or unfavorable situation must disappear. It is like when a new king is born, an old king disappears. We call this phenomenon "chemicalization of fate." We should not fear the chemicalization of fate and work together in harmony to unite people in one under the Absolute God of love.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Thank You Mother: Day 31

This is the letter that my mom sent to me last week. She is getting older and cannot recall many things comparing with 10 years prior. She is fighting with her dementia. About 2 years ago she told me that she had difficulty writing because she could not see small letters while writing. She also said that she would often forget Chinese characters. But she kindly wrote to me this time. It was difficult for me to read and her sentences sometimes do not make sense but I am so happy. I will share some of what she wrote to me:

Thank you for always sending me painting letters. Although I thought I need to reply to your letter many times, I cannot write words not so easily. I decided to reply and tried to recall the kanji [Chinese character] of “ ji [means a letter], and it took me about an hour to find that specific letter ji. So I thought I should stop because I don’t like it anymore to continue. I couldn’t reply to you so long and it took me an hour to write the word “letter,” so sometimes I wanted to write a reply. So it seems like I know Japanese words, but once started I couldn’t remember words, so I’m really disappointed. I really didn’t want to disappoint you, so I picked up a pen and started writing, then it was a red pen. Who cares. I forget not only kanji but also hiragana, but anyway, I decided to write to you today. It may be difficult for you to read, but please read it. Please. Anyway, I felt good to write today, so please read it pretending that you are reading a letter from a kindergarten child. I will write from time to time, so please read it. I was very happy with your painting letter of magnolia flower the other day. It is also planted in the backyard of my home. I'm very happy to see these flowers fully blooming that look like swan flying. Although I think it is not my current home, I remember that it was blooming at the back gate of Gifu Elementary School. It may be difficult to read with such small letters I wrote, but sometimes flowers sprout and bloom. Sometimes, the planted seeds that I totally forgot sprout and bloom. Now, white lilies have spread and buds have come out. They have not bloomed yet, but I am looking forward to seeing them bloom in time. Bye!

Note: The attached card is half of the letter-size card that I made for my mom. I also made my address label and sent it to my mom. So she used it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

When I move to New York, a police officer helped me: Day 30

When I moved to New York in January 2013, my two daughters joined me in February. My wife and my oldest daughter stayed in California until June. When we arrived at home at night from JFK, one of my daughters immediately needed something from a drugstore. I didn't have a car yet and didn't know where the drugstore was. My internet still didn't work at that time. So I went out to find a store by walking at around 8 pm. It was a frozen temperature, so it was very cold. And it was very dark on the street because the place where I live is in a village. I walked around but couldn't' find it and no one was on the street. Then, I found a police car parked in the small shopping market. I knocked on the window and asked the police officer where the drugstore was. He was watching me very suspicious, but I explained I had just moved from California. He was silently listening to me. When I finished talking he explained where the store was. I couldn't understand the place soon because I was a stranger here. I asked him three times and thanked him and then left. After a few minutes, he chased me by the police car and drove me to the nearest CVS. It took about 6 or 7 minutes. I was very grateful to him and thanked him sincerely. When I finished shopping and went out of the store, the police officer was waiting for me and drove me back to the house. He said it was cold and I might lose the way back home. I never forget his kindness. I don't know he could take me to the store if he was not a police officer. If he was not a police officer, first of all, he would not be in the dark parking lot. I think he did this kindness not because of his job but because of his decent personality and, at the same time, I think he helped me because he was the police officer and he wanted to help a person who was in trouble. What I want to say is there is no bad police officer. Not only police officers but bad persons do not exist. Those whom we can see bad are people who insist on their own policy, principles, and/or beliefs. These people do not have flexibility. We have to educate ourselves and need to learn how to let our attachment and ego go. To practice love is the most important thing we need to accomplish. I am grateful to that particular police officer who didn't know me at all. Because of him, my family was able to stay overnight safely. What police officers need is proper education and strong faith to do the right thing.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Fate Is Unfoldment of the Mind: Day 29

This is the lecture I spoke on May 10, 2020:

            Last week I talked about the importance of true gratitude. I will continue to talk about how our world is created in accordance with our minds and talk about the reasons that I fell ill. Founder Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote:

There is no soul on this earth who does not seek happiness, riches, and good health, but why can’t they acquire them? It is because they are facing the wrong direction. Should you think that man’s happiness consists of a certain thing, a certain status or a certain place, you are searching for happiness where it does not really exist.
Since man’s fate is as his own mind developed, it is, above all, essential that we keep our minds in harmony and peace. If we continuously affirm and visualize the perfection of the God-created world in our minds, what we do, even though in a natural and spontaneous manner, will begin to develop to realize the perfection of God’s world, and consequently bring to us happiness, prosperity and good health. (365 Golden Keys to the Summit of Fulfillment, p. 51)

            When you come to Seicho-No-Ie, you learn that your mind creates your destiny. When I was ill, it meant that my mind created the illness. My mind attracted illness in order to improve myself. You may question that my life should be the opposite of that. I got ill because of my accumulated delusory thoughts. The law of the mind created my illness. 
            Last autumn, I celebrated my 60th birthday. In Japan, this is called Kanreki. Long ago in Japan people believed that Kanreki signaled the end of the life span and was the time for rebirth. Jesus Christ said, "Truly, I tell you, unless you are born anew, you cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3: 3). Because I wanted to experience a spiritual rebirth, I created a “Practice for Spiritual Rebirth.” The practice included gratitude, repentance, purification of the mind, prayer, rituals, and writing in the Sundial Diary. I chose 20 prayers from the Recitation of the Truth, its sequel, and the Daily Prayer. I practiced, read, and prayed for over two hours a day for many, many days. I started to wonder how I would know if I had been spiritually reborn. My subconscious mind believed I had left everything up to God, but my conscious mind was obsessed with seeing the results of my practices and prayers--I wanted proof of my spiritual awakening.
            We know that true reality does not come from phenomena, but because of my illness I had forgotten that. I forgot to feel gratitude from the bottom of my heart. During my illness my wife did everything for me. She prepared special meals all the time, she read the Holy Sutras and Songs of Praise. She had to towel dry me after I bathed because I was too weak to do it myself. She helped me get dressed. Still, my focus was not gratitude but to see proof of my spiritual awakening.
            While recuperating after two weeks of illness, I got up and sat in a chair to read the Holy Sutras and Seicho-No-Ie books. In one of Rev. Taniguchi’s books, I encountered a story about a wife who was not able to forgive her husband. When she realized that her husband was a genuine and respectful person, through her spiritual awareness and gratitude, almost all of her illnesses were cured except her limp. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi explained that when this wife was able to thank her husband from the bottom of her heart “her limp was already healed. But her conscious mind didn’t realize it and was attached to the delusion that ‘my leg hasn’t yet healed’.” (Shinko “Kanrono Hou” Kaishaku [New Edition Expounding the Nectarean Shower of Holy Doctrine] p. 243). 
            When I read this, it was a revelation that my conscious mind was attached to the physical manifestation of my spiritual rebirth. I was obsessed with the proof of spiritual rebirth for my 60th birthday wish. My practices, reading, and prayers changed my subconscious mind but my conscious mind was still attached to the physical proof. When I realized this, that delusion was destroyed. I truly regretted my behavior to everyone, especially towards my wife. During all the difficulties that she had to go through with me, I was only thinking about my spiritual rebirth. I became emotional and that night before going to bed, I thanked my wife and one by one thanked everything around me. 
            Since I was 5 years old, we moved from place to place nearly twenty times. I did not live in any home for more than 10 years. My wife has lived with me longer than my parents and siblings. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I was grateful again and thankful for everything that existed in my memory--even for the houses where I had lived. I remembered some unpleasant memories being bullied when I was young. But I looked for the positive things that came from these negative experiences and actually became grateful to all those who bullied me. I was filled with gratitude and didn’t know how I could express this gratitude. I got out of bed to write down my thoughts.
            When I was writing at the desk, I realized that I was the one who has lived with me for the longest time. I was sincerely grateful to myself for letting me live as Mario Kawakami for 60 years. I am grateful I am surrounded by great family members and friends. I was born as Mario Kawakami and I can enjoy everything around me. As I thought about these things, my heart and gratitude naturally went to my parents and my ancestors. I do not know how many years I will live, but I promised myself to live a life to be proud of and decided to fulfill my mission as Mario Kawakami.
            To be spiritually reborn does not appear in the outer world, but appears as a new way of thinking. I must be sincerely grateful to everyone and everything around me in a new way. Nothing is ordinary and everything is a manifestation of joy from God. 
            From the beginning I was the spiritual existence, but I was unaware of it. The delusion to worry only about the manifestation of my spiritual awakening in my phenomenal life had to be destroyed because of the law of the mind. I recovered my health and will live my life with true gratitude to fulfill my mission. I will never forget this experience. Thank you for all things in the world, and my renewed determination to continue contributing to the movement to realize the great harmony of God, nature, and human beings. Thank you very much.