It is said that the Konko Faith is the Way of Devine Being Konko Daijin’s Mediation, or Ikigami Konko Daijin’s Mediation. To say it more in details it is the Way to fulfill the Divine Parent of the Universe’s desire through Ikigami Konko Daijin’s Mediation.

            This year’s KCNA theme is ‘Mediation,’ one of the most important concepts of the Konko Faith. It also shows the uniqueness of our religion.

            I was asked to be a speaker for the KCNA East Regional Seminar more than a month ago. Since then I have been more focused on the real figure of Mediation. So, I’ve been blessed. As far as this speech goes, it is me that has received the blessing to take part. In the end, if I don’t use the time leading up to a given speech to try and further a bit my own faith and seek more about Mediation, I feel uncomfortable, so I embrace this opportunity. And, responding to even that small dedication, Kami blesses me.

            The more I learn again the essence of Mediation, the more I cannot help but realize that I have done little as the mediator, even though I have physically sat at the mediation place at the church for a long time, because there have been seldom visitors to seek my Mediation since we opened this mediation place in Chicago. I have had a deep sense of apology to Kami about this. Therefore I have no right to be a speaker about Mediation today, but from now on I would like to talk about my wish for Mediation, with my strong determination to become a genuine Mediator.


Mediation Is Kami’s Request

            Mediation is Kami’s request to our founder, Ikigami Konko Daijin. Then when do you think Mediation officially started?

            Our founder received the following Divine Message in 1859 at his age 46: “With the completion of this sacred staff, I will end your farming career.

Please understand.

When you are out farming, the person at home has to go out and call you whenever someone comes to give a request. And after you relay the request, you have to go back out again. You have to keep going in and out of the field. This gives you little time for farming, and the worshipper must also wait for you. Both you and the worshippers are being inconvenienced.

Won’t you stop farming?

When you were gravely ill at forty-two, the doctor gave up hope. Everyone worried about you. You prayed to the kamis and buddhas and were blessed with complete recovery. Regard this event as your death. Dispel all desires and assist Tenchi Kane No Kami.

Also, your wife should consider herself a widow. This is better than being a real widow, as she can still talk to you and discuss matters. She should take the children with her to do the farm work.

There are many people like you, who have sincere faith in kamis, but still have many problems. Help these people by performing Mediation.

This will help Kami and save people. People exist because of Kami, and Kami exists because of people. Thus, Kami supports people as Kami’s children, and people support Kami as their parent. There will be eternal prosperity through Aiyo kakeyo, mutual interdependency.”

            We now call this the “Divine Call.” This is the actual start of Mediation.


Kami Found Our Founder as Mediator

            Our founder, Konko Daijin became head of his household at age 23, after his stepfather passed away. He then got married and raised many children. However his life was filled with sadness. His eldest son and daughter, and his second oldest son died at young ages, one after another. In those days, people believed that Konjin would punish those who committed irreverence during construction work. After our founder made several constructions, he actually lost seven lives: his stepbrother, stepfather, three children and two oxen. Therefore, the villagers told him that he had incited the wrath of Konjin, the so-called “Seven Killings of Konjin.”

            In spite of this, our founder never stood in fear of Konjin. Instead, he tried to draw closer to this Kami, believing that, having the power to take life, this Kami must also have the power to give life. Konko Daijin continued to accept every happening with sincerity, whatever happened. Finally Kami said, “I haven’t seen such a person like Konko Daijin. There are no other ways to test him.” Through his sincere and conscientious faith Konko Daijin proved that there is no fearful thing, nor evil deity in charge of this world.

            One of his teachings says, “Kami imparted, ‘I, Konjin, decided to put people at ease. But even those who practiced faith evaded me, and there was no one with a sincere and firm heart. But you, Konko Daijin, though you were tested many times since you started practicing faith, you still depend on Me with a firm heart. I have already noticed your unyielding heart. Lend Me your voice and physical form. I will teach the Way of Tenchi and show people the way to put them at ease. From now on perform Toritsugi to mediate people’s requests to Me.”

            Kami found Konko Daijin as Kami’s Mediator.


Our Founder Ready to Accept Kami’s Request of Mediation

            As I mentioned the above, Konko Daijin made seven graves during seventeen years. He could not help but accept this fact, but his hopelessness seemed to be pulling him down into a bottomless pit. Later, he recorded how he felt about these years in the year 1858 of ‘Memoirs of Konko Daijin,’ “I could not help thinking, ‘I made seven graves. In every case, I had a doctor give treatment, and I gave fervent requests and prayers to various kamis and did all I could. Even after I prayed to the kamis and buddhas, the victims were not saved. I stood by helpless. I lived with this constant frustration and futility.’” We need to understand the depth of Konko Daijin’s desperate feelings in those days. Until we do, we cannot grasp the height of his joy and delight he discovered the true nature of this Kami for the first time at age 42.

            As in the Divine Call, Konko Daijin was gravely ill at age 42. Even the doctor gave up his recovery. However through such his sincere and conscientious faith that he always thinks it is not sufficient, no matter how firmly he followed Kami’s way, he was miraculously recovered. He wrote about his feelings in his Memoirs, “As I write up this point, I am filled with deep emotion. Then Kami-Sama encouraged, ‘Konko Daijin, these deep emotion are not only your own. If I, Tenchi Kane No Kami, were a poet, I would express these emotions through poetry. However, I am incapable of doing so. I am overjoyed, and even overcome with emotion to see how man has been able to be saved and Kami has been able to be realized.’”

            Konko Daijin has come across such Kami for the first time that gives him fulfillment in life after a long desperation of his life. It is most important to understand the depth of our founder’s emotion at this point, because it is the beginning of the mutual interdependency between Kami and our founder. This deep emotion led him to the next great step of faith.

            The approach to worship by Konko Daijin changed from that which he had done before age 42. Formerly, he prayed to Kami to bring happiness to his family. After his illness he eagerly sought to understand the heart of Kami more and more. His changed attitude toward Kami might be reflected in the following expression:

                                    Heaven and Earth!

                                                Please reveal Your heart to me.

                                    I wish to know Your heart,

                                                If there is a way to do so.

            Our founder tried deeply and sincerely to accept everything that happened as Kami’s doing, everyday, and to do this, he prayed to Kami each and every moment. It was around this time that people began to call him ‘pious Bunji.”

            It was through this changed relationship that Kami first requested our founder’s assistance in 1857. His younger brother, Shige’emon Kandori was possessed by Konjin. Through his mouth Konjin requested our founder to build the house for him. Our founder accepted this request, saying, “I will do whatever I can.” This was the amazing acceptance. Why could he accept this? Our founder sought Kami’s heart continuously. He prayed to Kami each and every moment, regardless of what he was doing, so deeply and sincerely that he was ready to accept everything that happened in his life as Kami’s workings. Because of this, he could even accept his insane brother’s request to build his house as sincerely as possible. Later Kami praised this acceptance of his as Kami’s first request.

           Since then many miraculous things happened for Konko Daijin and his absolute belief in Kami was deepened. At the same time Kami’s trust toward him was deepened through many kinds of trainings instructed by Kami. Konko Daijin was ready to accept whatever request Kami would make. Then he received the Divine Call in 1859. Since then our founder sat at the small place, called the “Mediation place” from dawn to dusk, with the spirit of “If only people be saved.” 151 years have passed since then. At our headquarters the descendants of five generations have succeeded our founder as Principal Mediators. His disciples and predecessors went all over Japan and even abroad to create this mediation place to manifest mutual interdependency between Kami and people in the world.


Our Present Principal Mediator – Fifth Konko-sama

            Our fifth Konko-sama sits at the Mediation place in our Main Worship Hall from 4:00 am to 4:00 pm everyday for all year around like our founder and his successors did. He said, “I will devote myself entirely to serving Kami. But I will not do so, because I can. I will train myself by serving what I cannot do.”

            The third Konko-sama succeeded his father, Shishin Konko-sama as the Principal Mediator at age 13. Since then he had sat at the Mediation place for 70 years. He once spoke reminiscently on it as follows: “In the beginning I was crying and crying all the while I endured. Even so, I continued to sit by following my father’s words. Then, sometime or other my wishes and my thoughts just vanished. I became so very thankful and grateful that no matter how much gratitude I could express it wasn't enough. I just continued apologizing for my lack of gratitude." 

            Our Main Worship Hall is the source of Divine Virtue that our founder and his successors, dispelling all their desires, have accumulated such patience of theirs for 151 years. There is no other place like this in the world. Each church is connected with this source of Divine Virtue. And each believer’s home is also connected with this Divine Virtue. What do you think connects the Source of Divine Virtue at our Main Worship Hall? It is the Mediation.

            Rev. Kishii’s story – I hope Kishii Sensei tells this story later more in detail. Right now I will tell it simply to understand how deeply the Mediation of each church is connected with the Mediation of our Main Worship Hall.

           When one of the believers of the Toronto Church was critically ill, his/her parents sought Mediation with Rev. Kishii and prayed for him/her with all their hearts. Their niece happened to live near the Konko town, so they asked her to visit our Headquarters to seek Mediation with our Principal Mediator for his/her recovery. Then the fourth Konko-sama said, “You don’t need to worry about it, because Rev. Kishi is in Toronto.” Rev. Kishii and those earnest believers were moved to tears to hear that.


Anyone can Become a Mediator

            One of the prominent disciples of our founder, Rev. Shinichiro Shirakami established the Konko Church of Osaka. After he passed away, his son was at a loss what to do. Then he sought Mediation with our founder. The followings are their conversations at that time:

“Konko-sama replied, ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘I would like to succeed my father and spread the Way of Faith, but since I have been only a merchant, I don’t know anything about the Faith. Thus I feel uneasy.’ Konko-sama said, ‘It is natural for the child to succeed his parents. Your heart is in the right place, and doing so will certainly be good.’ I requested, ‘Then could you grant me the ability to give hand divinations?’ ‘That depends on your heart. You needn’t do such things in the beginning, just impart teachings to believers,’ said Konko-sama. ‘Please teach me how to give teachings.’ ‘Teachings are given at certain times to certain people. I cannot teach you how to give teachings ahead of time. But don’t worry. Just practice faith wholeheartedly and you will eventually learn. Succeed your father without relying on others. Kami-sama will teach you. Say what comes to your mind. Kami-sama will make whatever you say come true.’ After hearing this, I made up my mind to succeed my father in serving the Faith.”

            We usually think that we need to have a special divine power to become a Mediator. However in this teaching Konko-sama assured, “Anyone can become a Mediator when he/she has a strong desire to serve Kami and help people. Then Kami will train anyone to become a genuine Mediator.”


Mediation: the Konko Way of Propagation

      It is not an overstatement to say that human history cannot be properly viewed apart from religious history. Human beings have been worshipping everything from the wonders of nature to a staggering variety of supernatural beings as far back as we can trace. Religions were born based the existence of these entities. Reverence for them provides the many expressions of religious belief in the world today.

      A religion worthy of respect, should teach about the nature of Heaven and Earth. More important, it needs to show the way to become one with the universe. Only then can those searching for meaning and faith in their lives come to naturally prosper with Heaven and Earth. These religions then, should be a witness of universal harmony or mutual reliance.

      Looking back at the course of human history however, we find that all too frequently many of the greatest problems have been caused by religions. Countless lives have been & still are being sacrificed in the name of holy war.  The word “jihad” means precisely that & is used to justify holy terror.

      Why has this happened?  It is because each religion insists that only its way is the right one.  Insisting that to “save” people or take them to Paradise, it has forced its beliefs by any and all means.

      Instead, the spreading of a religion’s faith should happen naturally. The basic idea of propagation is to let things happen, not make things happen. Those who would share their religions should deepen themselves to project the fruitful characteristics of their faith so positively that their beliefs would be propagated naturally.

         In the Konko faith, Kami asked our founder to help people by performing Mediation.  Therefore, in faithful response, Konko Daijin sat at the same place from dawn to dusk everyday and waited for people to come to seek Mediation.

Our founder once told one of his followers, “When serving as a Mediator, don’t commercialize this wondrous Faith. To spread the Faith, I just sit here. Don’t go around selling this Faith.  When necessary, people will come to receive divine blessings.” 

         He is not just sitting. While sitting at the Mediation place, our founder practiced faith by deepening his heart toward becoming more grateful and caring in harmony and joy, or peaceful and joyful through daily happenings he faced.

         One of his teachings says, “Rich soil will be productive without fertilization, and so it is with faith.”  The more we cultivate our hearts, the more prepared we are to receive blessings and in that way, faith will be naturally grow, step by step just like rich soil will produce great bounty. 

         Whether or not this Way is open depends upon peace and joy in one’s own heart, especially each Mediator’s heart, as the divine reminder says, “Divine favor depends upon one’s own peaceful and joyful heart.”

         That is why the Konko Faith is expected to ease any conflicts among religions.


Anyone can See our Principal Mediator – Open to the Public

            Our Principal Mediator sits at the Mediation place in our Headquarters from dawn to dusk everyday. Anyone can seek Mediation with him. There is no other religion in the world except the Konko Faith that anyone can see the top of its religion without appointment. It is a matter of course for the Konko believers, but it is an amazing matter for those who belong to other religions. The place is, of course, important, but Mediation is not limited to the place. Wherever, whenever and whoever listens to and gives advice to those who seek Mediation, requesting Ikigami Konko Daijin’s Mediation in his/her mind, the workings of Mediation will surely appear, I believe.

            I have recently read one important concept of Mediation that was written by Rev. Michie Uzunoe, the former head-minister of the Portland Church. It is understandable even for kids and easy to practice.

            Michie Sensei teaches the believers that the fastest way to receive Divine blessings is to seek Mediation instead of praying by them, because our Principal Mediator and their minister pray for them together. Anyone can request anything to the Mediator. Furthermore when they come to the Mediation place to share their joy and pleasure with Kami-sama, it is the same that they deposit money in the bank. When in need, Kami will help you like they can use that deposit money for help. Therefore many kids in Portland rush to the Mediation place to proudly talk with the minister there when there happens a good thing.


Mediation that Reveals Divine Will

            Mediation is relating the people’s prayers ((wishes)) to Kami, receiving Divine Will and expressing this back to the people. However, as Rev. Mikio Seto, the former director of the Konkokyo Research Institute, head-minister of the Konko Church of Kozan says, there are very few churches in which Divine Will truly is mediated.

            The people’s wishes ((prayers)) are heard. But the Divine Will very often is made out as plain common sense; a simple counseling session; therapy-style mediation. In regards to this, Rev. Seto says, “It is necessary to separate common sense at a good distance from Divine Will.”

            We can generalize human problems into three main groups. These are mentioned in the 78th Teaching of our founder as financial, personal and medical. To solve these kinds of problems common sense tells us that for finances, there are accountants, for personal issues, there are therapists and lawyers, and for health, there are doctors, and they are all far more experienced in their fields than any Konkokyo minister.

            However since there are problems in this world that can’t be resolved with these resources, and we attempt to solve them through Kami’s blessings, there must be great distance placed between divine and common knowledge. In as far as we are able, we seek to have all human problems cease being problems. Konkokyo precisely shows such a way. Mediation needs to manifest that any problems become no longer problems when we realize the Divine Will in any problems through Mediation. That is, receiving the Divine Will through Mediation and changing ordinary knowledge into extraordinary knowledge.

            One of our founder’s revelations says, “Tenchi Kane No Kami have sent Ikigami Konko Daijin to people to give blessings and teachings and to have them prosper forever. Man is man because of Kami, and Kami is Kami because of man. Both continue to uphold each other.” Giving teachings here, I believe, means to convey the Divine Will.

            Mediation is alive. Without receiving the Divine Will each moment, people cannot renew themselves and be fulfilled through Mediation. Each person’s problem is different. Even with the same person the situation and their mental state changes each moment. Whenever Mediation, reciting Ikigami Konko Daijin in our mind, is done, we can find the Divine Will through each and every happening toward that Mediation


- Break -


How Mediation Goes – One Example in Chicago

            I have received a permission from Miss Jennifer Kish. I would like to talk about my e-mail of Mediation and her response as an example of how to relate Kami’s will.

            Miss Jennifer Kish is a 20-year-old student who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. She became a Konko believer three years ago by herself, learning the Konko Faith through KCNA’s website. She joined the Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony of KC Chicago last year with a friend.

            I received her e-mail on Nov. 25, 2010 as follows:   

            “Hi Masanori, I hope you're having a nice thanksgiving.
Sadly, my friend isn’t. My friend, Kevin Buck (We call him Kevo) got in a very bad car accident last night. He's got a brain injury and he's currently in a medically induced coma. He's really hurt. I've been crying a lot and praying to Kami. If you could, could you include Kevo in your prayers? I may also wish to talk to you tomorrow over the phone and get Mediation for this sometime soon. I'm just really lost and confused. I'm not even sure what to think.
Anyway, I'll talk to you later.

            Then I received the following e-mail from Jennifer on the same day:

            “Also, here is the Crash Report, if you want to see it.
If you could keep the family that was hit in your prayers as well.

            Immediately I replied as follows:

            “Hi, Jennifer! Thank you very much for sending this important e-mail of yours to me.

Of course I will include Kevo in my prayers from now on. Just after opening this e-mail, I went back to the mediation place, wrote his name in my prayer book and prayed for his recovery in front of Kami's altar. Then I am writing this e-mail to you.

            Today is the Thanksgiving Day.  So I really would like to sit at the mediation place as long as possible throughout the day to extend my thanksgiving to Kami. Usually in the afternoon I go on shopping or do some chores like cleaning up inside and outside, and read e-mails or write my sermons etc. But today without eating lunch I sat at the mediation place to pray to Kami during the day. I recited Ikigami Konko Daijin Sama, Tenchi Kane No Kami Sama in my heart with each breath of mine and pray to deepen my peaceful and joyful heart. Then a new divine energy welled up in my heart. Then after the regular evening prayer I opened my e-mails and first found this e-mail of yours.

            After the morning prayer I pray and always open the Wagakokoro Sacred Book to receive the teaching for each day. Our founder's teaching for today was as follows: ‘Instead of thinking about the pain you feel, be thankful now for the blessings that are coming. [How To Develop Faith #47]’  My parent minister, the late Rev. Soichiro Otsubo's mini-interpretation for it was as follows:

        ‘There are no blessings while asking, "why?"  

        Blessings come when saying, "This is how!"

                       This is how to be nurtured.

                       This is how to be polished.

                       This is how to be renewed.

                       This is how fate is turned.

         After accepting those points, you come to "be thankful now

         for the blessings that are coming."  That is the difference

         between those with faith and those without.’

             I believe there are some hints for what you think. Whatever you do, please do it with gratitude, praying that this is for his recovery and that is for his recovery.

            Tomorrow will be my grandson, Jayden's birthday. We will go to my daughter, Hiroko's house to celebrate his birthday. So please call me to my cellular phone at any time when you wish. Even during the birthday party your call will be much more important. So please feel free to call me at any time. My cellular phone number is (773) 629-7778.

    Talk to you tomorrow!

With a grateful heart,

M. Takeuchi”  

            I did not receive any call from Jennifer the next two days. So I called her on Nov. 27 and knew Kevo had already passed away on Nov. 26. Then I sent my e-mail to her as follows the next day:

            “Hi, Jennifer! I am very sorry to hear that your friend, Kevo passed away two days ago.  He was only 17 years old. His family and friends are weeping over his death. I had been praying for his recovery so intensely and trying to keep him in mind all the time, wishing for his recovery, but---.  I am now apologizing to Kami that I couldn’t save this young man with promising future through my Mediation.

            It is very hard to accept his death as Divine Love especially for his family, but I believe even his death is Divine Love. And we should, because we believe the Divine Parent of the Universe is always watching us, protecting us and working for the best. Through his death I have learned that each moment is a precious gift and I need to be more trusted by Kami. I have now been doing my best to perfectly live a life of each moment, directing my heart toward Kami, whatever I do.

            The followings are one of the teachings in a form of poem that Rev. Otsubo received from Kami: “Even after the whole mountain burns, the new bracken (fern) will sprout from its ashes.” When I prayed in front of Kami’s altar at the Airaku Church about 30 years ago (I was a trainee under the guide of Rev. Otsubo at that time), Kami told me to my spiritual ears that this teaching had Divine Will to receive more Divine Virtue. When we come across such matters as if the whole mountain burns, they contain Divine Wish for us to receive more Divine Virtue.

            By the way, when I called you last night, you told me you had questions and I asked you to send them to me through e-mail. I haven’t received them yet. I thought they would be important.  So please send them to me when you have time.

            May the Mitama Spirit of Kevo have eternal peace and happiness!

            May his family be greatly blessed by Tenchi Kane No Kami!

            May you deepen your peaceful and joyful heart through everything that happens in your life in order to become a person who will serve Kami and humanity in this world! 

With a grateful heart,

M. Takeuchi”

            Jennifer sent her e-mail to me on Nov. 30 as follows:

            “Hi Masanori, Sorry for the delay, I've been so busy. I had a few questions, as I told you.
- Do deaths happen because of Kami's will? Is it fate? Kevo died, and saved the lives of 8 people in the process with his organ donation. Did Kami take Kevo to give those people life, or does Kami not plan things this way?
- Does Kami know our future? Does he know when we will die?
- I have been praying to Kevo's spirit alongside Kami's spirit, especially to keep me safe while driving. Does that fit in Konko?
Thank you for being patient, Masanori.

            I thought this was the important time for Jennifer and these were the most important questions. So, reciting Ikigami Konko Daijin in my mind, I answered her e-mail as follows as soon as possible:

            “Hi, Jennifer! You are now doing your best to direct your heart toward Kami and trying to find Kami's heart through Kevo's death (true meaning of his death). The more sincerely you do so, the more precisely Kami will respond you, I believe.

            Kami only wishes each human being to have a fulfilled life. Kami's will is not death. We can change our fate through faith. However sometimes such sudden death occurs to us. In order to make such death most meaningful, the best way is to respect such death as Kami's will or Divine Love. Through his death we should learn each moment is a precious gift from Kami and make much more of each and every moment of our lives. When we can change our lives, through his death, toward more fulfilled lives with Kami, we will be able to extend our appreciation to Kevo's life and death, and then his Mitama spirit will be pleased and fulfilled. Through his death we can learn how fragile our life is. We can realize that we have no power, no ability and no talent before Kami. That realization is the foundation of true faith. With this realization we can walk the true way with Kami's will.

            Konko Daijin taught us, "Everything that happens is Tenchi Kane No Kami's doing. This includes major upheavals." Konko Daijin accepted each and every happening as Kami's doing with gratitude throughout his life. That 's why Kami trusted Konko Daijin completely, saying, "There is no other way to test him."

            The younger brother of my parent minister, the late Rev. Soichiro Ostubo's died in action. His death completely changed Rev. Otsubo's faith of life. He often told that he had always extended his gratitude to his brother's Mitama spirit. Because of it he was able to change his faith of life completely. Through his brother's death he could now receive divine blessings of mutual reliance between Kami and himself more wonderfully than he ever dreamed possible. 

            The followings are Rev. Otsubo's interpretations about our Founder's teaching # 16 (It is said that death occurs without respect to time. In this faith, death respects time.): "The enlightened world is where you're able to perceive heartlessness as, namely, sentiment. You change from trying to accomplish something to wanting to accept it. Today, to be held this afternoon, is the special thirty-year ceremony for my younger brother who died in action, as it were. Even with that, I am so awed-inspired by the depth of Kami's divine will. However, with human feelings, being the year the war ended, moreover, as it was July thirtieth, if he had the blessing of surviving fifteen more days, he could have returned alive and safe. Up to this point it's a senseless death. From when my brother died, the faith of my family changed totally into being thankful. Thinking now of the divine favors of Airaku, I cannot but feel that heartless is, namely, sentiment."   

            I think it was not Kami's plan to donate his organs to save 8 people, but how kind and warm-hearted it was for him to do so! I believe Kami knows our future. We don't know it, however our future depends upon how we live our life. It is sweet, isn't it? 

            During our morning and evening prayers we are now reciting 'The Newly-Departed Soul Prayer' for Kevo's Mitama spirit. We will do so by his 50-day Memorial Service. At that time his Mitama spirit will be united with his ancestral spirits.

    Have a great day everyday!

With a grateful heart,

M. Takeuchi”

            I received the following e-mail from Jennifer on Dec. 8:

            Hi Masanori! Sorry, I've been rather busy, as it is the last week of school for this semester.
Also, Christopher found a job down here! Kevo's father owns a sign shop and asked Chris to work for him, so he works for a good wage. It was Kevo's old job.
            Recently, I have been extending my thanks for Kevo for changing my personality and helping me to cherish my friends more. However, it is still difficult, and I often still cry when I think about him for a long time. Kevo was like a brother to me. He and I were two pieces to a puzzle, and being without him is very difficult. Still, I often have dreams about him.
            Despite it, all of us have taken up the sayings, "What would Kevo do?" and "Do it for Kevo, that's what he would have wanted!" So, he is constantly improving our lives. I know he's improving mine already. Also, I often pray that both he and Kami protect me when I drive.
However, I regret not being more close to him when he was alive. I wish I could go back and change the way I acted. I took him for granted often, and always assumed he'd be there when I wasn't busy. Now he's gone, and suddenly I want to be with my friends all the time. Every free moment that I have, I try to dedicate it to my friends and the people I love, because I'll never know when they'll be gone.
Talk to you soon, Have a wonderful week!

            I sent my e-mail to her on Dec. 10:

            “Hi, Jen! Though it is painful, you are finding Kami's wish through Kevo's sudden death. I am very impressed with this e-mail of yours. I believe Kami is also relieved and pleased by your way to seek Kami's wish through his death. It is a miracle that the fatal illness or injury can be cured, but even more miracle is the heart that can accept fatal illness or even death with gratitude.  In order to deepen our heart toward such a heart, we should practice and practice to develop peace and joy in our heart through respecting everything that happens as Kami's wish with gratitude.

            By the way, we will have our first monthly service in December the day after tomorrow, Sunday, Dec. 12. As for my sermon I will talk about Kevo's sudden death and how you and I have tried to seek Kami's wish through his death by exchanging e-mails. Attendance for the monthly service is very small. Japanese American couple, Japanese American old lady and an American gentleman, Tony who you met at our Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony last May will attend it besides my family.  Is it O.K. for me to do so? When I put it in our Chicago Home Page after that monthly service as usual, I will send this sermon of mine to you to get your permission beforehand.

    I will attach my father's lecture # 4.  He talked mostly about 'All is Divine Love' in # 4.  I really felt it was also Kami's great arrangement for you and me.

    Have a great weekend!

With a grateful heart,

M. Takeuchi”


            I received the following e-mail from Jennifer on Dec. 15:

            “Hi, Masanori! I read the sermon, and it made me tear up with happiness. It's really wonderful! I would love to post it on Facebook on Kevo's memorial page. Can I? I finally finished with this semester of school and now I'm on break.
            I want to tell you a story. Kevo had a favorite band called "Minus the Bear". When Kevo's life started to get very difficult and hard on him, he listened to the album Planet of Ice by this band.
The music was his comfort. When he was anxious, worried, or scared, he would listen to it and feel better. It changed his life. Kevo very much loved tattoos and planned to get many. But, the first tattoo he ever wanted to get was the Planet of Ice album art on his arm. He was extremely proud of this tattoo and loved it very much.
            On December 12th, Minus the Bear came to play in concert. Kevo had tickets to go. We all decided to go instead. So, despite the snow, we drove 2 hours in a 15-passenger van and made it to the show safely. We had posters of Kevo that we held up as we listened to them play. It seemed that the one playing the bass guitar, Cory, was looking at us and giving us thumbs up.
After the show, I insisted that we go into the back alley to find the band. We did, despite the cold, and tried to get backstage to meet them, but we were stopped by security. We thought it was hopeless, and that we never would see the band and tell them our story. But, that's when the lead singer came outside. We quickly approached him, and I tried to tell him our story, but I began to cry. My friends helped to finish the story for me, and the singer hugged me. He signed our poster of Kevo for us and everything. I had fulfilled one of Kevo's biggest dreams, to meet someone from Minus the Bear.
            The next day, Kevo's father got this e-mail:

Dear Mr. Buck,
My name is Cory and I play bass for Minus the Bear. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I've seen a couple of posts about him and it seems like he was quite a guy that touched a lot of people. It's an honor to hear that he enjoyed our music, and to know that something we created managed to make him as happy as it did is quite humbling. I thought of him last night as we played and what a tough loss this is for you and your family, and my thoughts and prayers go out to you. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet anyone that came out to the show, but thank you so much for being there. Feel free to get in touch next time we are in the area.
Thank you for getting in touch and take care.
Your son was touched by our music but now I'm touched by his spirit.
Keep Going.
Cory Murchy

            It was so amazing! Soon, the leader singer also sent an Email. It was really wonderful. The band that made Kevo so happy now knows who he is! He would have been so excited.
            On Friday, December 31, I should be heading up to Chicago to pick up a friend from the train station for New Years. If I am able to, I would like to bring an offering of a jug of orange juice for the altar (It was Kevo's favorite thing to drink. He said once "Orange Juice is Inspiration") and to pray for a safe new years, if that's possible.
Anyway, I'll talk to you soon! Have a blessed week!


            I replied her e-mail on the same day, Dec. 15 as follows:

            “Hi, Jen! Thank you very much for sending this e-mail of yours to me.

            My wife, Kanako and I were moved to tears to read this story about Kevo's spirit and "Minus the Bear." The warm and thoughtful hearts of Kevo's friends like you touched Kami and Kami arranged so wonderfully that all of you saw the lead singer. He signed your poster of Kevo and Cory, the bass guitarist sent his sympathetic e-mail to Kevo's father. How kind he was! Especially his last words, "Your son was touched by our music but now I'm touched by his spirit." moved me profoundly. It happened on the same day when I delivered my sermon about Kevo's sudden death.  I believe that thanks to his friends' sincere hearts, Kevo's Mitama Spirit is also receiving such wonderful cares from Kami in the next world.  Is it O.K. for me to post this story, parts of this letter of yours on our Home Page after this sermon of mine?

    It is my great honor for you to post this sermon of mine on Facebook on Kevo's memorial page.

    Whenever I have the Mitama service for the individual, I try to offer his/her favorite things. So it is great for you to bring Kevo's favorite orange juice as offering and pray for him here in the Konko Church of Chicago. During every morning and evening regular prayer we are reciting the "Newly Departed Soul Prayer" to Kevo's Mitama Spirit in front of the Mitama altar here. So I believe Kevo's Mitama Spirit will be pleased to receive our prayers together on Friday, Dec. 31. When you find the time, please visit us with your friend at any time to offer our prayers to Kevo's spirit and pray for the New Year.

            This is just information. We will have our New Year's Day Ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 1 at 1:00 pm.

            May you be deepening your peaceful and joyful heart to be of great service to Kami and humanity!

With a grateful heart,

M. Takeuchi”


            I received the following e-mail from Jennifer on Dec. 20:

            “Hi Masanori! Sorry for my lateness. I've been sick the past few days, so my head has been very cloudy and I've been sleeping a lot. How are you? I'm convinced that I sent something to you, but I guess not. Ha-ha
            Anyway, you have my permission, no worries. I put the sermon on the Facebook page and Kevo father, Eddie, and Kevo's aunt asked me to thank you. Everyone seemed very touched to read your sermon, and a lot of people liked it. It received a good reaction!
            Anyway, it is very certain that on December 31, Me, a friend of mine named Lucky, Chris, and a good friend of mine named Steph who is interested in Konkokyo and lived in Japan for a while, are going to visit. If you could get an introductory book to Steph, that would be perfect. I tried to give her my introductory books, but she says she feels bad taking them and is very adamant in not taking them.
            Anyway, I can't wait to see you and your family again! Talk to you soon!
Have a wonderful week!


            I sent my e-mail to her on that same day as follows:

            Hi, Jen! Thank you very much for your quick reply. How are you feeling right now?  Have you recovered from your illness?

            Right away I added your story to my sermon that was delivered on Dec. 12 and asked Nakahara Sensei in Seattle to put it in our Chicago Home Page. Nakahara Sensei is a computer expert. He created our Chicago Home Page two years ago and have always been updated it.

            We are expecting to have another granddaughter on Dec. 23.  Daichi, our youngest son belongs to the basketball team at his high school and both studies & practices basketball hard.

            I am very glad to know that you, Chris and two friends of yours will visit our Chicago church on Dec. 31. I can hardly wait to see all of you. When you visit here, I would like to conduct the Kevo's Memorial Service here at the worship room of KC Chicago. So please let me know around what time you will be able to come here on that day. Anyway please let me know when your friend's train will arrive in Chicago. After picking her up, you will visit here, right?

            I have already chosen two introductory books for your friend, Steph. See all of you on New Year's Eve!

Have a Merry Xmas!

With a grateful heart,

M. Takeuchi”


I received the following e-mail from Jennifer on Dec. 25:

            Hi Masanori!  I feel much better. I was thinking about going to the doctor to get some medicine, but I put it off and I recovered on my own! Now I'm back to doing all the chores I needed to get done while I was sick.
            Oh! How wonderful for you to have a new granddaughter! I hope she is blessed with health and happiness.
            Can you tell me how the service will go? I wish I could come to Services every week. I read my books a lot, and I have read the book titled “Airaku” nearly 3 times, but going to services every week would be really wonderful.
            We will be picking up my friend at 10 am. From there, we will probably head up to your home. I will be sure to call you.
            Have a Merry Christmas! Talk to you soon!


            I sent my e-mail to her on Dec. 25 as follows:

            Hi, Jen! Merry Christmas!

            We had a new granddaughter on Dec. 23 at 2:16 pm.  Her name is Katelyn Yui Chon. Our daughter, Hiroko said that Katelyn had a meaning of 'pure.' During the morning prayer on that day I had a revelation about her middle name as "Yui" from Kami. It is one Chinese character. The Chinese character of 'wedding' consists of two words. "Yui" is the first character of wedding. It means 'connection.'

            By the way it is tradition in Japan to eat 'buckwheat noodle' on New Year's Eve. We call it "Toshikoshi Soba." The main reason is said to live our lives thin and long like the shape of buckwheat. After the service my wife, Kanako will serve buckwheat noodle to all of you as lunch. So please do not eat anything before coming to our church. When you pick your friend up at 10 am at probably the union station, all of you will arrive here before 11:00 am. The service will last less than 40 minutes. Around noon we will have luncheon together eating buckwheat noodle.

            I will attach the pamphlet of Kevo's service. You will find how the service will go through it.

            A brand New Year 2011 is near at hand. The following is my New Year's poem for 2011:

                                    Being allowed to welcome

                        The start of a brand New Year,

                                    What I wish to do most is,

                        My best to acquire & reflect

                                    The Nature of the Universe.

            May the New Year 2011 bring abundant joy and happiness to you, your family and all of your friends!

            See you on New Year's Eve!

With a grateful heart,

M. Takeuchi”


            I received her e-mail on Dec.30 as follows:

            “Hi Masanori! We'll be headed out very early tomorrow morning at 4 am. I pray that our arrival is safe. I will try to go to bed as early as possible tonight.
            I looked up Toshikoshi soba and I am looking forward to it. I'm never very good at trying new foods, but from the many pictures that I see of the dish, I think I might like it! I'll make sure to come hungry. I love soba and udon dishes!
            To the service, we will be bringing orange juice, almond milk, and cheerios as offerings
I like your poem! It's really wonderful. I'm going to save it and put it on my wall. :)
            I hope you have a wonderful New Year! I'll be seeing you soon!


            I received her e-mail on Jan. 5, 2011:

            “Hi Masanori! How was your New Years day? We finally made it home at 1 am, after visiting Indiana. We slept for much of the day, and then spent the rest of it with friends.
My friends and I wanted to thank you and Kanako for lunch! It was very wonderful. Despite Lucky and I being very
うるさい (Picky, or choosy, is that right?) about food, we enjoyed the food a lot. I liked the Toshikoshi soba best, and the matcha, tea, and stewed vegetables. Steph and I ate too much and we were both quite full afterwards.
            I also wanted to thank Kanako for the wonderful koppugi! It's so cute. I love it! Whenever I do chores in kimono, I will wear it. I remember when I was doing laundry in a yukata and it got caught on something and ripped the sleeve! The fabric had ripped, so I couldn't really wear it anymore. If I had a koppugi, it wouldn't have ripped.
            Hopefully someday, I'll be able to wear kimono every day.
            Anyway, I hope you have a good week! I'll talk to you soon.

            Oh, and thanks for adding me on Facebook!


            I sent back my e-mail to her on Jan. 7:

            “Hi, Jen! Happy New Year! 

            Thank you very much for sending this e-mail of yours to me. It was short but full of interesting topics that I had wanted to know.

            I thought all of you reached your home around midnight on that day and maybe all of you slept the New Year's day. We call it "Ne (Sleep) Shogatsu (New Year's day) in Japanese.  "Neshogatsu" is actually meant New Year's holidays spent doing nothing. 

            I wonder how were the dishes Kanako served. In this content 「うるさい」 is the best word to describe 'picky or choosy.' I really enjoyed to see Lucky and you try to pick the food that he and you ate for the first time.  

            I really appreciate all of you came all the way from St. Louise to visit KC Chicago on that day. Thanks to Kevo's Memorial Service we could have our Year-End Service, as well. Since then I have been offering my further appreciation to Kevo's Mitama spirit, because he taught me there was nothing impossible. Kanako and I greatly enjoyed each moment talking with you and your friends. Our time passed in an instant. I wanted to have such gatherings with young promising people more and more as a Konko minister.

            Our New Year's day was great. We had our New Year's Day Ceremony at 1:00 pm. People have their own New Year's Day. So it will take time for people to come to our church to extend their appreciation to Kami, though I believe it the most important for the New Year's day. Therefore I invited four people to join us in this ceremony. After the service, we exchanged 'Otoso (New Year's sake)', 'Zoni (rice cakes boiled with vegetables', and some 'Osechi (festive food for the New Year).'  Of course Kanako served 'Oden (stewed vegetables)' that you had eaten the day before. After our guests left the church, I held Katelyn in my arms in front of Kami's altar and prayed to Kami for her, because it was her first visit to the church.

            By the way I am not familiar with Facebook, though I added you on Facebook. So don't expect any response from me on Facebook. Instead please e-mail me. However I enjoyed two photos you tagged on Facebook. The title was great. Please send some of photos you took here in KC Chicago including Chris's completed Kimono figure through e-mail.

            May the new year 2011 bring abundant joy and happiness to you, your family and your friends!

With a grateful heart,

M. Takeuchi” 


      Thanks to Kevo’s Memorial Service we could also hold our Year-End Service of the Konko Church of Chicago on New Year’s Eve last year.

      Last year I have especially wanted to have our New Year’s Eve “Year-End” service express my heart-felt gratitude to Kami for the tremendous divine blessings received in the previous 12 months. But at first I thought it was impossible to have the Year-End Service on New Year’s Eve. I thought we’d be too busy preparing our New Year’s Day Ceremony the next day. We’ve usually had our year-end service & our last monthly service held on the third Sunday in December. Kevo taught me that nothing was impossible. I decided to have our New Year’s Eve “Year-End Service” every year in memory of the Kevo’s Memorial Service.

      Jennifer would eagerly like to become a Konko minister. I believe Kami is training her to become a genuine Mediator through everything that happens in her life. I believe Kami has led me to convey her the Divine Will through my e-mail of Mediation.



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