Good Morning Everyone! Thank you very much for attending today's monthly service for November 2018. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.
I was blessed this fall to attend the Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremony at both our Headquarters on Wednesday, Oct. 10 & KC Airaku on Monday, Oct. 16. I was at KC Airaku from Oct. 11 to Oct. 19. And I returned back to Chicago on Monday, Oct. 22.
I saw my sister Emiko Otsubo at KC Airaku for the first time since her husband Rev. Mitsuaki Otsubo passed away on June 8 at age 68. I thought I should encourage her as her older brother before I saw her: however, I was actually amazed with her faith instead. She has always been talking with her husband's Mitama spirit and realizes his presence all the time. That was why she said she didn't feel lonely at all.
This time I found myself deeply immersed in the passionate atmosphere of KC Airaku that did their best to be of service to revive the Konko Daijin's way of life & faith toward the 160th Anniversary of the Divine Call the next year. I received the spiritual gift from KC Airaku that was divine virtue greater than ever that it could not be loaded onto a cart or boat. My trip this time was more fulfilling than ever. I would like to tell you about it.
Three years ago, our Konkokyo headquarters received the new materials of our founder's own writings etc. from one of the Konko families. There were three important ones. The first one was the handwritten copy of our founder's "Record of Revelations" by the most Reverend Ieyoshi Konko, second successor of our founder. The second was the handwritten copy of our founder's "Another Notebook" by Rev. Ieyoshi Konko. Our founder was requested by Kami in 1871 to write his life of faith from his birth up until the present days, which was the content of "Another Notebook." So he wrote until his final moment. The third one was two account books of our founder's.
"Another Notebook" which is said in that way, because it hasn't been named yet, started an incident in 1857. And it is described as the "Start of his Faith." Our founder's "Record of Revelations" started this incident and said "Kami's First Request." Do you remember what this incident was?
On October 13, 1857 a man from Kameyama Village came and said, "Your younger brother Shige'emon bas become demented. He claimed that Konjin had possessed him. Deranged, he asked Bunji to come to see him." Our founder rushed to him and through his voice, Konjin spoke, "Bunji, I'm glad you came. I had you brought here because I have a request for you. Will you fulfill My request." Our founder replied, "I will do whatever I can if it is Your request." Konjin explained, "Shige'emon must build a new house, but he has no one to borrow any money from. What I want to request is for you to take care of the construction costs." Our founder affirmed, "I shall do so."
Later Kami was pleased with our founder's acceptance about this request by calling it Kami's first request.
One of the account books started with this incident. It said this incident was the first blessing of Konjin-sama. Through these facts, we can realize our founder made much of this incident.
Both covers of two account books of our founder were honorably written as "Kami's doing." They were 「金乃神様 金子御佐師むけ」「金神様 御さしむけ」in Japanese. Our founder thought of both income & expense as Kami's doing. Those expenses included the mountain priest's compulsory requests, debts of one of our founder's sons' gambling & money deceived by others etc. There has never been such a person who thought of such expenses honorably as Kami's doing. We now could realize that our founder did his best to respect each & every happening in his life as Kami's doing with gratitude for his faith practice.
Through the above-mentioned facts I realized that my parent minister, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo's faith was completely the same as our founder's. Of course he devoted himself to pursuing our founder's faith so that his faith should have been the same as our founder's. Now I could clearly point out what was exactly the same.
The year our Founder died, he gave this farewell poem to his older son, Hagio Konko:
"The true way of Konko
Makes the world bright,
Shines through Heaven,
And will last forever."
What a marvelous conviction our Founder had about the true way of Konko.
Rev. Soichiro Otsubo said that the Airaku Ideal was the way for any humans to live a human-like life and reach to the absolute fulfillment with Kami.
The parent of the true way of Konko is Kami's doing, as the parent of the Airaku Ideal is to respect each & every happening as Kami's workings.
Our founder's faith practice to respect everything that happens as Kami's doing was born when he accepted Konjin's request through Shige'emon's mouth in 1857, even though it was very hard to do so for other people, because it was a request from a demented person. However our founder accepted it with respect as if it was Kami's wish.
Rev. Otsubo could not receive blessings no matter how hard he had trained himself. That was when he requested to Kami which I summarized shortly as follows: "Kami has expectations for even someone like me. So I'll accept whatever happens. Therefore, from now on, please pray for the will of Kami to be fulfilled." Like our founder, he accepted whatever happened, no matter how difficult. He practiced faith in this way for four & half years and realized this was the genuine faith. Rev. Otsubo said that the overflowing joy welled up in his mind when he realized that the process of life was Kami's doing.
Through practicing faith in this way, both our founder & Rev. Otsubo developed peace & joy in their hearts toward unbreakable ones. They both lived the world filled with divine blessings more than they had expected.
I now have a strong conviction about our faith. When I practice faith to respect each & every happening in my life as Kami's doing more precisely like both our founder & Rev. Otsubo, I believe this Way will surely open in Chicago through my peaceful & joyful heart, as the Divine Reminder says, "Divine favors are within one's own peaceful & joyful heart."
It is the absolute value of my existence that I will embody & manifest the Divine Reminder and be of great service for true world peace. Prostrating myself before Heaven & Earth, I will do my best to accomplish it.