Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, New Week & a special "Thank-you" for attending today's service. This is our monthly service for April 2019. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.
Do you know Mrs. Fusami Kudo? She has survived terminal cancer through "the Miracle of Thankfulness."
Thirteen years ago Mrs. Kudo of Kumamoto, Japan, was diagnosed with terminal uterine cancer. While hospitalized & receiving radiation treatment, a friend gave her Dr. Kazuo Murakami's book titled, "The Divine Code of Life - Awaken your genes & discover hidden talents." Dr. Murakami is a renowned geneticist & Professor Emeritus at Tsukuba University. He states that everyone has 60 trillion cells, each one containing DNA - life's blueprint. However, our body uses only about 5% of our DNA, while the other 95% is sleeping. Our mind can affect how genes work, resulting in sickness or health, a sad life or a happy life through awakening our genes or letting them remain asleep.
Mrs. Kudo was inspired to wake up just about 1% more of her genes, and she got better. She began giving thanks to every part of her body that gave her life. That included the trillions of DNA inside her cells of her body. Then at the next round of her radiation treatment, surprisingly, there was no pain. She discovered that "thankfulness" had awakened her DNA. After a month & a half, the cancer in her uterus was gone, but was now in her lungs & liver.
She was told she had one month to live & began chemotherapy. Despite the pain & side-effects, she remained thankful, saying thank-you to each of her 100,000 strands of hair that would be falling out. After she had thanked several thousand strands of hair, she realized feelings of thankfulness began to encircle her whenever giving thanks to another strand of hair. Her heart, then, filled with such gratitude for the thankful feelings overflowing from within her. She felt the greatest happiness being surrounded by these thankful feelings. Tears of joy ran endlessly down her face.
Six months later, her cancer was gone. She says that to awaken our DNA, we have to be thankful for everything and enjoy the struggle. Be positive looking forward; be helpful to others; be moved to laughter, & be joyful for one's life - for it's the miracle within miracles.
She wrote what she experienced & had learned from her cancer & published a book, titled, "The Miracle of Switching on DNA."
A gentleman living in New York read this book and was so impressed with it that he wished to invite her to New York. I, too, will go and will give a short explanation of the Konko Faith. After that, Mrs. Kudo will be coming to Chicago to give her lecture, too.
So today I thought I would talk about how I might answer the question, "what is Konkokyo?"
I feel the Konko Faith states the true purpose of life clearly and shows the Way for all human beings, young & old, to realize & reach for their ultimate happiness during their lives.
It is said that there are important questions about life that still haven't been answered since the beginning of human history. One of them is: "What is the purpose of our life? For what purpose are we humans born into this world?"
It is not too much to say that many religions have been born by striving to answer that question. Science & technology have also been advanced in the same process. People, who choose to serve the greater good, often will discover there are countless fields wide open to them. It is of greatest importance to each of us to find our purpose in life and to serve the world in a unique way.
However, beyond good works, an even more important purpose of life for each one of us is to purify our own 'heart-soul.' Our Founder said, "Faith is to polish the gem in your heart." The gem in our heart is the divine nature which everyone has been given. When this divine nature is polished, it will come to life & begin to shine like a beacon. Before this light, darkness disappears.
We humans are born into this world to purify our heart. When we understand this, the greatest purpose of life, each & every process of life, or each & every happening in our life, becomes meaningful and we come to realize the Divine Parent is always working for us to polish our heart and become a divine person. Kami will be most pleased for us humans to respect the process of life and polish our heart.
Our Founder had respect for each & every happening in his life, taking them as Kami's sacred doing with gratitude. He accepted Kami's first request through his brother, Shigeemon's mouth. At that time, Shigeemon was possessed by Konji and demented, but even so, our Founder accepted the request. Since then, he did his best to respect everything that happened as Kami's sacred working. Whatever happened, no matter how difficult it might have been, it was respected as Kami's sacred working.
Through this faith practice, he could communicate with Kami & receive Kami's revelations for every aspect of his daily life. Then, in 1859, he received the Divine Call.
Kami requested our Founder to stop farming & perform Mediation in these words: "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 & save people." Then Kami added: "Man exists because of Kami and Kami exists because of man. Thus, Kami supports man as Kami's children and man supports Kami as his parent. There will be eternal prosperity through this mutual interdependency." The founder accepted this request of Kami and did his best to serve Kami & people as sincerely as possible.
This year we, the Konkokyo celebrates 160th Anniversary of the Divine Call all over the world.
The society in Japan dramatically changed during the Meiji Restoration, which began in 1868. And in 1873 our Founder was ordered by the Meiji government to remove the altar fixtures and stop Mediation. This was the most severe ordeal of his life. Even so, he accepted it with sincerity. Kami put it in these words: "You have shown sincerity even to the government." During this, the hardest of times, he received the Divine Reminder from Kami that clearly stated the essential core of the Konko Faith.
He devoted himself to following this Divine Reminder in his life as precisely as possible, deepening the peace & joy in his heart until such peace & joy was unbreakable throughout the rest of his life.
Then in the year of his passing he said to his older son, Hagio, these instructions of Kami: "The true Way of Konko makes the world bright, shines through Heaven and will last forever."
The true Way of Konko is the Way of the peaceful & joyful heart of people; it's the Way of becoming a divine person; and the Way of manifesting mutual reliance between Kami & people through the Way of Mediation. This is the absolute way for human happiness; a way that anyone can follow pleasantly, thankfully & cheerfully. The teachings of Konko are full of universality; they're teachings for every human being.
The key to the Way of Konko is to accept everything that happens in our life as Kami's sacred doing with respect. We humans live ordinary lives. Once we practice faith to respect the process of life as Kami's sacred doing with gratitude, we ordinary people, begin to live extraordinary lives with Kami, just like our Founder. We live our lives as ordinary people and come to have miraculous experiences with Kami in our daily lives.
Our Founder came to understand the following important elements of this Way of Konko through his practice of faith, which included:
1. The nature of the Universe (Heavenly, Earthly & Orderly Natures):
All the conditions for human happiness will follow it and it can be taken into the next world, too. What we respect each happening as Kami's sacred doing means that we understand the heavenly, earthly & orderly nature of the universe and put it into practice in our lives.
The heavenly nature of the universe is characterized by inexhaustible generosity. It is a natural, limitless giving. The earthly nature is to accept everything calmly. It's to keep silent & to take everything, good or bad, in for self-nourishment like the surface of the earth. The orderly nature - there is nothing more faithful & exact than this and this faithfulness & exactness characterizes our solar system. Anyone can easily practice this faith to respect this by the heavenly nature & that by the earthly nature.
2. It is the Training to agree with the heart of Kami. This is the faith practice that anyone thankfully & pleasantly can practice & with the intention can aim to become a divine person.
All human beings are the children of Kami, the Divine Parent of the Universe. As Kami's beloved child, every human is born into this world with the quality of Kami planted deep within. Therefore it is natural for every human to become a divine person Through respecting the process of life as Kami's sacred doing, everyone can become the manifestation of Kami and become the light of a living spirit.
3. With the spirit of the Divine Call every believer can movingly fully master the mutual reliance principle between Kami & people by following this faith practice.
4. The Konko Faith explains the next world as "pitch-dark." So we must polish our hearts in this world to receive the light. Then we can have a happy life here in this world & take a world of light with us into the next world.
5. Religious ascetic exercises cannot master the truth of the Konko Faith. The world of Konko Daijin will be opened by intent spiritual trainings. It is the world where "All is Divine Love" & "All is Thankful."
Our founder first confronted a most fearful deity, Konjin. He faced Konjin with his sincere & conscientious heart, whatever happened, believing Konjin would help people if Konjin had such power as was said 'Seven killings of Konjin.' Through the development of his faith, our founder came to believe & teach that Konjin was in reality the Supreme Deity of the Universe, who has infinite benevolence and sustains all living things, especially all human beings. Our founder came to the following realization that "There are neither evils nor fearful deities in this world. There are no curses, no karma, nor original sin. All is Divine Love. All is Thankful."
6. Our Founder taught, "Offerings made sincerely are accepted by Kami with pleasure, but Kami is not pleased when people are burdened with compulsory donations & contributions." When we respect everything that happens as Kami's sacred doing for our faith training, we come to realize we actually have no power, no talent & no ability before Kami. The deeper that realization reaches, the more we come to leave everything up to Kami & do our best to deepen the peace & joy in our hearts. In this way, every condition of human happiness will naturally come to life as we deepen our peaceful & joyful hearts. As promised in the Divine Reminder, "Divine blessings are within one's own peaceful & joyful heart." Therefore the Konko Faith has never forced people to offer donations or contributions.
Rev Dusek sent me these words: The Konko Faith puts KAMI in real time where anyone may touch DIVINE work in daily life. There's no need to escape the real world to practice faith. Kami and people are mutually bound together, each relying on the other and both trusting in the relationship which lasts eternally.
In summary, let us come to fully respect the process of life as our faith training. By doing so, we will easily come into harmony with the rhythm of life within Heaven & Earth; we can live a grateful & pleasant life prospering along with Heaven & Earth forever. This Way of faith is simple, clear-cut and one in which anyone can follow.
Begin today. Let us walk this Way together and manifest this marvelous Way of Konko to the world all around us.