Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & special “Thanks” for joining today’s service. This is our monthly service for July 2020. With this service, we also have the 30-Day Memorial service for the late Rev. Katsuhiko Otsubo.
Rev. Katsuhiko Otsubo, Nidai Oyasensei, (2nd head-minister of KC Airaku) passed away on June 5th at 9:13 am Chicago time. He was 76 years old. I revered him so much that this sudden news gave me a shock and tears flowed endlessly. At the same time, I could not help but extend my deepest appreciation to him.
He became a Konko minister at age 20. Since then, he did his best to help his father, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, in all aspects of the church. He led the Morning Prayer service at KC Airaku and listened to his father’s Gorikai (teachings) every morning as sincerely as possible for 18 years as a minister. Even so, when he succeeded his father on Oct. 19, 1982, he realized he had not practiced faith at all. On that day, his father, trying to proceed to the waiting room for his 4:00am silent prayer, fell down and could not move even an inch.
Rev. Katsuhiko Otsubo, as Nidai Oyasensei, was astonished to suddenly discover that he had not deepened his heart at all. He realized how narrow-minded he was – like a thin crescent moon. Therefore he eagerly wished to practice true faith to deepen the peace & joy in his heart and become like a full moon. To his great pleasure, his father, Shodai, had clarified & manifested the Way for anyone to practice becoming a living kami. It was then he started to do his best to precisely (めごまく) accept each & every happening as Kami’s sacred doing, respecting it so to renew himself & polish the gem in his heart.
While he practiced such acceptance, he listened to his father’s teachings as many times as possible: all 8,813 recorded speeches. Nidai Oyasensei then sy-ste-ma-tized the Airaku Philosophy using these speeches, and showed the Way clearly for anyone to follow. He further studied the Founder’s life of faith through the Founder’s own writings: both the Memoirs of Konko Daijin & Record of Revelations. He said the spirit of the Founder always pointed him to important parts of those books and led him to clearly understand the faith-life of the Founder. He also said that it could be done by having Shodai’s Airaku Philosophy as one’s base.
He said the Founder’s two books were human treasures as well as treasures for the entire religious world. Throughout his life he poured his whole be-ing into manifesting to the world both the faith of our Founder & Rev. Soichiro Otsubo’s faith.
He embraced anyone and was respected by those who got to know him. He followed Kami’s wish as sincerely as possible and fulfilled his life with Kami. His last words were: “I have nothing to say any more,” and entered into the next world smiling.
At his funeral Rev. Ichie Knupple, his second daughter, gave a touching eulogy to her father, Nidai Oyasensei: “Oyasensei, you treasured Nariyuki (the process of life or each daily happening) and treasured it more than anyone else. That was why you were loved by Nariyuki, and then became a kami of Nariyuki. From now on, please lead me to deepen my faith through Nariyuki.”
Konko Daijin taught us, "After Konko Daijin’s physical form is gone; he will go wherever asked." These words could never be declared without such conviction beyond any ordinary human founder. These are unspeakable words without testimony that he’d have to be a divine person. And like Konko Daijin, now Nidai Oyasensei goes wherever asked, anywhere in the world. He appears to anyone who respects Nariyuki and teaches important lessons of faith through Nariyuki.
I would like to tell the most important lesson I have had through Nariyuki from Nidai’s Mitama spirit.
It happened Sunday, June 7th. We had the June monthly service & appreciation service for the late Rev. Katsuhiko Otsubo that day. I had specially asked Hiroko & Mitsunori to come to the church for the first time since the quarantine began, due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
At 11am, only the three of us living at the church were there for the services. Mitsunori & Yim-san came at 1 in the afternoon bringing Thai food & a dessert as offerings for Nidai. They offered Tamakushi to his Mitama spirit. Yim-san, you might know, joined the KCNA pilgrimage to Hombu last November for the 160th Anniversary of the Divine Call. She had briefly met Nidai Oyasensei at that time.
Hiroko & her three children came as we were offering prayers while watching the morning service at KC Airaku and listening to Sandai, the new 3rd Oyasensei. She & her children had made potato croquettes and brought them as offerings. Together we listened to Sandai’s words and then they offered Tamakushi.
Just after that, the spirit of Nidai Oyasensei sent a tremendous Nariyuki (natural happening). It was to teach me the source of his 38 years of passion ‘to precisely respect Nariyuki.’
It was a phone call. The man said, “I am suffering from stress, can I come? Please come pick me up.” I told him, “I cannot go to pick you up, but please come visit me anytime.” He immediately came. Since starting missionary work in Chicago 23 years ago, this was the first time for such a thing.
I guided him to the Mediation place and heard his story. He said he was suffering from sex and was stressed. I told him, “By respecting sexual desires as sacred, let us try to polish our heart to become grateful. Then little by little you will not get caught up in sex.” I talked with him a lot and offered prayers with him as he requested. He came here to relieve his suffering, but I found his true intention was that he had nowhere to go and wished to stay at our church.
I clearly told him, “This is not a shelter, so I cannot let you stay here.” I thought if I had been here alone, I could have let him stay as Kami would wish me to. Anyway, I had declined his wish. I told him, “I will pray for you, so please practice faith to worship every happening and feel Kami close to you.” Then he left our church without any complaints.
Then I suddenly realized that he had been sent by Nidai Oyasensei. The following thoughts went through my mind. I have a family. This person didn’t wear a mask during this Coronavirus situation. I didn’t know him at all. Not to mention, he was a sex maniac. Can I accept such a person? I thought I could not allow a person like that to stay with us.
However, Shodai, the 1st Oyasensei, during his four & half years of faith training (1950- 1955), accepted all happenings with respect while worshiping at his home in Kabame. Several people with lung disease, which was fatal in those days, were sleeping in his worship hall. He would give money to those who asked for money by turning over the offering box. He even accepted a sex madman. And there were many more.
I really felt that by believing absolutely in Kami, Shodai Oyasensei passed through things where an ordinary person could not pass. He could accept such Kami-given situations that no other person could. Then, he opened up an unprecedented path. He taught true faith is to respect each & every happening as Kami’s sacred doing.
But, today there need not be such physical training any more. We don’t need to do the same as Shodai did in those days. This is now about spiritual training, such as “Polishing by this happening, renewing by that happening.” Therefore anyone & everyone can practice this faith to deepen peace & joy in their heart if they intend to do so.
As a child, Nidai Oyasensei went through these four & half years of Shodai’s faith training. Therefore, the more Nidai felt the extraordinary greatness of Shodai’s four & half years of training, the more precisely Nidai could not help but accept each happening with respect when he succeeded his father.
I remembered facing Nidai’s photo that morning and the following words had resonated in me: “Masanori-san, please become a man like the loyal Benkei and help support & protect Sandai Keiki Oyasensei (3rd Oyasensei named, Keiki).”
So now Nidai had sent a sex madman and wished to teach the source of his passion, which was to precisely respect Nariyuki. I was moved to tears to realize that Nidai had sent someone for such a purpose.
It was then I promised Nidai Oyasensei that I would do my best to accept any happening in my life with respect as Kami’s sacred doing, and as precisely as I can. By doing so, I devote myself to developing ‘unbreakable peace & joy’ in my heart and to helping Sandai Keiki Oyasensei overcome any obstacles to establishing the era of peaceful joyful hearts for more people around the world.