Good morning, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a safe, meaningful Independence Day & are here today in good health and excellent spirits. Thank you very much for attending this first monthly service for July 2010.
As we begin the last half of the year, I think we should focus on some of the great issues of life and faith. So let us begin with a really big question, "What do you think is the most important thing in this world?"
After working on this great issue for most of my life, I believe the most important thing is to obtain divine virtue in our lives. The second Konko-sama approached the importance of divine virtue from the opposite direction, he said, "People say that the most fearful things in the world are earthquake, thunder, fire and father, but there is nothing more fearful than to lose divine virtue."
It is not an overstatement to say that we human beings are born into this world to acquire divine virtue. So then, what is divine virtue?
Simply put, divine virtue is a trust that we receive from Kami. That is to say, we grow to a place where Kami can trust us. To earn that trust, we need to comply with Kami's heart. It is vitally important therefore for us to first understand the Heart of Kami. Our Founder faithfully pursued this understanding throughout his entire life.
My parent minister, Rev. Soichiro Otusbo clearly understood that Kami's Heart is the Nature of the Universe. It is the heavenly, earthly and orderly foundation of the universe. He explained it this way, "The heavenly nature of the universe is characterized by inexhaustible generosity. It is a natural, limitless giving."
The earthly expression of the universe is to accept everything calmly, keeping silent like the placid surface of the earth. No matter how filthy we humans might perceive something to be, the earth does not say, 'I hate foul smelling things like this,' or 'Dirty things like this are unacceptable!' But it's response isn't just silence. The earth takes in it things that are repulsive to us, as nourishment. We throw out organic garbage and the earth makes it into compost. To the earth, urine and body waste are fertilizer. Without it our gardens would be much less productive.
Orderliness is the third nature of the universe. There is nothing more faithful and trustworthy than the way Heaven & Earth work together. For example, we'd be in real trouble if the sun had an attitude and said, 'I'm too tired... I'm going to take the day off.' The sun works constantly. It showers our planet with the energy that makes life, as we know it possible. It doesn't take one minute... or even a second of 'vacation.'"
Konko Daijin taught us, "Everything that happens is Kami's doing."
Because this is true; we need to learn to cooperate with the nature of the universe too. We need to learn to accept things that happen as expressions of the heavenly, earthly &/or orderly nature of the universe. By practicing faith this way we will come to respect each happening as Kami's doing. This is how we can gain divine virtue,... and when we succeed, Kami's glory definitely appears in our lives beyond all measure.
In preparing my sermon for today, I have realized that in most all of my previous sermons I have talked about how I have applied the heavenly and earthly natures of the universe to the things that have happened. So today I'd like to share my experience about the orderly nature of the universe.
The other day our neighbor let me borrow his lawn mower. My wife used it first in the front yard. Then I used it to mow the back yard. I used my edging machine to trim the edge around the lawn. When I went to alley, I found some weeds in the middle of it. While I was cutting those weed, I didn't want to fly all over so I'd have to clean the alley. There were only a few and I still had to clean up both the front and back yard. Then I hit the blade on a small rock and the parts of the machine flew all over. It was especially hard to find one spring that held the cutter. It was small and the color was very similar with that of the asphalt. If I couldn't find it, I'd have to buy another one.
Then it occurred to me that Kami wanted me to clean those weeds in the alley. So I decided to pick them up while looking for the spring. At the last moment I found it. It had been thrown far away. If I didn't clean the weeds, I might never have seen it. LESSON: Once we start, we finish it all with sincerity.
For me this was an excellent example of the orderly nature of the universe. I believe it shows the importance of being sensitive to & practicing this orderly nature.
Konko Daijin said, "It is essential to have a heart like that of the universe, or to emulate the heavenly, earthly and orderly nature of the universe."
First we must open our mind and heart to understand and accept that everything that happens as Kami's way of leading us to live in divine fulfillment with our whole being. Then we need to accept and respect everything that happens with a calm peace of mind today... and in every day we have in the future.
So let's get started right now! Let us accept each event with pleasure and gratitude. No matter how good or bad the things are in each day, let us choose to practice a heavenly, earthly, orderly understanding of the nature of the universe. When we succeed, Kami's glory surely appears more clearly in our lives and we can become a reflection of blessing that Kami can trust completely. Thank you!
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