Monthly Service : June 24, 2012

Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & Thank you especially for attending today's service. This is the second monthly service for June, 2012. I hope you are all enjoying good health and excellent spirits.

More than 15 months have passed since Friday, March 11th, 2011, when the biggest earthquake in Japanese history hit east of the Tohoku region. It caused devastating tsunami waves that swept away houses, cars; virtually every sign of human habitat other than roads, foundations & concrete structures in several towns & cities along the NE Japan coastline. The extent of the devastation is beyond belief. The number of confirmed dead has soared to more than fifteen thousands & three thousand people are still listed as missing. But there was another disaster which is proving to be perhaps more dangerous, but certainly more long-lasting.

Fukushima was also threatened by a nuclear crisis caused by severe damage to six atomic power plants. A year & 3 months later, no one seems to know the precise damage those six plants sustained, nor the proper way to overcome the damage because it is impossible to enter the plants long enough to access the damage because the level of radiation is too high. I heard the most dangerous was the fourth plant that stored the used nuclear fuel. The building of it has partially been destroyed. If another earthquake hit and the building were somehow collapsed, debris might interrupt water reach the fuel. It may trigger nuclear explosion, which will damage not only in those areas but also the whole world. Radiation cannot be seen. No one actually knows the level of radiation to effect our future generation.

We, human beings need to reevaluate our way of life that only pursues our convenient and comfortable life. We human beings are allowed to live in the universe. Therefore we should find the way to always cooperate and prosper with Heaven and Earth. With the awe-inspiring spirit toward the nature we should do our best to practice faith to agree with the heart of Heaven and Earth.

This tragedy pains me greatly, as I'm sure it does all of you, to think of the unspeakable suffering the survivors have endured & are likely to face for a long, long time. This is especially true for the many children who lost parents & family members in this catastrophe or are still missing. I have prayed continually for these secondary victims every waking moment & I'm sure you do too.

They survive & are doing their best to recover from this disaster thanks to support from people all over the world. Farmers are trying new ways of producing crops and vegetables free of radiation. The fishermen cooperate to restore catches of fish, oyster & seaweed. Much good sustains these survivors by greatly encouraging them. People all over the world have put their helping hands into actions that virtually shout out, "Ganbare Nippon, or Hold out, Japan!"

Recently I found one story in an issue of the Chicago Shimpo. Tsunami generated objects are reaching to the west coast of the North America Continent. A basketball from Kensen Junior High School in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. It was found in Alaska.

An 18-year-old high school student, Aleasha Hohorst, found the ball on the island in June, near her home in Craig, Alaska. It was returned to its owners. Hohorst sent the ball together with messages & other useful items from children in Craig. The messages were very encouraging, such as "stay strong."

They also included a map of their area of Alaska showing where the ball was found. The Kesen Junior High School's basketball team which included some 30 members, cheered their support when they learned the ball had been delivered. The ball, with Kesen Junior High printed on it, "bring back memories," said 14 year-old captain Kazuki Araki, "Someday in the future, we would like to thank in person."

One of the most incredible ocean debris crossings was that of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. As reported in the Vancouver, B.C. Canadian Press:

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle that floated across the Pacific Ocean to
Canada after last year's Japanese tsunami will be preserved in a museum.

It made the voyage packed in plastic foam in a large container after the
March 11, 2011, earthquake.

The bike was found in April on Graham Island, the largest Haida Gwaii
island, by Masset, B.C., resident Peter Mark.

The bike's owner, 29-year-old Ikuo Yokoyama, says he decided to preserve
the bike as a memorial to the lives lost instead of taking it back to Japan.

The bike is in Vancouver and will eventually be preserved in the Harley-Davidson
Museum in Milwaukee, Wis.

At least 19,000 people died in the Japanese disaster, including three members of
Yokoyama's family.

While this type of good will from various people is very revealing of the sympathy & supportive nature around our world, at the same time I have always sought to find Kami's purpose in this kind of terrible disaster. Konko Daijin taught us, "Everyone around the world is a child of Tenchi Kane No Kami. Everything that happens is Kami's doing. This includes major upheavals."

In the Konko Faith we believe every one of these victims & survivors of this disaster are children of Kami. Therefore I can hardly believe how much greater the depth of Kami's pain must be because of this natural & man-made causes of this disaster. Konko Daijin said in his 1872 Record of Revelations, "An earthquake struck on Feb. 6 at around six in the evening. Kami said, 'I, Tenchi Kane No Kami, am disturbed. The world is in chaos."

So the question that naturally follows is, "What does disturb Kami?" Most especially, what kind of human attitude could it be that disturbs Kami most? Since that is the only behavior affecting Kami over which we have direct & personal control.

Konko Daijin point a possible answer in 1880 in the Record of Revelations, "Early in the morning on November 24, Kami-Sama revealed, 'Right now the world is human-centered. All things are done by people's own power, and many people are going against my teachings. Those who do as I say shall become a kami. Long ago, it was a kami-centered world. Now it is a human-centered world. Because of this, I shall teach people to return to a kami-centered world. Difficulty and suffering are caused by people's own hearts. Whether or not they can live in a peaceful world also depends on their own hearts.'"

This teaching clearly states that what really disturbs Kami is when people look to their own power rather than turning to Kami in everything. Our earthly way of life therefore has to change sooner-or-later from being human-centered to becoming a collection of lives which are Kami-centered. The Door of Hope for the future of the human beings will not open until we do.

Humans must come to live in a mutual reliance between Kami and people. Only then will the human condition change by having a heart like that of the universe; emulating the heavenly, earthly and orderly nature of Heaven & Earth. Each human being must come to live a life filled with gratitude, in harmony with the universe.

As the term 'disaster' implies in it's name, it's most terrifying because it is almost always impossible to know with complete certainty how, where & when misfortune will happen.  But people of faith can live with the constant assurance that when disaster does strike we cannot be separated from the embracing concern of Kami — No matter what happens — no matter how difficult it might be to endure—Kami's there & Kami cares! Our Founder grandson said, "When people leave everything to Kami, Kami trusts them with everything."

This truth we can live by. When you get right down to it, there is no other way to live except to trust Kami so completely & faithfully that we can know by feeling Kami's infinite trust in all things.  As the poet says:

"When, in the face of catastrophe,
Our human knowledge is shown to be useless,
Using the teachings as a mirror,
The path will open up to us,
Putting, each day, sincerely and joyfully,
Everything in the hands of Kami."

For the sake of human race in this world, I pray unselfishly to respond to everything in this mortal life with a heart which reflects as perfectly as possible the Divine Heart of the Universe. May I mold myself & inspire others with a Way that can transform this world into a more Kami-fulfilled world! In the reality of this present disaster please join me in doing whatever we can to honor the victims: survivors & those so newly arrived into life of eternal spirit we all face.

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