Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & a special, "Thanks" for attending this monthly service for October 2014. I hope you are all enjoying good health in excellent spirits.
Our founder was born on Sept. 29, 1814. It means our founder has his two hundredth birthday this year. Before Sept. 29 this year I wondered what time he actually was born. He wrote about his birth in Memoirs of Konko Daijin by his own writings. I read it soon & found it was shortly before 7:00 pm on the evening of that day. Which means that it would have been just before 5:00 am on that Sept 29th here in Chicago; which would have been impossible... since the city of Chicago as we know it was not founded until 1833.
I start my silent prayer each morning in front of Kami's altar at 4:00 am & it lasts about one hour. My wife Kanako prepares offerings of cooked rice & tea to Kami & Mitama Spirits during that time. Then together we begin our morning prayer service at 5:00 am reciting our regular prayers.
This year on Sept. 29th I extended my most sincere appreciation to our Founder Konko Daijin during my silent prayers. Through Konko Daijin the Divine Parent of the Universe was uniquely presented to this world for the first time. Our Founder ultimately manifested the Way of mutual fulfillment between Kami & people. Konko Daijin taught us, "Though people call me 'kami,' I am not only one. All people who come here are the children of Kami. To be an ikigami is to have Kami born within you. I was the first to receive such divine blessings. You can all receive divine blessings in the same way."
As this teaching says Konko Daijin showed the way for an ordinary person to become a living being & walk the Way of Kami & humanity.
When I raised my head just before 5:00 am on Sept. 29th, 2014 to start our morning prayer service I saw some kind of a worm running away from me. It was so incredibly fast I barely saw it. Right away I thought, 'This is Kami let me realize I am just like this worm. Kami showed me that even the person who is as insignificant to the universe as that worm; like me, can be a living being,' which gave me a deeper insight into the profoundly important Way of the Universe our founder has revealed to all humans.
I am an insignificant person equal to the worm. So I often failed to deepen peace & joy in my heart when I came across a challenging situation. But Kami has encouraged me that even I can become a living being by trying to follow the Path of the Universe, no matter how often I fail to reach the goal.
A living being is the person who can always have peace & joy in their heart, whatever happens & no matter how difficult it might be. We can describe a living being in two ways. One way is: "When we roll a ball on that surface peace & joy is written all over, peace & joy appears at any time when it stop rolling."
The other way can be exemplified by the moon. The moon does not shine by itself. The light of the moon is a reflection of the sun. When the moon is round, it is reflecting all the light of the sun to the fullest. It is showing the entire disk of the full moon because the opposite side of the moon is completely dark. It is like the heart of a living being. Even if we can't see it, we know it has to be there.
I woke up ten minutes earlier than usual on Oct. 7. When I stepped out of the entrance of our church to pray to Heaven & Earth, I saw a slight light of the moon in front of me behind the trees between the apartments. I still had a little time before 4:00 am, so I walked a little while to catch the moon. It was cloudy, but I could clearly see the full moon shining brightly for a while. How beautiful it was!
Like the full moon I hope I develop unbreakable peace & joy in my heart to shine the world. From now on I will do my best to do so to welcome our 5th Anniversary Celebration filled with the peaceful & joyful heart of all participants. In order to do so, I will keep the following teaching of my mentor, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo in mind:
"Fearless of death,
Exert & strive.
Divine virtue is given.
People are saved,
The Way is open."
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