Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & a special, "Thanks" for attending this monthly service for June. I hope you are all enjoying good health & in excellent spirits.
One of Konko Daijin's teachings says, "When practicing faith, there are more blessings which cannot be seen than those which can be seen. The blessings you unknowingly receive are more than the blessings you knowingly receive. If you think about it, you will come to realize the magnitude of the many divine blessings that you have already received. When you can do this, you are a true believer."
My parent minister in Japan, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, wrote an interpretation of this teaching which said in part, "When you realize that that too was a blessing, all of your past comes alive. Even if you happen to have a problem at this moment, when you comprehend that it is in fact a blessing too, then you come to see that all there is just divine love."
May 21 is my father; Mr. Michinori Takeuchi's birthday. If he were still alive, he would be 96 years old. When I extended my appreciation for my father's sincere life of faith during my usual silent prayer time at 4:00 am on that day it suddenly struck me that my father's whole life had been a great blessing. I realized that even the difficulties he had faced were really; much more, divine blessings.
When WWII ended, he earned his degree from the Tokyo University in 1946, & found a job in the secretarial section of the Kumamoto Prefectural office in July, 1947.
He & his wife Itsuko, my mother, were soon blessed three children which they adored & had a happy & enjoyable life together. Luckily my father was promoted to chief of that section in March, 1956 to support his precious brood. But in 1961 he resigned his position at the Kumamoto prefectural office when the governor, who was his superior, was defeated in his fourth bid for election.
He then created a company to sell Kinkai soup stock, as a sole representative in Kyushu. Unfortunately it turned out to be like a business managed by samurai. He was constantly lied to; time & time again. Within a year he owed a huge debt to suppliers. But this event fashioned for him his own destiny.
From age 16 my father had committed his life sincerely to the Konko Faith. He was always searching to find the depth & nature of our Founder, Konko Daijin's faith. He believed that somewhere there had to be a minister whose faith mirrored that of our Founder's beliefs & practice. My father was more than willing to go on a pilgrimage anywhere in Japan to try to find that kind of person. I don't know how many books, of prominent leaders in the Konko Faith he read one after another. His disappointment in the soup business only heightened his determination to try harder to find a mediator whose genuineness would show him correct way to practice the Founder's "true path" of living the Konko Faith.
Somehow he heard about just such a Mediator who lived in Kabame, Kurume city. My father was determined to go there & see him. When my father arrived there, he could finally see that Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, founding minster of KC Airaku, was just the person he was looking for. He was fascinated by him from their first meeting & found his faith deepening day by day through his daily teachings & mediation.
As I said, I got an inspiration in my silent prayer time on my father's birthday. I realized that if my father had continued as chief of the secretarial section in the Kumamoto Prefectural office he might have been too busy to have the time or opportunity to find Rev. Otsubo. And my father's business failure was just the motivation he needed to accelerate his desire to find a Mediator whose faith mirrored that of our founder. After seeing Rev. Otsubo, our families' destiny has completely & forever changed.
My father thought our founder must exactly be like Rev. Soichiro Otsubo when he met him for the first time. Rev. Otsubo talked about Kami's will; which he saw in everything around him. He always delivered our Founder's teachings with a deep insight into Kami's wisdom, which constantly amazed my father. He thought there could be no other more perfect interpreter of our Founder's teachings than Rev. Otsubo.
First, Rev. Otsubo established an unwavering belief by putting our founder's teachings into practice until they were correct, polished & completely accurate. Secondly, Rev. Otsubo understood that all of our founder's teachings were about explaining whole-heartedly, the following message of the Divine Reminder, "Kami's blessings begin within our grateful & caring heart in harmony & joy, or our peaceful & joyful heart."
For him these first, two steps clarified the central core of our founder's teachings. Third... & finally, Rev. Otsubo invested himself in the way which he believed was the path to develop our peaceful & joyful heart in perfect clarity through every moment; of every day. It is achieved by respecting each & everything that happens in our daily lives -- with gratitude -- unquestioned conviction that it is as Kami's doing. The wonder of it all is... that it's a path anyone can practice & succeed in!!
By practicing the Konko Faith to this degree of perfection Rev. Otsubo came to have an absolute belief in that, "All is Divine Love."
And wouldn't you know!!... this is the same conclusion our Founder says in his teachings, "Everything that happens is Kami's doing."
As I said before, the destiny of our family has completely changed after seeing Rev. Otsubo. If I'd not seen him, I would not, in all likely-hood, have become a Konko minister & would not be in front of you today... to serve Kami & people in Chicago as a Mediator.
Reflecting on it, the most difficult situation for our family in those days was the greatest blessing that Kami bestowed on us. If so, if we are facing any difficulty right now, it is surely a great divine blessing.
In Japanese the concept of 'Terribleness' can be represented as two Kanji characters in the word 'Taihen (大変).' The Japanese character 'Tai' can be translated as 'large','big' or 'great'. The character 'Hen' can be translated 'transformation' or 'change.' Thus: together 'Taihen' could have two meanings, 'terribleness' & 'big change'.
And if your life is like mine, it is common-place to experience 'big change' all around us almost every day. When we come across some terrible matter, it is a chance for us to change big. When we experience this kind of change with Kami, we can think to ourselves (sooner or later) that Terribleness in our past has actually been blessings in disguise. We can come to realize that in this present time, whatever Terribleness is challenging us is also a blessing & in reality, that all is divine love.
Next Sunday is Father's Day. As I said to you in this morning's introduction, each year I have come to see my father Michinori Takeuchi & my mentor, Rev. Soichiro Otsubo as two of the most influential blessings in my life. Without their sincerity, strength & virtue, I feel sure I could not be standing here before seeking most humbly to Mediate your desires to Tenchi Kane No Kami today. Therefore, let us too, give our lives each & every moment; aiming to be true believers who realize heartbeat-to-heartbeat & step-by-step, that all of our past & all of our present has been full of blessings which we can build on to enrich all of our time to come... in this world _&_ the next. Thank you very much!
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