Monthly Service in August : August 16, 2015

Good Morning everyone. Welcome to a brand new day in this 3rd week of August, 2015. Today I am especially honored to extend "Thanks" for attending this monthly service for August. I hope all of you are in good health & excellent spirits. Today's service will be dedicated to exhorting all students to do their best, most diligently as they return to their campuses & studies.

Yesterday, Aug. 15, was a painful reminder all over the world. 70 years ago on this day WWII, the most ruinous war of the 20th century, came to an end. Countless number of lives was lost during that war at many times & a variety of places.

But nothing can be more devastating than the atomic bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki Japan, on Monday, August 6th & Thursday, August 9th, 1945. On each of those days, a single Boing B-29 Superfortress flew over each of these cities & dropped a single bomb.

These were brutal weapons. An estimated 200,000 people in the two cities were killed instantly. But the aftereffects were, as if it were possible, even more horrible. Charred survivors died in agony by the thousands only to discover after their wounds were proof that they suffered from radiation sickness which condemned them to live in pain to the end of their lives.

In the Konko Faith we believe that all human beings are children of Kami. Kami wishes all humans to live together in harmony & delight together in mutual satisfaction. There is no rightful reason nor excuse for any war. Kami feels deep grief when Kami sees Kami's beloved children fight & kill each other.

We should realize this from the bottom of our heart. We should dedicate ALL of our thoughts & actions to the vital importance of pursuing peace with a total focus to attain true world peace.

The words "Peace" & "Fight" are the contradictory words in the English language. So it has to be foolish that we humans have tried to create a peaceful world by constantly fighting throughout human history. The truth is, "Fight for Peace" is nothing but a seeking of control by power versus power. In all this time we've been on earth as a species, we haven't yet developed our hearts to overcome this "power versus power" from human history.

During my university days I belonged to radical student movements who said they were dedicated to "fight for peace & justice". I had a sincere desire to help people who were being discriminated or oppressed & were resisting those injustices with all their hearts. I too, did my best to fight for a world of peace where people would have fulfilled lives free from discrimination & injustice for five years.

At the same time, I wanted to search for the depth of faith of Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, my parent minister who founded KC Airaku, because I had trained myself under the guide of him for four months before entering the university. At that time I was awestruck by his great dignity. I eagerly wanted to know what kind of faith he had that manifest such a vivid connection with Kami so that his faith so fully radiated the peace & joy in his heart.

At age 25 I decided Kami wanted me to return to Airaku, while at the same time I still thought it was necessary for me to fight for peace & justice. I eagerly wanted to know the proper way to human fulfillment. But I felt like a sleepwalker for almost a year. That was because I had to completely reorient my life from a path on which people were fighting together against suppression & discrimination, trying to reform the world, to a path of total acceptance. I had to learn that acceptance of even the suppressed or isolated situation of people was also necessary for the nourishment of the heart. My heart was torn as I continued to struggle between these two ways of living.

I always asked Rev. Otsubo many questions like, "Are the problems of pollution or racial discrimination the workings of Kami?

"Is peoples' suffering from natural & man-made calamities the will of Kami?"

Rev. Otsubo always answered my questions politely. Ultimately, told me, that at some point in the future, his faith would come to the point where he'd believe perfectly that 'All is Divine Love.' By virtue of having such a strong faith to guide me & most particularly by witnessing his absolute belief that everything that happened was Kami's doing, I saw with my own eyes how Kami worked to help people to deepen their hearts. At last I could finally, set aside all my questioning & I made up my mind to seek the kind belief his faith brought him. I vowed to believe that all is divine love & to accept whatever occurred as evidence of the infinite workings of Kami. I became a trainee under his total guidance again & spent a most precious time of nearly twenty years beside him as a grateful follower.

Then to my great surprise & pleasure I came to find the answer to my lifelong quest to see the true teaching of our founder. Through my interpretation the teaching is, "When people believe every moment in the truth of, 'On this very day pray with a single heart. Divine blessings are within your own peaceful & joyful heart,' the glory of Kami will appear & true world peace will be attained."

I honestly believe that this is the real way to true peace in the world.

Human history teaches us that to attempt peace through fighting will result in more fighting. To accomplish peace & justice in the world, Kami's works & glory definitely have to be the foundation. The world's present condition is the reflection of the hearts that are filled with the self-interest human beings. By contrast the more we choose to develop our peaceful & joyful hearts, the more we are blessed & the more the hearts of the entire human family are deepened toward the peaceful & joyful heart of the world, until finally, through Kami's arrangements, human happiness & true world peace will be manifested.

Therefore let us deepen our peaceful & joyful heart through everything that happens in our daily lives & become good example to create the era of peaceful & joyful hearts of all people in the world.

The KCNA/KMH Joint Conference was held in California State University Long Beach from July 17th to the 19th. This year's theme was "Let us help, guide, & pray for one another with a compassionate heart of Kami." Before the conference there was a Youth Camp for kids from 13 years old to 17 years old, a Young Adult Seminar for singles from 18 years old to 25, a Family Camp for youngsters under 12 & their parents & a Spirituality Bridge for ministers & believers over 25 years old,... which was the one I attended.

SB's project this year was making a string of a thousand paper cranes to commemorate the 70th anniversary after the end of WWII. Through the great leadership of Mr. Alan Matsui & Prof. Eri Yasuhara all attendees had many fruitful conversations about "Live the Faith." We all tried hard to make paper cranes, one by one, no matter what we were doing... even during the discussion times.

We first began making the traditional gift of 1,000 cranes to send to the Peace Memorial Park located at the sight of the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Then we found out one of the attendees, Mrs. Megumi Segawa would be flying to Osaka, Japan to see her parents after the conference. When she called her parents from the conference, they said that they would like to visit the Hiroshima Memorial with her & help deliver our string of a thousand paper cranes. What a marvelous working of Kami it was! That motivated us to complete the Thousand Cranes by the following morning.

The conference's invited guest speaker was Ms. Lore Lapinsky. She was a skilled, experienced business professional. She talked about "Smart goals." "Smart" stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-linked. First she asked us to create simple conference SMART goals. Second she requested us to create long term faith-based SMART goals. Finally she suggested to create a church/community-based SMART goals.

Her lectures were very stimulating, especially to the younger members. They participated in our group discussions so enthusiastically that our conversations became livelier than I've enjoyed in a long time.

Kids, of course, were full of energy & running around as usual. During one of the breakfasts they were running around after eating. Unfortunately the cafeteria was wet & very slippery. Our granddaughter, Katelyn was running... when suddenly she slipped & fell. She hit her head so hard that she screamed. Her mother, our daughter Hiroko, turned pale, held her in her arms & rushed her room to get an ice pack she brought.

I saw as Hiroko holding Katelyn that her face was very pale. I realized it was a serious accident. I prayed and prayed to Kami. Strangely enough, I soon felt calm & extended my appreciation to Kami that instead of another child Katelyn fell down and her accident served as a powerful warning to the other kids. It is best that no one gets hurt of course. But sometimes, when 'play' overpowers 'caution', things happen & someone gets hurt. I thought Katelyn's accident was just such a reminder for both her, & her playmates. I offered my thanks to Kami that Kami chose my kid. Then such strong feelings welled up in my heart that Kami would take good care of her, because I left everything up to Kami through prayer of appreciation.

I went Hiroko's room. She told me this ice pack was useful for only about 15 minutes. She asked me to bring her some ice. It took almost 15 minutes after using this ice pack when I left Hiroko's room to go to the cafeteria to take some ice. At just the same time Terry Jackson, Uzunoe Oyasensei's third daughter, brought some ice to Hiroko. I really felt Kami taking care of Katelyn in a special way. Kami protected Katelyn & nothing serious happened to her.

I now believe my gratitude offered to Kami that Katelyn, instead of other kids' being hurt was a proof of the compassionate heart of Kami. Through trying to practice faith in this manner for a long time, I want to believe I have come to develop such a heart that I respond in gratitude before I am aware. I really appreciate it.

When we try to pray for one another & have a compassionate heart of Kami, Kami would surely help & guide us. Let us practice faith to have a compassionate heart of Kami & pray & serve for true world peace.

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