Good Morning Everyone! Thank you very much for attending today's monthly service for July. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.
The Konko Faith emphasizes the importance of this day, this very moment. In the Divine Reminder which teaches the essence of our faith, it is said, "Through Ikigami Konko Daijin to Tenchi Kane No Kami, pray sincerely, with all your heart, be one with Kami. Kami's blessings begin within grateful & caring hearts, in harmony & joy. Look to Kami always, now; & forever. On this very day, pray."
We humans, like all other living things really exist only on this single day, at this very moment, neither in the past nor in the future. No one can return to the past, nor can they be absolutely sure of being alive tomorrow. Which is why the Konko Faith teaches that the way to live life fully is by having delight & joy on this very day, at this very moment.
This day is an accumulation of the past. Regardless of the success or failure in the past, when we really achieve delight & joy of this day, any past becomes meaningful. The future is the accumulation of this day. No matter how difficult the future may be, we can look forward to it eagerly when we receive & accept the blessing of Kami's joy & delight on this day.
The universe itself is only a continuation of this single instant of consciousness. The Konko Faith does not envision an end of the world. Our founder didn't teach of a Paradise, Heaven or Hell in the next world either. He didn't teach of sorrow in death or punishment in the life here-after. He believed this Great Universe has always been complete & perfect. He taught that this world is filled with the infinite Benevolence of the Divine Parent of the Universe. He said, "Know that Heaven & Earth will be your eternal home while you are living & even after you die."
The Divine Parent of the Universe exists on this day, this very moment in this world. The Divine Parent is always working for us through the process of living in our daily lives. In this world there is no other divine working than to make everything better & harmonious no matter how long it takes to accomplish.
The late Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, my parent minister, sought throughout his life to pursue the very essence of Konko Daijin's faith. He succeeded & proved it by his faithful life example that there is a "process of life" which is the active working of the Divine Parent through each & every detail that happens in our daily individual lives.
Humans have made innumerable discoveries since the beginning of the human history. A familiar example is Einstein's theory of relativity. However, the discovery that everything that happens is the Divine Parent's doing by our founder & the one that the process of our life is the working of the Divine Parent by Rev. Otsubo, is I believe, the most important & greatest in human history. That is because, living ordinary lives, we ordinary persons can be in constant communication & cooperation with the Divine Parent in our daily lives when we respect this process of life.
When we respect each & every happening in our lives properly, we experience the workings of the Divine Parent around us each & every moment. In everything, when we taste this essence of what is happening all around us, & accept it as sacred, then everything becomes bright, vivid & meaningful. Genuine gratitude gushes forth as divine blessings. Then we can feel we are constantly walking within & through the process of the Divine Parent of the Universe, this moment, as we will be forever more.
When we make the most of each moment by cooperating with the process of life, we neither regret the past, nor have a mistaken desire to go to a better world in the future. We definitely look forward to the future even more because we then live in view of this perfect world which is a continuation of individual moments. This is a great revelation, isn't it?
Kami often said to our founder to look forward to the future. Among them I would like to share three revelations from Kami to our founder.
"On February 25, 1872, I asked Kami-Sama about the housing debts that Konko Shojin (Asakichi) had. Kami-Sama revealed, ‘You & your wife should not worry about it. Change all the offerings to paper money & give them to Terao Tadaichi to avoid problems later. Look forward to the future, & you & your wife will feel relieved. Drink sacred sake before the altar, then without doubt you will get happy about the problem being resolved."
Due to the impudence of the carpenter the construction of the shrine was discontinued. It started to rain & strong winds blew on July 10, 1874. The roof of the carpenter's shed was blown off. Kami-Sama said, "Leave it as it is. Gather the thatch that was blown away & use it as firewood for the bath. Don't mind if the roof & thatch starts to crumble or rot. Look forward to three years from now."
Asakichi requested our founder 3 yen for his business on March 7, 1878. He sent Yokichi to our founder with his letter. Our founder prayed to Kami, who advised, "Gladly give him the money. You need not to write any response to Asakichi. Give him the 3 yen." Kami-Sama also said, "Don't worry. Pray for a bright future."
I now recite "Ikigami Konko Daijin Sama, Arigatougozamasu" to myself each & every time it occurs to me. It has created my posture not to break up my peaceful & joyful heart. Through this I now feel Kami near me & hear the Divine voice as if by touching I could feel Kami's warmth & by poking I would draw spurting blood. Kami now vividly appears in front of me. As long as I can successfully continue this practice of my faith, I am looking forward to the future with continuous enthusiasm.
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