Hello everyone. Happy Sunday; in a New Week of Kami's blessings! Thank you very much for taking time to attend KC Chicago's Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremony. As always I hope each & every one of you are enjoying good health & excellent spirits on this beautiful autumn morning.
Faith should be the absolute way to real happiness. At the same time it should be the way for anyone to be able to put into practice. In that sense our founder Konko Daijin, was a simple; ordinary farmer who practiced faith to deepen his heart by accepting everything that happened in his daily life. In that process, he became an "ikigami", a divine person.
More & more people sought Konko Daijin's advice as his reputation of faith grew. He told one such person, "Though people call me a 'divine person,' I am not the only one. All people who come to this Worship Hall are the children of Kami. To be a "divine person" is to have the spirit of Kami born within you. I was the first to receive such a divine blessing. But you can all receive divine blessings the same way."
Konko Daijin declared that anyone can become a divine person by practicing the same depth & sincerity as he did. Kami's primary wish is for all humans to become "a divine person". So what does it mean to have Kami born within you?
We often imagine a divine person has supernatural powers. If that were so, it would mean that some could not become one. We need to up-date our understanding of what a divine person is.
The birth of a divine person is a truly wonderful feeling that is born within your heart. It is the reflection of Peace & Joy of Kami's Heart. By seeking such a heart, we are lead to the pathway of being a person in harmony with the divine spirit of the universe.
For example, imagine a giant ball with a visible layer of peace & joy that covers its entire surface. When we roll it, the peaceful & joyful heart will appear at any time it stops rolling. Like that peaceful & joyful ball, our divine spirit will appear at any time. Then whatever happens, no matter how difficult it may be we strengthen our divine personage.
We are born with Kami's heart in our heart, because we are Kami's children just as we can see a bud of persimmon when we cut its seed half. Therefore it is natural for we humans to become divine persons when we grow in the right way. In that sense it is vitally important to accept each & every happening in our daily lives, good or bad, as Kami's work with pleasure & in a spirit of our faith training like our founder did.
September 16th is my adorable wife Kanako's birthday. On that day she went to our daughter; Hiroko's house to baby-sit our grandchildren. I felt a little strange after I'd eaten lunch, but I prepared the dinner we'd planned to celebrate her birthday together anyway. She had cooked chicken as the main dish. I washed salad greens, tomatoes, cooked eggplants & sweet peppers to go with miso. I also decorated the table for the celebration. As I did, my belly felt even weirder.
It occurred to me that this strangeness might have been caused by eating part of a rotten cucumber for lunch. As you know I have been trying my best to deepen peace & joy in my heart through every happening in my life. If I'd been faithful to my intention, I should first have accepted those strange feelings in my belly, praying & said, "Kami-sama, thank you very much for giving me such wonderful faith training." But I didn't do that & got very depressed. I felt ashamed for it.
Anyway I lay down until my wife came home. After she did, I turned my stomach inside-out before our evening prayer service. I apologized to her that I couldn't celebrate her birthday & went to bed. She came to my bed & put a piece of paper of Sacred Rice dipped in Sacred Sake on my stomach. Just then I felt something serious entering deep in my insides. It might be Kami's dignified power. When I woke up a little after 3 am, I felt completely fine.
On September 18th we went to the Rengatei Japanese restaurant with Ohba-san. After eating dinner I started having stomach pains again. They were so severe I could not drive the car. Kanako drove Ohba-san back downtown while I lay in the back seat. Then I asked her to take me to the emergency room.
We usually wait for a long time at the emergency. But this time I guess I'd accepted it as Kami's training, because everything went smoothly. The doctor put me in the CAT scan to see what was wrong with my insides. He said, "A part of your intestines' swollen. But it was hard to say what the cause of your pains is."
I have had a history of intestinal illness. So I was told to stay there one night & was taken to the room # 476.
It was a single room. It was better than I deserved, I felt. But then through the hospital room number it suddenly occurred to me that I was receiving a message from Kami. In KC Airaku, "4 means 'nothing'. 7 means 'renewal' & 6 means 'divine virtue'. So Kami wished me to get rid of my selfishness, renew myself through this faith training of stomach pains & receive divine virtue."
The next morning I still felt something strange, but the pains were gone. I wanted to go back to church as soon as possible. So I told the doctor that I felt totally fine. I was released from the hospital that afternoon.
During the silent prayer the next morning I heard the dignified sound from the photo of our Principal Mediator just when I said to Kami, "The doctor could not find the cause of my pains. To me that means that Kami was their cause." Kami gave the pains to deepen peace & joy in my heart through them. I will do my best to respond Kami's requests as faithfully as possible. I now feel Kami near me as if by touching I'd feel Kami's warmth and by poking I'd draw spurting blood
We humans tend to seek for the cause when something bad happens & try to get rid of it. But those who develop peace & joy best in their heart do so by immediately accepting whatever happens, saying, "Kami-sama, thank you very much for giving me this wonderful faith training," or "Thanks to it I can deepen my faith." That is because the process of life, or every happening is Kami's work.
Through this happening I also came to think I should eat tastefully more & more each & every food Kami would give me.
The way to become a divine person is for we humans to return to Kami rather than to try to change to Kami; moreover we repeatedly encounter dramatic scenes with Kami.
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