Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day, Week & special “Thanks” for attending today’s service. This is our monthly service for February 2018. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.
Ever since I was a child, I heard when I went to church with my family that the Konko Faith taught about the Principle of the Universe. But, I always wondered, “Just what exactly is the Principle of the Universe?”
In my search for the answer, I ultimately met the late Rev. Soichiro Otsubo who was the founding minister of the Airaku Church. The more I heard his teachings, the more clearly I came to understand what the real Principle of the Universe is.
In Google Search, I found there was an ancient Egyptian poem which expresses this very clearly: “Humans come from Earth and return to Earth.”
We humans are born into a universe in which our lives are lived with heaven above us & earth under our feet. Since this universe is all there is, we return to the universe when we die. Our Founder, Konko Daijin, taught us, “Because our souls are bestowed by Kami, they return to Kami, & Kami’s eternal care. Since the body comes from Earth, it will also return to Earth and be under its care.”
So, how should we live our lives? Is it unfortunately tempting to live a life filled with selfish desires & behaviors while we are alive? Obviously, but this is almost always a very unsatisfying way to live our time on earth.
Rev. Otsubo taught, “Coming from earth and returning to earth, thus our life in between should be as the heart of the earth.”
THIS is the true Principle of the Universe.
When we live our life in harmony with a heart like the earth, we become one with the universe & have a prosperous life possible between Heaven and Earth. Therefore we have to practice this important truth every hour of every day to be in touch with the heart of the earth.
Rev. Tsuneyuki Sada is now head-minister of KC Nakabaru, Fukuoka, Japan. He & I were classmates at the Konkokyo Seminary School 43years ago. He too was one of the trainees under the guidance of Rev. Soichiro Otsubo.
While studying at KC Airaku, he had the following divine dream: “American peace activists gather together in a large room. The peace sign with the adscript of ‘the heart of the earth’ in Japanese, is put on the front wall there”
When he sought Mediation about the dream, Rev. Otsubo said, “Are there any good ideas to explain the Heart of the Earth to American people?” Through that sign in his dream, Kami wanted to let us know that the heart of the earth is the key for world peace.
Therefore I would like to take on the challenge of explaining what is the heart of the earth, what we can achieve by deepening it, and how to do so.
The earthly nature of the universe is to accept everything calmly: it’s to keep silent like the surface of the earth. No matter how filthy things are, the earth doesn’t say, “I hate foul smelling things like this” or “such dirty things are out.” It doesn’t just keep silent, but it takes such things in for self-nourishment. The earth purifies anything even that which is dirty or rotten. The earth makes everything come alive. It is the heart of the earth.
There are both positives & negatives in the world. We humans tend to seek only positive things & we dislike negatives. However, the heart of the earth accepts not only that which is positive... but even the most offensive negatives as precious. Therefore the pluses & minuses come alive & what they produce is energy just like electric currents.
There often are people that are hard to get along with. We are apt to run away from those kinds of people. I’m ashamed to have to admit I’m surprised at myself finding out how narrow-minded I can be. When we practice faith to accept them as our faith training, we can deepen our heart and develop peace & joy in our heart to the extent to the fact that we are surrounded by such people who are all good.
When we split a persimmon seed in half, we can clearly see its bud in the middle. In the same way, when we are born into this world, we are blessed with the miracle of having a nature of living spirit. In Japanese it is called an “ Ikigami no shou”.
When we leave a seed of persimmon alone on the top of a table (or something), it never becomes a bud, nor can it bear fruit. However, when it is put inthe ground, it bounds to break into a living thing, Warmed by the earth, it grows into one of the most delicious fruits on earth.
In the same way, even though we have a bud of living spirit at birth, if we leave it as it is, we come to live a selfish life and that bud never sprouts.
Only with a heart like the earth, our nature of a living spirit comes about and grows. The birth of a living spirit is that a truly wonderful feeling is born within our heart. By nurturing such a heart like the earth, we are lead to the way of being a living spirit.
Those who practice faith to develop the heart of the earth will be lead to get rid of their selfishness, because we cannot accept everything like the earth if we cling to our selfish desires. To put one’s heart & soul into the heart of the earth is to totally get rid of selfishness. No matter how much one builds a fortune, from Kami’s viewpoint, it is like a castle in the air without getting rid of selfishness. Those who practice faith to acquire a heart like the earth come not to blame others & get angry against anything: they come to gradually live their lives with gratitude, joy and pleasure and come to see all is divine love & divine wish. They can extend their appreciation to all and be blessed with all the conditions of human happiness.
As it is natural for the seed of persimmon to become persimmon fruits, it is natural for human beings to be living spirits and prosper with Heaven and Earth when we live our life based totally on the heart of the earth.
People who choose to serve a greater good will often discover there are countless fields wide open. It is very important for each of us to find a purpose in life to serve the world in a unique way.
However, beyond good works, an even more important purpose of life is for each of us to polish the gem of our heart and become a living spirit. When we understand this greatest purpose of life, each and every process of life becomes meaningful and we come to realize the Divine Parent is always working for us to polish our heart to become a living spirit. This way of faith based on the heart of the earth is simple, clear-cut & one that anyone can follow. And blessings do follow & we come into harmony with the rhythm of Heaven and Earth, living a grateful & pleasant life, and prospering with Heaven & Earth forever.
I have known the importance of the heart of the earth, but often failed to deepen it so far. However Kami is serious for me to deepen my heart to the extent of the heart of the earth perfectly this year.
The other day I almost failed to accept my wife Kanako’s complaints as my faith training. I didn’t say anything against her, but blamed her in my mind. Anyway I left my house to go shopping. When I drove on McCormick Blvd, a big bird, that looked two feet big, flew toward my car. I thought it would simply fly over my car and I reduced my speed a little bit. But that silly bird flew straight into my car and crashed. It seemed like the bird committed suicide. If it had tried to fly over my car & couldn’t, it might have crashed against the front windshield of my car & broken the whole window into pieces of sharp glass fragments. So, I was dangerously close to having been severely injured.
I thought my car must have been greatly damaged. It was only secondly that I wondered about what happened with that bird. But the road didn’t have a shoulder & I couldn’t stop my car. I immediately apologized to Kami not to be able to devote myself to the heart of the earth, because I had had complaints about my wife’s words in my mind. When I looked at the front of my car after parking, I was surprised to find there were almost no damages.
It sank deep into my mind. I swore by Kami not to fail my total acceptance any more. Konko Daijin said, “Practice faith in your home. Receive blessings from Kami-sama and save others.”
This is the very teaching I received for this year. I will do my best to practice faith to perfectly develop my heart of the earth through each and every happening in my daily life. Thus my nature of a living spirit is deepened and my joy comes to be overflowing. Then it surely begins to shine from me like a full moon. I would like to manifest the importance of the heart of the earth in my daily life at my home and with it save others for Kami’s wish to be fulfilled in the world. Thank you!
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