Good Morning Everyone! Thank you very much for attending today's monthly service for July, 2018. I hope you are all in good health & excellent spirits.
Today I would like to tell you about my brother-in-law, Rev. Mitsuaki Otsubo, my sister Emiko's husband. On Friday, June 8 at 6:39 am, Japan time, he peacefully entered the next world, at age 68.
Rev. Mitsuaki Otsubo was born on Dec. 15, 1949. He was the second son of Rev. Soichiro & Mrs. Isoe Otsubo. He was a very sensitive child from the day he was born. He had a soft & gentle nature throughout his entire life.
When he was in high school, he was a member of the volleyball club. As a senior he was responsible in guiding the freshmen in retrieving the balls that went out of the court. One of the freshmen ignored him & refused to collect the balls. Mitsuaki Sensei knew he needed to discipline him. So he tried to raise his hand & scold him. But instead of disciplining, he cried. He felt miserable. He was a man who could not do anything but be accepting.
The concept "The Heart of the Earth" was in front of him. The more he listened to his father's teachings, the more he realized the importance of the heart like the earth. The earthly nature of the universe is to accept everything calmly. No matter how filthy things are, the earth doesn't say, "I hate foul smelling things like this" or "such things are out." It doesn't just keep silent, but it takes such things in for self-nourishment.
Toward his final days, he was unable to utter a word & always had his eyes closed. Then, he suddenly opened his eyes wide 10 minutes before his passing & said, "Konko-sama" with all his strength.
Emiko thought it was as if he had accepted his death & prayed to Konko-sama for the world he had left behind.
Day by day I am increasingly realizing the presence of Mitsuaki Sensei's Mitama spirit is with me. & I also realize the greatness of his faith, which was total acceptance, like the nature of the earth.
In April, two years ago, when Mitsuaki Sensei was brushing his teeth, he vomited blood.
He was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer & it was already spread. He was not afraid of it at all. Instead he respected it as "Gan-sama, honorable cancer" & has done his best to change cancer cells into Wagakokoro cells, peaceful & joyful cells. Through having done so, he could greatly change his lifestyle, his character & his destiny. He could develop his heart so deeply that we all admired this faith training of his & he led our faith to come closer & closer to Kami.
Mitsuaki Sensei had done his best to develop the heart like the earth throughout his life. He had sublimated his character by nature into the heart of the earth. Based on this faith, he had been determined to devote himself to accomplishing his heart of the earth since he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. For those two years, he had devoted himself to gratefully accepting everything as an honorable circumstance or event with courageous faith that is a carefree heart that accepts even death. Through these efforts, he had walked the best & highest path amongst humans & manifested a supreme path. There he had shown the power of Kami beyond humans that naturally had been produced in this way of faith.
Oyasensei said, "Mitsuaki has done everything that he could in this world. He has passed on everything he possibly could, to better this world."
Therefore, I would like to try my best to pass on what Mitsuaki Sensei tried his best to pass on to us.
First of all, he revealed his belief that everything that happens in the world is "All Divine Love."
He had the same integrity as his father, Rev. Soichro Otsubo, when Shodai said after releasing from the hospital, "My everyday was painful & seemed like I was in a hell. But I experienced that Divine Love was filled even in a hell."
Mitsuaki Sensei said, "'All is Divine Love' is absolute truth, absolute principle. Being well supported by 'All is Divine Love,' we can practice faith to deepen peace & joy in our heart through believing every happening is Kami's doing. We cannot accomplish mutual fulfillment with Kami without understanding 'All is Divine Love.'
Second: Mitsuaki Sensei did his best to get rid of selfishness & became an Ikigami: a Living Being. He showed that even an ordinary person like him could become a Living Being through total acceptance like the nature of the earth. Anyone can follow the way Mitsuaki Sensei had practiced faith. It is simple, clear-cut & becoming a Living Being do follows. Mitsuaki Sensei said, "The faith is difficult to hear the voice of Kami. There is the faith that hears every voice as Kami's. This is easy & everyone can practice." He also said, "Everything, everything, everything, everything & all are for the heart." Everything that happens is designed by Kami for us to polish our heart to become a Living Being.
Third: Mitsuaki Sensei developed the heart of Kami by honorably respecting his cancer & doing his best to deepen his peaceful & joyful heart. By sincerely doing so, he gradually could get rid of his selfishness & could not help but pray for others & the world. His wife Emiko always admired his faith, but sometimes said to him, "You only think of yourself. How self-centered you are." Mitsuaki Sensei admitted it, but thanks to his cancer he could train himself so hard that he became a person filled with a heart of Kami.
Fourth: For me, he made clear the following final words Kami gave to our Founder: "For the sake of all people & to save those who give Me requests, I will sacrifice you. This is for the eternal dignity of Konko Daijin's divine virtue."
Here the Japanese word '身代わり、Migawari' is translated as "I will sacrifice you." However 'Migawari' here could also be translated as "changing your status." Mitsuaki Sensei has changed himself from this world to the next world & Kami has released his spirit beyond space-time. So he now can go wherever asked after his physical form was gone. That's why I feel the presence of Mitsuaki Sensei's Mitama spirit more & more every day. This is absolutely the eternal dignity of Konko Daijin's divine virtue.
Especially this year, we are focusing on developing the heart of the earth. Coming from earth & returning to earth, thus our life in between should be as the nature of the earth. Mitsuaki Sensei had practiced faith to achieve this heart of the earth throughout his life. He had not blamed others, not made excuses & not fought. He had made it clear that an ordinary person could become a Living Being just through deepening the nature of the earth.
He is the role model on how to develop the heart of the earth. He had devoted himself each & every moment to accomplishing his heart of the earth especially for the last two years at the risk of his life. He also taught me that it was not so important how long one could live, but that it was most valuable how you live your life everyday.
Kami wishes for me and all of us to accomplish the heart of the earth by following the footsteps of Mitsuaki Sensei. For that, from now on I will do my best to never complain about anything & never blame anyone even in my mind, & accept anything with gratitude as Kami's doing, no matter what happens and how difficult it may be.
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