Good morning and Aloha. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the November Monthly Service here at Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. And I would like to thank those who have joined us on the live streaming today as well as joining our morning and evening services. Thank you very much. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama is really happy to see you all here today and to have performed the service with joy and in high spirits!
Let share a funny story: My cheerful friend posted on Facebook that she tested negative for coronavirus. I commented, “Really? Normally you’re so positive!”
Your Words Have Power!
For the past 3 months uppermost in everyone’s mind is the Coronavirus Pandemic and the Presidential Election.
The election is over and now Joe Biden is the new President of the US. Those of us who wanted him to win are happy and those of us who wanted the other candidate to win are probably unhappy. Whoever wins, it shouldn’t matter if our faith is strong.
But now that the election is over, the nation is focused on the pandemic and the economy.
As of November 1 the world has almost 47Mil cases and 1,200,000 deaths. With 34Mil recovered and 12 Mil still infected. There’s a 7-day moving average of 500K new cases daily and 6,500 deaths.
The US has 9,500,000 cases, 236k deaths, 6Mil recovered and 3Mil still infected.
The US new cases 7-day average is 82,700 and is increasing. The US new deaths 7-day average is 851 and is increasing with the last 3 days averaging over 1,000 deaths.
No matter who is president, the coronavirus pandemic will still be with us for a long time. So it’s up to us how we are going to help control the virus. Of course, wearing face masks, maintaining our social distance and washing our hands are important, but even more important is how we as Tenrikyo followers must take advantage of this important opportunity to not only keep our strong faith but also to spread the joy of faith to those around us. Our faith, our positive attitudes and the power of our words.
One of the Tenrikyo ministers on the mainland shared an encounter with someone who moved to San Francisco from New York who always stood in line to purchase a cup of coffee. She noticed all the customers make a cheerful greeting during their transaction. She felt it was a waste of time and didn’t bother. She felt guilty about it because she was the only one not saying anything. So one day she started saying, “Hi, how are you?” She felt such joy that it transformed her. Just a few words changed her whole outlook on life.
On this earth, there is a wide variety of living creatures. From reptiles to the gigantic whales. Among the many animals, humans are the only ones with language. This is a wonderful gift that God gave us to live happily, peacefully and help each other. However, there is a proverb that says, “Words can be the source of great harm.” Sometimes without us realizing it, just a word can break up a relationship.
- A single word can lead to a squabble
- A single word can help people make up with each other.
- A single word can hurt our feelings.
- A single word can make us laugh.
- A single word can make us cry.
- A single word can express love.
- Cherishing a single word. Enriching a single word.
Many times we forget what we have said, but we get hurt by what someone else said to us and we start holding grudges against that person and say we will never forget that word that person said. It seems like we easily forget what we say to others, but we remember those bad things that people say to us. Just a few words can break or destroy a good relationship.
In the Ofudesaki, it says:
Listen carefully: whatever you may say or think,
or wherever you may say or think, V: 87
I shall give a return just as you deserve.
Beware, all of you, for God may withdraw! V: 88
Explanation: No matter how far away you think you might be, whether in a deep forest or the other side of a large ocean…no matter what we say or think, God the Parent will give a return exactly as we say or think. When our words or thoughts are not in accord to God’s will, God may withdraw at once. No matter what we say or think, will come back to us accordingly.
Choice of words:
As we learn of Oyasama’s 50-year Divine Model, Oyasama always said, “that is good, that is good.” Always saying appreciative words.
In the Anecdotes of Oyasama #21
That’s All to the Good
Five years from the time Chushichi Yamanaka had embraced the faith, a heavy rain had fallen continuously for many days. The river overflowed here and there, rice fields were washed out and houses were carried away. Chushichi suffered heavy losses. A landslide on his mountain property buried many large trees. Also, his rice fields of approximately ninety ares* were washed out.
People in his village had been deriding Chushichi’s faith and immediately seized the opportunity to heap all sorts of abuses on him, saying,
“Look at him! What a fool he is? Stupid one!”
Feeling chagrined at what the villagers said, Chushichi visited Oyasama in the Residence and explained the situation to Her. Oyasama told him:
“Sah, sah, that’s all to the good. That’s all to the good. Now that your goods have been carried away to the bottom of the sea, it will come to good in the future. You may wonder why your fields and hills were washed out in spite of your faith, but you must accept the situation with a heart of gratitude. You must do so. That will come to good in the future.”
There are Four Kinds of Speech That Lead to Happiness
In Tenrikyo when we worship, we clap our hands four times, and I personally interpret this to mean that there are four kinds of speech that leads to happiness. The clapping of our hands can be likened to two people coming face-to-face and, from this, I think that there are four kinds of speech that can bring happiness to each other. (In Japanese, the number four is “shi,” and the action of coming face to face is “awase.” The combination of these two words, shiawase, can mean “happiness.”) An appropriate English translation might be “Four Ways to Meet.”
In Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) the Japanese word “kotodama” refers to the Japanese belief that mystical powers dwell in words and names. The meaning includes “the soul and power of language. Whatever we say or think will come back to us.
The four kinds of speech at will lead to happiness are:
- The first kind is greetings. Giving a greeting is a first step in building good relationships: “Good morning,” “Hi, how are you?”.
- The second kind is words of appreciation, for example, “Thank you,” “I appreciate that.”
- The third kind is apology. We would do well to make a genuine apology when we are wrong. Although it may be difficult to admit our own fault or mistake, let us say words of apology from our heart, which helps keep our mind humble. “I’m sorry.”
- The last one is words of request. Ever since we were born, all of us have been cared for, loved, and helped by others. There is no way anyone could live alone. That is one reason why we need to ask for help from other people. “Could you help me.”
I would like all of us to realize the Joyous Life through using these four kinds of speech that lead to happiness in our relationships, starting with people close to us such as family.
Language or speech is a precious gift given to us. If we do not speak at all, speech cannot serve as nourishment in our life. If we remain silent, we cannot make our intention clear to others. It is important to make full use of our ability to speak so that our words will enrich our daily life while ensuring that we can live in joy and harmony, helping one another in all matters.
After 10 months, the coronavirus pandemic is still raging around us especially here in the U.S. Let us not miss the opportunity to reflect on the importance and power of our words and resolve to say a few simple words of greeting and gratitude to the people around us. Take the initiative to live your happy life and ultimately the joyous life for all!