Forgiveness – September Sermon 2012

Pre-service Greeting

For some of us the service seems long, and perhaps we might hope that it finishes as soon as possible. However, this Service is to bring about universal salvation, to save all humankind through participating in this service. Please take this opportunity to purify your minds so as to receive God’s Truth, by first giving thanks for your blessings and then pray for the people you know who have illness and misfortune and pray for peace in this world. Let’s pray together, earnestly with this thought in mind. And you will be sure to receive a blessing.

Pre-sermon greeting

Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the September Monthly Service here at Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. 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!

Forgiveness

Among the eight mental dusts, we have the dust of grudge-bearing. To get rid of this dust, we must be able to forgive.

In our everyday life, we may be exposed to harassment, teasing or bullying, verbal abuse, or things stolen from us or experience physical and emotional trauma. As a result we may get angry, hold grudges, hate and seek revenge. If we simply let this go, it’s like letting the perpetrator off the hook without any repentance. Because of this, we don’t want to forgive and we tend to keep holding grudges for the rest of our life. We hold a grudge against the perpetrator and in this way it serves as our revenge and a false sense of satisfaction. However, by doing this, we are holding a heavy burden on our own mind. When we continuously hold these negative thoughts, all our energy will go to this mindset and our life energy will be wasted toward this end. As a result, it will cause illness onto our self.

We are taught that the origin of illness lies in our mind. Our blood circulation will be effected and our blood pressure rises (from a book called Wisdom of Forgiveness by Victor Chan). If we cannot release our negative thoughts from the past, our body becomes exhausted. As human beings, we should live for the future. We should go forward, advance and live a better life. So we should release the heavy weight on our mind through forgiveness. Our life should be moving forward and make progress toward the Joyous Life.

So how can we nurture a mind of forgiveness? How can we forgive someone who has done wrong to us? We can cultivate a mind of kindness and being considerate of others.

I have learned from the Dalai Lama, about the law of Karma and its deep relationship with forgiveness, which runs parallel to the realization of one’s causality in Tenrikyo.

In Buddhism, the hardships or bitter experiences in this life are due to wrong doings in our past, which is taught as the law of karma in Buddhism. Many Tibetans have the capacity to forgive because they believe in karma. They believe that natural disasters and misfortunes are due to our wrong doings in a past life and has manifested itself in this life. That is why they do not blame or criticize anyone else.

In Tenrikyo, this law of karma is taught as causality (innen) which is the law or teaching of cause and effect.

I would like to share a story of a woman’s married life.

This woman in her 50’s decided to get divorced from her husband. We shall call her Mrs. A. Mrs. A said that her husband is a spendthrift and spends money on unnecessary things and borrows money to keep up his spending habit. She is afraid to stay at home because of the calls from the bill collectors. Their credit cards were maxed out and he even asked his in-laws, Mrs. A’s parents, for a large loan. Mrs. A said that it was a big mistake to have married him. She said that she was too ignorant to make a proper decision to marry him and heaved a big sigh. Eventually, he might use the home as security for another loan and try to pay back his loan. This was the reason why she decided to divorce this man. One can understand why she made the decision to divorce.

Sometimes, marriage seems like two people coincidentally meet and get married. However, in Tenrikyo, it is God who brought these two persons together, matching their merit and causality which is meant to bring balance to the marriage.

I would say that in a past life, Mrs. A used up all her husband’s money and this causality is coming back to her as an effect. If she could realize that whatever she is seeing in this life was the result of what she did in her past life, she would probably not have to hold a grudge against her husband. We use our mind in various ways throughout the day and each thought is recorded in our soul. This is what the teaching of causality is about.

In the Ofudesaki we read:

Whether you speak good or think evil,
I shall give returns at once, as you deserve. V: 54

From now on, whether you do good or evil,
I shall give you a return at once accordingly. VI: 100

Life is just like throwing a ball against a wall. It comes right back to us. When we throw it hard, it comes back hard; when we throw it soft, it comes back soft. This is the law of Heaven. We often ask ourselves: “Why do we have to suffer in this life?” or “Why is this happening to me?” However, when we realize our causality, we can understand that this is the ball that we threw and it is coming back to us. Once we realize this we can have compassion; we can accept things with joy and resolve to plant good seeds of sincerity by helping others, no matter what, and thereby cut our bad causality.

It’s easy to say, but difficult to practice. So the Dalai Lama said, just forget about the past, then you don’t have to hold grudges and have negative thoughts.

In the Ofudesaki, it reads:

Whatever may happen, bear no grudge.
It is all what you have done to yourself. XVI: 30

Whatever may happen, bear no grudge.
It is what each of you has done to yourself. XVII: 60

Whatever happens and whatever obstacle we may face, let us realize the cause; and through the service, let’s purify our negative thoughts.

Whatever mind you may have had until now,
Replace it, even in the span of a night! XVII: 14

If you truly replace the mind in its entirety,
Tsukihi (God) will accept it, too, at once. XVII: 15

I believe that God will show us splendid blessings through cultivating our mind.

Still it is difficult to forgive. For this reason it’s important to go to church on a regular basis and perform the service for universal salvation to purify our mind.

Thank you for your attention.

Announcements

  1. The annual Tenrikyo Bazaar was successfully held last month on August 26 with a large numbers attending as usual.  Nineteen Pearl Church members & friends helped as volunteers in areas such as the, canopy and booth setup, ohagi making, Yakisoba cooking, parking and shuttle van driving, and the clean up after. Thank you very much!
  2. The annual All Tenrikyo Nioigake Day was held this past Monday with eighteen persons attending from Pearl Church.  Last year it was only one.  Thank you very much.
  3. The MHQ service will be held this coming Sunday on September 16.  The annual Bazaar thank you party held after the MHQ monthly service.  Please join us.

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