March Sermon 2012 – “Purify Our Minds”

Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the March Monthly Service here at Tenrikyo 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!

Purify our Minds

Today March 11, marks one year after the dreadful earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan. It’s been one year but they are still experiencing magnitude 3 – 4 aftershocks in the Tokyo area. Geologists are predicting that a major earthquake will occur in the Kanto region where Tokyo is in the middle. An earthquake could occur at any time. My wife’s sister who lives in Tokyo, said that most of the people in Tokyo are tense and worried.

In the Ofudesaki it says,

In whatever matters, if the innermost heart of each of you
is purified, there will be no danger. XIII: 83

This means that if you have a purified and sincere mind, there would be no danger, even if you are in a fire or in the water.

What is a mind of sincerity? There is no lying or falsehood. It’s a mind of saving others; and to borrow words from Christianity, it is to, “Love thy neighbor,” and having a mind of forgiveness which means not to hold grudges. Even if you are treated badly or slandered by someone, we should still forgive them. Also, we should not speak ill about others. This is what the sincere mind is about.

We cannot see a person’s mind, however, depending on the way we use our mind on a daily basis will determine whether we can live a happy or miserable life. There is an English poet John Milton who said that depending on your thoughts, your life can be like heaven or hell. All happiness or unhappiness depends on your thoughts. Oyasama taught us, “the origin of illness comes from the mind.” Just as is it says, illness comes from our mind, but also conversely, the cure of illness can from our mind.

James Allen who was a British philosophical writer, wrote that dark and negative thoughts, in Tenrikyo we called it mental dust; causes the body to have disease and decay and our life will sink into despair. On the other hand he wrote that glad and beautiful thoughts such as helping others, gratitude and joy will result in our body being youthful and healthy.

Every minute and every second our thoughts affect our body in a good or bad way. In other words the body reacts to whatever thought we have, without fail. However, no matter how good or healthy the food, if we harbor negative thoughts then the food will have no nutritious value. That’s why when we are angry we lose our appetite. Ever try to eat when you’re angry? If our mind becomes pure and have positive thoughts, we eventually and naturally avoid eating unhealthy food. If we want to recover from illness, we should have positive thoughts starting with small things such as, being thankful for our blessings. Then the illness will run away from you.

This is an experience that Taeko wrote:

It’s been almost three years ago, but my parents in Japan, who are both in their eighties, had a difficult time living by themselves. My father called to ask me to return to Japan to help take care of them. But because I was living far away, I was worried about their situation. This caused a nervous reaction of itchiness on my arms and legs. Especially when night falls, during my sleep, it became worse. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep well until the next morning. My doctor said that the itchiness comes from excessive worry and then prescribed me some medication. When the medication is working, it’s okay, but when it wears out, the itchiness returns. The rashes and itchiness, continued for two years.

The skin is the providence of skin and joining and in the world the providence of joining in general. In the world the providence of joining in general includes our connections or relationships with people which gave me a clue to the solution to my skin problem. The skin covers the body in one piece. When we scratch too hard, the skin cuts and start to bleed. In our connections or relationships with people, when we cannot get along or when we rub people in the wrong way our relationship or connection may be broken. So I began to reflect on my relationships with people. I found that I had a hard time getting along with certain people in my life. In those days, I was critical of this person who has a position of responsibility and I couldn’t respect this person. However through this itchiness I felt and knew that I was lacking in my relationships with people. But still I wasn’t practicing the teaching. I then thought about this person’s position and how hard it was to hold this position, which I thought was not very easy. I started to think that this person must have a lot of hardships, different from myself; and tried to understand well what this person must be going through. My thinking began to change from critical to one of sympathy and understanding. Instantly, my itchiness stopped all of a sudden. God the Parent taught me to be kind and caring through this skin problem.

Illness and problem are the messages from God for us to lead a joyous life. God shows us illness and problems because of God’s love for us as God’s children. This is God’s parental love.

In the Ofudesaki we read:

What do you think this path is about?
It is to cleanse the heart of everyone in the world. XVI: 57

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Announcements

  1. Thank you for bringing your deposit cans and bottles for our fundraising drive. We are still continuing our fundraising efforts. Please continue bringing your deposit cans and bottles and any yard work referrals.
  2. Also thank you very much for helping at the annual Tenri Cultural Center cleanup on President’s day February 21. Thank you very much!
  3. The annual BGA Spring Camp will be held next month on March 24-26. We would like to ask for everyone’s hinokishin.
  4. The annual WA Oyasama Birthday Service performance will be held on Tuesday, April 10th, 7pm at Mission HQ.

Comments:

Leave a Reply