Mental Dust of Arrogance

Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the May Monthly Service here at Tenrikyo Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama are really happy to see you all here today and to have performed the service with joy and in high spirits!

Mental Dust of Arrogance

Four years ago I served as the English instructor for the Three-month Spiritual Development Course. At the end of the course, all the instructors including myself were told that we would be going to church headquarters office to give thanks to have served as Spiritual Development Course instructors. I thought to myself, "WHAT? Why do we have to thank THEM? THEY have to thank us! I spent three and a half months of my life here dedicating myself to this course! Three and a half months away from my church and family!" I thought, "This is really unreasonable." It was my second time as instructor, but it was 14 years since my first time and I had forgotten a lot about the procedures in the course so I had some difficulty in understanding the instructions given in Japanese by the Spiritual Development Course office staff. Also, just being an instructor is no simple task.

Then suddenly, I felt really ashamed of myself. I just realized that I was being so arrogant and thought, "Of course! It's a PRIVILEGE to work and serve at church headquarters! It's a place where all seeds planted here will sprout into wonderful blessings! I was drawn here to Jiba to give thanks for the blessing received in obtaining the zoning variance approval and the progress in the construction towards meeting the conditions of the variance.

Some of you may recall that Pearl Church was in violation of the zoning code due to the reconstruction of this building in 1989. It was brought to our attention in April of 2002 and after much hardship and efforts by members in the Tenrikyo community; we were able to obtain approval of a zoning variance in May of 2003. In meeting the conditions of the variance, we enclosed the sanctuary, widen the staircase, built an emergency exit and changed the entrance doors to swing out. We also got approval for a variance for the church sign permit. According to the architect who was experienced in this type of situations said that these approvals were very unusual.

I did not come to Jiba to serve but was being allowed the privilege of planting seeds." I apologized to God the Parent and Oyasama for thinking in such a shameful way especially for a church minister and on top of that I was a Spiritual Development Course instructor.

At the church headquarters office, a representative of all the instructors went up to the person who represented the Shinbashira and gave our thanks. We all bowed our heads at the same time. I was overwhelmed with emotion.

When we have position it's easy to fall into the trap of being proud and being arrogant.

The dust of arrogance is to be proud without being worthy, to look down upon others, for the rich to hold the poor in contempt, for officials to flatter their superiors while being cruel to their subordinates, to claim wisdom without knowledge and holding others as ignorant, and to find fault constantly.

To wish to go through life more proudly than others, to pretend you know when you do not, to force one's ideas or opinions on others even when knowing them to be untrue, to desire to quell or interfere with the plans of others, the minds of those who are pointed out as being prideful or egoistical; such conceit and stubbornness and all such uses of the mind are the dust of arrogance.

If we speak badly about other people, then other people will speak badly about us. If we suppress others, they become angry and try to suppress us in return. Then far from respecting one another, we will despise each other and be unable to live happily together. If others make mistakes or say something foolish, we should not speak harshly to them even if they did something wrong or very bad, but should gently offer suggestions with respect and make up for their shortcomings.

In arrogance, we often keep our errors to ourselves because of our unwillingness to apologize for it, or we become angry simply because others have insulted us or made us look foolish and we worry about things that really do not matter. These are the minds of arrogance.

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