Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the February 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!
In this modern world flourishing with materialism the human mind is deteriorating in self-destruction. In this world, whatever happens is due to the decisions we make. From the way we use our one mind, we can extend the life of an old item or cut it short by throwing it away. Because of our materialism, we tend to throw things away. Sometimes people throw away leftover food. In this sense we also throw away our relationships, we easily break off relationships with people and vice versa.
A few months ago, we met this man from Japan. He obtained a green card to live in the U.S. about a year ago and was living in Hawaii. Because of the bad economy, it was hard for him to find a job in Japan. Hawaii looked prosperous with tourism, so he hoped to get a job in Hawaii. However, he doesn’t speak English and could only find a minimum wage job. On top of that, he has an illness that doesn’t allow him to stand long hours and therefore was released from his job. He changed his job several times going here and there. He couldn’t pay his rent with his low income and finally lived on the street with his suitcase. Sometimes he slept under the bridge at Ala Wai Canal and sometimes near the corner of a building of a hotel.
He finally found the homeless shelter at IHS and was happy that he could sleep under a roof. At the shelter, he could take a shower and standing in line, he could have a meal there. In addition he could apply for public housing and now he is waiting for an opening. We asked him why he didn’t go back to Japan. He said that his parents already passed away and he got divorced many years ago. For him it really didn’t matter where he lived. We felt that he should ask his relatives and friends for help. We wondered why he didn’t have any relatives and friends he could rely on. By seeing this man, we realized the reality of the homeless situation in society. He probably does not have any close connection with his family or relatives otherwise they would be helping him. He is basically isolated from friends and family.
The Shinbashira in his sermons stressed the importance of keeping close family ties. What we need now is the tight and close family circle during meal times; talking to each other in a cheerful atmosphere. However, they are couples who are totally separated yet living in the same house. For the sake of their children, they remained married, but avoid seeing each other. We were told by a close friend that in one family the wife prepares the meal for her husband, but they don’t eat together…they avoid eating together. The son talks to both the father and mother, but the parents have never talked to each other for many years. It’s a marriage of convenience; it’s not a real marriage.
On the other hand, those children who follow their parents in visiting the graves of their ancestors and praying to God are children who have an enriched spirit. They have a good sense of values such as respect for parents and caring for others. In the teachings, if you want to have a close family, you should go to church regularly and devotedly. Then God becomes the center of the family.
Human relationships are about the connections between people. In the ten aspects of God’s providence the aspect of “connecting” is Kunisazuchi no Mikoto. In the Truth of Origin, the turtle is the animal related to connection. The turtle crawls slowly and steadily. The turtle is not stubborn and because of its low profile, it means humbleness. This personality is loved by people. On the other hand, those people who are unfortunately not liked by others or “people to avoid” are unlike the turtle. They are arrogant, argumentative, and critical of other people and cannot get along.
Why are people disconnected in their relationships? We often come across people who have difficulty getting along with others because of their negative thinking. For instance, a neighbor says to you, “Your grass is growing so long that it’s growing into the next door neighbor’s yard. You should cut your grass more often.”
How would you respond to this? Some people may respond by saying, “Oh thank you for letting me know. I didn’t realize that.” Another person might respond saying, “It’s none of your business.” And think that he is so irritating and that’s how this person cuts his relationships. So depending on how you respond, positive or negative, can make a big difference in your relationships and ultimately your destiny.
Here’s a story about Mrs. A. She always interprets a person’s words or actions in a bad way. She often says to me, “Mrs. B is always lying, I cannot trust her. I feel like she’s always imposing on me.” I’m not there so I don’t really know the situation, but I said that, you might be making blind assumptions. Try to be humble, accept what she’s saying as true and rely on God.
Chances are that what we are thinking about the other person is a reflection of our self. If our mind is dusty then what we see in other people will be negative. If our mind is purified, we can trust and believe in other peoples good intentions.
The Japanese word for causality is “innen”. When we break it down, “inn” is “cause” and “en” is “effect.” Metaphorically speaking “inn” is like a seed. When we plant a seed, it will grow into something that we reap, which is “en” or “effect”. Every day we plant a seed by the way we use our mind. In the above example, Mrs. A assumed that Mrs. B was lying, thereby planting a seed that cuts relationships with people and it will come back to her in a negative way. After many years pass, the seed will sprout into not being able to make good connections or good relationships with other people.
We suggested that she should go to church as much as she can. By worshipping at church, the dust in our mind will be swept away and our mind will become purified changing from negative to positive. Our mind will become humble and kindhearted.
As you can see problems in our relationships is a clue to the cause of the deteriorating human condition in our materialistic world. The decisions we make especially in terms of making good use of things may determine how we can salvage our relationships instead of giving up or “throw away our relationships.” The teaching of causality teaches us that nothing “just happens” and that there is a seed that was planted that caused something to happen. By going to church we can learn to sweep away our mental dust, sow good seeds, and keep good relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
Thank you for your attention.
- I would like to thank those of you who came out the BGA annual New Year Park Cleanup and BBQ Picnic held on Sunday, January 23. Out of a total of 60 participants, 12 were from Pearl Church. Thank you very much!
- Thank you for bringing your deposit cans and bottles for our fundraising drive. We are still continuing our fundraising efforts for some debt on the repainting supplies and also the help with the Hawaii Convention that’s coming up on May of this year. Please continue bringing your deposit cans and bottles and any yard work referrals. If you haven’t registered yet please do so. If you have financial difficulty in meeting the registration fee, please see me as we may be able to help you up to 50%.
- Also in support of the Hawaii Convention we will be conducting a church sale on Sunday, March 6th. From 8am to 1pm.
- The annual Tenri Cultural Center cleanup is scheduled for President’s day February 21 from 9am with lunch being served at 11am. Please make every effort to attend and enjoy the beauty of the Tenri Cultural Center.
- The annual BGA Spring Camp and General Meeting will be held on March 25 -27, (Fri, Sat & Sun) at Tenri Cultural Center. The General Meeting will be on the camp second day March 26, Saturday, 10:30 at MHQ.