Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the January Grand 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!
THE SOUL IS ETERNAL
As most you know the January Grand Service commemorates Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life on January 26, 1887. This would be the 124th Anniversary. For us human beings our souls are reborn into a new body. For Oyasama, we believe that She is “ever-living” working day and night for world salvation. In the Life of Oyasama p. 255 we read:
“Sah, sah, I am still living here. I have not gone anywhere. Ponder over the path of daily life and see My workings.” Osashizu, March 17, 1890
Our bodies are borrowed from God and our mind alone is ours. The place where our soul resides is within our body. When we pass away, the soul is in the bosom of God the Parent. So the soul goes back and forth between God’s bosom and bodily life. So the soul is eternal… it never ceases to exist even though our body passes on. Every soul has a historical record of its past lives. This historical record is our causality. It is linked to what kind of mind we have and how we use our mind in our daily life and also our attitude and actions we have taken.
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
So no matter how well we use our mind or how bad we use it, there is no doubt that every thought and action is “inputted” in the soul. In the second line of the above verses it says:
“I shall give returns at once as you deserve,”
“I shall give you a return at once accordingly.”
This means that no matter how good or bad, whatever is recorded on our soul and will come back to you accordingly.
There are some people who think about taking their own life. They suffer and worry about their situation and they want to end their life and want to be relieved of their suffering. I feel very sorry about that. By dying they think they can run away from their suffering, but when we think from the aspect of causality, this is not the case. The joys and sorrows of life, we can only experience when the mind and body exist in this world. We can temporarily run away from the sufferings since our physical body is returned to God and at the same time there is no free use of mind from which we can make decisions. Although our actual mind and body doesn’t exist, our soul exists on a sort of subconscious level. The soul has a history of all our thoughts, actions and human relationships recorded on it. By returning the body, unfortunately the history on the soul will not reset and start on a blank sheet of paper, but rather we will continue in the next life where we left off in this life.
When we meet death our soul goes to the bosom of God the Parent. At the appropriate time, we are reborn into a new body. At that point, the soul which carries its history reopens to resume where we left off from the previous life at the appropriate time. So for those who want to run away from their suffering by taking their life, they are simply brought back to where they left off and they will find themselves in the same situation. This is called carrying on the causality from the previous life. The cause of the suffering, which is called a bad seed, is like a debt which needs to be repaid. In the Ofudesaki we read:
Hereafter, on whatever path you may find yourself,
never bear a grudge against others. Reproach yourself. XIII: 108
Whatever may happen, bear no grudge.
It is what each of you has done to yourself. XVII: 60
These two verses tell us that in the case of misfortunes and calamities, these are not someone else’s fault but it is due to a seed that was planted in the past. So we should never hold grudges against other people. Whatever happens to us, the cause comes from us. Come to think of it, whatever happens is due to the seeds that we planted. Whatever problem we have we can reflect upon ourselves and we can understand why things happen.
Sometimes bad things happen to us which we cannot accept and it’s hard to accept and hard to understand. During these times we must reflect and realize that we have planted a seed and it has come back to us. In Tenrikyo this is called “the self-awareness of one’s causality.” All the good deeds, as well as the bad deeds, how we use our minds and how we use our body, which are lent by God are seeds that are sown and recorded on our soul.
Those good seeds that are sown in our previous life or several previous lives will accumulate virtue. Also bad seeds will build a bad destiny or bad causality.
After realizing or being awakened to one’s destiny, the next step is to switch to doing good deeds. We can switch to doing good deeds, through our daily positive use of mind, performing good deeds such as hinokishin and maintaining a good attitude.
Most of us are diligent in taking a shower to clean our body everyday and wash our clothes… but how about our minds? Are we diligent in cleaning the dust of the mind? When we neglect to clean our mind, our blessings are diminished and God cannot work in our mind.
Ever heard of people with a toxic personality? You want to avoid them because they are always complaining and if you rub them in a wrong way, they want to seek revenge on you. This might be an example of a person who has neglected in cleaning their mind or a person with a bad causality.
So how can we clean our mind and erase our bad causality? In Tenrikyo we are taught to practice Tanno as a way to erase or cut our bad causality. Tanno is translated as joyous acceptance. To accept everything that happens with a joyous mind and grateful mind. As part of this joyous acceptance we are taught to save others. What do we mean by saving others? One might think that we need to save people from drowning by throwing them a life preserver or rescue them from a dangerous place. In Tenrikyo we are taught to save people from their illness and their problems through administering the sazuke and performing the service. But there are other simpler ways. And they are to love and forgive others, to try to understand their feelings and just being there for them. And we can do hinokishin by helping the church, community or friends.
This is the way to clean our mind, build a good destiny and live the Joyous Life!
I would like to thank everyone for your support in helping with the MHQ and Pearl Church spring cleaning on December 26 and 27, mochi pounding on December 30 and your generous New Year offerings. Thank you very much!
As we announced last month Elmer Nakao won third place in the Tenrikyo Essay Contest. His essay is published in the December issue of Origins, so please do take the time to read it.
Due to your support I am able take part in the January Pilgrimage to attend the Tengen and Church HQ grand services. If you or anyone you know wish to join me, please see me during the luncheon.
Thank you for bringing your deposit cans and bottles for our fundraising drive. We are still continuing our fundraising efforts for our next project which is the repainting of Pearl Church this summer. Please continue bringing your deposit cans and bottles and any yard work referrals.
The BGA Leadership Camp and New Year Park Cleanup and BBQ Picnic. The LC will from 1/30-31, Sat and Sun, for kids 12 and above, while the Park Cleanup and BBQ Picnic will be on Sunday 1/31. This is open to everyone; however, please contact me to let me know who is coming so that we may prepare enough food. Meet at MHQ at 9am or go direct to Moiliili Stadium Park by 10am. If you have them, please bring your own cleaning tools such as rakes and dust pans.
This year’s BGA camp will be held in May, the Memorial Day weekend, instead of in March due to schedule conflict with MHQ activities.