By deepening the feeling of oneness with God, let us realize world of grand harmony of “God, Nature and Human Being” on this earth
*From September Issue of SNI Toronto Newsletter by Rev. Yoshiharu Taka
Until several days ago, it had been sunny and hot in Toronto. The plants around the Centre had been limp because of the heat, but, because of the rain after those sunny days, they seemed to have recovered. I, myself, feel better with the lower temperature.
At the end of July, I stayed in Japan for a week to attend the “Seicho-No-Ie Special Conference for World Peace”, which was held at the Seicho-No-Ie International Headquarters. I came back to Toronto with one of the worst jet lags I have ever had.
However, as I remembered the words of encouragement by the President of Seicho-No-Ie Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, “We suffer from jet lags because we are a part of nature,” I was able to appreciate the time difference and accepted it as it was.
The theme of the Special Conference for World Peace this year was “Attitude Towards the Destruction of Nature and Action Being Taken by the World’s Major Religions” It took three days. On the first day, being divided into groups, we went into the forest surrounding “The Office in the Forest”, and did training to feel oneness with nature. We learned that “The Sense of Wonder” is important. One of the books by Rachel Carson is titled so, and the words can be explained as ‘the sense to see spirituality and wonders.”
On the second and third day, we looked at how Muslims in Indonesia are working on environment problems, and how Christians and Buddhists have behaved and done about the issues. We then learned that many religions changed interpretations of their scriptures in order to resolve the environment issues.
One thing that was significant to me was a phrase by Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, “God, nature and people are essentially one,” which he said as the summary of the whole event.
It means that God, nature and people are already one in True Image World. In order to bring about the unity of that one thing “God, nature and people” to the phenomena world, it is important to unite our actions with our beliefs.
So, how should we act and behave every day to do that? The Founder of Seicho-No-Ie Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote the following passage in “365 Golden Keys to the Summit of Fulfillment.”
Be Sure to Make Some Contribution Every Day
The fact that you are alive is proof that you are supposed to make a contribution of some kind to God, society, as well as the rest of mankind. To reserve this theory, it means that as long as you live, you must contribute somehow to the welfare of God, society and mankind.
When engaged in your work, if you hold such a mental attitude of service to God, society and mankind, and if you think to yourself, “I am grateful to Thee, God, for letting me do this job,” it will not fatigue you as much. Moreover, you can harvest absence of fulfillment which makes you even healthier both physically and mentally. In fact, man, as a child of God that infinite capacity flows. Therefore, lack of ability only indicates that your realization and conviction of man’s true nature as being one with God are weak. Consequently, whatever you do is a fruit attempt to accomplish things with the power of your own little self.
(“365 Golden Keys to the Summit of Fulfillment” p 182)
In this way, when we do something, we should not think that we could do everything on our own. We should do it by deepening the feeling of oneness with God by practicing Shisnsokan meditation, by deepening the oneness with all human beings by practicing “deeds God love.”
By doing these, whatever we do enlighten things around us, enlighten the humanity and therefore we can surely realize World of Grand Harmony of “God, Nature and Human Being” on this earth. Thank you very much.
*From August Issue of SNI Toronto Newsletter by Rev. Yoshiharu Taka
In July, I had two big changes occur to me at about the same time. On July 9th, my wife and my daughter returned to Japan for good. On July 16th, I moved to an apartment in Toronto with my son.
This is my 4th year in Canada, but I have never expected my family would experience two moves at once. Moving itself is not easy. However, I myself learned something new every day through the move and the change of the environment.
We experience many changes in our lives. Every time we face change, we grow spiritually. That is because, there is true existence called True Image beyond the Phenomena which changes.
We are taught that Man is a child of God and has infinite power, but if we live a life without any change, we get used to that way of living and our spiritual growth will stop. Then, we will not be able to manifest our infinite power which exists within.
If we change the living environment, we will notice the nature is diverse. By looking at the nature we can feel how wonderful the True Image World, created by God which exists beyond the appearance, truly is.
Founder of Seicho-No-Ie Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote in his book “365 Golden Keys To The Summit of Fulfillment” as follows:
Changes Occur Where There Is Life
… Unless there is living life, changes will not take place. Things like bronze statues, dried food and skeletons do not undergo much change because they no longer have a living life. Changes are the media through which the infinite is being expressed. That is why eternal Life vibrates to make itself felt in man’s intuition in every aspect of life, even when it is seemingly undergoing vain, meaningless changes. In the “ever-changing” is the unchanging; a flashing moment holds eternity. To live “NOW” is to live “eternity” at the same time. If you call this to mind constantly in your daily life, i.e., bearing in mind, the reason for changes, every second of your life will take on a greater meaning and will find itself blessed.
(365 Golden Keys To The Summit of Fulfillment” pp156-157)
The phenomenal world which stems from our five senses is the 4th dimensional world which consists of space and time. Therefore, we cannot express our infinite power at one moment. Through the change we will be eager to express our infinite power. The more we know about the Truth, the more effort we will put in to express our infinite power by repeatedly practicing and challenging new things.
How Blessed Physical Changes!
As this world is ephemeral and ever-changing, the key to change the physical aspects into better or worse rests in your hands. If this were not a world of constant changes, it would be so uninteresting:
Japan would not provide a variety of beauty for us. to enjoy the way it does as the four seasons change and roll into spring, summer, autumn and winter nor could we experience the joys of nature at various stages in our lives-joy of growing into childhood from infancy, of developing the vigor, liveliness and activeness of youth, of forming a family in harmony and happiness and of embracing grandchildren in later years.
With the breaking of dawn, the sun rises in the eastern sky, and at dusk it sets in the west and casts golden hues on the sea. Oh, how glorious! How marvelous and beautiful change is! …
(365 Golden Keys To The Summit of Fulfillment” pp157-158)
Man Knows Only Progress and Development
Pitiful are those who, unable to regard changes as joy, deplore the decline of today compared with a flourishing yesterday. Foolish are those who carry over the troubles of yesterday into today and repeatedly feel the same sensation of pain and worry. Just as plants undergo changes with spring, summer, autumn and winter, so life sees spring, summer, autumn and winter. Just as in winter, when they appear not to be growing much, trees create finer and better wood, increasing· denser rings; so can man cultivate a· sound character coupled with infallible will power through adversities. Those who worry in anticipation of what changes may take place in the future, are people who are ignorant of the intention and mercy of God, who has created this world as an art of, changes. There is no question that the future has something richer and more prosperous in store for us.
(365 Golden Keys To The Summit of Fulfillment” pp158-159)
In this way, by knowing the Truth, we stop worrying and fearing change. Rather we will enjoy the change and we will live life with gratitude. Then our wave length will match with the wave length of God, we will be able to freely express ourselves as a master of life. Thank you very much.
Let us practice Shinsokan every day with a bright and cheerful mind and a deep awareness that Man is a child of God
*This is a piece from July Issue of Seicho-No-Ie Toronto Newsletter, written by Rev. Yoshiharu Taka
In June, we had our founder Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi’s 31st Memorial Service. We were able to express our gratitude through this memorial service. In Vancouver, we had a Japanese Truth Realization Seminar for the first time in about six months. The theme of the Seminar was “Joy and Gratitude.”
This month I would like to study with you about the wonderfulness of Shinokan Meditation. Rev. Seicho Taniguchi wrote in his book “Shinsokan is Wonderful” as follows:
Everything goes well for a person who is always shining with hope. However, should this hope stem from egoism or selfish desire, while it may materialize temporarily, it is not necessarily true that one will become happy. Since this hope is not in accord with the will of God, it may even lead to an unhappy fate. Therefore, it would probably be better to change the word “hope” to the words “will of God.”
How can we know the will of God? It is best to ask Him. God already dwells within you as the true you, so it is not the least difficult to ask God. If you practice listening to God daily, you will be sure to hear Him. This practice is Shinsokan.
(“Shinsokan is wonderful” p3)
In this way, by practicing Shinsokan Meditation, we can surely listen to the voice of God. The founder Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi once told us that practicing Shinsokan is practice to see True Image. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi told us that we can see the True Image world without knowing it. He used an analogy of traveling to Osaka from Tokyo. Even if a person has never been to Osaka, as long as the person buys the train ticket to Osaka and gets on the train, they can surely be able to reach Osaka. Therefore, all we need to do is practice Shinsokan. By practicing it, you can reach the True Image. You don’t have to know what it is from the beginning.
So, practicing Shisokan is the same. In order for us to listen to the voice of God, it is important to practice Shinsokan. By practicing it you will be able to gradually listen to the voice of God and see the True Image World.
I think many of you have been to New York. I have been to New York many times. There is a famous music hall there, called Carnegie Hall. Have you ever been to Carnegie Hall? I have only seen it from the outside.
There is a famous joke about Carnegie Hall that I want to share with you. There were tourists who were looking for Carnegie Hall. They asked a violinist near Carnegie Hall. “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The violinist simply replied, “practice.”
We can also say the same thing about getting to the True Image World. In order for us to get to the perfect and harmonious True Image world, we should practice Shinsokan. Practicing Shinsokan every day will surely lead us to the True Image World. Practicing it once is not enough. Rev. Seicho Taniguchi wrote in his book “Shinsokan is wonderful” as follows:
God’s world and this world.
Let us now practice Shinsokan. In Japanese the word “Shinsokan consists of Chinese characters for God, to think deeply and to see. In other words, Shinsokan means steadily to think deeply about and see in one’s mind a perfect harmonious world created by God.
Where is it? It is already here. As a matter of fact, everywhere is God’s world. Everywhere is perfect and harmonious. It is just that we cannot see that perfection with our physical eyes. This is because God’s perfect and harmonious world is so very perfect that even the combined efforts of man’s five senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching are unable to capture it fully. This can be captured with a photographic beautiful sense. No matter how we may try to scan photograph, it will be only one aspect of it. We are unable to capture fully the richness of its colors. Our photograph is then as an infinite perfect presentation of original sense.
(“Shinsokan is wonderful” p33)
We as a child of God are already living in God’s perfect world that hasn’t appeared in this phenomenal world yet. When you turn on your TV, you see famous movie actors and actresses, but people on TV do not really exist in the TV set, but they are far away, maybe in the TV station or some movie studio.
We as a child of God have a physical body, but we’re not really in our physical body. We as a child of God are living in the True Image world, just like how actors and actress are not in a TV set but in a TV station.
However, if we see things through our five senses, we can only see the outside from our physical body. That is why, we first declare in Shinsokan, “I now leave the world of five senses and enter the world of God. This is as is the world of God” and we deny our five senses. Let us practice Shinsokan every day with a bright and cheerful mind and with gratitude. Thank you very much.
*This is a piece from June Issue of Seicho-No-Ie Toronto Newsletter, written by Rev. Yoshiharu Taka
I started commuting by bicycle when the long awaited spring came in May. We also planned to go cycling after the Sunday service on May 15th at Taylor Creek Park. However, due to the cold weather, as if winter weather was back, we had to cancel. I also heard the news on the Internet that we cannot expect blooming of the cherry blossoms this year, which we usually are able to enjoy at the beginning of May at High Park.
In other news, about 90,000 people from Fort McMurray in Alberta were forced to evacuate and about 1,600 buildings were burned down by the wild fire which started at the beginning of May. I would like to express my sympathy to all the victims of the wild fire.
Recently, we have more extreme types of weather than before, and it is said that these extreme kinds of weather have been caused by global warming and this global warming has been caused by carbon dioxide which have been emitted though our daily living and activities. We also should know that our future depends on our small deeds every day and we could either choose to emit lots of carbon dioxide or not to do so.
Furthermore, the reason we change our diet more towards vegetable, fish and seafood is because if almost all human beings ate meat, destruction of the environment will worsen.
Therefore, whether we can save this mother earth or not, it depends on our way of living, whether we live the way of living for each individual’s satisfaction or for the sake of whole life.
Buddhism teaches us, “Don’t do anything evil. Practice all the good things.” 諸悪莫作、衆善奉行 [Shoaku Makusa, Shuzen Bugyo]”
Since this phenomenal world is governed by the law of cause and effect, if we continue to do good things, we accumulate good karma and we will receive good results. If we continue to do bad things, we accumulate bad karma and we will receive bad results.
As it is taught in the Divine Message of Soul Evolution, “To express the True Image of man, the child of God, in the phenomenal world is the purpose of life” as we know the Truth, “Man is a child of God” and to live as a child of God, we have to know the will of God and put into practice the will of God.
President of Seicho-No-Ie, Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi wrote in “Song in Praise of Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sound of the World” as follows:
Human beings are branch spirits of God,
To realize good upon the earth.
Therefore I say to you,
If you wish to do good,
You must know God’s will.
Do not lose sight of God
By clinging to your own positions.
Good is to practice the will of God,
And it is nothing other than that.
Therefore, Jesus Christ taught:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.”
(“Song in Praise of Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sound of the World” pp. 22-24)
In other words, since the world created by God is perfect and harmonious and Man is created in His Image, the more we realize that the True Image is perfect and harmonious, the more we earnestly would like to manifest True Image world where human beings and nature are already in grand harmony on this earth. Then, how can we realize good in the True Image World in this phenomenal world?
In order for us to do that, it is good to use the power of words. In the Seven Promulgations of Light, it is written as “5. We believe that we, children of God, have infinite power and plenty within ourselves and can attain absolute freedom by following the creative way of words.”
In Seicho-No-Ie, this power of words consists of 1. Thoughts, 2. Spoken Word and 3. Facial Expression. (Please see “Truth of Life” vol1. P. 27) This is the same as the three karmas of actions, words, and thoughts in Buddhism. In order for us to purify the three karmas, it is important to put into practice the “Three Important Religious Practices (Shinsokan, reading the holy sutras and the songs of praise [Song in Praise of Nature, Song in Praise of the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World], reading Seicho-No-Ie books and other publications, and carrying out deeds of love)” in our daily life.
Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote ’Three Great Secrets to Help You Realize Your Divinity’ in his book “356 Golden Keys to Completely Free Life” as follows:
What is more important than anything else is to strengthen your awareness or realization that God, who is the source of infinite love, wisdom, life and power, is residing within you. Depending upon the extent to which you acquire this awareness you will be liberated from all worry, troubles, fears, sufferings, etc.
(“356 Golden Keys to Completely Free Life” p.160-161)
We are taught that in order for us to deepen this awareness, it is again important to put into practice the “Three Important Religious Practices.” In other words, by reading the book in which the Truth is written, we know the Truth. By practicing Shinsokan Meditation, the awareness as a child of God will be in the bottom of our heart or subconscious mind. Since God is Love, by practicing love toward not only human beings but also towards all life and minerals on earth, we can surely manifest the world where nature and human beings are in grand harmony to this world. Thank you very much.
Resident Ordained Minister in Canada
First of all, I would like to express my deepest condolences for the people who were killed in the Great Earthquakes in Kumamoto and Oita in Kyushu Island in Japan on April 14th, and the Great Earthquake in Ecuador in South America on April 16th. I also would like to pray for the immediate recovery of their daily life and that their suffering will be removed shortly and I pray for the fast reconstruction of the disaster areas.
When April started, I was thinking that spring was just around the corner but we actually had some snow and had to cancel the first Cycling Activities in Toronto due to cold weather.
Later, I went to Vancouver to conduct the Regional Lecturers and Propagators Study Class, Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi’s 28th year Memorial Service and Memorial Tablets Burning Ceremony. When I arrived at about 7 pm on April 7th, it was more than 14 degrees Celsius and I felt it was hot. I realized how large Canada is.
However, now that it is in the middle of April, I can say spring has finally come in Toronto. When I walk outside, I was able see people who were honestly enjoying the coming of spring. I could say that it is because we are essentially one with nature.
This year too, coincide with Earth Day on April 22nd, our Skype group decided to practice “Shinsokan to Visualize the Four Immeasurable Minds and Prayer World Peace”, read “Prayer to Visualize Grand Harmony Between Nature and Human Beings” and either “Song in Praise of Nature” or “Song in Praise of the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World” during the Earth Day week from Monday, April 18th to Friday April 22nd.
I also made a commentary on “Prayer to Visualize Grand Harmony Between Nature and Human Beings” by reading each paragraph with participants during my Sunday Service Lecture on April 17th at Toronto Centre.
Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, President of Seicho-No-Ie, wrote in “Prayer to Visualize Grand Harmony Between Nature and Human Beings” as follows:
In the True Image of the world created by God, nature and human beings are always in harmony as one. Nature supports and sustains human beings, gives them ways in which to express themselves, and gives them joy. Human beings are grateful for this, love nature, nurture it, and make it abundant. There is no gap and no strife between them nor is there even distinction or difference between the two.
(“Song in Praise of Nature” p1)
In order to realize a harmonious world on this earth which has been already realized in the True Image World, it is important for us to practice the Three Important Religious Practices (Shinsokan, reading the holy sutras and the songs of praise [Song in Praise of Nature, Song in Praise of the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World], reading Seicho-No-Ie books and other publications, and carry out deeds of love) in our daily life.
It is especially important to practice “Shinsokan to Visualize the Four Immeasurable Minds and Prayer World Peace”, read “Prayer to Visualize Grand Harmony Between Nature and Human Beings” and either “Song in Praise of Nature” or “Song in Praise of the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World” and do deeds of love.
Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi wrote in “Prayer to Visualize Grand Harmony Between Nature and Human Beings” as follows:
A major earthquake is not the “wrath of God”; it is a “lesson from the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World.” It is when we no longer have them that we realize just how many blessings nature has given us. We are being taught that no matter how many manmade structures, fields, harbors, roads, power lines, Internet systems we build, if we ignore and neglect nature’s exquisite and expansive structure and energy and make the foolish mistake of trampling it down and violating it, life in a civilized world will be destroyed instantly. The Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World, who is our true nature, is teaching us human beings, “Be more humble,” “Realize that you are a part of nature,” “Restore the you who is one with nature.”
(“Song in Praise of Nature” pp 8-9)
As it is written as “A major earthquake is not the ‘wrath of God’; it is a ‘lesson from the Bodhisattva Who Reflects the Sounds of the World,” we should “Realize that we are a part of nature,” “Restore the we who are one with nature” in our daily life.
Since April 24th is the anniversary of Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi’s passing, we had Mrs. Teruko Tanicuhi’s 28th Memorial Service not only in Japan but at the centres all over the world. Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi wrote article ‘Remembering the Beginning Days of Our Periodical’ in her book Mezame yuku Tamashii, “The Way to Spiritual Awakening” As follows.
At that time, we did not have a maid, not only my husband but I was also extremely busy every day. In addition to the task as an ordinary house wife such as cleaning the room, doing the laundry, cooking, needlework and shopping, I had to do all clerical work of the publication such as editing, distribution, correspondence and reception of the visitors. Whenever I think back, I cannot remember how I was able to manage it. However, in such a busy time, I grew grass and flowers as usual. Then my neighbors were glad to receive those flowers of which roots were divided.
(Mezame yuku Tamashii, “The Way to Spiritual Awakening” p68)
We can tell that Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi lived with the awareness of oneness with nature despite her busy schedule.
Then Mrs. Emiko Taniguchi introduced in her book Kokorono Tabiji “A Mind’s Journey” that Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi was taking great care of things by reminding her of the following words in the kitchen.
Things are not just things.
They are manifestation of God’s life.
Use Water sparingly
Use fire sparingly
Do not waste even a piece of vegetable –
Potato, carrot, burdock
Apologize if you crack the small saucer,
Remember to extend the life of all things,
Organic or inorganic
Everything are entrusted to us by God.
(Kokorono Tabiji “A Mind’s Journey” p208)
Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi lived her life by recognizing a matter is not simply a matter and to worship them as manifestation of God’s life and Buddha’s life and at same time she supported her husband, Rev. Masaharu Taniguhi, by living the teaching of Seicho-No-Ie in her daily life. If we also worship matters as manifestation of God’s life and Buddha’s life and without seeing them simply as a mass of things, we will be able to realize heaven on this earth. Thank you very much.
Shinsokan Meditation and Mindfulness
I think many of you have welcomed the New Year with hope. Some of you made a New Year’s Resolution such as “I live a life of Sundial Way of Life” by seeing only bright side of people and things and never their dark side and write only those good things in Sundial Diary.
I myself made a New Year’s resolution, which is “study Seicho-No-Ie teaching more deeply.” So, I would like to study about Shinsokan Meditation with you this time.
Today I would like to discuss the difference between Shinsokan Meditation of Seicho-No-Ie and Mindfulness Meditation, which is now popular in the United States. Shinsokan Meditation is one of the important religious activities of Seicho-No-Ie.
On the other hand, Mindfulness Meditation is a style of meditation which was introduced by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine. Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi also mentioned this Mindfulness Meditation in his book “Taiyo was Itsumo Kagayaiteiru (Sun is always shining).” In this Mindfulness Meditation, religious elements were removed and participants do the meditation by concentrating their thoughts on breathing. In order to concentrate our thoughts, they use raisin. By putting a raisin in their mouths and tastes it carefully without chewing for a while.
This Mindfulness Meditation is widely accepted among the high-tech industry in the US as a method to relieve stress. Furthermore, this Mindfulness can be applied in our daily lives. For example, it is reported in Time Magazine that Mindfulness Dishwashing has an effect to reduce stress level. When you wash dishes after you eat meal, by concentrating our thoughts on washing dishes and by concentrating on smelling sauce, your stress level will be reduced.
On the other hand, Seicho-No-Ie’s Shinsokan Meditation, as the word Shinsokan consists of “God”, “Thought”, and “Visualize,” we concentrate our thoughts by repeating the word of prayer thoroughly and by using the power of the words. In other words, Shinsokan is the meditation with thoughts in our mind. On the other hand, Mindfulness Meditation has its background in Buddhism, but they concentrate their thoughts on breathing.
By the way, Founder Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote about uniqueness of Shinsokan as follows:
In contrast, the Shinsokan (meditation to visualize God) is a form of meditation in which there is no effort to stop thought activity. Fully conscious of our thoughts, we focus our mind on our ParentGod, the Great Life Principle, and thereby return ourselves to the Great Life Principle and become one with our ParentGod. In this manner, we reach a calm undisturbed state of mind described by St. Kobo (founder of the Shingon Esoteric School of Buddhism) as being “in a state of Buddhahood just as we are.” We reach a state of spiritual attainment in which everything we do is “in accordance with the divine will,” to borrow from the Christian vocabulary. We reach a state of spiritual attainment in which our daily lives become “one with the way of the Gods,” to borrow a Shinto expression. In Shinsokan Meditation we do not necessarily object to thoughts. We recite the Invocation to invoke the Great Angel of SeichoNoIe, who guides us in our meditation, and thereby remove the risks of psychic disturbance (improper mental concentration) that might otherwise appear before we reach a state of complete concentration. At the same time, we direct our minds to our ParentGod, the Great Life Principle, and strive, without risk or danger, to unite ourselves with our ParentGod, the Grand True Existence. That is what makes the Shinsokan so unique. (“Truth of Life” vol.8 p 12)
When we practice Shinokan Meditation, we can freely practice meditation under protection of Lord of Seicho-No-Ie. Therefore, as it is written ‘I practice Shinsokan at least once a day to enlighten myself!’ in “Seicho-No-Ie Article of Faith-Rules of Daily Conduct,” let us practice Shinsokan with joy.
Yoshiharu Taka, Chief, Seicho-No-Ie Toronto
Resident Ordained Minister in Canada
The first post!