People say money can’t buy happiness. Drugs and alcohol do not bring upon happiness; although sometimes a good cup of caffeinated coffee brings upon a transient feeling of euphoria to me. Throughout history, people have spent much of their time and resource in pursuit of permanent happiness. Can religion, or finding God bring upon this happiness? What does bring upon this elusive joy?
In the Book of Prophecy (Ofudesaki), God promises us that if we remove evil from our minds, we will become spirited. I imagine spirited means happy. But what are these evils? God describes these evils as dusts of the mind. These dusts are the thoughts of greed, arrogance, miserliness, covetousness, and self-love. Like the dusts that accumulate on our furniture, they can be swept away. But sometimes, if these dusts accumulate, they can become imbued on to the surface, and can be a challenge to remove.
You might be wondering where is he going on this topic of furniture. I am trying to convince you and myself that these evil thoughts are sometimes difficult to remove, especially if they have been in our minds for a long time. I imagine we can easily eliminate these dusts if lived in a monastery, or if we boarded our house and lived as a hermit. But we cannot, and life often brings upon unpleasant surprises. We cannot just promise God that we will remove these evil thoughts from our minds so that he can bless us with a spirited mind. In the Book of Prophecy are the following verses that I did not initially understand:
Over steep mountains, through tangles of thorns, along narrow ledges and
through brandished swords, yet if you come 1-47
Yet a head a sea of flames, and a deep abyss,
you will arrive at a narrow path (path of prayer with a sincere mind). 1-48
After following the narrow path step by step, you will come to a path.
This is the trustworthy main path (path of joy). 1-49
This talk is not about other concerns.
It is a matter of your own and your single-heartedness with God. 1-50
God is telling us how to purify our minds of evil. He is saying that life brings upon unpleasant experiences, which may bring upon thoughts of evil like arrogance; but if we acknowledge that we have these thought in our minds, and refuse to act upon them, we can gradually suppress and eliminate these thoughts from our minds. This is not a one-time process where we can sweep these dust easily: God tells us in the above verses, we must repeatedly go through these challenges and tribulations in order to eliminate these evils that are in our minds. With this process we finally become spirited; but the path does not end here.
God tells us that true happiness occurs when all mankind is spirited. True joy is shared joy. God then tells us to follow the “Narrow path” of prayer. God has given us a special prayer called the Joyous Service. With this service performed with a pure mind, God will guide others to us so we can teach them how to become spirited. This then becomes the path to a joyous world where everyone is helping each other. I will end this discussion with a verse from the the Book of Prophecy:
If the minds of the world are spirited in all matters,
the mind of God, also will be spirited (world will prosper). 4-21