Since I was a teenager, I always wondered how I could explain my religion to others without making a fool out of myself. Even as an adult, I always wondered if I could talk to my coworkers about God. I am sure many of you had the same doubts as I have had. I guess it didn’t really matter since I did not really understand the teachings until just recently. My goal now is how to make our sacred book (Ofudesaki) easier to understand and how to apply its teachings in our daily lives.
I would like to explain first why we have joy or suffering. Ever since mankind was created, people have wondered why we suffer or have joy. Why do” good “people suffer, and why do “bad” people have joy? Religion tries to explain it. Some explain by saying it is God’s will, or only God knows. Sometimes we are told not to worry about what happen on earth; the Good will be rewarded in heaven, while the evil will suffer in hell.
Our religion believes that it is the soul that brings upon joy or suffering. In the first verse in our most sacred book, God tells us that the world does not understand the soul. Some people call it the heart or spirit. We could all agree that our physical bodies decompose, and turn to dusts when we die. Most religious people will also agree that there exists a spark in our bodies that is eternal. As for the location of the soul in our bodies, we do not know. Some believe that this spark or soul leaves our bodies and enters heaven after our bodies cease to function. Others if they believe in reincarnation, believe that our souls will continue to exist in both earth and heaven for eternity; this is what we believe.
The soul is a positive source of energy created by God at the beginning of mankind. Each of us has the positive energies of God. These positive energies only bring upon joy to us. But throughout past lives, we have committed evil acts or sins against each other. These negative acts produce the negative energies that the individual soul collects and stores. It is these negative energies that surround the soul that brings upon our future sufferings, temptations and inconveniences that many of us encounter every day.
When we understand the soul, we understand that these inconveniences or sufferings we experience are the result of our own past evil actions. Do not become angered at the messengers of these sufferings that the soul delivers now or in the future. Do not blame your wife, coworker, or strangers. Definitely do not place blame on God. If one can calm the mind and not act upon the evil thoughts* in one’s minds when the soul delivers these inconveniences, one can eliminate these evil thoughts, and eliminate the negative energy that the soul collects. Eventually we can purify our minds and our souls; and have only joy delivered by our pure soul. This is God’s promise.
With so many people on earth, what is the best way for God to inform people about the soul? But more important how can they be convinced about the soul so they can begin to purify their own minds.
First God wants us member of the church to purify our own minds by understanding the soul. We must calm our minds when sufferings or inconveniences occur to purify our own minds. Sometimes God guides us with illness when we stray from God’s path of the heart/soul.
After purifying our own minds, we must begin to tell people about the soul, and how God is going to convince people about the soul. We must tell people that God will enter them, and place temporary illness according to the evil thoughts in their minds to have them understand the soul (this dissemination is called hinokishin).
God has given us a special prayer, the Joyous Service (fertilizer) asking God to begin sweeping evil thoughts from these people that we have spread the teachings. This prayer is directed toward the Kanrodai, where Oyasama and God are.
When our sincere prayer is accepted by God, God begins to place temporary illness on those people we have spread the teachings. God will enter them, and places temporary illness according to the evil thoughts in their minds. God is showing them what suffering their soul may manifest in the future.
These people will come to our churches or places of prayer to be healed of their temporary illness. They will be told about the soul again; and we will pray for them (sazuke). They will be healed and begin to understand the soul, so they can purify their minds by themselves.
This process continues until all mankind is purified. When this happens, there will be paradise on earth.
* Evil thoughts are greed, arrogance, miserliness, covetousness, and self-love.