When I was young, I wondered how I could explain my religion to others without embarrassment. Talking about reincarnation, karma, and performing a prayer in Japanese was something difficult to convey to others. Even as an adult, I pondered if I had the courage to talk to my coworkers and friends about God and my religion. Looking back, it didn’t matter since I did not understand the teachings until just recently. My goal now is to make our sacred book (Ofudesaki) easier to understand and to apply its teachings to our daily lives.
Why do 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 sometime 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 happens to us on earth; the “good” will be rewarded in heaven, while the “evil” will suffer in hell.
Our religion believes that it is our own soul that brings upon joy or suffering to us. In the first verse in our most sacred book, God tells us that the world does not understand the soul. Why does God want us to understand the soul? Some people call it the heart or spirit. We all agree that our physical bodies decompose and return to the earth. Most religious people will also agree that there exists a spark or soul in our bodies that is eternal. Scientist cannot confirm the existence of the soul, but many of us do believe that it does exist. Many believe that the soul leaves our bodies at death and enters heaven or hell. Others believe like myself that our souls will continue for eternity in both heaven and earth.
Let me further explain the soul. The soul is a positive bundle of energy from God. Each of us has the positive energies of God within us. 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 or sins produce the negative energies that surround the pure soul. It is these negative energies that brings upon our future sufferings, temptations and inconveniences. But more important, it is our reactions to these sufferings that will determine our future. We have control of our future by how we respond to the soul! This is why we must understand the soul.
When we understand the soul, we understand that 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 our souls deliver. Do not blame your spouse, coworker, strangers, or even God. It is easy to act with retribution when you feel that you have been wronged. It is also easy to blame others, even God when suffering occurs. When we understand the soul, we must look within ourselves first. How do we do this? We must remove greed, arrogance, and self- love from our minds. These are the evil thoughts or dust that are in our minds.
If we can calm the mind and not act upon the evil thoughts in our minds when the soul delivers these obstructions, we can gradually eliminate evil thoughts from our minds, and therefore eliminate the negative energies that are produced by our evil actions. Eventually we can purify our minds and have only joy delivered by our pure positive soul. This is God’s promise of our salvation.
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 help people understand the soul to purify their minds. This prayer is directed toward the Kanrodai, where Oyasama and God have descended.
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.