Sorry about the revision. In my haste to publish, I have made a few mistakes.
I have often heard that in our religion that we need to save others to save ourselves. Yes this makes sense; but could this be true? I don’t fly often now, but I was often intrigued when the stewardess or steward would take the microphone and make the preflight precautions on the airbags that would fall in front of us in case of any emergency. They would advise us to place the airbags on ourselves first before placing it on our children. I am pretty certain that my wife would of attempted to place them on our children first. I do understand why these warnings exist because placing the airbags on minors first may risk both the parent and child’s lives. Have you ever tried placing a seat belt on an uncooperative child?
I believe it is the same with religion. We must purify our minds and save ourselves first before attempting to save others. I often hear complaints from church leaders that they cannot bring new members to their churches despite years of salvation work. Could it be that they need to purify their minds and save themselves first?
It our sacred book, the Ofudesaki, God wants us to purify our minds by taking the broad path. This is a path, where we understand the soul, and begin to purify our minds of greed, arrogance, self-love, covetousness, and miserliness. This sometime is a difficult path because of the negative energy or dust surrounding our souls. Some would describe this as our fate. God tells us not to calm our minds and not act upon our negative thoughts when the soul delivers these obstacles in our lives. This is how we purify our minds and bring upon our salvation.
When our minds are purified, then God tells us to save others. This is often called the narrow path where God tells us that we will have no difficulties. This makes sense that we first purify our minds first. If we attempted to spread the teachings without purifying our minds first, we will often encounter uncooperative and sometimes hostile people, just like the uncooperative child we may attempt to place the airbag. We may then unwillingly act upon our own evil thoughts, making the encounter very difficult. This is why God tells us to purify our minds first.