PDF file: 20211101_November Monthly Service_Please use me as You wish_Masaaki-sama
Good morning, everyone.
It’s quite warm today, isn’t it? I will be speaking for a while now too, so if you feel hot, please feel free to remove your jackets and relax as you listen.
As I sat here during the service, I was asking myself, when members who are connected to Meishu-sama all gather, who should lead the prayers after Meishu-sama’s ascension?
Don’t you think it would be natural for Nidai-sama to lead the prayers? Don’t you think it would be the proper order? I mean, Meishu-sama, in his final words, entrusted his work to Nidai-sama. Then of course, that is how things should be. And what about after Nidai-sama? Wouldn’t it be natural for Sandai-sama, Meishu-sama’s daughter, to lead the prayers? After Sandai-sama, wouldn’t it be natural for the current Kyoshu-sama, Meishu-sama’s grandson, to lead the prayers?
Were Meishu-sama’s grandson present when everyone gathered, wouldn’t it be unnatural if he did not lead the prayers, no matter how you think about it?
As such, all of you have chosen to go forward on this path that follows order and respect, and within that order, your hearts are now directly turned toward God and Meishu-sama. If you continue to follow this order, I believe you can be protected by Meishu-sama in the time of crisis. This is what I was thinking about during the service.
Okay, let me begin my talk. Don’t we give our all each and every day? Doing religious activities like attending services as we are today; doing something for family, for the company or for so-and-so; doing something for the materialization of our goals and dreams?
So for us who give our all each and every day to the life we have been given, there is an important issue we must think about. That is, if we die, is that the end of everything? We work so hard to live our daily lives, but once we die, would that be our ultimate end? This is an important issue.
Rather than think about death, young people think about where they fit in in this world or about becoming independent and working hard to achieve it. They may not think about death much, but it can suddenly make its way through the door for anyone. And even if it doesn’t then, it will at some point. Regardless of what age, everyone must come face-to-face with this issue of death.
Let’s say we followers of Meishu-sama are asked, “You work so hard to live in this world, but when you die, is that the end of everything?” Some may want to reply:
“No, it is not the end. That is because Meishu-sama says in a hymn: ‘Oh, how precious you are, a human being! / You are born and you will die one day. / Then you will be born again and you will die again. / This way, your life continues for eternity through reincarnation.’
“So we have eternal life through reincarnation. Even if we die in this world, a few years or decades later, we will return to this earth, then die again, and so it repeats. We have received eternal life through these cycles of reincarnation that continue forever, so even if we die, it is not the end.”
Well, is that going to be our final conclusion? Actually, no, it isn’t. Meishu-sama published that hymn in the revised Collected Hymns on May 28, 1951, but it was three years later that Meishu-sama received the purification of a brain hemorrhage on April 19, 1954, and through it, felt a strong message from God. This is what Meishu-sama announced about a month later on June 5—the Sacred Word on the birth of the Messiah, the actual final conclusion.
And then, of course, ten days later on June 15, 1954, the Provisional Ceremony to Celebrate the Birth of the Messiah took place in the nearly-complete Messiah Hall. At that time, Meishu-sama, in effect, spoke nothing, which means that from the time of his brain hemorrhage until his ascension, June 5 was the last time he said something substantial directly to members. In considering this, wouldn’t that make that announcement the most important Sacred Word out of all of Meishu-sama’s Sacred Word, that is, the Culmination of the Sacred Word? This, I believe.
On this June 5, Meishu-sama gathered the leading ministers of his Church to Hekiun-so, his residence at the time. I say leading ministers, but there were about 500 who came. 500 people were present in Hekiun-so’s garden, which isn’t that spacious, so it must have been completely packed. And he also gave instructions to come wearing formal attire. So just imagine a scene with 500 people dressed formally, packed tightly in a garden. Service attendance tickets were distributed for that day, which means that it was indeed a service. It was a service where everyone was attending under Meishu-sama who was born anew.
When you think about this backdrop, what comes out of Meishu-sama’s mouth can only be of great importance. So what did Meishu-sama say at that time? His first words were “On my part, I have become much younger.” Everyone, Meishu-sama was 71 years old at that time. “On my part, I have become much younger. This is called the Birth of the Messiah and the Messiah was born. I am not just saying this. This is a fact. I myself was surprised by it.” What was he surprised by? The answer comes next. He said, “I must tell you that it is not reincarnation. Rather, I was born anew.”
“I myself was surprised by it.” Surprised by what? He was surprised by this: “It is not reincarnation. Rather, I was born anew.” He was surprised that it was not reincarnation.
This is the Meishu-sama who had taught about reincarnation for the longest time; Meishu-sama who taught about eternal life via reincarnation. To that, he plainly said, “I must tell you that it is not reincarnation. Rather, I was born anew.”
I believe most of us have known what Meishu-sama said at the time of his birth as the Messiah. I believe almost all senior ministers as well as staff members knew about it. But everyone understood it only vaguely, as something mysterious and inexplicable, something that was special only to Meishu-sama. As such, we have reached today never applying it to ourselves.
But what he said on that occasion is a grave matter. That is to say, up until then, it was “You are born and you will die one day. / Then you will be born again and you will die again. / This way, your life continues for eternity through reincarnation.” Meishu-sama had been teaching all this time about eternal life by means of reincarnation. Then this Meishu-sama said, “It is not reincarnation. Rather, I was born anew.”
Meishu-sama who was born anew made his ascension the following year, but needless to say, he didn’t just pass away. We believe that he continues to live, don’t we? We are able to do our religious activities because we believe that Meishu-sama is working from the spiritual world and advancing God’s plan, right? If we believe that he really did pass away a year after he finally was born anew, there is no point in doing religious activities, is there? In other words, right now, Meishu-sama lives in eternal life not by reincarnation, but eternal life in which he was born anew.
Of course, two kinds of eternal lives do not exist. At first, as in his hymn, eternal life was about reincarnation, but ultimately, Meishu-sama said, “It is not reincarnation. Rather, I was born anew.” In other words, Meishu-sama left for us an eternal life that is not by reincarnation. It cannot be anything else except that.
Then what is the eternal life that has to do with “the Messiah was born” and “I was born anew”? Since he said “born anew,” it means that there is someone that bore him, no doubt. Because he said “the Messiah was born,” there is someone who bore the Messiah, no doubt. Who is this someone?
In the case of reincarnation, every one of us is born of our parents, right? We are born to so-and-so. Then we die, and for example, 100 years later, we are born to someone else. As such, we are born to flesh and blood parents, right?
But when Meishu-sama was born anew, Meishu-sama’s flesh and blood parents had already passed long ago.
So, when Meishu-sama said he was born anew, who bore him? It could only be God, right? I mean, his physical parents were no longer there, so it could only be his spiritual Parent, God, right?
For Meishu-sama to say that the Messiah was born and that he was born anew could only mean that he was born anew as a child of God, Messiah, and became an existence that lives in eternal life. Can anybody deny this? I mean, Meishu-sama is saying that he was born anew. If so, somebody definitely must have given birth to Meishu-sama. Who could it be? Who else could it be but God?
By being born anew as God’s child, Meishu-sama demonstrated to us that he attained eternal life not through reincarnation but through being one with God.
We have long been accustomed to the teachings of Meishu-sama relating to reincarnation. But for Meishu-sama, they were already things of the past. Eternal life by reincarnation was something that no longer existed. After all, he said, “It is not reincarnation.”
And of course, I believe Meishu-sama himself, too, had believed in reincarnation, enough for him to say, “I myself was surprised by it.” Influenced by the times, he must have believed that human beings lived eternal life through the cycle of birth and death, through reincarnation.
But through his purification of a brain hemorrhage, Meishu-sama received the Holy Word from God that “it is not reincarnation,” thus his announcement, “I must tell you that it is not reincarnation.” It is all too clear that Meishu-sama was going to go forward with his divine work based on the understanding that reincarnation was over.
This is where we may start questioning. Even though we have something of extreme importance to us like the Sacred Word on the birth of the Messiah where Meishu-sama says that “it is not reincarnation” and even though Meishu-sama shows us the path of eternal life, the path of true life, one completely different from that of reincarnation, why did we or the Church continue to preach reincarnation even after that?
That is because, if I may say so in a worldly way, reincarnation is super convenient. For the Church, the notion of reincarnation is super convenient.
As a Church, it would want to have members do religious activities and make monetary offerings. The Church can say, “If you make a lot of offerings, your spiritual level will be raised, and you will be born into good circumstances in your next life.” And if there is a member that says, “I cannot offer that much,” the Church can say, “Your attachment to money is something terrible. You may end up being born into poverty in your next life.” Or it can say, “Be sure to go to church, minister Johrei, do service, guide people and give donations. You want to be born into good circumstances in your next life, don’t you?”
Oh, how convenient this is for the Church! For a Church that wants to move their members at will, it is super convenient. And members who hear this would think, “Oh no, that’s terrible. I don’t want to be born into a weird circumstance in my next life.”
This is precisely what Meishu-sama called a “hell-like faith.” Exactly how much should your donation be to guarantee proper circumstances in your next life? If only the Church could tell you [laughter]. But it doesn’t.
As such, reincarnation, in the end, was way too convenient for the Church.
So when Kyoshu-sama explained that Meishu-sama said it is not reincarnation and that the mission of Meishu-sama’s followers is not to live through reincarnation but to live in the eternal life of God, some people started saying in response that by denying reincarnation, Kyoshu-sama is denying Meishu-sama; Kyoshu-sama is violating the teachings. Strange, isn’t it? Are those people trying to say that Meishu-sama is violating the teachings?
I mean, it is Meishu-sama who said, “It is not reincarnation.” If someone says that Kyoshu-sama is violating the teachings, it is the same as saying Meishu-sama is violating the teachings.
And while reincarnation was convenient for the Church of course, it was also the same for us humans: I am doing this much, I am making more donations than others, I am guiding many people, I am doing a lot of Johrei, so my spiritual level must be high and I am better than others. As such, I think there was a part of us that unconsciously incorporated the notion of reincarnation into our thinking in order to compare ourselves to others and maintain our superiority over others.
Now, let’s look a little more closely at some examples based on the premise of reincarnation. Let’s say that in your next life, you are born into a rich family, and for some time, you repeat this kind of life blessed with material riches. But in one life, just that one time, you commit a terrible offense. Then it would be the end of everything, wouldn’t it?
In this way, believing in reincarnation is like walking in the darkness without end. You have to live with the fear that you might commit something terrible one day. You have to live with this fear for all eternity, without end. Do you really want to live forever with that fear?
So for Meishu-sama to say, “I must tell you that it is not reincarnation,” was very significant. With this, he freed us from a life of darkness.
Well, perhaps I should mention how reincarnation originally came from India. Then through Buddhism, it made its way into Japan. In fact, in Buddhism, the goal is to not reincarnate. In Buddhism, to live is to suffer, so you want to try not to reincarnate. And the first to accomplish this was Shakyamuni, who then went to the Pure Land and is now a saved existence, without the need to reincarnate anymore.
How about us? We didn’t even aim to not reincarnate; we simply preached reincarnation, which would mean there was no escape for us. We would have been repeating birth and death, over and over again, with no way out.
So if we really think about it, there are a lot of things that don’t add up with reincarnation even though it sounds like a convincing explanation when you first hear it.
For Meishu-sama who held reincarnation as a basic premise, to be taught by God in his final years that it was not so, was a very, very, very big, unexpected twist for him. “Very big” times ten, times twenty, and it is still not enough to describe what a turn this was. I mean, until then, Meishu-sama had been teaching about various matters with reincarnation as a premise, right?
Even though Meishu-sama said, “I must tell you that it is not reincarnation,” if you are going to say, “That’s wrong! There is reincarnation!” the following would happen. I saw it in a movie about the Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism. This beloved existence of the Dalai Lama is known to reincarnate continuously and, I believe, is now onto the 14th generation. So when the Dalai Lama of one generation passes away, the people left behind start their quest to find his next incarnation. They somehow get wind that there is a reincarnated child in such-and-such region, and—please remember I only saw a movie, so I don’t know how much of it is true—in order to find the reincarnated child, they all go to the region and bring with them many artefacts including ones the past Dalai Lamas had used. As they go house to house, they meet many children. In the process, they come across a child who touches a few artefacts that the Dalai Lamas had used or who gestures in a similar way as the Dalai Lamas that only the close assistants know about. Like so, when the child clears a few tests, the senior monks suddenly bow down to him all at once. That child then inherits the position. This is how it seems to work.
So if you really believe in reincarnation, why don’t you go out and try to find Meishu-sama like the Buddhist monks who go in search of the reincarnated Dalai Lama? You believe that Meishu-sama is reincarnated in somebody’s body at this moment, right?
And if you are not doing that sort of thing right now, it must mean that you’re only saying that there’s reincarnation, when you’re actually recognizing the uniqueness of the man Mokichi Okada, Meishu-sama.
Meishu-sama said that he is the reincarnation of Korin Ogata, Japanese Emperor Ojin, and Minamoto no Yoshitsune, a famous samurai, among others. If you really believe in reincarnation, you would naturally revere the images of these figures, thinking that they are Meishu-sama himself. But we don’t do that, do we?
If you say we do, why don’t you hang the pictures of, say, Korin Ogata, the Emperor Ojin, or Minamoto no Yoshitsune next to the photo of Meishu-sama? If you really believe in reincarnation, you should be doing that, shouldn’t you?
But the fact that you are not doing that means it’s only talk, and you are actually recognizing the uniqueness of the figure Korin Ogata as well as the uniqueness of Meishu-sama. Isn’t that so?
After all, don’t we place a lot of importance on the Meishu-sama who came to this world this one time? So while of course, Meishu-sama lives in eternal life right now, I don’t think that we are seriously anticipating his reincarnating and returning to earth.
As such, if you really believe in reincarnation, there are a lot of issues that come with it, actually.
Here’s another example. If you really believe in reincarnation, there’s also the issue of what will happen to us in our next lifetime, right?
Of course, each one of us makes our own effort and has our own way of living, but on the other hand, we are existences that are connected to Sekai Kyusei Kyo, which continuously has conflict. Within the conflict, we may have done many things that we thought were correct or good. But that conflict escalated and ultimately, our fellow followers of faith committed the act of secretly following and filming Kyoshu-sama. We are in the same group of faith as those kinds of people. A good situation cannot be awaiting us in our next life by any means. Maybe we won’t be allowed to be born as human beings. We might become frogs or something like that.
So if that kind of circumstance awaits even us in the next life, then I wonder what would await those who actually committed acts like secretly following people, those who ordered to do such or those who approve of such. What would happen to them in their next life?
On the other hand, I’m sure there are some people who wonder whether secretly following, wiretapping and filming someone really is that bad. Well, the ones who actually committed those acts called it “investigation.” At any rate, secretly following, wiretapping and filming someone is not “investigation.” It makes me wonder whether they really know what the meaning of “investigation” is.
And as their assertion, they say that while stealing and the like are wrong, secretly following people is not so bad and could be justified. If I had to say whether or not you would be arrested for secretly following someone, I would say probably not, but you would be cutting it close.
One of Meishu-sama’s well-known hymns reads:
“Know this everyone. / To do something behind someone’s back, / To do something against someone without being seen, / Is the same as stealing.”
Meishu-sama says that to do something against someone without being seen is the same as stealing, the same as being a thief. That means by Meishu-sama’s law, secretly following, wiretapping and filming Kyoshu-sama is unacceptable. By Meishu-sama’s law, secretly following someone is the same as stealing, and you will be caught.
Now if that is the case, the next life of those who actually carried out and/or approved of that act will be awful, don’t you think? In particular, the ones who assert that Kyoshu-sama is violating the teachings by denying reincarnation and assert that reincarnation does exist are the ones who carried out and/or approved of secretly following and filming Kyoshu-sama. I wonder if they ever thought even a little about what would happen to them in their next life while they were doing something that Meishu-sama would call stealing.
But, well, they will be okay. We will be okay, too. No one has to worry about being reincarnated into something horrible. Everyone will be fine. For Meishu-sama preached of a completely new and eternal life through the birth of the Messiah, didn’t he?
In the final years of his life, Meishu-sama repeatedly said that from now on, apology would not be enough and that we need to repent. For Meishu-sama to tell us that we need to repent means that we are all sinners, without exception. He would not be telling people who do good deeds to repent, would he?
So Meishu-sama has been telling us, “You do not live eternal life by means of reincarnation. Rather, the path to live eternal life as a child of God is open to you, so repent of your sins.”
Meishu-sama said, “I must tell you that it is not reincarnation.” So you do not need to worry about things like how your next life will be because you did something terrible.
Without realizing it, we made our way into a hell-like faith. But through his message on the birth of the Messiah, Meishu-sama liberated us from that faith.
Related to this eternal life, the Sacred Word from the service today was on miracles, and I was wondering how all of you received it.
It said, “Who performs miracles? It is God, of course. But what good is it if we just say ‘Oh, how wonderful!’ or ‘Wow, it’s a miracle—so extraordinary and mysterious!’ without giving it much thought? I tell you that there is a divine purpose for why God performs miracles.”
When we receive miracles, it’s almost like we hardly give thought to their purpose; like everything is fine as long as our illness is healed. But Meishu-sama said that from God’s position, the purpose of miracles is “to make us acknowledge the Spirit and let the Spirit be known to us.” From our position, the purpose of receiving a miracle is to acknowledge the Spirit and know the Spirit.
Meishu-sama said that “once you come to know the Spirit, you no longer need to use the word miracle.” The word miracle will not be needed; it will go away. For Meishu-sama said, after all, “It is not a miracle anymore but a natural phenomenon.” When he says “natural phenomenon,” he is not saying that things like miracles will occur constantly, like they happen all the time. He is saying that all those impossible, strange things happen because humans do not acknowledge the Spirit. So for miracles to become natural phenomena, he is telling us that once you witness a miracle, you have to, from then on, recognize the Spirit, always, regardless of whether or not those miraculous things happen. And when he says Spirit, it means God. So he is saying acknowledge God, always, through the good times and the bad. Usually, it is only when you witness a miracle that you say, “That was God.” But once you witness a miracle and come to know God, it will be second nature for you to recognize that God is working all the time—so Meishu-sama is telling us to acknowledge and know that God is working even in situations with no miracles, regardless of what the situation is. This is what he meant by “It is not a miracle anymore but a natural phenomenon.”
In that sense, Meishu-sama says, “Miracles, in short, are simply the first step for us to know the Spirit.” That sums up today’s Sacred Word.
Meishu-sama says that the word miracle would no longer be needed.
For the Church, there have been all kinds of miracles until now, haven’t there? There have been many miracles that were hard to believe. There is even a book literally entitled Collected Stories of Miracles from World Church of Messiah. Decades have passed since then, but has the word miracle gone away, as Meishu-sama said it would?
If it has not gone away, that means that we still have not acknowledged the Spirit, we still have not acknowledged God.
Don’t get me wrong. Miracles are definitely joyful occurrences. But remember, Meishu-sama says that “it is only because you do not acknowledge the Spirit that those strange and mysterious things take place.” So on the other hand, a miracle is also a warning from God. A warning that says, “Acknowledge Me.”
But then here we are, still stuck on the first step, aren’t we? Again, please don’t get me wrong. When cancer levels decrease or a tumor abruptly disappears, for example, these are very joyful matters, really. And we still call these miracles, don’t we? So even though Meishu-sama says that the word miracle will no longer be used, we still use it.
Long ago, even though God made miracles happen to make us acknowledge and know the Spirit, we are still stuck on this first step, still continuing to seek miracles.
Hearing this, I think we want to say to Meishu-sama, “Meishu-sama, you said that miracles are the first step to make us know the Spirit, but you didn’t show us the second step. We can’t help it.” Meishu-sama would say, “Yes, I did. I showed you the second step.” We would say, “No, we never heard about it.” He would reply, “Yes, I told you.”
Well, where did Meishu-sama say this? In his Sacred Word about the birth of the Messiah, he said, “The word ‘miracle’ does not do justice to what happened to me this time.” By “this time,” he meant the birth of the Messiah. “Many miracles beyond a miracle took place,” he said. Many miracles beyond a miracle. To be born anew as a child of God, as Messiah, was what Meishu-sama called a miracle beyond a miracle.
This is clearly the second step. A clear second step.
If you ask whether or not Meishu-sama received the so-called physical miracle at that time, he did not. The next year, with continuing pain from the brain hemorrhage, without the physical miracle, Meishu-sama made his ascension.
But Meishu-sama said that to be born anew as the Messiah was a miracle beyond a miracle. When we first became members, I believe we all went through some kind of positive change in our health or life, right? That was a miracle. But in his final years, Meishu-sama left us a miracle beyond a miracle even though his illness of a brain stroke did not heal. Meishu-sama realized that there was a miracle far greater than the miracle where our health or life condition improves. What, then, was this miracle beyond a miracle? It was nothing other than eternal life.
Of course, feel free to deny what I am saying. Feel free to continue seeking miracles or collect enough miraculous accounts to put out another book, as some of you want to do, even though Meishu-sama says, “You no longer need to use the word miracle.”
But if you continue in that way, seeking physical miracles even now, you must realize that there are many members in the Church who have passed away from illness without receiving a miracle. There are members who still pass away like this, every day, from cancer or Covid or other various illnesses. No matter how much Johrei they receive, they don’t heal. Many members have passed away and continue to pass away, without receiving any miracle. So if you still seek physical miracles even now, are you really going to say to all those members who passed on, “You didn’t receive any miracles. You didn’t do enough for God. That’s why a miracle didn’t happen”?
Actually, you would basically be saying this to Meishu-sama. He said that he would live until 90 or 120. But what actually happened? He died of a brain hemorrhage, an illness, at the age of 72 without receiving any miracle. If we still seek a miracle for our physical body, it is the same as contradicting the existence of Meishu-sama, isn’t it? Are we going to say to him, “Meishu-sama, you didn’t receive a miracle for your stroke and you died anyway”?
Well, that’s not it, right? We first came to believe in God through a miracle, through some kind of change in our physical condition. But then Meishu-sama taught us that there is a miracle beyond a miracle. He taught us that even though we may have an illness that cannot be healed, everyone can receive the true miracle of living in God’s eternal life, that is, to be born anew as the Messiah.
Everyone, there are followers of Meishu-sama at this moment who are dying from cancer or other illnesses. There are their family members or fellow church members who are wishing, praying for a miracle, but, let’s say, the person passes away without receiving it. Is it going to end with “there were no miracles”? It is not the end at all. Even though you may die from illness, the miracle of living in God’s eternal life remains!
At first, people whose illness was healed were saved. But what about the salvation of those whose illness did not heal? People whose illness was healed—they were saved. But what about the rest of humanity, the other half? Aren’t we aiming for the salvation of all humanity?
That is exactly why Meishu-sama left us the miracle of living in the eternal life of God. He was telling us that we don’t need to be in despair even though we may die from an illness without any miracle. This, I say, is true salvation open to all humanity.
For people lying sick in bed, you may Johrei them the whole time, maybe adding, “A senior minister will come to Johrei you, so you will be okay,” and as you pray for a miracle, the sick person dies without any change. You can choose that path. Then there’s another path, a path that Meishu-sama threw away his own life for, a path he showed to us with his very own body and being, open even for those whose illness is not healed and who pass away without a physical miracle. And it is the miracle of God’s eternal life, the salvation that exists for everyone. Which path will you choose?
There are also people born with incurable illnesses. Does salvation not exist for them? We say that there is Johrei, but what will you do if that illness is not cured by Johrei? Does that mean there was no salvation?
In order for us not to lose all hope, Meishu-sama left us with the true miracle, throwing away his own life for our sake.
Until today, many people throughout Church history have passed away from illness. We may think that they passed without receiving a miracle, but that’s not true at all. That is because everyone, everyone, is granted the glorious miracle of eternal life.
Today, we heard five hymns.
The first hymn reads:
“How pitiful are those who do not know God! / They survive only until the end of days comes.”
Although Meishu-sama says to know the Spirit through miracles, “Spirit” means “God.” He is saying that through miracles, know God. And in this hymn, he is saying that if you do not know God, your life is only good until the end of the world, that is, until the entire universe collapses.
Do you believe in reincarnation? Yes? Then what are you going to do when the sun burns out? You may think you are safe and will never die because you have eternal life through reincarnation, but if the sun explodes, that would be the end of it, wouldn’t it? The sun has its lifespan too, you know that? Will you go to other galaxies and continue to live? That’s how you understand eternal life? Then what are you going to do when the whole universe collapses? That will be the end of your “eternal life,” won’t it? “How pitiful” it is if you believe in reincarnation.
But if you just know God, you will be fine. Because He is an eternal existence, even if the earth were to cave in or the sun were to collapse or the universe to crumble, you will be fine. On the other hand, if you believe in reincarnation, it is over. You may want to be born over and over again, but what will you do when there’s no place to live anymore? It’s all over.
The second hymn reads:
“The precious, divine and holy body of God has already appeared. / But it cannot be seen by dull, human eyes.”
To be very frank, God’s body has already appeared. It is just that we cannot see Him. Then where exactly did He appear? Meishu-sama answers in the third hymn:
“There are no existences in the world / More unfortunate than those who are blind. / For they have no clue of / The treasure so close to them.”
He says the treasure so close to us, meaning the treasure within us, right? We cannot see it because this treasure, God, exists within us. Even if a physical illness is healed by Johrei and we keep seeking the treasure outside of us, we won’t be able to see the true treasure through our dull, human eyes. Those eyes can only see physical miracles. But Meishu-sama talks about a treasure very close to us—it actually exists within each and every one of us.
The next hymn:
“How pitiful are those who are blind. / Even though I show them the power of God, / They cannot see it.”
This hymn is a warning to us. Even though Meishu-sama became a prototype of the very power of God, being born anew as the Messiah, and even though Meishu-sama is teaching us that this treasure so close to us exists within us too, he is saying that if we don’t believe it, a miserable fate awaits us.
And finally, today’s fifth hymn says:
“Conflict? Illness? Poverty? / If you come, come. / You are nothing to me— / I who receive the power of God in my body!”
Meishu-sama is saying that should illness, conflict or poverty come, let them come—they mean nothing to him because he has received the power of God. He wrote this in 1952. Two years later, illness actually came to him. And I believe Meishu-sama held firm to the spirit of this hymn—in conflict, illness or poverty, he would not be swayed because he had God’s power within him.
What is this “power of God”? It is eternal life. This eternal life is within us too. So even if we are in conflict, sickness or financial difficulty, there’s no need to lose hope. That is because within us, we have the true treasure, the true salvation.
So if we don’t follow Meishu-sama’s example of being born anew as the Messiah, it is over if the world ends, right? If we don’t follow his example of awakening to eternal life as God’s child, the Messiah, it will be curtains for us when the world ends, won’t it? Well, feel free to believe in reincarnation and continue the cycle of birth and death over and over again, but when the earth collapses, it would be completely over, wouldn’t it?
As such, we are being allowed to live in the eternal life of God. Well, actually, we are tasked to live in the eternal life of God. But out of His great mercy, God is telling us that we can walk on that path.
At the Grand Autumn Service not long ago too, I quoted a part of the Sacred Word “The uniqueness of the salvation of our Church.” Meishu-sama said, “It is more than clear that the will of God is to make a copy of heaven as the first step in constructing a paradise on earth. But let me say this. It is not only copies, but each human being also must become a resident of heaven, or rather, the time has come when a human being can become its resident.”
Right from the start, as it says here, Meishu-sama uses the word copy almost every time he refers to the sacred grounds. Even still, we replaced the word copy with sacred grounds as if it were a simple matter. Well, sacred grounds is, after all, a very convenient phrase.
But Meishu-sama wanted to project heaven onto earth, right? That is how we have the earthly sacred grounds, right? So, to put it bluntly, these sacred grounds are copies. Copies. Meishu-sama wanted to copy the heavenly garden onto the earth. Everyone, the original is in heaven. This original is the most important place for us. The sacred grounds for Meishu-sama are copies. But we have mistaken them for the original and used them as such.
Of course, I don’t use the word copy lightly here. To construct a copy of heaven is no easy matter. Then what was the purpose of Meishu-sama’s constructing copies in the first place? It was to make us think, “There is a place called heaven within me. The original is within me.”
Still, we think that the copy is the original. What is the point of that? If we don’t understand that there is an original heaven, then we won’t understand that there is also heaven within each one of us. “I will be fine if I just pray at the physical sacred grounds” will be the conclusion, and when you die, that’s the end of it, right?
Meishu-sama said that “It is not only copies, but each human being also must become a resident of heaven.” This means that without the purpose of each human being becoming a resident of heaven, there is no point in saying that the sacred grounds are important, that you are centered in the sacred grounds. The sacred grounds would just be gardens without any connection to Meishu-sama. You would just be working hard to maintain these gardens that have nothing to do with Meishu-sama. That is what will happen if you choose to ignore Meishu-sama’s purpose. Your “sacred grounds” would be referring to just normal gardens that you work hard to maintain.
Of course, there is also the idea of prototype. Something similar to the sacred grounds spreads around the world, right?
What does this prototype mean? Meishu-sama constructed the copy of heaven for us to recall that heaven exists within us too, didn’t he?
He also said that your home and family have to turn into heaven. So first, Meishu-sama constructed the prototype, that is, the so-called sacred grounds, and reminded us about the existence of heaven. Then when we are back at home too, we can think, “Ah, here, too, is a world governed by God. My home, my family, have to also turn into heaven.” Doesn’t thinking like this mean for Meishu-sama’s prototype to spread in the home and the family?
This applies to wherever we go. Whether you are going somewhere for sightseeing or going out to eat good food, wherever you go, whatever your destination, you can recognize and say, “Here, too, is heaven, a world governed by God.” This is what it means for the prototype to spread and what God will be happy with. If we can do this, then there is meaning in Meishu-sama’s constructing a prototype.
If not, the Church would have to buy up all the earth in order to establish paradise on earth. That’s virtually impossible, isn’t it?
So regardless of where you go, whether you are at home, riding on a train, or going to, at one glance, an ungodly place, if you can think, “The world of God is here too,” you would be addressing the reason why Meishu-sama worked so hard to construct the sacred grounds. If not, no matter how much you glorify the physical sacred grounds, they are just gardens.
As I just quoted from “The uniqueness of the salvation of our Church,” Meishu-sama said it in the following way, “Each human being also must become a resident of heaven, or rather, the time has come when a human being can become its resident.”
With “each human being also must become a resident of heaven,” he could have just continued, but instead, he restates and says, “Or rather, the time has come when a human being can become its resident.” I thought to myself—why did he reword it like this?
He first uses the phrase “must become,” which is a very assertive way of saying something, a command—you must become a resident of heaven; that’s what you’re supposed to do. From that assertive way of expressing himself, he takes a step back and says, “Or rather, the time has come when a human being can become its resident.” He goes from an assertion to a possibility.
If Meishu-sama told us, “You must become a resident of heaven,” our only answer is yes, isn’t it? But by saying, “Or rather, the time has come when you can become its resident,” he withdrew his decisive intention, leaving us with a choice.
If we are told that we must become residents of heaven, it concludes with our yes. We obey Meishu-sama’s command. That’s all there is to it. But if he says, “Or rather, the time has come when a human being can become its resident,” then we must think about what we want to do for ourselves.
In reality, by saying we must become residents of heaven, regardless of whether or not we refuse, Meishu-sama is implying that it is inevitable for us to become residents of heaven. But for him to rephrase that by saying, “Or rather, the time has come when a human being can become its resident,” means that he is ultimately leaving room for each one of us to choose, by our own will, whether or not we want to become residents of heaven.
Meishu-sama said that he made the sacred grounds, the copies, as the first step in constructing a paradise on earth, a heaven on earth. But then he said, “It is not only copies, but each human being also must become a resident of heaven. Or rather, the time has come when you can become its resident.” In other words, the second step toward constructing a paradise on earth is for us to become heavenly beings. Meishu-sama is now saying to us, “Do you want to take this second step and become a resident of heaven?”
As such, it is far from “curtains for us” once we die. God is now holding out His hand and trying to give us the choice of living in eternal life, to each and every one of us.
Mind you, this path is different from the faith we had up until now. In the faith from before, we considered the physical sacred grounds to be the original. We said things like we have to go to the sacred grounds; illness must heal through miracles; reincarnation exists. In saying reincarnation exists, we were essentially assuming that we would be born again onto this earth, weren’t we? So everything about the faith up until now focused on the visible world.
But it says in a hymn:
“Happiness will escape! / No matter how hard you try to rely on / And get hold of things visible, / Happiness will escape!”
Do you think you can ever attain true happiness by forever seeking physical health and joy? There’s no way. Even if your illness heals, you can’t escape the fear of everything being over once you die or, if you believe in reincarnation, the anxiety of what will happen in your next life or whether or not you can live a life of good. There is also the worry of family members dying someday or the worry of how miracles aren’t happening and illnesses not healing.
So that we don’t have to live like that anymore, in his final years, Meishu-sama showed to us what true happiness is with his own body and being. A physical miracle did not occur for Meishu-sama. But he left for us a miracle beyond a miracle, a true miracle.
But to be honest with you, it’s true that we cannot escape wanting, seeking miracles. If so, I want you to be greedier and seek this miracle beyond a miracle.
There is no doubt that it is a joyful thing when an illness is healed physically. I am not denying this. What I want you to know is that even if you are not healed and you die, true happiness exists on the path where you seek the true salvation that I am talking about today.
The visible sacred grounds. The visible body. The visible miracle. If you are going to rely on these visible things, happiness will never come. It will keep moving away from you. Things on this earth last only temporarily. But the place where there is eternal happiness never moves away from you. It simply does not.
Meishu-sama is telling us now, “You can walk this path of eternal happiness.” You have to understand that this is a serious matter. What we are being made to know right now is something very serious.
When Meishu-sama announced the birth of the Messiah, it is recorded that he said it was “related to Christianity in particular.” With what intention did Meishu-sama say this?
We are celebrating Meishu-sama’s Birthday Service next month, and as you know, Meishu-sama was born on December 23. Jesus Christ was born on December 25. Is this a coincidence? There’s no way that this is coincidence!
What does Messiah mean? What is the meaning of Meishu-sama’s existence? What exactly is the relationship between Jesus Christ and Meishu-sama? What is true happiness? What is true joy?
Well, this true joy, this true happiness, already exists. It exists within us. What we have long been seeking and searching for, believe it or not, already exists within us.
This is huge, truly. The path on which we are being guided by God and Meishu-sama is, truly, a huge matter.
Even as I speak like this now, I wonder if it is okay for me to say these things. I almost hesitate to talk about them. We are being made to know such a grave matter right now.
So we carry a grave responsibility for having been made to know this, and I think about how great our joy is for having been chosen by God to be the first to know and how enormous our sense of responsibility must be.
Until now, we have lived our lives swinging from joy to sorrow. Miracles happened, and then they didn’t happen. Illnesses were healed, and then they weren’t. And then what happens after we die. We carry, even now, every physical trouble as well as every trouble of the heart and mind.
But in truth, we have already received overflowing, abundant light that allows us to overcome all of that! At one glance, this may seem contradictory, but if you determine to live in God’s happiness, a sudden healing of illness is possible. And even if an illness does not heal, God will definitely guide our lives toward what is the best for us, toward what is brighter and brighter, what is more and more brilliant, without fail. We are talking about God, everyone.
At this moment, God wants to impart to us His very own absolute power, absolute salvation and absolute happiness. And if that is the case, the only thing we are able to say to God is “Please use me as You wish.” We simply cannot fathom what God wants to do. So there is nothing else we can say except “Please use me as You wish. Please use me so that Your will be accomplished and not my own.”
We have been guided onto the path of happiness, a path of happiness far beyond our imagination. So together, let us offer to God the thought “Please use me as You wish” and make our way today.
Thank you very much.