Virtuous Deeds Assist in Raising Our Ancestors – Rev. Kobayashi
Good Morning! Welcome to our Grand Ancestor Service!
We have whole heartedly completed the Service, and I earnestly prayed that we, together with our ancestors, will be allowed to raise our spiritual level so that we can all return to Heaven. It is my prayerful hope that we all strive to do good deeds and become Divine Instruments who will lead others to true happiness through the Divine Light.
We also received Johrei from Kyoshu-sama. I am grateful for the Johrei from the bottom of my heart.
I would like to introduce to you the overseas members attending today’s service:
126 people from Thailand, 65 from Korea, 10 from Sri Lanka, 6 from the Philippines, 5 from Taiwan, 1 from Israel, 7 from Portugal, 6 from Italy, 63 from Angola, 15 from Mozambique, 2 from Zambia, 1 from South Africa, 3 from the United States and 97 from Brazil.
In total, we have 407 people from 14 different countries. Please welcome them.
Mokichi Okada Memorial Hall Ridgepole Raising Ceremony
The ceremony for the Ridgepole Raising, also known as ‘Topping Out’ in some areas, of the Mokichi Okada Memorial Hall, was held on the 23rd of last month at the Kyoto Sacred Grounds. We can now visualize the construction of the building, especially the part of the block that will symbolize fire, water and soil, out of the current framework. I cannot wait for the completion of the construction which is expected sometime around April of next year. Meishu-sama said that the expansion of our spiritual path will be clearly delineated as the construction of the Kyoto Sacred Grounds progresses. And we have been seeing the Light of Salvation spread to many parts of the world, even where there may be differing belief systems and religious philosophies that have originated in those countries many years ago.
July 1st Service
I think the fact that we have welcomed more than 400 overseas members is a perfect example of the Divine Plan being steadily manifested. I would like to offer my sincere prayer to God and Meishusama that we will continue our dedicated efforts toward the goal of creating Paradise on Earth.
July 2nd Service
We welcomed 407 members from 14 different countries yesterday. This is a perfect example that the Divine Plan is steadily being manifested. I would like to offer my sincere prayer to God and Meishusama that we will continue our dedicated efforts toward the establishment of Paradise on Earth.
Future Services in Hakone
We are in the month of July, and now in the midst of the rainy season. In Atami, the climate has been moderate, not uncomfortably hot, and not more than 30 degrees Celsius, but we are expecting the weather to become warmer after the rainy season.
As you can see when you look up toward the ceiling, this Hall of Worship is undergoing construction for earthquake retrofitting. Due to this construction, the Service for World Peace in August, and the September Monthly Service will be held at the Hakone Sacred Grounds. Hakone is known for its cooler temperatures due to its location in the mountains, however, in the summer, it will become extremely warm due to the fact that there is no air-conditioning in the Prayer Hall. Please be conscious of the weather conditions when you come to the worship services. You can wear cooler and less formal wear according to your desires.
Nidai-sama and Yanagiwara Byakuren
The origin of the Grand Ancestor Service dates back to February 10, 1958, when the third anniversary service of Meishu-sama’s passing and the Ancestor Service were held in conjunction under the leadership of Meishu-sama’s wife, Nidai-sama.
By the way, I suspect many of you watch the TV drama which is broadcast every morning on the NHK network, called “Hanako and Ann.” Do you remember the character, “Renko” who is the best friend of the heroine Hanako? The inspiration for the character Renko originated from the famous Japanese poet, Yanagiwara Byakuren (1885-1967). She forged a long and compassionate relationship with Nidai-sama, our second spiritual leader.
Byakuren had visited the Atami Sacred Grounds, and from that inspiration, she wrote meaningful and touching poems for Nidai-sama. For one of Nidai-sama’s birthdays, she wrote a poem that captured the moment which read:
“You are the light from the source of the Sun, shining forever for the people of the world.”
When Nidai-sama made her transition, Byakuren also wrote a poem for her as part of her eulogy which read,
“Divine Light for people and societies are manifesting brighter and brighter because of your transition.”
As you can sense from the poems, Byakuren admired Nidai-sama in many ways including her personality and spiritual awareness. She left a comment that encapsulated their friendship by saying, “She was a really wonderful person, I greatly appreciated everything she has done for me.”
I share this memoir with you so that every time you watch the TV drama series, you will think of Nidai-sama’s love and character that lead to the creation of a beautiful relationship with an honorable person like Byakuren.
Accumulating Virtue, the Way to Help Our Ancestors
Nidai-sama taught us in her teachings on March 23, 1960, that it is through our faith that we are inspired to pray and to do good deeds for others, for family and for our communities continuously. We are children of God, worshiping the Divine Source, honoring our ancestors, and in return receiving blessings from them.
We are given eternal life from the Supreme God. Thanks to our parents and ancestors, we are destined to be born in this present world. It is only natural that we as human should express our gratitude to God and our ancestors as their decedents.
There are two ways to repay God for the numerous blessing we receive daily. One way is to sincerely pray and care for our ancestors. The other way is, as Nidai-sama taught us, to create virtue through helping others and our community, and to become happy as much as possible while we are on this earth plane.
An Afterlife Dream…
A while back, I heard a story about a spiritual premonition from a male member of our organization. Let me share it with you because it is very pertinent and inspirational to me.
The mother of this member was not comfortable having her son actively participate in our organization. Soon after she died, she appeared in her son’s dream and spoke to him these words:
I came to your dream because I wanted to thank you. When you make your transition, and go to the spiritual realm, you will see a river before you-believe it or not! You will be asked to change your clothes to a white robe, and then guided to cross the river. Along the way while crossing the river, your white robe will change color depending upon the amount of wrongdoing and sins you have committed in the physical realm. Observing how other people were doing, I noticed that some of their robes became grey in color, while other robes turned black. I wondered what color my robe would become, but my robe did not change into any color. I began to ponder how my robe could have stayed clean and white when I arrived at the other side of the river. Situated on the riverbank, I encountered a guard with a scary face. He was making a mental note of the color changes of robes of those crossing the river, and directing them to certain areas depending upon the color. Staring at me with a suspicious look, the guard said, “This is not supposed to be happening. Your robe should be of another color.” Looking into his notebook carefully which had recorded all lifetime sins, he suddenly nodded and said with a smile, “You have a good son. Your son’s accumulated virtue by helping others has kept your robe white.”
The mother, repenting, said, “I did not think that your spiritual activities were of importance, but now I understand how wonderful and latently effective they have been. I am happy now. Thank you.”
With that significant message being said, the mother disappeared into the Divine Light.
As Kyoshu-sama says in his talk, we are the total sum of our ancestors, and are responsible for spiritually raising them to a higher and happier place. If we, as decedents, constantly and consistently do virtuous deeds for others in this present world, God will guide us together with our ancestors to a higher realm, closer to heaven.
Nidai-sama also taught us that because of the spiritual ties to our ancestors, our current thoughts and behaviors can decide the level of happiness of our ancestors and future descendants. (March 23rd, 1960) This means that our practice on this spiritual path is not only making others happy now, but also indirectly making our ancestors, and all of the souls who are related to us, such as our children and grandchildren, happy. Beyond this time and space, we can transform what may be destined from the past, to the immediate present and for the future. Regarding this spiritual truth, our mission in this present lifetime is very important.
We are here to fulfill our promise to God and Meishu-sama and we can do so when we earnestly pray for our ancestors. In order to become “Pioneers of Salvation,” we must give up our negative thoughts such as hatred and greed, and transform ourselves by filling our hearts with love through guiding others with compassion, and making others smile. The smiling faces we will see as a result of our efforts will be our ancestors, God and Meishu-sama.
I am very appreciative for this precious opportunity I was able to do before Kyoshu-sama’s guidance. The experiences I have shared today, please remember from your heart.
Let us now welcome Kyoshu-sama….