Prayer for World Peace & Grand Ancestor Service
Hall of Worship, Atami Sacred Grounds August 1-2, 2016
In deep awe and fear of God, I would like to say that we are not the owner of our life – God is. Life belongs to God. He owns our life.
The second hymn of Meishu-sama we sang during the Grand Ancestor Service read: Know this my followers!
The master of your life is not you.
God is its master and your life is in His hands.
Through this hymn, Meishu-sama wants us to know that we are not a true living being unless we realize that we live by the power of God and that our life belongs to God.
There is heaven. It is the world of Beginning and is the source of all Creation. In this heaven, God gave birth to us by imparting His very own eternal life to us and became our Father. Now that we are on earth, we still carry this eternal life. There still is heaven within us. This life God gave to us will not perish even after our lives end on earth, because God shared with us His very own eternal life. Death does not exist. There is no difference between “the living” and “the dead.” We are all alive and we will be alive forever. And so, our ancestors are not dead as we usually assume. Within us, they are crying out, “Don’t regard us as dead! We are alive within you!”
We use the expression, “rise from the dead” as if we need to die once to be raised again. But I would like you to know that if you come to a realization that you were, are and will be alive forever, you will be “raised from the dead” in that very moment. In fact, I am the one who needs to change my perception of “life” and rise from the dead. I have been believing that life is limited and will eventually die out. I was the one who assumed my ancestors to be dead. I was the one who needed to realize and accept that all my ancestors carry the eternal life of God and are alive within me. Coming to this realization, I believe, is how we can truly appease, pacify and bring salvation to our ancestors. I feel that I could never be a true living being as long as I assume that my ancestors within me are dead.
The third hymn of the Grand Ancestor Service read: Create “joy” when you are on earth!
Create the joy of attaining eternal life!
We may have our own definition or perception of what “joy” or “being happy” is. But Meishu- sama is defining very clearly that our joy means one thing and that is to attain eternal life. And he is encouraging us to create it while we are here on earth. In heaven, in the world of Beginning, we made a promise to God that when we come to earth, we would remember who our true Father is, inherit His eternal life and become a true child of God – a Messiah.
However, we forgot this promise after we came to earth and in a way, abandoned God.
But Meishu-sama remembered it. He realized that his true home was in heaven, in the world of Beginning. He returned there and received, once more, the eternal life of God. He fulfilled the promise humans made to God in heaven and attained the status of “a Messiah, a child of God.” We need to recall this promise, too. And we need to recall it now when we are here on earth. That is why we first need to return to heaven in the name of Messiah, receive the eternal life of God once more and attain the status of “a Messiah, a child of God,” just as Meishu-sama did. And I would like you to know that being born once again is the only and true “joy” or “happiness” for us human beings.
We feel as if we live and breathe on earth. But the truth is different. We actually already live in heaven. We are already residents of heaven. Regardless of our shortcomings, God always deems us as His residents because He gave birth to us there. Even though we feel as if we are now on earth, our home remains the same and it is in heaven.
Before we came to earth, we were serving God in heaven. This does not change even after we come to earth. Our task is the same and it is to serve God who is in heaven. God is now advancing a completely new work of salvation, and that is to make all humanity be born once more and make us His true children. Where does God advance His divine work? It is of course in heaven and that is why we need to return to heaven first if we want to serve Him.
In his teachings, Meishu-sama wrote, “In order to save people, you first need to climb up to heaven and become its residents. You then can pull people up to heaven and bring them salvation.” We need to make this teaching of Meishu-sama our reality. So let us admit that we are residents of heaven and return to the heaven existing within each one of us. If we do not do this, we are not entitled to take part in the divine work of Meishu-sama and save the whole world. We are allowed to serve in the divine work of Meishu-sama only because our real task is to serve God in heaven as His residents.
What we do on earth is a mere projection of what we actually do in heaven. Today we are gathered here in this hall and holding a religious service to praise God. These services take place on earth only because we are constantly holding them in heaven to praise and glorify God.
On this earth, we have eyes to see, ears to hear and a sense to touch. But we have these faculties only because we were given eyes to see God, ears to hear the voice of God and a sense to feel the existence of God in heaven, before we came to earth. Our priority is to remember all of these things God granted us to do in heaven. Otherwise we will not be able to help God in welcoming all humanity and ancestors into heaven and bring them salvation.
The key to welcoming all humanity into heaven lies in how we recognize the workings of our emotions and our minds. In the very same logic I have been telling you, our emotions and minds actually exist in heaven and are constantly being used by God.
In our lives we experience various emotions. Sometimes we get depressed, sorrowful and worried when faced with difficult situations. At other times we feel joyful and happy. From all these emotions, all kinds of thoughts run through our minds. You may feel that these emotions and thoughts are yours, but they are the emotions and thoughts of all humanity and ancestors. You are made to feel them as if they are yours because God wants you to know the kind of emotions and thoughts our ancestors had, and that those ancestors have been saved.
God’s light and forgiveness have already reached the deepest part of our hearts – the part we may think is hidden from others. God stretched out His strong, healing hand toward all humanity and is now welcoming us into his heaven. This is the true hand of Johrei. God is channeling Johrei to each one of us and within each one of us.
How fortunate it is that we are always receiving Johrei from God! Let us entrust ourselves to God. Let us surrender our hearts and minds into the hands of God. When you channel Johrei to others yourself, you first need to recognize this – that God is channeling Johrei within you and within the person you are channeling to. And even if you cannot actually raise the hand of Johrei to others, the very act of surrendering your hearts and minds to God in your daily lives is in itself a practice of Johrei that God is most delighted in.
Meishu-sama allowed us to recall that we have heaven within us. He made us realize that the Light of God exists within each one of us. We had forgotten this for a long time and had forgotten to return to the heaven within. This is because as humans, we have always wanted to “manifest” light or “express” our individuality, in the meanwhile, forgetting who we truly are.
But I would like you to know that “manifesting” is an action symbolizing the Age of Night. Meishu-sama teaches us that the action symbolizing the Age of Day is to “draw back” or “return.” When we hear that we have an internal heaven, our tendency is to think: “Let us then manifest this internal heaven within us.” This was the way of thinking in the Age of Night. In the Age of Day, our mission is to “return” to the heaven within. That is why I always say that we need to completely change our mindset if we want to follow in Meishu-sama’s footsteps.
When we channel Johrei, we are not emitting light from our hands to the recipient. If this is the case, we are assuming that there are parts of the world where God’s Light has not yet reached. Instead of emitting, we are actually absorbing and returning light to God. The hand of Johrei is the hand of welcoming all humanity into the Kingdom of God. If this is the case, the assumption is that the entire world is filled with God’s Light. Just like manifesting, “emitting” was the way of the Age of Night. But in the Age of Day, we are to draw back, absorb and return everything into the hands of God with a belief that God’s Light has already reached and penetrated everything and everyone.
Think. If God is all-powerful, do you think He has left any part of the world or anyone out of His Light and mercy? If God is truly all-powerful and all-knowing, do you think there is even a second that God is not ruling this entire universe? Has not God always been our Ruler? If you think you need to “manifest” or “emit light,” you do not believe in an all-powerful God but in a sleeping God. This, I believe, is a disgrace to God and that is why it is now that we really need to change the way we think about how we advance the divine work of Meishu-sama.
Let me now talk about “peace” as we are holding the Prayer for World Peace Service today. In his teaching entitled “The Art of God,” Meishu-sama wrote as follows: “any particular ‘ism’ or thought is like one single color which is made to fit specific individual purposes. It is not only impossible for anyone to successfully use this one color to paint beyond the boundary lines of other areas, but any attempt to do so creates disharmony, which in turn produces friction, which can eventually develop into major conflict.” Meishu-sama is warning us that thoughts or ideas of us humans are not enough to bring about peace. Rather, they are the cause of conflict and to put it simply, Meishu-sama is telling us that we humans do not have any power to bring about peace on earth.
In the same teaching, Meishu-sama also wrote, “In order for [the] new world to come into full existence … [there] must be a revolution of human thought.” What Meishu-sama means by “a revolution of human thought” is straightforward. It is for us to truly recognize and admit that God is the only One who can bring about peace on earth.
The first hymn of the World Peace Service we sang just now reads: Between nation and nation, between people and people, Conflicts are never-ending.
Who has the authority to end them but God?
The One who wishes for peace most strongly is God – and not us humans. The aim of God is not to bring a temporal peace but a peace that will last forever. And an everlasting peace is not one to be established among humans but between God and us humans. What is the point of making peace among humans or saying “we need to pray for world peace” when we have lost our peace with God who has all authority and power?
God is the King and Ruler of us all and of the entire world. We humans need to recognize that without realizing it, we have become like a king and have been disgracing the sovereignty of God, as if waging a war against Him. God has never abandoned us. We abandoned Him, broke our peace with Him and thus sinned against God.
But out of His unfailing grace, God decided to forgive us and restore peace with us. This is the meaning of the Transition from Night to Day. It means “the forgiveness of God.” Through the Transition from Night to Day, God reconnected us with His peace because He loves us. The love of God is one with the truth of God – the truth that we will be born once more and become the true children of God.
All good values and virtues – Peace, Truth, Beauty, Love, Kindness –all belong to God and not to us. We must return them to God; they must be attributed to God. God is the only One to be praised.
We misunderstood what faith is. We thought that trying to become a kind, loving person was the purpose of faith and felt as if we could love and care for others. But we do not own love or a caring heart. We have been wrongly assuming that we owned them. But in fact, they belong to God and we need to return them to Him.
Prosperity also belongs to God. Instead of wishing for the prosperity of God and His invisible heaven, we have been wishing for the prosperity of the human world and the visible earth. But what we must wish first and foremost is the prosperity of God’s invisible kingdom in heaven. And to do this, we now need to return all values and virtues to God because we have been stealing them from heaven, keeping them for ourselves and have been forgetting to wish for the prosperity of heaven.
In his teaching entitled, “A Pleasant Person,” Meishu-sama writes that he tries to do what satisfies others and what makes them happy. But he explains that he does not act like this because it is morally good to do so or because it is the purpose of faith to think of the happiness of others. He says that he does so because it is simply in his nature to do so and also because God gave him such a nature.
Meishu-sama is not saying that he possesses a loving and caring heart or we need to make it a religious teaching to love others like we are now doing. He is saying that such good virtue came from God and it should be attributed to God.
There is only one pleasant person and that is God. “A Pleasant Person” is God. We cannot be a pleasant person no matter how hard we try. The One who always tries to make others happy is God. And “others” means all humanity. No matter how much we dislike Him, God wants every one of us to attain the true happiness of being born anew as His children. We need to attribute all goodness to God always and this, I believe, is the kind of courtesy we need to have toward God.
I think we have been forgetting our courtesy toward God. In the Prayer for World Peace Service, we chanted two hymns of Meishu-sama regarding courtesy. One read:
Whatever position you hold in your home and society, If you observe order and are courteous, Peace will reign in that country.
The other read as follows:
Know this my followers!
The essence of faith is nothing complicated. It can be summed up in a few words: Observe order and be courteous.
These hymns of Meishu-sama made me realize that I have only been trying to be courteous to people and not to God. I needed to observe the most important order between God and myself and not just the order of society. So let us be courteous to God and return all goodness to Him. Let us praise God in whatever we do because He stands at the top of the order. This, Meishu-sama teaches us, is the essence of faith we must put into practice. Being courteous to God and observing the divine order in this way, I believe, is the step we must take in order to be born anew as a child of God, a Messiah.
Together with all humanity, all ancestors and all nature, and in the name of Messiah that is one with Meishu-sama, let us thank Meishu-sama who is always within us, instructing our hearts to the path of God. Let us praise God our Father with all our heart. And lastly, let us awaken to an entirely new kind of faith in which all praises are directed to God.