Saturday, December 13, 2008

December 8th, Buddha's Day of Enlightenment

December 8th was a memorial day of the enlightenment for Buddha. In Japan, we call the ceremony Jōdōe (成道会) and the service is held all over our chain of islands.

When we hear that someone has “awakened”, we might think, “did his mind all of the sudden change on that day?” or “was it the day when he suddenly start to see things that commoners cannot see?” In my opinion that is not the case.

I sense that this is the day when Shaka had come to one decision. The decision was about “trusting oneself, not to depend on others and simply act from one’s own good will.” Like a jackal, he only looked straight ahead, kept going only by following his own heart and trusting himself.

How do you measure a good will or a good heart? “Would this be good for this person?” or ”Would this be bad for this person?” These questions are always in our mind. Those consciousnesses “thoughtfulness” are built in our heart from the day we were born. Even the most brutal criminals have the same good heart as much as we do. But they simply do not choose to use it.

“Thoughtfulness” is something we were all given by the Root God.

For Shaka, the idea of thoughtfulness was or still is to teach a way to take away the pain from people’s heart. That was his idea of compassion. To express his compassion to others, he gave up everything of his possession and dedicated his soul to the people. Shaka said that people are in pain because of the attachment. If you are attached to someone you love, you will suffer when he or she leaves. If you are attached to your assets, you will be afraid to loose it. If you are attached to a status or outlook, you will suffer when you loose it.

So how can one not be attached to any of these? Simply enjoy while you have them, be grateful about it and always keep your heart to give more to others.

When you live by simply depending on your own good will and not on others, you will start to see the hidden side of things. You will start to sense the true nature of things, the righteous spiritual world. You will start to awaken a new part of yourself that has a whole new perspective. “A good will” was created by the root source of the universe, so this all makes sense when you think about it.

Humans are weak and even he/she want to follow his/her good consciousness he/she might not be able to act on it. Even if you fail to do it once, you should try again the next time. If you continue to keep trying, one day it will become a strong and straight “right path” walking like a jackal.

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Keep your Heart strong by sending Gratitude

I was watching TV the other day. They were showing an documentary about how the males in their 30s who are supposed to have more job than others are actually have serious decrease in job opportunities. In the suburban areas, it’s even difficult to find part time jobs. During the 60s through the 80s, we had never heard of such problem. It could be the very first time Japan is experiencing such problem. After WWII, everyone was suffering, but economy grew every year and it got better and better. Around that time, a ten year term deposit used to turn double of the original savings just within the interest rates.

The people who built the basis of Japanese economy are our father’s and grandfather’s generation. They only have experiences in growing economy. At this point, this means all the head of the industries and politics are in control by these people who have no experience in a serious depression like we are experiencing today. This past ten years the Japanese economy has been maintaining the status quo. But in truth, it is a minus growth. That is scary. It means that we will keep loosing our savings. You have to be prepared that your income is going to become smaller and smaller. It is a very difficult time for all of us.

 The man who was interviewed in this show was in his mid 30s. He graduated a well known private university. He became a full time employee but he had some trouble with his colleague and leaves the company in few months. Since then, he starts to work as a part time employee in the suburban area, moving from one job to another. He was a methodical person, calculating his expenditures in detail, cooking for himself considering his health. He looks like a punctilious talented young man. It is a pity. I think he could have had much better occupation. But the problem started at his first job when he got into trouble with his colleague. He lost his confidence back then and became passive in everything.

Little things could really change ones life in this world of reality. You have to be very strong and believe in yourself even though you are not sure of the consequences. Taking the world of show business for example, I heard that the older members harass many of the new stars. Only those who has overcome the numerous harassment survives. In our ordinary lives, we experience similar situations. Even though you made mistakes or bullied, you must keep your fire going in your heart. The light in your heart is the only true light that will lead you through your path.

If you loose confidence, you are only weakening your light, your passion towards life. In a human’s heart, there actually exists a sacred spiritual fire, a spark. When that spark is lost that person will become dysfunctional or dead. You could say that this little spark is the light of your innate god. If you cannot believe in yourself, you will not be able to believe in others much less believe in your own innate god. This is unfortunate.

So how could we bring back our sparks? You could go to a self-help seminar. But that will only help you temporarily. Religion is the same. The only way is to do it with a practical and spiritual method. Send gratitude to your ancestral spirits with the three incense method and also send gratitude to the gods.

This will bring back your light and you will feel brighter. Somehow you will start to feel confident about yourself. You will become more tolerant. When you have ancestors who are lost spirits, they become a grey cloud above you that might make your spark difficult to shine. If their condition is severe, you could become severely depressed. You must send gratitude towards them so you are not covered with grey clouds.

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live