This month marks the two-year anniversary since I was installed as the 4th head minster of Taiheiyo Church. It’s also the one-year anniversary since we elected a new president. Who might you say is doing a better job?? Just kidding! We can’t compare our modest congregation with a nation of 300 million, but I do hope my approval rating is higher than 37% (>_<;)
Whether or not you support the actions of the US president, certainly it’s not easy to unify the minds of everyone. They say you can’t please everyone all the time. Not only that, but people’s minds change so you might get high ratings one month, but if the wants and needs of the population change then all of a sudden you’re not doing a great job.
One thing we can rely on is the teachings of Oyasama. The teachings will never steer us wrong. If we but follow the Divine Model, expressing gratitude in all situations, it will surely garner the approval of God the Parent and everyone around us. Also, in case we happen to stray from the trustworthy main path, God will inform us through Divine Guidance.
Chapter Six of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo eloquently explains Divine Guidance in a way that is easily understood. When we are shown Divine Guidance, never take it as a punishment or get upset over “Why me?” Instead, let us reflect on the situation and seek to understand God’s intention.
Getting the message, and understanding the message, is just the first step. The important next step is to consciously make a change in our thinking. Can we really do it? After all, we have been conditioned all our lives, and we also carry the causality from our previous lives, so changing our thinking and our very personality is challenging to say the least. We can spend years trying to rid ourselves of mental dusts without noticeable progress, but we must continue to work at it if we want to achieve the joyous life.
Sometimes, I catch myself getting upset over a situation and I think to myself, “Stop now, before the dust accumulates,” but I end up following through with my initial reaction, despite recognizing error of my thinking. That’s how hard it is….But Oyasama said the only thing standing in the way of the Joyous Life is our self-centered thinking. So, not only should we take this seriously, we should really ask for God’s help in making these changes.
Oyasama taught, “By saving others, you will be saved.” Many pray for their own health, happiness, and success. Others might pray for someone else, but a family member or a relative. If we want to really show sincerity to God, and give ourselves the best chance to receive true salvation and everlasting joy, I believe we need to look beyond our family ties and extend our praying to others: co-workers, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, or even a stranger.
We’ve been promoting the Salvation Prayer Card this year, and it’s a great way to practice praying for others. I urge everyone to fill out a Salvation Prayer Card in the next month, for someone unrelated to you. Turn the card over and circle the vows you make for the person to receive salvation. There are items such as worshipping at church, taking care of the person, doing Hinokishin, returning to Jiba, etc. There is also an item called Donation, which is ridate , or “Upholding the truth.” Making a monetary offering is an expression of our sincerity that is akin to offering the time worked in order to earn that money. Please consider circling that item too, and making a monetary offering in prayer for this person who needs help.
Offerings of ridate us also a way for us to sweep away our mental dusts of miserliness and greed by giving freely to God the Parent without any expectation of a return for oneself.