Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December Message

Aloha everyone.

Today I will be making a short message, may I please have your kind attention.

This Monthly service marks the last one of this month, and the last one of the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama. As the Shinbashira has told us, we should not make this year be the goal line, but rather the starting point, or the time we use to pick up our momentum for the years to come.

As I say in many of my messages, I often reflect on my own actions, so for the new year, I don't really create a resolution, as I try to better myself daily. But what I tend to do is reflect on what has occurred in the past year and express my gratitude. Now, this is also done daily, but usually, on a daily basis, I am thankful for the bright spots in a given situation, rather than the whole situation. At the end of the year, I can see where most of the events that have happened have led to. This lessens the anger and frustration of negative events, and heightens the happiness of positive events. This doesn't take away the sadness of sad events but it does put it into perspective, and I can honestly say that I am thankful, and know that because it happened, some things have become better.

Within these sad events, come events where we experience loss. Sometimes it takes loss to make us appreciate what we have more. One of the importance of reflecting, is to revisit the loss. It makes an important reminder to me to appreciate the things that are in my life now, before they are gone.

These things help me to appreciate my family, which includes you all, but especially my son, mother, and my wife, who I am missing dearly this month as she is in Japan attending Koshu, or the Lay-Minister's Course.

As this month and year comes to a close, a new month and year will open. Let us all find the things we are thankful for, and continue to cherish them.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

November Message

Thank you for your participation in the November Monthly service.

Well, the election is coming up soon, and I am not here to tell you who to vote for. That is totally for you to decide, and please be assured that whichever way you vote, we will always be accepting towards you without change.

I will just like to mention some of my observations, and as much as possible, not to put one candidate above another. Though in the history of elections there have always been political cartoons, opinions and such, smear campaign in the media is actually rather recent. It really began with the Bush-Dukakis elections in which accusations of Dukakis' involvement in an terrible event were exaggerated appears. This was the first time even to use the terms liberal and conservative in the way we use them today. This type of campaign continued through the following elections, even in the Bush-Clinton election, when the smear came from Bush's own party. Before this message becomes political, let me get to the actual point. 

This year, there has been many negative campaign ads. Looking at all of this neutrally, all candidates have their good points. All the candidates have their bad. The same bad points have been in the campaign for a long time. What I wish to hear is actually what each candidate will do themselves. Which they actually do say outside of their ads, but their ads are too busy criticizing the other.

I compare this to my students in school once again. Sometimes students bring contraband to school. I am obligated to take it away, and return it to the students at the end of the day. When I do return them, the item is usually not a life-threatening item, but I do ask them if they should be bringing it to school. Usually, they'll say no, but I'll tell them that I am not trying to punish them, but sometimes, we may leave it out, and someone takes it without their knowledge, so it is really for their protection. If they bring it, I'm okay with it, just don't take it out of their bags, it is a distraction for their own learning.

Once in a while I have a student that will answer, "but so-and-so also took it out in class..." So to them I say, thank you for telling me, now I will be more aware and take theirs away too. And they look at me surprised, like I was supposed to tell them, "oh if so-and-so does it, then you're okay."

I try to teach the students that if they need to get a job, they need to present their assets, their good points, so that the employers would want to hire them. It wouldn't be to their benefit to go to a job interview, and upon being asked, "why should we hire you?" and the only thing you have practiced is to bring up bad points of others to make yourself look good.

I guess in this world, it is one way to be successful, but as a person, I still would rather see your good points. Everyone does have their bad points, everyone.

The Second-Shinbashira often credited for saying to know what Tenrikyo is, just look at me.
Many people often state that they are unable to say this phrase themselves, because they are not the Shinbashira. Essentially, because we are not perfect in following the teachings, they do not have the confidence of representing Tenrikyo. 

For myself, I look at this phrase as, if people know I am Tenrikyo, they will use me as a measure of what that means. People will judge you, whether you want to or not. We cannot pretend to be who we are not. If we use other peoples bad points to make ourselves look better, that may work, but I believe, if you have just as many noticeable bad points, people will call you a hypocrite. 

Because I know people will look at me to see what kind of people are Tenrikyo or what Tenrikyo is, I do my best. I am human and I make mistakes. But I honestly try to correct myself. I do not put up a false front, as much as possible. God the Parent states that in addition to the Dusts of the Mind, Falsehood and flattery are unwanted. Be honest in who you are. Accept who you are. 

Let us practice our good habits that we naturally have, and create a better place, and take a step closer to the Joyous Life a world of peace and harmony.

Thank you for your time, be sure to vote this week. Oh, incidentally, our oven is still not repaired, so we have a few new items to our menu today.


Monday, October 3, 2016

October Message

Aloha, thank you for your participation in our monthly service today. I'm sure God the Parent and Oyasama have appreciated our efforts today.

October marks the time in which the teaching of Tenrikyo has been revealed through Oyasama, Miki Nakayama. Everyday, I try to reflect on my actions as a follower of Tenrikyo and see if it coincides with the Divine Model that Oyasama has demonstrated. Through her life, Oyasama has demonstrated extreme kindness and understanding even at a young age. But this is not where her Divine Model begins. It is actually the time after being received as shrine that marks her years of being a Divine Model.

Again, my messages are often reflections of my personal life, so please bear with me.

In my life roles as husband, father, teacher, and minister, I often reflect if what I am doing is what I should be doing. When I began teaching, I was 20 and I was very idealistic and wanted to be the students' friend. I wanted them to be comfortable with me so that we could all move forward and create the best band/orchestra/chorus, or whatever else I was teaching. This was all destroyed in one day of teaching as the students were unruly, noisy, and inattentive. This caused me to become an overly-strict teacher. This is not necessarily bad, but it is not a normal trait that I have. I really am uncomfortable with confrontations, so being this strict caused me some health issues. Not to mention that I became the "scary teacher." To be honest, I still am the "scary teacher" but now it's not so much that I yell or discipline, but more because the students do not know what to expect from me.

In any case, the transition from overly-strict teacher to the strict-because-it-makes-sense teacher... well at least to me... happened, and is still happening due to reading the life of Oyasama.

In the many anecdotes of Oyasama and events depicted in the Life Of Oyasama, she often demonstrates patience through her guidance. One example that sticks in my head was to thank one of the lazy workers for his hard work. In Japanese, she is saying, "gokurosama." Eventually, the lazy worker has a change of heart and begins to work hard. Now, I know this is rather difficult for us to follow. We understand the message, but we can't seem to bring ourselves to do this, as we can't be sure that human beings would really change for the better. But I actually have brought myself to do this. My reasoning is that I care for the students to gain better skills and get a "good grade" from my class, but I can't force them, and perhaps it is better that they learn the hard way if they insist on being lazy. So in other words, I thank them for their "hard work" even if they don't work hard. I give them the same opportunities, and compliment on what they are doing well, if anything, but not lie. I also tell the class in general the reasons why things are done a certain way. Then I give them the grade they deserve. Most of the time, the lazy students become concerned and try to better themselves. Others take longer. Very few continue in their own ways, or they drop out of the subject area. Through this way, I have discovered that the students are more self-motivated, and the numbers of students applying for my classes have grown.

Now, just as I was very uncomfortable as the overly-strict teacher, I would not expect everyone to do it this way if they were a work supervisor or a teacher, but perhaps in our daily lives with our family and friends we could use more patience, perhaps. Having more patience does not necessarily mean we become "nicer." We can still discipline, but perhaps discipline while trying to understand, or to discipline and being okay with the idea that they are learning. We are also taught that everything we see is a reflection of ourselves.

In this month of October, and any other month as well, let us see how we can become closer to Oyasama, and reflect upon what we do.


Sunday, September 4, 2016


The Autumn Memorial Service followed the September Monthly Service, so there was no monthly message today.

Monday, August 8, 2016

August Message

Thank you for your participation in today's Monthly Service.

It is August, and the school year has begun. I, of course, work as a teacher at a high school, and at this time of year, I often relay my expectations for the students.

Each year, I tell my students that I will do my best to teach them different techniques and guide them in their development. I will do my best and see what things are working for them and what are not, and then help them to change anything that isn't, and keep anything that is. But there are two types of students that I cannot teach. I do still try to teach them, I do still try to guide them, but often, if their personality types do not change, all that I do, will not be effective for them.

One is the way of thinking of "I am great." Once you think that you are great, there is no more learning. This would be called arrogance. Though this type of student may be far advanced compared to other students, they are not at the professional level, and often, the difference in their level compared to other students begin to narrow, as they begin their journey in high school. I have seen many "gifted" students fall due to their own arrogance.

The second way of thinking is "I am terrible." or "I suck." This in its strange way has the same effect as those who think they are great. Most of the time, these students are comparing themselves to others, which in itself is not a bad thing, but they then decide that they are terrible at what they do. They may not be wrong, however, it isn't because of "who" they are that makes them terrible, but "how" they do things, in other words, they lack practice, or give up at practicing. I tell them that the only reason really why the talented students are better, is that they practice more. They practice, they get better, they get better, they have more fun, they have more fun, they practice more. We all need to work at our skill, it never comes in a day. In this digital world, we often forget this. We often forget that real life requires hard work. How it becomes similar to arrogance, is that when I try to tell them to try a certain method or technique that would help them improve, the response to me is often, "You don't understand, I just can't." It may be true I do not understand, which is why we should try to uncover the reason together... but this phrase is basically saying, "You don't know what you are talking about. You can't help," or simply, "I know (me) better than you." These are the same words arrogant people relay.

In Tenrikyo, we call arrogance a Dust of the Mind. But what is arrogance? One of my favorite authors is Amy Tan. In the movie, "Joy Luck Club," which is based on her book, it makes an observation of Asian culture. In Asian culture, people often put ourselves down to appear humble. If I took a sip of milk then find that it is spoiled, and if I tell that it is spoiled, then ask you to drink it, would you? It is a funny joke sometimes that we're willing to smell that spoiled milk container even after being told it smells bad. But would you be okay if I said, it was spoiled, and then serve it to you anyway? Yet in this culture, we often offer a dish that we may have cooked to others by saying, "it's not that good, but try it anyway."

Pride is not arrogance. There is a fine line, but it is okay to be proud. "I cooked this dish. I think it's pretty good, your tastes may be different, but please give it a try." "I have accomplished this," "I got a first place trophy," but when does it turn to arrogance. In my observation of school students, pride turns to arrogance when we add a qualifier--a ranking of sort, or a sense of entitlement to it. "I am the best," which indicates others are not as good as you, "I got a first place trophy, and I deserved it." "I'm number 1!"

It is good practice to be humble. Humility is what allows us to improve ourselves, but there is also a fine line between being humble, and putting yourself down. "No, I'm not that good, I do try hard though," would be a humble statement. Similar to arrogance, it seems that crossing the fine line would mean to add some kind of ranking or sense of entitlement. "No, I'm not that good. I suck at it, really." "No, I'm not that good, I don't deserve to be complimented like that." Not only does this prevent you from becoming better, whether you are at a high level or entry level of skill, but the person complimenting you was just insulted. If that person was at a lower level than you, you're saying that they are worse than you, which is a level of 'terrible'. If they are at a higher level than you, you're telling them, they don't know how to judge what level you're at.

It is okay to be proud, it is okay to be humble, and to be fairly honest, both are usually combine, just as being arrogant and putting yourself down, actually go hand-in-hand.

I too, reflect on my actions often. I reflect if it is arrogant or not, and I often find that all I really need to be is honest, "I thought that I did pretty good, but I really want to get better."

I'm not perfect, and I'm always learning. Let us all continue to learn as well. Mahalo

Monday, July 4, 2016

July Message

How important is sharing? This summer, I have been teaching U.S. History at Summer School. Now, though the students are learning, I too, am learning and gaining insight as to how I may live my life. Focusing strictly on wealth; I have heard arguments from those who are wealthy of "why they should share something they worked hard for?" It is a very good argument, but let us look at the Great Depression.

There are many causes of the Great Depression, but one was a uneven distribution of wealth. In a capitalist economy, there will be some uneven distribution of wealth, however if it is too great, then there will be less money in circulation. If a small percentage of people hold the majority of the wealth there are less people buying basic things. Now, again, this wasn't the sole cause of the Great Depression, other factors did play in. In any case, once we hit the Great Depression, we raised tariffs, taxes on imported goods. This was thought to help protect domestic businesses from competition from foreign products. This actually caused the other countries to raise theirs as well. This hurt the US economy more, because we couldn't get foreign countries to buy our products as well. We needed the foreign market to buy our stuff. This tariff war eventually spread the Great Depression in the US worldwide, and it causes conflict and revolutions, and eventually WWII.

This is the worst case scenario, of course, but there are many cases of people not helping each other during this time, that may have help. For example, President Hoover gave federal money to banks, in hopes that they will voluntarily give loans to businesses; businesses will voluntarily use these loans to keep employees, and keep their wages and keep production up. But very little of this was happening. At each level, people used the funds to "save themselves" and nothing was given to the laborers.

As much as the wealthy people feel they work hard for their wealth, unless they are running a one-man store, and they are the one-man, there are many others under them that work hard making their wealth. This is something we shouldn't forget.

But let's not focus on money alone. In whatever position we're in, there are others that are supporting us. We should remember that.

My friend teaches a 90 year old gentleman how to play the `ukulele. A little history of this man: he was poor as a child, but his parents instilled in him to work hard, even when no one is looking. It is the mantra he lives by. When he got a job as a laborer at a distribution company, he worked a 110% each day. His boss calls him in one day, and he thought he was in trouble. But, instead, the boss mentioned that he kept watching his hard work each day, and wanted to give the company to someone trustworthy before retiring. Long story short, he became successful and expanded this company based in Seattle. He is now retired himself and is able to live some months in Hawai`i, some in Seattle. He lives simply, gives greatly to charity, but does have rich neighbors. Each week, he dines with one couple and the wife, with no expression, when finished drinking her wine, raises her glass, and her husband immediately runs to fill it up. This gentlemen told my friend, "how sad that must be. To be unhappy. If you have that much wealth, and are unhappy, where do you go from there?"

So my friend asks him, what is the secret to his happiness. The gentleman points out 1) work 110% whether or not someone is watching. I think this puts pride in your work, and helps your company to succeed, thus, hopefully, giving you success as well. 2) If you find something that gives you passion, go get it and go do it, life is too short. This can be your job, or something outside your job, but by finding this, it gives that spark in your life. 3) Smile at others. We never know what situation others are in, smile at them, be kind and help others.

In Tenrikyo, we have a word called Hinokishin. This is an act that we physically do to show our gratitude to God. In every sense, it is something we do for ourselves, but the action should be helpful to others. A kind word, even a smile can be hinokishin. By saving others we, in turn, will be saved.

I will do my best to practice this too; let's smile at others. Let's share our wealth.

Let us also lend our prayers that the members of HBH have a safe trip to Jiba this month.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June Message

I have come to realize that there is a fine line between Arrogance and Pride.

This fine line has been avoided totally by putting pride in the same category as arrogance.
I think there is nothing wrong with pride. It is good to be proud of your accomplishments. By going in the other direction, and think we aren't good enough for anything, I believe, is actually more harmful. Just as there is a fine line between Arrogance and Pride, there is a fine line between Humility and Self-Disparagement.

Some people feel that being humble means you have to put yourself down, but that is not the case. Being humble simply is that you do not brag to others, or feel yourself better than others. In our list of Dusts of the Mind, Arrogance is a very strong one. It encompasses other "dusts" as well. By being arrogant, we practice self-love, or loving only yourself. Sometimes it awakens covetousness, or another word in this case may be envy. This is especially if you find someone else might be "better" than you or getting close to be; and this dust uncovers greed. Eventually anger and then hatred. It is definitely a dust that will awaken others, so it is naturally one that we would like to avoid.

But let us keep in mind, that in Tenrikyo, our goal is not to avoid dusts, but to sweep them away. Oyasama, our Foundress, has said that if you sealed a home, that dusts will still enter. We, as humans, will be gathering dust, we just need to sweep them away. One way, of course is doing the Service. The Service is amazing. If you put your all into it, the singing and the hand movements will calm you and put you in a position of better perspective. Other than the Service is to do other things that counter the dust.

We do need to be careful though. If it is arrogance that we carry, we may try to help others in the areas we feel we are good at, it may increase your arrogance, such as wanting/needing to take credit or having a need to be recognized.

Having pride does not mean you are not humble. Criticizing yourself severely does not mean you are practicing humility. It is okay to have pride. Here is are some ways to recognize the difference between pride and arrogance. If you do something well, and you are happy with it, that is pride. If you need to tell others of your accomplishment, then it becomes a step toward arrogance. "But we need to be honest if people ask," you say. Yes, that is true, so if you need to tell others so that you get credit, and that becomes important, then it is a step toward arrogance; if you need to tell others because they ask and demand the truth, then it probably isn't. If you are happy with your progress, but someone else does the finishing touches, and you are okay with it, that is pride. If it had to be you that delivers the last touches, it is arrogance.

So how should we react if we are complimented? Say, "thank you." Believe it or not, sometimes telling others, "no, you're wrong, what I did isn't that good," is not an act of humility, but rather an act of  arrogance. We're telling others that they are wrong. It is not the intent, but it is what the action is. But we do not want to increase the "big-headedness" by saying thank you? Then we can add, "you are very kind; I did not realize that what I did was that important. Thank you."

To all of you, Thank you for your contributions everyday.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Message

Lately, I've been hearing a term describing the younger generation of adults today. This term is "millennials." Now, I would like to mention that there are many people in that age group that are not the typical "millennial."

For those who do not know who "millennials" are, they are basically described as a generation that feel a sense of entitlement, even though they haven't worked at anything. Many people say that this may be due to "babying" them as a child. The idea of "everyone gets a medal."

Now, as an educator, I feel that everyone deserves a fair shot at proving themselves, and I also believe, that anyone who works hard at what they do will be successful, but not everyone will be getting a medal if going into some sort of competition. At the same time, not winning a medal doesn't mean you are a failure, just that you weren't the best that day with the people who were there. After all, if you think of the Olympics, all the nations are sending their best athletes, just because they do not win that gold, silver, or bronze doesn't mean they aren't good, they are one of the best that their country has to offer... and yet, even if they are the best, in a competitive setting, they cannot all get the top three placement, it's just how it is.

Again, I do realize that this is a generalization, and like any generalization, there are examples that go in the opposite direction. I am not making a message about "millennials" but rather the concept behind it. The fact that we tend to feel entitled, when spoiled, when provided for. 

Teaching in school, I have students work for answers, and in some instances, I have given some answers. In general, when students work for answers, whether in fun lessons, or difficult ones, the information tends to stay, and when given, they are often forgotten... at least after the test. This seems to be the same for material things as well. In my younger days, I would personally treat instruments better if I had purchase them myself than if it was given to me. Now, of course, I treat all instrument as best as I can. 

Perhaps this is what God the Parent has in mind. Happiness comes from our minds, we create it. It really is not an outside force that makes us happy. When we witness something or experience something, we make a decision if it makes us happy or not. Wars, conflict, are all made by we human beings, and it is we human beings that must find solutions to it. And this is why I feel God does exist.

Many people would ask me, if God exists, why is there war. My answer is, there is war because there are human beings who conflict. God can easily give us peace, and make us happy, but if God does this, we will never appreciate those moments. Unfortunately, we often appreciate things when they are gone, and sometimes, when we witness our friends in conflict, hear of other countries go to war, God allows us to hear it, as an admonition, or warning. Appreciate what you have now.

Never give up. When you hear or are face to face with conflicts, keep going and try to achieve your goals. There are people who will support you, but never expect it to be handed to you, and when you can, support others.

Thank you very much.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April Message

Thank you for your performance in today's Monthly Service.

We have an increase in the musical instruments being performed today, making the service music seem fuller. It is interesting. I was driving on the freeway, and I saw a sign that said, "too stupid for science? Try religion." After seeing that sign, I wondered why those two things were separated. God the Parent has said that he created doctors and medicine. In the Osashizu, the Divine Directions, there is a passage that basically scolds the followers by stating that at no time has God told them never to go to a doctor. We use doctors to find the root cause of our illness. We have symptoms, but underneath the symptoms lies the cause. We often have coughs. We drink medicine to stop the coughs. Instead we should drink the medicine that will cure what is causing the cough. Doctors, though they do give the medicine for stopping coughs so we can be more at ease, do not stop there, instead they find the root cause. Once we find the root cause, we can begin the healing, not just physically, but spiritually as well.

Science and religion. We in Tenrikyo shouldn't be afraid of what would be discovered in science. There are a research going on by doctors who are Tenrikyo, scientist who are familiar with Tenrikyo, and they often are amazed at how the teachings are explaining in simple terms what is happening to our bodies that science can explain in more complex terms.

This past summer I had taught biology. I always have a fascination for this subject area, as the better I understand this, the better I teach music and dance. There were so many discoveries of connections to Tenrikyo that I made, but one simple phrase in the textbook stands out in my head, and that was: the skin is an organ that has the function of joining. Of course there is more, but how surprised I was that the text in a non-religious science book was so close to what Oyasama has taught us.

Speaking of school, we had a presentation by neurologist come to our school, and they showed us examples of CAT scans of the human brain during certain emotions. The frontal lobe of the brain is where we reason, think logically. Near the cortex is our defensive reaction. When a person feels threatened, the brain activity is non-existent in the frontal lobe, which makes sense. If you have an encounter with a tiger that is ready to pounce on you, you don't want to spend time reasoning with it, survival is critical. That being said, if you scold a child, and they start to fear you, they will not be thinking logically, or communicate with you properly because there will be no activity in the frontal lobe. This is the same, not only for fear, but for anger, depression, and so on. A joyous state of the mind is important for logical thinking, and survival, as the activity of the brain is more evenly distributed. This is not to say to keep children in a happy state or never scold a child. They need to have challenges and sometimes losses. When they encounter these, they need to learn to calm their minds and think of solutions, and parent should not stay in the state of scolding if it seems like the child is not responsive. Through the service, we can calm our minds and think more logically.

But going back to the musical instruments today. There are so much research that individuals are doing looking at the songs of service. For example, it was told to me that the tempo was key to making the service joyous. Too fast, and people will get anxious and tense, too slow and it will sound depressing and sad, the right tempo will make the service sound wonderfully joyous. What is the proper tempo? I heard that the key lies in time that was recorded when Oyasama hid her physical form. It is recorded the time they began the service, and the time it ended. This was told to me.

Many ministers have told me that the musical instruments of the service represented different parts of the body. Taking this thought in mind, when we are sick, or hurt, there are parts of the body that doesn't function properly, or at all. For example when we have a cold, sometimes we lose the function of taste. When we lose these parts, we often get discouraged, and feel sad. When we are able to use them again, we become overjoyed. When we are healthy, we are joyous. So as we increase the amounts of instruments played, we become more joyous. It is very fascinating to me.

We should take the time to explore and not be afraid of what we'll find. Look to the Truth of Origin. There are many clues that will help us move toward the Joyous life. I believe that we'll deepen our faith and our understanding of our faith through what we will discover.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


The Spring Memorial service followed the Monthly Service, so there is no message for today.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February Message

Thank you for your participation in this month's monthly service.

Last month in January, I was able to return to Jiba for the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama.
About one week before leaving, I received a call from someone affiliated with Shuto Grand Church, and this person notified me that there was no more rooms available at the Dormitory, where I normally will stay. At first I was in denial, as I had made reservations ahead of time, but as I listened to the person explain how I was supposed to be notified by another person a couple of months ago of this situation, I realized that I needed to make alternate plans. But, as I told the person on the other end, please don't worry, I am used to being placed in this type of situation.

Luckily, one of my good friends who lives in Tenri offered me a place to stay at his house. I was very grateful. Now, my friend is a very happy-go-lucky type of person, and because of this, there are those that judge him unfairly. They sometimes would treat him as if he was a lower-class citizen, or as if he did not possess a fair amount of intelligence.

Based upon my conversations with him, I have found him to be quite intelligent. He is a little child-like, but that is what makes him great. This innocence that he has, allows him to forgive others. He doesn't seem bothered by the reactions he receives from others that do not know him very well. And after living with him for a couple of days and nights, and talking with him, his generosity and kindness overwhelms his very being, and it makes me feel more energetic and less tense.

I often wished to have this type of effect on others, but with the stress of work, sometimes this is difficult for me to do. But my friend's willingness to forgive others, is the key to what makes him what he is. By forgiving others, he doesn't carry their burden or stress, and instead give to them, without expecting anything in return. This feeling overwhelmed me to the point that I felt so good, each time I went out into the town whether to sanpai, or meet with other friends.

One particular situation that I remember was meeting a person whom I had a falling-out with. For some reason, we didn't see eye to eye on an issue, and I was too stubborn to let go of my point of view. Before I left Japan to return to Hawai`i, this person was relocated to Peru, to the overseas headquarters there. He came back to Japan a few times to give reports, and I would see him, but he looked very stressed and we didn't exchange any more words than grunts to each other.

After returning to Hawai`i, I felt a sense of regret for not letting go of my point of view, because on hindsight, it wasn't that important. In fact, there was a middle ground that would have satisfied both of us.

So, fast-forward to 2016, I prayed that I could see him once more, just to let go of the negativity. Because of my friend, I learned forgiveness, and was overwhelmed with forgiveness, that I just let go. I was at the entrance of the workplace I was at where we had the falling-out, and I forgave him, and hoped that he forgave me as well. This thought was so strong, that I truly felt weight being lifted off of my shoulders. As I turned to leave, that person was coming up the stairs. He smiled at me, and I smiled back. We hugged and greeted each other as if the falling-out never happened. My eyes literally filled with tears of joy, and I realized the importance of forgiveness.

I know that it is difficult sometimes to forgive. Depending on the situation, it may even seem impossible. But I ask you all too to try to embrace this feeling of forgiveness. Perhaps not for major issues, but start with the small ones. Grudge-bearing is a dust that we all carry. And in the same way dust settles in you house, we want to sweep them away. Forgiveness is a great way to sweep them all away. It leads to generosity and kindness. In my case it even led to JOY! For me, it was a lesson, of how you and I may take a step closer to the Joyous Life.

Thank you all for you kindness in listening to my message.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

130th Anniversary

On January 26, 2016 the Grand Service was held at the Main Sanctuary at the Jiba in Tenri City, Nara  Prefecture. The were so many people there that it was hard to walk towards the Jiba.


The normal accesses were controlled. Either they were designated entrance only, exit only, or simply closed off. This was due to the many people that were there, and to prevent any mishaps.




All areas of the sanctuary were packed with people. There were even people sitting in the nearby playground area and tea house, and other open--or what used to be open--spaces. 

Up until this day, it was said to be very cold... Well it was cold, but on this day, the sun was out, and it was a little warmer than it had been in the past few days. The weather was clear and sunny. Many people were bumping into acquaintances not seen in a while. There were many happy moments, hugs, and handshakes.

It was a beautiful day for the service.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January Message 2016

Thank you everyone for your participation in the Spring Grand Service.

 This year marks the year of Oyasama's 130th Anniversary. I am sure that we have all been working spiritually for this in the past three years, one thousand days. But it does not need to stop here. We should continue our efforts throughout this year, and even afterwards. It also does not have to be a big project.

While driving one morning, I was listening to the radio. The two DJ's were talking about the traffic and how there is less "Aloha Spirit." One of them said, "I show my 'aloha' and let people into my lane in front, but if I don't see that hand wave or shaka, I lose it!"

Growing up in Hawai`i, I have come to understand that "aloha" is more than just hello or goodbye, there is a deeper meaning, a meaning that is laced with gratitude. When you bid someone "aloha" you are welcoming them into your life at that moment, thanking them for the wonderful time spent together, appreciating them helping you, or valuing them for letting you help. It is almost like Hinokishin.

Some people pair Hinokshin with Volunteer work. I was taught that the difference between the two, is that when you volunteer, the people you help will say, "thank you." In Hinokishin, it is the ones volunteering that will say, "thank you."

Going back to the DJ, I don't think the DJ really had the Aloha Spirit as was stated. When you use "Aloha Spirit," you are doing something for the other person, not yourself. Once you expect a "thank you," especially when you make a big deal out of it, it becomes about you, not the other person.

I also don't think that the Aloha Spirit is really less. I believe, that it is all around us. If you "look for it" you will never find it. It just has to happen. It also happens more often, when we're the first to give Aloha. By being the one giving aloha, you change the atmosphere, and become one that may influence another to spread the aloha as well. There are no guarantees, the only one you can control is yourself. You can't really control someone else's actions, you can only control what you do. But if people like what you do, they can choose to do it as well.

I would like to ask each of you in this special time to go ahead and spread some aloha spirit, bring joy into someone's life, and perhaps they'll join us here one day, and also try to bring joy into another person's life. Make it about them, be the one to say thank you, and also thank God the Parent for allowing it to happen.