This July 7th will be twenty-nine years since Rev. Higuchi departed from the physical world. She left behind the foundation of Johrei here in North America. In her messages, she often instructed the members to remember the importance of steadfastly living one’s faith, especially during times of purification and crisis. Her central focus was the importance of love and demonstrating tolerance and altruism.
She emphasized the importance of being aware of how each one of us plays a role in the things that take place around us. She wrote: "We need to be aware of our own position in the whole and our relationship with the people with whom we come in contact and try to fulfill our duty and responsibility...we are all imperfect and make mistakes. The world is full of mistakes and contradictions and cannot be transformed overnight; however, we can help raise the spiritual vibrations around us step by step. As the new age dawns and the Light increases day by day, it will become easier for us to see the result..." (Constructive Living ~ The Light of Johrei)
The Sermon on the Mount incorporates the following wisdom. The first is that a person should aim at the highest good for everyone, by wanting the best for them - even for one's enemy. This represents the true definition of love. The second part instructs that having set that ideal as one's goal, the individual can focus on making it a reality on a daily basis, by demonstrating truth and love.
The opening prayer during our national monthly services includes these words: "May we be loving, compassionate and forgiving. May we all become aware that this is a path of devotion as well as one of action. Guided by these principles, teach us to act in harmony with your Will."
The part about the will of God can sometimes be the source of confusion, because we can never be sure whether the things that happen inside of us and around us, are part of divine providence or a result of our own choices. Purification is an important part of the process of Johrei practice. It is also the part that often presents the greatest challenges. The author Paulo Coelho de Souza said that "what you most need will be found where you least want to look." The Buddhist concept about "letting things burn" to overcome or transcend, is similar to the principle of purification. It is also said that the hidden esoteric meaning of the “INRI” on the Cross of Christ means "by the fire nature renews.”
As we observe another Independence Day in these United States there is much to be grateful for. However, for many people, freedom remains fleeting and distant. Many challenges continue to test the character of this nation. While our diversity has contributed to much that is good about our society, it also has become currency for discord today. The red, white and blue is described as representing bravery, purity and justice, but what might President Lincoln think of this country, if he were alive today? As one of our greatest presidents, he reminded the nation that this day was not just about the quest for self-governance, but that adherence to universal principles was just as important. Acknowledging the Declaration of Independence he wrote, "“Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men...were entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began - so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.”
In a teaching titled “The Current Situation of the World and the Spiritual Realm,” written in 1951, Meishu-sama wrote that “...the world situation today presents a critical condition on such a large scale that we have never seen its like before in our history...However, this is only the state of the material world as it is seen by the physical eyes of most people. Since the true cause of all things in the physical world lies in the spiritual realm, unless you become aware of the real state there you can never grasp the true root of any problem here.” He explained further that God made both good and evil for the sake of the material development of the world and that conflict among human beings started in the spiritual realm, at the very beginning of their creation.
Throughout history, every generation has experienced its own share of purifications. These challenges happen in cycles, like a long-running play with different actors. We have our personal views about society, politics and faith and most of us are products of our environment and influenced by what we have been taught, but the crisis in the world today requires us to be more discerning, loving and tolerant.
One of the very first books that Meishu-sama compiled and published was entitled Talks for Spiritual Understanding. He wanted the entire membership to read it. The article, “Makoto” is the first entry in this book. Let us keep Meishu-sama’s words in our hearts as we observe this holiday and acknowledge Rev. Higuchi's work here in North America.
Nothing is as precious,
As priceless, as true makoto*
Nothing has its strength,
The power to penetrate
Even an iron-hard rock.
*(makoto: love, sincerity, integrity, honesty)