Around this time of year, the festival of Setsubun in Japan is observed to welcome the season of Spring. The name means “seasonal division,” which also refers to the observance of Risshun.
Meishu-sama described the spiritual significance of Risshun on February 4th and Paradise on Earth Day on June 15th as two big turning points of the year, when the Light from the divine realm manifests its power in a significant manner. Risshun is a time for cleansing and laying the groundwork for new beginnings, as well as preparing to receive the full blessing of the increased Light - the spirit of fire - around Paradise on Earth Day. This recurring cycle accelerates purification, helping us to rid our bodies of impurities.
Meishu-sama’s divine mission crystallized on this day in 1928. His founding organization in Japan started many important activities around this time, which included the following milestones.
The first publication of the important Teachings of Meishu-sama was released; a new organizational structure was formed on February 4, 1950 and the construction of main buildings and the holy sanctuaries in the Sacred Grounds in Japan were inaugurated.
Also on this day, a pair of two-panel folding screens by Japanese artist Ogata Kōrin, the masterpiece “Red and White Plum Blossoms,” was delivered to Meishu- sama.
Through Meishu-sama’s Teachings, we are taught that the increase of Light also brings opportunity to purify through a preparatory process that manifests gradually, both in a spiritual as well as a physical sense. One can say that this is a training process to cleanse and purify, so that we can be qualified to be part of a construction team to help complete the Divine Plan.
There have been few individuals like Meishu-sama, granted with the ability to connect to and become one with this transcendent source known as the Divine Will. Through his Teachings and by example, he shared his knowledge and message among his followers and with the greater world.
Among these was the revelation about the construction of an ideal world. In a teaching titled “Understand God’s Will” Meishu-sama wrote that a pre-ordained Divine Plan of creating this ideal world already existed.
In order to construct a house, experienced workers are needed to understand and follow an architectural blueprint. There workers may include carpenters, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc. They are hired for the project based on their training and experience. The contractor doesn’t simply hire a worker randomly, who has little experience or ability.
Just as an architectural blueprint is required before a house can be built, a divine blueprint also exists. According to Meishu-sama's Teachings, creating an ideal world to manifest this Divine Plan requires a similar selection process. Once adequately purified and qualified, these individuals are given assigned tasks, just like the construction crew for a house. When all members of the team are in harmony with this blueprint, the roofer does not have to worry if the plumber is installing the kitchen sink properly, or the landscaper isn’t concerned how the windows are being installed. Everyone is following these guidelines and doing their part with trust that the final result will be perfect.
In the inaugural message of the Kannon Society in 1935, Meishu-sama said that the work of creating a “World of Light” starts with helping and perfecting the individual and that a single unit can become the prototype for the entire world. As the individual is uplifted and the energy expands, the world will then be uplifted.
Since few of us may have the means to affect entire communities, a nation or the world, it will help to understand this in more realistic terms. A Johrei center can be a good example. Members at a center are no different from a construction crew for the great Divine Plan, with each individual having an assigned task. If everyone works together in harmony, cooperation and with humility, preparing offerings for a service, cleaning a center, offering service to others or vacuuming the floors all become part this Plan.
A minister who passed away many years ago said that it is helpful for members to remember the expression, ki tari kirite, when visiting the special prototypes that Meishu- sama created in Japan. A close translation from the Japanese language means “come and go.”
He pointed out that the holy sanctuary at the first prototype of Hakone was open to nature and didn’t have a roof covering the gathering area from the elements, perhaps because it was not designed as a place for just lingering at and “soaking up the Light” for one’s personal benefit. While his was an individual perspective, it was meant to convey that this was a special place for members to visit, receive the Light and then fulfill their responsibilities as members, by going out into the world to help others. Similarly, a Johrei center is also a place where one can receive Light and then the individual can seek to serve others in their communities.
Meishu-sama left this physical world on February 10, 1955. Until a day prior to his transition and despite his physical purification, his focus was centered on giving instruction on the completion of the gardens for the Hakone and Atami prototypes and for the museum. He lived every day in service to humanity. it is important to remember his life and legacy with gratitude.
Risshun signifies the passing point of the winter season when all of nature awakens to new growth. As we start this new spiritual year with the increase of the Divine Light, let us be open to new beginnings and changes and be free from attachments to the old order.