Significance of Risshun
The Japanese tradition of Setsubun–or the welcoming of the beginning of spring–is also known as Risshun and is celebrated around this time. It heralds a new start, the driving away of negative spirits and a cleansing ritual. In ancient times, when people in Japan used a lunar calendar, Setsubun also marked the beginning of the new year.
On February 4th, members of this faith in Japan observe Risshun as a spiritual observance, a tradition that began during Meishu-sama’s time. Today, this tradition is observed and recognized by Johrei members all around the world.
Meishu-sama wrote about the significance of Risshun and explained why it was a spiritually important time for God's plan. This importance becomes greater each year, as the Age of Daylight approaches. In explaining its significance, he said that members will experience that purification becomes more severe and stronger. In Johrei learning, the accumulation of negative actions is described as “clouds” on the self, and these clouds must be dissipated through a form of purification or cleansing.
Significance of Risshun
~ Meishu-sama, February 5, 1952
I have told you about the meaning of Risshun every year for some time, so perhaps it is not necessary to speak of it again. However, this is an exceedingly important time for God's plan and its importance becomes greater each year.
I cannot go into this too deeply, but all members will notice the fact that purification becomes more severe and stronger at this time. This happens both on Risshun and on June 15th, which are the two big turning points of the year. By this, I mean that changes become more noticeable at these turning points.
However, there is a difference between the way the spiritual vibration changes in February and the way it changes in June. The change that comes with the turning point in February is that God's action takes a new major direction.
The change in June is different from that, for it is then that the spiritual realm becomes brighter, that kaso, the spirit of fire, increases.
I may say that the turning in February is God's time of reckoning, the time when we pay off our spiritual debts (the sins and clouds accumulated during the Age of Night), whereas June 15 is the time when the spiritual realm in general becomes brighter and this reflects on our lives.
This is also an appropriate time to reflect on the foundation of the Johrei movement. It has been many decades since the start of this movement in Japan.
Risshun also represents significant milestones in our history. Starting from Meishu-sama’s divine revelations in late 1926, the deeper realization of his life’s purpose began to increase and manifest in miracles of healing, along with a deep conviction that God was guiding him on his mission. These dramatic changes freed him to fully withdraw himself from his business responsibilities and devote his life toward religious activities. This took place on February 4th, 1928. This time of Risshunalso marks the first publication of the formative teachings of Meishu-sama. On February 4th, 1950, a new organizational structure was created and the construction of the main buildings and the holy sanctuaries in the Sacred Grounds in Japan were inaugurated. One of Japan’s National Treasures - the “Red and White Plum Blossom” screen–part of the art collection started by Meishu-sama–was delivered to him on February 4th, 1954.
“There is no telling when the suffering of humanity will be eliminated. In brief, the world as a whole is sick. Although the world is indeed vast, it is fundamentally comprised as a collection of individuals. If you consider the foregoing carefully, the illnesses of individuals are transferred to nations and then to the world until the entire globe is in poor health. This is easy to understand if you consider the reverse. That is, if individuals become sound, so will nations, and ultimately, the world.”
From the study textbook Okada Purifying Therapy - “A Forward to a Periodical” by Meishu-sama.
These words take special meaning in light of the current coronavirus health crisis which is spreading daily. Not too long ago, the headlines were filled with news about the closing of national borders - relating to economic migration and fears about religious and culture immersion. This current crisis has raised a different kind of anxiety – a fear of the unseen. The truth is that quarantines and closed borders are only temporarily effective against this kind of global purification.
A nation which is an economic and military power and representing more than 18% of the world’s population, seems to be almost immobilized with panic and uncertainty. However, it would be erroneous to assume that “God’s time of reckoning” is only manifesting upon one nation or people. Besides the spreading health concerns, other countries that are economically inter-dependent on their manufacturing strength and commercial consumption appetite, are also experiencing financial losses in the markets. These are all forms of collective and individual purifications.
The response to this health crisis has been through medical science and while it is effective in reducing the expansion of the purification, it also illustrates the limitations of vaccines and the reactive response to such crises. Humanity has advanced, prospered materially and been protected through the advancement of science. It also brings to mind Meishu-sama’s cautionary words about the limitations of science and medicine.
It is unclear as to how this current crisis which seems to be heading toward pandemic proportions emerged or started. Perhaps, the imbalance caused by humanity’s encroachment in the natural world also plays a role. Whatever the reasons, it is evident that it isn’t something that manifested overnight.
Viewed through a spiritual lens of Meishu-sama's Teachings, it is a form of elimination of accumulated negative energy and toxins and perhaps such occurrences will increase, as the spirit of fire expands. It is quite an interesting coincidence that if one looks up the meaning of the word “corona,” it is explained as “the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun…which is normally visible only during a total solar eclipse.” It is as if the unseen toxins are being unearth by the increasing light, as the age of night recedes.
When this purification is viewed from the context of Johrei and how an individual might protect oneself, or how we might incorporate Meishu-sama’s explanation of toxins in our response to this situation - common sense and wisdom are important ingredients, along with faith in Johrei and understanding of the process of purification. The state of our physical and spiritual health also determines whether a person is “immune” or protected from such conditions.
From the context of the Teachings, one can infer that what is taking place with this crisis and other natural disasters, is a reflection of how much humanity has steered off-course.
As Johrei members, we view such events from a place of prayer, gratitude, faith and equanimity. This is an opportunity to express sincere gratitude for the protection we receive and also for the purifications - trusting that all of this is part of a greater Divine Plan. A benevolent God empathizes with us and does not delight in our suffering and transgressions and does not interfere in our experience of purifying. We place faith in the healing power of Johrei.
As the winter months give way to a new season of growth in many parts of the world, the breath of spring awakens renewed life. We direct this energy toward choices that are in harmony with the Creator and increasing its power in our lives, for the creation of a paradise on earth.