Sermon at the Autumn Grand Service

October 26, 1998  (2)

According to Oyasama's story of creation, God the Parent, living alone in a world where there was no form, thought of creating human beings in order to see them lead the Joyous Life and thus share in their joy. Thereupon, God the Parent drew forth eight instruments, obtained their consent to be used for the purpose of creating human beings, and assigned them roles that would bring out the particular qualities of each instrument. When these eight instruments melted into the mind of God the Parent and performed their respective workings in unity of mind, then and only then, we are taught, could human beings be created.

In this manner, God the Parent created human bodies that were perfect in every respect and lent them to us. Also, God the Parent continues to provide us with everything necessary to sustain these bodies and constantly nurtures us with boundless parental love. We all live in the embrace of heaven and earth, in the very bosom of God the Parent, and even now, as we talk here together, our lives are being sustained by the benevolent and unfailing blessings of God the Parent.

Originally, therefore, the human world was such that we were able to live the Joyous Life as intended by God the Parent. And because the parental heart so desired that we savor the Joyous Life, we were given the ability to take delight in using our minds freely. Unfortunately, our free use of the mind lapsed into selfish use of the mind, and over the course of long ages, our minds collected layers of human thought. Our self-centeredness gradually led us into a way of thinking that no longer accorded with God the Parent's intention.

Oyasama gives us an insight into our mistaken use of the mind by likening it to dust. At the time of creation, human beings had fresh and innocent minds like the minds of small children, but over the course of long ages our minds became covered with the dust of human thoughts. Consequently, the world, which by all rights ought to have been the world of the Joyous Life, now came to be experienced with needless pain and suffering. One can only imagine God the Parent's compassion for our situation. After all, in the eyes of God the Parent, all people on earth are equally God's beloved children.

The parental heart, anxious to do something to save the children quickly, began to teach through Oyasama, once She had been settled as the Shrine of Tsukihi. What She taught was the means to be reborn while still alive. To show us how to sweep out the idea that this is a world of suffering and restore our ability to live the Joyous Life, She taught the path of single-hearted salvation. And, as you are aware, the primary means of the path of single-hearted salvation is the Kagura Service.

By pointing out that God informs us of our mistaken use of the mind by putting marks on our bodies, Oyasama was teaching us the path of sweeping dust from the heart through self-reflection, and opened the path of salvation from illness through the administration of the Sazuke.

Oyasama also taught us the truth of the Service through the story of creation, and She explained that this Service was indispensable for world salvation. Nonetheless, because of our slowness in making spiritual growth, things did not proceed as smoothly as Oyasama had intended. Consequently, on the lunar-calendar date of January 26, 1887, Oyasama withdrew from physical life out of deep love for Her children, shortening Her term of physical life by twenty- five years in order to hasten our spiritual growth.

Nowadays, we are no longer able to see Oyasama with our eyes or hear Her voice with our ears. Nonetheless, when our heart is fully opened, we shall spontaneously perceive the truth of the blessings of Oyasama, who constantly watches over us by virtue of Her eternal life. So long as we seek Her parental heart with a mind that is as clear and pure as it was at our birth, She will respond to us at any time.

Following Her withdrawal from physical life, the following words were delivered through the Honseki:

Sah, there was a thing I had intended to give to My children but I was not able. I shall bestow this truth on you step by step hereafter. Remember this well.

As promised in this Divine Direction, Oyasama bestowed the truth of the Sazuke upon great numbers of people who wished to dedicate themselves further to the work of saving others, and in this bestowal I think we can sense Her high expectations for those who received the truth of the Sazuke.

When we say that one has received the truth of the Sazuke, what do we actually mean? Well, we mean that someone who is to serve in single-hearted salvation as timber for constructing the Joyous Life has been recruited by Oyasama and, thereby, received qualification to serve as Oyasama's hands and feet in going out to sprinkle the fragrance of the teaching and to perform salvation work. Since those who serve in this role are referred to as "Oyasama's instruments," receiving the truth of the Sazuke can also be seen as an appointment to serve as one of Oyasama's instruments, which is to say, as a Yoboku, whose task is to serve in the construction of the Joyous Life.

Now is the time for all of us Yoboku, as Oyasama's instruments, to set an example for the world by first attaining for ourselves the delight of the Joyous Life, as intended by Oyasama, and, with gratitude to God the Parent and Oyasama for the great favors we receive day after day, to convey that joy to other people in the world. What is important in this process is to have all Yoboku feel the deep significance behind their efforts to bring the Joyous Life to realization.

If the teachings of God the Parent and Oyasama are understood only through the standard of our worldly common reasoning, they cannot bring a truly reliable settling. If we are to attain the conviction that the teachings are undeniably true, we must concentrate our efforts on making progress along the path of single-hearted salvation, constantly referring to Oyasama's Divine Model as our trustworthy guide, and make the Parent's intention the standard for all our thoughts and actions. That, I believe, is the one and only way that will lead us to the Joyous Life.

Oyasama taught the path to the Joyous Life through Her spoken word, Her written word, and Her Divine Model. Hereafter, therefore, we ought to take advantage of Her instruction by listening to the teachings, by reading the Scriptures, and by following the Divine Model. And while sweeping out our human thoughts, replacing our minds, and purifying our minds, let us work hard to serve as Yoboku, who are in truth Oyasama's instruments for world salvation and timber for the construction of the Joyous Life World. In addition, let us be sure to rely fully on Oyasama without ever forgetting our gratitude for the blessings we receive.

For those of you who have yet to become Yoboku, I should like to ask you, as people who have faith in this path, to ponder thoroughly over the fact that the Joyous Life, as demonstrated by Oyasama, is the very basis for settling this world in peace. And since the Joyous Life can truly be attained depending solely on the mind alone, I want to ask you to promise yourselves that you will make a serious effort to follow Oyasama's Divine Model.

Having shared my thoughts with you on this occasion of the Autumn Grand Service, which commemorates the Teaching's day of origin, I should now like to bring my talk to a close.

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