Deference and Restraint (Enryo kigane)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

In a Divine Direction, God the Parent tells us:

Worrying yourself sick over human social obligations such as the need for deference and restraint is a dust of mind, which may cause a whiff of bad feeling, I say.

Osashizu, November 15, 1891

What comes before and after this passage can be summarized as follows: "You cannot say that you are brothers and sisters as equal children of God if you defer to someone and are not true to yourself, saying in your mind, 'If I say what I want to say to that person, it will make it awkward for me to visit him from now on and may damage our friendship.' You cannot say that you are following the path, genuinely guided by the teachings of God the Parent, if you distrust one another and have doubts about one another."

In several Divine Directions, God the Parent also says in effect: "To defer to people cannot be said to be the path of God. This path is the path in which you correct and replace your mind. Trying to help others do the same is an act of sincerity. There is no need for deference and restraint in this regard. Those of you who are following the path are equal. There is no superiority or inferiority among you. It is important for you to help others notice what they should notice. You also should listen to advice from others. Again, if you avoid giving advice--while thinking, for instance, that this person's habits and characteristics would make it meaningless anyway--then the path cannot be clear or pure. To speak ill of others behind their back can be said to be an error that will pass down through ten generations. Instead of speaking ill of others behind their back, you should speak directly to them so that your comments will serve both of you. There is no need for deference. Deference can cause flattery. Flattery can lead to falsehood. Falsehood and flattery are the foundation of great dusts." (cf. Osashizu, January 29, 1891; May 9, 1898; October 11 and 14, 1900)

When you realize what you can do, just implement it without hesitation. Although you may feel it hard to say to others what they should notice, you should resolutely say it to them. Such is the way to be sincere.

Yet, what we should not forget here is that we should take care not to act in an overbearing way or have arrogant thoughts. There are some who describe themselves as honest people and insist that they say bluntly what they want to say to others and that they will not leave any resentment behind. However, there are many cases where their words actually hurt others or give them unpleasant feelings. It is, therefore, of paramount importance for us to be considerate of others and put ourselves in their places. Another Divine Direction says:

Speak words of kindness to those who will come here. . . . Speech is nourishment on the path. Speech in joyous acceptance is nourishment on the path.

Osashizu, June 14, 1901

As this Divine Direction tells us, we should be truly considerate toward other people by using words of kindness and thoughtfulness so that we can help make their mind bright and spirited.

Says a Divine Direction:

From now on, there is no need for deference. Also, each of you should come to repentance upon seeing that even this person has such faults and shortcomings.

Osashizu, January 29, 1891

Once you realize what you have to do, just implement it with no deference. Once you realize what you should say to others, just say it to them with no deference. However, it is also important to reflect first upon yourself and reproach yourself, thinking, "If even such a wonderful person as that has certain faults and shortcomings, then I, too, must have so many faults and shortcomings."