I was shocked when I invited two of my friends who read the Truth of Life to attend a Seicho-No-Ie meeting and they said the meeting was so boring because many of the talks were on environmental problems. I do not understand why Seicho-No-Ie is so anxious and eager to expound on the environmental problems. These problems are on too large a scale and do not appeal to our everyday life. I think there are more important things for us to manage in our lives than environmental problems, so please explain to me why Seicho-No-Ie puts such emphasis on these problems.
(W.N., 20 years old, male, Chiba Prefecture)
Answer given by Reverend Akinori Tanaka, Seicho-No-Ie Ordained Minister
Since the two friends that Mr. W.N. had invited were thinking of studying “Religious Truth,” they both were looking forward to listening to a talk on the original “God” and “Buddha” of religion and the problems of the mind. However, if the understanding of “God,” “Buddha” and the “Truth” is abstract and has nothing to do with your everyday life, you really do not have the correct understanding of the Truth, do you?
Seicho-No-Ie teaches, “A man is a child of God, he is a child of Buddha.” In other words, “The True Image, man’s essence (the true form as God had created) that is like God and Buddha is a wonderful existence.” When you truly understand that you are a child of God, a child of Buddha, you must actually live God in your life and Buddha in your everyday life.
If you only “believe in a man being a child of God but do nothing about it,” you do not really believe it and it is only knowledge to you. When you actually live God, Buddha and the Truth in your everyday life, you could then say that you have really studied the religious Truth and are a “true believer.”
Therefore, religion not only deals with the problems of the mind or life after death, but it must respond to the demands in our present life. Then you can say that it truly is “a living religion.”
It is obvious to us that our global environmental problems can find their causes in the lifestyles in developed countries that waste resources and energy. In developing countries, nature is being destroyed, many living things are being extinguished, the people of the poor nations are becoming victims and the islands of the South Seas are sinking. Therefore, seeing this happening in the world, what can we do?
If a person has faith in “God is love,” it should be practiced not only to his family and friends but extend to loving people he does not know. The practices based on the Seicho-No-Ie teaching, “All living things are one with the self in God,” must be the activity of the preservation of the environment.
You said, “The environmental problems are on too large a scale and do not appeal to our everyday life,” however, as I said previously, the causes of the problems are closely related to our everyday life. You may feel that dealing with problems as large as this is something which you alone will not be able to change. However, the cause of the problem is in each one of us. Unless we change, we will not be able to solve this problem.
Should the progress of global warming pass a certain point, it cannot return to that point and many forecasts are being made. However, it is said that if it should come sooner than expected, there is a possibility that it may come within ten years from today. In other words, unless we do something now, it will be too late then.
Since this problem is so large in scale, it has great influence on the people of the world and will further influence our descendants transcending generations. In other words, this serious problem will extend into the future to the generation when our children and grandchildren will be living.
You say, “There are more important problems facing us than the environmental problems,” however, I wonder if they are concerns such as our jobs, household problems, disease and human relationships. It is true that solving these problems is very important.
The time has arrived for us to know how essential it is that we go beyond just loving ourselves, our children and grandchildren, and not only the people in Japan but people of other countries, not only human beings but also animals, plants, in other words, everything in heaven and earth. It is similar to the acts of God that transcends the self, transcends others, transcends generations and expands and widens our perspective to the world and global level.
I am sure that when you have a better understanding of these matters, you will understand in depth what I have just mentioned and realize why Seicho-No-Ie is so anxious to tackle the environmental problems.
I pray that you, Mr. W.N., will deepen your love of oneness with others, widen your perspective and extend your wonderful enthusiastic attitude, which invited two of your friends, towards the solution of the environmental problems and that you will put into practice the deeds of love no matter how small they may be, one step at a time in your everyday life.
From Riso Sekai (Ideal World), October 2006 issue, pp. 15-16.
©2006 Reverend Akinori Tanaka