When I attended a Seicho-No-Ie meeting, I felt troubled by something I had heard. For instance, the teaching says, “Do not see the dark side but see
the bright side;” however, when I heard the lecturer pointing out the dangerous conditions of environmental problems, I thought it was a contradiction of the
teaching and many questions surfaced in my mind. Please give me some advice.
(E.Y., 22 years old, male)
Response given by Reverend Kazuhiro Koba, Seicho-No-Ie Ordained Minister
You are wondering whether by saying, “Don’t see the dark side of things but see the bright side,” we are contradicting the teachings regarding the environmental crises. However, Seicho-No-Ie teaches the basic Truth, “The phenomenal world is originally non-existent and only God’s creation exists.” The dark side, the world of appearance (the world God did not create), is not the world of true existence. This is the reason we are not fighting to overcome darkness, believing that it truly exists. Darkness is a state of the nonexistence of light; thus, no matter how dark it is or how long darkness has lasted, it disappears when light is cast on it.
However, unless you know what the present condition is, or where problems exist, you would not know where light is needed. For that reason, you must have a good grasp of the present condition and the reason for it. This means “pointing out the crises in our environmental problem.” In Sonshi, the ancient Chinese classic of military strategy, there is an article that says, “When you know your enemy and know yourself, no matter how many times you may be in battle, you will never lose. ” And it is indicated in this case as “knowing thy enemy.”
In the ancient mythology of Kojiki (“Records of Ancient Matters”) and Nihonshoki (“Chronicles of Japan”), it says that when the God of Izanagi and the God of Izanami gave birth to the nation, that is, when they created the phenomenal world, what the God of Izanagi did not have was given and shared from what the God of Izanami had and they shared and gave birth to a new nation. In other words, the two Gods shared with each other what the other did not have and created a nation.
This means we should not grasp and be swayed believing the phenomenal world exists but it is a symbolic writing about the joy of creation, of expressing God’s ideal in the phenomenal world. In the Truth of Life, Volume 14, Reverend Taniguchi explained the relationship between the phenomenal world and the True-Image World (the real world as created by God): “The True Image is the only existence and our true self is the only existence. In other words, the only existence is our true self that is one with the Absolute God; therefore, if the imperfection of the phenomenal self is non-existent, the question is why the phenomenal world appears as stages of progress we have made in the phenomenal world. It is because the phenomenal world is an art created by the True Image life.
To explain why we have shadow, it is because our life is trying to appear phenomenally and is drawn on the canvas of time and space.” (p. 77) In like manner, you can say that the phenomenal world is a reflection of the True-Image World that has appeared as a work of art. Therefore, the important thing is what sort of art work we are going to create on the canvas of time and space.
If we create with a negative mind, by grabbing on to the evil of the phenomenal world believing that “phenomena exists,” and using a brush create something that is temporarily appearing to be good, it will soon turn to an unhappy darkness and we will suffer at the end. On the other hand, if you use a brush that says only God and a bright world exists, your creation will be wonderful.
Living in a world where global warming is escalating, to be thinking of what we can do, or how can we cut down C0² and take action now, does not mean that we are fighting evil and trying to overcome it. What we are doing is looking for a way to cast the light to create a more wonderful work of art so it will shine even more brightly.
Up to now, unaware that everything is the manifestation of God, we became self-centered, thinking that the phenomenal world is the real existence and caused the destruction of nature. When you cast the light that says, “Phenomena is not the true existence for everything is the manifestation of God,” the brilliant world of light should be realized. Even though you may temporarily fail or things may not work out the way you would like, while visualizing the bright side of everything, you will discover the way to accomplish even better results by using the difficult experiences as stepping stones.
Edison failed many times in his attempts to invent the light bulb. However, Edison did not see them as failures but as steps toward success that led to his great invention. Seicho-No-Ie is the teaching of bright thoughts; therefore, we only see and illuminate the phenomenal world from the standpoint of a brilliant light, creating even more wonderful works of art in the phenomenal world.
From Riso Sekai (Ideal World), June 2007 issue, pp. 60-61
©Reverend Kazuhiro Koba