Before I was married, I reluctantly had to abort two fetuses and for some time now, I have been thinking of memorializing them. In the fifth year of my marriage,
I was blessed with a child, but I had uterine cancer before my pregnancy, and I am quite concerned about the babies I had aborted. I have been trying to find out how
I can purchase memorial tablets for them. It bothers me that I do not even know the dates of the abortions. I just don’t know what to do. No one besides my mother
knows anything about the abortions and my family hates religion of any sort.
(E.A., 27 years old, female)
Response given by Reverend Kanami Sato, Seicho-No-Ie Assistant Ordained Minister
No matter what the reason, an abortion is a very painful thing for a woman to experience. You said you were “reluctant” but actually didn’t you really want to give birth to them? This has been on your mind for so many years because you know how difficult and painfully sad it must have been for the aborted fetuses. Also, the fetus, living in the mother’s womb, must have looked forward with great expectation to enter life’s school and experience things. However, being forced to return to the spiritual world before being born must have been a great shock.
The founder of Seicho-No-Ie, Reverend Masaharu Taniguchi, has written the following in his book, Kami Shinri O Tsugetamau, "God Reveals the Truth", p. 72. The “My” that you find in his writing refers to God speaking of Himself. “Life as ‘My’ conscious Self-manifestation descended upon the life of your physical body so that the latter could be a seat to manifest ‘My’ consciousness upon this earth. The preciousness of the life of your physical body is not because of the physical body itself but because it is a ‘seat’ for the conscious Selfmanifestationof God’s life.
“Even the physical life of an unborn child is identical with the life of a human being who has been born. It is reserved as a seat for ‘My’ conscious Self-manifestation. Therefore, an unborn child is as precious as the life of a human being who has been born. We know that we must not kill a human life that has been born, and it is equally a mistake to think that the act of killing an unborn child – a human life – is not the taking of a life.” Please find time to memorialize them. The reason for memorializing is not to escape from sin consciousness. Repent from the bottom of your heart saying, “I’m so sorry for you wanted to be born, choosing me as your parent.” And believe that the child is living with you now and love him with all your heart.
You mentioned that you wanted to purchase memorial tablets but if these two aborted fetuses were conceived with your husband, it would be wise to discuss it with him. If the two fetuses were not with your present husband, I am sure the family would be against your doing so; in that case, I don’t think you should be concerned if you are not able to do it. If you cannot have the memorial tablets, do it using the Seicho-No-Ie way as a reference.
When we memorialize an aborted fetus at our centers, we use a paper memorial tablet. The memorial tablet is prepared for you at the missionary area centers. And printed on this memorial tablet is, “Peaceful Spirit of Child of God (name of the deceased).” When you give a name to the fetus and you are not sure of its gender, give it a name that can be used by either a male or female.
You say you do not know the dates when the abortions took place. In that case, decide on the dates yourself. Write the name you have selected and with a feeling of embracing the child with repentance and loving thoughts, recite the Holy Sutra to the memorial tablet. Decide on the best time to memorialize the aborted fetuses. Your thoughts of love will surely reach them. You will find a way to conduct the service at home in the book, Reikuyô Nyûmon (Guide to Memorial Service) written by Reverend Masaharu Taniguchi. Please read it and use it as a reference.
In the event you cannot do it at home because of your family’s opposition, you may bring the memorial tablets to the Center and join the Memorial Service for Ancestral Spirits and Aborted Fetuses and have them memorialized. We also conduct Memorial Services for Aborted Fetuses at the Seicho-No-Ie Spiritual Training Seminars, so please inquire.
The Seicho-No-Ie teaching is based on being grateful to everything in heaven and earth. I urge you to worship your ancestors with respect and with gratitude and also be grateful to your husband’s parents and your parents and make your husband the center of your home and live a life of grand harmony. By doing so, it will also resolve the problem of the family rejecting religion. I will be praying for your happiness from the bottom of my heart.
From Riso Sekai (Ideal World), April 2008, pp. 60-61
©Reverend Kanami Sato