I have a girlfriend I’ve been dating for the past six months. I’m very much in love with her. She is working very hard for a license in the field of welfare. She is a very gentle,
family oriented person and I am so happy to be with her. However, she is a Christian and increasingly, on many occasions, has been urging me to join Christianity. When I
told her that I have no interest in doing so, she said, “It seems that there is no future in our relationship.” It does not matter to me what she worships, but it concerns me a
great deal when she wants me to join her (religion). Do you think we can overcome this situation in a positive manner?
(I.Y., 23 years old, male)
Response given by Reverend Hiroyuki Kakumu, Seicho-No-Ie Ordained Minister
When a person loves someone, he wants to spend all of his time with that person and share whatever he likes. Therefore, the reason she is urging you to join her religion is basically because she loves you. But you have no intention of worshiping Christianity, the religion she is urging you to join. What a person worships is his free choice; therefore, I cannot say whether or not this religion is good. However, it is important to have a correct outlook on religion. There are many religions in this world. However, the quintessence of all righteous religions is one Truth; therefore, there should not be discrimination and conflict between religions.
Regarding this, Reverend Masaharu Taniguchi, founder of Seicho-No-Ie, teaches the following: “Seicho-No-Ie’s basic teaching is the oneness of all religions and is not limited to one sect of one religion. Thus, a person who is a member of another religion does not have to quit or change his religion. Since the “Truth” is originally one, Shintoism, Christianity and Buddhism are all essentially one.” (Shinri Volume 3, pp. 243-244) In this way, Seicho-No-Ie is the teaching of the oneness of all religions; therefore, it never discriminates against any other religion.
So I think it would be better if you could be more open-minded with her. When you have a chance, talk to her about Seicho-No-Ie and the oneness of all religions. You will find this written in detail in Truth of Life, Volumes 11 and 12. Also, it would be a good idea to take this opportunity to seriously think of love and marriage. Seicho-No-Ie teaches that each person has a mate, a better half. These better halves are calling each other and are united on this earth. What concerns me is your saying, “…it annoys me a great deal when she wants me to join her (religion).” What is she to you? She should not be someone who will only satisfy your desires. Love does not make someone behave as you wish. True love believes in a person’s divinity and releases him to be free.
We all have someone we love and know how wonderful that is. Also, we are not exaggerating when we say we were born to love. Seicho-No-Ie teaches that the true essence of love is the awareness of being one with another. In other words, it is the originally one. I once had a difficult time when I fell in love. At the beginning, everything went smoothly but gradually her mind drifted away from me. We talked it over but we finally ended our relationship. Unawares, I was seeking something in my mind, “I want her to do this,” or “I want her to be this way.”
Reverend Masaharu Taniguchi teaches us the following about love: “Since love is the feeling of ‘oneness of the self with others and oneness of others and the self,’ when we are in love, we become one with the other and think of what we can do for each other. When we think of ourselves from the other person’s standpoint, confrontations vanish, harmony appears, and conflicts cease to exist, thereby realizing a peaceful, heavenly Pure Land.” (Recitation of Truth, p. 68)
Through this difficult experience, I endeavored to practice love, seeking no return, with thoughts only for the happiness of the other person. When I did that, my surroundings started to change and furthermore, my relationship with others expanded widely, opening up a completely different life filled with joy. Thereafter, I met my wife and married her. If you sincerely believe in her and love her, I am sure your present condition will change. In romantic love there is also parting, and even if that should happen, I firmly believe that it will greatly help your soul to grow.
From Riso Sekai (Ideal World), November 2007, pp. 58-59
©Reverend Hiroyuki Kakumu