Seicho-No-Ie says, “Those who are not grateful to their parents are against the Divine Will and “A child is born by choosing his parents.” However, lately, we hear
incidents of parents who abuse or even murder their children. In such cases, must these abused children be grateful to their parents? Even if I am told that I should be
grateful to my parents for giving birth to me, I am not convinced. I cannot understand why we should be grateful to cruel parents who have lost their right to be parents.
(U.M., 26 years old, female)
Response given by Reverend Sadao Oshita, Seicho-No-Ie Ordained Minister
I regret to say that lately, as you are saying, incidents of parents mistreating their children are attracting more attention. I understand your questioning of why one should be grateful to parents who mistreat their children. Seicho-No-Ie teaches that everyone is a child of God. However, we are not referring to the physical being as a child of God, but the life that dwells beyond. This life that comes from God is eternal and perfect and harmonious. Therefore, a person who mistreats or kills a child may appear to be evil, but it is only his shadow and his True Image is perfect and harmonious and this is what Seicho-No-Ie teaches.
Seicho-No-Ie teaches, “Those who are not grateful to their parents are against the Divine Will,” and parents and children are all manifestations of Kanzeon Bosatsu (Goddess of Mercy) and they are children of God. It is important that you worship everything and everyone, and you are grateful to each other and are living in perfect harmony with everything in the universe. Moreover, God, while existing everywhere, is existing within us at the same time. And our environment is the reflection of our minds and we ourselves are the masters of our own destinies.
When I was ten years old, my father became ill and passed away, and I had a stepfather whom I could not call “Father” but instead called him, “Hey, you” and I was not obedient. From then on, I grew up as a boy with a rather passive and gloomy mind. Later, when my stepfather’s business was failing and on the brink of bankruptcy, I began to hate him for being burdened with a tremendous debt.
It was about this time that my superior at work introduced me to Seicho-No-Ie. I attended a Spiritual Training Seminar. There, when I learned that “we are all children of God, perfect and harmonious and my stepfather, whom I hated, was the Goddess of Mercy who appeared before me to guide me,” I was able to become grateful to him. Since then, I became a bright and positive person and as my stepfather’s business turned for the better, that opened up a completely new life for me.
Reverend Seicho Taniguchi, the President of Seicho-No-Ie, has written the following in his book, Aijo Kyoshitsu, “Classroom of Love.” “It is true that the ‘phenomenal person’ commits blunders, worries, suffers, hates, and disrupts the rules. However, no matter how much imperfection may appear in this phenomenal world, ‘the True Image as God has created’ is perfect and harmonious, not lacking in anything. This is what I mean when I say, ‘Man is a child of God.’” (p. 84)
Indeed, we live in this world because of our parents, and unless we are grateful to them for our lives, we cannot be happy. It is pitiful for an abused child to be leading a wretched life, but it is possible that the parents themselves may have been mistreated as children. To break the chain of errors they have commited, one must become aware that “man is a child of God” and have gratitude toward his parents.
Darkness disappears when light appears. A grateful mind erases all suffering and resentments; gratitude indeed leads to harmony. It is my sincere desire that you begin a bright life by always reciting in your mind the following: “God is within me, protecting and guiding me” and “God is within my parents guiding and protecting them.”
From Riso Sekai (Ideal World), December 2008, pp. 58-59
©Reverend Sadao Oshita