Great Necessary Lie

An author, Mr. Hiroyuki Itsuki(五木寛之)once wrote:

While Shinran(親鸞)emphasized that people should devote themselves to Amitabha, Rennyo(蓮如)came to preach that people should express gratitude to Amitabha. Asked by a farmer what Nanmandabu(なんまんだぶ)meant, Rennyo replied that it meant “Thank you very much. I am obliged to you,” and told the farmer to say “Nanmandabu” at any time day and night.

  • emphasize 強調する
  • preach 説教する
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • reply 答える

In time, people came to say “Nanmandabu, Nanmandabu” from morning to night.  When given something, they said “Nanmandabu, Nanmandabu.” When they finished eating, they said “Nanmandabu, Nanmandabu.” Such people were called Myoukoujin(妙好人). The teachings of Rennyo were popular among people in those days. I don’t utter the word smelling of incense, but I always says in my mind “Namuamidabutsu,” and “Thank you very much. I am obliged.”

  • teaching 教え
  • utter 発する
  • incense 線香

What Mr. Itsuki, studying and believing in Shinran and Rennyo, is saying contains a deep religious truth. Shinran’s teachings are the faith conscious of life and death because people in the early days of Kamakura Period were suffering from poverty and disease and also Shinran was desperate to propagate his new teachings.

  • contain 含む
  • religious 宗教の
  • conscious 意識した
  • poverty 貧困
  • desperate 必死な
  • propagate 広める

In the late period of Muromachi Period, people were a little bit better off than before. Shinran’s Nenbutsu Sect had already declined at that time though it was still known among people. Rennyo appeared in such days and became the restorer of the sect. He had a broad mind and he’s a very interesting person.

  • be better off 暮らし向きが良い
  • decline 衰退する
  • broad mind 広い心
  • restorer 中興の祖

Led by the spirit of Prince Shotoku(聖徳太子), Shinran started Nenbutsu Sect. Prince Shotoku believed in Baekje Buddhism, whose spiritual line, I feel, was different from Shakuson’s Buddhism. There is something different about Buddha statues of Baekje Buddhism, compared to those of Shakuson’s Buddhism. They are all long-faced and their haloes and the shapes of the pedestals make me imagine parts of space vehicles.

  • long-faced 長い顔をした
  • halo 光背
  • pedestal 台座
  • space vehicle 宇宙船

When I took a look at spiritual beings that supported Baekje Buddhism from the behind, using my psychic power, I had a vision of Sirius shining in the universe. This means the soul of Prince Shotoku came from Sirius. Sirius caused Asuka culture, Egyptian Civilization and Maya Civilization to rise and human civilizations to introduce “the miniature of the celestial map.”  It is expressed in the accurate azimuth angles of huge structures or arrangements of cities in Egypt and Maya, which is amazing from a scientific point of view.

  • being 存在
  • Sirius シリウス
  • cause A to~ Aを〜させる
  • introduce 持ち込む
  • azimuth angle 方位
  • arrangement 配置

It was Rennyo who spread the teachings of Nenbutsu Sect, which was supported by the extra-terrestrial beings from behind the scene. His teachings are simple and clear: Bear in mind the absolute being Amidabutsu(阿弥陀仏)and be grateful for everything all the time. By keeping Amidabutsu in mind, people can hope to receive good fortune from the invisible and feel secured.

  • spread 広げる
  • bear in mind A  Aを心に留める
  • feel secured 安心する

As people come to be grateful for everything in everyday life with Amidabutsu in mind, Amidabutsu, which they have longed for and been dependent on, fades from their awareness and they realize that they and Amidabutsu are one and the same. And at last, they stop asking Amidabutsu for help, which was their first purpose of faith, and find happiness in their ordinary lives, however hard they are. If they finish the rest of their lives with their minds being such, they can truly go to Heaven. This is true.

  • fade 消える
  • awareness 意識
  • purpose 目的
  • ordinary 普通の

At first, people begin to believe in Amidabutsu as if they asked for delicious-looking sweet bun. But as they practice their faith, the bun fades away before they know and they can get something much better. A proverb says “The end justifies the means.” What spiritual beings with wisdom do for people is very profound.

  • sweet bun 饅頭
  • proverb 諺
  • wisdom 知恵
  • profound 深い

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

I Am Grateful for Being Kept Alive.

Advertisements

Nobunaga Oda’s Origin

%ef%bc%97%e5%b7%bb

Tsurugi shrine(劔神社), whose main deity is Susanoo-no-oh-kami(素戔嗚大神), is located at Echizen-chou of Nyu county in Fukui prefecture. His ancestors were administrators of manors in Oda region and his family was a prestigious one who had served Tsurugi shrine as shinto priests.

  • be located 位置している
  • prefecture 県
  • administrator of a manor  荘官
  • prestigious 由緒ある  

It’s interesting that Nobunaga Oda(織田信長)was from a town at the foot of Mt. Hakusan(白山). Taicho(泰澄), the founder of Mt. Hakusan worship, was also from a nearby town. Taicho, a historical monk with a supernatural power, and Nobunaga Oda, a radical reformer, are related to Mt. Hakusan, a spiritual mountain.

  • foot 麓
  • worship 信仰
  • nearby 近くの
  • supernatural power 神通力
  • reformer 改革者
  • related 関係している

It’s not groundless that Nobunaga Oda called himself Dairoku-ten-maou(第六天魔王), the Devil in the Sixth Heaven. I feel that the reason he called himself the Devil instead of Susanoo was because he knew by a divine oracle that his role in this world was one of a great reformer of Japan who couldn’t care less about massacres. He dared to call himself the Devil, playing the villain thoroughly. He also led himself to be murdered in the end so that the finale of the play could match with the role.

  • groundless 根拠がない
  • divine oracle 神のお告げ
  • massacre 虐殺
  • dare to~ あえて〜する
  • villain 悪役
  • thoroughly 徹底的に
  • murder 殺害する

There are many stories about the Devil in the Sixth Heaven. In the document of Heian period named Nakatomi-no-harai-kunge(中臣祓訓戒), Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami (天照太御神)was regarded as Dainichi-nyorai(大日如来)and she was asked by the Devil to accept a bond that allowed her to rule Japan. That is, she had the bond that allowed her descendants, or the emperor, to rule Japan, issued from the Devil, who had owned Japan from time immemorial, and it was guaranteed.

  • period 時代
  • regard  見なす
  • bond 証文
  • rule 支配する
  • emperor 天皇
  • descendant 子孫
  • guanrantee 保証する

Also, in the document named Tsuukai-sankei-ki(通海参詣記)written around the late thirteenth century, it is described that when Izanagi and Izanami took over the land from the Devil in the Sixth Heaven so that they would create Japan, the Devil made it a condition that the two gods would hate Buddhism. I’m not sure if Nobunaga knew about this, but he made an attack on Mt. Hieizan(比叡山), the head temple of Buddhism, and destroyed it.

  • take over A  Aを引き継ぐ
  • condition 条件
  • Buddhism 仏教
  • attack 攻撃
  • destroy 破壊する

The Devil appearing in these tales can be interpreted as Gozu-tennou(牛頭天王), Susanoo or Kunitokotachi-oh-kami(国常立太神). Interestingly, all prehistoric rulers of Japan were described as the Devil. However, historical truths are often tampered with by the powers of the day. In this case, I feel that the true identity of the Devil, who had owned Japan from time immemorial and terrified people, is the sealed-up, hidden indigenous god, namely Hakusan-shin(白山神), who brought all original gods together.

  • interpret 解釈する
  • interestingly 興味深いことに
  • prehistoric 有史以前の
  • tamper with A Aを改ざんする
  • seal up A Aを封印する
  • indigenous 土着の

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

What the Original Japanese Buddhism Means

%ef%bc%97%e5%b7%bb

In foreign countries, religious rituals glorifying God are common, while those for ancestral spirits are rare. There are some countries that have no such customs. In Japan, holding memorial services for ancestral spirits have been practiced a lot since ancient times, compared with other countries, because the Buddhism in Japan, which originally came through the Eurasian Continent, valued ancestral spirits and spread all over Japan as such.

  • glorify 讃える
  • custom 習慣
  • compare 比較する
  • the Eurasian Continent ユーラシア大陸
  • value 重んじる

In the earliest Buddhism founded by Shakuson, the teachings of memorial services for ancestral spirits are very few. According to an episode, for example, when Shakuson spiritually saw the mother of Mokuren(目連), one of his Ten Disciples, was suffering in Hungry Ghost Realm of Hell, he suggested to Mokuren that he contribute food to as many monks and people as possible and get the monks to pray for his mother so that she could rest in peace.

  • the earliest Buddhism 原始仏教
  • found 創設する
  • contribute 寄付する
  • monk  僧侶

I think this episode is suggestive.

● the importance of contributing to others

●the importance and practical power of consideration by a lot of people

I feel that this just one episode caused Japanese Buddhist monks to perform funeral services and have a ceremonial dinner after the service. I also feel that the episode was used in its broad interpretation and as a result Buddhist monks came to live their lives depending on alms.

  • suggestive 示唆に富んだ
  • importance 重要性
  • consideration 思いやり
  • interpretation 解釈
  • alms 施し

This is how memorial services for ancestral spirits, which didn’t exist in the earliest Buddhism, led to the present “funeral Buddhism.” It goes without saying that this is different from the earliest Buddhism founded by Shakuson. It’s the original Japanese Buddhism. I interpret this incident as a good thing for Japan as a whole. I feel that holy spirits of the World of Gods of Japan concerned themselves with the establishment of this system.

  • funeral Buddhism 葬式仏教
  • interpret 解釈する
  • incident 出来事
  • concern oneself with A Aに関与する

The idea of worshipping ancestral spirits had existed before Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Though the present Buddhism in Japan has a  lot of problems, such as Buddhist monks enjoying luxury or exploiting people by the system of collecting money, it has surely contributed to the custom of directing people’s mind to their ancestral spirits periodically. The thing is it’s important never to forget gratitude toward ancestors and to direct your mind to them once in while. There are  various ways for doing this.

  • worship 崇拝する
  • introduce 紹介する
  • luxury 贅沢
  • explot 搾取する
  • direct 向ける
  • periodically 定期的に
  • once in a while 時折

If some spirits related to you are in pain in this World of Reality, they will try to make you notice their existence. Therefore you need to direct your mind to them by holding memorial services before you are forced to notice them. Otherwise, you would be made to notice their existence in some way. Also, even if the spirits in pain give up informing you of their existence, your spiritual line will be clogged, which, in turn, will affect the life force, fortune, and mental stability of their descendants, including you.

  •  related 関係した
  • notice 気づく
  • existence 存在
  • be forced to~  〜せざるを得ない
  • otherwise さもないと
  • inform 知らせる
  • clog 詰まらせる
  • descendant 子孫

A lot of people are going through difficulties in life, burdened with spiritual handicap. They are being tortured doubly hard. It is true that people, living in this World of Reality, world, have the hardships of life even if they hold memorial services correctly every day. Efforts are important in real life. But without spiritual handicap, they could overcome the hardships with a positive mind. There is a difference of heaven and earth here.

  • difficulties 困難
  • torture 苦しめる
  • correctly 正しく
  • effort 努力
  • overcome 乗り越える
  • positive 積極的な

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma SU

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

 

Villains are Saved who can be Aware of their being Villains

Shinran(親鸞), the founder of Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism, once said “Good men can become Buddha, much more bad men.” He affirmed that even bad men could be Buddha absolutely. Hearing this, it is said, some people in those days did wrong things intentionally, claiming  that they did it to become Buddha. Since his saying became a social problem, Shinran said “You don’t need to take in poison because there is good medicine.”

  • affirm 断言する
  • social problem 社会問題
  • medicine 薬

What I feel he wanted to say is the importance of recognition and awareness. Those are great who can be aware of their being bad persons, for they have already regretted and repented of his sins. As is common more or less in this world, some people think of their evil deeds as nothing and others something bad. Some neighbors take out their garbage on the days other than fixed ones without feeling guilty, for example. They are not even aware that they are doing wrong things.

  • recognition 認識
  • awareness 気づき
  • regret 後悔する
  • repend 懺悔する
  • common よくある
  • fixed 決められた

Bad men Shinran referred to are villains who are aware that they are villains, not villains others cast stones at. There is a big difference between those who regard themselves as bad and those whom others regard as bad. This World of Reality is a dimension where it’s difficult to distinguish good from bad. Shakuson also told about the difficulty of recognizing things rightly and its importance. He suggested that if people failed to recognize things rightly, they would commit a sin without knowing it and make bad karma, which would affect their afterlives, too.

  • refer 言及する
  • villain 悪党
  • regard 見なす
  • dimension 次元
  • sin 罪
  • afterlife 来世

Then, what should you do? All you have to do is to live according to your conscience while you decrease your negative magnetism around your body by holding memorial services for your ancestral spirits with gratitude to them and being grateful to God. If you admit having done something wrong, you have only to do something good that surpasses the wrong thing. It’s best if you can do something good for others, including your family. If you can also console invisible beings such as your ancestral spirits on this journey called a life, your life is a better one.

  • conscience 良心
  • decrease 減らす
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • grateful 感謝して
  • admit 認める
  • surpass 上回る
  • console 慰める

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

You Don’t Need Any Drugs to Feel Happy

%ef%bc%97%e5%b7%bb

Every time I drive in the evening on weekend recently, I find that spaces have been increasing in parking lots of restaurants. I think closed restaurants have begun to appreciable, too. On the days when all prices of sushi become 88 yen at a certain restaurant, a lot of cars would often wait in a queue for vacant parking spaces of the restaurant, but there were a lot of parking spaces there the other day. People seem to have begun to save money spent on dining out.

  • every time S+V SがVするたびに
  • parking lot 駐車場
  • appreciable 目につく
  • in a queue 列になって
  • dining out 外食

The burst of the bubble of investment started from the U.S. has been involving the whole world. Even jobs or dietary lives of people who have nothing to do with investment have also been affected in Japan. The other day, to help American mega banks, all Japanese mega banks were practically forced to buy stocks of American banks worth hundreds of millions of yen.

  • burst 破裂
  • investment 投資
  • involve 巻き込む
  • stock 債権

If American banks should collapse, Japanese mega banks would be affected severely. What banks do first to avoid such a disaster would be to collect loans from micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. They would do it more and more mercilessly and as a result such enterprises would be forced to close stores, reduce workforce or go bankrupt. Various problems will surface next year or the year after.

  • collapse 崩壊する
  • collect 回収する
  • reduce 減らす
  • various 様々な
  • surface 表面化する

It is sad to see human beings with God inside themselves ground down by invisible money, which is nothing more than figures. Do not prostitute your soul to what you cannot take with you after death. A feeling of happiness changes all the time. Once what you thought would make you happy comes true, you will come to feel dissatisfaction with the same thing in time.

  • grind down A  Aを虐げる
  • nothing more than A Aに過ぎない
  • fogure 数字
  • prostitute 安く売る
  • once S+V 一旦SがVしたら
  • dissatifaction 不満
  • in time やがて

The level of happiness you seek for goes up higher and higher, which is not due to aspiration in the true sense of the word. No matter how much your surroundings change, you cannot have a peaceful state of mind as long as your mind stays the same. Trying to make the level of happiness higher would make you poor in spirit. True aspiration should be for you to be broad-minded and kind, regardless of your present situations.

  • be due to A Aが原因である
  • aspiration 向上心
  • broad-minded 広い心

There are many people in the world who want to have a full meal even just for once in their lives. In contrast, some people are keen on dieting and others kill themselves because of love problems. Though they are all human beings, they are seeking for different kinds of happiness seriously.

  • have a full meal お腹いっぱい食べる
  • in contrast 対照的に
  • be keen on A Aに熱心である

In this World of Reality, you can never satisfy yourself by gaining a lot of money, possessing things or trying to depend on others. It’s like drug. The more you take drugs, the less you’re satisfied, which leads to fearful consequences. The ends of drug users and those seeking for God outside themselves may the same. Both of them will end up killing their conscience, or Inner God.

  • satisfy 満足させる
  • atrophy 萎縮させる

As you come to feel happiness without drugs, you won’t need them any more. To terminate drug taking, what should you do? It you realize good points of the present situations or things you should be grateful for you can stop using drugs. Then you would have the true aspiration of making the best of your present situations. You would try your best because your present situations are extremely unusual and too good to miss. Aren’t you missing the chance?

  • terminate 終わらせる
  • make the best of A Aを最大限に利用する
  • unusual 稀有な

We humans are all destined to leave this world sooner or later. The time is to come when you leave your physical body and surroundings behind. No matter how much you’re suffering, the end will come.  No matter how happy you are, the time for you to leave will come. So, why don’t you savor the rest of your short life?  For you can never experience your present life again ever. Don’t hurry. Assume an immovable attitude.

  • destined 運命付けられて
  • leave A behind Aを置いていく
  • savor 味わう
  • rest 残り
  • hurry 急ぐ
  • immovable 不動の

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

Good Balance of Happiness You’ll never Know

When I visit a client company I’m in charge of, I sometimes see a mentally-handicapped young man walking on the company’s premise or in the neighborhood. Everytime I see him, I find him walking happily with a canned coffee in his hand. He walks around aimlessly, muttering to himself. He seems unable to speak clearly.

  • mentally-handicapped 知的障害のある
  • premise 敷地
  • mutter ブツブツ言う

One day, I went to the president’s house near the company on business. On pushing the buzzer, the door was opened. I wondered if it was an automatic door, when the familiar young man came out of the door screaming. The president came out and said “Our family’s treasure has left the building.” He looked at my face smiling.

  • automatic 自動の
  • familiar 馴染みのある
  • treasure 宝物

On the way back, I was thinking that the president was really great. He was dignified accepting and understanding his son as he was, and never trying to hide him from the eyes of others. Many of the families I know that have mentally-handicapped persons have them stay at institutions. They seem to want to take care of their handicapped children in their houses if possible, but there must be some reason for it. I thought the president taking care of his son at home was a very kind parent though I knew there are various cases according to the family’s condition or the disability level.

  • on the way back 帰る途中で
  • accpet 受け入れる
  • institution 施設
  • condition 状況

On one occasion, I happened to find the son walking down the street far from the company. I was surprised that he was walking that far. Then, unexpectedly enough, I found out that he was keeping a cigarette in his mouth. He was walking fast with a roll of his hips as if he were in a  walking race, clicking a cigarette lighter in his hand.

  • on one occasion ある時
  • that far そんなに遠くまで
  • walking race 競歩

I thought he would be old enough to smoke a cigarette but that his father didn’t know this, so I pulled over my car to think about whether I should give him a warning. With the time for a business talk drawing near, however, I left the place throwing the magnetism of care at him.

  • pull over A Aを止める
  • warning 警告
  • draw near 近づく

On the way back from the business talk in the evening, I went to the company worrying about him, when I found that the president, with tears in his eyes, was slapping his son’s face in the parking lot. The moment  I got out of my car and the president turned around to look at me, the son ran away crying.

  • slap 叩く
  • turn around 振り向く
  • run away 逃げる
  • the moment S+V SがVするや否や

The president told me that he caught his son smoking and was telling him off. According to him, he had warned him not to play with fire many times because it could cause others trouble. I could do nothing but nod, saying “It’s an important thing.” Seeing his eyes filled with tears, I felt his love toward his son.

  • catch A ~ing Aが〜している現場を抑える
  • tell A off Aを叱る
  • warn A not to~ Aに〜しないよう警告する
  • nod 頷く
  • tears 涙

It seems that his company can secure jobs and get a constant stream of requests without sales efforts while many other companies in the same field have a hard time because of the recession. I feel this is thanks to the president’s character and his treasure, his son, whose walk on the company’s premise functions as the purification of the company.

  • secure 確保する
  • recession 不景気
  • character 人格
  • purification 浄化

In this world, there seems to be a good balance of happiness. We just cannot be sure which is connected to which because of its complexity. But it is certain that the works of art by God operate unerringly.

  • complexity 複雑さ
  • certain 確かな
  • unerringly 狂わず

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

Things will Get Better as Long as You Keep Your Conscience

%ef%bc%97%e5%b7%bb

When the economy gets worse, people loaded with cares increase, for the depression begins to affect family finances. When the economy is good, however, people worry about something, too. Though, with the market lively, people take a good financial condition for granted and don’t worry about money, they are still distressed by sexual relations and the comparison with others for example. In short, people are distressed all the time.

  • care 心配事
  • depression 不景気
  • lively 活気のある
  • distressed 悩んだ
  • comparison 比較

In this World of Reality, there is a spiritual law that make people distressed constantly so that their souls can develop. To tell the truth, those who are distressed are fortunate, for as people get older and their growth potential decreases, they grow forgetful and cease to worry, which may be the grace of God.

  • purpose 目的
  • develop 発達する
  • constantly 絶えず
  • potential 可能性
  • grace 恩寵

As long as you are able to worry, there exists the possibility of your soul developing because God expects so. In this sense, if you’re distressed now, it’s OK as long as you keep a positive mind. When you look at this World of Reality and realize this law, you can cope with your worries, putting out your tongue at them. They just worry you only while you’ve got your physical body for a short period of time. Since your soul is destined to go on the next journey after taking off your physical body, the cares you have at present are nothing special.

  • exist 存在する
  • positive 積極的な
  • anxiety 不安
  • physical body 肉体
  • desitined 運命付けられた

No worries can hurt your soul deeply. But they appear to wring your heart. Why? Because what hurts your mind is not worries but yourself. It is you who are the culprit and hurt your own mind. As you race through your life trying to escape from worries, your mind and body will lose flexibility and you’ll have no room in your heart. In such a case, though you’re in pain, it’s best for you to slow down and have the courage to savor and watch the worries calmly.

  • wring 苦しめる
  • culprit 犯人
  • race 急ぐ
  • courage 勇気
  • savor 味わう

To face your worries and accept them positively, it’s important that you have no unnecessary spiritual magnetism surrounding your body. With this magnetism, you would find it difficult to keep on practicing good things, however much you hear an instructive story. You would be overwhelmed by worries and end up as all talk. To ensure that this does not happen, I’ve shown you the Ise-Hakusan-Dou method of turning a bad spiritual magnetism into a good one.

  • face 直視する
  • magnetism 磁気
  • instructive 建設的な
  • overwhelm 圧倒する
  • all talk 口だけ

However much you’re going through difficulties, you’ll be alright as long as you can keep your conscience. However much you stumble covered in mud, your soul is free from mud as long as you have consideration for others. Why don’t you enjoy the present journey a lot?

  • conscience 良心
  • stumbe 転ぶ
  • consideration 思いやり

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.