The Way of God

Part 1   Gentle and Peaceful

l. The Founder, Konko Daijin as a common person
The Founder, Konko Daijin was born in Bichu Province [now Okayama Prefecture] on August 15, 1814. In the beginning, he was a poor farmer, but eventually became the richest farmer in the village. So when he gave up his fields and high position in the village, and began praying to God for people's safety and prosperity, the villagers became quite surprised at his actions.
Konko Daijin, being different from the ordinary villagers, appreciated the God, Tenchi-Kane-no-Kami, more than he did his property and position.
He preached that it was very necessary to be sound in mind and body. He described his personal experiences in how he transcended these hardships. He prayed to God for his and his family's health and thanked God for their blessings.
One day, he received a divine revelation from God. On Nov 15, 1859, according to God's order, he was supposed to stop cultivating the fields, and retire from a hard life as a farmer.
It was important to have enough time to pray to God, and to consult with the many suffering people about various problems. The date that he stopped his farm work was called the Established Day of his becoming the Founder.
After this, he sat down in front of the household altar until his death. This was the revelation from God. He was moved by the strong power of God, and gave himself over completely to God's power.
Konko Daijin's life became a model for everyone and revealed to the whole world that humans could transcend all kinds of hardship.

2. True Feelings of Happiness
The only true pleasure is found through the love of God. The Founder, Konko Daijin was deeply pleased by the small things of everyday life.
He endeavored to strengthen these pleasurable thoughts more than those of suffering and sorrow. He preached freedom from avarice and acceptance of God's blessing.
The more one has, the more one wants. For example, a grandmother visits the church to pray for her granddaughter who hates to go to junior high school. Her granddaughter somehow proceeds to the high school, and reforms her character.
Next, the grandmother desires that her granddaughter obtains gratifying results at school. Perhaps, the grandmother will pray to God more and more for her granddaughter, being driven by her own infinite expectations.
The grandmother will never find everlasting happiness because she is unable to notice the good occurrences such as safety and tranquillity. She should thank God that her granddaughter is able to go to school, and maintain her health.
We notice God's love through directing our eyes to God. We should live as best we can, making the most of our limited lives. We should let go of anxiety, and depend on God for everything.
God gave life to humans, animals, plants, and all living things. The Founder. Konko Daijin felt this through his farmer's life. Let us hear his teachings with a calm mind.
Our lives will be handed down to our offspring. God doesn't allow us to behave as we please. Our sacred lives, given by God, are always beautiful and peaceful. We shouldn't cloud our vision with our small sense of self.

3. Blessing of the Food
At one time Konko Daijin was a farmer. In his childhood, he was adopted by a poor farmer and endeavored to work hard. By the time he was a grown up man, he had become the wealthiest farmer in the village.
Through his studies, he learned how to produce better crops. As a result of his research, he managed to become a wealthy farmer. He always had a bountiful harvest and saw his good fortune as a present from God.
People in the village benefited from his farming knowledge. Konko Daijin felt that every grain of rice was an expression of God's love. Consequently, today in Japan, there is an abundance of food, and Japanese can easily satisfy their tastes. But please remember that a lot of people still die of hunger in the world today.
I think that young men and women who work hard in the field, through the hot sun and cold rain, can appreciate the great blessing of God.

4. Living Thanks for Food
The Founder, Konko Daijin, always gave thanks before his meals. He taught the people how to eat and pray to God by suggesting the following thoughts before eating.
"God provides this food to sustain human life. Please thank God, and don't forget the great blessing of being able to eat and drink."
Because there are no religious precepts in the Konko-Kyo religious sect, the Founder urged the people to eat whatever they liked. The most important point was how to eat.
"Let us always eat remembering to thank God."
Saying how to eat is not difficult. The important point is to feel good about our food and to give thanks to God for the food we have. To eat food that we like is good for our health and far supelior to eating a meal in a gorgeous restaurant.
Food gives the power of life, thus the two are united. We should not make light of food or neglect our health.
Founder, Konko Daijin saw that his fields were the sacred land of God. He realized the blessing of God by cultivating food and thus contributing to human life.
He realized unification with God through working hard in his fields in all kinds of adverse weather.
. If we eat too voraciously, without giving thanks, we run the risk of eating poisonous food. When we eat with thanks, God separates the good food from the bad.
Food is connected to our life. When we eat our meals, it is a time to deepen our belief in God.
I would like you to recognize the holy work of farmers, who bring us all food, and realize that food is a gift from God.

5. Proper Behavior After A Meal
The Founder, Konko Daijin suggested that we all pray to keep up our health because everything in life is dependent on good health. You must actively create your own health, not just by praying to God.
We think of the body as just flesh, but this is a mistake. The body is a present from God. The mind is united with flesh, creating the body through the great power of God.
The Founder, Konko Dijin preached the following about food.
"Food is harmful or good for your health depending on the method by which you have a meal. Excessive drinking and eating is the origin of disease and invites fasting."
The Founder always stressed the proper way to nourish the body, because food is the origin of life. He preached about the proper volume of food and manner of sitting. He preached that everything in life is based on the body. Consequently, because food and eating are considered so vital, the kitchen is considered a sacred place, and the prepare of food is respected.
We are able then to think of the kitchen and the kitchen table as a church where we deepen our thanks.

6. Blessings of the Soil
The Founder, Konko Daijin taught that heaven is our father, and earth our mother. He always preached that the earth was like a mother's warm love. We should remember the word mother-earth.
I think we can experience the earth as God's breast. All living things are nurtured from God's breast the same way children are given life through their mother's milk.
The earth has been given an inscrutable power, the blessing of God. Humans can not live without the power of the earth.
When we work with the soil, we notice that our minds become calm, and we feel renewed. I think that the earth is our rightful home. The earth has various ways of expressing just like human life. Hard soil becomes soft and damp under the rain. The earth has fields, mountains, northern places and southern places, all expressing in different ways. I believe that the earth is alive.
It is very sad that the blessing of the soil was destroyed through urbanization. The green belts were lost in many areas of Japan.
Plants offer us food, and trees and grass are able to clean the air through photosynthesis.
The natural balance of heaven and earth has been lost because of the destruction on earth. To protect nature, we must be careful even in picking weeds or pulling out grass.

7. The Living Earth
I think that the earth is alive the same way a human, a plant or an animal is alive. We shouldn't forget to pray to the earth at the same time we pray to heaven.
The Founder, Konko Daijin preached that humans have lived between heaven and earth since time immemorial. Since ancient times, many people have prayed to heaven, but only a few people have prayed to the earth. To pray to the earth for one's livelihood should be the basic behavior of humans.
It is natural for humans to live on the earth just as it is natural for an aircraft to take off and land or for a bird to nest in a tree.
Humans sow seeds in the soil, and the seeds sprout flowers and bloom beautifully. And a baby takes it's mother's milk and grows up.
Humans easily buy and sell the earth, putting houses and other. things upon the earth. But, we must think of the earth as God's land and thank the earth for giving us its bounty.
The Founder, Konko Daijin preached that we should notice the great intelligence of heaven and earth and the sun and moon.
This intelligence appears as the unlimited blessing of God. The sun and moon have always moved with faultless precision. And like the sun and moon, it is necessary to maintain a rhythmical life. Through daily discipline, we can grow nearer to God's intelligence.
This is a matter of course, but we tend to forget this most important reality, don't we?
The earth is the origin of human life. We came from the earth and we will return to the earth. Namely the earth is a form of God.

8. The Earth's Power
I'd like you to consider the power of the earth. When l sow the seed of a flower, it will not bloom tomorrow.
The seeds which l sow in the soil in the autumn will endure cold and frost and put forth buds next spring.
We planted trees in our father's day, but we will only yield large trees in our grandchildren's day. It takes three generations to grow large trees.
Considering this, the earth moves in a very slow rhythm, so slowly that we can not see it. We can easily appreciate the obvious, but such things as the earth, air, sunlight and water are often forgotten as the simple blessings of God.
I think that the earth's slow rhythm is useful in strengthening one to live in the current complicated society.
The earth's rhythm has the power to change ones negative circumstances for the better. Tuning our lives to the earth's slow rhythm, we will come to know the great love of God.

9. God and Humans
God always gives his great love to everything. For example, the air between heaven and earth, the calm movement of the universe, and birth and death.
In my childhood, I asked my father who God was. My father told me that God appears as the sun, the earth, and the stars. The universe is full of the form of God.
I was surprised at God's great form. According to our prayers, God will give us unlimited love, and our mind will become sacred and powerful. Our lives are influenced by the power of God.
God produces all every day occurrences, for example, meeting friends, buying and selling goods, going to our jobs, etc. God gives us all equal blessings and thanks as his children.
We can recognize the great love of God through observing the sunlight, the weather and everything between heaven and earth.
We can know the great love of God through the following case. I put seeds in my desk drawer. The seeds cannot sprout. But if l sow the seeds in the soil, the seeds will grow up as grass or trees.
Humans cannot comprehend the great power of God. We understand this power through looking at animals and plants. Animals eat plants and grow. Dead animals will fertilize the soil.
It's a cycle according to the rhythm of heaven and earth. But it is unfortunate that humans are liable to break the universal rhythm. For example, nuclear explosions change the natural course of nature, even altering weather patterns.
We continue to level mountains and pollute the water. These actions must be controlled because they will invite the wrath of God.
Truly, nature will give us tit for tat, for example, dirty air, no trees and very hot weather.
Humans are liable to have too much confidence regarding their scientific developments. This is a big mistake. We have defeated many diseases, but new diseases which resist our medicine are emerging. And we must pray to God more and more.
I think that we must pray unconditionally to God for help because this will prove that humans are sincere.

10. Praying
The laws of nature can be seen in human life. The Founder noticed this and consequently his teachings are patterned after these laws.
What then is praying? I think that praying indicates our faith in God. When praying to God, we begin to depend on the power of God with a pure mind. We are able to be peaceful and give thanks to God. This state of peacefulness and thanksgiving is a reflection of God's love, and is available to everyone.
I think that our peaceful and thankful mind is like a small church in spring, creating a feeling of calmness. This state of mind keeps human life positive because peaceful and thankful thoughts have the power to transcend the difficulties of human life.
This state of mind is God's love. But it is not easy to achieve this state of mind. We must practice thankfulness repeatedly through all the hardships of life. I feel that God's love is infinite and is handed down through posterity by acts of honesty and sincerity.
We value progress, development and the wonders of science, but we should consider whether these valuable achievements work towards helping human life. We must reach a point where our values include preserving life for the next generation.
God's blessings have been apparent for a long time, and all people will see these blessings some day. It is necessary to direct attention to the permanence of God's love.
I want to speak to you about patience. We don't need to hurry to obtain the blessing of God. We must live with pleasure to experience God's love. We must have faith that by praying everyday we will grow closer to God.
We shouldn't shrink from difficulties. We won't go to ruin or reach a dead end because God's love is available as long as we live between heaven and earth, the warm breast of God. God will always love us.
As a result of this the Founder preached that we should thank nature. The Founder also taught us that all people are brothers and sisters in God's home. We must pray with each other as God's children. The most important point is to realize that earth is God's sacred land.

11. The Way of God
The Founder preached that people should realize that we are all the children of God, and in the process of deepening our thanks to God, people will awaken to their godliness.
The Founder taught that humans are able to grow closer and closer to God's love through the process of loving and blessing others, because people are God's children.
The Founder preached that the best belief is to think that others are a form of God, and to realize that all things around us are forms of God.
The Founder stressed that we could have a peaceful and thankful mind like God, if we completely enveloped ourselves in God's blessing.
He used his own life as an example to teach people that they too could achieve God realization and become a living god on earth.
Each time the Founder's faith in God deepened. God presented him with a new name. Including his childhood name, his name changed eight times during his life.
At last, the Founder was named lkigami-Konko-Daijin by the God, Tenchi-Kane-no-Kami. The word "Iki" means living. Ikigami namely means a living Kami [God].
The Founder had a family of six, a wife, three sons and two daughters. God gave the family of the Founder new names because they prayed to God and gave thanks for everything that was God's.
The Founder's family saw human beings as God's children. and thanked one another through deep prayer. The Founder's family became the standard of a worshiper's family, and people patterned their family's behavior. after the Founder's.
The Founder preached that a peaceful and thankful family formed the foundation of tranquillity and stability in living. This teaching is a truth that can produce prosperous coexistence in the world.
One day, God ordered the Founder to write about his sacred life since birth.
God also told him the following.
"Because of your hard service to me, I love you deeply and give you all of my blessings. I am very pleased to see you practicing my truth with a pure mind. As a result of your preaching, many suffering people were able to transcend their many difficulties. You helped them to see my love and blessing. Therefore, I am in turn helped by you and thank you for your god like mind."
These words of God are said to be the essence of the Konko-kyo religious doctrine.
God is deeply concerned with humans and thanks them in the same way that humans thank God. This is the true relationship between God and humans, and will create a brilliant new world, which now humans do not notice.
It is God's world.

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