Tenrikyo Europe Centre

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2013 July Monthly Service Sermon

by Jean-Paul Sudre (Head of Bordeaux Kyokai)

I am very pleased that we have been able to perform together the July Monthly Service. This month it is my turn to deliver the sermon to you, so may I have your attention for a few moments.

Our world is becoming very unstable and losing strong values that we can rely on. This often leads us to behave illogically and results in misery and suffering. I would like to speak about the teachings of Oyasama today to reflect on the importance of the state of mind we should have in our quest for a better life full of health and joy.

To understand well, if we go back to the origin, we can see that the creation of the world is perfect, the new world created by God the Parent is the one that is intended for human beings. More specifically, it includes the spaces in which human beings can live, which we more generally call the Earth with its millions of blessings.

At the time of origin, the different forces of God the Parent came together from 10 different directions of the space, one after the other in response to God’s call, and began to move together, creating both the perfect conditions for the development of humanity. In Ofudesaki, we read:

Only through the exhaustive efforts of Tsukihi,
made step by step, have you become the humans you are.Ofudesaki VI, 88

The true and real God of this universe is Tsukihi.
The others are all instruments.

Drawing them forth one after another, I used them to begin
human beings and gave to each a sacred name.Ofudesaki VI, 50-51

So at the beginning, God the Parent gathered all the necessary elements for the realisation of a Joyous world and since then God has continued to guide us and raise us patiently. So, in principle, none of us should suffer, cry or lead an unhappy life, as we live, move and have our existence in the very heart of this world which is the body of Tsukihi.

In explaining this, Oyasama teaches us that the Origin and Humanity are One, and that the Creation of human beings began when Tsukihi, God the Parent, entered the two Models of the human couple, the Seed and the Seedplot. God is therefore our Parent. The fundamental role of the man-and-woman human couple is also revealed to us at this time.

To have a good state of mind also means to listen to what God the Parent asks of us. Since the Origin God has wanted to see man and woman forming a married couple, each one leading a Joyous Life.

At a time when human beings on the whole earth are looking for something to reply on, Oyasama reminds us of the crucial importance of the male-female married couple, which is the root of humanity. Many people today have marriage problems and feel lonely. We need to think about this reminding ourselves of the following verse:

Husband and wife working together in hinokishin;
This is the first seed of everything.Mikagura-uta, XI, 2

Another very important thing: God the Parent gives us the freedom to use our mind. This is essential if we are to understand how to realise the Joyous Life from this present life. This freedom to use our mind is the strength and originality of human beings, it makes us different from animals and shows us what our place is in creation. God the Parent has given us this wonderful power so that we become co-creators of the Joyous Life. It is a tool that allows us to do as we please, to create good but also bad things or situations. The weight of human intention in the working of our world is considerable.

While this faculty would normally help us to build a Joyous world, we use it selfishly with this insane belief that we are separate from each other. As a result, we create a lot of bad things, often out of fear, wanting to protect ourselves from others or wanting to become more important than them. The state of the world today shows us that we do not know how to use our mind. In the Ofudesaki there are several references to God the Parent’s regret at our mistakes and the misuse of our heart. But despite all these errors, God the Parent also assures us of full support.

Thus we read in Ofudesaki XV, 16-17:

Though regret is so piled up within Me,
I shall save all of you according to your minds.

However high My regret is piled,
I shall work, holding fast to the utmost.

God asks us to be willing to change our use of mind, explaining that God cannot do it for us, as these verses say:

Whatever mind you may have had until now,
replace it, even in the span of a night!”

If you truly replace the mind in its entirety,
Tsukihi will accept it, too, at once.Ofudesaki XVII, 14-15

“I say nothing difficult. I’m not telling you to do this or that, I can not.”

So, while God the Parent does everything to make sure that we can live a Joyous Life, it is clear that this Joyous Life depends entirely on our state of mind.

Thus, seeing how we are unable to properly use our mind, the very cause of this suffering world, Oyagami showed us the model of life through Oyasama. This model shows the right attitude to adopt in the face of whatever difficulties there are in life. Difficulties we have ourselves created, which Oyasama cannot exempt us from. But out of Her parental love, She shows us nevertheless how to get through these.

We are taught that if we follow the way of the Divine Model we’ll surely move forward, and that if we actually become aware of the presence of Oyasama among us and the trouble She takes to guide us, then our way of life will change dramatically. Feeling that Oyasama is next to each of us is the key that opens the door to the Joyous Life. By giving us the path to follow in the various situations which occur in our respective lives, Oyasama is the guide, the pastor of our heart and our mind.

Although our eyes and ears cannot grasp Oyasama’s body and voice, we can understand Her guiding message through everything that happens in us and around us. In fact we should consider all what happens to us as Oyasama’s guidance.

To open your eyes to the wonderful presence of Oyasama next to us and feel Her parental love is the best thing we can do for ourselves and for others. Then to connect to Her as often as possible in every moment of life is the guarantee of achieving the much desired peace of mind.

Now I would like to share with you the following:

About thirty years ago, I followed the Shuyoka, the 3-month spiritual development course at Jiba.

During this course, a disturbing experience happened to me one day when we were cleaning the sanctuary of Oyasama. At the end of cleaning the whole group sat waiting. I was sitting at the bottom of the room on the left, I bowed to pray and then I felt warmth throughout my body and a feeling of well-being, I sat up straight slightly and at my side I found the presence of a very old lady whom I had not noticed before. I bowed again to complete the prayer. Then when I sat up straight the old lady was no longer there. I thought then that I might be dreaming.

In the evening, at Shuyoka, we occasionally gave brief reports on our experience, and when I told about my experience, other people concluded that I must have seen Oyasama. Maybe this lady really existed or maybe not, I don’t know for certain.

What is certain, though I never told this story again, is that I have not forgotten the sensation I felt in the sanctuary that day. Today I can say in retrospect that it is at this course that my eyes were opened to the presence of Oyasama. Before that happened, I was practicing the path, but rather in an intellectual way.

I decided to revisit this story today because I feel that I understand it a little better and that I am able to convey something through it.

Oyasama can come next to each of us at any time by taking multiple appearances. For a situation where we were touched by her presence and which we are aware of, there may be 1,000 that went unnoticed. We are guided in our personal progress from the Origin, and this through our causality. In our everyday encounters with other people, it is often Oyasama we meet. In everything we live, everything is done for us to walk more safely towards the Joyous Life. Oyasama uses the causality of each one of us, the law of causality, to guide us with precision.

Many of us complain, protest and cry because things are not going as we would like. We are taught that if I want to experience something different from what I live today, I will have to begin to plant different seeds patiently, and gradually the seeds will begin to germinate. Instead, what has previously been sown and conditions my current life will not be reduced instantly. It is precisely by allowing each person’s causality to manifest that Oyasama guides us in our process of growth. She tells us:

“If it is the causality of your previous lives, I must absolutely make you go through it.”

Causality, whether good or bad, is a protection of God the Parent. In addition, each of us is born with the “seed” of the Joyous Life, the original wonderful causality.

Thank you very much for listening.