The purpose of Shinja Kokoro no Michi Benkyōkai (classes based on the Shinji revealed for the 1st, 15th, and 23rd of every month) is to better understand and have a better perspective of our present. This understanding includes our everyday life (flow of our life) as well as what is happening in our society today. The ability to comprehend the present in a correct way is relevant to make the right choices that will help us move forward smoothly with the flow of times. Therefore, being in touch with these Shinjis are recommended to live today, having the right focus.
Remember, time flows continuously—therefore, what is experienced today, whether in our personal lives or what is happening in our world today, is a result of what happened before and what choices were made. And how we face the problems of today will bring different results in the future. That is the reason why the Shinji for Kigansai (January 1st), which helps us foresee where the society is heading becomes important.
The theme for January was to live life supported by the teachings. And with this theme, Kami guided us to realize that many of what we see in our society today exists without principles—meaning that many things we see today are not existing or perceived in a way that it was meant to be. So as a solution, instead of trying to change others, we learned that it is important for us to be able to see things correctly with wisdom and with a profound philosophy based on the principles.
Once we are able to see things correctly; it brought us to a theme in February that if we are able to go with the flow of the times, we will gain meaning and purpose in life. This tells us that if we can feel and see the changes of society in an exact way, we can thrive accordingly to use our abilities and talents in the right time and right places. As a result, people will praise, look up to, and able to inspire the people around us for just being ourselves—experiencing the meaning and purpose of life. Afterall, we find meaning and purpose through interactions and in relations to other people around us.
And being able to go with the flow of the times, we will not be consumed by the changes of society, and contribute in a way that we are meant to. And this leads to the theme in March, where we learned how to contribute to society without being consumed by the changes in our environment.
As we entered April, the theme focuses on our family environment—where Kami brings our attention to the importance, that we need to contribute to our family and find the meaning and purpose in the family before we contribute to the society. In other words, it is difficult to find meaning and purpose in life without a good relationship with our own family. And the theme for April is especially important to overcome what we are experiencing today.
A family environment that Kami suggests is nothing special—to keep quality conversation going with the family. However, there are misinterpretations of the term ‘conversation.’ Therefore, it is important we keep on learning to search for the true meaning of conversation that Kami teaches us.
We are shown three Shinjis every month (the 1st, 15th, and 23rd), the Shinji on the 1st of the month is the general remarks or the outline for the month. The Shinji on the 15th is the detailed exposition, and the 23rd is the concluding principle of the month.
Given the general remarks for April: The more the family learns the teachings, the kokoro of family members come together, deepen, and feelings of mutual support strengthen (the first line of April 1st Shinji), we will continue with the details using the Shinji for April 15th. Let us continue to learn the teachings to acquire a profound philosophy that would support our way of life living in our world today.
To have a better understanding, it is recommended to separate the Shinji into three parts. The first part is the principle, where Kami shows us the nature of human beings.
Do you know what kind of kokoro sustains human beings as they live?
The reason to this one phrase is to elicit our understanding and to bring our attention to think what exactly sustains the kokoro of human beings. We live in a society where people believe that money, titles, education, or experiences are most important. But Kami shows us a different perspective.
The consciousness of human beings, who live by their five senses, is consumed by their thoughts, seeks values in materialism, and forgets the truths about the spiritual world. Their kokoro is obsessed only by the value of things and is unable to perceive the truths, the principles, about the Kokoro no Michi.
*Kokoro no Michi are the values and thoughts handed down in the family line.
The five senses are the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.
Human beings live with bodily existence. And this indicates that many of our behaviors are tied to the information taken in by the five senses. For example, a single hand shake deepens a relationship between people. Or at times, we are disturbed by a person’s stare. This is what it means to be consumed by thoughts that are moved by the information taken in by the senses. And these complicated ties are made within us in our subconscious in a progressive way. And this leads to our understandings, decision makings, or to our judgments and conclusions. The point here is to understand that it is human nature to rely on the physical aspects of things rather than the invisible elements of this world we live. And that is the reason why Kami gave us a Shinji that continues that we human beings seeks value in materialism, and forgets the truths about the spiritual world.
In our daily lives, we run into situations where our thoughts are moved in many directions. But it is important to always stay focused on our self (how we would react to the situation), not putting the focus on the other person to judge whether they were right or wrong. For example, you bump into someone and would instantly tell them “Excuse me…” When someone gives you the way while driving a car, you thank them for their generosity by waving at them. When a car cuts you off from another lane on the freeway, it is better not to get angry and chase after them. Or you came home late, communicate to your family—sensing that they might have been worried about you for not calling when you were running late.
To always be conscious about the feelings of others is the truths about the spiritual world that Kami talks about.
And the meaning behind the phrase that says; truths and the principles about the Kokoro no Michi is to understand the true way of how to live as a human being. As Kami tells us that we are not perceiving this truth and principle correctly, therefore we need to rethink and value the invisible element (kokoro) of every being.
The point we must understand from the first part of the Shinji is the fact that materialistic things and values are not what sustains the kokoro of human beings. What sustains the kokoro is the want to always live to give to people. Which in other words is to live with gratitude, appreciation, and using kind words to other people. As mentioned earlier, the focus stays on our self, not the other people; How we face the many situations that occurs as a result of family involvement, or social movements, etc.
The second part is the realization.
To the Shinja
What do you think and hope to leave behind on the last day of life?
The more the teachings are learned by the family, thoughts of gratitude for the mysterious existence of family and relatives blossom in human beings. They perceive the origin of life and accept the mysteriousness of ties. When this happens, the kokoro of human beings is enveloped in gratitude and feel the need to succeed to and the responsibility to protect their Kokoro no Michi.
This part of the Shinji helps us realize the spiritual (the invisible element) that the family environment provides.
Kami asked; what do you think and hope to leave behind on the last day of life?
There is a person who kept a chair that his father used to use all time. It may appear to be an old chair for most people, but for him, it isn’t just a chair. It is a chair that reminds him of his father along with all the memories he has with him.
So therefore, what we must do is to thrive ourselves to be a person who stays in people’s heart for years to come.
The encounters with our own families are not by chances; it is an arranged encounter in the hands of Kami with a deep meaning. If you can feel the deep meaning behind our birth in our family line, we will be enveloped with a deep sense of gratitude. And this is where Kami said; thoughts of grat]itude for the mysterious existence of family and relatives blossom in human beings. This deep sense of gratitude is felt as we keep learning the teachings.
Everyone of us are born into this world with a meaning and purpose. And if we can perceive our origin of life, we can see the preciousness of life, and accept our unmei and jittai with gratitude. And gratitude is a sense of acceptance which leads us to feel the need to succeed to and the responsibility to protect what is handed down in the family line. We must not misunderstand, that the things we succeed and protect are the physical assets. But we are talking about the important family values, the important kokoro that would protect the way of life of the next generation.
When this need to succeed and protect are drawn out in our individual hearts, we will not live to worry our parents, or neglect the interactions with other family members. And if problems arise, we will feel comfortable enough to talk to our family about the problems and anxieties. And every time this is possible, we can regain the positive feelings to overcome any hurdles.
The last part teaches us the two deep understandings we must have today.
Human beings are an existence that is given life (unmei) within the Kokoro no Michi of their family, and guided by their Kokoro no Michi, live out their life (unmei). All human beings, who understand this truth, will accept the existence of Kami and live by the principles of the path.
This is the first understanding.
To have a deep understanding of the teachings is to be able to raise our personalities.
Kami tells us; accept the existence of Kami and live by the principles of the path. What this teaches us is that a person with high integrity is a person who admires and respects the greater being as well as the ancestors and forefathers—this is what you call a person who is humble. And a person who has these thoughts would live their best to leave behind good things within the given family environment.
And the next is the second understanding.
All human beings are in the hands of Kami; their soul is placed within a physical body and they live within a finite period of time (an era). During this time, the soul becomes the strength (unmei) to live and sustain the kokoro (life) and guides life to kaiun.
Understand this truth, principle, about life; what is needed is the kokoro to build a family that lives by the teachings and leaves behind the kokoro (to endeavor) to your descendants.
Life is finite. We are all living within a life span. As we keep our conscious on the invisible elements (the spiritual world/ our kokoro) and live with the teachings especially in the family environment, we will live out our lives to the fullest. Not only the satisfaction envelopes us, but it would leave good values, a precious kokoro to the succeeding family. And this is kaiun—a true feeling of satisfaction, gratitude, and a sense of security left behind in the family. This is the truth and the reality of how humans should live their life.
If we are able to understand this, we can see the reason why Kami says; build a family that lives by the teachings and leaves behind the kokoro to your descendants. And with this, we see the importance to live by the teachings especially in the family environment.
Tomomaruhime Sensei once spoke to us the importance to see where we are standing. If we look closely, there might be an ant hiding underneath the leaf you are stepping.
Flowers at the flower shops are not the only flowers on earth; there are thousands of flowers blooming elsewhere. This was a lesson that taught us the importance to feel and appreciate all the life existing around us.
Many of us are at home with our families today. Wherever we are, to live with a consciousness not to be moved emotionally by the information taken in by our senses, but to see the invisible elements (the spiritual world/ our kokoro) is needed today.