Every year at the beginning, we learn the direction and the guiding principle of that year through the Shinji for Kigansai. And as the season changes to spring, Kami gives the Shinji for Kōeisai that allows each one of us to reflect on how we are doing in practicing the teachings. Therefore, the month of May, or also known as the month of Kōei, is a relevant time for all of us to thrive to live each day with the principles.
In Japanese writing, ‘Kōei’ is constructed with two kanji characters—光栄. The first character is 光 which means light, and represents Kibō no Michi—the light and the power that protects us. And the second character is 栄 which means to prosper. As we make the effort each day to learn and practice the teachings, the light, Kibō no Michi will lead us to a life that is prosperous—which means, no disastrous events or health issues that would worry our minds in the journey to achieve kaiun.
Therefore, in May (the month of Kōei), the question we would want to ask ourselves as we reflect is: Have I followed and practiced the guidance that were given from January through April? And without stopping, we move on with the rest of the year to keep practicing and keep thriving.
In one of the Shinji revealed earlier this year, Kami had shown the following phrases:
Without the teachings, principles of life cannot be measured or understood by the knowledge and experiences people have.
Shinja must know the worth of the teachings and live with a kokoro that is supported by the teachings.
Principles of life, is the important ethics of how humans should live. The unprecedented situation the world is experiencing today cannot be solved by political or economic measures. As Kami said, we are facing a problem that is beyond our knowledge and experiences. This is the reason why we need to learn the teachings as a family and live life supported by the teachings. Kami has been showing this fundamental of life that needs to be heeded from the beginning of the year.
Reviewing the monthly themes discussed through the month of April:
January—Live life supported by the principles.
Not to be consumed by the changes of time, we studied the importance to live life supported by the teachings of Kami. Without the support, we will be consumed by the changes and unable to experience the meaning and purpose. This led to the theme in February.
February—To go along with the flow of the times to experience the meaning and purpose of your life.
March—Continue to give back to society; Stay unconsumed by the changes.
We learned the importance to make use of our unmei no matter how much the world changes.
April—Thrive to create a family that lives with the teachings.
With this theme, it brought our focus back to the family—Learn and practice the teachings as a family.
The monthly themes through April ties to the theme of May, which is to treasure the encounters in your life.
As the world sees changes, we will continue to see further political and economic instabilities, more natural disasters to come, and many other aspects of our lives to change. And in situations like this, a person who cannot treasure and appreciate their encounters, will be consumed. So therefore, Kami is reminding us to thrive and practice the ideas shown through the teachings to work with people. Then our life will be one with our own unmei that would help us stay with the flow of times.
Now let us take a look at some important points from the Shinji for May 1, Kōeisai. This will help us lead to the Shinji for May 2.
Peace in society is protected and achieved when the best is made of each person’s life.
The world is in a confusion. For this confusion to ease and settle peacefully, it is relevant for each one of us to use our unmei—use our abilities to contribute to the world.
If life is lived supported by the teachings, all human beings will not go against the flow of the times, they will make the best of their encounters with people and things, and live out their natural span of life.
To live out the natural span of life does not necessarily mean the end of one’s life. The natural span of life is a natural energy to live, given to each one of us. Therefore, this phrase is close to the concept of unmei, and the life being protected by our own unmei.
For instance, if we live with the teachings, our natural instincts would keep us from doing things that are bad for our health, or do our best to save up for rainy days.
Meaning that the movement of our kokoro will naturally move in the direction to accomplish necessary things. And these instincts would protect us and the family even in times of changes. This is what it means to live out the natural span of life.
Do not neglect the effort to learn the teachings as a family and to create a family that lives by the principles. This kokoro fosters the person (human being) who merges with their unmei, and it becomes the strength (effort) that protects you and your children’s life. Life is not made complete through knowledge, scholastic ability, wealth, financial power, experience, authority. Human beings hone their character, personality by learning the teachings, gaining understanding of the principles, making the best of their encounters each day, and they become complete as the kokoro draws closer to the human kokoro as it should be.
When you read the red parts, the meaning is easily understood. It tells us that as you abide by the teachings, your character and personality to live the right path will be honed. Then the last of the Kōeisai Shinji.
It is now the time (era) when the life of the shinja should be supported by the teachings because society today is undergoing great changes driven by the power (unmei) of an era.
The teachings give the kokoro of the shinja awareness and protect and guide them on the right path. When human beings live a life guided by their unmei, they are in Kami’s hands and live out an era (life) where there are no regrets.
If we have practiced the themes given to us from this January, our kokoro will experience calmness and peacefulness no matter how the world shifts. And that is the true miracle.
The theme for May is to treasure all the encounters in life. However, treasuring the encounters is not a way of life that can be practiced right away. It is by taking the steps from January to April, we have the deep understanding to practice a way of life to treasure all encounters. In other words, those who have not made the effort to practice the guiding principles this year, you might be finding yourself troubled especially with human relationships.
Let us now move on to studying the Shinji. The first part of the Shinji is where Kami is pointing out the deep understanding. As you gain deep understanding, it reflects on your way of thinking and how you live life.
Know how to elevate the jittai.
This, in other words is telling you to find out how to raise your personality; Know how you can thrive to become a person who is loved by many and who maintains good relationships with many people.
The more encounters there are with other people, human beings are made aware of many things, which lead to understanding, and they elevate their life.
Finding out how to be a loveable character and as your personality is raised, you will find yourself meeting more people. And the more people you encounter and interact, you notice and learn new things and gain more experience which will help you hone your character even further. And as a result, your life is elevated. This means, you will be loved and supported by many—perhaps get a promotion at work, or able to stay healthy, or avoiding getting into accidents, etc. In other words, your life will be free from troubles and problems, but filled with hopes and dreams.
The next part is the principles.
The unmei is honed and reflected in the character if relations with the family are correct. If awareness is gained through encounters with family members, human beings will elevate their jittai.
For instance, we see people taking out their frustrations on somebody else who has nothing to do with the problem sometimes. This way of life can be considered as a result of a low jittai, but can be corrected as you learn the teachings as a family and finding the right involvement within the family. The right involvement can be understood when family environment is described as a tree—each member has an important role to play. The husband is the root to support the family, while the wife is the trunk that connects the root and the children who are the branches. It is important you understand your role in the family and involve accordingly. As you practice your own role and communicate your honest feelings, you will start to understand the meaning why it is important to tell the truth and not worry the family, or correct your attitude towards the family, etc. As can be seen, personalities are honed inside the family environment, hence elevating the life entirely. If you don’t know this truth, perhaps you might choose to avoid bonding with the family but stay away from the family and spend with friends instead.
The last part is the awareness—two things we must realize and put to practice.
Learn the teachings and strive repeatedly to connect with family members through the principles.
What we must take in is the repeated effort to connect with the family. Then what happens next;
The jittai is elevated further and a life is lived that is one with the unmei.
With repeated effort to connect with the family, your views will change for the better, allowing your inner strengths to surface. And when this happens, your kokoro will not be consumed no matter how much the society deepens its confusion.
This is the first awareness. And with this awareness, the second awareness comes naturally.
The teachings make human beings aware of the kokoro they should have.
Your kokoro (life) will be supported by your encounters with many people and a life will be lived filled with meaning and purpose.
As you learn that the roles and the involvement within the family, the application of that in a social setting is done with better understanding and more naturally.
Therefore, you will know what to do or what not to do in any given situation. You will easily find your role in different environmental settings. And as a result, encounters with many people will deepen, and when the world returns to how it should be, your life will be filled with meaning and purpose—a satisfying feeling that fulfills you from serving and contributing your abilities to the world.
The world revolves around unmei and jittai. A person with good personalities knows what is important to live through even in times of changes—focusing and valuing the ties with people. For instance, to always greet people with enthusiasm, or always remember people’s generosity and remembering to return them. This is a way of life we must value and what it means to live in the spiritual world that Tomomaruhime Sensei had always taught us.