Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Happened in Sydney

   I visited Sydney to conduct Readers' Meeting held there as a dispatched lecturer from Seicho-No-Ie International Headquarters. I left Japan on Sep. 8, Thursday, and returned here on Sep. 12, Monday. They have a monthly readers' meeting receiving assistance from Int'l HQs via Skype. They don't have any Regional Lecturers and Propagators, but they keep holding meetings every month, propagating the teachings, and organizing their group well. I would like to extend my heartfelt blessings to them all!

   On 10th, Saturday, we had a Readers' Meeting at the Vibe Hotel North Sydney with 14 participants. I provided two lecturers respectively titled, "Gratitude Is the Key to Happiness" and "Let Us Extend Our Joy throughout the World," and led "Prayer for World Peace" in the end of the event. It was a good time to pray for world peace because the following day was 10th anniversary of 911.

   At the first lecture, I focused upon two of the three pillars of the SNI teachings, "the world created by God is perfect and harmonious, therefore, man is a child of God," and "our body and environment are a reflection of our mind." I talked that the Great East Japan Earthquake is an opportunity to remind us of the fact what is considered the ordinary should be highly grateful to. With a few hours of rolling blackout, we for the first time realized that having electricity should be grateful to and part of the electricity we are using is generated by Fukushima nuclear power plant, which has been a center of attention from the world. Then, I shared a testimony of a woman who could be harmonized with her husband recovering from in-house separation by practicing the teachings.

   In the second lecture, I talked about Islam, empathy, and global environment. One of the three pillars of the SNI teachings is "all true religions emanate from one universal God." Touching upon this principle, I explained why we SNI members need to learn Islam. I briefly talked about the commonality between the teachings of Islam and Seicho-No-Ie based on what Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi taught us. After explaining about empathy, I emphasized that we believe practicing the "Four Immeasurable Minds of Buddha" is one of the key to solve the climate change issue.

   It is highly appreciated that all the attendees enthusiastically listened to me and resolved to live Eco-friendly lives as a practice of "Four Immeasurable Minds."

   This event was organized by Int'l HQs and promoted and advertised by our members in Australia including the facebook page they sponsored. We were happy to welcome two participants who knew about the event from the facebook page.

   What made this event so meaningful and successful was great efforts by local members as well as sincere supports by International Headquarters, especially members of Int'l Department. The minister who is doing a job as a contact person is constantly helping their activities via Skype and others. She did a very good job!

   On 11th, Sunday, we had Mind Purification Ceremony and discussion at a members house where 9 people gathered, took part in the ceremony, and enjoyed Thai dishes and our company.

   With deeds of love by all concerned, we were able to spend the wonderful weekend. Thank you very much, everyone!

   Incidentally, since Sydney is in the Southern Hesmiphere, it is the early spring. It was so cold especially in the morining and night. But a kind member advised me to have some warm clothes in advance, I made it through the cold weather without any problem. Thank you very much!

Tetsuya Abe

Photos: Opera House, Harbor Bridge, Cafe au lait, Thai foods we enjoyed on Sun, and Group photo on Sat.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Nadeshiko Japan"

I am so happy to see that "Nadeshiko Japan" finally won World Cup on Sunday. Information on their performance, preparation for the competition, who they are like, etc. is getting unfolded, what deeply impressed me among them is their spirit. As the following saying goes in Japan, stumbling seven times but recovering eight, they rise immediately whenever they fell down on the ground. They NEVER give in. The U.S. team was truly great and strong. I think they are also deserved to the cup. That is why Nadeshiko should be proud of winning the match in the way they did. Other than their outstanding performances, what strikes me a lot is the spectators in Germany. Despite their team was defeated at the quarter final by Japan, almost all of the quarter finals' and final's stadiums were filled with a full capacity of people. More than that, the final started 8:30 pm and ended over 11 pm, but many of the spectators remained there and cheered both U.S. and Japan team. I felt that the Germans really love soccer and their team will show wonderful performance next time.

Tetsuya Abe

Monday, May 23, 2011

What I'm grateful for today

It is very grateful that my families are very fine everyday. My daughter seems accustomed to her new school life. She has to get up early in the morning, I mean, two hours earlier than when she attended kindergarten. It is true that she's still been struggling for that, however, she is really enthusiastic about learning and enjoys her company at school. It is a relief for my wife and I.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I cooked further no-meat dishes the other day.
I've been really into cooking these days.

Tetsuya Abe

Left: okra pods tossed with ume, or Japanese apricot
Above: simmered chopped turnip and fried cake of ground fish
Below: fried turnip leaves with deep fried tofu

Monday, November 01, 2010

2-year Service for the late Rev. Seicho Taniguchi

  On October 28, two-year Service for the late Rev. Seicho Taniguchi, former President of Seicho-No-Ie, was held at SNI International Headquarters in Tokyo with the presence of Rev. and Mrs. Masanobu Taniguchi, and Mrs. Emiko Taniguchi, wife of Rev. Seicho. Mrs. Emiko Taniguchi delivered an address in the end of the service along with Rev. Taniguchi.

  Since it was a very cold day like December, some people might be hesitant to attend, but devout members in Kanto area gathered and memorialized Rev. Seicho, deeply grateful for what he had done for us. Everything in the program was good, the remarks by Mrs. Emiko Taniguchi were most impressive for me. She talked about her photo albums, which she noticed were only cheerful and bright photos in the albums. Then, she thought they are sundial photo albums! She also told that she had been reading Rev. Seicho's books and thought he lived as what he had written in his books. Lastly, she introduced a piece of his articles which struck me a lot. I will show you part of it as follows:

  Just as we hope for a beautiful sunset, we also wish for our life's sunset to be just as beautiful. However, it is impossible to have a beautiful, comfortable, and even dignified death all of a sudden.
  It is because our life is sequent. Isn't it true that you can beautifully end your life for the first time you lead a beautiful life? That is why let us start to live a life of justice, practice love, and do something good for the people, countries, and societies even though they are small things, without thinking of what you are doing is known or not.
("Shinseiki Eno Message," or "Messages for the New Century," pp. 94-95)

  When I was a college student in Aichi prefecture, about two decades ago, I was asked by a Missionary Area's business manager to keep a seat for Rev. Seicho Taniguchi, who visited Mie Missionary Area to conduct Seicho-No-Ie Public Lecture, so that he can have a seat at the waiting room when changing a train in Nagoya station. When Rev. Seicho showed up on time at the room with his secretary and the leaders of Aichi and Mie Missionary Areas, one idea came to my mind. It is that I wished to have his autograph on his newly published book that I had just purchased.

  When I asked Rev. Seicho to have his autograph on the book, he drew his own back and picked up his fountain pen. Then, he asked me saying, "What do you want me write?" I was taken aback by the unexpected question, but I answered, "Please write 'God is love.'"

  Seeing what I'd done, Rev. Jun Okada, Chief of Aichi Missionary Area who is already passed away, was very pleased and introduced it to many members who gathered the other day by saying, "Abe is bold and wonderful. He can have Rev. Seicho's autograph because he's done what came to his mind right away." I was very happy to hear that. I keep it as one of my greatest treasurers.

  Rev. Seicho shook my hands and told me that "keep it up propagating the SNI teachings." I clearly remember his hand was very soft and warm, and his eyes were pure and beautiful.

  I would like to do my best as much as I can to repay a spiritual obligation on him.

Tetsuya Abe

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Self-made Bento

  I cooked my luch for the first time in about a decade. Recently one of my closest friends started to cook his own lunch bento and share his lunches' photos, which was a good stimulus for me. It's good because you can have a healthy diet and it saves your allowance...

  "Danshi-bento," or a boxed lunch cooked by men, is getting popular these days in Japan. I found many Japanese blogs that specialize in "Danshi-bento."

  The menu is fried roll egg, chopped burdock root cooked in soy sauce and sugar, lotus root with curry powder, and teriyaki chicken.

  It was GOOD!

Tetsuya Abe

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Postingjoy" Started!

  It has already been a year since a Japanese version of "Postingjoy" started, but this time an English version was initiated.

  Postingjoy is an online message board where only positive, enjoyable, pleasant, beautiful, and wonderful things to share our joy with all other people.

  In Seicho-No-Ie, we are highly recommended to say, think, and write only positive things and things grateful for. This is called "Sundial Way of Life." Sundial can tell you what time it is only when the sun is shining. Like this, in the "Sundial Way of Life," you are encouraged to record none but bright and cheerful things.

  Please don't wait to post your joy. Where there is joy and where people rejoice is where happiness gathers. (Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi, OPEN THE DOOR OF YOUR LIFE, vol. 4, p. 193) Your message is most welcome!

Tetsuya Abe

Thursday, October 14, 2010

PE Festival, Entrance Exam, and Business Trip

  The last couple of days were very busy to me. First of all, I participated in a PE festival held at my daughters' kindergarten on Oct. 11, Monday, a national holiday. It was warm, even hot, and the sun was bright. My daughter, Manami, got a cold for a few weeks, but she was happily able to join the festival with her classmates and teacher.

  The following day, there was an entrance exam for private school. Manami got an exam and my wife and I underwent an interview. To our astonishment, we got a notification of acceptance from the school the next day of the exam. We are very pleased to see that our effort was greatly rewarded.

  We started to prepare for the exam a few months ago. Manami studied hard and learned a lot from her mom. My wife and I discussed about our education policy taking long time. It was a very good opportunity for us to reflect how we raised our kid and how we will from now.

Oct. 12 & 13, I visited Okayama on business where Chiefs' meeting in Chugoku Area was held at Seicho-No-Ie Okayama Missionary Center. Jotting down all the participants' remarks, I deepened my sense of gratitude for all their activities leading their members with wisdom and love.

  I am very relieved that I got through without any problem these busy schedule.

Tetsuya Abe

Manami is on the top

Manami is marching in front

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Burglar Who Stopped Robbing

  July 30th ABC News(Podcast) introduced a moving story about a burglar who stopped robbing after he listened to a story of Jesus by a clerk of a cellphone company he planned to attack.

  The burglar with a gun entered the company and threatened a woman clerk to rob money. However, the clerk did not call on "Police" by dialing "911" instead calmed down and called on "God" in this urgent moment. The following dialogue was made between the robber and the clerk:

 (C) I am just going to talk with you about the Jesus that I have.
 (R) The What?
 (C) The Jesus I got before you leave.
 (R) God bless you for that.
 (C) I'm Christian.
 (R) So am I, and I absolutely hate doing this.

  Their conversation went on and on and the robber finally left the office after he politely bowed once without robbing anything. The woman saved the man from committing a crime.

  How wonderful this story is! The security video set there showed that he surely made a courtesy bow. Since he is a decent man who even makes a bow, I'm sure he will go straight.

  I sometimes hear this type of story from a Seicho-No-Ie lecturer. For example, Rev. Yasuo Shibuya, a former Bishop of SNI Latin America, once introduced a following story of Brazil. A SNI member who was very impressed by the SNI teachings such as "everyone is a child of God," and others by attending a SNI seminar took a taxi. The woman talked on and on about what impressed her to a taxi driver all along the way. When they arrived at the destination, the woman saw the driver crying. He said that he was in a trouble so much that he had planned to threaten his customers with gun and to rob them of money. However, after he listened to her saying, " everyone is a precious child of God," he realized that God dwells within himself and felt very ashamed and said to her, "It is highly appreciated that you told me such a wonderful story and give me an opportunity to be reborn as a child of God. You don't have to pay this time."

  Truly, everyone is a child of God. How wonderful it is!

 Tetsuya Abe

にほんブログ村 英語ブログへ


Friday, July 30, 2010

Tips on Effective Presentation

  I've been listening to "Business English Conversation" aired by NHK, or Japanese National Broadcasting Cooperation. This is one of my favorite radio program from which you can learn not only English but also be enriched your education. I've kept listening to the program for nearly 10 years except for the three years I spent in Hawaii.

  In a recent program, how you can give an effective presentation was discussed which attracted me a lot. One of the things focused on was to do rehearsal.

  An assistant teacher of the program, Ms. Chris Matsushita said, "I think almost none of presenters are aware of the importance of rehearsal. Many of them may imagine what they are going to talk in their mind, though." It may be true. I usually don't do any rehearsal when I give a presentation in my native language, Japanese while I do when in English.

  Another important thing talked over the program is a passion to drive home your message. It does not mean that you need to speak in a big and loud voice, but you need to manifest your passion in any way. I couldn't agree more.

  Following points are the tips on effective presentation introduced in the program titled, "Storytelling":

 ・Do rehearsal
 ・Speak with a passion
 ・Use well-chosen anecdotes related to your topic
 ・Keep an eye contact with your audience
 ・Don't read all the letters in a slide
 ・Don't include many letters in a single slide
 ・Don't use many fonts in a slide
 ・Be careful about combination of the colors in a slide
 ・Let your audience know your e-mail address so that you can have feedback from even people who are reluctant to ask questions publicly during and after your presentation

 I'll keep them in mind and put into practice in my next presentation.

 Tetsuya Abe

にほんブログ村 英語ブログへ

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Digital Addiction

   It has been almost one month since I came back to Japan from Hawaii where I was stationed as a resident minister of Seicho-No-Ie. Since I had not been to Japan in the past three years, everything I saw and heard was very fresh to me. It can be said that I had "travelers eyes" which can see in a different manner from the residents.

   By the way, I've recently learned about digital addiction that can take over people's life in an NHK radio English program. According to an expert quoted in the program, if you spend more than two hours using digital devices other than work and study reasons, you are potentially addicted.

   I am one of the persons who receive the benefit from them including PC, internet, electric dictionary, kindle, and ipod. For example, I can exchange ideas on my blog with my friends who I never met, and I can still enjoy watching ABC's and CBS's news which I used to watch while I was in Hawaii by using ipod. However, if you use those devices too much, it might harm you.

   To be honest, when I was in Hawaii, to turn on the power of PC and check emails was my priority after practicing Shinsokan and Holy Sutra reading everyday. I did so because I sometimes had important and urgent emails from U.S. Missionary Headquarters in California where there is three hours time difference from Hawaii. But now, I am not turning on the power of PC until I get to my workplace because if I check the flood of emails I recieve everyday in the early morning, it takes lots of time not only by responding those emails but also checking the websites I registered, which ends up consuming precious morning hours.

   I think to take a balance is important. Receiving a benefit from highly advanced technology while savoring what is blessed to us such as natural beauty and others by making fully use of the our five senses may lead you to a mentally and physically healthy and abundant life.

Tetsuya Abe

Monday, May 10, 2010

Article for Starbulletin

I wrote an article for Starbulletin which appeared on May 8, Saturday. It is my final article for that newspaper. I appreciate for being given this opporunity and also appreciate Clifford Nishimura who editted my article every time.

Let Us Awaken to Our Eternal Life
Tetsuya Abe
Acting Chief, Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Missionary Area

  The founder of Seicho-No-Ie, Masaharu Taniguchi, expounded about "life and death" in the Divine Message of the Return of the Soul to the Spiritual World as follows:

   Your physical body is a musical composition performed on the strings of thought. The concept that Life dwells in the physical body is a dualistic one and not the truth. Properly speaking, Life manifests the physical body in accordance with the composition performed on the strings of thought. ... All people must someday lose their physical body, but they do not die. Man is a child of God and therefore deathless.

   In Seicho-No-Ie, we firmly believe that everyone is a child of God. Since God is the source of the infinite, a child of God has infinite potential and abilities within. However, in this earthly life, we cannot manifest all our abilities in a single lifetime. An engineer can manifest his ability as an engineer during his adult life; however, his inner ability as a politician, pianist, lawyer, or teacher is still dormant. That is why by being born to this world over and over again, we are able to manifest our infinite power within this physical world.

   To think that our life is just a single occurrence is contrary to the principle of natural growth. A day starts from the morning, the sun shines in the daytime, and night comes quietly. It repeats every day without fail, as does the seasonal cycle of spring, summer, fall and winter. In this way, circulation is the principle of natural growth. Therefore, the life of a human being, as a part of nature, follows this principle of repetition and growth.

   If we understand this, we no longer have to worry about failures and misfortunes. Since we can think about our life in the long run, even if we fail at something, we are able to try it over and over again until we are satisfied with peace of mind. Let us awaken to our eternal life and live our life to the fullest.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

2010 May Message

Farewell Words of Gratitude

   In accordance with the decision made by the Top Level Meeting at Seicho-No-Ie International Headquarters on March 10th, I will be transferred from the position of Acting Chief of SNI Hawaii Missionary Area to work for the Missionary Activities and Lecturers' Department at International Headquarters as of May 23. I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude for all of the support and kindness that were shown to us officially and by individuals over the past three years.

   With Oahu members, I was able to learn the teachings at Sunday services, Spiritual Training Seminars, Truth Realization Seminars, and other activities, and I also learned from you the right attitude in faith and in advancing our movement, and many other things.

   When I visited the four neighbor island Centers, all Center members warmly welcomed my family and me, and we could share the wonderful SNI teachings cheerfully with you all. It was one of the greatest pleasures to me.

   I cannot find appropriate words of appreciation for everything given to my family and me both officially and privately.

   One of the most memorable things during my tenure in Hawaii is that we could accomplish big changes with your cooperation, such as changing the rituals and ceremonies to a way that is suited to the U.S. It is truly your understanding, efforts, and right faith in God that made it possible to achieve this without any major disruptions.

   It is also highly appreciated that President Tashiro and the entire Board of Directors are perfectly in accord with SNI Inc.'s policy, take guidance from Bishop Rev. Teshigawara in a sincere manner, and wholeheartedly support our movement in its administrative aspects.

   Another thing I am grateful for is that you listened to my lectures and remarks with great patience. I made every effort to improve my English, but I don't think it was enough for English speakers.

   As far as our movement is concerned, we still have plenty of work to do: holding many more English Readers' Meetings, further improvement of Sunday services, nurturing the leaders who shoulder our movement, expansion of the number of Holy Missioners, and effective usage of the Truth of Life magazine and expansion of subscribers. I feel sorry that I could not be of enough help to promote these movements.

   Regarding my family, although they faced many challenges in the past three years, they learned many things, could grow in various ways, and had priceless experiences. Especially, our daughter Manami enjoyed her school life in Hawaii surrounded by loving and thoughtful teachers and many good friends. She was also kindly treated by SNI members as if she were their own granddaughter. I believe she obtained valuable experiences in building her personality.

   Lastly, I would like to pray for the happiness of all of you and the further development of SNI Hawaii Missionary Area under the leadership of Bishop Teshigawara and the guidance of your new Chief. My prayers are always with you. Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,
Tetsuya Abe

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

2010 April Message

"'Carbon Zero' Movement" and “Office in the Forest”
Tetsuya Abe, Acting Chief, SNI Hawaii Missionary Area

   Thank you very much.

   In April we commemorate the ascension of Teruko Taniguchi, the wife of the founder of Seicho-No-Ie and the first President of the White Dove Association. I hope to see you at the 22nd Memorial Service for Mrs. Taniguchi, which will be held at Jisso Center on April 18th. It is indeed fortunate that English speakers can read and savor the beautiful articles written by Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi that appear in the Truth of Life magazine almost every month. The translations into English are well done. I appreciate the entire TOL magazine staff for their tireless efforts.

   As you already know, April 22nd is Earth Day. Have you seen the very popular 3D movie Avatar? I watched that movie at a movie theater in Windward Mall, where the Obama family also saw it at the end of last year. This is a science fiction movie directed by James Cameron in which human beings go to a lush, Earth-like moon of a giant planet to seek a precious mineral in the middle of the 22nd century. They threaten the continued existence of a local tribe that leads a life coexisting with nature, and are defeated by them in the end. It is clear that director James Cameron was fully aware of the global environment issue. Avatar is extremely popular because of the beauty of its images and novelty of 3D; however, I think people's awareness of the environment issue also contributes to its popularity.

   We have a desire to live a harmonious life with nature, but at the same time, we don't want to lead an inconvenient life giving up the modern life we enjoy. But many scientists agree that global warming will worsen, and we cannot bequeath this beautiful earth to the next generation unless a dramatic change in lifestyle takes place.

   That is why Seicho-No-Ie resolved to address the environment issue by worshipping everything in the universe as a manifestation of the life of God, leading an eco-friendly life, and encouraging people to do the same. In 2000, SNI International Headquarters and Main Temple in Nagasaki earned ISO14001 certification (which certifies that an organization is conscientiously managing its environmental impact) and issued the "Environment Policy" as follows:

Environmental Policy of Religious Juridical Person, "Seicho-No-Ie" (Excerpts)

   What is required of the humankind today is the religious mind of appreciating the blessings of nature, worshipping the mountains, rivers, grass, trees, minerals, and energy as manifestation of Life of God or Buddha, and being aware that we are given life to be in harmony with them. We believe living a life that is based on this religious mind is the key to solving the global environmental issue.
   Since its foundation in 1930, Seicho-No-le has been spreading to all humankind the way of life of worshipping all creation as Life of God or Buddha based on the teaching that taught us to "be grateful to everything in the universe."

   In this policy, it is unequivocally stated that the practice of the teaching, "everything is one under God," which is the main principle of "The Divine Message of Grand Harmony," is the key to solve the environment problem.

   Furthermore, Headquarters launched an epoch-making project called "Carbon Zero Movement" in 2007. This is aimed at reducing CO2 emission substantially to zero by offsetting CO2 which is generated by SNI propagational activities. This includes very important points. Therefore, let me explain it in detail although it may be long. We consider the following three points to be the main causes of CO2 emissions that accompany SNI activities:

  1) Business Activity
  2) Transportation to Events
  3) Workers' Business Trips

   As far as "1) Business Activity" is concerned, needless to say, the employees of Missionary Offices try to reduce CO2 emission by setting the room temperature higher in the summer and lower in the winter, using less water, and turning off lights when each room is empty, and so on.

   As to "2) Transportation to Events," instead of holding a mass meeting, they try to increase the number of readers' meetings or home gatherings, which reduce CO2 emissions as a result. To do so, you need to train new front-line leaders who can host the meetings, but by doing so, you can nurture new leaders. In Brazil, they have started to hold a nationwide Internet-based workshop seminar. The lecturers speak at Headquarters and their talk is transmitted to each Missionary Area by the Internet. Since people don't have to gather at Headquarters, the amount of CO2 emission is reduced.

   Regarding "3) Workers' Business Trips," it is mainly an issue within Japan, where they try to use trains instead of planes because a trip by train releases one-tenth of the CO2 emissions when compared to a trip by airplane.

   However, no matter how many efforts we make, as long as we are engaged in propagation, we cannot reduce CO2 emissions to zero. That is why we offset CO2 emissions in the following three ways:

  1. Natural Energy
  2. Tree Planting
  3. Green Power

   As far as "1) Natural Energy" is concerned, as an organization, SNI's Missionary Offices are actively installing solar panels to make best use of sunlight. The U.S. Missionary Headquarters office is one of those that installed solar panels last year.

   Next is "2) Tree Planting." One of the biggest contributors to global warming is deforestation. It is said that deforestation accounts for one fifth of all CO2 emissions. Therefore, SNI International Headquarters and Brazil Headquarters cooperatively launched an afforestation project in Brazil. In this project, if you give a donation to the project, your name will be linked to "your" seedlings so that you can be sure to see the growth of the trees you sponsored.

   "3) Green Power" is a system to give a certificate to an individual or organization who buys electricity produced by natural energy. The price of the electricity is higher than usual, but you can contribute to reducing CO2 emissions by doing so.

   I have described what SNI is doing as an organization, and there are many things we can do as individuals: use your own shopping bag, recycle paper, plastic bottles, cans, and other materials, buy green products, purchase an eco-friendly car, and so on. I believe you already are doing these sorts of things on your own as much as you can.

   At the same time, I recommend that you try to learn how much of an impact what we buy and use has on the environment. For example, nowadays gasoline is about $3.30 per gallon. You may feel it is more expensive than before. However, according to Mr. Lester Brown, one of the top environmentalists and the chairman of the Earth Policy Institute, the real cost of gas is much higher. He said as follows:

   Based upon a study by the International Center for Technology Assessment, these costs (note by Abe: the costs of climate change as well as the tax subsidies to the oil industry, the military cost of protecting access to oil in the Middle East, and the health care costs of treating respiratory illness from breathing polluted air) now total nearly $12 per gallon of gasoline burned in the United States. If these were added to the $3 direct cost of the gasoline, motorists would pay $15 a gallon for gas at the pump. In reality, burning gasoline is very costly, but the market tells us it is cheap, thus grossly distorting the structure of the economy. (Lester R. Brown, Plan B 4.0, p. 18)

   You can use disposable chopsticks at restaurants and lunch wagons for free and you can buy 100 chopsticks for about $1. Many of them are imported from China, where deforestation is a big problem. $1 per 100 chopsticks seems cheap; however, this does not include the cost to undo the damage caused by deforestation.

   These stories tell us that we have a system whereby future generations have to pay the cost of the damage caused by producing and using oil, cutting trees for chopsticks, and other destructive activities. Green tax is a system to prevent pushing those costs to the next generation. It is already introduced in some European countries, but not in the United States and Japan. Why? Because people don't like politicians who vote for a bill that gives a burden to people. Our politicians disagree with those bills and so do oil industries and those who would be affected.

   The Obama administration and Japan's leading Democratic Party of Japan are trying to introduce carbon tax, but progress is slow. We can easily understand that it will take time if we see the result of what happened in Copenhagen last December. Those leaders managed to agree that they would continue to address the climate change issue seriously, but they could not establish any numerical target for reducing CO2 emissions for each country. It seems the outlook is bleak.

   Therefore, what we should do is to raise the awareness of people who elect the politicians. Namely, it is necessary to have as many people as possible change their lifestyles for our future generations and all the living creatures on earth. If many people are aware of it, since politicians vote for the bills which people like, many green policies will be legislated and society will be going in the green direction. But since the environment issue is becoming a race with time, what is required is to realize that as soon as possible.

   Since the current social system is based upon taking from nature, we need to create a new system that does not take from nature. Indeed, Founder Masaharu Taniguchi already warned us about this 30 years ago. Rev. Teshigawara introduced his message in the November issue of "Light of the Truth," the newsletter for U.S. members, as follows:

   Modern civilization is based upon the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge which people are eating. That is why they seem to be doing good, but they aren't. Wrong ideas and actions are brimming over. You think you can make a profit by taking from others. You think of taking everything from the natural world. It is the result of modern civilization. The wrong idea that people can prosper by taking from the ground as much as possible by using pesticide and chemical fertilizer has been prevailing.

   The "Movement that Grows with Nature" that members around the world are promoting is the appropriate response to Founder Taniguchi's warning. This movement should be a model for the change of civilization: from civilization taking from nature to civilization coexisting with nature. For that purpose, International Headquarters is bravely planning an unprecedented project. By 2012, they will transfer at least a portion of their office from the center of urban Tokyo to a mountainous area in Yamanashi Prefecture where sunlight is abundant and people can coexist with nature while leading a modern life by using the internet and by other means. This is called "office in the forest."

   Let me summarize. SNI has been addressing the global environment issue based on the position that we are practicing the "Divine Message of Grand Harmony." With a firm belief that "when I change, the world will change," we are trying to live a life coexisting with nature both as individuals and an organization, without being constrained by conventional ideas. If we proclaim the importance of coexisting with nature while keeping our big office in central Tokyo which requires lots of fossil fuel with many workers commuting, we cannot say that our words and actions are consistent. That is why there were many discussions on how to live a life coexisting with nature while leading a modern life, and that is why they came to the conclusion that International Headquarters should be relocated. I hope you understand that changing the site of Headquarters is a very good move which will make full use of natural energy which is a gift from God, and will bring about the happiness of future generations. Thank you very much.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Article for Starbulletin

I wrote an article titled, "To Protect Beautiful Earth," for Starbulletin, a Hawaii local newspaper.

Tetsuya Abe


   Did you sleep well last night? Some of you might not have been able to sleep for some reason; however, I think most of you slept soundly in your bed. But what if you were thinking the world may completely change the following morning?

   It is not only in the world of movies that the world changes overnight. Many scientists agree that we will see the earth in a catastrophic state 20 or 50 years from now if we do not take effective measures immediately and seriously. However, there is a line of thought that it is a matter of such global scale that we cannot make any difference. In response to such an idea, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Muta Maathai retold the following African story about "little hummingbird."

   A big fire started in the woods. Great blazes were everywhere and every single animal ran in fear out of the woods except for a little hummingbird who said, "I have to do something about that fire." Then, the hummingbird flew to the nearest spring and took some drops of water with his tiny beak. He flew to the fire, came back for more water and went back again to the fire. And he kept doing it. Meanwhile, the bigger animals looked at the hummingbird and said, "Little hummingbird, stop doing that, you can't fight this fire." But the little hummingbird didn't pay any attention to them and said to himself, "I'm doing the best I can."

   In Seicho-No-Ie, we consider our environment as a shadow of our minds; therefore, it will change when our minds change. We think this principle can also apply on a global scale. Since what is taking place on the planet is a shadow of people's collective minds, it is important to change individual minds from a mind of taking from the earth to a mind of compassion for the earth.

   We in Seicho-No-Ie have been dealing with this issue from our religious standpoint: to worship and be grateful for everything as manifestations of the life of God, to hold a belief that we are sustained by the whole universe, and to practice and spread this mindset, which is of utmost importance in solving this problem. If these ideas seem interesting, please visit the following site:

Monday, March 15, 2010

2010 March Message

Let Us Actively Spread the “Child of God Realization” to All
Tetsuya Abe
Acting Chief, Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Missionary Area

  It has been just 80 years since Seicho-No-Ie was founded on March 1, 1930. I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to our founder Masaharu Taniguchi who started this movement with all his might, former President Rev. Seicho Taniguchi who succeeded our founder and carried out his will perfectly, and President Masanobu Taniguchi who assumed the post of Seicho-No-Ie presidency just 1 year ago and has been warmly guiding all SNI followers around the world.

  Rev. Seicho Taniguchi taught us the meaning of Founding Day as follows:

  Seicho-No-Ie was founded on March 1, 1930. This is the date on which our Holy Master Masaharu Taniguchi first published the magazine named "Seicho-No-Ie." It is the memorable day when the Truth which had been treasured in the True Image World came into this world for the first time. That is why all SNI members around the world celebrate the day. (Nobiyuku Hibi no Kotoba, or Daily Words for Growth, p. 64)

  The reason why Seicho-No-Ie exists on earth, grants hope for a better life to many people including ourselves, and promotes the movement to bring about world peace is because our founder Masaharu Taniguchi brought "the Truth treasured in the True Image World" into this world. I believe the only way to repay our sense of gratitude to him is to propagate the teachings to as many people as possible.

  There is an anecdote in the Buddhist scriptures that tells how valuable it is to meet the Truth. Once upon a time there was a blind turtle that came up to the ocean's surface once in a hundred years to breathe. Floating in the same sea, there was a 10-foot-square board with a small hole that was almost the same size as the turtle's head. The chance that the head of the turtle which came up to the surface once in a hundred years fits in the hole of the floating board is extremely small; however, the chance for us to meet the Truth is almost as rare and valuable as the blind turtle's head fitting in the hole.

  We are very fortunate to know the Seicho-No-Ie teachings and meet the most excellent master ahead of most of the world's population ― about 7 billion people. Founder Masaharu Taniguchi led various kinds of movements to contribute to society by applying the SNI teachings according to the need of the time. Now is the time when people in the world have to address global environmental problems hand in hand. Based upon the spirit of the Divine Message of Grand Harmony, all SNI leaders and members worldwide are promoting the "Movement that Grows with Nature" with one heart. These efforts are shown as the Movement Policy that is presented every year; the 2010 Movement Policy will be coming soon (it will appear in the May issue of this Newsletter).

  To convey the teachings in accordance with the Movement Policy is to carry out the priceless deeds of love that increase happy homes, manifest the True Image of all sentient and non-sentient beings, contribute to the resolution of global warming problems, and realize world peace. Please read the following article on propagation written by founder Masaharu Taniguchi and actively spread the Child-of-God realization to our surroundings with courage and a bright mind. Thank you very much.

   The reason why I am spreading this bright-thought philosophy―“Seicho-No-Ie" ―is not for material gain or to satisfy my own personal quest for fame as the highest esteemed teacher who expounds the Way to the people. It is only when I realize that I am Buddha [divine] and others are also Buddha, that I feel unbearably sorry for those people who have manifested forms unlike Buddha in spite of being one themselves. I am Buddha. That person is also Buddha. Nonetheless, there are those who do not realize that they are Buddha but present themselves in various aspects of poverty, sickness, and misery. When I realize this, I am overcome by an irresistible desire to let them know that their image is the same as that of Buddha. After all, this impulse comes from the Truth that "self and others are essentially one." When you realize that you are a Buddha, you cannot help but to let another know that he also has Buddha-nature. When you realize that you are God, you cannot help but to let him know that he is also God-like. This is the "self and others are one" realization, i.e., love of Buddha and love of God. To practice this love is an act of bodhisattva.
  There may be people who think that to spread Seicho-No-Ie means to spread the Seicho-No-Ie magazines. However, this is not to spread the magazines but to spread "Buddha," the "child of God" realization. It is to spread the vibrations of the words that would make every person a "Buddha," a "child of God." (Seimei no Jisso, or Truth of Life, vol. 28, pp. 53-55)


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Article for Starbulletin

   Today, many of SNI Hawaii members devoted themselves to cleaning at Jisso Center where the 49th International Spiritual Training Seminar will be held soon. Thanks to their deeds of love, now we are ready for the seminar.

   By the way, I contributed an article on St. Valentine Day for Starbulletin, local newspaper in Hawaii. Here is the article:

Extend Your Blessings on St. Valentine's Day
Tetsuya Abe
Acting Chief, Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Missionary Area

   Nowadays, in the western world, many flowers, cards and boxes of candy are given on St. Valentine's Day. Although customs are a little different in Asia, both in the East and West, it is a day that "love" is manifested in some way.

   The reason we want to manifest "love" in various ways is that "love" truly exists within ourselves. If we don't have "love," we should not have a desire to present it. Because we have "love" within and have a strong desire to express it, we try to find an opportunity to do that.

   My suggestion for Valentine's Day is for you to radiate your loving thoughts to everyone and everything. The founder of Seicho-No-Ie, Masaharu Taniguchi, wrote that "our souls grow by absorbing loving thoughts sent by others, our own bright thoughts, and words of Truth." "If everyone were to bless those around them as well as those in other countries of the world in this way, there would no longer be recurring wars or conflicts."

   Because words have the motive power to bring about what's in our mind, if we conceive and speak positive and loving words daily and send them to others, those words are sure to be of help for individual well-being and world peace.

   I hope you have a happy St. Valentine day filled with loving and beautiful words.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2010 February Message

Send Your Blessings on St. Valentine's Day
Tetsuya Abe
Acting Chief, Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Missionary Area

   February 14th is Valentine's Day. There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day, but I think the following is one of the well-known stories.

   Emperor Claudius II of Rome was a very cruel man who was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. He was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest in Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270.

   Nowadays, in the western world, many flowers, cakes, and cards are sent to each other on February 14th. Although they have a little different custom in Asia, both in the East and West, it is a day that "love" is manifested in some way.

   The reason we want to manifest "love" in various ways is that "love" truly exists within ourselves. If we don't have "love," we should not have a desire to present it. Because we have "love" within and have a strong desire to express it, we try to find an opportunity and do that.

   My recommendation to you for Valentine's Day is to send your loving thoughts. The founder of Seicho-No-Ie, Masaharu Taniguchi, taught that "our souls grow by absorbing loving thoughts sent by others, our own bright thoughts, and words of Truth." (Bosatsuwa Naniwo Nasubekika, or What Holy Missioners Should Do, p. 101) Please write down the names of your important persons - family members, relatives, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and SNI members - on paper and pray for and bless them for a year. Your loving thoughts not only reach and bless them but also bless the whole universe, and come back to you. Please read the following article written by our founder, Masaharu Taniguchi and reaffirm the greatness of blessing and keep practicing.

   A person decided to bless five or more people a day by simply praying quietly for a minute or two in the following way, "God, please give this person true happiness. He is protected by Your love and is truly happy." This is giving love in a way that no one knows about or is aware of, and, since it is done in such an unassuming way, it is even more significant and precious. If everyone were to bless those around them as well as those in other countries of the world in this way, there would no longer be recurring wars or conflicts. It is in small acts such as this that we can see selfless, giving love that asks for nothing in return. This love is truly great in the eyes of God. (Truth of Life, October 2007, p.11)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Star Student

  Our daughter Manami was recently selected as STAR student in the elementary school she's going. According to the letter from the principal, she demonstrated skill in the Dec./ Jan. theme "Resourcefulness." She was recognized and got certification at the assembly where all students participated today.

  For a couple of weeks, she seemed to have some stress or something uninteresting or unplesant. That is why whenever we said, "Let's go to the bathroom," "It's time to go to bed," she always said, "NO!" and did not want to follow our instruction.

  We knew that one of her best friends (not a girl of the photo below) sometimes tells the students who tease Manami by saying, "Don't do that to Manami. She is still too small." Her friend says so out of goodness, however, she seemed to be hurt by being said, "she is too small."

  But after she got certification of STAR student, we have been constantly telling her, "You do well this and that because you are a STAR student!" Then, her behavior completely changed. She said "Yes, daddy or mommy," whenever she was told to do something.

  I reconfirmed the power of words and the importance of recognition. As taught in Seicho-No-Ie, what you recognize appears in your surroundings.

     Manami got certification from the principal

        With her friend Taish

Tetsuya Abe

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Article for Starbulletin

I wrote an article for Starbulletin, a local newspaper in Hawaii, that appears today.

Set a Goal to Manifest Your "Child-of-God" Nature

  Happy New Year! I wish you a fruitful year filled with joy and happiness.

  In Seicho-No-Ie, we believe that all human beings are children of God, wonderful beings endowed with infinite potential. It is not only the founder of a great religion, but everyone, you and I, who are children of God. However, the value of "child of God" is meaningless if you only keep it wrapped up. When you manifest it to the full extent, you feel the worth of living.

  A good way to manifest your "child-of-God" nature is to dream and set a goal. The reason why a high jumper or a pole vaulter can jump so high at an athletic competition is that there is a bar. Because there is a bar the athletes try to jump beyond it with all their might. In this way, their indwelling power progressively manifests itself.

  Please imagine what you want to be at the end of this year and write it down on paper. Then think about what you should do to accomplish your goal and put it into practice in your daily life. If you want to master a new language, for example, take one hour to read a book and watch the movies and TV news in that language.

  You may not be able to do exactly what you plan every day; however, when you steadily continue your effort, you will see a big difference at the end of the year and will experience a great sense of accomplishment. That is because a human being is created to feel boundless joy when he manifests his "child-of-God" nature.

  Let us all set our own goals and make this a year of brilliant achievement. Thank you very much!



Saturday, January 02, 2010

2010 January Message

Let Us Practice the Love of God Deeply and Boundlessly throughout the Year
Tetsuya Abe, Acting Chief, SNI Hawaii Missionary Area

   Happy New Year! I wish you a productive and fruitful year filled with joy and happiness. My prayer is always with you.
   I would like to announce once again that we are going to hold the 49th International Spiritual Training Seminar at Jisso Center from February 19th (Fri) to 21st (Sun). The ISTS is a great opportunity for both spiritual growth and warm fellowship. Your attendance is most welcome!
   Seicho-No-Ie teaches that "everyone is a child of God" and "everything is one under God." When you awaken to the truth that "oneself and others are one" and put the truth into practice in your life, God will appear in your life and indwelling infinite power will appear. I see many people in my surroundings who devote totally of themselves to society, people, and church without seeking any return. I am pleased to see their faces shining brilliantly and they lead a cheerful and happy life.
   Mariko Senju is a well-known worldwide violinist who began her professional career when she was 12 years old and won a global musical contest at the age of 15. She developed her musical gift from a very young age. When she debuted, she practiced the violin 12 hours a day. It was not because she was told by her violin teacher but because she feared she might not be able to maintain her ability without that extensive practice. However, considering her situation where she goes to school, does her homework, and practices 12 hours a day, she had little time to sleep. Despite these exhausting conditions, she continued her efforts and managed to graduate from high school. But just after she entered college, she finally reached the limit of her endurance. One day, she stopped playing.
   One year after she quit playing the violin, she got a call from a hospice. The caller said to her, "a terminal cancer patient who was a fan of yours wants to listen to your violin in the last minutes of her life. Would you come and play your violin?" Senju declined in a courteous manner by saying, "I am so sorry I cannot because I already quit playing the violin." However, the caller did not give up. "I didn't ask you as a professional violinist. I am asking you just as a human being." Senju answered, "I understand" and rushed to the hospice.
   She could not play well because she had not played for a year; however, the patient's eyes were filled with tears of delight. Senju felt very sorry because she had to give the most terrible performance of her life in front of a person who is a fan of hers and is about to pass away. Senju resumed practicing and resolved to play the violin for the sake of others' happiness.
   Before this incident, the more Senju practiced, the more she agonized. However, after she changed her mind, the more she practiced, the more joy came bubbling forth. I once listened to her violin at a concert; the tones were beautiful and very fascinating. She is now very active as a top-notch violinist known throughout the world.
   When we live for the sake of others, societies, and the earth, we can find the real joy of living. That is because all living things are one under God, and oneself and others are one. Just as we cannot be happy if one of our family members is unhappy, we also cannot become happy in a real sense if someone, some creatures, and the earth are damaged or endangered.
   Throughout the year, let us deepen our awareness as a child of God and practice the love of God deeply and boundlessly at any time, at any place. Thank you very much.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Dinner

  On Christmas Eve, I cooked a Christmas dinner for my family. The menu I cooked is as follows:

 1. Appetizer (Fried gyoza dumpling with avocado and onion
  with mayonnaise. Inside the gyoza is eggplant only)
 2. Baked onion soup
 3. Pasta with butter, Shoyu, and garlic
 4. Chicken with vinegar with hot vegetables (asparagus, carrot,
  potato, mushroom)
 5. Dessert (shortcake, pudding with strawberry and berry

  I cooked from the scratch for all the dishes, therefore, it took more than three hours to complete them. Other than that, I prepared a special meal for my daughter because she cannot eat some of the dishes above. Her dishes are fried rice, french fries, and spaghetti.

  We enjoyed our special dinner and had a memorable Christmas.

Tetsuya Abe

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Article for Starbulletin

I contributed an article to Starbulletin, a local newspaper. This article appeared on November 21st.

Golden Words That Improve Your Destiny
Tetsuya Abe, Acting Chief, SNI Hawaii Missionary Area

   There are people who want to improve their destiny but fail to succeed despite putting in some effort to do so. If their efforts are half-hearted and don't yield good results, they might meekly accept the consequences. But there are some who cannot achieve a good result in spite of their hard work, and wonder why. That is because hiding behind the thought "I want to improve my destiny" is the thought that "Right now, my destiny is not good." By the law of mind, namely, that what you strongly envision will be realized, your thought that "Right now, my destiny is not good" becomes what you experience.

   Therefore, those who want to be happy and fortunate have to visualize that they are already happy and fortunate. To think of those positive thoughts once or twice does not lead you to the desired result. You need to conceive those thoughts over and over again to plant them in the bottom of your subconscious mind, which accounts for 95% of your mind and has an influence on your destiny.

   Let us recite the following words 20 times a day. You will be surprised to see your environment greatly improve one month later:

   I am a child of God, consummate and perfect. Every day, in every way, things are getting better and better.

   A salesperson who recited these words quietly to himself all day long while walking improved his sales performance, rising from the bottom of the branch office to the top in a couple of months. Why don't you try it? Thank you very much.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

2009 December Message

With Gratitude to the Outgoing Year
Tetsuya Abe, Acting Chief, SNI Hawaii Missionary Area

   December is the month of Christmas and year-end; it is also the month in which Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, President of Seicho-No-Ie, was born. He was born on Christmas Eve in 1951. As some of you may know, he has a master's degree from Columbia University in international relations and he is really enthusiastic about propagation in English more than anyone else. He came to the United States on his Public Lecture tours in 1992 and 1994, chose New York as the first venue of the Special Conference for World Peace, and frequently came to this country and guided us in English.

   As a Japanese who is engaged in propagation activities in English, I know how much energy, time, and patience are necessary to disseminate the teachings in a foreign language. Despite his and Mrs. Junko Taniguchi's extremely busy schedule, they come all the way to the U.S. because they consider the development of our movement in America as being essential to bring about real world peace. Let us be appreciative for their thoughtful consideration and strive to make every effort to promote the "Movement that Grows with Nature" in the Hawaii Missionary Area.

   By the way, how are you going to spend the Christmas holidays? I hope you have a cheerful and happy time. The custom to celebrate Christmas prevails not only in countries like the U.S. where Christianity is practiced but also in countries where many of the people do not believe in Jesus Christ. However, to our astonishment, it was more than 300 years after Jesus passed away that December 25th was decided on as the birthday of Jesus Christ.

   According to "Shokan Zakkan Part 6" or "Random Thoughts Part 6," (pp. 52-55) written by Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, a faith that worshipped the sun god or Sol was very popular in the fourth century of Rome, and the shrine to worship the god was built by government expenditure and all the costs to employ priests were also covered by the nation. They designated December 25, the day of the winter solstice in their calendar, as the holiday for the sun god. However, the leaders of the Roman Church, who felt a sense of crisis, made the day an important holiday for Christianity to prevent people from going to the shrine of the other faith. This was around 336 A.D.

   Whether December 25 is Jesus' actual birthday is open to question; according to "Random Thoughts," there is no description about the birthday of Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible, nor is there any evidence that early Christians celebrated December 25th as Jesus' birthday: "Christmas is a holiday in which Jesus and the teachings of Jesus are taken into the cultures and customs of a given area and restructured. In other words, Christianity, a religion based upon Judaism, accepted a pagan culture. Taking the fact that it has been celebrated for thousands of years throughout the world into consideration, I strongly feel the significance of culture and custom in religion" ("Random Thoughts Part 6," p. 55)

   It can be said that for the teachings of Seicho-No-Ie to be rooted in the United States, further efforts to make the outward elements in religion blended with our culture seem necessary.

   In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who practice and convey the teachings in your areas and positions. It is my sincere prayer and hope that the next year will be a much more productive and meaningful year to you. Please purify your mind by reading the following article by our founder Masaharu Taniguchi, and have a happy new year. Thank you very much.

   This year will finally end today. We vow to cease all bad habits, getting angry and showing hate, holding a grudge, grumbling, and having needless fear of the future. We never get angry about anything, see only the goodness and never see the evil in people's minds and deeds, live the present moment, and proceed with a bright and cheerful mind. We swear to awaken ourselves that are perfect and harmonious children of God, endowed with infinite abilities and health, and steadily advance the way of God. (Masaharu Taniguchi, "Shimpan Komyo Hogo," or "Sermon on Light: Volume on the Way," new edition, pp. 317-318)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Come and Join Us at the 49th ISTS in Hawaii

   The 49th International Spiritual Training Seminar (ISTS) will be held at Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Jisso Center from February 19 to 21, 2010. The ISTS is hosted by International Spiritual Training Center (ISTC) located in New York, and all programs of the seminar will be conducted by Ordained and Assistant Ministers including Rev. Yoshiko Teshigawara, Bishop of the United States Missionary Headquarters. Please DON'T miss this priceless opportunity to come together with people from the mainland and other countries as well as other Hawaiian islands!

   All the programs will be conducted in English and all ceremonies are arranged so that average American people can feel comfortable learning the essence of the SNI teachings. That is why it is the perfect occasion for you to invite your friends and others who are not familiar with SNI. Especially those who have any troubles will no doubt be able to find solutions by participating in this seminar.

   When you elevate what you learn from "knowledge" to "beliefs" and put those things into practice in your life, you can have a so-called "miraculous" improvement in your life. For example, Cindy Murakami, a Holy Mission Fellowship member who lives in Hawaii Kai, attended an ISTS two years ago not knowing that the ISTS is conducted in English. She was bewildered at first; however, as the programs went on, she awoke to the fact that she is a real child of God. At that time, she had been on very bad terms with her husband for a long time and they were about to get divorced. However, after her awareness as a child of God deepened and she started to practice Shinsokan meditation and Holy Sutra reading in gratitude to her ancestors and to speak gentle and kind words to her husband after she returned home, their marital relationship miraculously improved. She is still leading a very happy life with her husband and her business is going very well despite the declining economic situation. Every STS is guided by God and all attendees are protected and embraced by God's love and life; therefore, every single attendee is able to be reborn as a child of God and start a completely new life.

   Rev. Seicho Taniguchi, former President of SNI, led many, many people to a true faith and real healing by conducting STSs, including the first STS held at Tobitakyu (Tokyo) in 1948. Rev. Taniguchi taught us how meaningful it is to attend an STS in his book, "Inochi wo Hikidasu Renseikai," or "A Spiritual Training Seminar That Draws Out Life" as follows:

   In terms of training in human life, there is nothing more important than to find and follow a good mentor. Some people claim that they are truly enlightened without any mentor. If it is true, they must have a special talent in religion. However, in many cases, they are apt to fall into a self-conceited faith. I believe all of you are very fortunate to find a good mentor and lead a life based upon a religious faith. However, a religious activity at home or in a community is prone to be "lonely" and "self-satisfied." That is why we have to learn the teachings and train ourselves diligently at Spiritual Training Centers at least once or twice a year and master the true faith and proper attitude toward the teachings. (Seicho Taniguchi, "Inochi wo Hikidasu Renseikai," or "A Spiritual Training Seminar That Draws Out Life," p. 82)

   In deepening our faith and leading a life of "Child of God man," to grasp the essence of the SNI teachings and to practice it are far more important than to understand it intellectually. The reason why there are so many people who waver in theif beliefs despite reading "Truth of Life" volumes and knowing the significance of being grateful to and reconciled with the whole universe seems to be that they are not practicing the teachings beyond "intellectual comprehension." In this case, the programs in STS perfectly help us deepen our faith and lead us to a real faith. The programs consist of practicing visualization of the True Image, reading the words of Truth, and practicing deeds of love, and all of them should be conducted thoroughly. (Ibid, p. 104)

   For people to change their long-held custom or way of thinking, it is necessary to do good things over and over again. "Attending an STS" per se is a good thing. When you attend an STS repeatedly, even if you do not concentrate on the programs, your soul does. I want you to know that your soul learns something important through religious vibrations and what you hear during the seminar.
   A sermon is usually provided by "words." However ceremony is also "words," and statue, temple, church, and Spiritual Training Center, which are the manifestation of the truth, are also "words." That is why you can listen to the "words" in Main Temple and Missionary Center which are filled with religious vibrations. (Seicho Taniguchi, "Riso Sekai," or "Ideal World," Dec. 1997)

   I hope you come and join us at this ISTS. I am looking forward very much to seeing you at Jisso Center. Thank you very much.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reading Circle for Just Two of Us

  My wife and I started Reading Circle for just two of us at home from about three weeks ago. We are doing this after our daughter goes to bed. We are now using "Truth of Life" vol. 34 (Japanese) as a text book. I read all the 40 volumes of "Truth of Life" books (Japanese) 6 times for each book so far. Each time I read those volumes, I feel my faith is refreshed and I am impressed by the parts which did not impress me that much when I read in the past.

  Our Reading Circle is about half an hour including reading and discussion. When we are very busy, we make it short such as for 10 or 15 minutes. Even if a page or two, we are trying to do that as much as we can regardless of the situations.

  The reason we started this is because we have been talking about this Reading Circle for quite a long time and we want to have marital conversations based upon the Seicho-No-Ie teachings.

  After we started this, I was very surprised to find that it is more than we expected. I am not only moved by the teachings on the book but also I realized that there are many things of each other that we have not known so far through discussions. I also remembered my state of mind when I started to learn and convey the teachings in my early twenties. At that time, I was constantly hearing the tapes of our founder Masaharu Taniguchi's lectures and I used almost every night for SNI propagation activities such as attending a Readers' Meeting, studying class, seminar, and door-to-door visitations. I also studied hard trying to answer my questions from within like "what is human being?" "what it means that evil does not exist or mind does not exist," and others. I want to keep my mind so pure and fresh as much as I can.

  Does anyone who is doing like this?

Tetsuya Abe

Monday, November 02, 2009

2009 November Message

In Boundless Gratitude to Holy Master Masaharu Taniguchi
Tetsuya Abe, Acting Chief, SNI Hawaii Missionary Area

  I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of you who attended the Public Lecture held at Ala Moana Hotel on September 20th. I believe you savored the wonderful truth of Seicho-No-Ie taught by Rev. Hiei Ando, National Ordained Minister, and Rev. Yoshiko Teshigawara, Bishop of the United States Missionary Headquarters. I also appreciate those who planned, publicized, promoted and implemented the Public Lecture as committee members. Please see page 3 for an article about this event.

  November is the month in which the founder of Seicho-No-Ie, Masaharu Taniguchi, was born. He was born on November 22nd in 1893. November 22nd is considered a "good couple day" in Japan due to a good combination of sounds when read in Japanese. I would like to introduce how the founder and Mrs. Taniguchi were a good couple who fully understood and took care of each other by referring to Mrs. Taniguchi's book, "Shi to Aogi, Otto to Aogite," or "Looking up as Mentor, Looking up as Husband."

  A few years after they founded Seicho-No-Ie, Mrs. Taniguchi read in a newspaper article that a mother who tried to save her drowning child died with her child in the ocean. She thought that if she had been taught how to swim when she had been a child, she could take her daughter Emiko, 8 years old at that time, to the ocean and river without any concern, and told her husband about it. Then, the founder Taniguchi kindly made a suggestion, saying, "It's not too late. Take a swimming lesson."

  Mrs. Taniguchi found a group that gave swimming lessons from 5 a.m. in the morning at the seashore nearby. However, she was hesitant to do so because if she were to take those lessons early in the morning, she would inconvenience her husband and daughter since she could not prepare breakfast for them. Nevertheless, Founder Taniguchi allowed her to do so by saying, "Don't worry about us and take that training seriously. I will prepare our breakfast." Mrs. Taniguchi appreciated his kindness and took the training for two weeks and became an adequate swimmer.

  The founder Taniguchi prepared their breakfast just as he said he would and waited for his wife to come back home every morning. After breakfast, he rushed to change his clothes and went to work. Mrs. Taniguchi reflected on that time and wrote as follows:

  .... After he finished his work, my husband came back home in the evening and did writing for Seicho-No-Ie magazine until late night. Dawn came before he got enough sleep and he prepared our breakfast instead of his wife from early morning. I practiced with all my might every morning to respond to his loving thought. (Teruko Taniguchi, "Shi to Aogi, Otto to Aogite," or "Looking up as Mentor, Looking up as Husband" p. 46)

  In this way, the founder Taniguchi's love for his wife was always brimming over. On the other hand, Mrs. Taniguchi looked up to her husband as mentor as well as loving him as her husband. She wrote how she respected him in the March 1937 issue of "Shirohato" or "White Dove" as follows:

  Once I entered a training center, I am not his wife. He who is on the podium is not my husband but my mentor. I knew God who dwells within me. I, who knew indwelling God, no longer need to seek God without. However, my soul sincerely seeks to brighten my mind and manifest indwelling God. My soul also asks for the infinite growth by doing so. I visited the training center by following my mentor even on very windy and snowy days. (Ibid. p. 60)

  I believe you understand that loving thoughts by husband and respectful thoughts by wife are foremost to a harmonious life for a couple. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the founder and Mrs. Masaharu Taniguchi who showed us this teaching by being role models, and I will pledge to practice the teachings and promote our movement with a cheerful and bright mind. Thank you very much.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Never give up...

   I am here in LA for In-person meetings sponsored by SNI United States Missionary Headquarters. I left home at 6 a.m., got aboard Hawaiian Airline 10 that departed Honolulu at 8:10, and arrived at LAX around 5 p.m. After we picked up our luggage with two delegates members from Hawaii, we headed to the hotel by taxi where we have meetings and stay. Then, I rushed to eat dinner and attended a minister's meeting. I felt one day finished as quick as lightening.

   I took a book to read on the plane, however, it seems a little too serious to read in this situation, I bought a novel at a bookstore in the airport. However, when I tried to turn on the overhead reading light, it didn't work. I wondered that since it takes more than 5 hours to LA, if I cannot read a book, what should I do... I neither feel like watching the movie on the screen because I have to purchase earphones with $5, nor renting a portable DVD player with $15. So far, when overhead light didn't work, I changed a seat and read book, however, it seemed at capacity flight, I couldn't do that.

   Since it was still bright when beverage and food were served, I could read anyway. But I don't like to give up using the light for no special reason, I tried to turn on the light every 10 minutes or so. But it still didn't work. However, surprisingly, it finally turned on after more than 10 times trial. Although the light was weak at first, it gradually became an enough brightness, then, I could enjoy reading a book. Through this experience, I learned that I should not give up for anything.

   The book I read was "MIRACLE" written by Danielle Steel. It was a very intriguing and moving story. I read one third of the book in one-way flight. I am not a native speaker of English, I am very pleased to read that much.

   By the way, I saw some people were reading a book with "Kindle," an electric book sold through "Kindle 2 International," a machine which can be used outside the U.S., just started to hit the market, I bought it, although I didn't use it. Its weight is about 10 oz and 1,500 books can be downloaded to the machine. The price was originally $279, however, three days after it released, informed me that they discounted it by $20. I am looking forward to using it before very long.

Tetsuya Abe

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Article for "Starbulletin"

   I posted the following article for "Starbulletin," Hawaii's local newspaper. I am supposed to write every 6 weeks and this is the second time for me. I receive a positive response from a follower of Christian Science. I deeply appreciate that.

Tetsuya Abe

Take Everything Positively and Make an Effort with A Bright Mind
Tetsuya Abe
Acting Chief, Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Missionary Area

   In our surroundings, both pleasant and unpleasant things happen. There are good news and bad news in the world. Someone may say, "I am happy because only wonderful things come to me." Someone else may say, "My life is filled with hardship and unfavorable things." What accounts for this difference? That is our "mind." To put it simply, the former person has a bright mind and the latter has a dark mind.

   There may be some people who enjoy rock-climbing by thinking, "This is a very exciting sport. I love it." But others may be turned off that sport by thinking, "What a dangerous sport!" Furthermore, some may say, "Running makes me really refreshed," but others may say, "Running is boring. It only makes me tired."

   Even if different people do the same thing, how each one feels about it depends on his or her outlook. That is why even if your situation may be difficult, it will surely improve if you keep up your effort by thinking, "This is a good opportunity for my ability to emerge. Things will be getting better and better." On the contrary, if you think "I can't stand it. There is no hope in my future," you cannot make a success of anything, because what we strongly think constantly about becomes our life and destiny.

   Therefore, let us conceive bright and cheerful thoughts no matter what happens. If you keep those positive thoughts, beautiful flowers will bloom on your life's stage before long without fail.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend in Kauai

   I went to Seicho-No-Ie Kauai Center with my family over last weekend. I am supposed to visit all four Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii neighbor island centers twice at each center, it was the second time visit to this island. It is a very greenery island and I feel the appearance is similar to a rural area in Japan where I was born, it became one of my favorite sites in Hawaii. More than that, my kindergartener daughter was in the midst of 10-day holiday and a little bit boring, that is why I decided to take my wife and daughter there.

   As usual, we are warmly greeted by SNI members in Kauai center and I delivered two English and Japanese combined lecturers on the day. One is about "Holy Mission Fellowship" and another is about the "Movement that Grows with Nature." In the end of the second lecture, I presented the photos I took in Brazil and had them savored the exciting atmosphere of Special Conference for World Peace in Sao Paulo in August.

   We stayed a cottage named KALAHEO INN and visited candy company and coffee factory on the next day guided by David Hamada, a long-time and devout leader of SNI Kauai. Seeing David Hamada talking with people very friendly everywhere we went, I thought it is an ideal community where people feel like a big family, or "Ohana" in Hawaiian language.

Tetsuya Abe