Monday, November 10, 2008

What is Seicho-No-Ie?

This is my lecture draft on "What is Seicho-No-Ie" presented at 2008 Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Public Lecture at Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu on Noveberm 9.

   Thank you very much. Welcome to this Public Lecture that Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii annually sponsors in the fall. We have been looking forward to seeing you. My name is Rev. Tetsuya Abe, Acting Chief of SNI Hawaii Missionary Area, the person responsible for all propagation activities of SNI Hawaii. I am very pleased to see you all. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of you. Thank you very much.

   Today, we are honored to welcome Rev. Bruce Mallery, Chief of SNI New York Missionary Area, as our guest speaker. Rev. Mallery, I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to you for coming all the way to Hawaii from New York to give us your life-changing and inspiring lecture. Thank you very much.

   Now I would like to talk about what Seicho-No-Ie is and how it started. Seicho-No-Ie was founded by Masaharu Taniguchi in March 1930 in Kobe, Japan. He published a monthly private magazine named "Seicho-No-Ie." "Seicho-No-Ie" means "The Home of Infinite Life, Wisdom, and Abundance."

   Before publishing the magazine, our Founder Masaharu Taniguchi studied and researched various eastern and western religions and philosophies in the world. He also experienced a position that put him in trouble with capitalists and laborers, and saw lots of vulnerable workers who were exploited by those in power. He meditated and deeply pondered "What is God?" and "What is a human being?" He once belonged to Omotokyo, a branch of Shintoism. In that organization he became a lecturer and lectured on the Last Judgement. However, he gradually lost his faith in God because he thought that God exists in this world, why couldn't He save those who were suffering? Around that period, the stock market crashed, which brought the Great Depression. The Great Depression caused other major financial problems in Japan the following year in 1930. The entire world including the U.S. and Japan saw lots of unemployment, and there was a war beginning in China, which led to World War 2.

   Regarding that situation, our Founder Masaharu Taniguchi once denied God because he thought that such a God who could not save people did not deserve to be called God. However, no matter how much he denied God, his deep-rooted desire to seek the real God who cannot help but save people was bubbling forth within, therefore, he continued his meditation and contemplation seeking the "Real God." One day, Our Founder Masaharu Taniguchi had a revelation from God which he himself described as follows:

One day, I was meditating with eyes closed and hands held in prayer in the hope of receiving a revelation of the Truth. Perhaps it was coincidence or perhaps it was God's guidance, but at that time I happened to think of the words, "matter is at once emptiness," which is a phrase out of the Buddhist scriptures. Then out of nowhere, a voice like a huge wave, low but intense, soft and yet overpowering, came to me:

   "Matter does not exist!" the voice said.
   Then, I wondered whether my mind existed.
  Instantly the voice replied, "The mind also does not exist!"
   "If there is no mind, does that mean that there is nothing?"
  I asked the owner of the voice once again.
  "There is the True Image!" the voice replied clearly.
  "Then what is the True Image?" I asked.
  "The True Image is God. What exists is only God... only the Mind of God and the manifestation of the Mind of God. This is the Truth."

   After he found the true God of absolute goodness and love, he was impelled to share his enlightenment with as many people as possible, and started to write a magazine. He published one thousand copies of the magazine in March 1930 at his own expense, and distributed them to his friends, colleagues, and others free of charge. Since the articles written in the magazine were about the joy of living and the joy of knowing one's own True Image, they inspired many readers; as a result, thank-you letters such as disease healing, family problems resolved, and others were rushed to him.

   After publishing the magazines, he continued to issue the magazine and also held a home meeting for the readers. Those people who were impressed with his articles conveyed their joy to people they know one after another. Later Founder Taniguchi established an edification organization for the readers. However, when he tried to register the organization to the Japanese government, they ordered him to register as a religious organization because it brought salvations to many. Since then, Seicho-No-Ie has been registered as a religious organization.

   One of the characteristics of our movement is that the phrase, "God's Humanity Enlightenment Movement" was used from the inaugural issue. Founder Taniguchi sincerely desired to deliver his thought to all people worldwide and thereby establish a heaven on earth. He meant to be helpful not only to individuals but also to the nations and all humanity.

   As his resolution, he traveled all over Japan and also came to the U.S. including Hawaii and went on to Brazil and other South American countries and European countries to convey the teachings and share the joy of living. His legacy was praised by many people including Rev. Roy Eugene Davis, a New Thought minister. He wrote a book titled, "Miracle Man of Japan" in 1973. His book was revised this year and is now on sale at the reception table.

   55 years after the founding of SNI, Founder Masaharu Taniguchi passed away on June 17, 1985, in Nagasaki, Japan. His last words were, "Disease does not exist. Delusion does not exist. Sin does not exist. This is the basic teaching of Seicho-No-Ie. Dear God, I shall now allow myself to rest," which were repeated twice before leaving this physical world.

   The flame of Seicho-No-Ie that was lit by Founder Taniguchi was passed to and taken up by Rev. Seicho Taniguchi. As President of Seicho-No-Ie, Rev. Seicho Taniguchi, through his writings and lectures, provided guidance regarding the teachings not only in Japan but also around the world, and dedicated himself daily to the development of the Movement and the Organization. His books, filled with beautiful real stories about people's salvation and improvement in their life, are especially popular throughout the world. You can see and buy some SNI books at the reception table. "Open the Doors of Your Life," vol. 1,2,3, edited by Rev. Seicho Taniguchi, Truth of Life, vol. 11 written by Founder Taniguchi, Messages of Wisdom and Love written by Rev. Seicho are designated as today's text books.

   Other than writing articles, giving lectures, and managing an organization, Rev. Seicho manifested his inner ability as a child of God by composing songs, taking photos, and writing calligraphy. Even when he was over 80, he used to walk to his office in 20 minutes picking up rubbish along the way. It shows that he not only preached a sermon, but he also practiced what he preached. October 28, about 10 days ago, he completed his 89 year-old life and peacefully made a transition to a high spiritual world.

   After Rev. Seicho, the flame of Truth was received by the Acting President/Vice President of Seicho-No-Ie, Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi. He is extremely busy with his writings and providing guidance at various events, and also manages to provide guidance at the "Seicho-No-Ie Lecture Meetings" at all fifty-nine missionary areas throughout Japan.

   After Rev. Masanobu assumed the post of Vice President of SNI, he's been paying attention to realizing world peace by spreading the truth, which had brought about harmony to individuals and homes since SNI's founding. This movement is called International Peace by Faith Movement and was launched in early 1990.

   In 1992, Rev. Masanobu visited the United States and Canada; the following year, 1993, he visited Brazil, returned to the United States again in 1994, and in 1995 traveled to Taiwan and Hong Kong to propagate SNI. He again came to the United States both in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and, in August of last year, he came to New York to provide us with his guidance at an event, in which leaders from nine different countries, including Brazil and other Latin American countries participated.

   In the history of humankind it can be said there is a history of war. War in Iraq or Afghanistan was focused on this presidential campaign. Every single person in the world doesn't want war, however, there are still many wars around the world. In Seicho-No-Ie, we are promoting a movement that aims at world peace by disseminating a faith in God of absolute goodness and love, and controlling our mind appropriately.

   Furthermore, SNI is now focusing on global environment preservation activities. Based upon our basic principle, every man and woman and everything is a manifestation of the life of God. We consider the key to resolve the problems having to do with our environment is to live a life of faith in gratitude to the blessings of Nature, and to revere the life that is in the mountains, rivers, grasses, trees, minerals, and energy, as manifestations of the life of God, life of Buddha, always keeping in mind that we are all one in life.

   In order to do this, Seicho-No-Ie has implemented measures to receive ISO14001 certification which is a barometer of international compliance to resolving environmental issues. Recently, a bimonthly magazine called ISO Management Systems, published by the ISO Headquarters located in Geneva, Switzerland, had an article in the July-August 2008 issue that SNI Japan acquired ISO14001 certification among its 66 missionary centers, spiritual training centers, and other sites in Japan and that SNI in the U.S., Brazil and Taiwan are also trying to acquire that certification by 2011. Now other religions have started to show interest in obtaining this certification. For example, just a few months ago, a SNI minister was invited to the largest Buddhist group in Japan to talk about our activities and they decided to make an effort to get the certification by following us.

   Lastly, I would like to introduce Rev. Bruce Mallery. He is the person responsible for the SNI propagation activities in NY. He was born to a Protestant minister's family and discovered SNI through Truth of Life magazine, which is our monthly magazine published by SNI US Missionary Headquarters. He was impressed with SNI because the teachings emphasize bringing the Truth into our daily life and joined the SNI US Headquarters in Gardena, California in 1994. His lecture is so inspiring and soul-stirring, therefore, he was sought after by every SNI Missionary Area in the U.S. If you listen to his lecture carefully and put a thing or two into practice in your daily life, I firmly believe your life will change in the direction you want.

This concludes my lecture. Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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