Cherishing the Memory of the Late Rev. Seicho Taniguchi
Rev. Tetsuya Abe
Acting Chief, Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Missionary Area
I respectfully report to you that Rev. Seicho Taniguchi, President of Seicho-No-Ie, peacefully made a transition to a high spiritual world on October 28 at 10:21 (JST). He was 89 years old. At Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii, we are going to hold a memorial service on Sunday, December 7 at 10 a.m. following the Sunday Service. Please come to memorialize him with your Holy Sutra.
In 1945, Rev. Seicho Taniguchi joined Seicho-No-Ie Headquarters as translator for the Western literature and documents translation project conceived by Founder Masaharu Taniguchi for the postwar Humanity Enlightenment Movement. Since then, he has dedicated himself throughout his life for the propagation of the Seicho-No-Ie teachings, focusing on Public Lectures and writings for 63 years, which is quite a long time. He conducted 2,221 Public Lectures, surpassing the number by Founder Taniguchi since he started giving guidance in 1948 when he was 28. He wrote a total of 227 books after publishing his first book in 1952 at age 33. He came to Hawaii to disseminate the teachings in 1956 and 1977.
After Founder Masaharu Taniguchi passed away in June 1985, Rev. Seicho Taniguchi assumed the post of Seicho-No-Ie President in November of the same year, and expounded the significance of "Succession to the Presidency" at the Succession Ceremony. Since then, he has led the Humanity Enlightenment Movement for 23 years.
I am very fond of his articles because they are filled with vivid stories of SNI members whose lives were completely changed by practicing the teachings. As a result, I can learn how to put the teachings into practice in my daily life. When Rev. Seicho wrote a book for the first time, Founder Masaharu Taniguchi praised his book as follows:
One of my recent greatest joys is that my son, Seicho, published his first book, "To Realize Love and Prayer." Seicho is very humble and unpretentious, and I am proud of the addition of his book to the world of religion. I am a prolific writer, but Seicho writes articles so fast that I cannot match him. His inspiration comes one after another and so fast to the extent his hand seems unable to keep up. I cannot help but admire him because he writes in an environment with his two children noisily running around the room and his baby crying loudly. Furthermore, as far as his articles are concerned, he had countless number of interviews with those who had life-changing experiences by practicing the teachings and relating them to the SNI doctrines. As a result, all his articles are vivid religious stories imbued with people's souls, so I believe there has never been a writer to match him. Before Seicho started writing such inspiring articles, I was the only person to do so. That's a weight off my mind because I can completely hand over this field of work to him. (Masaharu Taniguchi, "Seicho-No-Ie," May 1952)
Furthermore, his lectures, full of humor, inspired me a lot because he preached the profound Truth in a way that we can easily understand it. When he gave a lecture, it was as if he was talking to his own children. I am so sorry to say that I felt very sleepy when I listened to his talk for the first time in 1987, however, as I practiced Shinsokan Meditation everyday and deepened my understanding of the Truth, I came to understand the value of his lectures, and consequently, I was all ears listening to him.
I remember an incident that took place during his guidance. It was when I worked for the Youth and Young Adult Association (YYAA) Department at Seicho-No-Ie International Headquarters as a staff giving guidance to middle and high school students. I attended a biannual YYAA Central Committee Meeting, the highest decision-making body of the YYAA. There were about 20 attendees at the meeting where we directly received guidance from Rev. Seicho. At that time, I was very young, 25 years old, and the youngest attendee, therefore I was very nervous during the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, Rev. Seicho gave his concluding remarks. We were supposed to record his message by writing in the minutes so that we could share it with other YYAA leaders. For that purpose, four members were assigned to write down his speech, and later we were supposed to check with each other and wrap up the minutes.
At the Central Committee Meeting in January 1994, Rev. Seicho earnestly gave us inspiring guidance on Shinsokan Meditation as follows: "Please give guidance to leaders in the Missionary Area to have even elementary school children practice Shinsokan Meditation. Even if they are very young, it is not enough for them to do only prayers at Spiritual Training Seminars, etc. For example, when learning to play the piano, they use a real piano, don't they? They cannot improve their skill by playing on a toy piano. In this way, to practice Shinsokan is necessary...." He wholeheartedly taught us the importance of Shinsokan for about twenty minutes or so. I felt it was just what a soul-stirring guidance should be. Although 15 years have passed since then, I can clearly remember that day.
This incident took place just after the meeting. When the four attendees assigned to write down Rev. Seicho's message checked their writings with each other, one of them wrote almost nothing. According to him, Rev. Takashi Koseki, he was so impressed with Rev. Seicho's message that he completely forgot his assignment and unconsciously concentrated on listening by placing his hands together in prayer. This example shows how much the attendees were moved by the message.
Moreover, Rev. Seicho contributed to the Seicho-No-Ie movement from the perspective of art. Let me introduce a comment on this matter by Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, Vice President of Seicho-No-Ie.
In addition to his writings, lectures and organizational management, Rev. Seicho Taniguchi contributed greatly to the growth and development of the Seicho-No-Ie Movement. That is through the lyrics and music he wrote and composed. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote the lyrics to many wonderful Seicho-No-Ie hymns; however he did not compose music. Rev. Seicho played the violin, piano, and organ, and also composed music. About a third of the Seicho-No-Ie hymns today are Rev. Seicho's compositions. More specifically, of the 68 hymns that are included in the "New Edition, Seicho-No-Ie Hymn Lyrics" published in 2003, 20 are pieces with lyrics by Rev. Seicho, and of those 20, 15 were hymns that he also composed. Rev. Seicho's compositions were not caught up in form, but were filled with religious originality that deeply moved those who sang them. I feel this can be said not only about his lyrics but also about the musical composition themselves. (Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi's blog, Let Me Tell You, posted on October 29, 2008)
I hope from the bottom of my heart some of those lyrics will be transated into English and sung in the English-speaking countries.
Again, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to all of the guidance recieved from Rev. Seicho Taniguchi and resolve to promote God's Humanity Enlightenment Movement - International Peace by Faith Movement enthusiastically under the guidance of Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi who has succeeded Rev. Seicho.