The following is my lecture draft for 20th Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi's Memorial Service at SNI Hawaii Jisso Center on April 19th.
Thank you very much for coming today to memorialize Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi, who is commonly called Holy Sister by Seicho-No-Ie members. It has been 21 years since Mrs. Taniguchi passed away.
It was in 1963 when Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi got aboard an airplane for the first time with her husband, Founder Masaharu Taniguchi and they came to Hawaii as the first venue for their world lecture tour in that year. Mrs. Taniguchi wrote her impression at that time as follows:
During our three weeks stay in Hawaii, we visited the biggest four islands of the Hawaii archipelago where my husband conducted Public Lectures, White Dove meeting was held, and we enjoyed sightseeing. Almost all people whom I met in Hawaii were Japanese Americans, however, there are African American and Caucasian children who attended Sunday school. Air was pure, the green of the trees was brilliant, the sea and sky were thick blue as they were dyed. People there were very relaxed and birds that lived in a nature came close to our feet. (Teruko Taniguchi, "Mezameyuku Tamashii," or "Awakening Soul," pp. 247-248)
According to the article, Mrs. Taniguchi enjoyed company of our members in Hawaii and seemed impressed with Grand nature of Hawaii.
By the way, one of the characteristics of Seicho-No-Ie organization is woman's activities are outstanding. This does not mean that men are lazy or goof around, however, it is true that many of those who are proactively and enthusiastically engaged in propagation activities are woman.
The day before yesterday, we had a Japanese Mother's Study Class. This time, we had twelve attendees including 4 new comers as well as 11 children. In other words, 23 young mothers and very young children less than three years old had a wonderful opportunity to learn the SNI teachings. This attributed to a woman who are constantly proactively inviting her friends, however, if we have a father's class, I suppose we will not able to hold such a productive and fruitful class. In Japan, they both have Mother's and Father's Study Class, but the number of Mother's Study Class is overwhelmingly more than Father's one. And in any SNI events, I guess, 70 or even 80% of propagation activities is contributed by women.
Let me show you another example. Bishop of US Missionary HQs, Chairman, the first and second Vice Chairman of SNI Inc., those four are all women. Incidentally, Chiefs of four Missionary Areas are all men. In SNI Hawaii, as we see the ratio of male and female in the Board of Directors, in 2007 -- 2008 period, women were three in eight Directors, however, in 2009 -- 2010 period, the ratio becomes 50 to 50. It is what we are now. Furthermore, when asked the reason you came to SNI, many of them answered that they were enthusiastically recommended by their moms or grandmas or neighborhood ladies. As long as I know, in terms of amount of propagation, I think women is superior to men. I suppose many men have no objection on that.
In this way, that women's performances are outstanding is one of the characteristics of Seicho-No-Ie organization. One of the reason, I suppose, is Founder Masaharu Taniguchi provided a wholehearted and thorough guidance aimed at women's way of life. There are some SNI books intended specifically for women, on the contrary, there are no books for men. Founder Masaharu Taniguchi described the reason why SNI put a high value on women's education in the preface of Truth of Life, vol. 29 as follows. Incidentally, Truth of Life vol. 29 is called book for women:
Since human beings consists of men and women, when women cannot demonstrate their natural gifts, all human beings become unhappy and dark. To guide them to demonstrate their gifts is a great work of humanity enlightenment. (Partial Omission) Women are excellent in terms of love, beauty, graciousness, and immaculacy. In this respect, "white dove" is a symbol of women. I don't want to have this women's movement end up giving women knowledge and intelligence or making women rebellious to men as a counter reaction. (Partial Omission) I want to have "white dove" a symbol of expansion of women's natural gifts that are love, beauty, harmony, peace, and graciousness. (Masaharu Taniguchi, Truth of Life, vol. 29, preface)
It was Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi who played a central role in a movement that expands women's natural gifts. Founder Masaharu Taniguchi called her wife as a halve of his soul, but also called her a halve of SNI Humanity Enlightenment Movement. He often manifested his sense of gratitude in front of congregation as Lillian Sugita mentioned in her opening remarks.
Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, President of SNI, mentioned about Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi, his grandmother, at the 19th Memorial Service 2 years ago as follows:
Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi guided our movement with deep love and wisdom as wife of Founder Masaharu Taniguchi and also as the first President of SNI White Dove Association. I think it's all right we call her "mother of our movement," however, since Mrs. Teruko was not only a loving mother but she said clearly "No" to what is wrong and unfair, and she showed a stern attitude. I really respect her in this point.
I would like to share an episode what Rev. Masanobu told us. The following story was written by Mrs. Teruko to "Seicho-No-Ie 50th History" book.
It was Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture, in Kansai area in Japan, where Founder and Mrs. Masaharu Taniguchi started Seicho-No-Ie in 1930. As SNI members increased and readers' meetings flourished, Founder and Mrs. Taniguchi went up to Tokyo, the capital of Japan for seeking further expansion of our movement. It was August 30 in 1934, just four years after its founding. They still held a readers' meeting at their home, there was K who often attended the meeting and gave them argumentative questions. One day he wrote to Founder Taniguchi and said, "If you say that a physical body does not exist, don't you die even if you take poison?"
A few days later, K brought sushi to the Taniguchi's family. Then, all the family members who ate sushi vomited. They smelled something like chemicals, but any way, they ate all the sushi. Fortunately, other than all of them vomited, there was no problem with their health. As a matter of fact, K put poison in the sushi he delivered. This is what they knew afterward, K was a criminal who was imprisoned even 10 times by robbery, rape, and others.
At that time SNI Headquarters had bought a school facility for their office and hall and just remodeled and renovated. They started to hire some new employees and some construction workers were there, that is why there was an unsettled atmosphere. It was when two cameras and a trouser were stolen. Then, a person in charge of general affairs reported their damage to the police nearby. The police soon caught a perpetrator. It was K. K piled crime on crime, as a result of that, he was given a 4-year-and-several-month unsuspended prison sentence.
Just after K came out of prison, Mrs. Teruko received a suspicious letter that there was no sender's name on the envelop. It was a letter from K and written that "If your subordinate didn't report the damage to the police, I didn't have to be imprisoned and suffer there. You'd better to be responsible for that. You husband is the most responsible person in your organization, therefore, I require you to pay me some amount of yen per day, a total of 15,000 yen compensation for 4 year's and several months poisoned period. Otherwise, I will beat all of the family to death." I think 15,000 yen at that time is about 150 thousand dollars as the present currency.
Receiving a threatening letter for the first time, Mrs. Teruko felt truly scary. However, she immediately thought that "That can't be true. Our family members did nothing to deserve that" and led an ordinary life with a peace of mind.
However, four or five days later, she received another letter from K and it was written that "I believe you prepared that money I required. I will get the money soon." This time, Mrs. Teruko was upset and thought that she should prepared that amount of money. If she tried to collect all the money which includes operation funds of the organization, it was not impossible to pay. However, there was no reason to pay. She was not stingy but she made up her mind not to pay even if whatever happened.
A few days passed, when Mrs. Teruko was checking all the doors inside her house around 9 o'clock, a big sound came from a glass door on the porch. Can you imagine a traditional Japanese house that has a porch between the house room and garden? Anyway, K was standing on the porch with a bat. Mrs. Teruko walked to K and grabbed him by the collar and pushed him away to the garden. It was K who was taken aback with his mouth open. Then, she said that you should not enter the room from such a place with your muddy shoes on. Strangely, fear never came to her mind, rather she felt very pity for him and said to him kindly as if she were his mother, "Mr. K, I wonder your mother who lives in your home town must feel sorry if she knows you entered someone's home not from an entrance but from a porch..." K was standing with a tearful look. Then, the policemen came and brought him to the police station because some a maid called the police.
The following day, Mrs. Teruko was asked to go to the police station to help them make a record of investigation. The chief detective was really moved and told Mrs. Taniguchi that "You are a brave lady, aren't you?" "Why do you think of me a brave lady?" "You gave him a pat on the head, right" "No, I didn't do at all. I only grabbed him by the collar." The detective said that "K said that you gently gave him a pat on the head."
Since all Mrs. Teruko did was to grab him by the collar and push him away to the garden, it seems strange. However, we can think like that; Because Mrs. Teruko conceived a vibration of deep love like a mother, that vibration gave him an impression that she pat him on the head.
In this way, the love Mrs. Taniguchi showed is a stern but a love that enlivens and sustains people. Even if you have a love, if that love spoils a person, that love is not a real and God's love. Let's see, say, there is someone who did something wrong but does not repent. If you think that you have to leave him/her alone because Seicho-No-Ie teaches harmony and reconciliation, your action does not give life to him/her. You must be reconciled with his/her True Image, but you have to say "No!" to him/her false image. This is another expression of God's love. It applies to family life, workplace, and SNI's propagation activities.
For example, given you give someone a private counseling, his family situation was very bad, and there are many points to sympathize with the person. However, if you think that you must be friendly to those who are pity and you keep on giving your sympathy to him, you may not be able to save him in a true sense.
I once learned that as a matter of fact. One of my wife's friend, named N, have had a very hard time since she was born. Just after she was born, she lived with her father, mother, and her father's affair. She surely deserved to be sympathized. Many challenges happened to her one after another, however, fortunately, she was introduced to SNI when she was around 25 years old. Then she and my wife knew each other and my wife constantly took care of her. Through participating in the SNI activities, she got more cheerful and happier, however, she got Parkinson's disease several years ago. My wife really felt pity for her and took more care of her, sometimes kindly and sometimes sternly. But her situation didn't turn up. Rather she started to grumble about my wife's way of taking care of her and others. My wife and I practiced Shinsokan Meditation and prayed for and blessed her sincerely and asked God how we should do. Then, what we've done is to leave her alone. My wife stopped to contact her unless N calls her, and N never called my wife. It was a very hard decision to my wife who took care of her more than 10 years, but we understand that the real God's love should sometimes be strict and we need to practice that.
About one year and half passed since my wife stopped to contact N, but one day, N called her suddenly. N said that she overcame that difficult disease by her own power. There are some material reasons, but the fact is that she got well by herself. She seemed so happy that she was able to overcome such an adversity and started to engage in propagation activities again. In this way, we've learned that true love is not necessarily lenient, sometimes should be stern. And only leaving her alone and giving a blessing is also a kind of love. Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi taught as follows:
To give love does not mean to provide everything that another asks of you. Love is not necessarily expressed through kindness. Letting an individual live truly and helping them to open their eyes may sometimes be a harsh lesson given in love, like ice needles in the bitter winter or like painful lashes from a whip. When a child is spoiled throughout his or her life, that child will grow up with no backbone. And when faced with difficulty, he or she will surely cling on to someone else for help. As every individual is a child of God, we must keep expressing our love in a way that will help draw out the infinite potential that we all possess.(Teruko Taniguchi, Inochi wo Ogamu, Worshipping the Life, pp. 202-203)(Truth of Life, April 2009, pp. 25)
Let us understand what is true love from the guidance by Mrs. Teruko Taniguchi and strive to promote the Humanity Enlightenment and International Peace by Faith Movements with pouring love that gives life to people. Thank you very much for your kind attention.