Practicing Deeds Of Love In Modern Times
Tetsuya Abe, Acting Chief, SNI Hawaii Missionary Area
Seicho-No-Ie members and followers are encouraged to practice daily the three important religious practices as a person of faith in God. The three practices are practicing Shinsokan meditation, reading the Holy Sutras and Seicho-No-Ie books, and practicing deeds of love. I will explain about deeds of love at this time.
Deeds of love are actions of giving love to others. For example, picking up garbage on the street, being kind to elderly or disabled people, using your "stuff" with great care, volunteering, and propagating the SNI teachings - all of these are wonderful and priceless deeds of love. Some of these actions may seem secular. However, if you carry out these deeds while worshiping the divinity of others' "children of God" True Image or revering matter as a manifestation of the Life of God, your deeds no doubt become a religious practice.
Some of you might install a solar water heater or solar panels on your roof, or purchase a hybrid car out of concern for the earth's future. You can say that those who purchase an eco-friendly product in spite of a higher price are practitioners of deeds of love. Many people are reluctant to buy an environment-friendly product because of its cost, even if they can afford to pay extra for such a product. However, if you buy those products, you can earn much more rewards because of a principle of "God's Universal Bank," namely, "Give and you shall be given."
This is not only the case of expensive goods, but also other consumer items such as bath tissue paper, stationery, and other products. To buy "green products" seems to incur a loss in the short run. However, from God's standpoint, such a deed accumulates your virtues in heaven, and the rewards will surely return to you. More than that, if you stop using disposable chopsticks, dishes, and cups, and begin to use plastic or ceramic ones, it will also bring you wonderful merits in the long run.
The founder of Seicho-No-Ie, Masaharu Taniguchi, taught that "Wealth, in the first place, does not simply mean a condition in which there is a large amount of matter. To be wealthy means one has a large amount of something with which to do work that would benefit others." (See page 1 of this newsletter.) If you apply this teaching to this day and age, it can be said that to avoid purchasing eco-unfriendly and disposable products and to voluntarily buy eco-friendly products makes us abundant both spiritually and physically.
I've recently learned that the amount of junk mail in the United States is huge. According to a report by ForestEthics, a nonprofit environmental organization founded in 2000 whose mission is to protect endangered forests and wild places, wildlife, and human wellbeing, American mailboxes are inundated with more than 100,000,000,000 pieces of junk mail each year - that's more than 800 pieces per household. To my surprise, junk mail in the United States accounts for one-third of all the mail delivered worldwide, the organization said. The 51,548,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases created each year by junk mail in the U.S. are the annual equivalent of:
・9,372,000 average passenger cars.
・11 coal-fired power plants.
・The COMBINED emissions of Maine, Vermont, Alaska, South Dakota,
Montana, Rhode Is land, and Hawaii
・Heating 12.9 million homes.
・Nearly 85,000 international flights of a 747-400.
・2.4 million cars, idling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you send back junk mails to the sender by writing, "I don't need this mail, thank you," you will not receive the mail any more, or you can get more helpful information on how to reduce wasted paper in this month's "Environmental Thoughts & Tips" on page 5. It may take a little time, but this small action is also a kind of deed of love.
Since you are a loving person filled with wisdom, let us practice our own deeds of love and strive to make an effort to bequeath this beautiful earth to the next generation from a religious perspective. Thank you very much.