Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fall Festival Address (2)

This year, we in the Seicho-No-Ie movement have begun “A Movement That Grows With Nature—Phase 1 Five-Year Plan.” “Phase One” means that we are also thinking about a “Phase Two” to follow, and that within the next ten years, we will have realized a “Movement That Grows With Nature.” This is not simply an environmental movement. What I would like to ask you to keep in mind is that ours is a Movement to manifest the True-Image world here on this earth, based upon the Truth that “the God-created True-Image world is only goodness and Grand Harmony.”

“Growing with nature” means that we cannot carry on a movement that disseminates the Truth that “man is a child of God” and destroy nature while we are doing so. We must conduct our movement within the regenerative limitations of nature, and nurture nature as well as the awareness of all people. That is why our goal is not only to live together with nature but also to grow and evolve with it. This movement is not one that goes against or defies anything, but is one that stands in the forefront of and leads society and is based on the biological truth that “man is a part of nature.” Therefore, it is the natural responsibility of people worldwide to protect against global warming. If this lifestyle and mindset is not actually practiced in our daily life, there will be no future for humankind.

I believe that at the root of the environmental problems that confront us today lies anthropocentrism, particularly as it applies to human desires and needs. Man is a child of God, so we need to revere and respect one another. That does not mean, however, to value human desires or needs. Instead we must value the “God-nature” that lies within, beyond those desires. Unfortunately, through advertising and the media’s emphasis not on what we have been given but what we lack, we try to raise demands to stimulate the market. We purposely shorten products’ life-cycle and models of products frequently. If we continue to do this, there will never be enough for our planet. In the East, there is an adage that emphasizes being content with what you have. This thinking, however, was criticized as trying to justify the feudal system, so was considered for a long while to be “old-fashioned.” However, now in the 21st century, feudal systems do not exist anywhere within the developed countries. Liberalism/democracy superseded that, but, unfortunately, it would seem that we are instead heading towards a system that emphasizes human desires.

In the 21st Century in which global warming is progressing, there is a need for a new movement with religious fervor that emphasizes being content with what you have, which comes, not from the top-down, but swells up from the grassroots. The Kenyan environmentalist, Wangari Maathai, advocated introducing the traditional Japanese concept of mottainai (Editor’s Note: Roughly translated, this word means “it is so wasteful that things are not fully used.” Maathai equates it to the English phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”). I think this is a wonderful idea, but I’d like to tell you about the more original way of thinking that Seicho-No-Ie has had, and that is the “sundial way of life.”

The sundial way of life looks at all the bright and positive aspects of life. Unlike the system that holds human desires in highest regard, this way of thinking looks, not at what is lacking, but recognizes and gives thanks for all that we have been given, what we have been blessed with, and the fact that we are alive. This is something that is shared with the spirit of mottainai, and at the same time, is based on the faith in a world of only goodness and is a way to practice concretely drawing out the True Image into the phenomenal world. I wrote about this in detail in the book Hidokei Shugi towa Nanika? (“What is the Sundial Way of Life?”” Seicho-No-Ie Publications) which was published to commemorate this Fall Festival. I would like to ask that you all read this book and better understand that the sundial way of life is a new movement to manifest the True-Image.


André P.B. Selva said...

It's very important this initiative of Seicho no ie for preservation of nature. It is very rare a religious movement have that kind of attitude. Congratulations.

I am typing of Recife, northeast Brazil. I know the Seicho no ie since 2001. And I can say that is a philosophy that changed my life. I am very grateful for that.

I saw your Japanese blog, and could translate some of the Japanese texts into English[Yes, Google language tools makes miracles :)]. They are very good. Therefore, I would like to suggest to translate them into English.

Success, happiness and prosperity for you and for all of Seicho no ie.

Thanks a lot.

André Selva

Masanobu said...

Thank you, Andre!

I appreciate your encouragement and suggestion. However, I don't think the automatic translation system that Google now employs is not sufficient, yet.

- MT