Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Puppet Play

A friend of mine in the United States requested that I make an English version of the puppet play I had shown on my Japanese blog. Here it is. It is entitled "The Invasion of the Robodog." I came up with this story during this New Year's vacation, after spending happy hours with my kids. So, it's not a serious play. But let me add that I was thinking of recent American foreign policy while making it. Please enjoy!

- MT

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Message

Happy New Year to all Seicho-No-Ie members.

I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to God for being able to greet the wonderful New Year 2008 in good health along with all of you.

As you are all aware, Seicho-No-Ie began a "Zero Carbon Movement" last year. This is an initiative to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by first reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2, then offsetting the remainder through afforestation and the introduction of renewable energy. The purpose for this is the practice of compassion and unconditional love aiming at the "removal of suffering and the giving of joy." In other words, we are trying to remove the suffering of and give joy to the many people suffering from the effects of global warming and also to the many species that are on the brink of extinction.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, published its synthesis report last autumn, and issued a stern warning emphasizing the need to act now to control greenhouse gases by implementing all the measures previously proposed in order to keep further damage in check. This synthesis reflects the result of extensive research done by thousands of scientists worldwide, including those from Japan. We must abide by this warning, and use originality and creativity in order to develop a new method of religious activity that does not accelerate global warming.

However, a "Zero Carbon" Movement must not be one that reduces or curtails religious activities. Quite the contrary, what we need now is an increase and growth in religious consciousness. What lies at the root of today's environmental issues is the thinking that focuses on personal desires and forgets about gratitude for "Nature's blessings" or the "things we have been given," emphasizing rather what is insufficient or lacking, which in turn arouses people's desires and increases consumption and expenditure. The expansion of people's personal desires is related to the waste of and struggle for resources.

That is why there has never been such an urgent need as now for religious activities that value, not "personal desires," but rather the "God-nature" that lies within.

Last year, I published a book entitled "What is the Sundial Way of Life?" One of the things I wanted to emphasize in this book was the fact that our surroundings are filled with truth, goodness and beauty. The media, rumors and gossip look solely at "negative phenomena" that reflect delusions, but if we look around us with our minds focused on the "God-nature" within, we can see a tremendous amount of "positive phenomena" that reflect the True Image. Actually putting this into practice is the sundial way of life.

By recapturing our mind that is grateful for all that we have already been given, which includes the blessings we have received from Nature, and deepening our awareness of the teaching that "man is a child of God," we will be able to live an abundant, happy life remaining unrelated to the waste of resources. Looking at the positive side of things in life doesn't mean to live passively and simply "shutting our eyes to the dark side" of things, but refers to a proactive and creative way of manifesting the True Image in the phenomenal world.

Going forward, the Seicho-No-Ie movement will return to this starting point, discover and express the bright and positive things in all areas of our life, and by expressing and sharing them with our families and those around us, confirm and draw out the God-nature of each person. Thus, we will turn our emphasis on frontline activities that further increase the truth, goodness and beauty in our actual lives. To be able to do this, we will need the creativity and originality of all of us, our members, and the understanding of our families.

In order "to grow with Nature," let us bring forth one household after another that shines together as a family.