Happy New Year to all Seicho-No-Ie members throughout the world!
I am sincerely grateful to God that I can exchange New Year’s felicitations with everyone watching this this year, 2022.
As you are aware, the pandemic due to the Novel Coronavirus is in its third year and the political/economical as well as the unstable psychological condition stemming from not being able to tell what the future will bring, continues in countries throughout the world. Fortunately, the number of people in Japan who have come down with or died from the virus have been relatively few. Even then, the total number of Japanese people that succumbed in a two-year period reached 18,378. This number may not sound like that many, but if we were to look at the number of people worldwide affected by the pandemic, it is truly tragic, reminiscent of wartime. As of a survey taken by WHO on December 17 last year, there were 792,000 people in the United States and 5,331,000 people worldwide who died from the coronavirus.
In “Prayer to Visualize Grand Harmony Between Nature and Human Beings” which I wrote 11 years ago at the time of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, I wrote as follows:
There is no way that human beings only will prosper and live eternally abundantly while driving many living things to extinction and destroying the giving and sustaining system within nature. The composition of the world of Grand Harmony is such that all living species flourish only when they help, supplement and complement, and give to one another. Human beings not recognizing that, and
instead thinking of other living things as “tools,” or “the enemy,” or moreover, even as a “hindrance,” are changing a world that is by nature stable into an unstable one. Human beings need to learn from that “failed creative work.”
What exactly is it that we humankind have learned in the past 10 years about the relationship between humankind and nature? Seeing the accident at the nuclear power plant in Japan caused by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, a few countries other than Japan decided to abolish nuclear power generation. And, as the rapid deterioration of the environment following that that have come to be referred to as a “climate crisis” have made the mass consumption of fossil fuels a target of criticism, there appear voices in developed countries that advocate the expansion of nuclear power plants. It is being said that it is to rebuild the economy deflated by the spread of the coronavirus all at once. By doing this, do they think the lives of people will become more prosperous, and the world more at peace? We are spreading the word that this will only move us in the opposite direction and lead to a more disastrous situation.
By the way, the spread of the Novel Coronavirus hasn’t brought us only “negative things.” Because the life that prioritizes convenience which gives way to a wasteful life has stopped functioning, haven’t we discovered many valuable, joyful, and fun ways to enjoy in an everyday life with fewer resources and inconveniences? I’ve heard that many people, although unable to meet and play together in person, were able to connect with a wider range of people through emails and social media. I myself have created over 70 videos and introduced them over the Internet since the beginning of the pandemic. Through this, I’ve been able to interact with a wider range of people through the Internet and improve my ability to create videos. That goes not only for me. This has happened all over the world. If we were to look just at Seicho-No-Ie, there are many people who have changed to smartphones or honed their skills to master using the Internet to host home meetings and other gatherings online. I can say now with confidence that these ways of dealing with the spread of the coronavirus will doubtless be of use to us in the future growth of our Movement.
Many people have come to use the saying, “A crisis is an opportunity,” and not only saying them, but have been successful in putting them into practice. This slogan is the same as the spirit of the “sundial way of life” which has been promoted in our Movement since the time of its founding. It refers to the way of life of looking at the positive and not the negative of the things that happen in life and proceed forward trying to expand the positive side. In many occasions I’ve heard that it was when people were unable to see and get together with close friends and family that, for the first time, they were able to truly understand just how valuable and important to their spirit the “ordinary” life we lived before the pandemic was. This is the same as “being grateful to the ordinary” which is what Seicho-No-Ie has continued to expound. In other words, the pandemic was the catalyst for many people to realize the importance of the enlightenment way of life that Seicho-No-Ie teaches.
The light shone not only on human life, but hope also came to some animals. Accompanying the pandemic, deterioration of the global environment is in progress. However, because of this, the relationship between meat consumption and climate change has begun to be reported. And the number of people that know this fact is increasing. To produce inexpensive meat, hogs and cows are raised in horrifying conditions. Many people have become aware of these circumstances. As a result, some of the meat industry has decided to move in the direction to stop raising animals in such cruel environments. Japanese companies are fairly late in doing so, but in November of last year, leading meat maker, Nippon Ham, decided to scrap the installation of all pregnancy stalls in their farms by 2030. A pregnancy stall is a small metal cage in which a pregnant hog is stalled. It is so small that the hog in it can barely move. Pregnancy stalls have been banned in 27 countries in the EU and others including Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. But in Japan, 90 percent of hog farms still employ this method.
Is there any causal relationship between the act of restraining animals that, by nature, move freely but are confined in these cramped cages for long periods of time for the convenience of humans and the current situation where humanity is unable to move freely due to a pandemic? Though there might not be such a causal relationship, if human beings interact in a natural way with animals, anyone can feel that it is a mistaken act.
In this way, human beings have the power within to learn correctly from disasters and failures and proceed in the desirable direction. However, simply having it lay dormant within does not help. What is needed is the role to draw out and bring forth the power and put it in action. In other words, what is needed is the person to take on the role of sounding the alarm. The role is to talk to the God nature, Buddha nature we all have within, awaken it, and tie it to action. Seicho-No-Ie plays that role.
The Chinese zodiac sign for this year is the tiger. Tigers are symbols of positivity and the ability to act. Please, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us move brightly and with action towards building a “New Civilization” aiming at the Grand Harmony of God-Nature-Human Beings. Thank you very much in advance for all you will be doing for our Movement this year!