New Year's Message

Let Us Proceed on the "Path to Peace"

Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, President

Seicho-No-Ie International

Happy New Year, Ladies and Gentlemen. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to God for being able to greet this New Year in good health with all of you. Thank you very much. 


The year before last in Japan, there was the heavy snowfall till March, the earthquake in the northern region of Osaka Prefecture in June, the heavy rains in Western Japan in July, which was followed in September by the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake. Then last year, there were the heavy rains in Northern Kyushu in August followed by the prolonged major power outage in Chiba Prefecture due to Typhoon Faxai, and the major flood damage in the Kanto, Nagano, Tohoku regions from Typhoon Hagabis and so forth. In recent years, major disasters have been increasing in Japan. 


Serious damage from climate change is spreading throughout the world also. Last summer, heat waves hit Europe raising temperatures to 46 degrees Celsius, or 115 degrees Fahrenheit, in France and 42.6 degrees Celsius, or 109 degrees Fahrenheit, in Germany. Flooding occurred not only in Japan, but also in Argentina and Uruguay in South America. Furthermore, in the United States, in the state of California, wildfires continued burning for a long time with many losing their precious homes. While droughts continue in Australia in the Southern Hemisphere, forest fires have spread and between the months of September and early December last year, it is said that the total area destroyed was 2 million hectares, more than ten times the previous year. This area is larger than the entire area of the island of Shikoku in Japan. 


With these abnormal weather in mind, the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations, in November last year, reported that the highest average global greenhouse gas concentration (407.8 ppm) in 2018 was observed. He said that if the statistics for 2019 were collected, the concentration would almost certainly increase. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas warned, “If the average concentration continues to rise, the next generation will be affected by more severe climate change, such as further increases in temperature, water shortages, and rising sea levels. 


What caught my attention about this press conference was his pointing out that “extreme heat waves and floods that occur once every century will occur more regularly in the future.” The Japan Meteorological Agency issues a “special warning” when there is a possibility that extreme weather of the magnitude that will occur “once every few decades.” But I don’t think this expression “once every few decades” accurately explains how serious the situation is. Those who have experienced the danger of “once every few decades” think that the same risk will come again in a few decades. In fact, however, we have to live prepared for the worse, knowing that what occurred “once every few decades” will occur more frequently going forward. 


In order to cope with such unprecedented climate change, Seicho-No-Ie moved its International Headquarters in 2013 from the big city, Tokyo, to the “forest” at the southern foot of Yatsugatake. We learned from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident that was a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and set the goal of “carbon zero” to conduct business using renewable natural energy only. And now, not only has that been realized, but at the end of last year, large-capacity storage batteries were added to the Office to build an “off-grid” system that does not receive external power. The actual operation will start this spring, but with this, we will be able to carry out our work without emitting greenhouse gases, our staff will be able to live normally, and in the event of future disasters, not only will we be able to continue our work, but I believe we will also be able to contribute to the community. 


These actions are the first steps towards building the foundation of a “new civilization.” Climate change due to global warming is now developing before our very eyes with increasing intensity. Doing nothing despite that is not using the power of reason God has given us, is ignoring the science and technology our ancestors worked so hard and unceasingly to develop, and is negating the mind of careful consideration of others, the mind of love, and the mind of compassion that many of the world’s religions teach in unison and encourage us to practice. 


Now, throughout the world, with traditional crops facing difficulty in growing due to the effects of climate change, fishing zones becoming less available, and droughts or heavy floods, wildfires and mudslides taking place more often, food shortages and water shortages are looming. In such circumstances, the world population has risen to 7.6 billion and will soon reach 9 billion. The gap between the economically “rich” and “poor” countries continues to widen. The widening gap between the rich and poor has various negative effects on society. One of them is that the majority who are put on the “poor side” would get increasingly indifferent to the wellbeing of society. There would be an increased tendency to curse society, disrupt order, and head towards destructive activities. This happens not only within one country but also between countries. We are witnessing this in the form of terrorism and the expansion of international conflicts. 


However, we still have many things we can do. Stop using fossil fuels. We can stop the destruction of nature. Rather than pursue the easy convenience of the city, we can get to know nature well, deepen our contact with nature, and promote a way of life that coexists with nature. It’s not something painful, it may be challenging but it’s also pleasurable. Seicho-No-Ie has already started doing this all over the world. I believe that expanding this way of life will prevent the expansion of the gap between the rich and the poor, deepen the connection between people, and prevent terrorism and conflict. 


Having said this, however, there is one condition necessary to change to this way of life. That is to forgo to a certain extent the convenience of urban life, where the population is dense, material things are abundant and the infrastructure is developed. 


Do you think, “I can’t possibly do that”? 


Do you choose to change your values and lifestyle and live together with nature, or do you choose not to change your values or your life style, and live a way of life of pursuing things and conveniences even more. Do you choose to continue to compete in the dry city while continuing a way of life of mass consumption, and while, on one hand, enduring the increasing natural disasters, expand armaments, and struggle with other countries for the acquisition of resources and energy? 


I sincerely hope that you will not choose the latter but choose the former. This year is the “year of choice.” Seicho-No-Ie has created a new organization called the “project-based system.” By joining it, ordinary people can gain the know-how on how to live with nature and build a lifestyle that does that. Ladies and Gentlemen, please join us in this movement, invite more people, and expand new values and a new lifestyle. The path to pursuing the fulfillment of desires is the “way to war,” but the path to living with nature is the “way to peace.”

 

Let us walk along the “way to peace” with courage and joy. I look forward to working with you again this year.


Rev._Masanobu_Taniguchi_2020_New_Year_s_Message_ENGLISH.pdf


Rev._Masanobu_Taniguchi_2020_New_Year_s_Message_JAPANESE.pdf

2020 New Year’s Message

Rev. Yoshiko Teshigawara, Bishop

Seicho-No-Ie U.S. Missionary Headquarters

Happy New Year to all children of God throughout the United States! May the year 2020 also be a year filled with God’s blessings for you and your family, and may peace prevail on earth.

I am sincerely grateful to be able to live the Seicho-No-Ie way of life together with all of you, brightly, cheerfully, and carefully with you and contribute to the further growth of the Humanity Enlightenment Movement – International Peace by Faith Movement.


I traveled to each Missionary Area and Unincorporated District for various events and meetings last year also. I was very grateful for the radiant smiles and warm, kind words I received everywhere I went. Meeting all of you who dedicate yourselves so selflessly throughout the year to express the will of God is a precious memory for me and also a tremendous encouragement in starting the New Year. I would like to thank each of you again for your thoughtfulness. Thank you very much. I will be visiting you for Leaders’ Seminars and Public Lectures again this year. Thank you very much in advance for your support and cooperation.


On this New Year, the President, Rev Masanobu Taniguchi, has sent his New Year’s message, “Let us Proceed on the ‘Path to Peace’” to members worldwide. Please read the message on the previous page of this newsletter and share the President’s message with as many people as possible. Please read it together at Readers’ Meetings and so forth.


We began the “Three-Year Plan to Build the Foundation of a ‘New Civilization’” in 2017 with last year being the final year. Therefore, the leaders and members in the United States focused on putting emphasis on promoting the Movement in 2019, the third and final year of the three-year plan, to renew

our understanding and awareness of a “New Civilization.” In other words, we deepened our awareness that a “New Civilization” is a way of life in which the flourishing of nature is the prosperity and happiness of human beings and refers to the whole of faith and philosophy, science and technology, economics, and politics that support that way of life; moreover, we, the leaders and members of Seicho-No-Ie, strove to clearly understand that we are now starting to build the foundation upon which the “New Civilization” will be built. On the other hand, we came to realize through the guidance of the President, Rev. Masanobu Taniguchi, and the President of the White Dove Association, Mrs. Junko Taniguchi, through their lectures and writings, that a “New Civilization” begins with the change in thinking and way of life of we human beings toward nature. A few years ago, President Masanobu Taniguchi provided us with the following three points as guidelines to build a “New Civilization.” ① Appropriate control of desires, ② Fair distribution of wealth, ③ Preservation of world peace. Among these, the one most closely related to our religious movement is ① Appropriate control of desires. I believe everyone understands that the “three practices” that we, together with the members worldwide, are working earnestly to implement, ① no-meat, low carbon dietary life, ② resource-saving, low carbon life, ③ nature-emphasis, low carbon expressive activities, are ways to realize the “appropriate control of desires” given in ①. Three ways to develop the three aforementioned lifestyles (appropriate control of desires, fair distribution of wealth, preservation of world peace) more specifically and systematically came about and now Seicho-No-Ie members throughout the world are developing each of these activities (SNI Organic Vegetable Gardening Club, SNI Bicycle Club, SNI Craft Club).


In the United States also, in order to promote these three initiatives more actively, an Ordained Minister and a Missionary Headquarters staff member were assigned to serve as contact persons thereby establishing a support system for your efforts. As a result, enthusiasm to join each club is increasing. Furthermore, while cherishing the connections we have with our respective communities, the “Seicho-No-Ie Blessings of Nature Festa” has been held yearly in each of the four Missionary Areas. We are very grateful that thanks to this, we have seen an increase in those people who understand that human beings are sustained in life by the blessings of all things. 


Since Missionary Headquarters first received ISO 14001 certification, we have passed and received excellent evaluations in each external audit. The external auditor of our most recent audit praised us saying, “Seicho-No-Ie’s initiatives are wonderful. There are various opinions regarding environmental conservation, but what is most important is that the lifestyle habits such as yours in Seicho-No-Ie are spread to people.” Let us take a moment to read “Prayer to Create a Good Way of Living” published in the “Truth of Life” magazine and keep in mind that our way of life is a way of life that embodies God’s will and expanding that way of life is the will of God.


Last year we saw the publishing of Learning About the Universality of the Concept of Musubi (Japanese and English) and Daily Prayers (English) Volume 2, making it a happy year for both English and Japanese speaking members. In addition, as part of the efforts for the second phase of Carbon Zero initiatives, an additional solar panel system was added to the U.S Missionary Headquarters buildings. It’s difficult to say, however, that the joy from these things heightened the will to propagate of the leaders and members. For that reason, we will basically follow the movement measures for 2019.

Founder Masaharu Taniguchi taught us that the biggest and great purpose of our life is to rejoice. Let us confirm that “joy” only is the will of God. Let us be grateful, help one another and earnestly express God’s will brightly and cheerfully.


May you make this year one in which you fully demonstrate your innate Godnature, Buddha-nature.


Thank you very much. 


Rev._Teshigawara_2020_New_Year_s_Message_JAPANESE_.pdf


Rev._Teshigawara_2020_New_Year_s_Message_ENGLISH.pdf