Thank you for your participation in this month's monthly service.
Last month in January, I was able to return to Jiba for the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama.
About one week before leaving, I received a call from someone affiliated with Shuto Grand Church, and this person notified me that there was no more rooms available at the Dormitory, where I normally will stay. At first I was in denial, as I had made reservations ahead of time, but as I listened to the person explain how I was supposed to be notified by another person a couple of months ago of this situation, I realized that I needed to make alternate plans. But, as I told the person on the other end, please don't worry, I am used to being placed in this type of situation.
Luckily, one of my good friends who lives in Tenri offered me a place to stay at his house. I was very grateful. Now, my friend is a very happy-go-lucky type of person, and because of this, there are those that judge him unfairly. They sometimes would treat him as if he was a lower-class citizen, or as if he did not possess a fair amount of intelligence.
Based upon my conversations with him, I have found him to be quite intelligent. He is a little child-like, but that is what makes him great. This innocence that he has, allows him to forgive others. He doesn't seem bothered by the reactions he receives from others that do not know him very well. And after living with him for a couple of days and nights, and talking with him, his generosity and kindness overwhelms his very being, and it makes me feel more energetic and less tense.
I often wished to have this type of effect on others, but with the stress of work, sometimes this is difficult for me to do. But my friend's willingness to forgive others, is the key to what makes him what he is. By forgiving others, he doesn't carry their burden or stress, and instead give to them, without expecting anything in return. This feeling overwhelmed me to the point that I felt so good, each time I went out into the town whether to sanpai, or meet with other friends.
One particular situation that I remember was meeting a person whom I had a falling-out with. For some reason, we didn't see eye to eye on an issue, and I was too stubborn to let go of my point of view. Before I left Japan to return to Hawai`i, this person was relocated to Peru, to the overseas headquarters there. He came back to Japan a few times to give reports, and I would see him, but he looked very stressed and we didn't exchange any more words than grunts to each other.
After returning to Hawai`i, I felt a sense of regret for not letting go of my point of view, because on hindsight, it wasn't that important. In fact, there was a middle ground that would have satisfied both of us.
So, fast-forward to 2016, I prayed that I could see him once more, just to let go of the negativity. Because of my friend, I learned forgiveness, and was overwhelmed with forgiveness, that I just let go. I was at the entrance of the workplace I was at where we had the falling-out, and I forgave him, and hoped that he forgave me as well. This thought was so strong, that I truly felt weight being lifted off of my shoulders. As I turned to leave, that person was coming up the stairs. He smiled at me, and I smiled back. We hugged and greeted each other as if the falling-out never happened. My eyes literally filled with tears of joy, and I realized the importance of forgiveness.
I know that it is difficult sometimes to forgive. Depending on the situation, it may even seem impossible. But I ask you all too to try to embrace this feeling of forgiveness. Perhaps not for major issues, but start with the small ones. Grudge-bearing is a dust that we all carry. And in the same way dust settles in you house, we want to sweep them away. Forgiveness is a great way to sweep them all away. It leads to generosity and kindness. In my case it even led to JOY! For me, it was a lesson, of how you and I may take a step closer to the Joyous Life.
Thank you all for you kindness in listening to my message.