Sunday, April 3, 2016

April Message

Thank you for your performance in today's Monthly Service.

We have an increase in the musical instruments being performed today, making the service music seem fuller. It is interesting. I was driving on the freeway, and I saw a sign that said, "too stupid for science? Try religion." After seeing that sign, I wondered why those two things were separated. God the Parent has said that he created doctors and medicine. In the Osashizu, the Divine Directions, there is a passage that basically scolds the followers by stating that at no time has God told them never to go to a doctor. We use doctors to find the root cause of our illness. We have symptoms, but underneath the symptoms lies the cause. We often have coughs. We drink medicine to stop the coughs. Instead we should drink the medicine that will cure what is causing the cough. Doctors, though they do give the medicine for stopping coughs so we can be more at ease, do not stop there, instead they find the root cause. Once we find the root cause, we can begin the healing, not just physically, but spiritually as well.

Science and religion. We in Tenrikyo shouldn't be afraid of what would be discovered in science. There are a research going on by doctors who are Tenrikyo, scientist who are familiar with Tenrikyo, and they often are amazed at how the teachings are explaining in simple terms what is happening to our bodies that science can explain in more complex terms.

This past summer I had taught biology. I always have a fascination for this subject area, as the better I understand this, the better I teach music and dance. There were so many discoveries of connections to Tenrikyo that I made, but one simple phrase in the textbook stands out in my head, and that was: the skin is an organ that has the function of joining. Of course there is more, but how surprised I was that the text in a non-religious science book was so close to what Oyasama has taught us.

Speaking of school, we had a presentation by neurologist come to our school, and they showed us examples of CAT scans of the human brain during certain emotions. The frontal lobe of the brain is where we reason, think logically. Near the cortex is our defensive reaction. When a person feels threatened, the brain activity is non-existent in the frontal lobe, which makes sense. If you have an encounter with a tiger that is ready to pounce on you, you don't want to spend time reasoning with it, survival is critical. That being said, if you scold a child, and they start to fear you, they will not be thinking logically, or communicate with you properly because there will be no activity in the frontal lobe. This is the same, not only for fear, but for anger, depression, and so on. A joyous state of the mind is important for logical thinking, and survival, as the activity of the brain is more evenly distributed. This is not to say to keep children in a happy state or never scold a child. They need to have challenges and sometimes losses. When they encounter these, they need to learn to calm their minds and think of solutions, and parent should not stay in the state of scolding if it seems like the child is not responsive. Through the service, we can calm our minds and think more logically.

But going back to the musical instruments today. There are so much research that individuals are doing looking at the songs of service. For example, it was told to me that the tempo was key to making the service joyous. Too fast, and people will get anxious and tense, too slow and it will sound depressing and sad, the right tempo will make the service sound wonderfully joyous. What is the proper tempo? I heard that the key lies in time that was recorded when Oyasama hid her physical form. It is recorded the time they began the service, and the time it ended. This was told to me.

Many ministers have told me that the musical instruments of the service represented different parts of the body. Taking this thought in mind, when we are sick, or hurt, there are parts of the body that doesn't function properly, or at all. For example when we have a cold, sometimes we lose the function of taste. When we lose these parts, we often get discouraged, and feel sad. When we are able to use them again, we become overjoyed. When we are healthy, we are joyous. So as we increase the amounts of instruments played, we become more joyous. It is very fascinating to me.

We should take the time to explore and not be afraid of what we'll find. Look to the Truth of Origin. There are many clues that will help us move toward the Joyous life. I believe that we'll deepen our faith and our understanding of our faith through what we will discover.