THE WAY OF FORTUNE WITH BLESSINGS
A Consideration of The Way of Fortune with Blessings
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1) What is authentic Fortune with Blessings?
Have we ever really thought seriously about this matter before? I would like to talk to you about it briefly now. You may wonder, how long it will take to acquire Fortune with Blessings? My answer is this: In a very short time, after reading this brief book, anybody can acquire Fortune with Blessings.
The Way of Fortune with Blessings has been my own experience for many years. It has not come from studying many books, nor has it come from listening to others talk about good and bad or other such things. In other words, this is not just merely a "talk affair," but my own personal experience.
If we want to acquire Fortune with Blessings the first thing we should do is to be clear and determined about our own intentions. If you want something other than what I am talking about, that is fine, but, in that case, you will not be able to acquire real Fortune with Blessings.
Sometimes I have asked people, "Do you know what real Fortune with Blessings is?" "Of course!" they answer. "Then please try to explain it to me," I reply. They then take their fingers and make the shape of a coin and say: "Just this--money! If you have money, you can acquire anything you want. Wouldn't this be Fortune with Blessings?"
I can truly say that this kind of person does not really understand anything about Fortune with Blessings. We cannot say that a person who has a lot of money has real Fortune with Blessings. My dear friends, please pay close attention to those people in the world who have a lot of money. Some of them have millions. Others have hundreds of millions. Yet many of them are very unfortunate. Merely to acquire a lot of money is not the true meaning of Fortune with Blessings.
Another person has said to me: "Good health is Fortune with Blessings. Surely, good health must be the first thing one needs to have!" But I still cannot truly say that just to have good health is Fortune with Blessings. Let me give you an example. I know of a couple with three children. They all have very good health, but they also have very bad tempers. The husband and wife quarrel every day. The children do not have any discipline and are constantly getting into mischief. Having such good health seems only to strengthen their defiance of each other. On many occasions they engage in screaming matches that are nothing more than one gigantic free-for-all. There are many families like this. So how can we say that good health is definitely Fortune with Blessings?
If you continue to say: "Money and health are very important in the world. Without them, one can never be happy and content," I would agree that these things are very good and important. However, from my point of view, they are still not enough and lie outside the true meaning of Fortune with Blessings.
Many people envy those who seem to have everything-- fine homes, fancy cars, new clothes--in short, what many people call the "good life." However, even though some people live in very favorable circumstances, sometimes they are still very unhappy and discontent. On the other hand, there are many people living under adverse circumstances for whom we have great pity and sympathy; yet sometimes these "unfortunate" people consider themselves to be very lucky. In short, they really have Fortune with Blessings.
2) There are many people living under adverse circumstances who have Fortune with Blessings.
Sixty years ago in a place called Ta Pab Chu Chiang, six criminals were to be beheaded. This caused a great disturbance in the town and in the newspapers. The first five criminals were beheaded but the sixth was not. Instead, they cut off both her hands and inflicted a large wound from her ear to her mouth. This person was both a nun and an artist. Her name as an artist was Chi-Chi., and she was famous throughout Japan.
When people saw her, they had a feeling of great pity. Whether she was eating, sleeping, taking a bath, putting on clothes or going to the toilet, everything caused her great hardship. Therefore, people considered her to be most unfortunate. But, in actuality, she was quite happy. A few years ago, even though she had no hands, she used gold and a kind of silk paper to write the Heart Sutra. This book was put on display in Japan for all to see along with her many beautiful paintings, for all of which she has become very famous. She also travelled about the country giving lectures. In one of her lectures she said: "I think that I am fortunate to have had both my arms cut off, because today I enjoy this great Fortune with Blessings." All of you should think about her words! Are they reasonable or not?
There is another story about a woman whose name was Helen Keller. Miss Keller lived in the United States, and she had experienced much suffering. After the Second World War, she came to the city of Kobe to give a lecture in the Hall of Music. I thought that this was a good opportunity for me to hear her speak, so I arrived at the hall thirty minutes before the lecture was to begin. Already the hall was very crowded, and it was difficult for me even to find a place to stand. Miss Keller was deaf, dumb and blind. But she could communicate by moving her mouth and using sign language in English. On the other side of the stage was a Japanese man who translated Miss Tomtien's (Miss Keller's assistant) words into Japanese. He was a famous blind man whose name was Mr. Yen Ch'iae Wu Fu. He has since passed away.
At the beginning of her talk Miss Keller said: "My eyes cannot see. My ears cannot hear. My mouth cannot speak. But I think I am the most fortunate person in the whole world. I travel all over the world, encouraging others like myself, as well as those who are not deaf, dumb or blind, not to lose hope. This is a source of great joy and happiness for me. My life is so full and good." Her talk left me feeling quite astonished. Even though she could not see, hear or speak, nevertheless she was full of happiness and joy. What astonished me even more was, as I later learned, that Miss Keller had two Ph.D.! degrees, one in French and the other in English Literature! Everybody should think about her example. How difficult it is for ordinary people to get even a one Ph.D.! I think that she truly understood real Fortune with Blessings. Therefore, everyone should work hard and be diligent. Do not pity yourself or waste your time!
3) There are many people living in favorable circumstances who are very unfortunate.
In this world, there are many people living under favorable circumstances that are very unfortunate. They possess new homes, fine clothes and the latest-style cars. Some, in addition to their wives, keep one or two mistresses. In other words, they live very comfortable and luxurious lives. But even with all these fine and luxurious things, these people still have discontent and defilement. Even in favorable circumstances, both husband and wife still cannot live in harmony. If they have children, many of them do not have any discipline or show any respect. People who do not have all these fine things think that such people must be happy. However, they cannot see beyond appearances. Therefore, when we examine people living in either favorable or adverse circumstances, we can see that Fortune with Blessings is not dependent on outside conditions.
The Short Cut to Fortune with Blessings
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1) Everybody can easily acquire Fortune with Blessings.
There are many different ways to acquire Fortune with Blessings, just as there are many paths to climb a mountain. We can choose any path; the purpose is to arrive on top of the mountain. Similarly, there are many different religions in Japan that teach The Way of Fortune with Blessings. But because of this, we cannot say that all religions are the same. It is not my purpose to say which religion is good or bad but only to point out which one will help us to acquire Fortune with Blessings easily and quickly. This is like taking the short path up the mountain.
From my own point of view, the Buddhist religion is a short way to Fortune with Blessings. There are three principles that make up this short way:
1. Do not harbor any anger all day.
2. Do not speak any evil words all day.
3. Harmonize with your family all day.
If one can practice these three principles, then one can acquire Fortune with Blessings immediately.
Let me tell you how I "discovered" these three principles, so that you do not think I just made them up. Every morning and evening I practice meditation. One morning during meditation, these three principles quite suddenly and spontaneously arose in my mind. It was as if another person were speaking them. So clear and distinct was this voice that I immediately got up from my meditation and wrote them down. These principles did not emanate from my own ego. I believe that they were a "revelation of the Buddha". My point here is that these principles were not a product of my own thinking. In reality, they came from a Wisdom that lies beyond thought. Therefore, I would like to share these three principles with all people worldwide.
2) One cannot be happy and angry at the same time.
The aim of Fortune with Blessings is to help one enjoy and lead a happy life. In order to achieve this, one needs to rid himself or herself of all obstacles to happiness. One of the greatest obstacles to happiness is anger. We cannot be both happy and angry at the same time. I have an interesting story that I would like to relate that will help illustrate what I mean.
I know a very rich man who has a high standing in society. His wife was always telling him that she would like a diamond ring. So one day he went to Tokyo and bought a large diamond ring for her. When he returned home and presented the ring to his wife, she became angry and refused to accept it. The reason the wife was so furious was that the husband was often in the habit of travelling with a mistress when away on business. The wife thought that on this particular trip he must have taken his mistress along. And, what is worse, she thought the husband must have bought his mistress an even larger ring than the one he bought for her! So even though the wife was very desirous of owning a diamond ring, when she finally got it, she was angry and unhappy. She wanted to be happy, but ended up feeling angry instead. You may think this is an unusual story, but actually there are a lot of people like this in the world. Therefore, happiness and anger cannot arise at the same time. One must have the right conditions to be happy.
If a person gets angered easily, then it is very difficult for him or her to change this habit. But after reading my book, everyone should hopefully be able to rid himself or herself of this bad habit. I would like can talk now about how to rid oneself of anger.
3) Everything depends on causes and conditions.
Regarding any matter people should understand the theory and reasons behind it. It is the same with anger. According to the Buddhist doctrine, all things, in order to exist, depend on causes and conditions. This is sometimes referred to as the Principle of Retribution (karma) or the Principle of Nature. This theory is not too difficult for ordinary people to understand. Simply stated, this theory asserts that good causes take good effects and bad causes take bad effects. There is nothing in the world that is without causes and effects. All things manifest because of causes and conditions. Whether it is good or bad, big or small, something we see or hear, everything depends on causes and conditions. It is very important to understand this doctrine.
However, in the world we see many evil people who attain to high honor as well as many good people who suffer from unfortunate circumstances. We see people who show strong devotion to their parents, only to have sons and daughters who show little respect. How can we say that all of this is due to one's own shortcomings? Let me try to explain this matter more clearly.
There are three points that I would like to touch upon that will shed more light on the theory of causes and conditions. Firstly, people have many ideas about what is good and what is bad. They point to this or that person and say that she is good or he is bad. But how do we know who is really good or who is really bad? Some people do good and never let others know. Others do evil and are never found out. So how can we say who is good or who is bad? Each individual has a different view about this.
Secondly, we said that good causes take good effects and bad causes take bad effects. Sometimes we do not see the effect of an action immediately. It may take many months, years or even lifetimes for the seeds of one's actions to bear fruit. If an evil person who outwardly has a good life continues to act in an evil manner, then, eventually, his evil will be found out. The same is true for a good person who seems to suffer unjustly. Eventually, his good actions will bear good fruit.
Thirdly, there are many things that influence our lives. We are influenced by our ancestors, our parents, our friends, our society, etc. For example, a child of a wealthy family who never does any hard work, is always comfortable and enjoys the fruits of others' toil might be under the influence of his ancestors. Also, we may be born into a reasonably good family and may, thus, be able to get a good education and a good job. On the other hand we may never take advantage of the many good opportunities that are presented to us. However, ultimately, whether we have a good or a bad situation all depends and relies on ourselves and the choices we make.
4) One reaps what one sows. If you want a good son, then education must start in the womb!
Now I would like to talk about the relationship between parents and children. It seems to be a principle of man's natural law that if we show filial piety to our parents, then our offspring will show filial piety towards us. We should think deeply about this. However, if we show filial piety to our parents, it does not necessarily mean our children will show filial piety towards us. We show filial piety because we want to express our gratitude and appreciation to our parents for having raised and provided for our welfare when we were too young to provide for ourselves. But we should really look into the question of how to raise and educate our children. From my point of view, education must start in the womb. And we must be very careful about the relationship between husband and wife during and after pregnancy. Also the mother has to be very careful about her own feelings during and after her pregnancy.
Let me give you an example to help explain what I mean. There is a man that I know who is twenty-five years old. He has a very bad temper. He does not have a legitimate business. Much to his mother's displeasure he squanders all his money in unwholesome pursuits. He always seems to be making trouble and bringing disaster upon himself. His mother, in a fit of rage over one of her son's recent escapades, said to me: "Are all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas without eyes? Didn't I show filial piety to my own parents? Why do I have this troublesome son?"
I said to her: "It is originally because of yourself that you have this kind of son."
She was curious and confused about my words and replied: "I showed great respect for my own parents. Is it not unjust that I should have such a son?"
I replied: "You should think very carefully and honestly about what you say. Did you marry out of love or by chance?"
She said: "We were married by chance." "Right!" I said. "Your son was not begotten from your love or happiness with your husband. You should think back to that time before your son was born."
At my words her face changed, and she began to think back to when she was first married. Then she begin to talk softly and related the following story:
"Actually I had met my husband only once before we were married. We were really not very happy together. I always felt uncomfortable with our arrangement. Every day I had this feeling of wanting to return to my mother's house. But I soon became pregnant and decided to wait until after the baby was born before returning home. During this time I was busy with many things. Six months after my baby was born he got sick and died. After my child died, I was extremely sad. Then I decided I wanted to get a divorce from my husband, so I returned to my parents' home. Many times my husband would come and ask me to return. My parents, also, urged me to return with him. However, I still did not want to leave my parents' house. One night I had a dream in which I saw dead child. I was sad beyond words. After I awoke I thought this dream was a revelation from the Buddha's, which said: `All things in the world are not just the result of one's own thinking.' It was now almost six months since I had left my husband. I thought that I should wait until after the Buddha's birthday and then return home and formally file for divorce from my husband. However, when I returned to my husband, his father and mother were very happy. My husband was also very glad. I began to think that maybe everything would be all right, and after three months I became pregnant again. This time I felt even more sadness about my situation. If I had gotten pregnant today, maybe I could have gotten an abortion. But twenty-five years ago abortion was illegal. Therefore, during my pregnancy I suffered very much and thought that I would give the baby up for adoption. But my mind was very confused. I also felt that this was my own child. So how could I give it away? So I had the baby and tried to raise and educate him the best I could. Now he has become such a bad, disrespectful son, and my suffering is very great."
"I understand about your suffering," I said. "I think that you also understand the reasons why you feel this way. The reason your son has become so wayward began in your womb. Since your first baby had died, common sense would have told you that you should have been happy with your second baby. On the contrary, you felt troubled and anxious. At that time you could not get an abortion, and after he was born, you let him do as he pleased. You did not discipline or restrain him because of your guilt. I said before that you are responsible for having this kind of son. All that has resulted is due to your own actions."
5) "Womb" education is very important.
Let me give you another example about why "womb" education is so important. Nine years ago I knew a woman who was a widow. She had three children. The younger boy had a bad habit of stealing money and then running away from home. The first time he stole fifteen-hundred dollars that his mother had saved from the post office. After three days he returned home. His mother, sister and older brother were all very angry and upset. Three months later he stole his sister's fur coat. He took it to the pawnshop and got eight hundred dollars for it. After a few days the son returned home. Of course, his family was very upset--especially his sister! They yelled and screamed at him, but it didn't seem to do any good. Three months later he stole his sister's gold watch. He took it to the pawnshop and got thirteen hundred dollars for it. This time, when the boy finally returned home, the mother beat him very badly. Afterwards she threw up her hands in exasperation and cried: "Why do I have this kind of son, who makes me feel so ashamed?" Then the mother came to me and told me this whole story.
I asked her: "Do you think it is entirely the little boy's fault that he is constantly stealing and running away from home? Is it his fault that you become so angry at and ashamed of him, thus increasing your own defilements?" "Moreover," I said, "the fact that you have this kind of son was caused by you yourself. Please think back to when your son was growing up and before, especially during the time of pregnancy. I think that during that time you and your husband were not living in harmony."
"Yes," she said. "What you say is right." Then she began to relate this story:
"Twelve years ago I lived in Ta-Lien City, in Northeast China. I lived with my husband and two children. We were very well off. Unfortunately, my husband liked to drink and gamble. He also used to frequent the brothels. I often worried that he would squander all our money by frequenting the brothels. My spirit was very unhappy and full of resentment. Sometimes I would take my two children and stay at a friend's home or stay in a hotel for a few days. I thought that if my husband could play all day, then I too would take some money, go away, and enjoy myself with my children. During this time I was carrying this young boy in my body."
After I listened to her story I said: "All right, now I understand. Originally, however, everything still depended on causes you yourself created. During your pregnancy with this child you went away very often, thus giving your child a very good `going-away' education. Also you took money so you could play and enjoy yourself. Then you returned home. Your yet unborn boy received this kind of education in your womb. Isn't he a good boy for listening and respecting your teaching? What do you think about this? Do you now understand why your son acts in this way?"
After she listened to my explanation she cried and said: "I understand now. How terrible this truth about causes and conditions is. I have always complained about my son Now, however, I realize that the fault lies with myself."
This sort of example is not so rare all. Many people have had this kind of experience. Therefore, we must understand the reason why things happen as they do. Fundamentally what happens depends on oneself. Do not become angry or complain about others' faults. Look into your own mind. Try to understand the reasons why people act as they do. Acting in this way will help cause anger and hate to vanish from your mind.
6) All problems return to oneself.
Within a family, during daily life, there are many occasions when it is easy to become angry. Living intimately, husband and wife are naturally sensitive to each other's changing moods. Sometimes the husband may look at his wife in the wrong way, causing her to feel that something is not right. This miscommunication may cause an argument to arise. People living in such intimate situations should strive to be more objective with each other. They also should learn to understand each other before blindly reacting. If people could come to understand and believe that all problems originally depend on causes created by oneself, then the act of becoming angry might vanish automatically.
7) Becoming angry is bad for one's health.
If one is in the habit of frequently becoming angry, then one may experience bad health. Some doctors believe that after a person gets angry his or her blood thickens and does not circulate properly. Also, his or her sense organs may become temporarily obstructed.
If a woman becomes angry during pregnancy, her milk will become like poison. Also, even her breath will be unwholesome. Therefore, a mother should not suckle her baby while she is angry. If she does, it is very easy for the baby to get dysentery. Also, if the baby breathes in the mother's breath while she is angry, then it is very likely that the baby may get a fever.
Sometimes, during the cold winter, if a family is very poor, they may all have to stay in one room to keep warm. In this situation the air is already not very clean. If these people should happen to quarrel with each other, then the air becomes even fouler. In this environment it is very easy for young children to become sick. Therefore, it behooves everyone who wants good health to avoid becoming angry.
8) To lose sixty thousand dollars in one kick.
Not only is anger bad for one's health, it can also be bad for one's pocketbook. Some people are in the habit of becoming angry almost every day. When they become angry, they lose their tempers and often cause harm to others as well as to themselves. Sometimes, losing one's temper can be very costly as the following three examples will show.
A few years ago, a few of my friends and I started an organization centered around the teaching of Fortune with Blessings. At one of our weekly meetings, a member got up and related the following: "Six months ago I became a member of The Way of Fortune with Blessings. Since that time I have had much reason to be thankful and glad. Originally, I had a very bad temper, and it was very easy for me to become angry. I used to go out and drink and then come home intoxicated. Often, in my anger, I would break or smash something in the house. On a few occasions, I am ashamed to say, I would even beat my wife. I wasted so much money frivolously on drinking. Besides that, it was sometimes quite costly to replace things that I had broken. Since I have become a member of The Way of Fortune with Blessings and practiced its teachings, I no longer drink or quarrel with my wife. As a result, I am much happier. Also I am able to save a lot of the money that I used to spend on drinking and replacing broken objects. Once again my daily life has become peaceful and normal. The Way of Fortune with Blessings is truly a skillful teaching."
Let me relate another story to you that will illustrate the costliness of anger. A friend of mine lent a friend of his a large sum of money. Unfortunately, his friend was unable to pay back the entire loan. He was only able to repay about half, which amounted to almost twenty-thousand dollars. The friend who had borrowed the money felt very unhappy and ashamed because of his inability to repay the loan. Thus, he decided to run away. The other friend searched high and low for him. Search as he might, he could not find him. Two years went by before the friend who borrowed the money returned. When he went to see his friend, that friend became furious. "Where have you been?" the friend screamed. "I looked for three months trying to find you. Why didn't you call or send a letter? You are nothing but a lousy cheat and scoundrel. I will never lend you another penny as long as I live." The friend went on and on like this for about ten minutes. Finally, the other friend was able to speak. "I am really very sorry about all this. A few years ago I was unable to repay the full loan. For many reasons, I could not and dared not contact you. Since I have been away, I have been able to save all the money I owe you. I came here today to give it back to you. But since you cursed and humiliated me in such a vicious way, you can wait until doomsday before I ever repay you." With that, the friend stormed away angrily. The friend in this story who lent the money showed a great lack of forbearance and forgiveness toward the borrower friend. If he had not become so angry upon his friend's return and had tried to understand the reasons why his friend was unable to repay him the loan, he might have gotten all his money back. Instead he got angry. Thus, he lost not only his money but also his friend as well.
The third and last example shows how a person lost sixty thousand dollars in one kick. There is a couple I know who own a successful hotel. The wife is a very strong and intelligent woman, and the husband is sort of a weakling when it comes to standing up to his wife. As a result, they both argue quite frequently, with the wife always seeming to get the upper hand. One day they were fighting very intensely with one another. Because there were guests around, the husband appeared to let the wife win the argument; but as soon as the guests had left, the husband quickly turned around and accidentally kicked his wife in the stomach. I think he was trying to kick the table or some other thing. Unfortunately, his wife received the full brunt of his frustrated kick. The wife incurred a serious stomach injury and had to be hospitalized for three months. The hospital bill came to over sixty thousand dollars. Later, this man and his wife both joined the Way of Fortune with Blessings. Sometimes the husband would talk and joke in this manner: "Anger is really not necessary. One kick cost me sixty thousand dollars."
9) A method to help eliminate anger.
There is so much harm that comes about as a result of anger. Let me talk about a method that will help get rid of this bad habit.
One way to rid yourself of anger is to sit in front of a mirror, or find a small mirror that you can hold in front of you. Looking into the mirror, take a deep breath. After holding it for a few seconds, let the breath out, forcing it gently from your lower abdomen. Then find a point between your eyebrows and fix your attention there. Looking at yourself in the mirror, say to yourself out loud: "From now on you should not become angry at any time, anywhere or at anything." You should repeat this exercise once in the morning and once at night before going to bed. But at night you should add: "You have already become an unangry person."
To repeat this exercise only once or twice, as if it were some kind of magical formula, is not enough. One must have a sincere and believing heart, plus a strong desire to rid oneself of anger. If you diligently practice in this way for three months, you will begin to notice that the raging fires of anger have begun to subside and cool. This method is not some sort of witcheraft, but really a reasonable way to diminish anger. To reflect on the detrimental effects of anger and the coolness and lightness that come from its absence is to be a warm-hearted member of the Way of Fortune with Blessings.
This is not just empty talk! Many people besides myself have come to The Way of Fortune with Blessings to become aware of and change their shortcomings. There was one man who became a member of our organization who had believed in his religion for over thirty years. Still, he could not rid himself of his habitual anger. After he had tried using the above method to rid himself of anger, he had this to say: "For over thirty years I had believed in the Buddha's message. Yet, I still could not change my habitual anger. Since I joined The Way of Fortune with Blessings six months ago, I very rarely become angry anymore. This has been the greatest blessing of my life." There are three kinds of anger holding us back from The Way of Fortune with Blessings: negative anger, positive anger and evil anger. However, just be aware that all kings of anger can be eliminated by following The Way of Fortune with Blessings. People, I beg of you, please pay close attention to all of this and learn by these examples.
10) Do not use any bad language.
The Way of Fortune with Blessings covers all aspects of living. Let us now turn our attention to the detrimental effects of bad language. All bad, negative and unpeaceful words are called bad language.
The first kind of bad language that one should avoid using is what I call "complaining language." Let me try to explain. Most people are very greedy when it comes to eating, which in itself, should give pause for reflection. In addition to being greedy at meal times, some people always like to complain that the food is not to their liking. It is either too spicy, too cold, tasteless or some other disagreeable thing. People who persist in this habit will, after awhile, experience stomach and intestinal problems. Also, these people usually complain about having indigestion. Perhaps they should just once consider that it is not necessarily the food that is causing them discomfort!
One should also try to avoid using complaining language at work. Some people are always complaining and making excuses to avoid some task that they find disagreeable. They do not realize that complaining only makes the task seem more disagreeable. People who are always complaining and criticizing while at work will always find fault with other people. These kinds of people tire easily, and their endurance is very short. As a result, their own efficiency is drastically reduced.
Let me give you a personal example of how refraining from "complaining language" helps one bear an unbearable situation. During very hot weather my wife and I sleep on bamboo mats laid on the floor. My wife always says that it is much too hot for her to sleep. She talks and talks about how difficult it is to breathe because of the heat. I ask her: "If you did not talk about the hot weather, would you still feel hot?" She says: "Of course! Why not?" Then I ask: "Can you bear the heat?" "No!" she shouted. "I am too fat. Therefore, I am feeling very hot." I then said to her: "Look at me. I am not thin! But since I do not talk and complain about the hot weather, my body can bear the heat." If we can learn to refrain from habitually complaining, then we may find that we can put up with many unpleasant situations.
Next I would like to talk about how some people are continually talking about the past. Maybe they have done something in the past which they now regret. They say: "If only I hadn't done this," or "If I had only done this, things would have been different." This kind of talk is useless and a waste of precious energy. Why waste time and energy thinking about the past? No matter how much you may talk about it, you cannot change it. The time to think and act is now, in the present.
In addition to talking about and regretting the past, foolish people incessantly and tediously chatter on and on about trivial and nonsensical things. This kind of useless chatter is also a form of bad language. One who continually engages in this kind of senseless talk will make himself or herself very confused. Confusion then leads to more confusion,so that other people cannot understand such a person. Disharmony and quarreling arise from this confusion. We should be very careful about indulging in this kind of useless language.
11) Evil words can cause harm.
There are so many examples that illustrate how foolish and unfortunate it is to hold on to regrets. To do so can cause unfortunate circumstances in the present. Let me give you an example.
After the Second World War, there was a piece of land for sale near the railway station at Kuan Shan. It consisted of about forty acres. During that time it was selling for sixty thousand dollars. One of my friends had enough money to buy it, but he could not make up his mind. Instead, he decided to buy another piece of land located on the other side of town. Within six years the land near the railway station escalated in value to over two million dollars. When my friend heard about this, he became sick with regret. He said: "What a pity; what a fool I was. If I had only bought that land when I had the chance, I would be a millionaire today." His son said to him: "That was six years ago; it is useless to think about it now." The father wouldn't listen. "What do you know?" he said. "If I had bought that land I could sell it today and retire." The father kept thinking more and more about it and regretting this missed opportunity. Finally, he developed a slight mental disorder and had to be hospitalized. Though this is a very foolish and laughable example, we should realize where this kind of thinking can lead.
12) More urging and less abusing.
Children that receive bad report cards in school usually get abused when they return home. Their parents will often punish and abuse them for doing poorly in school. The report card has already established that the child has some difficulty in learning. Therefore, it is not necessary to scold or abuse the child any further. It is far better to help the child build up his or her self-confidence. Urge the child to study harder, not with abusive language, but with kind and gentle words. I have a short story that will illustrate this "urge"-rather-than-"abuse" philosophy.
Once I gave a lecture in the city of Kobe. After the lecture there was a discussion group. In the discussion group was a young woman about thirty years of age. She was sort of an intellectual type and during the discussion asked me this question: "Sir! You just said we should urge rather than abuse our children who do poorly at school. I do not think we can employ this method in an indiscriminate manner. It all depends on the particular circumstances. My daughter's record at school is very poor. Out of a class of sixty she is at the very bottom. Should I still urge her to improve like you say instead of using a little abuse?"
"Yes, you must still urge her to progress," I said.
The woman disliked what I said very much. "Kind Sir," she said, "this is ridiculous. Should I tell my daughter, `It is O.K. that you are at the bottom of the class. Do not worry, just try to study a little harder. You can only improve from here?' If I talk to my daughter in this manner, she will never get anywhere!"
I think that this woman was very sad about her daughter and maybe had abused her in the past. From my point of view, it is still better to urge than to abuse. Better not to use any bad or harsh language whatsoever when dealing with your children who do poorly in school. This is The Way of Fortune with Blessings for a family.
13) Words have great power.
We should be very careful about how and of what we speak, for words have great power. First there is the thought, then the idea, then the word, and then, finally, follows the action. Let me try to explain what I mean. If we repeatedly say: "I am always poor; I am always poor," then we will always be poor. Also, if we repeatedly say: "Not enough; not enough!" Then we will never have enough. Finally, we might repeatedly say: "Difficult, difficult, it is much too difficult!" Then gradually everything will really become difficult. If you frequently speak or think in this fashion, then these negative "things" will always be your companions.
Always to be speaking bad words will only increase the likelihood that bad things will happen to you. To speak bad or evil words is like dirty air flowing from your mouth. There is a common saying in China that goes: "Burn incense to attract ghosts." In America some people say: "Where there is smoke there is fire." This means, if we speak and think about bad and evil things, then bad and evil things will happen. You reap what you sow. So be careful to sow only good seeds!
This may all sound like superstition to you, but really it is not. This is just the natural functioning of the spirit. Let me give you an example. Suppose that someone commits a murder, but no one knows who the murderer is. Only the murderer himself knows. Do you think the murderer's mind is peaceful and quiet? Of course not! His mind is always on the watch and fearful that he may be discovered. Also, the ghost of the dead person, whom he killed, may continue to follow him and create circumstances in which he will eventually be found out. Therefore, we should never do or speak any evil but only strive to do good. Thus, no matter what we may say or do, we can never escape the consequences.
We should also apply this kind of thinking to raising our children. You should not abuse their shortcomings too much. If your child has a poor memory and you constantly say to him or her: "You have such a bad memory. Can't you remember anything?" or if your child does not listen very well, and you shout: "Are you deaf? Do you have wax in your ears?", speaking thus only increases the problem. If the child has a bad memory, his memory will only get worse. If the child does not listen well, then he or she will only listen less well. All this sort of harsh and unkind language is completely unnecessary and inappropriate.
Now let me give you another example that shows the bad effects of negative and abusive language. One of my friends, an employee of a large company in the town of Kobe, is a warm-hearted member of The Way of Fortune With Blessings. While his second son was in the fifth grade in elementary school, the boy was an exceptionally poor student of mathematics. My friend scolded him frequently, calling him names, asking the boy if he had a bedbug on his brain. However, the boy's performance in math only worsened.
On one occasion my friend happened to visit The Way of Fortune With Blessings and listened to my lecture on the importance of refraining from harsh, hurtful speech. It moved him deeply and he felt very remorseful. Not knowing how to teach his own son was the father's fault, and the son should not have been abused in his stead. My friend resolved then and there never again to use abusive speech with anyone.
Within three months, the boy, no longer scolded, showed a marked improvement in his math and attained, rather unexpectedly, a grade of 90% on his exam. He became one of the top students in the school. This example illustrates how destructive the effect of harsh speech can be. My friend was, fortunately for him, brave and strong enough to re-examine his behavior and change for the better. He opened his heart to the Way, and his additional benefit was that he became a truly good person. I hope that everybody can be like my friend and learn to use language that is kind and beneficial.
14) Repeating words and thoughts about youth can make a person become beautiful.
That words have great power can be tested and understood by anyone, once one has tried a simple exercise. However it is more than a test, because the result is beneficial and effective.
Once I gave a lecture on this topic, and the people who attended the lecture were mostly middle-aged Japanese ladies. So I spoke to the ladies, saying that a few words about youth would turn them into beauties. I told them that when they got up in the morning, they should stand in front of the mirror after washing their faces, and, using the same method as in "getting rid of anger" face the mirror, looking carefully at the spot between their eyebrows, inhale deeply and say: "I am young and beautiful!" Smile like a young maiden and say: "I am really beautiful."
Using this method, you will quickly appear beautiful to those who look at you. In half a year you will begin to notice the effect.
Words have great power, and, therefore, all of us should refrain from using evil words and use only kind words, gradually producing Blessings for all.
15) Some good standard phrases.
Let me now talk about some good standard phrases such as "Thank you." These good words of thanks can heal many a hurt, re-establish a positive destiny or produce a perfect family, bringing together all kinds of good phenomena. "Very good" is another such phrase. These words are so beneficial that the one who uses them frequently can transform a life of suffering into one of blessings.
How can illness be cured or destiny changed by the good words "Thank you very much?" Let me explain briefly.
Principally, we should talk about doctors using medicine to treat people. When we think deeply and carefully about the real causes of a cure, we see that it is neither the doctor nor the medicine that heals a person. Really, one can only heal oneself! To most people it is only common sense that disease gets cured by a doctor, but I would like to present my own point of view.
16) Disease is cured by one's own power.
A person suffering from appendicitis, for example, requires immediate surgery, and it is the doctor and the operation that cured the disease, or so it seems. Actually, they merely assisted treating the appendicitis, but the one who really treated the disease was the patient. No matter how skillful the doctor, if the patient does not heal after the operation, the entire plan is useless. Every case is like this; the doctor and medicine only help. There is a power in one's own body to cure itself, known as "the power of cure by nature". The stronger the power, the faster the disease is cured. The cure is slow if the power is weak.
One's state of mind is related to the strength of one's healing power in a very important way. The best method is to relax and be joyful to increase the strength of the cure.
However, those who get ill are usually unhappy. How can one make them become delighted? That is where one can use joyful words. Making them feel comfortable makes them forget their worry, be healthier and heal faster.
However, the importance of the doctor and medicine cannot be underestimated, and one should see a doctor as soon as illness appears. The quality of your life, of your family and of your destiny depends on your feeling happy and feeling good about yourself. So everybody should use thankful, joyful words to keep the mind in a happy state. Therefore, the method of using kind phrases is very important. Our words should not be negative, pessimistic or evil, but we should, on the contrary, always sound positive, thoughtful, optimistic and constantly speak of Blessings; and then we shall obtain them.
17) Courtesy at home.
Chiefly, we must consider the relationship between husband and wife; because if their relationship is not clearly understood, there is no courtesy. Most people have families, but they do not understand the husband-wife relationship.
There must be deep causes and conditions for a woman and a man to get married in the first place. Thus, even though they are strangers at first, they become a couple; and their relationship with each other is closer than that with their parents. If you consider this, you can see that deep causes and conditions are at work here.
These causes and conditions are the most fortunate in the three periods of rebirth, and just this single, unigue couple alone represents a match made in heaven. For the wife, her husband is number one as long as the marriage lasts; and for the husband, his wife is number one, unexcelled in beauty.
The expression "number one" is not to be misunderstood. It does not mean "just this one" but, rather, "the only one" in the sense of this being the only wife or the only husband in the world, without equal, for the respective partner. One can appreciate other husbands and wives as belonging to others, while realizing, however, that they cannot become one's own.
If the meaning of "being a couple" is understood as being the "best one" for each other, then contentment will prevail. Even if their living quarters are modest, they will treat each other as guests. The wife will feel gratitude, the husband will appreciate his wife's efforts, and they will live together, respecting and forgiving each other; and, naturally, they will thus obtain blessings for the family.
At times a wife rejects the husband, saying he drinks, does not like to work, is bad tempered and argues with people. "Is he still number one?" she might ask. My answer would be "Your husband's imperfections can help you become more virtuous. If your husband had no shortcomings, he would not have married you; and he loves you now even more." She might ask laughing, "Do I deserve him?" "You are a match made in heaven, and a very good couple," I would say to her. Nobody is perfect; but if the personalities of a man and a woman are compatible, they can get married even if there are some discrepancies.
18) Husband and wife and their child are made for each other.
A most important consideration is courtesy between parents and children. The way the couple treat each other sets the example for the child. No matter what kind of person the child is, he or she is the crystallization of their relationship, and he or she shortcomings or advantages make no difference. Their child is "number one." To understand this just remember that since the beginning of the pregnancy the child is reared, and later educated, within the family circumstances. Of course, the parents wish their child to be the best. Thus, one should always consider one's child to be the only one in the world.
On the other hand, a child should be filial toward the parents for providing him or her with a home and education, because, whether good or bad, it comes through the benevolence of the parents. A child's attitude toward his or her parents should be, therefore, respectful and correct.
The interaction with in-laws is also subject to cause and conditions. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law should be reasonable because of this, but, since time immemorial, there have often been problems between the two. They should both consider each other's family to be number one in the world. If they understand this, the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law will live in harmony.
If the daughter-in-law likes to talk carelessly, the mother-in-law should be forgiving rather than get angry; otherwise there will be no Fortune with Blessings in the family. They should both understand the reason for respecting each other, and there must be the understanding that the daughter is also number one. The mother-in-law should give guidance and be loving, and then the family will attract Fortune with Blessings.
However, if the mother-in-law talks incessantly and the daughter-in-law cannot bear it, as well as her mother-in- law's other faults, her resentment will become her defilement, and there will be no harmony and no Fortune with Blessings in the family.
If all concerned understand their relationship clearly, there should be no feeling of dissatisfaction. They should be grateful to each other and live in harmony, having and enjoying Fortune with Blessings. Thus, if it is understood, above all, that the three principles of The Way of Fortune with Blessings are the perfect complement to a family, then these three principles can be practiced gratefully and joyfully.
Fortune with Blessings as a Favorable Circumstance.
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1) Always feeling satisfied.
Even though one has the feeling of having Fortune with Blessings, other circumstances may be unfavorable. Suffering, such as hardships at home, problems with children and a husband's serious shortcomings are not wanted by anybody. In those situations there is nothing one can do, but face the circumstances while feeling at peace and do what one can to feel contented.
2) Fortune with Blessings can heal.
If we do not understand why we get sick, it is difficult to get better by ourselves. We make our own diseases. Why do I say that? We should think of the six causes of why we get sick:
The first cause is connected with one's spirit. A negative state of mind resulting from anger, jealousy or overwork can make one ill.
The second cause is related to what we eat and drink. Wrong food, diet low in quality, and excessive amounts of food and drink will make us sick.
The third cause is related to either too much or not enough physical exercise.
The fourth cause is not enough sleep.
The fifth cause is being physically wounded or hurt.
The sixth cause is reckless sexual activity.
We can, furthermore, get infected through viruses or germs, but after a careful examination we see that we make ourselves ill. People may not know the causes, but a disease grows from seeds. We should understand this, be grateful and appreciate those who, though ill, remain joyful, acting as if nothing has happened. Those patients have Fortune with Blessings.
3) An example of an actual cure using Fortune with Blessings.
There was a man of about sixty, suffering from high blood pressure. After hearing and reading about The Way of Fortune with Blessings, he focused especially on the chapter about the cure of disease. His disease did not get cured quickly; however, he still considered himself to have Fortune with Blessings. He did not think about good or bad, birth or death, etc. He just let it be and felt peaceful and delighted in body both and spirit. Since then his health improved gradually, and now his recovery is complete.
The Way of Fortune with Blessings is inconceivably wonderful. It can treat many diseases, and it is no surprise that its good reputation is growing. One can truly say that if one has Fortune with Blessings, one recovers faster.
4) An irresponsible son turned into a dutiful one.
If one has the misfortune of having an irresponsible son, it is best to let it be resolved naturally, practicing the three principles of Fortune with Blessings, considering him still "number one" and caring about him. Even though irresponsible, he can still become dutiful; and I can prove it.
What is the cause of a problematical child? It comes originally from parents who sowed the seeds and now they reap the result. To sow the seeds is a happy activity. The farmer's mind is happy when he sows, thinking about the harvest. To reap is to take the effect as, for example, when the child we brought into this world and reared grows up.
The result is bad because of bad causes created somewhere along the way, whether you know it or not. It makes no difference. The original reason is the parents. Even though you understand there is nothing you can do, just let it be, accepting adversity philosophically. Hoping your son some day will be a good son, you should just create increasingly favorable circumstances. Then you will truly have Fortune with blessings,
5) In all matters let nature take its course.
A certain businessman's son turned out to be a playboy. Though married at thirty, he still "played the field" in exotic summer resorts for weeks at a time. After he squandered his money, he would return home. Although his family was very well off, his frequent leisure trips made them feel the pinch. One day his whole family called a meeting to decide what to do. They decided he was hopeless and that the matter should be put into a lawyer's hands. Then they asked my advice. I said: "Everything you said is common sense, but there is another way, based on different principles, called The Way of Fortune with Blessings. According to that Way, in this matter you should let nature take its course." When they asked about the method, I just told them: "Let it be."
All of them, astonished, wondered if that method would result in all their property being rapidly squandered? They met together to prevent that from happening. I said: "I will tell you about The Way of Fortune with Blessings, but the rest is up to you. If your only concern is about your property, you will drive this son away from home, turn him into a criminal and, thus, destroy him. You want to give up a son to protect your property, but when the parents grow old, who will look after it? Think carefully." They debated until two o'clock in the morning and finally decided to let nature take its course. His parents rejoiced over the decision.
They now helped their son in every way to start his own business according to The Way of Fortune with Blessings. He, in turn, changed his attitude and became responsible, warmhearted, prudent and respectful to his parents. His business increasingly prospered. Thus, we can see that The Way of Fortune with Blessings is inclusive of all things.
6) Patience is not the meaning of The Way of Fortune with Blessings.
Mrs. T'ien was in the tenth year of her second marriage. Her present husband liked to socialize and drink heavily. Entertaining, he would spend up to a few hundred thousand dollars a month while the money lasted. Than he would try to save up again. This happened several times during those ten years.
When at home, he abused her physically to the point where she decided to divorce him. She came to see me and said: "I have listened to The Way of Fortune with Blessings for five years, but now I have come to talk to you about divorce. It is so embarrassing. Please listen to my story."
I listened, thought and than told her: "Mrs. T'ien, The Way of Fortune with Blessings does not involve patience. Being or not being able to bear it has nothing to do with letting matters take their natural course and letting it be." The lady understood instantly. She said she had only thought of patience while she listened. Presently, however, she understood how to use the method of just letting it be naturally, realizing that any way is all right.
Gradually, her attitude toward her husband changed as she learned to take things philosophically. She was happy, since she was no longer suffering. She came to enjoy The Way of the Fortune with Blessings. A month later, her husband became serious about his business and gave up alcohol. A year later he not only settled all his debts but also was able to put some money aside. His temper improved and he even helped his wife with chores occasionally. Mrs. T'ien told me recently that she was as happy as if she were living in the Western Paradise. "Before July of last year I suffered as if I were in hell," she added. This is a very good example of acquiring Fortune with Blessings.
7) Having Fortune with Blessings improves the circumstances.
All this time, what I have been saying is that The Way of Fortune with Blessings begins with the spirit and then changes circumstances into reality.
Mr. Chien, who lives in the city of Kobe is a warm- hearted member of The Way of Fortune with Blessings. After he became a member, he listened to three lectures and then he quit. He felt they were all alike.
Three months later he became ill with neuralgia; and although he spent a month in hospital and received various kinds of treatment, nothing seemed to improve his condition. Then he began to think about The Way of Fortune with Blessings. He looked again at the book on The way of Fortune with Blessings, reading the chapter on illness and self-cure three times over. He focused on the sentence: "One's own disease should be treated by oneself." There is a powerful instinct in the body that will overpower the disease with superior strength. Disease will subside if the mind has Fortune with Blessings. This is very important to remember. Do not be preoccupied, thinking constantly about whether the disease is serious and worrying about your recovery, but fill your mind with gratitude and obtain Fortune with Blessings. He applied this method in a concentrated way, and one week later completely recovered from neuralgia.
8) Do not seek favorable circumstances on purpose.
If we practice the three principles of Fortune with Blessings, we shall obtain Fortune with Blessings right away and, along with it, an inconceivable awareness, the good feeling and the benefit of responding to opportunity and favorable circumstances. Examples of this are too many to be cited. However, you need to be careful not to look for favorable circumstances on purpose, such as trying to speed up the process of healing. If in one month your condition has improved, so much the better; but do not try to force it, because it does not work.
All of the foregoing has been an extensive explanation of the three principles of Fortune with Blessings: absence of anger, good words and harmonious family life. Practicing them results in Fortune with Blessings instantly.
Now, let's explore how to practice these three principles correctly and intelligently to get the greatest benefit quickly.
The Practice of the Three Principles of Fortune with Blessings.
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1) Real practice takes place one day at a time.
We should now talk about real practice based on the understanding of the three principles. Without practice there are no results. It should be clear to everyone that careless practice is useless. Four words are crucial to serious practice: Today is the Day. The time to practice the three principles is today. And every day becomes continuous effort and success through practice. So have a good day!
Today is the day to free yourself of anger, today is the day of using no unwholesome words; and today is the day for the family live in harmony from sunrise till sunset.
How is it that one can gain Fortune with Blessings immediately? Because that is the original condition of our nature. Once we have corrected our temperament, we shall feel joy and gratitude and live accordingly.
Taking again the example of a wife and a husband, suppose the husband has some shortcoming and, after reading about Fortune with Blessings adjusts his temperament. Thereafter, his wife will see him as number one, which is most suitable for both people. Furthermore, if one feels joy and gratitude regarding himself or herself, he or she then enjoys his or her own temperament more.
Having an irresponsible son is always considered to be a misfortune, a defilement. However, when we consider that it all begins with oneself, then it becomes the couple's fault and responsibility to have parented such an offspring.
To get angry is the easiest thing in the world. However, when we understand that all our suffering originates with us, we no longer indulge ourselves in anger. By changing one's own thoughts, just at that moment one has acquired Fortune with Blessings. To change others is difficult, but to change oneself is easy.
2) Make the decision to start right away.
Faith is very important in this practice. It comes first, because without it there can be no practice.
As I said at the beginning, The Way of Fortune with Blessings did not come from books or listening to others. Rather, it is my first-hand experience over the past fifty years. I hope you heed my words and resolve to practice. The one who wants to practice but needs more time has wasted the time needed for the delay.
I have been discussing these ideas for the last forty pages, and you have had the chance to think about my ideas; but if you let too much the time pass, the impression will weaken. There must be among you some who are angry about something. If you consider that all begins with yourself, your anger will vanish.
You should decide on the spot: "From now on I am the number one husband or wife or the number one son." Determine here and now to become a number one husband, wife, son, mother-in-law, etc. Then, when you return home, think of the best way to share life respectfully and joyfully with and filled with reverence for each other and obtain Fortune with Blessings in that instant, in the most natural manner. These words give you the possibility of acquiring Fortune with Blessings immediately, so start your practice today. I hope all of you will find stability and happiness with Fortune with Blessings.
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1) Be grateful to great Nature and to all people.
How can one who understands the method of acquiring Fortune with Blessings continue practicing forever?
We are all so fortunate, so protected in our daily lives, but where does good fortune come from? We should think very carefully, of course, and realize we must show gratitude to so many people.
No one in this world can survive alone. Think of all the procedures required to produce and deliver to us the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the place that shelters us. Suppose you are wearing some clothing made of wool material. Then just consider all the skills it required, starting all the way back with raising the sheep up to the point when you acquired it, to produce the clothing; likewise, every time you take a bite or a sip, with how many people are you in communion at that moment?
I haven,t even yet mentioned the sun, air, water and fire deserving our gratitude for our survival. We are completely dependent on great Nature, the elements and all those many people for our lives and comfort. This is very important to remember with gratitude. Every time we think of this we ought to be deeply moved by a profound sense of gratitude, giving rise to great compassion. Our actions, generated by gratitude, should always be kind and compassionate.
2) Just till and weed, and do not think about harvest.
Firstly, there are some rules regarding charity--like the one about tilling and weeding and, also, not caring about the harvest. What is done for others is meant for them and not for us to get a return. If you expect gratitude or make demands afterwards, that is not real charity.
Secondly, remember that charity begins at home. Starting with ourselves and those closest to us, as well as with our neighbors, we should put things in order out of compassion.
3) Smile and speak kindly with compassion.
A smiling kind face makes everyone feel good. A couple smiling at each other in the morning, children smiling, and remaining happy day after day are all excellent examples of how charity begins at home.
A smile must not be forced. To be a gift, a smile should reflect inner happiness and kindness of heart. To maintain a happy mind, one only needs only to realize how fortunate it is to be alive, thus giving rise to gratitude and happiness.
There is happiness with and without roots. When we get lucky and have good things, that is happiness without roots. In this condition, however, we become unhappy when bad things happen, sush as when we lose. Happiness with roots means not paying attention to whether we win or lose. We just keep on smiling. This kind of happiness is very important in our lives, because, although life is such a big event, we have no control over it; everything happens according to causes and conditions, so we really survive by a gift of grace from great Nature.
Once this is understood the good or bad events in our lives no longer matter. It is, in reality, a wonderful life worthy of celebration, cheer and congratulations. Life itself being a reason to rejoice, we all should smile and feel happy; this, I would say, is the supreme charity. The one who can stay happy and smile day in and day out, because it reflects his mind, has Fortune with Blessings, indeed!
It equally charitable to use kind words because words have such great power; so our speech should be filled with loving kindness. One's speech and one's smile are closely related; how could one use gentle words with a ferocious expression on his or her face? The fundamental source of charity, however, is the mind. The smile and the kind words come after. We should always be thinking about doing things for others. We should consider other people's success with the same satisfaction that we consider our own, and when they meet with misfortune we should be sympathetic. We should be particularly careful not to make trouble or to make it difficult for them by saying or doing anything inconsiderately.
Forget the favors you have done for others. There are three important aspects to giving, but the three things we should forget if we want to be really charitable are the time, the person and the thing given. Just let the whole situation slip from your mind.
To conclude, let me say I wish that all of you would start practicing immediately so that everybody can obtain Fortune with Blessings together all at once.
Notes from the editor of the web edition
This is a translation from the Chinese version of Mr Sato's book. The Japanese names had been rendered as Chinese transliterations.