In Instruction Two, the Shinbashira indicates that, "Spiritual growth refers to the process of nearing the intention of the Parent."
Let us all make daily efforts in taking strides to near the intention of the Parent more today than yesterday, and more tomorrow than today.
We are taught that the Kanrodai was placed at the Jiba of Origin as the proof of human conception and represents the truth of human creation and growth.
I would like to talk about my own personal interpretation of the shape of the Kanrodai and the truth of spiritual growth.
There are 13 tiers in the Kanrodai. The very bottom tier is the largest with a diameter of about 35.4 inches. This tier represents the sincere seeds sown by God the Parent.
The diameter of the second tier from the bottom is about 28.4 inches. This tier represents the 50-year path taken by Oyasama to demonstrate the Divine Model.
Above that are 10 tiers. Each has a diameter of about 14.2 inches. I believe that they represent humankind’s path of spiritual maturity. I hope that we can constantly proceed upward in an effort to near the intention of the Parent.
The upper-most tier with a diameter of about 28.4 inches is the stand upon which a flat vessel is to be placed to receive the Food from Heaven.
In the Ofudesaki, we are taught:
On whom do you think the Food of Heaven is to be bestowed?
It is to be bestowed on the Parent who began this world.
(Ofudesaki IX: 61)
This verse refers to Oyasama, who has the divine truth of God the Parent, who began this world.
Our progress toward spiritual growth has as its foundation the sincerity of God the Parent and the path of the Divine Model of Oyasama. I would like us to work diligently while keeping in mind that Oyasama always looks over the progress of our spiritual growth.
We are taught that “Spiritual growth refers to the process of nearing the intention of the Parent.” That process refers to “our service to God,” in particular, the Service and the Sazuke. In other words, it is salvation work. Now, I would like to share with you my thoughts on salvation work.
About 100 years ago in 1918, the Spanish flu became a worldwide pandemic. In Japan, the flu infected about 23,800,000 people and took the lives of 390,000 people from 1918 to 1921. The population of Japan back then was about 55,960,000, so it means 42 percent of the Japanese population was infected with the Spanish flu.
In comparison, as of today, about 18,000 people contracted the Covid-19 coronavirus and about 1,000 lives were lost here in Japan. In other words, one hundred years ago, as many as 390 times more people lost their lives compared to today’s pandemic.
During such a major knot, the plans for Oyasama’s 40th Anniversary were announced in 1921. I believe that our predecessors were filled with a fervent passion to "engage in salvation work with faith in the everliving Oyasama."
Two years later, in 1923, there was another big knot—the Great Kanto earthquake, which took the lives of roughly 100,000 people.
Following such major knots, the number of lay ministers as well as local churches doubled by the time of Oyasama’s 40th Anniversary in 1926.
I think it is due to the fruit of our predecessors efforts, who devoted themselves in salvation work in the midst of a large worldwide knot.
Even 100 years after the Spanish flu pandemic, the threat of infection by this present virus has not changed.
Let us devote ourselves in salvation work as instruments of Oyasama.
However, the number one preventative measure to avoid infection is to not make contact, so it would be difficult to administer the Sazuke.
Luckily, in current times, even though we cannot meet someone in person, we can exchange information over the Internet and empathize with them and relay our thoughts. We should be able to listen to people’s stories over the Internet and smooth out the wrinkles of their mind.
We are taught in the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service:
As I hasten to save all of you equally,
I will set out to cheer up all the minds of the world. (Yorozuyo)
God the Parent’s divine workings become manifest when our minds are spirited, so we should feel the Parental love of God the Parent and Oyasama daily, nurture our mind to carry out salvation work, pray for the salvation of others every day, and trust in God as we serve our duties.
By carrying out things with a spirited mind, surely, joy will come to us.
Let us do our best!
(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)