Shine from Within

Page 1

SHINE FROM

WITHIN An introduction to the Konko Faith

Published by Konkokyo


Printed in Canada


PREFACE N THE PAST, people w ho w ere in need

I

K onkokyo H o n b u , 1996; Kyoten Konko

o f help cam e to th e K onko C h u rch e s to

D aijin Oboegakj: M em oirs o f Konko

receive g uidance. H ow ever, in this day

Daijin. K onko, Japan. K onkokyo H o n b u , 1987.

an d age, w ith cults an d groups th a t com m it crim es in th e n am e o f a god, it is n o t

T h ese teachings w ill be referenced as

su rp risin g th a t people are h esita n t to visit a

G I, G II, or G U I, Revelations, and

ch u rch o r a religion w ith w hich they are

M emoirs, followed by the n am e o f the

unfam iliar. K onkokyo w ishes to be open

person w ho w rote it, and th en the

w ith people an d allow th em to see w hat

teaching num ber. N am es are w ritten last

K onkokyo’s beliefs an d practices are, so

nam e first, th en the given nam e w ithout

th a t they w ill have n o th in g to fear. It is

com m as. T h e rem ain in g quotes are those

w ith the in te n tio n o f h elp in g people ease

beliefs o f today’s society, w hich echo the

th eir hard sh ip s in life, an d be able to live

beliefs o f Konkokyo. Som e o f the authors

th e ir lives w ith an in n e r peace th a t will lead

o f these quotes have been identified and

to th e happiness o f all, th a t this book has

labeled. H ow ever, others th at have not

been com posed.

been referenced are quotes w hose w riters’ identities have been lost w ith tim e.

To avoid confusion w hile reading this book, please take note o f these three points:

3

D u e to various translations an d interp retatio n s, K onkokyo m ay also refer

1 You m ay realize th a t various nam es arc-

to K am i (G od) as: Tenchi K ane N o

used for this religion. As “K onko” was

K am i, Tenchi N o K am i, K ane N o K a m i,

the title given to o u r F ounder, K onko

T h e P rinciple P aren t o f th e U niverse,

D aijin, “K onko F aith ” is m ost

T h e P aren t K am i o f th e U niverse, T h e

com m only used in reference to sp iritu ­

P rin cip le P arent, P aren t K am i, P aren t

ality, w hile th e organ izatio n is referred

G o d , or K am i-S am a.

to as “K onkokyo.” In no w ay is this g u id eb o o k a com plete

2

T h e re are quotes highlighted

explan atio n o f the K onko Faith. D esigned

th ro u g h o u t th e text o f this book. T hese

to be a signpost for those w h o w ish to know

are the teachings o f o u r F o u n d er taken

w h a t K onkokyo is, th is book only p oints in

from : Kyoten Gorina 1 1: Teachings o f

its direction. T h e g u id eb o o k w as w ritten in

Konko Daijin I. K onko, Japan: K onkokyo H o n b u , 1987; Kyoten G onkai

questio n s, w h ile at the sam e tim e stirring

II: Teachings o f K onko D aijin II. K onko,

the in q u isitiv e m in d . S hould you w ish for

Japan: K onkokyo H o n b u , 1987; Kyoten

m ore in fo rm atio n or have any qu estio n s

Gorikai III: Teachings o f K onko D aijin

regard in g K onkokyo, please refer to the

III. K onko, Japan: K onkokyo H o n b u ,

publish ed m aterials o r contact inform ation

1993; Kyoten Oshirase-Goto Ohoe-Cho:

in th e A p p en d ix o f this book. T h a n k you.

Record o f Revelations. K onko, Japan:

We ho p e you enjoy your experience!

hopes o f answ erin g th e m ost basic



CONTENTS INTRODUCTION

9

SECTION 1: BELIEFS A N D PRACTICES

1 4 M ain Concepts

17 Basic Beliefs 26 Attitudes 28 Practice and Rituals 3 9 SECTION

2: THE FOUNDER OF KONKOKYO

41 Historical

Background of Japan

6

SECTIO N 3: KONKOKYO TODAY

6 * Japan 6 8 Am erica

72 South Am erica 73 Korea & Gatherings 74 Peace Activities

76 A: For Further Inform ation and 78 B: Konkokyo Chronology 79 C: C ontact Inform ation

Reading



INTRODUCTION relationship. T hey

we ignore or discom fort

the faith and

m ediate betw een K am i

others around us. It is

teachings of

and his followers, aiding

for the happiness o f all

Konko D aijin, an

us in the developm ent o f

th at we w ork toward,

ordinary farm er in

o ur spiritual eyes and

not just for ourselves.

Japan w ho cam e to

ears, so that we may

As we strive to

devote him self to

come to understand

strengthen our

helping people, this

K am i's tru e instruc­

relationship w ith K am i

Faith came to be called

tions. A lthough this

each day, we will begin

"Konkokyo." M arking

personal approach may

to express our faith in

the date Konko D aijin

m ake it difficult to

life through the

received K am i's request

define one's faith, it

attitudes we have, the

to save people,

allows flexibility w ithin

actions we take, our

Konkokyo was founded

the religion, strengthens

reactions to events, and

on N ovem ber 15, 1859.

self-discipline, broadens

our treatm ent o f others.

E

vo lved o u t

of

As a religion, Konkokyo is u n iq u e in that it has no strict set ot

views, and embraces acceptance. A personal

In this age o f technology and m aterialism , it is easy to

rules that believers m ust

relationship w ith K am i,

neglect our real needs.

follow. Som e believers

however, does not imply

M any tim es we feel that

find that this m akes it

confining oneself in

there is a void in our

difficult to explain the

solitude or spending

lives, w hich we cannot

Faith to others. O ne's

one's entire life

identify or fill. We hope

relationship w ith Kam i

searching for the T ruth,

this book may act as

is very personal and

b ut enables ou r being

your m irror, so that you

direct, yet at the same

able to live it. O u r

can see your tru e self

tim e, the m inisters w ho

F ounder taught us to

and needs and begin to

guide us play a

im m erse ourselves in

live a life o f joy and

significant role in

T ru th and K am i, but

happiness, so th at you

developing our

not in such a way that

shine from w ithin.





W

£

BELIEVE

o BELIEFS

KAMI • that Kam i is the universe-— the

spirit and energy that flows through

Founder, Konko Dajjin, referred to this spirit and energy as “Tenchi Kane No K am i” (the god of heaven and earth), or abbreviated as “K am i.” T his spirit gives t birth to new galaxies, winks (Jut brilliant stars, gracefully opens the dew-moistened petals of a flower •

*

in spring, whisks away the last rem aining leaf from a bare tree in winter, and enables our hearts to beat. w •

Kam i sustains and nurtures the cycle of life.

'*

K am i is m uch like a parent, em bracing ou r lives to protect us and provide us w ith w hat we need to grow and m ature. Ideally, parents are the m ost. * •

t

dependable people in a child’s life. Ideal parent? will protect their children from .all danger and give love *and comfort in any situation. A chilS of such parents, therefore, feels safe, secure, and, optim istic toward life. » T herg are m any people w ho believe Kaqai is the parent o f all existing life, yet because o f this they feel, “W hy w ould K am i bother w ith som eone so insignificant and small as m e?” We m ust refnem ber that K am i, even if K am i has m any children,

»

.

J

*

unconditionally loves and cares about each one of us individually. K am i w ants to give us everything possible, everything we need to assure our

happiness. K am i’s infinite love and affection for us • •

surrounds*us-forgiving our w rongdoings and

• •

tantrum s, accepting our apologies, and pleading for us to m ake requests so they can be fulfilled. K am i is reaching out to us, asking us to place our complete trust in Kam i. In doing so, we can leare to pilt aside our physical eyes and open and see with our -spiritual eyes, and thus be guided away frofn troubles and s’uffering. T his is the divine wish of Kam i.

& P R A C T IC E S

galaxies,‘planets,^iir, earth, and life. O ur


O BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

OUR SITUATION be m ore civilized. Yet, a

m em bers, an d friends, not

capable o f great

glance at the news reveals

realizing the h arm w e are

things. However,

'E AS HUMANS are

the m any ills o f ou r world:

doing. It is a vicious cycle we

we cannot survive even one

pollution, wars, health

have created.

m om ent on our own. O u r

problem s, discrim ination,

individual lives are

violence, and stress. M any o f

T h o u g h w e have o u r m om en ts o f peace and find

dependent upon the

us have not acquired the

things to sm ile at once in a

blessings o f air, water, and

satisfaction and happiness

w hile, a re n ’t m ost o f us

heat, am ong the m any others

we believed w e were

co m p lain in g m ore often

that K am i has provided for

w orking tow ard so

th a n not? Stressed,

us. U nfortunately, w e often

devotedly. W h a t w e have

fatigued, frustrated, and

forget this crucial fact. As our

acquired is self-

depressed, w e are at a loss

knowledge o f nature and the

centeredness, greed, fear,

to know how to solve the

universe continues to

envy, hatred, and distrust. As

endless string o f problem s

develop w ith advances in

the grow ing void in o u r

th a t seem to plague us.

science and technology, we

hearts threatens to

T u rn in g only to m edicine

have becom e arrogant,

overw helm us, w e frantically

for illnesses an d injuries, or

believing w e can do things

feed it m aterial w ealth,

to psychologists and therapy

through ou r ow n knowledge,

occupational success,

for various problem s we

effort, and power. W ith our

m om entary thrills, and

encounter, m any o f us have

new found knowledge, we

entertaining illusions.

forgotten K am i. Som etim es

seek to alter and control the

W orking harder to gain

w e feel as th o u g h w e have

energy of the universe for

m ore incom e, m aking m ore

no one to tu rn to, no one

o u r ow n convenience,

convenient and efficient

w h o cares, no solution, an d

believing we can invent

“tim e-saving” gadgets, we

no escape. Som e o f us,

happiness and create

squeeze every last second we

losing hope, tu rn to alcohol,

satisfaction in ou r lives.

can find for relaxation, only

violence, drugs, or even

to find ourselves using it to

suicide. We becom e far

technology and m edical

get just a few m ore things

rem oved from o u r original

science have led to m any

accom plished. T h ro w n

goals o f happiness an d

m ore people living in

about by tim e constraints in

peace o f m ind. W ith o u r

relative com fort today than

a society th a t cries, “Faster!

h u m a n -c en te red ways o f

at any other tim e in history.

Faster!” w e build u p stress

th in k in g , w e have lost o u r

M an ’s m aterial w ell-being

and frustration and m ake an

co n n ectio n w ith K am i an d

has risen and his quality o f

enem y o f tim e, w hen it is

o u r u n d ersta n d in g o f

life has im proved. Seeing

tim e that we desire. C au g h t

life— o u r respect o f natu re,

this kind o f developm ent, it seems th a t the w orld w ould

up in o u r ow n problem s, wd

love o f others, an d g ratitu d e

snap at o u r children, fam ill ,yt ■

:>r the blessings we receive.

T h e great advances in

...

vm S S l


O

O

BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

OUR GOAL UR GOAL is for

each o f us to open o u r self-centered

hearts so th a t w e becom e as broad an d accepting as K a m i’s h eart— for the w hole w orld to becom e one w ith K am i. By reform ing

*

o u r hearts th ro u g h K a m i’s g u idance, we can learn to change sufferings and hardships into blessings. We will im prove o u r lives and th e lives o f those aro u n d us. K eeping K am i in ou r hearts at all tim es brings us

an d joy

w arm th

only in n er

he gained

closer to K am i. O u r

from this gave h im th e

happiness can bring.

F ounder, K onko D aijin, in

title o f Ihigam i (Living

A n in dividual side o f a

his practice o f faith,

K am i). T h e process o f o u r

d ia m o n d is beautiful w hen

broadened his h eart and

h u m a n hearts developing

polished, b u t th e tru e

becam e one w ith K am i.

into K a m i’s h ea rt an d spirit

beauty is fo u n d w h en the

T h e w isdom , a deep

is like a drop o f w ater

individual surfaces are

u n d ersta n d in g o f life, and

en terin g the ocean. U p o n

com bined an d reflect light

the in n e r strength and

en terin g the ocean, th e drop

o ff o f each other. W h ile we

o f w ater takes on the

are here to live an d love and

Excerpt from Prayer Book:

properties o f the ocean an d

grow, w e are given the

Kami Prayer

becom es ocean water. T h e

privilege, the g ift, o f h elp in g

single drop o f w ater gains

others. In th e process o f

K a m i loves and caresfo r

the vastness o f th e ocean. K onko D aijin tau g h t us

all ujikp [K a m i’s c h ild ren ], A ll those who live between heaven and earth. To revere K a m i as the Parent Kam i, To live in K a m i’s infinite blessings—

fin d in g peace w ith in ourselves, w e w ish to share

th a t each one o f us is

o u r faith w ith others, so th at

capable o f becom ing a living

an en d to suffering an d the

kam i. By accepting the

fulfillm ent o f life will

guidance K am i has provided for us and practicing to

spread to those aro u n d us

develop a heart that

W orking in this way, w e will

em braces everything and

com e closer to fulfilling

an d th ro u g h o u t th e w orld.

This is the Way.

everyone unconditionally,

K a m i’s w ish for everyone to

Yet many not knowing

we will realize the infinite

be saved, an d th en K am i

love and blessings th a t shine

w ill be fulfilled. T h e

upon us. W ith this

d iam o n d , w h ich represents

realization, o u r faith will

th e w hole w orld, will begin

begin to reflect in ou r actions, and w e will begin to

to sparkle brilliantly, as each o f us begins to shine from

live each day w ith a radiance

w ith in .

the Way, Are lost in greed aryl sejfishness.

•the cycle bp*


MAIN C O N C E P T S

THE DIVINE REMINDER

T

h e D i v i n e Reminder

nothing, ou r F o u n d er

this day, everyday, an d at

is the essence o f the

realized th a t structu re,

every m o m e n t.”

K onko Faith. W hen

rituals, an d physical

We are ta u g h t th a t no

the Japanese g o vernm ent

w orship w ere n o t w h a t was

m a tte r w h ere w e are or

forbid o u r F o u n d er to

im po rtan t. It was at this

w h at is h ap p en in g , if we

p ropagate his faith, w hen

tim e o u r F o u n d er received

keep th e D ivine R em inder

he was ordered to take

the w ords o f the D ivine

in o u r hearts, w e will be

dow n all altar fixtures and

R em inder from K am i.

able to rem em b er to tu rn to

offerings, as w ell as to stop

T h u s, the D ivine R em inder

K am i for help, an d thus

praying, he retreated to a

is considered to be th e core

receive blessings. For m any

sm all room to m editate

o f the K onko Faith.

believers, alth o u g h they

quietly. H ere, left w ith

A lthough there are m any sm all variations in

read an d recite this teaching daily, th e m e an in g an d

translation o f th e D ivine

m essage they receive from it

R em inder, the com m o n

ch an g e w ith each

m essage is interpreted as:

experience they en c o u n ter

“T h ro u g h the

in th e ir lives.

M ediation— th e w orkings

A fter rev iew in g th e

o f th e L iving K am i— pray

fo llo w in g M a in C o n cep ts,

an d m ake requests to K am i

try re a d in g th e D iv in e

w ith a sincere an d devoted

R e m in d e r once m o re w ith

heart, for blessings d ep en d

th o se fu ller m e an in g s in

u p o n an d are found w ith in

m in d to see ho w y o u r

your h eart— w ithin a h eart

in te rp re ta tio n o f it

o f joy an d peace. Pray on

ch anges.

The Divine Reminder written on a piece of paper by the Founder, 1873.

Ikigami Konko Daijin Tenchi Kane No Kami Isshin ni negae Okage wa wagakokoro ni ari Kongetsu konnichi de tanomei

Through Ikigami Konko Daijin to Tenchi Kane No Kami Pray with a single heart The divine favor depends upon one's own heart On this very day pray


1:

D aijin” was the title

.o u r F ounder

called “m e” is a com bination

becom es one w ith K am i, to

o f K am i’s body and K am i’s

have the sam e desires as

spirit; therefore, even you, I,

K am i, and to fulfill those

received from K am i. It was a

and all h u m a n beings can

desires as K a m i’s hands— is

custom in Japan to respect

becom e living kam is. We

w h at it m eans to be a living

those few people w ho saved

only need to realize this,

kam i. O u r F o u n d er said,

m any others and to call them

scrub away the dirt and

“Save one person and you

Ikigami, “Living K am i” or

grim e we have accum ulated,

will be a kam i to th a t person.

“Living B uddha.” O u r

and let ou r tru e selves shine

Save ten people an d you will

F ounder used this traditional

through. It is only because

becom e a kam i to all te n ”

n am ing to express a new

w e say things like, “I can ’t,”

(G//: Shirakami Shinichiro, 1).

m eaning in the following

“It’s im possible,” and

way: “To be an Ikigam i is to

“N ever,” th a t w e close the

K onko D aijin ” to refer n ot

have K am i born w ithin you”

doors th a t are open an d lim it

only to o u r F ounder, b u t also

(GIII: Konko Kyoso Gorikai, 18).

ourselves. T h is is w hy m any

to his w o rk o f saving people.

o f us do not im prove as

T h e spirit an d w orkings o f

think, “T h ere is absolutely

individuals and suffer

Ikigam i K onko D aijin

N O w ay th a t som eone like

endless hardships. To

su rro u n d us, g u id in g us in

m e can becom e a living

develop K am i w ithin

o u r efforts to spread joy and

G O D !” H ow ever, w h at is

yourself so that your heart

peace o f m in d to all people.

M ost people are likely to

We now use “Ikigam i

INTERDEPENDENCE

W

k CANNOT live on

the plants and trees w ould

happy, b u t just as parents

this earth by

cease to exist as well. T h is is

w ishing for their children’s

ourselves. We can

Interdependence; each

happiness can n o t help them

see this in that plants and

cannot fulfill its purpose

if the children reject their

trees need anim als and

w ithout the other.

insects to pollinate their

T h e incorporation o f

aid, there is only so m uch K am i can do until we p ut

seeds, as well as to

Interdependence into

dow n o u r barricades and

decom pose m aterial into

K onkokyo is a u n iq u e aspect

allow K am i to guide us. O u r

nutrients. In turn, the

o f its doctrine. In m any

F o under once said, “K am i is

anim als and insects need

religions, K am i is perceived

plants and trees for shelter,

as almighty, all-know ing,

K am i because o f people, and people are people because o f

food, and the atm osphere-

and above all. H ow ever, we

K am i.” We cannot exist

purifying capabilities they

believe K am i is closer to us

w ith o u t K am i an d the

provide. I f you look closely at

th an this, in that K am i m ust

blessings o f K am i, and K am i

nature, every single thing has

w ork w ith us an d we w ith

cannot be realized by us,

its ow n special purpose and

K am i in order for K am i’s

cannot be a god to us,

role that keeps the universe

desire— for all people to be

w ith o u t o u r cooperation.

in balance. I f all the plants

freed from hardships— to be

K am i is patiently w aiting for

died, the anim als w ould

fulfilled. It m ay sound

each o f us to fulfill o u r part

cease to exist, and similarly, if

strange to hear th a t K am i

the anim als and insects died,

needs our help to m ake us

by recognizing and em bracing K am i’s guidance.

BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

U T >“k ig a m i K o n k o

//

O

THE CONCEPT OF A "LIVING KAMI


SINGLE HEART

A

SINGLE HEART has

concentration can only be

two basic interpreta­

achieved if the w orshiper is

daily events in o u r lives. T h e second m e an in g o f

truly devoted to th e prayer

a single h eart is: y o u r h eart

interpretation is: pray w ith

he o r she is m aking. In a life

an d K a m i’s h eart becom e

all your heart. It refers to the

and death situation, the

one. As w ith a loved one,

seriousness and concen­

strength o f our prayers is

w e sh o u ld always be

tration o f your prayer. A

considerably different from

th in k in g o f K am i, always

com m on exam ple used to

o u r everyday ones. T h in k o f

try in g to u n d erstan d

illustrate this is one teaching,

the strongest prayer you

K a m i’s h eart an d wishes.

“P raying to K am i single-

have ever m ade. W h e th e r

K a m i’s desires w ill becom e

heartedly m eans th a t you do

m aking a request,

o u r ow n as w e start seeing

n o t tu rn aro u n d once you

apologizing, or expressing

w ith K a m i’s eyes an d

have clapped your h ands

appreciation, every single

feeling w ith K a m i’s heart.

tions. T h e first

an d faced th e altar, even if a

prayer w e m ake should be at

By b ro ad en in g o u r

spear pokes y ou” (Gil:

least this strong. T h is is the

perspective an d desires, o u r

Takahashi Tomie, 15:1).

difficult part o f th e K onko

h eart becom es th e sam e as

Faith. T h is is w h at w e strive

K a m i’s; o u r h ea rt an d

for an d practice on w ith the

K am i’s h eart becom e one.

It sounds quite frightening, yet this type o f

MEDIATION OR US to free

F

T aking th e joys an d sorrow s

ourselves from

o f the believer as if they

sufferings, w e first

w ere his o r h e r ow n, the

need to realize the

THE DIVINE FAVOR DEPENDS UPON ONE'S OWN HEART

I

N A LINE from the

D ivine R em inder, this concept points to o u r

M ediator th e n prays to

hearts as the key to the

In te rd e p e n d e n t

K am i w ith the believer.

q u ality an d o u tco m e o f o u r

relatio n sh ip betw een K am i

T h e M ed iato r relays to the

lives. O u r F o u n d er said,

an d us, an d th e n w o rk to

believer K a m i’s in stru c ­

“D ifficulties an d sufferings

develop it w ith in ourselves.

tions an d teachings th a t the

are caused by peo p le’s ow n

H ow ever, because it is difficult to do so on o u r

M ed iato r receives w hile praying. T h is is th e basic

h earts” (Revelations: 24:25.3), an d also, “W h e th e r you

ow n, it is the role o f the

form o f M ediation. T h is is

save or kill y o u rself depends

m in ister to be th e m ain

w here teachings, like those

u p o n y o u r ow n h e a rt”

M ediator to help us

o f o u r F ounder, are born

(Gill: Shinkun, 2:12).

u n d ersta n d , develop, and

an d people are show n a

stren g th en o u r relationship

w ay o u t o f th e ir h ard sh ip s

w ith K am i. At the

to a life o f happiness.

perspective an d the reality

M ediation Seat in the

M ediation is n o t so m eth in g

w e perceive. W h e n w e have

church, the M ediator

th a t takes place only at the

a h ea rt full o f joy, peace,

listens carefully to th e

M ediation Seat in the

an d h appiness, w e can see

expressions o f g ratitude,

ch u rch , b u t is so m eth in g

an d feel the love and

apologies, requests, and

th a t can take place anytim e

blessings K am i bestows

p roblem s o f the believer.

an d anyw here.

u p o n us each day.

T h e state o f o u r h eart an d m in d changes o u r


BASIC BELIEFS

h e u n i v e r s e gives

&

and is a place for life

to be nurtured. We can see this as plants soak in the sunlight, as insects pollinate flowers, and as saplings take root in the great fallen trees.

J, if

^9^'

N a tu re ’s w orkings and cycles exist to sustain life su rro unding us. W ithin

All living things m ust

Heaven and Earth [the

these blessings, w e too are

take from their

allowed to live. To the

en v iro n m en t in order to

live. Because Heaven and Earth are alive, all

universe] continue to

universe, one life is just as

live. Yet they also contrib u te

precious as the next.

to th e ir su rro u n d in g s, th u s

people are able to live.

W h e th e r it is a galaxy,

su stain in g each other. T h is

(Gill: Jinkyu Kyogoroku, 104)

planet, plant, insect, h u m an ,

In te rd e p e n d e n t relatio n sh ip

or any other form o f life, it

also applies to h u m an s. D o

an inseparable part, w e are

w orks to sustain and n urture

w e con trib u te to the

h u rtin g ourselves. We m u st

each individual part. In the

universe? O r do w e take,

realize once again, th a t as K am i w orks to sustain all

K onko Faith, w e see these

an d keep taking? People

w orkings o f the universe as

used to do things like saving

life, so too m u st w e w o rk to

the w orkings o f K am i.

th eir h air after b ru sh in g it,

cherish an d n u rtu re all th a t

an d scattering it outside for

is a ro u n d us. In this way, we

are b ein g sustained th ro u g h

the birds to use to m ake

w ill learn to live in

the blessings o f the universe

w arm nests. People used to

h arm o n y w ith ourselves an d

in th e sam e w ay it sustains

th in k ab o u t o th e r lives

w ith o u r surro u n d in g s.

all life, w e can begin to see

aro u n d th em beside

R ealizing th a t o u r lives

T h e ways in w hich the

th a t w e are a part o f the

them selves. M ost o f these

u niverse w orks an d th e laws

universe. As a p a rt o f the

old ways have been lost.

th a t govern it an d keep it

universe, w e are connected

H ow ever, people are

alive, are th e T ru th . T h ese

in som e w ay to everything

b eg in n in g to realize once

laws o f n atu re, w orkings o f

existing in it. O n ce we

again, th a t w h a t w e do and

th e universe, an d relatio n ­

realize this, only th e n w ill

take ultim ately retu rn s to

w e u n d ersta n d o u r

us. We are b eg in n in g to

ships betw een th e universe an d life, com bined, are

respective roles in the

realize th a t by h u rtin g the

w h at w e call th e Ways o f the

universe.

universe, o f w h ich w e are

U niverse. O n ce we u n d ersta n d these Ways o f th e U niverse, o u r attitu d e in life can ch an g e from one o f struggle an d survival, to one o f peace an d acceptance. We becom e grateful for those blessings th a t w e have been tak in g for granted.

& P R A C T IC E S

T

birth to all o f life

o BELIEFS

THE WAYS OF THE UNIVERSE


th e cause

OF

PROBLEMS ANDSUFFERING

a v e y o u ever

w h en w e w ere ju st a little

H

experienced a tim e

too confident. In seeing and

w hen you th o u g h t

caring only ab o u t ourselves,

you w ere so plagued w ith

w e becom e arro g an t an d

problem s and hardships that

self-centered, d em an d in g

there couldn’t possibly be

respect from others, an d

an other living soul on this

For those practicing

puffing o u t o u r chests or

earth m ore m iserable than

faith, it is important not

raising o u r chins w h en

you? T h e n , after reading or

to feel angry, even when

com plim ented. T h is is

hearing about som eone

there is something to be

w h en w e begin to treat

else’s problem s, you thought,

angry about. [Gil: Tsugawa

people lightly or ignore

“M aybe my problem s aren ’t

Haruo, 18:1)

so bad after all.” U nfortunately, m ost o f us

Just how do w e go ab o u t

others th a t are “sim ply ben eath us.” A rgum ents and

chan g in g o u r attitudes and

conflicts arise w h en w e are

have been to the depths o f

not getting upset? Too often

u n w illin g to com prom ise.

suffering. \e t, because our

w e are m u ch like a child

burdens are lightened just by

throw ing a ta n tru m ,

realizing th a t there are

p o in tin g to one th in g after

others worse off we should

an o th er an d d em an d in g to

realize that our attitudes and

know, “W h a t’s th is?”

ways o f th in k in g are the root

“W h a t’s th a t? ” w ith o u t

o f ou r problem s; sufferings

stopping to listen to o u r

begin w ith ourselves.

paren ts’ reply. We m u st start

Fortunately, this is

by looking inw ard, by

som ething w e can change.

pau sin g an d reflecting u p o n

Poverty consists not in the decrease of one's poss­ essions, but in the increase of one's greed. - Plato

We call various

Respect others, and others will respect you. When people respect you, you must follow the example of grain crops. Rice and millet crops lower [bow] as their grains get heavier [ripen]. (G//: Torigoe Shirokichi, 2:1-2)

O u r F o u n d er also

ourselves instead o f lashing

ta u g h t us th a t m an y o f o u r

o u t blindly.

problem s arise because we

I f you th in k abo u t it,

place o u r tru st in things

getting upset, angry, stressed,

th a t ca n n o t stay th e sam e

or frustrated often comes

forever. “A m etal cane will

from our intolerance,

g et bent, and a bam boo or

occurrences “problem s and

im patience, and selfishness.

w oo d en cane w ill break.

sufferings” because they

D isappointm ent comes from

T h erefo re, use K am i as

cause us to becom e upset,

som eone else n o t m eeting

y o u r cane. K am i can never

angry, disappointed,

our expectations. A nger and

be bent, can never break,

stressed, frustrated, sad, or

violence are only an

an d can never d ie” (G/:

cause us pain. B ut w h at if

expression o f pain, w hether

Kondo Fujimori, 4).

w e do n o t allow these things

it is physical (some people

to upset us? We cannot

p u n ch a w all after crying o ut

hearts an d m in d s, teach ourselves to th in k o f others

change w h at happens, but

from b u rn in g their hand),

we can change how we

m ental (self-hate, jealousy,

decide to accept these

or failure), or em otional

occurrences. In this way, we

(loneliness or h u rt pride).

can save ourselves from u nnecessary hardships.

O u r biggest failures often com e from those tim es

I f w e can b ro ad e n o u r

Which individual is more im portant, you or someone else? All are hum an beings. (Gill: Shinkun, 2:33)


O m ent and trust Kami. Have the sincere heart of Heaven and Earth and receive divine blessings. (G//: Fukushima Gihe'e, 18:2)

say it w as a m isfortune. We

W h a t are w e d o in g w ith

see th e ability to tou ch an d

th e precious blessings K am i

feel as a blessing, b u t if w e

has bestow ed u p o n us?

feel too m u ch in the form of

H o w w o u ld you feel if you

pain, w e curse it.

gave a loved on e w h o was

E v ery th in g o u r bodies tell

freezing to d eath a b lan k et

us has a reason b eh in d it.

to keep w arm , ju st to have it

Pain is a p art o f o u r

th ro w n back in y o u r face

as w ell as ourselves, take all

w arn in g system , developed

after a w h ile because h e or

h a p p e n in g s as le arn in g

to protect us. Yet w e often

she becam e too hot? M any

experiences to grow

feel it hin d ers us an d choose

tim es, alth o u g h w e do n o t

stronger, w h ile at th e sam e

to ignore it or take

m ean to, this is w h a t w e are

tim e, tru ly th in k ab o u t w hy

m edication to get rid o f it,

d o in g to K am i.

an d h o w th in g s h ap p e n

instead o f looking to see

an d p in p o in t w hy w e feel

w h a t the flashing red light

an d ch an g e o u r w ays, to

th e w ay w e do, w e can

is p o in tin g to.

train o u r hearts so th a t we

identify th e source o f o u r

As th e un iv erse is alive,

To realize these things

see ev ery th in g as a blessing,

it m oves a n d b reath es, for

to see others as precious

w e identify th em , w e can

it m u st c o n stan tly renew

ch ild ren o f K am i, to accept

w o rk on im p ro v in g them ,

itself. F orest fires, floods,

n atu ra l occurrences as a

a n d th u s e lim in a te th e root

a n d th e like w e call

necessity o f life, an d to

reactions to events. O n ce

o f o u r problem s. A n o th er cause o f suffering is o u r selfcentered w ay o f think ing. We only care

“d isa ste rs,” b u t they are

w o rk w ith those events

n ecessary for th e ea rth , ju st

in stead o f try in g to stop

as b re a th in g a n d e a tin g is

th em for o u r ow n

for us. We p ick a n d choose

co n venience is w h a t it

o u r blessings an d

m ean s to tru ly live in

ab o u t things if

m isfo rtu n es ac co rd in g to

h arm o n y w ith th e universe.

they are

o u r views an d

M aybe by ch a n g in g o u r

u n d e rsta n d in g , an d w e do

perspectives in this way, we

n o t th in k it strange, or

w ill beg in to realize th a t we

even realize w h a t w e are

are th e ones tu rn in g K a m i’s

d o in g , w h e n w e effortlessly

blessings in to sufferings,

blessings such as rain as a

tu rn a g rea t blessin g in to a

an d th e n stop ourselves

blessing th e day it ends a

g rea t m isfo rtu n e.

from d o in g so in the future.

^ convenient or \ ^ ^

v beneficial to us a t th e present

m o m ent. We th in k o f

d ro u ght, b u t if it continues an d w e ca n n o t go outside to

Peace means not being

play, w e curse it. S hould we

consumed by the fire. It

w in the lottery, w e believe it

does not m ean there

to be a great blessing. Yet if

w on 't be any fire.

it tears th e fam ily apart, we

BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

D on't force things. Forget your ego. Dismiss your own judg­


BLESSINGS

W

HAT ARE

th e m any divine blessings

c a n n o t h e a r o r see th ese

blessings? M ost

th a t you have received. If

w aves. We n ee d an F M

people feel th a t

you can do this, you are a

receiver o r a telev isio n set

blessings are those gifts we

tru e believer”

to be able to en joy th e

receive from K am i after

(G/l: Tsugawa Haruo, 14).

m u sic an d p ro g ram s

p raying for them .

T he Parent Kami of the

Being cured is not blessed.

Universe borrows the

Having good health is.

voices of humans to

(G/: Ogihara Sugi, 12)

convey teachings. Those who practice faith should

T h e n again, m any o f us som etim es know th a t even u n answ ered prayers are also gifts from K am i. O u r F o u n d er said this about

listen well, even to children's lullabies, as you m ight hear Kami's teachings. (GII: Fukushima Gihe'e, 15:2)

blessings, “W h e n practicing faith, there are m ore

b ro ad c ast by th e v ario u s statio n s. T h e b etter e q u ip m e n t w e have, th e clea re r w e can h e a r an d see th ese signals. We n eed to m ak e su re o u r receivers are tu rn e d on at all tim es, for too m a n y tim es w e ch o o se w h ic h to co n sid er as b lessings an d w h ic h to b elieve are n o t blessings.

H e is te llin g us th a t w e

A heart of true gratitude

blessings w hich can n o t be

are co n stan tly receiving

seen th a n those w hich can

blessings from K am i; w e

be seen. T h e blessings you

ju st do n o t rea lize it. T h e y

u n know ingly receive,

are m u c h like rad io w aves.

n u m b e r m ore th a n the

We kn o w th a t m a n y rad io

H o w m u c h b rig h te r w o u ld

blessings you know ingly

a n d electro n ic w aves are

o u r lives be if w e co u ld

receive. I f you th in k about

cro ssin g th ro u g h th e a ir at

co m e to see e v e ry th in g

it, you w ill com e to realize

all tim es. H ow ever, w e

as a blessing?

is the beginning of divine blessings. (Gill: Shunkun, 1:3)

FAITH STORY: BLESSINGS FOR MY BABY Mrs. Levans was

such as her baby, she

kill her. This is why Kami blessed me with morning

pregnant and had severe

realized th at morning

morning sickness. People

sickness was m ade by Kami

sickness. This special

often cam e up to her and

for the sake of her baby.

tim e given by Kami is for

offered sympathy, saying

" If I did not have

the baby to grow big and

it must be terrible always

morning sickness and was

being sick and not being

not tired all of the tim e, I

m other to speak to her

able to do anything. Mrs.

would move my body

own h eart as well as to

Levans thought in this

whenever I w anted to and

the baby's heart to build

way as well, but after

maybe end up over-doing

th eir bond. W hen you

reflecting upon her

something, or I'd forget

think about all of the

minister's words telling

and move too roughly,

blessings you are

her to begin looking at

which could take aw ay the

receiving through

things not from her own

precious energy my baby

morning 'sickness,' it no

perspective, but from the

needs. Doing so may

longer is a terrible

perspective of others

dam age my baby, or even

thing."

strong, and for the


Everyone asks fo r divine blessings, but do they understand w hat true blessings are? Divine blessings are not lim ited to just having one's wishes granted. For some people, death is a divine blessing. O thers are saved from \

death through divine blessings. Since everything in this world is governed by Kami, there is nothing else but to depend on Kami. Even though it may seem

like an inconvenience a t the tim e, if you continue to practice faith w ithout going against Kami's will, you will realize later the blessings you have received. Faith is pointless unless this much is understood. (Gill: Jinkyu Kyogoroku, 35:1,2)

itrrrrrrT

FAITH STORY: S P L A S H IN ' IN PUDDLES There was a boy who we

shoes, still placed neatly in

for her son being able to

will call "Tim ." Everyday

the house, caught his

have good health

Tim wore to school the

m other's eye, she suddenly

whenever she saw his

pair of clean white shoes

realized something: her son

dirty shoes.

and clothes th a t his

had been sick in bed due to

m other prepared for him.

a high fever since the day

T im 's m other realized his health was the most

However, when he

before. She was deeply

im portant thing in the fam ily. She apologized to

returned home, both his

worried about her son,

shoes and clothes were

because the source of his

Kami, and from then on,

covered with dirt, so his

illness was unknown. A fte r

washed his dirty shoes

m other had to wash

seeing his clean shoes, she

with a heart full of

them . Eventually, she

realized th a t it was her

appreciation. W ith this

cam e to blam e her son

son's good health th at

experience, she was able

and scold him each day

m ade them dirty and

to open her heart and

before sending him off to

enabled him to study at

change it from one of

school. She also realized

blam e and com plaint, to

school. O ne day, when a pair of Tim 's clean white

th a t she should have

one of appreciation and

expressed her appreciation

joy.


HELPING OTHERS N A WORLD w here one is

happy, b u t is it really greed if

if you have been com pletely

dependent on m any

you w ish for all the

cured by K a m i’s blessings,

others in order to

happiness in the w orld for

tell those in distress ab o u t

yourself and for others?

m y teachings. S pread my

I

survive, it should only be natural for people to help

M any religions condem n

teachings so m ore people

one another. However, as we

h u m an desires. Yet our

w ill start to practice faith

have increasingly becom e

F ounder said, “I, K onko

sincerely. T h is is giving tru e

self-centered beings, m any

D aijin, also have desires. I

th an k s to K a m i” (G/:

people now ask, “W hy

have the desire to save

Yamamoto Sadajiro, 67:1).

should I help, especially a

people throughout the

stranger? W h a t’s in it for

world. D o n o t elim inate your

w an ts to help others after

m e }” or even to friends,

desires” (G/l: Kondo Fujimori,

bein g helped ourselves, is

“W h a t have you done for m e

54). T h e m ost basic h u m a n

o ne step closer to becom ing

lately?” I f we focus only on

desires are gifts from K am i.

a living kam i.

ourselves, we begin to isolate

For example, hunger, thirst,

ourselves from others, resulting in loneliness,

To have th e h eart th a t

U nfortunately, th ere is

If you give a hungry man a fish, he will be full for a day. But if you teach him how to fish, he will be full for a lifetime.

regret, rejection, and depression. Since we are

o u r sexual desires, and

n o th in g m ore p ain fu l or

social creatures, w e have a

m aterial am bitions are

d isco u rag in g th a n those

need to share ou r feelings

necessary for us to live, to

tim es w h en w e ru n across

an d experiences w ith each

perpetuate our kind, an d to

people w h o tru ly need help,

other. H ave you ever

m ake progress in this world.

an d w e kindly h o ld o u t o u r

experienced being

W hile there are tim es w hen

h a n d to th e m only to get it

overw helm ed w ith joy until

these and other desires get

slapped. T h is m ay cause us

you realized there was no

the best o f us, we should also

to hesitate o r even th in k ab o u t n o t h elp in g th e next

one to share it w ith? H ave

realize how im portant our

you ever w atched a gam e

desires are. W h a t K am i

person, for w e have

w here your team w on the

wishes for us to do is take

developed th e attitu d e,

cham pionship, and although

these desires— ou r greed for

“W h y sh o u ld I help? T h ey

you hooted and hollered

a good life, w ealth, health,

d o n ’t w a n t it an y w ay ” T h is

w ith excitem ent, you quickly

and happiness— and not

is th e tim e w h en w e need to

lost your happy m ood w hen

suppress or elim inate them ,

realize th a t those w h o reject

you saw your best buddy

b u t broaden them to pray

help are th e ones w h o need

sitting there just shrugging

that everyone has such

it an d w a n t it th e m ost. By

his shoulders? Perhaps he

blessings.

w as w orried about

T h e m ost im p o rta n t

p raying an d asking K am i to allow us to help, w e can

som ething else and d id n ’t

h u m a n desire is o u r desire

have his m ind on the gam e.

to help people. O u r

feeling, instead o f only

T rue happiness, lasting

F o u n d er said, “T h e re are

reactin g to the p ain they

happiness can only exist

people w ho com e to this

caused us. In this way, w e

w hen the feeling is shared. It

w orship hall, req u est to be

can b etter u n d e rsta n d how

may sound selfish or greedy

cured, an d com e to give

to ap p ro ach them .

to say th at you w an t to help

thanks after com plete

A lth o u g h we ca n n o t change

som eone so you can be

recovery. T h a t’s all. Rather,

people w h o are n o t w illing,

focus on ho w they are


O

FAITH STORY: A B L A N K E T tim e w ent on, M r. Hill

a t an autom obile factory.

gradually becam e more and

rehabilitation, I might have

O ne day, M r. Hill was fixing

more irritable.

shown him a perplexed look

a car and was seriously

O ne day a t the dinner

tation. I think maybe during

while unconsciously thinking,

injured when a tire suddenly

table, M r. Hill shouted, "Shut

burst. The nerves in his face

up!" to his child, who was

gotten better sooner?' I may

were dam aged and he was

cheerfully talking to him in

have been too hasty by

rushed to a hospital.

order to comfort him. Mr.

urging him to get well

Mrs. Hill was greatly

Why hasn't his condition

Hill then flipped the table

faster." From th at tim e on,

shocked by the emergency

over. The child, shocked by

Mrs. Hill attended to her

call from her husband's

his father's sudden violence,

husband more sincerely than

company. However, she

tearfully yelled back, "I hate

ever, by looking within and

pulled herself together and

you!" and fled from the

trying to improve herself. Mr.

went to the Konko Church

room. As tears streamed

Hill was finally able to return

where she worshiped.

from her eyes, Mrs. Hill

to work, in great part due to

Concerned about her

silently cleaned up the table

his wife's kind and loving

husband's injury, Mrs. Hill

and the floor. When Mrs. Hill

care. Although he had some

sought the Mediation of her

looked up from the floor, Mr.

after-effects, his company

minister. The minister told

Hill was also crying. A t that

was considerate enough to

her, "Needless to say, we are

moment, Mrs. Hill recalled a

switch his position from the

allowed to live day to day by

teaching her minister had

factory to the office, where

helping and sustaining one

given her, "Something warm

he could work a t a desk. And

another. When you attend to

is necessary for a person in

while M r. Hill needed some

your husband, always

bitterness and sorrow.

tim e to get used to his new

cherish and remember this

During a cold night, no one

position, he felt the strong

truth in your heart."

can go to sleep without a

support of all those around

blanket to put on. You are

him. Moreover, M r. Hill

the blanket for your

began to pray to Kami for

home, but his facial

husband. As Kami is always

everyone's health and safety.

paralysis and palsy in one

gently and warmly

hand rem ained. Although

embracing every one of us, I

he was able to go through

would like for you first to

now sees him and her

rehabilitation a t home, his

become warm and cheerful

children off every morning.

condition did not get better

to your husband. And then

And as she looks out the

very quickly. As M r. Hill was

embrace his heart as broadly

door, the morning sunshine

a very faithful em ployee at

and generously as you can."

showers her brightly and

his company, his long

Mrs. Hill said to herself, "My

w arm ly with its rays of light,

absence from the factory

darling has been doing his

reflecting her own cheerful

made him despondent. As

best throughout rehabili­

and happy feelings inside.

A fter six months, M r. Hill was allowed to come

Mrs. Hill is happy to have such a husband. She

w e should never give u p on

is necessary for a perso n in

does n o t have to be som e

them . T h is is w h en w e

bitterness a n d sorrow ”

g reat deed. A sim ple sm ile

m u st leave it u p to tim e and

(from th e F aith Story: A

can w arm th e coldest

co n tin u e o u r prayers for

B lanket). H e lp in g others

o f hearts.

them . Always leave th e door

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their

op en , for “S o m eth in g w arm

echoes are truly endless. - Mother Theresa

BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

Mrs. Hill's husband worked


AFTERLIFE: RETURNING TO KAMI S EVERYTHING is

w ill cru m b le an d retu rn to

m ight call “reincarnation,”

m ade from

be p art o f the beach. I f the

b u t m ore a co n tinuation o f

p articles in the

sand is taken away, the

life. As o u r F o u n d er once

u niverse, so e v e ry th in g is a

rem a in in g w ater w ill retu rn

explained, “W h e n people

p art o f K am i.

to the ocean or evaporate

die, they are reu n ited w ith

into air. O nly in the

K am i. T h e body dies, b u t

A

A drop o f w ater taken from the ocean

m om ents both sand an d

the soul keeps on living.

m ay have its

w ater are com bined does

T h e body, w h ich w as taken

th e sandcastle exist.

from E arth , w ill retu rn to

, ow n shape, yet it is

W ithin these physical

E arth . A n d the soul, w hich

still part

bodies w e live o u r lives on

w as bestow ed by H eav en

o f the

earth, and w hen tim e

[K am i], retu rn s to H eav en

ocean.

corrodes ou r castle walls, o u r

[K am i]. D y in g is w h en

physical form returns to the

y o u r body an d soul

Because humans are born through the blessings of Kami, they must also die with the blessings of Kami. Therefore, if a child's birth is a happy event, then death is a much happier event, since one becomes a kami. T h e reason why death is so abhorred is because people have not yet developed enough peace of mind to accept death. Practice faith, so th a t you will be blessed with peace of mind.

separate” (Gil: Nanba Ko, 13:2-3).

We do n o t believe that there is a “heavenly realm ”— a distant place spirits go to after they leave the body. N o r do w e believe there is a “hell”— a

(Gill: Jinkyu Kyogoroku, 23:1-3)

dungeon-like place w here W h e n w e are born, a “d ro p ”

beach, an d the w ater returns

spirits suffer eternally. W h en

o f K am i is given a physical

to the ocean. L ooking at the

w e die, w e only retu rn to the

body m ade from th e earth,

laws o f nature and the

universe. In the w ords o f o u r

m uch like a sandcastle. Just

universe, great trees also fall,

Founder, “W h eth er you are

as a sandcastle is m ade by

and becom e nursing logs for

living or dead, H eaven and

gath erin g g rains o f sand

the next generation o f trees.

E arth [the universe] will

from th e beach and given

E verything grow ing an d

always be your h o m e” (Gl:

solidarity by water, so

living on earth begins in the

Sato Norio, 21:20). T h e

h u m a n bodies are m ade by

earth, is given a distinct

universe works to sustain

the com bination o f

form , and then returns to the

life. W h eth er we create a

n u trien ts and w ater from

earth by various m eans to

heaven or hell o ut o f this

the earth and m ade w hole

becom e nutrients for the

by spirit. I f w ater is taken

next generation. T h is is not

live, all depends on

o u t o f the

w h at people

w here o u r hearts are.

sandcastle, the individual grains

beautiful earth w here we


1

tree, th en its branches will grow lush. Respect your

Im m ortality is im portant for humans. Im m ortality is

the sam e function as the

ancestors an d parents, th en

A ltar for K am i: they give us

you will pro sp er” (Gil:

a focus po in t for o u r prayers.

Takahashi Tomie, 33). A tree is

After com pleting a life o f

dep en d en t u p o n its roots to

w orking for the benefit o f

grow, and its roots are

they can live in com fort and

when others keep praying for you a fte r you die.

(Gil: Kondo Tsuru, 1)

o u r family, o u r children and

d ep e n d en t upon the leaves

w ith peace o f m ind. O u r

g ran dchildren, w o u ld n ’t we

and branches for nutrients

g ran d ch ild ren can then

be happy if they recognized

from the sun. H ere again,

co n tin u e to pass it on to

the sacrifices and efforts we

In terdependence is evident.

th eir children. Just as w ith

m ade for them ? In praying

T h o u g h spirits can n o t be

people’s trust, w e m u st w ork

for o u r ancestors, w e are

seen, w e m u st acknow ledge

h ard to gain it, an d once we

acknow ledging th a t we

th a t they are there, like roots

have, it is easier to m aintain;

could n o t be w here w e are

h idden by soil. We m ust

b u t once w e lose it, it is very

w ith o u t them , and w e are

strengthen them so th a t all

h ard to regain th eir trust.

expressing o u r appreciation

o f us m ay prosper as one.

ch ild ren w ill greatly affect

to them . We also n urture an d support them in their

Passing on Divine Virtue

spiritual lives th ro u g h ou r

D ivine V irtue is the tru st

prayers.

K am i has placed in us. Like

M any people are

w ealth or rep u tatio n , if o u r

skeptical o f w h a t h ap p en s

fam ily has w orked for

to a person after d eath. Yet

g enerations to gain it, an d

m ost people c a n n o t deny

w e w ork to add to it, it will

th a t after a loved one

always be there for o u r use

passes away, som etim es

an d benefit. H ow ever, if

they can still feel his or her

w e do n o t w ork an d are

presence. T h e y do n o t leave

lazy an d selfish, u sin g it

us. T h e y reside w ith in th e

only for o u r pleasure, th en

universe, an d like th o u g h ts,

w h a t o u r predecessors

they do n o t “take u p space”

w orked so hard for will

b u t are th e re w h enever we

quickly disappear; w e m ay

th in k o f them .

even go into debt, e n d in g in

As o u r ancestral spirits co n tinue to protect and

W h a t w e pass on to o u r

h ard tim es for ourselves and o u r future generations. W orking daily to gain

guide us in our lives, they becom e o u r foundation.

K a m i’s trust, w e can pass

O u r F o u n d er said, “Place

o u r virtue on to o u r children

fertilizer at the roots o f a

and g randchildren, so th a t

The descendants of those who listen to Konko Daijin's words and practice faith will live w ithout worry. Teaching your children how to live w ithout worry is practicing true faith . (Gl: Yamamoto Sadajiro, 68:1)

th eir q u ality o f life.

BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

T h e A ltar dedicated to spirits in o u r churches serve


A T T IT U D E S

TOWARD OTHER RELIGIONS OW DO w e view

H

K am i w an te d from

em o tio n s th a t w e direct

o th e r religions?

religion. H o w can peo p le

to w ard oth ers. It is

“R eligion” com es

re-b o n d to K am i w ith so

u n fo rtu n a te th a t w e

from th e L atin w ord

m u c h fear, h ate, anger, an d

u su a lly care o nly a b o u t o u r

re-ligare— m e a n in g to re ­

b lin d arro g an ce p u s h in g

physical actio n s, w h ile w e

b o n d or to tie— so to re­

th e m aw ay from

b o n d ourselves to G od.

K am i? O u r

Since this is th e p u rp o se o f

F o u n d e r said,

every religious body,

“T h o u g h

sh o u ld it m a tte r how one

people say

goes a b o u t it? S ince every

th a t they do

p erso n is d ifferent, w ould

n o t kill

it n o t be b etter to pave a

o thers, they

p ath to K a m i th a t suits

do so w ith th e ir

each perso n ? T oo m an y

h earts. T h is is a

tim es, w e get c a u g h t u p in

grave offense. T h e y

w h a t w e believe so

th in k k illin g som eon e

thoroughly, th a t w e

m e an s to sh o o t w ith a g u n

becom e blin d an d c a n n o t

o r to stab w ith a sw ord, b u t

a n d m in d s. We m u st

see th a t w h a t is rig h t for us

th is is only physical, an d

d evelop a b ro ad an d

m ay be w ro n g for an o th er.

th e obvious. P eople often

c o m p assio n ate h ea rt

M ed icatio n c u rin g cancer

kill w ith th e ir hearts, an

th a t loves an d cares for

in one p a tie n t m ay actually

offense invisible to th e eye.

n eg lect th e c o n d itio n o f o u r hearts

all oth ers.

h a rm an o th er. I t w o u ld be easy if one w ay w orked for

Speak ill of no religion. Everyone is a child of Kami.

all, b u t ju st as one

Having different religions is the same as having different

m ed icatio n c a n n o t su it all

occupations. A parent m ay have a carpenter, a plasterer, a

p atien ts o f an illness, one

gam bler, and a m erchant as his children. People may

p ath to K am i w ill n o t

belong to different religions, but they are all children of

suffice either.

Kami. W e all have our personal preferences. Everyone

N o t re a liz in g th e role o f religion, peo p le degrade

around the world is a child of Kami. (6//: Sato Mitsujiro, 14:1 -3)

each other, countless w ars are fought, a n d countless

K a m i’s h e a rt c a n n o t b ear

lives suffer an d are lost,

such offenses. W h e n one

u n d ersta n d in g am o n g

because each o f us insists

kills physically, th e

people, K onkokyo respects

th a t our relig io n is th e only

g o v e rn m e n t p u n ish e s.

all religions. We realize th a t

tru e one. It is h ard to

W h e n o n e kills w ith his

religions m u st w ork

believe th a t th is is w h a t

h eart, K am i p u n is h e s ”

to g eth er as th e leaders o f

(G//: Sato Mitsujiro, 27:1-2).

th e w orld— take dow n o u r

Daily the world grows

T h is te a c h in g tells us to

w alls, accept o u r

smaller, leaving

n o t only suppress th e

differences, an d learn from

understanding the only

physical im p u lse to kill,

each o th er— in o rd er to

place where peace can

b u t to also rid ourselves o f

fulfill peo p le’s needs.

find a home.

th e negative, h atefu l

In w o rk in g for greater


TOWARD LIFE IN GENERAL

O

By sp read in g this peace

UR ATTITUDE

the river and our raft, we

tow ard life is to

desperately continue

o f m in d , joy, an d com fort to

enjoy it an d m ake

paddling w ith o u r oars.

others as w e try to live life to th e fullest, w e are able to

it enjoyable for others. T h is positive, rad ia n t attitu d e

Happiness comes not

take each day as a new

com es n o t only from

from an absence of

beg in n in g . We ca n n o t

k no w ing th a t K am i is

problems, but through the

ch an g e th e past, b u t w e can

su p p orting and g u id in g us,

ability to deal with them .

w o rk to fix it here in the present. I f w e look only to

b u t also from truly being able to let go o f o u r w orries

Instead o f living o u r

the fu tu re an d keep saying,

lives w ith so m u ch anxiety

“I’ll do it tom orrow ,” w h at

and anguish, w e should

if tom orrow never com es? It

concentrated w hile w atching

have an attitu d e sim ilar to

is th e present, th e here an d

th e flow o f a river? D o in g

p rete n d in g we are sitting on

now, th a t creates th e past

things on ou r ow n is like

a le af th a t is floating dow n a

an d shapes the future.

being on a raft (wooden

river. By flow ing w ith the

platform ) on a river, and

river an d com pletely letting

one w ith K am i once m ore

trying to control its

go o f o u r needs lor control,

w h en w e die, every m o m en t

m ovem ent w ith a paddle.

we m ay still w orry ab o u t

o f life is a precious gift we

U nfortunately, however, our

w here w e en d up, b u t since

m u st n o t waste. I f w e keep

raft often does n o t m ove or

w e realize th a t w e have

this in m in d , every day

go in the direction we wish;

little control over o u r final

w h en w e open o u r eyes to

it may end up h itting rocks

d estination, the only th in g

aw aken, every person we

or alm ost capsizing in

w e can do is enjoy th e ride

com e in contact w ith, every

and pray. B obbing m errily

little flower b u d d in g on the

an d tru st K am i fully. H ave you ever really

rapids. E ven the

A lthough w e becom e

along w ith the flow o f the

side o f the road th a t w e see

river— even if o u r le af ru n s

w ill begin to take on a new

if o u r raft will

into a rock— th e river w ill

light. L ike the people w ho

surely go

slowly b u t surely gu id e us

com e back from the b rin k o f

aro u n d it, an d th e n w e will

d eath are “reb o rn ” to truly

slightest w aterfall m akes it seem as

under.

■be on o u r w ay again. In

u n d erstan d the gift o f life

letting go, relying on, an d

an d appreciate it, this is how

tru stin g in K am i, w e can

chan g in g o u r attitudes will

sink! It’s going to break!” we

b roaden o u r hearts to see

take away o u r sorrows and

T h in k in g , “It’s going to are seized w ith worry. N o t

an d h ear w h a t w e failed to

open o u r eyes to the limitless

being able to see w h at lies

notice before— the beautiful

blessings o f th e universe.

ahead brings us to a full

trees an d th e soothin g

panic, and w hile darting o u r

sounds o f th e river an d the

eyes back and forth betw een

anim als in th e forest. As w e begin to stop w orry in g over

Those who believe in Kami

w h a t lies beyond the river

are allowed to enjoy

bend an d instead becom e

themselves in everything

able to look forw ard to it,

they do.

o u r lives w ill becom e so

(Gil: Kondo Fujimori, 22)

m u ch m ore enjoyable.


P R A CT ICE & RITUALS

WORSHIPPING AT A CHURCH F ALL WE do at church

I

because the gym has the

help avoid problem s dow n

is pray an d offer

equipm ent, and the trainer

the road. T h e n , like exercise,

appreciation to K am i,

has the know ledge th at

attending church will give us

th en w hy ca n ’t w e sim ply

could m uch im prove the

m ore endurance, flexibility,

do it at hom e instead? In

athlete’s perform ance, the

tolerance, in n er strength,

the K onko Faith the

m ore often the athlete visits

and confidence. A nd each

F o u n d er said: “A lthough

the gym to train and asks the

tim e w e take the tim e to do

K am i ca n n o t be seen, you are constantly w alking

Here is the place where you show me how you have

w ith in an d th ro u g h the

practiced faith . It is like bringing your best calligraphy to

m idst o f K am i. W orking in

your calligraphy teacher. Practice a t home, and come

th e fields or w alking along a

h e re ...to have your faith guided. (G/: Kondo Fujimori, 68)

path, the w hole w orld is T enchi K an e no K a m i’s

trainer for guidance, the

H irom ae [W orship H a ll]”

better prepared the athlete

do so m any o f us feel

[Gil: Konko Kyoso Gorikai, 6).

will be for tournam en ts th at

reluctant to go to church? Is

lie ahead.

it plain laziness? We can

So w hy lim it K a m i’s W orship H a ll to a building?

it, it pays off tenfold. So w hy

In this day an d age, it is

W h y do w e even need a

h ard to concentrate all o f

church? E ven th o u g h

o u r energy into one thing.

K a m i’s W orship H all is

O u r daily lives are

anyw here w e decide to pray,

filled w ith countless

w e often need a structure, a

events th a t need to be

symbol to help us stay on

addressed. T h is m akes it

track.

difficult to have th e h eart o f K am i at all tim es.

r Hi

T herefore, a church is a

en ough tim e, yet w e m ake

place for us to focus our

tim e for o u r “favorite” T V

f a i t h an ai d

program s. D o w e th in k we

find su p p o rt and

com fort from o u r M any people, cau g h t up

argue th at w e d o n ’t have

peer believers. G oing to church gives us

do n ot need to improve ourselves? Are we afraid o f w hat we will see and hear

by rituals, structures, and

energy and strength for o u r

about ourselves? O r have we

etiquette, have forgotten the

daily activities. Like regular

gotten so used to receiving

tru e role o f a church. A

check-ups w ith a doctor,

the blessings w hich allow us

ch u rch is n o t sim ply a place

regular w orship becomes

to live, th at w e have begun to

one m u st go every S unday

preventive m aintenance to

take them for granted and do

for a long service, in clu d in g an even longer serm on.

n ot feel as if we need to go to W hen in pain, you

church to say th an k you?

In certain respects, a

come to worship for a

church is m uch like a fitness

cure. When there's no

different reason for not

gym w ith a personal trainer

pain, you come to

a tten d in g church. Instead,

for an athlete. A n athlete can

worship for faith.

m aybe w e should start

train and exercise at hom e

(G/: Ichimura Mitsugoro,

th in k in g a b o u t w hy w e

just as well as in the gym. Yet

2 :28 )

should.

E ach person has a


O

able to tru st o u r trainer, and th e better the train er is, the

Advice is w hat we ask

personal trainer. T h ey take

faster w e w ill learn an d the

for when we already

in to account o u r individual

fu rth er we w ill progress.

needs an d encourage or

T h e difference betw een

challenge us d ep e n d in g on

trainers an d m inisters,

o u r personality and

however, is th a t m inisters

know the answer but wish we didn't.

w h a t o u r backgrounds are, no m atter w h at w e m ay

You should practice faith. It is like going up the rungs of

have done, it is reassuring

a ladder. W ork a t it rung by rung, then your gratitude will

to k now th a t th e q u ie t calm

increase day by day. (GIL. ichimura Mitsugoro, 6)

o f th e K onko C h u rc h and

Just as we gain a higher perspective and wider view o f the

th e p atien t m inisters always

things around us when we climb a ladder, so as we develop

w elcom e us w ith open

our faith, we gain a wider and more grateful feeling fo r the

arm s. T h e y are constantly

world in which we live. Let us all receive these benefits by

praying for o u r happiness

practicing faith.

an d w ell-being. I f w e ever need help or g u idance, or

situation. T rainers can see

pain. As

the strengths and w eaknesses w e can n o t see on

share o u r la u g h ter an d

(a j

o u r ow n, po in t th em o u t to us and w hile we train.

h

T h e y also w arn us w h en we are

d u rin g those tim es w e need

“ V M ediators, they

to escape th e p an d e m o n iu m

take o u r joys

outside, or if w e need to let

an d sorrow s as if

o u t stress, or find com fort,

they w ere th eir ow n, an d th en

give us guidance

ju st som eone to listen to us

all w e have to do is w alk in to the church.

pray to K am i w ith us. Instead o f clinging to o u r

usin g e q u ip m e n t

“la d d e r” o f faith, they teach

im properly, or w h en we

us to tru st K am i and look

need to take a break and

aro u n d at th e view w e have

rest. It is im p o rta n t to be

b roadened by clim bing it. U ltim ately, w h at w e get

D o n 't neglect your faith

o u t o f church an d the

even during good health.

M ediators d ep en d u p o n us.

In other words, a

M ediators can pray w ith us

troubled heart, even in a

an d gu id e us, b u t they

Mediation can be

healthy body, will surely

ca n n o t im prove o u r life fo r

received a t any time;

accum ulate anxiety and

us. W h e th e r w e choose to

simply ask the minister.

worry. Before this

listen to th eir g uidance,

Even in the middle o f the

happens, pray to Kami

sim ply ignore them , or p u t

night, like a doctor on

and practice faith to

into practice w h a t w e learn

call, ministers will make

clear away your troubled

is all up to us. T h ro u g h o u t o u r lives,

themselves available

heart. (G/: Yamamoto Sadajiro, 19:2)

n o m atter w ho w e are or

immediate assistance.

should you need

BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

I f the church is th e gym, th en th e m inister is the


O BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

PRAYERS RAYER IS one o f the

L ike an ideal p are n t, K am i

they never ask us for help,

m ost im p o rtan t

w ill take care o f th e c h ild ’s

n o m a tte r ho w tru ly they

P

aspects o f any

problem s as m u c h as

are in need an d suffering

religion. W h e th e r prayer is

possible a n d try to g ra n t

because o f it? O u r

m ade vocal or silent, it is

the ch ild ’s requests.

F o u n d e r said,

h ow w e co m m u n icate to

H ow ever, if o u r ch ild ren

It w ould be nice if

K am i.

never th a n k us, never

p eople could appreciate

So w h a t do w e say to

express th e ir ap p reciatio n

K a m i’s blessings w ith

K am i? O f course, there are

each tim e w e help th em , or

th e sam e intensity they

o u r requests. M ost people

even act as if it is only

have w h en m ak in g

stop here; they only call on

obvious th a t they sh o u ld

requests in desperate

K am i w h e n they are in

g et w h a t they ask for,

situations. People can

n eed, w h e th e r for fixing

w o u ld w e, as p aren ts, n o t

readily m ake requests,

tro ubles o r req u e stin g

be a little d isa p p o in te d or

b u t w h y c a n ’t they

so m ething, an d very

sad? O n th e o th e r h a n d ,

express th e ir appreci­

seldom at any o th e r tim e.

w o u ld w e also n o t be sad if

ation? T h e people w h o express th eir deep

Excerpt fro m Prayer Book,

KAMI PRAYER

appreciation by giving th an k s ten tim es for

B y this wondrous revelation [the D ivine Reminder]

each request, for

we are given knowledge o f the Way.

exam ple, are the people

Through all the hardships o f this world,

w h o sincerely practice

through pain o f body and soul,

faith. T h e m ore

the Way ofToritsugi [M ediation] teaches us

sincerely they practice,

to turn our hearts to K am i.

the m ore divine

W ithout regard fo r day or night,

blessings they will

whether w e are near or far,

receive.(G///: Jinkyu

the Way ofToritsugi teaches us

Kyogoroku, 92:1 -2)

to pray w ith total trust.

R em in d in g us to be

Tor arrogance in living unaware

th a n k fu l for w h a t w e

o f D ivine Favor, w e beg forgiveness and pledge to m end our ways.

receive, th e m inisters also teach us th a t th e im p o rta n t

L et us live every day as an act o f faith,

p art o f p raying is the

rejoicing in the vastness o f D ivine Favor. L e t us care fo r those in pain

invisible state o f o u r hearts,

and invite them to the Way.

p eople see.

n o t the appearance th at

L e t us guide those w ho are lost

T h e re is no p articu lar

and awaken them to a life o f purpose.

w ay to w orship K am i.

K a m i is fu lfille d in ujiko [K a m i’s children];

Just be sincere, consci­

ujiko are fu lfille d in K am i.

entious, honest, an d

M ay this Way o f m u tu a l fu lfillm e n t be m anifested in this world.

G ive th an k s for being

M ay K a m i’s wish fo r true peace,

able to live from day to

and the w ell-being o f all ujiko be fulfilled.

day an d apologize for

So we hum bly pray, so we earnestly pray.

th e irreverence,

sincerely single-hearted.


firem en leave w ithout her.

w om an who lived in a

Unrelenting rain raised the

arrogance th a t you

small house and was very

w ater level farther, and the

com m it unknow ingly.

devoted to Kami. O ne

elderly wom an climbed up

T h e n w ith sincerity, tell

day, with heavy rains, the

onto her roof. W hen a

any personal requests

river close by began to

helicopter cam e by and

th a t you m ay have to

flood. H er neighbors

tried to rescue her, she answered the same as

K am i. (G//: Fukushima

rushed by and told her to

Gihe'e, 4:1 -2)

evacuate with them , but

before. The elderly woman

O u r F o u n d er also

she answered, "I am all

ended up drowning in the

ta u g h t us th a t faith an d

right. Kami will save me,

flood. Turning to Kami, she

prayers should n o t be

so I will stay." As the

asked, "Kam i, I prayed with

so m ething to b u rd en us or

rains continued, the

a single-heart to you and

take u p concentrated

w ater flooded into the

believed completely th at

am o u n ts o f o u r tim e. T h is

w om an's first floor, and

you would save me. W hy did

way, w e can develop our

she fled to the second

you not?" To this, Kami

faith so th a t we are co n tin u ­

floor.

answered, "I cam e to save

ously praying to K am i

W hen firem en cam e

you three times in the form

th ro u g h o u t th e day. In

with a rowboat to her

o f your neighbors, the

d o in g so, w e w ill begin to

house, and ordered her to

firem en, and the rescue

realize th e blessings we

evacuate, she answered,

crew on the helicopter, but

have received th ro u g h o u t

"I am all right. Kami will

each tim e you refused my

th a t day, reflect u p o n ou r

save me, so I will stay,"

help. You did not w ant to be

th o u ghts an d actions, and

and she m ade the

saved. "

be able to m ake ou r requests unselfishly for

as if you prayed for a safe

p o in t, you b lam ed K am i.

others, as w ell as for

trip for you an d y o u r fam ily

H ow ever, by n o t d o in g your

ourselves.

b u t did not p u t on your

p a rt to keep y o u rself safe, it

seatbelts, drove like a

m ad e y o u r p ray er a lie. I f

m isu n d ersta n d in g ab o u t

m an iac on the freew ay at

you h a d sincerely in your

prayer. People are often

th e speed o f a fighter plane,

h e a rt w ish ed for a safe trip,

discouraged from praying,

an d th e n w ere surprised

yo u r actions w o u ld have

because those tim es w h en

w h en you an d your loved

been different. T h is is w h at

they did pray, they felt as if

ones end ed u p in a

m o st o f us fail to realize

th e ir prayers w ere not

hospital, w ith your car

an d en d u p b la m in g K am i

answ ered. T h e y trusted

com pletely w recked. A t th a t

for o u r ignorance.

T h e re is one significant

K am i to take care o f ev erything so long as they prayed. T h is is w h e n it

W hen you don't receive any divine blessings, even while

com es back to the

practicing faith , don 't wonder why and be regretful. For

In te rd e p e n d e n t

exam ple, if you fertilize your barley, come January you

relatio n sh ip betw een K am i

may not notice any difference with [from ] the crops th at

an d us. N o m a tte r how

w eren 't fertilized. But in spring, the crops you had

h ard w e pray to K am i, if w e

fertilized will turn out well. It is the same for when you

do n o t do o u r part, K am i

practice faith . Do it with an upright heart, w ithout

ca n n o t help us. It w ould be

neglect. (G//: Komoto Torataro, 3)

BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

There once was an elderly

carelessness, and

O

FAITH STORY: BLIND FAITH


DAILY FAITH PRACTICE e fo rm in g a h e a r t

over, an d th ey learn to react

can only be d o n e by

unconsciously. For athletes,

teachings, but no one

constantly, an d reflecting

R

good diet, n o t sm o k in g or

follows w hat they are

u p o n o n e’s ow n actions and

c o n s u m in g d ru g s, an d

told. They return home

not the actions o f others.

practicin g th e ir m ovem ents

and alter the teachings

H ere is w here the focus o f

co u n tless tim es each day.

for themselves. And so

the K onko Faith lies.

T h e se practices co uld be

People go to the church to worship and receive

there are no divine

practicing faith

A thletes can tra in at a

th is w o u ld m e a n ea tin g a

free throw s, d rib b lin g

blessings. For their

gym , b u t d u e to the

drills, th ro w in g pitches,

resultant failures, they

necessity o f w o rk in g an d

c a tch in g passes, or o th e r

blam e Kami. Reforming

o th e r activities, they m ay

drills. F o r som eone

your heart is most

n o t be able to go every day.

p racticin g faith, this is

im portant. (Gl: Ichimura

It is m ost im p o rta n t to

sim ilar to h av in g a positive

Mitsugoro, vol.3, 19:1-3)

practice w h e n they can, as

attitu d e , b ein g p atien t,

close to w h a t the train er

to le ran t, k in d , a n d h av in g a

in stru c ted , so th a t in th e ir

h e a rt w a n tin g to give,

daily activities, th e ir body

especially in th e m ost

an d m uscle m em o ry take

try in g tim es.

FAITH STORY: A BROKEN T E A C U P The other day, I

porcelain, but also

and cherish the life of

carelessly dropped a

everything which has

everything. W e find

teacup from my hand and

shape requires many

around us plenty of goods,

broke it. Since I loved the

blessings from the

and it is not unusual th at

teacup very much, I

universe to fulfill its own

even usable goods are

regretted the loss a t first

role and work. W here

thrown into a trashcan.

but soon said to my

there is work, there is

M any people today say

teacup, "I am sorry for

life. W e must use

th at if they lose or break

my carelessness. Thank

everything carefully so

things, they will just buy

you for the work you have

th a t we do not waste its

new ones again.

done every day for me

life. If we have broken it

Unfortunately, this is an

until today." I did this

by mistake, we must

accepted trend in our

because of w hat a Konko

apologize to its life and

affluent society. However,

minister told me when I

thank it for the work it

I know I must not forget

broke a dish a t church

performed for us.

th at each item I use is

This experience made

unique and possesses an

when I was young, Porcelain is made

me reflect on my consider­

indispensable life. I w ant

from the blessings of

ation and treatm en t of

to always keep this in

the universe, such as

various things around me.

mind when I use those

earth, w ater, heat, air,

A t the same tim e, I was

items, which help and

and so forth. N ot only

taught th at we have to value

enrich my daily life.


difficult because it is the No m atter how well-

easiest to forget, neglect, p u t

Learning is like pushing

educated or how smart

off, or skip “ju st for today.”

a cart up a hill, whereby

you are, merely having

T ry d o in g just 10 sit-ups

if you g et careless, the

knowledge about the

before bed each n ig h t for a

cart will roll back down.

faith of Kami is not

year. “O nce in a w h ile” is

Those practicing faith

enough. You cannot

so m eth in g anyone can do.

m ust always bear this in

receive Kam i's virtue

H ow ever, consistency is

mind. Faith is also

unless the teachings of

w h at creates a solid faith.

sim ilar to pushing a

the faith are deeply

At tim es, w h en “every

ca rt up a hill. G et

absorbed into your heart

d ay ” becom es m onoto n o u s,

and your faith is

o r w h en w e feel trapp ed or

backwards. (G/:

expressed in your life.

frustrated, an d w e just w ish

Yamamoto Sadajiro, 53:1)

{Gill: Jinkyu Kyogoroku, 151)

careless, and it will roll

to drop everything an d begin anew, o u r F o u n d er ta u g h t us this,

S tu d y in g h ard for one w eek

F or faith, daily renew al

w ill n o t p roduce a good

ourselves every day to

is m ost im portant. Live

doctor. T h e skills needed

appreciate an d take care o f

each day w ith the sam e

resu lt only from years o f

w h at w e do have, an d to

happy h eart th a t you

study a n d h an d s-o n

have a positive attitude.

have on N ew Year’s Day.

experience.

A nyone can be kind or be

W h e n the sun sets,

positive, b u t every day?

th in k th a t it is the last

by p ray in g daily an d at

T h is daily practice is m ost

day o f th e year. W h en

every m o m e n t, w e begin to

the sun rises, th in k th a t

co m m u n ic ate co n stan tly

it is N ew Year’s Day. I f

w ith K am i. T h is keeps us

We m u st rem ind

T h ro u g h train in g , an d

Practicing faith is not

you are happy every day,

from slip p in g in to o u r

especially difficult. W hen

there w ill be no discord

lazin ess an d selfishness,

you get up in the

in the family. {Gill: Konko

an d it g rad u a lly in c o rp o ­

morning, give thanks

Kyoso Gorikai, 35)

rates th e d o ctrin e in to o u r

I f w e can start over an d

lives. We begin to live o u r

and pray fo r a good day, as if you are talking to

correct o u r m istakes to

lives w ith th e b ro ad e r view

your parents. W hen you

becom e better people at the

o f K am i, th u s creatin g an

go out, inform Kami th at

b eg in n in g o f each year, w hy

in n e r peace an d hap p in ess.

you are leaving. And

can w e not do this at the

T h is in n e r peace allow s us

when you return home,

beg in n in g o f each day?

to o p en u p an d sh in e u p o n

give thanks for returning

We ca n n o t becom e

o th e r p eople, thereby

home safely. Also,

strong in faith overnight.

sp rea d in g th e h ap p in ess.

before going to sleep,

Just like any o th e r learn in g

T h is is ho w faith is

give thanks for th a t day.

process, it takes tim e,

expressed in o n e ’s life.

This is practicing faith.

co m m itm en t, patience,

{Gil: Hirano, Goroshiro, 2:2)

effort, an d diligence.

Peace begins with people a t peace with themselves.


O BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

MONTHLY SERVICES e r v i c e s p l a y a vital

developm ent o f faith w ith in

h o p e in th eir lives.

role for religions th a t

th e believers. By voicing

M inisters also take the

focus on an

th e ir experiences and

teachings o f th e F o u n d er

S

in d ividual’s relationship

listening to others, believers

an d translate th em from

w ith the D ivine. In

can see how others are

w ords on a page into a tool

K onkokyo, services are held

benefiting by faith.

th a t can be used in the

to rejoice an d w orship

T h ro u g h this, they can

believers’ lives. Very m uch

K am i w ith in o n e’s heart. It

reflect u p o n them selves,

like M ediation, serm ons are

is an occasion w here K am i

th e ir ow n faith, their

not delivered, b u t are born

and people m eet. Services

actions, an d recent

as the w ords form w ithin

are also held to dedicate

experiences.

the m in iste r’s heart.

o n e’s h eart to K am i.

As a su p p o rt system an d

T h e highlight of the

step p in g stone, services pull

B ecom ing the faith and

M onthly Service is the

d octrine in physical form,

serm on. M ost m inisters tell

to g eth er th e hearts o f the

these services are created for

personal, spiritual-g ro w th

believers. W ith prayers an d

believers to “see,” so th a t

experiences or various

actions in u n iso n , believers

they can confirm or reshape

revelations as th eir serm ons.

w ill be able to realize

th eir faith accordingly.

B eing able to hear, step by

K a m i’s w ish of relieving all

step, how m inisters w ere

living things from suffering.

Services provide a place an d tim e for believers to

able to overcom e adversity

g ath er an d pray together.

an d grow spiritually, these

“M onthly Services.”

T h is facilitates vital

serm ons give believers

H ow ever, th e m e an in g o f

discussions, tim e for

gu idance in th eir ow n faith.

the service applies to all o f

sharing, and aids in the

It gives th e m strength an d

K onkokyo’s services.

T h is section is titled

MEMORIAL SERVICES

K

o nkokyo h o ld s

people p ray in g for th e m are

n o t have existed w ith o u t. It

M em o rial Services

also em braced in th e

is a tim e to sh o w o u r

to pray for the

prayers. We believe

ap p reciatio n for th eir

M em orial Service days are

efforts a n d su p p o rt by

h ap p in ess o f all those w ho have passed away. T h e

m u ch like birthdays for

p ray in g for th e ir sp iritu al

nam es o f believers’

spirits. T h is is because it

w ell-being. We h o ld S p rin g

ancestors are read by the

celebrates th e ir retu rn

an d A u tu m n M em o rial

officiating m inister, in

to K am i.

Services, as w ell as

o rd er to be recognized.

[34 ]

T h e M em orial Services

M o n th ly M em o rial

T h o se people w h o died in

are held to rem in d us o f th e

Services. We believe th a t it

w ars, those w h o suffered

is im p o rta n t to take good

th ro u g h th e ir deaths, and

people w h o w orked h a rd to su stain an d n u rtu re o u r

th o se w h o n o longer have

lives, the people w e could

su p p o rt us.

care o f th e roots th a t


T

3

T h e living kam i th a t

h e r e a r e two

celebrates an d acknow ledges

a n n u a l G ra n d

the following:

each o f us has inside o f

C erem onies. O n e is

1

O u r F o u n d e r’s retu rn to

ourselves.

K am i, w hich enables

B o th o f th e G ra n d

in spring, and the o th e r is in

au tu m n . L ike th e M onthly

him to guide us. O u r

C e re m o n ie s are very

Services, the Tenchi Kane

F o u n d er said, “H a v in g a

festive a n d co lo rfu l. T h e

N o K a m i G ra n d C erem ony

physical body m akes it

ritu a ls in th e ce rem o n y are

is celebrated to show o u r

difficult for m e to see

m a in ly d eriv ed from

appreciation to K am i for

people’s suffering in the

S h in to ritu a ls a n d

the blessings w e receive. In

w orld. W h e n m y body is

c e re m o n ia l dress. M an y

th e spring, w h en w e can see

gone, I can go to w here I

c h u rc h e s still h av e th e

life b urstin g forth from the

am requested an d save

sacred m u sic a n d the

d o rm an t w inter, it is an

people” (G//: Karahi

d a n c e p erfo rm ed as an

ideal tim e to express ou r

Tsunezo, 4:2). H is

ex p ressio n o f o u r g ra titu d e

g ratitu d e for the blessings

dedication to h elp in g

to K am i. E ac h m o v e m en t

th a t sustain o u r lives, an d to

others extends beyond

o f th e o fficiatin g m in isters

acknow ledge th e beauty o f

his physical life, an d for

an d each ite m p laced on

nature.

this, w e w ish to express

th e a lta r are sym b o lic in

o u r deepest gratitu d e.

m e a n in g . T h e s e sym bolic

T h e co n tin u o u s work ° f

ritu a ls b eco m e g u id e s for

w hich is held on the passing

the M ediation o f the

o u r h ea rts to follow in o u r

date o f o u r F ounder,

L iving K am i.

daily lives.

T h e Ikigam i K o n \o D aijin G ra n d Cerem ony,

2

i Plate 1. An Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremony taking place in the Grand Ceremony Hall at Headquarters, Konko, Japan. Headquarters holds four Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremonies in the span of ten days to accommodate the number and convenience of the believers coming to worship.

Plate 2. ► As part of the Grand Ceremony, the Kibimai (Kibi Sacred Dance) is performed as an expression of our appreciation to Kami. It is accompanied by Kibigaku (Kibi Music). Kibi is the name of a province in Japan famous for this dance. Each careful movement of the dancers matches the meanings sung by the Kibigaku group.

BELIEFS & P R A C T IC E S

GRAND CEREMONIES


MEMBERSHIP A N D BRIEF CHURCH ETIQUETTE Altar, dedicated to all spirits

to K am i. T h ey also serve as

have a standard

(Plate 3, left side): T h ese

a rem in d er to us o f how our

ritual for a person

altars provide believers w ith

lives are sustained each day

to become a “m em ber.”

a place to focus their

by these blessings.

Should one decide he or she

prayers an d pay th eir

B: Personal Offerings.

likes the K onko Faith and

respects to K am i an d o u r

O fferings are n o t required at

w ould like to be a believer,

Founder, an d to all spirits.

any tim e, n o r are they

K

o n k o k y o d o e s not

then they are. A lthough

Mediation Seat. W ith

“expected” from anyone.

churches do have a registry

a sm all desk an d ch air for

H ow ever, if you w ish to give

for believers, little attention is

the m inister on one side,

an offering, you m ay offer

given to the actual “status” o f

an d the person on th e o th er

w hatever you w ish, w h eth er

each person. T h ere are m any

side, th e M ediation Seat is

it be m onetary, m aterial, or

people w ho drop in to visit a

located on the right side o f

hom em ade. Since offerings

church only once a year, and

the altars (Plate 4). T h is is

are o u r personal show o f

some only for the activities a

w here anyone can receive

gratitude to K am i, we

church hosts. Some o f these

M ediation (for m ore detail,

believe th a t offerings m ust

people consider themselves

please refer to “M e d iatio n ”

be m ade w ith sincerity, or

believers, w hile others

or th e second p art o f

they are n o t offerings at all.

consider themselves just

“W orshiping A t A C h u rc h ”

“O ffering m ade from

visitors. T hese people are

on pages 16 an d 29 respec­

people’s sincerity are

always welcom ed and never

tively). W h e th e r ju st to

accepted by K am i w ith

pressured to attend more

introduce yourself, say

pleasure, b u t K am i is not

often th an they desire.

hello, ask questions, or

pleased by b u rd en in g people

receive guidance, you can

w ith com pulsory donations

go u p an d talk to th e

an d contributions” (GUI:

things you m ay see and

m inister at anytim e; there

Konko Kyoso Gorikai, 15).

have questions about:

are no restrictions or

A gesture of respect, appreciation, and humbleness. M any

requirem ents. S hou ld you

I f you decide to visit a ch urch, here are a few

W h eth er daily, monthly, or G ran d Ceremony, all o f

find the M ediation Seat

our services are open to

in tim id a tin g or u n c o m ­

everyone. T h ere is no dress

believers bow tow ard the

fortable, yet you still w ish to

code, an d the opinions o f

altars before and after

talk to th e m inister, an o th er

m em bers o f each church

p raying as an outw ard show

arran g em en t can be m ade.

vary greatly on w h at they

o f respect to K am i.

Offerings.

consider casual. D ropping in

Solemn Acknowledgement.

A: Upon the Altars (Plate

o n a service, even if it has

5). T h e offerings placed

already begun, is not

C om ing before and after

u p o n the A ltars are chosen

considered rude. Please feel

prayers, the clapping o f

so th a t there is som ething

free to w alk in w henever you

hands four tim es signifies the

represented from the fields,

arrive. We invite you to com e

beginning and ending o f the

the m ountains, the rivers,

an d visit us at any tim e.

prayers, thus focusing ou r

and the seas. T h ese offerings

(For location of churches,

m inds solely upon praying.

represent the variety o f food

Altars. K am i A ltar

w ith w hich w e are blessed.

service dates, or any other questions, please refer to Appendix C.)

(Plate 3, right side) & S pirit

T h ey represent o u r gratitude


© 00

m

.

m n

to

*

■D 70 > O H n

m to

Plate 3. Kami Altar and Spirit Altar. Worship can be done anywhere, facing anything in Kami's beautiful universe at anytime. However, to give us a specific place to focus our prayers, the simple yet elegant altars are provided in each church. Many believers also have small altars in their houses, so that they have a place of focus for their daily prayers and for those times they cannot make it to church. i Plate 4. Mediation Seat. Each church has slight variations of the Mediation Seat. Our Founder sat on the floor in traditional Japanese style with a low table to write on. However, today many churches use desks with chairs or benches. i Plate 5. Offerings of fruits, vegetables, dry foods, fish, grains, canned goods, and staple foods prepared for a service. There are always nonperishable offerings upon the Altars. Fresh foods are prepared before every service. Offerings made by members are often placed upon the altar during services as well.


FAITH STORY: AN O F F E R IN G A believer offered a

"I am on my way to

believer roam ed around

watermelon from his first

Konko Daijin to give thanks

the entrance for a while,

harvest to the altar in his

and o ffer this w aterm elon

hesitating since he no

house, and then he

to K am i." T h e little boy

longer had anything to

departed for a Pilgrimage

who was hungry cried out,

offer to Kami. Konko

to Konko Daijin's Worship

"I wish I could be Kami,

Daijin then cam e out, and

Hall, carrying the

too!" and began to sob.

to the surprise and

watermelon with him.

Feeling sorry for the boy,

com fort of the believer,

Stopping to rest on the

but not sure w hat to do,

Konko Daijin said,

way, he met a young

the believer ended up

"Please come in. You

couple with a little boy who

giving the w aterm elon to

have no need to worry.

were also on a pilgrimage.

him, then continued on

Kami already received

his way.

your offering last night."

W hen asked, "W here are you going?" the believer answered.

Arriving a t the door of the Worship Hall, the

Your lifetime is a training period of faith. {Gill: Konko Kyoso Gorikai, 37)



A sketch of the sacred grounds in Otani village where the Founder resided (1887). It is now the location of the Konkokyo Headquarters. The sketch was made into a hanging scroll.


INTRODUCTION

T

HE FOUNDER o f a religion shapes

even changes w ith tim e. T h u s th e fo u n d ers’

the religion, just as a fo undation

answ ers do n ot fit everyone’s situation, an d

an d a fram ew ork shape a house.

som e o f th e m are n o longer applicable for

Religions are created by the structures

th e follow ers tak in g th e exam o f life today.

people build from a fo u n d e r’s beliefs,

In th e K onko F aith , o u r F o u n d er,

attitu de, actions, and w ords. T herefore, in

K onko D aijin , left us a few o f his

order to u n d ersta n d a religion or a faith

answ ers— b u t o nly as exam ples. H e did

m ore com pletely, it is necessary to know

n o t tell his answ ers to us, his follow ers,

an d u n d erstan d th e life o f its founder. In th e K onko F aith, th e ap p ro a ch to

b u t ta u g h t us h o w he w en t about fin d in g them . U sin g o u r F o u n d e r’s life as a g u id e,

u n d e rsta n d in g faith is n o t so focused on

w e can see h o w he a p p ro a ch ed each

divine c o m m a n d m e n ts o r rigid doctrines,

q u e stio n an d his m e th o d s o f se arch in g for

b u t ra th e r th ro u g h the life o f the individ u a l

an answ er. In th is way, an y o n e, even as th e

believer. T h erefo re, o u r know ledge an d

exam o f life ch an g es, can c o n tin u e to use

u n d e rsta n d in g o f th e F o u n d e r’s life

his exam ples o f h o w to study, find

becom es essential. T h is m ay also be tru e

m u ltip le answ ers for each q u e stio n , an d

in o th e r religions, how ever, w e feel th a t

take th e exam w ith co n fid en ce a n d peace

th ere is a fu n d a m e n ta l difference w ith

o f m in d . S h o u ld w e choose to follow the

o u r F ounder.

w ays o f o u r F o u n d er, w e m u st rem e m b er

Life is like an exam th a t everyone m u st

th a t, as w ith an y le a rn in g process, w e m u st

take. T h e founders o f religions are those

study carefully a n d th o roughly. T h e

w h o have found th e answ ers to life and

w isd o m an d aw areness w e g ain by d o in g

“aced” th e exam. W anting to help those

so w ill allow us to live a fu lfillin g life.

struggling w ith the exam , m ost founders

E ven if w e ju st decide to pick u p a few

have passed on th e ir answ ers. H ow ever,

p o in te rs an d go o u r ow n way, w e can

w ith th e desire to preserve th e ir fo u n d ers’

alw ays be assu red th a t w e m ay re tu rn to

invaluable answ ers, m any follow ers have

th e F o u n d e r’s g u id e at an y tim e.

cem ented every w ord o f th eir fo u n d er into

In o rd er to u n d ersta n d a religion, one

the doctrine o f th e ir religion to keep it from

m u st first u n d e rsta n d its founder. Likewise,

changing. U sing this as a reference w hen

in ord er to u n d ersta n d the life o f K onko

tak in g life’s exam , all o f the followers o f a

D aijin , w e m u st first have an idea o f th e era

religion m ake th eir answ ers in exactly the

in w h ich he lived, because tim e an d society

sam e way. U nfortunately, the exam o f life

shaped o u r F o u n d er ju st as surely as he

gives each person different questions, and

shaped the K onko Faith.


H IS T O R IC A L B A C K G R O U N D

JAPAN IN THE FOUNDER'S ERA HE LIFE o f K onko D aij in

new ideas an d innovations. T h ese w ere

(1814-1883) began as th e doors o f

seen as dang ero u s threats th a t could

the E do Period started to close and

u n d e rm in e th e stability o f th e social order.

the M eiji E ra began. In this new era, Japan

N ew religions w ere in clu d ed in this

saw h e r doors opened by foreigners en terin g

suppression, as w ere foreign ideologies.

from th e West. Since each era had its

T h u s, all religious orders w ere req u ired to

p articu lar characteristics th a t affected the

be eith er S h in to or B uddhist.

people o f th a t tim e, it w ould be helpful to

“S h in to ” w as a n am e attached to the

know som e o f the m ajor characteristics o f

m ain stream folkloric beliefs o f Japan, only

th e tw o eras in w hich th e F o u n d er lived.

to d istin g u ish it from B u d d h ism . W ith o u t

W h e n T okugaw a Ieyasu succeeded in u n itin g his supporters and defeating his

battles or daily struggle for physical survival, th e larger p art o f th e p o p u latio n

rivals in the Battle o fS e k ig ah a ra (1600), he

had tim e to p o n d er over th e ir fate in the

becam e the S hogun (ch ief m ilitary

grow ing econom ic society. W h ere

co m m ander), th u s b eg in n in g th e era

B u d d h ism concen trated m ore tow ard the

k now n as th e T okugaw a Period

spiritual life, S hintoism w as m anifested in

(1600—1868). U n d e r the rule o f the

m an y aspects o f daily living, such as birth,

T okugaw a governm ent, strict m easures

sickness, harvest, co n stru ctio n , m arriage,

w ere taken to ensure p erm a n en t order in

an d death. Shrines, h o u sin g the deities,

the nation. T h ese m easures isolated Japan

w ere erected by every village in o rd er to

from th e rest o f th e w orld. A fter centuries o f

give people a place to h o n o r them . Because

co nstant fighting, this new peace and lack

there w as a sh rin e for each deity, an d there

o f foreign influence enabled Japan to

was a g u ard ia n deity for each village, an d

develop its culture in a u n iq u e way.

because there w ere deities for each sickness,

O ne o f the m easures taken to ensure sociopolitical stability was the establishm ent o f a rigid caste system, in w hich the society

cure, direction, elem ent, an d object, there w ere th o u san d s o f shrines across Japan. It w as co m m o n practice to pray at every

was divided into five m ajor classes: the

shrine an d tem ple possible. T h is was

sam urai, the peasants/farm ers, the artisans,

because th e people believed th a t th e m ore

the m erchants, and lastly, the untouchables.

kam is an d b u d d h as they h ad w o rk in g for

T h ese classes (with the exception o f the

them , th e b etter th eir chances w ere o f

artisan and m erchant classes) had existed

having th e ir prayers answ ered. It was

before in a soft structure. However, the

th o u g h t foolish to stick to only one deity,

Tokugaw a governm ent clearly defined the

an d even the people w h o converted to

class boundaries and m ade restrictions to

C hristian ity (before th e g overnm ent

ensure that people w ould not cross these

expelled th e religion) co n tin u ed to visit

lines. O f all the classes, none b u t the sam urai

shrines and tem ples. T h e y even had altars

held any pow er o r political position. T h e

in th eir hom es next to th eir crosses. To

farmers ranked second in this caste system.

them it w as only practical. “P olytheism ” in

T h is was only because farmers produced rice,

this era crossed th e lines o f m an y religions.

the official standard o f w ealth, and w ere the only regular taxpayers o f the society. In add itio n to establishing a caste

Farm ers w ere generally m ore religious th an th e oth er classes d ue to their reliance on the su n an d rain for th eir livelihood. O n

system , th e T okugaw a g overnm ent further

their sm all plots o f land, w hich were passed

attem p ted to solidify its rule by suppressing

from father to son, traditional m ethods o f


intensive m an u al labor w ere used to produce a high yield. However,

W ith the help o f foreigners, the rebelling g ro u p succeeded in

m u ch o f their crop was taken

overthrow ing th e g o vernm ent,

away in the form o f taxes,

an d th u s beg an th e M eiji E ra.

w hich often accounted for sixty percent to eighty percent o f their harvest. In m any cases, this forced m ost farm ers to live on a m ere subsistence level. In addition, arable

T h e p rim ary goals o f the new M eiji g o v ern m en t w ere to m ake th e n atio n m ilitarily strong an d econom ically prosperous in o rd er to deal w ith foreign n atio n s on eq u al

land was cultivated to its lim it, creating a

term s. M ajo r changes in th e social an d

situation w hereby farm ers had little recourse

econom ic systems w ere instigated to

b u t to practice the system o f prim ogeniture.

transform Japan from an agrarian society to

P rim o g en itu re dictated th a t the eldest son becom e the sole heir. All o th e r sons o f a

an ind u strialized society. O n e o f th e m ore concrete m easures

farm er w ere th en forced to becom e te n an t

adopted by th e M eiji leaders w as to abolish

farm ers or seek other m eans o f livelihood.

the feudal system, w hich m ean t an en d to

Occasionally, fam ilies w ith o u t m ale heirs

th e caste system. T h is p u sh tow ard w estern ­

adopted these “o th e r sons” in order to

izatio n and in d u strializatio n created new

preserve the fam ily nam e an d property.

challenges for the society, such as h aving to

By th e m id-eig h teen th century, agricul­

deal w ith occu p atio n al choices, g en era­

tu ral production had reached its potential

tional conflicts, an d properly ed u catin g the

lim it. C onfronted w ith harsh taxation,

general public.

flu ctuating prices o f rice, an d occasional

W ith respect to religion, th e new

n atu ral calam ities, farm ers found

g o vern m en t d isenfranchised B u d d h ism ,

them selves in a very difficult situation.

an d strongly su p p o rted S h in to ism as the

U n d e r these circum stances, som e farm ers

natio n al religion. In 1872, all religions cam e

resorted to ab an d o n in g th e ir farm s and

u n d e r the direct jurisdiction o f the

m oving to nearby tow ns. O th e r farm ers

governm ent. At this tim e th e g o v ern m en t

w h o rem ained on th e ir land resorted to

revoked all certification o f m inisters an d

such practices as infanticide an d abortion

priests an d su b seq u en tly re-certified only

for econom ic survival. D u rin g these hard

those w h o com plied w ith th e req u irem en ts

tim es, superstitions th a t w ere already

set by th e M eiji governm ent.

a b u n d a n t m u ltiplied and spread w ith a religious fervor. D issention am o n g the peasants arose

F or K onkokyo, because T enchi K ane N o K am i was n ot am o n g th e deities recognized by th e new go v ern m en t, the

from m any factors, an d clim axed w ith a

F ounder, K onko D aijin, could n o t be re­

fam ine and the arrival o f C o m m odore

certified as a m inister. T h e loss o f official

P erry’s B lack Ships in 1858. As th e nearly

certification seriously interfered w ith the

tw o h u n d red an d fifty years o f peace

F o u n d e r’s religious activities. H ow ever,

faltered, the g o vernm ent tightened its grip

despite a variety o f hardships, K onko D aijin

on regulations, sq u eezin g the people for the

did n o t com prom ise his Faith to

finances they required to deal w ith foreign

accom m o d ate g o v ern m en t policy. It w ould

threats. T h is only com p o u n d ed their

n o t be u n til Ju n e 16, 1900, seventeen years

problem s. T h e n , in 1868, a rebellion was

after his d eath , th a t K onkokyo w ould

staged against the Tokugaw a governm ent.

receive official recognition.

* Note: Names in this section are written with the surname first followed by the given name without a comma.


FROM FARMER TO M ED IA TO R

THE FOUNDER'S CHILDHOOD

T

he

F o u n d e r o f th e K onko Faith

a n d finalized arran g em en ts in N o v em b er

w as born on S eptem ber 29, 1814, in

1825. G en sh ich i w as w elcom ed in to the

a sm all village called U ram i

overjoyed K aw ate family, an d he w as

(present-day K onko T ow n, O kayam a

renam ed K aw ate B u n jiro (B unji for short).

Prefecture, Japan). G iven the nam e

A lth o u g h he w as now officially adopted,

G enshichi, he was the second son o f

B unji co n tin u ed to have a w arm

K an d o ri Juhei an d Shim o. G enshichi was

relatio n sh ip w ith his n atu ra l parents.

n o t a w eak child, b u t he suffered m any

T h e K aw ates w ere good parents an d

illnesses d u rin g his childhood. H ow ever, he

paid close atten tio n to B u n ji’s u p b ringing.

m anaged to regain his health each tim e due

W h en B unji asked to be allow ed to visit

to the care an d devotion o f his parents.

shrines an d tem ples on holidays, the

G en sh ich i’s parents w ere farm ers by

K aw ates agreed. T h e y w ere even able to

trade and had an average family size o f five

provide h im w ith tw o years o f education.

sons an d three daughters. G en sh ich i’s

T h is was very u n u su a l for a farm er’s child,

father, Juhei, was hard-w orking, honest, and

especially in a tim e w h en Japan did n o t

m ost o f all, very religious. H e w ould visit

have a system o f com p u lso ry ed u cation. H is

various shrines and tem ples, often carrying

ed u catio n w as m ad e possible because

G enshichi on his back, to pray for his son’s

B u n ji’s father, alth o u g h a farm er, h ad w on

health. T h is early religious influence m ade

the tru st an d confidence o f th e village

a lasting im pression u p o n G enshichi. For

h ea d m a n , O n o M itsuem on.

exam ple, he often m ade m odel shrines and

M itsuem on was an intellectual w ho had

tem ples and playfully im itated his father by

studied at the prestigious A cadem ic Institute

praying to them . H is m other, Shim o, was an

o f the T okugaw a G overnm ent. H e w as an

affectionate and wise m o th er w ho insisted

authority in m athem atics, astronomy, survey,

on raising all eight o f her children by

and yin-yang studies, am ong m any other

ad am andy refusing to com m it infanticide,

subjects as well. A lthough his term was only

despite the hard econom ic conditions she

for two years, B unji n ot only learned enough

encountered. As G enshichi was the second

to read an d write, b u t gained considerable

son and thus n o t expected to take over the

know ledge in th e areas o f historical facts and

fam ily lineage or farm , relatives arranged for him to be adopted in the fall o f 1825, w hen he was eleven. K aw ate K um ejiro an d Iw a w ere a childless couple w ho

proverbs. T h is valuable education enabled him to w rite his m em oirs and the teachings o f his faith later on in his life. M itsuem on also instructed B unji in o th er fields, such as

farm ed in the

science an d history.

n eighboring village

After M itsu em o n ’s death, B unji visited

o f O tani. K um ejiro was already fifty-four years old, an d Iw a was thirty-four. D eciding to ad o p t at the sam e tim e

his form er teach er’s grave w henever he w ent to visit shrines and tem ples. T h is act

G en sh ich i’s relatives began searching for a family, they m et,

Genshichi praying to his stick shrine


dem onstrates the appreciation, influence,

have any money, the others insisted th a t he

and deep relationship that had developed

join th em an d lent him money. H e ended

betw een B unji and M itsuem on.

u p losing all o f the m oney h e borrow ed, an d

A lthough B unji w as n o t in good health

h ad to ask his parents to repay the loss.

d u rin g his early years, he was an assiduous

B unji was severely scolded by his parents

worker. W hile oth er village boys w ould

a n d deeply regretted his actions. H e never

carry six bundles o f pine branches for a tile-

h ad an y th in g to do w ith g am b lin g again.

m aker as a way to earn incom e, B unji w ould

In 1831, B u n ji’s m other, th o u g h t to be

h au l eight bundles. H e w ould use this extra

u n ab le to have ch ildren, gave b irth to a son

m oney to pay for his expenses to visit

they n am ed T su ru taro . H ow ever, T su ru taro

shrines and tem ples. H ow ever, B unji was

died o f an illness at th e age o f five. To

n o t faultless as a youth. O nce, w h en he was

c o m p o u n d this tragedy, B u n ji’s father

tw elve-years-old, a group o f village boys

K um ejiro, w h o w as n o w th e age o f sixty-six,

asked him to join them in a g am bling gam e.

contracted a disease an d a few w eeks later

W h en he declined, saying th a t he did not

follow ed his son in death.

Original Oboe-cho (Memoirs) written by the Founder (1874-1883)

©


FARM LIFE AND FAMILY

W

ITH TH E DEATH o f his father,

h e w as able to co n stru c t a n ew h ouse. T h is

B unji becam e the head o f the

w as a considerable ach iev em en t, ran k in g

household. H is m other,

him in th e top ten lan d h o ld ers in a village

concerned ab o u t th e future o f the fam ily

ol 130 h o u seh o ld s. H ow ever, as h u m b le

an d B unji, encouraged him to take a bride.

an d sincere as B unji w as, he did n o t escape

As was the custom ary practice o f this tim e,

sufferings. T h e celeb ratio n an d joy o f th e

B u n ji’s m arriage was arranged for him , and

b irth o f B u n ji an d T ose’s first son,

at the age o f tw enty-three, B unji m arried

K am etaro , w as sh o rt lived, for K am etaro

Tose, the eldest d au g h ter o f the F urukaw a

died o f an illness th ree years later. In

family. W ith T ose’s assistance, B unji was

ad d itio n , B u n ji an d Tose treasu red th eir

able to farm and also devote som e o f his

first d au g h ter, C h ise, only to lose h e r a year

tim e to public construction w ithin the

later, despite m edical atten tio n an d

village. A lthough he had contributed m uch

prayers. B unji an d Tose w ere o v erw h elm ed

to the village, these contributions did not

by th e ir loss o f C h ise. T h e y h ad so little

com pare w ith those o f th e older established

tim e w ith h e r an d w ere rem in d ed o f the

fam ilies. W h en ev er they gathered together,

loss o f th e ir first son, seem ingly only a

he always behaved m odestly tow ard them .

sh o rt w h ile ago. T h e n , M ak iem o n , B u n ji’s

B unji w as w illin g to serve the village in

second son, died at th e age o f seven,

alm ost any capacity. As he g rad u ally w on

p resu m ab ly in th e early stages o f sm allpox,

th e acceptance an d respect o f th e oth er

and m any years later, on e last child died

villagers, B u n ji ac q u ired m ore la n d and

rig h t after b irth . In total, B unji an d Tose

b u ilt n ew add itio n s to his house, an d later

h ad n in e ch ild ren o f w h o m five survived to live a full life. A lth o u g h such a h ig h in fan t

Bunji & Tose's Children: Sons 1"

K am e taro (1839-1842)

2 nd M akie m o n (1842-1850) 3 rd

4fh

N obujiro (1845-1907)

his precious ch ild ren . U nfortunately, his m isfo rtu n es did n o t stop there. B unji m o u rn ed for his y o u n g er b ro th er w h o was

renamed Asakichi, then Kaneyoshi

after m u c h suffering. H e also bore th e loss

divine title: Konko Shojin

o f his tw o oxen, w h ich w ere co n sidered by

M o h ei (1849-1919) renam ed Ishinojo, then H agio

6 th

d u rin g this period, it p ain ed B u n ji to lose

m istreated by his in-law s an d passed aw ay

divine title: Konko Sanjin

S’”

m ortality rate w as n o t u n c o m m o n in Jap an

farm ers to be alm o st e q u a l in value to fam ily m em bers. D u rin g B u n ji’s tim e, folkloric su p e rsti­

Unojo (1854-1893)

tion s, d iv in a tio n s, an d folk religions ran

renamed Torayoshi, then leyoshi

ra m p a n t am o n g th e m asses. M o st o f th ese

divine title: Konko Shijin

beliefs cam e to Jap an from C h in a b etw een

U nnam ed— died a t birth (1863)

th e sev en th a n d elev en th cen tu ries, an d

Daughters

A n o m in o u s deity called “K o n jin ” w as

Chise (1847-1848)

p a rt o f th is folklore. K o n jin w as th o u g h t

they ev en tu ally b ecam e c o m m o n beliefs. 1st

2 nd K ura (1851-1928) 3^

to be th e m o st p o w erfu l deity, an d th u s

divine title: Isshi Shosaijin

b ecam e th e m o st feared deity. P eople

Kono (1858-1946)

believed K o n jin resided in various

divine title: Isshi Suenotam ejin

d irec tio n a l lo catio n s (d ete rm in ed astro lo g -


ically). T h e se directions w ere to be avoided by all w h o w ished to avert K o n jin ’s w rath . S h o u ld so m eone violate th e d irectio n in w h ich K onjin h a p p e n e d to be resid in g at a p a rtic u la r tim e, he w o u ld in c u r th e w ra th n am ed th e “Seven K illings o f K o n jin .” T h e seven d eath s w ere o ften those o f fam ily m em bers o r oxen. As an a rd e n t follow er o f these House under construction

folk beliefs, each tim e B u n ji co n stru c te d a new b u ild in g , such as

seem ed to be p ro p o rtio n a l to th e increase

a b ath ro o m or sto reh o u se, he w o u ld have

in his property.

th e “D ays an d D ire c tio n s” checked to

B u n ji’s fellow villagers took notice of

select a n ausp icio u s day a n d direction.

these m isfortunes an d suspected th a t B unji

H ow ever, as B u n ji m a d e ad d itio n s to his

violated co n stru ctio n taboos and

h o u se, he en c o u n te re d the succession o f

conseq u en tly in cu rred the w rath o f K onjin.

d eath s in his family. By th e year B unji

A lth o u g h he h ad follow ed th e D ays and

c o m p leted a n d m oved in to his new ly

D irectio n s precisely, B u n ji beg an to believe

co n stru c te d house, he h ad experienced

th a t he m u st have d one so m eth in g to offend

seven deaths: his y o u n g er b ro th e r

K onjin in th e process o f his co n stru ctio n .

T su ru ta ro , his ad o p ted fa th e r K aw ate

H e ag o n ized over w h at he sh o u ld do to

K u m ejiro, th ree ch ild ren , an d tw o oxen

appease K o n jin an d becam e d eterm in ed to

(b o th o f w h ic h died o n th e exact sam e

follow th e D ays an d D irections an d o th er

d ate, o n e year ap a rt). B u n ji’s m isfo rtu n e s

taboos ever m ore strictly.

i 'f e h:

|

m D iagram of the Days and Directions People used this as a reference or compass to figure out good and bad days and directions before proceeding with any type of major event, such as construction, marriage, moving, or traveling.


THE AWAKENING

T

HE AGE o f forty-tw o w as considered

B unji consulted the Days and D irections to

to be the m ost critical for a m an in

build the house! H e did n o t insult K onjin!”

traditional Japan, because the

T h e deity rejected this outburst and

n u m b e r forty-tw o can be p ro n o u n ced shi-ni,

threatened to w ipe o ut B unji’s family.

w hich is phonetically identical to the term

D u rin g this confrontation, B unji was

“d ea th ” in Japanese. D u rin g the busy rice

praying and becam e deeply m oved by the

p la n tin g season in June o f his forty-second

w ords regarding the construction o f his

year, B unji collapsed an d becam e bedridden

house. Just as soon as he realized th a t the

w ith a serious illness. H is illness affected

construction m u st have offended the deity,

his th ro at so severely th a t he w as n o longer

his th ro at cleared u p enabling him to speak,

able to speak or drink, causing his doctors

and he apologized from his bed,

to give u p hope for his recovery. In spite o f

M y father-in-law has ju st spoken w hile

this, B unji m ain tain ed his faith. W h e n it

being totally ignorant. Since I was born

was harvest tim e on his farm , he

in the Year o f th e D og, it w as my

encouraged his wife, Tose, (thro u g h h an d

unlucky year to do construction. I had

gestures) to co n tin u e the duties o f th e farm

the Days an d D irections checked, b ut

w ith the help o f his relatives. A lthough, since the first day o f the new year, B unji had abided by the traditional

since the results did n o t agree w ith my construction plans, I had the D ays and D irections rechecked to m an eu v er

beliefs associated w ith his age in order to

aro u n d the difficulties. I th en proceeded

avert any m isfortunes, his relatives and

w ith the construction w hile follow ing

neighbors w orried th a t he w ould die because

the D ays as instructed. I thereby bu ilt a

he had angered K onjin. After com pleting the

house bigger th a n the old one. D u e to

harvest, they gathered at his house and had

my prim al ignorance, I did n o t know

Tose’s brother, Jiro, give prayers. Jiro then

w hich direction I was irreverent to. I do

becam e possessed by a deity, w ho declared

n o t th in k th a t ju st checking the Days

th a t B unji had been irreverent to K onjin

an d D irections is sufficient. I apologize

w hile building his house. Tose’s father

for m y irreverence since starting the

refuted this by insisting, “N o! T h a t is not so!

construction. (Memoirs: 3:5.2-4) W ith his acknow l­ ed g m en t an d acceptance o f his faults, the deity revealed th a t B unji w as to have perished w ith this illness, b u t d u e to his faith and sincerity, it w as changed to a lighter th ro at ailm ent. T h e deity also forgave B u n ji an d prom ised to have him recover from his illness. In this way, B u n ji w as saved from an early death an d gradually recovered.

Bunji doing rounds to the famous Eighty-eight Temples in Shikoku

T h ro u g h this encounter, B unji realized for the first


tim e the benevolent n atu re o f the deity

instru cted to w ear form al clothing d u rin g

th o u g h t to be K onjin. A fter his recovery,

prayers b u t farm in bare feet to discipline

B unji devoted an entire day, three tim es a

himself, he observed these practices. B ut as

m o n th , for th e visitation o f shrines.

w inter arrived, Tose becam e concerned

In late 1857, B u n ji’s brother, K andori S hige’em on, began w orsh ip p in g K onjin.

about B u n ji’s health, as well as the m isun d erstan d in g others w ould have of him.

B unji th e n began to w orship K onjin at the

She was afraid people w ould either th in k he

shrine in S hige’e m o n ’s house. T h ro u g h

was n o t q u ite right in the head, or th a t he

Shige’em on, B unji received various in stru c ­

was too lazy to m ake sandals for h im self

tions from K onjin for his daily life. B u n ji’s

A lthough th e im pressions o f others w ere o f

conceptual grow th a n d b ro ad en in g o f his

little consequence to him , B unji understood

concept ol K onjin led him to call K onjin,

Tose’s concern an d tied his straw sandals

"Kane N o K a m i" (a derivation o f the

onto th e hoe w hich h e carried to th e field.

C h in ese characters for “K o n jin ”). K am i

W h e n som eone w ould ask w hy he did this,

revealed, “B u n ji shall become m y First Disciple. I w o n ’t take him away fro m here. I w ill teach him right here. There is no need fo r concern” (Memoirs: 6:1.8). Receiving countless blessings by follow ing K a m i’s advice, B unji deepened his faith in K am i further. To show his appreci­ ation, B unji constructed a new altar for K am i in his ow n h ouse in 1858. Shortly thereafter, B unji w as able to receive K a m i’s w ords directly, w ith o u t going

•ir-.raaWs

Bunji on his way to the fields with sandals

th ro u g h S hige’em on. In this way, K am i

he replied th a t he could n o t w ear his new

in structed an d g uided B unji in detail

sandals because they h u rt his feet. B unji was

concerning farm ing practices, his ch ild ren ’s

able to follow K am i’s instructions w hile also

sm allpox, the birth o f his th ird daughter,

valuing th e feelings o f those aro u n d him .

practices co ncerning pregnancy, an d for m any other aspects o f daily living. Som e o f K am i’s instructions did not

In regard to farm in g , B u n ji received blessings tim e an d tim e again, like this next exam ple:

always conform to the established practices

D u rin g the su m m er o f 1858, w h en insects

o f the tim e and often seem ed strange or

threatened to destroy the entire crop for

illogical to others. Still, B unji followed them

th at year, Bunji, w ith the advice o f K am i,

dutifully, w hich bro u g h t h im great blessings.

did n o t surface his rice paddies w ith

B unji did not com pletely disregard the

rapeseed oil (a form o f insecticide). All

concerns o f those people around h im and

the other farmers used two to three times

tried to accom m odate their interests as well.

the norm al am o u n t o f oil th a t year, due to

For exam ple, once w hen B unji was

the unusually large n u m b er o f insects. In


the fall, B unji’s paddies yielded a full

w here anim als had been buried. It w as due

crop, w hile the other farm ers’ crops had

to this im purity th a t th e people w h o had

been destroyed earlier by insects, or

lived there, in clu d in g Bunji, suffered

yielded very little from their heavy use o f

m isfortunes. B u n ji thereby learned th a t the

oil. B unji was also advised on w hether it

m isfortunes w hich h ad befallen h im were

w ould rain each day, so that he w ould

due to the im p u rity o f the house. A bout

know w hether to stay outside to plow, or

those deaths he encountered, he w rote,

take the grain indoors to thresh.

In every case, I h ad a doctor give

In this way, B unji was able to im prove

treatm en t, an d I gave fervent requests

his farm ing, w hich p rom pted oth er people

an d prayers to various kam is an d did all

in th e village to greatly adm ire him . As for

I could. E ven after I prayed to the kam is

his ch ild ren ’s illnesses, K am i let B unji know

an d b u d d h as, the victim s w ere n ot

ahead o f tim e w h at w ould happen. W h e n

saved. I stood by helpless. I lived w ith

B u n ji’s children contracted sm allpox, K am i

this co n stan t fru stratio n an d futility.

advised h im to keep w orking in the fields

(Memoirs: 6:9.5)

w ith o u t calling on doctors or practicing

B unji also cam e to realize th a t his

traditional taboos. W hile w aiting for his

observance o f the D ays an d D irections in

second dau g h ter K ura’s recovery, B unji

hopes o f avoiding m isfortunes was, in fact,

recalled som e o f his past experiences.

an act o f disrespect tow ard K am i. W ith

E arlier in th e past, each tim e w h en one

K a m i’s guidance, everything w en t sm oothly

o f m y children died, there w as no kam i

for Bunji. T h ro u g h these blessings, B unji

w ho revealed and ta u g h t things to me.

strengthened his faith an d tru st in K am i

B ut this tim e, I received so m uch

and was able to free h im self from traditional

guidance from K am i-S am a, an d I am

superstitious beliefs. H is constant

thankful. E ven if she w ere to die, I still

frustratio n an d futility w ere replaced by

w ill have received blessings. (Memoirs:

faith an d reassurance. In this way, B unji

7:7.3)

cam e to realize th a t K onjin w as n o t an evil

W ith o u t resorting to superstitious

deity, b u t w as in fact, K an e N o K am i, a

practices or overnight vigils, B u n ji’s three

benevolent deity w ho protected all people.

children overcam e their illnesses. T h e birth o f B unji's th ird dau g h ter was also an easy one for Tose. M any tim es before, she had labor pains an d cam e dow n w ith fever, or had difficult deliveries. H ow ever, this tim e she w orked in the fields all day u n til su ndow n and gave birth that sam e evening. She did not becom e bedridden or physically w eak. K am i also revealed to B unji th a t the K aw ate family had built the house on a site


THE DIVINE CALL EEING T H E co n tin u o u s blessings

S

you were gravely ill at fo rty-tw o , the

B u n ji w as receiving, people w ith

doctor gave up hope. Everyone worried

various problem s, w ho w ere

about you. You prayed to the harms and

w a n tin g to receive blessings in th e sam e

buddhas and were blessed w ith complete

way, began co m in g to him for advice and

recovery. Regard this event as your death.

gu id ance. At the W orship H a ll (the little

Dispel all desires and assist Tenchi Kane

space he m ade in fro n t o f the A ltar in his

N o K am i. Also, your w ife should consider

house) B u n ji w o u ld sim ply convey th e

herself a widow. This is better than being a

w ords o f K am i as he received th e m , an d he

real widow, as she can still ta l\ to you and

ta u g h t people the benevolence o f K am i.

discuss matters. She should ta fe the

T h is m e d iatio n betw een K am i a n d th e

children w ith her [to the fields] to do the

people cam e to be called Toritsugi

fa r m w o r f There are m any people life

(M ediation). By w ord o f m o u th , m ore an d

yourself w ho have sincere fa ith in \a m is

m ore people h ea rd ab o u t “B u n ji’s K a m i”

but still have m any problems. H elp these

w h o helped people. T roubled people cam e

people by perform ing Toritsugi. This w ill

to visit B u n ji even w hile he w as w o rk in g

help K a m i and save people. M an exists

in th e fields; they w an te d to h ea r K a m i’s

because o f K am i, and K a m i exists because

teachings th ro u g h him . As th e n u m b e r o f

o f m an. Thus, K a m i supports m an as

visitors grew, it becam e increasingly

K a m i’s children, and m an supports K a m i

difficult for B u n ji to co n cen trate on

as his parent. There w ill be eternal

farm ing. G radually, B u n ji cam e to leave

prosperity through aiyo \a fe y o

m ost o f the farm w o rk to his family. F inally

[In terd ep en d en ce]. (Memoirs: 9:3.1-7)

on N o v em b er 15, 1859, B u n ji received a

T h is divine req u est w as difficult for

req u e st (now referred to as “th e D ivine C a ll”) from K am i:

B unji to com ply w ith for several reasons. First, as an ado p ted successor o f a family, it

B unji co nstructed a staff follow ing the

w ould be regarded as neglect o f his

specifications given to him by K am i:

obligation. S econd, it w o u ld be an

...with the completion o f this sacred staff, I

infraction o f the established n o rm th a t

w ill end your fa rm in g career. Please

people b elong to a fixed social class. A nd

understand. When you are out farm ing,

finally, B unji had to co nsider th e econom ic

the person at hom e has to go out and call

w elfare o f his family. H ow ever, because this

you whenever someone comes to give a

req u est by K am i far o u tw eighed such

request. A n d after you relay the request,

problem s, B unji replied, “I shall en d my

you have to go b a rf out again. You have to

p resen t o ccupation as req u ested an d serve

feep going in and out o f the field . This

at the W orship H a ll.” From th a t day on,

gives you little tim e fo r farm ing, and the

B unji h ad his wife an d ch ild ren gradually

worshipper m ust also w ait fo r you. Both

take over th e farm w ork. B unji stayed in the

you and the worshipper are being inconve­

W orship H a ll o f his house to receive visitors

nienced. Won’t you stop fa rm in g ? When

w ho so u g h t relief from th e ir troubles.


Built in 1933, this is a replica of the Founder's house. It served as Konkokyo's first Worship/Mediation Hall. The well next to the house is the actual well the Founder used.

The Founder's House eventually became a place of worship after he began to perform Mediation in 1859.


SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE

A

c c e p t in g

K a m i ’ s request to aid in

K a m i’s purpose. A lthough B u n ji’s family

saving people did not end B u n ji’s

and relatives gradually cam e to accept h im as

responsibilities as an adopted son

a M ediator, his change in role an d class was

and father, no r did it raise him above the

g overnm ent in society’s eyes. B u n ji’s own family did not tru st K am i enough to lay

not so easily accepted by others in his society. T h e rapidly g row ing n u m b e r o f B u n ji’s followers attracted the atten tio n o f

their lives in K am i’s hands as he had done.

Yamabushi (local M o u n tain Priests), w ho

O n e exam ple o f this was a field o f vegetables

began to harass h im for tw o reasons. T h e

his wife and m other secretly kept, because o f

first reason w as th a t B unji, being a farm er

the insecurity they felt after his decision to

w ith o u t a license for preaching, was

dedicate his life to M ediation and rem ain in

stepping o u t of his social class. T h e second

the W orship H all. I f his wife and m other did

and p re d o m in an t reason was th a t B unji was

n ot voice their worries, others around Bunji

teach in g people to live in g ratitu d e instead

did. H is father-in-law, F urukaw a Yaozo,

o f fear o f offending th e deities. H e ta u g h t

scolded him , “I am w orried about your

th a t co n su ltin g the D ays an d D irections was

family because you have so m any children.

unnecessary, as w ere th e various traditional

Stop this nonsense about faith and go back

rituals, w hich req u ired the presence o f a

to farm ing.” B unji understood Yaozo’s

priest. T h ese things only h in d ered people’s

feelings, b u t he could not refuse K am i’s

lives. As M o u n ta in Priests m ade th e ir living

request. Yet the difficulty B unji encountered

by co nsulting the D ays an d D irections and

as he first began his M ediation was not

p erfo rm in g rituals for the people, B u n ji’s

confined to his family and relatives. Even the

Faith th reaten ed th eir livelihood. T h e

village h eadm an twice sum m oned B unji to

Priests cam e to the W orship H all to d em an d

adm onish him for his rash actions.

th e rem oval o f all offerings from the Altar.

M eanw hile, K am i

T h e y also cam e tim e an d tim e

revealed to B unji th a t he

again to tear ap art and

should sell his fields w ith o u t w orrying about

v andalize the Altar. '

T h e Priests’ harassm ent angered

his children, because K am i w ould not let them starve.

B unji’s followers, yet Bunji,

v

regarding the situation,

After selling m ost o f his land,

rem arked th a t such troubles

w hat rem ained consisted o f the sm all parcel on w hich stood his

Mountain Priests w ere trivial. H e explained th a t the fact

house and a sm all field. From everyone else’s

the M o u n tain Priests cam e to take offerings

point o f view, B u n ji’s actions w ere th a t o f a

tim e and tim e again m ean t th at K am i was

m ad m an — selling all o f the land he w orked

bestow ing the offerings to them , an d such

his entire life to gain, and leaving none for

being the case, he did n ot allow it to anger

his ow n food or incom e w hen he had a large

him . C o n tin u in g on, he said th at though

family to feed. \ e t B unji heeded K am i’s

they had taken everything on the A ltar today,

instructions w ithout question or doubt. H e

there was always a tom orrow w h en offerings

did not challenge any o f K am i’s instructions,

w ould be m ade th ro u g h the faith and

no m atter how futile or threatening they

sincerity o f the people. B unji endured the

seemed to him . Instead, B unji always

repeated incidents o f harassm ent in this way,

searched for the ignorance and faults w ithin

and w ith tim e, the M o u n tain Priests “visits”

himself, w hich could be blinding him from

gradually began to decline.


BROADENING OF FAITH S THE SOCIETY began shifting tow ard

A

As B u n ji’s aw aren ess ex p an d ed , K am i

m o dernization, th e n u m b e r o f

revealed m o re to h im . H e received a

m arginalized people soared. T hose

revelatio n , w h ic h said, “A lth o u g h K a m i

considered “im p u re ” or “d an g ero u s” w ere

cannot be seen, you are constantly w a lkin g

n o t allow ed to approach “sacred g ro u n d s”

w ith in and through the m idst o f K a m i. Even

o f any kind, as they w ould either soil or

w hile fe r tiliz in g a fie ld or w a lkin g along a

destroy the purity. T h ey consisted o f people

path, the w hole w orld is Tenchi K ane N o

gro uped into th e categories including, b u t

K a m i’s H iro m a e” (Gilt: Konko Kyoso Gorikai,

n o t lim ited to: p reg n a n t w om en, sam urai

6). So w h e n villagers p ersisten tly

o u t o f w ork d ue to the abolishm ent o f the

req u e sted to b u ild a sh rin e for K o n jin ,

caste system, an d anyone w ho had

B u n ji gave his reaso n s for n o t g iv in g in to

deform ities, m ost com m only leprosy.

th e ir req u ests. T h e p u rp o se o f a sh rin e

S taying o u t o f sight d u rin g th e day, they

su c h as th e o n e th ey w an te d , w as to h o ld

could only w an d e r safely at night.

K o n jin in sid e so th a t K o n jin w o u ld g u ard

D u rin g this tim e, K am i revealed to

th e village. H ow ever, if th e en tire u niverse

B unji, “Rem ove the sliding shutter at the

is K a m i’s W o rsh ip H a ll, o n e can pray at

H irom ae’s [W orship H all] entrance. M a \e it

any tim e, w h erev er o n e is. T h erefo re,

so that the believers can enter the H irom ae at

m a k in g a tin y sh rin e in a tin y village

a n ytim e” (Memoirs: 12:4). B unji com plied

w o u ld only m islead p eo p le’s beliefs, an d

w ith o u t hesitation. Sliding shutters w ere

h in d e r K a m i’s w ish to save all peo p le by

th ick w ooden panels th a t closed over the

b ein g revealed to th e en tire w orld. B u n ji

in n e r p ap e r w alls, and w ere m e a n t to keep

received a n o th e r rev elatio n th a t said, "It

rain and w ind o u t d u rin g storm s, as well as

has been eleven years since you were fir st

thieves and u n w an te d guests. Since these

as\ed to assist K a m i. Through your

w ere usually closed an d locked at night, the

M ediation, K a m i is fu lfille d and people

rem oval o f these panels enabled anyone to

prosper. From this tim e, you w ill be

visit h im at any tim e. B eginning in O ctober

recognized as a K a m i. Through yo u r efforts,

1867, in com pliance w ith an o th er revelation

the Sun, M oon and Earth D eities are n o w

from K am i, B unji nailed the front door o f

recognized as part o f a u n ified whole, Tenchi

his house open perm anently. T h e act o f

N o K a m i, a n d the d ivin e virtue has begun to

o p en in g his doors to these m arginalized

be revealed to the people. K a m i is g ra te fu l”

people, fo r these people, sym bolized the

(Memoirs: 15:8,6-8). In th is way, B u n ji’s

b ro ad en in g o f B u n ji’s faith, as w ell as his

aw aren ess o f th e w ays o f th e u n iv erse

desire to save those people w ho w ere in

c o n tin u e d to gro w a n d g ain stren g th .

need. In the revelation, “Lil{e the way water

O n S ep te m b er 24, 1868, K am i allow ed

gathers into a depression, all the w orld’s

B u n ji to have th e d iv in e title, Ifig a m i

problems gather in this H irom ae [W orship

K o n \o D aijin. A lth o u g h B u n ji had

H a ll]” (Revelations: 19:7.1), K am i let B unji

received several d iv in e titles b efo reh a n d ,

kn o w th a t he was to em brace everyone w ho

this last o n e w as th e m o st sig n ifican t. It

w as w ashed o u t by society. Seeing the

d esig n ated K o n k o D a ijin as th e M e d iato r

suffering th a t m o d e rn izatio n caused people,

b etw een K am i an d th e people. Ih ig a m i

B unji told a follower, “T h o u g h they say the

K o n \o D aijin m e an s “L iv in g K am i,

w orld is becom ing civilized, it is not. It is

K on k o D a ijin .” T h is signified a n ew

collapsing” (G/: Ichimura Mitsugoro, vo l.l,

co n c ep t th a t d istin ctly sep arated his faith

17:1). K am i had sent him to save this w orld.

from tra d itio n a l beliefs.


THE DIVINE REMINDER

T

h r o u g h o u t a l l o f these years,

W orship H all, and was no longer allowed to

K onko D a ijin ’s M ediation

teach his followers. T h u s his followers could

co n tin u ed to be hin d ered by

no longer seek his guidance. Regarding this

n u m ero u s things: the M o u n tain Priests,

m atter, K am i revealed, “Y ourfam ily is not to

ru m o rs o f being possessed by evil deities,

forget about K am i. Whatever happens, do not

an d by the persecution resulting from the

depend on others. For the good times as w ell as

suspicions o f a w avering governm ent.

the bad, rely on K am i. D o not worry. The

H ow ever, his followers devotedly fought to

world keeps changing, so w ait patiently fo r fiv e

legitim ize his Faith, g ain in g and losing

years” (Memoirs: 21:1.3-4). R etreating from the

certification according to th e rise an d fall o f

W orship H all and the public into the back

the g o v ern m en t’s m ood. H e finally received

room s o f his house, K onko D aijin m editated

official recognition as a S hinto P riest in

alone. T h is w as to be the m ost significant

A pril 1867. H ow ever, th e fall o f the

trial in his spiritual developm ent.

Tokugaw a g o vernm ent a n d the rise o f the

W ith the role o f a M ed iato r tak en away,

M eiji govern m en t in 1868 revoked all such

b an n e d from offering prayers to th e Altar,

licenses. In efforts to gain stability and

an d h av in g even the A ltar itself tak en away,

power, the new M eiji g o v ern m en t’s restric­

K onko D aijin reflected w ith in him selt an d

tions becam e m ore strict w ith each passing

on K am i ever m ore deeply. T h e n on A pril

year. F or K onko D a ijin ’s followers, the

11, 1873, K am i revealed,

struggle to gain official recognition by the

Through Ifig a m i K onkp Daijin, to Tenchi

g o v ernm ent w as to start all over again.

K ane N o K am i, pray w ith a single heart.

A lth ough the governm ent, at first, offered

The divine fa v o r depends upon one’s own

certification for any leaders in society w ho

heart. On this day pray. (Revelations: 17:11)

w ould com ply w ith their term s, K onko

K am i instructed these w ords to be

D aijin refused, because com plying m ean t

w ritten dow n. K onko D aijin called this “the

th a t he w ould have to preach “national

R em inder o f H eaven an d E arth .” T h is

patriotism .” K onko D aijin w ould n o t

D ivine R em inder conceptualized the essence

com prom ise K a m i’s Faith in this way. In

o f the K onko Faith, rem in d in g us that

1872 d u rin g th e m iddle o f these difficulties,

w heth er w e receive blessings or not, w hether

K am i revealed to K onko D aijin, "H o w and

w e live happy fulfilling lives or not, depends

w hat things w ill change are unknow n.

on how w e direct o u r hearts an d attitudes.

However, they can be fo r the better depending

Shortly after this, the governm ent eased its

on one’s heart" (Memoirs: 20:14.2).

restrictions, an d K onko D aijin resum ed his

In 1873, the M eiji governm ent, pressing to becom e “civilized” in th e W estern tradition, created the M inistry o f E ducation, w hich discouraged practices based on superstitious beliefs, and passed a law w hich said, “All exorcists, fortune tellers, necrom ancists and spiritualists lead others astray. H enceforth, such people are strictly forbidden to practice.” A lthough K onko D aijin did not adhere to superstitious beliefs, as a spiritualist, K onko D aijin was soon ordered to take dow n the A ltar in his

M ediation at the W orship H all.


HIS INFLUENCE

A

S K o n k o D a ij in ’s in n e r faith

“K ajuro, you can find sake at th e sake

deepened and broadened, so did his

brewery. W ith your k ind o f h eart, my

influence. Because he opened

sake is n o t effective. W h a t do you th in k

h im self u p and allow ed the unconditional

your local hirom ae is? Just because sh e’s

love o f K am i to flow th ro u g h him , his

[a] yo u n g [M ediator], you lack respect

w arm , kind sm ile and com passion drew

for h er an d th in k th a t she is som e

people tow ard him . Sm all ripples o f his

n u rsem aid . She h ap p en s to serve on e o f

influence spread o u t from the tiny village,

my b ran ch h irom aes, an d she is a

g ain in g strength and crossing the lines o f

m em b er o f K a m i’s family. Respect h er as

class th a t people h ad created. In a tim e

a kam i. W h e th e r or n o t you receive

w h en th e caste system w as strict, w here

divine blessings d epends u p o n your

w om en w ere th e lowest class an d seen good

h eart.” K aju ro retu rn ed ho m e feeling

only for bearing the family heir, in a tim e

asham ed. H e cam e to m y H iro m ae an d

w here the h andicapped w ere looked u p o n as

asked, “Please give m e som e sacred

condem ned an d im p u re and thus shunned,

sake.” H is sick son soon recovered

K onko D aijin ’s teaching influenced

completely. (Gil: Takahashi Tomie, 16)

individual people in th e follow ing ways: T akahashi Tom ie m arried w h en she was

D edicated to h elp in g people, T akahashi T om ie’s n am e is no w always m e n tio n ed as

nineteen. She soon had a son, b u t he died

am o n g the top five o f K onko D a ijin ’s

after only ten days. Verbally abused and

disciples.

treated badly by her in-law s w ho said she

Saito Ju e m o n ’s in tro d u ctio n to K onko

was w orthless, T om ie’s situation w orsened

D aijin ’s teachings resulted from his w ife’s

un til she finally h ad to return to h er original

illness, w hich did n ot subside despite

family. (Divorce was rare in those days, and

m edical care. P rogressing to th e p o in t w here

it highly dam aged a fam ily’s reputation as

she could n ot tolerate the slightest noise, his

well as the person involved.) A relative w ho

wife could n o t even bear the voices o f the

lived nearby introduced Tom ie to K onko

people w h o cam e to w ish h er well. A fter the

D aijin ’s teachings. E ncouraged by K onko

doctors gave u p on h er recovery, Tsuji told

D aijin ’s w ords, she took th em to heart, and

Juem on, “I have received ad eq u ate care and

no m atter w h at was said o f h er or w h at

have no regrets if I should die. H ow ever, I

events occurred, she held fast to h er faith.

have one req u est to m ake o f you. I shall be

E ven w h en the governm ent prohibited her

co n ten t forever if you w ould w orship at

from propagating, she did n o t stop and was

O tan i village just once.” T suji’s req u est p u t

im prisoned m ore th an once. E ven after

Juem on in a dilem m a. As a strongly

T om ie began practicing faith and

opin io n ated an d stubborn m an , he was

perform ing M ediation, she did n o t escape

against w o rsh ip in g ru m o red deities.

the discrim ination o f the tim es. H ow ever,

H ow ever, the last request o f his wife carried

the support K onko D aijin gave h er w arm ed

his feet to th e village neighboring O tani.

h er and gave h er strength to continue

T h in k in g his wife w ould never know if he

d u rin g incidents such as this one:

d id n ’t actually go to O tan i, he reconsidered

H is son being seriously ill, a m an n am ed T akem oto K aju ro w en t to

w h en he th o u g h t ab o u t h o w he w ould

K o n ko-S am a’s H iro m ae [W orship H all]

K onko D aijin looked liked.

to get som e sacred sake [rice w in e ]. K onko-S am a spoke in a revelation,

answ er h er questions o f w h at O tan i and A rriving at the door to the W orship H all, he th o u g h t h e w o u ld ju st peek in an d try to


Juemon continuing to pray in jail

get a look at K onko D aijin

D aijin ’s W orship H all, so

w ith o u t actually g oing

w h en she finally decided

inside. W hile at the door,

to pay a visit, K onko

he overheard K onko

D aijin told her that

D aijin teaching his followers, an d he w as deeply im pressed. H e w ondered if he h ad com e sooner, if his wife w ould have recovered m u ch quicker.

alth o u g h she had lost her eyesight, it w ould n o t be an inconvenience in h er life. P racticing faith an d following K onko D aijin ’s teachings, K iyono had

Seeking M ediation, Juem on w as told th a t if

no difficulty w ith household chores, did n ot

his wife received a divine sign w ith in three

need a cane to w alk, was able to weave,

days, she w ould recover. I f she did not

thread a needle, an d even was able to align

receive a sign, it w ould m ean th a t her

designs at the seams in h er kim ono. She was

strength to live had been exhausted, and

such an exceptionally skillful seamstress th at

th a t such a person m ay n o t be saved even by

m any girls cam e to h er for lessons. Kiyono

K am i. R etu rn in g h o m e the next m orning,

becam e an outgoing an d highly enthusiastic

Tsuji told him , “I did not perspire last

w om an w h o w ent o ut into neighboring

n ig h t.” Since this w as u n u su al, Juem on felt

provinces to spread h er newly adopted Faith.

it m u st be a divine sign, an d h u rried to

T h e first son o f a highly esteem ed rice

O tan i village in joy. As Juem on began to go

m erchant, Shirakam i Shinichiro lost his

to w orship every day, Tsuji gradually

eyesight du e to an illness at forty-one years

recovered fully. G o in g to w orship w ith this

old. H e spent the next several years o f his life

wife, Juem on w as truly grateful an d cam e to

visiting shrines and tem ples, hoping to find a

perform M ediation h im self Juem on vowed

cure, b u t to no avail. H e even becam e a

to K am i that he w ould w ork to have a faith

M ou n tain Priest, b u t q u it because he did not

so strong th a t people w ould receive divine

receive any results, an d th en he began his

blessings thro u g h his M ediation in five days

rounds to the E ighty-eight Tem ples o f

instead o f ten. H e was w illing to en d u re any

Shikoku Island. Som etim e after ten or m ore

a m o u n t o f h ardship to achieve this, and he

rounds o f the Island, Shinichiro received

w ould not settle for anything less. Ju e m o n ’s

w ord th at his third son had died at the age o f

pow erful dedication collided w ith the

eighteen. H e returned hom e in despair, still

g o v ernm ent’s restrictions, w hich sent him to

blind. At this tim e, he was introduced by a

jail a few tim es. H ow ever, it also allow ed

sam urai to Fujii Kiyono. T h is first exposure

him to play a vital role in spreading K onko

to K onko D aijin ’s teachings left a profound

D aijin ’s Faith th ro u g h o u t the w estern

im pression on him , for he realized th a t faith

regions o f Japan. H e is now considered one

was n ot merely d o n atin g offerings and

o f K onko D aijin ’s strongest disciples. Fujii Kiyono was a w om an w ho, at the age o f twenty-five, lost her eyesight from an

reciting sutras (B uddhist chants/prayers) at shrines an d tem ples, or clim bing m ountains to visit sacred places. D evoting him self to

eye disease after having given birth. By the

practicing faith fervendy at K onko D aijin ’s

tim e she was thirty-one years old, countless

W orship H all, he w as able to see the flam e o f

sham ans and priests had told h er th a t there

a candle after a year. H e regained his

was no recovery. Rejected by a society that

com plete eyesight quickly thereafter. So filled

considered her n o th in g b u t a burden, she

w ith gratitude, Shinichiro could n ot sit still.

lost hope. H e r parents had visited K onko

H e w rote an d published A n Introduction to


Faith to express his gratitude and to share his

m ore o f K am i’s virtue.” I decided th at I

experiences w ith others. H e was determ ined

had to do ascetic training, so I asked

to spread K onko D aijin ’s Faith as quickly as

K onko-Sam a [Konko D aijin] for advice.

possible. H e w ould not w ait even one day, for

“I w o u ld very m u ch like to go to a

he said th a t if he did, one day’s w orth o f

m o u n ta in an d u n d erg o ascetic train in g

people w ould not know K am i’s blessings. H e

for som e tim e. W h a t do you th in k o f

w ent on to propagate K onko D aijin ’s

th is?”

teachings in Osaka. Shinichiro’s w orship hall

K onko-S am a asked, “I f you go to a

becam e so crowded th a t he had to move to a

m o u n ta in , how w ill you do ascetic

larger building, and even then, believers had

train in g ?”

to take num bers and w ait for their tu rn to

“In the m o u n ta in , I will first live on

receive M ediation. Unfortunately, being too

d u m p lin g s m ade from barely. T h e n I

concerned about other people’s salvation, he

w ill live on th e n u ts an d leaves o f trees.

disregarded his ow n health by pushing

A n d tow ard the end, I w ill survive only

him self harder d uring the day and rarely

on w ater.”

getting any sleep at night. H is body

T h e n K onko-S am a asked, “W h a t kind

eventually succum bed to an illness, and he

o f m o u n ta in w ill you go to ? ”

died at the age o f sixty-five. K onko D aijin

“I will go as deep into the m o u n tain s as I

said o f him , “Since Shirakam i-san exhausted

can, to separate m yself from the w orld.”

his body to broaden the Way o f Faith, he is a

In a blessed teaching, K onko-Sam a

kam i, alive or dead” (Gil: Kondo Fujimori, 55:2).

im parted, “T h a t is fine. H ow ever,

Shinichiro had established K onko D aijin ’s

K ondo-san, you need n o t trouble

Faith in O saka and spread it throughout

yourself by g oing to a m o u n tain . C reate a

w estern Japan. K ondo F ujim ori was a young m an in his

m o u n tain in your heart, an d do religious train in g there. E n te r the m o u n tain

tw enties w ho had been foretold th a t he

w hich you have created in your heart,

w ould die because o f an illness at the age o f

th en no m atter if there are difficulties or

twenty-five. Introduced to Shirakam i

unsavory m eals from your wife, you will

Shinichiro w hen he fell ill, he only prayed

not com plain.” (Gil: Kondo Fujimori, 20)

for his wife’s illness, w hich before long was cured. H e began to th in k th a t even if K onko

D eeply touched, K ondo F ujim ori began to practice faith in this new way. By creating

D aijin was a fake, the m eaning o f his w ords

a m o u n ta in in his heart, he learned to

seem ed reasonable, and so he decided to give

practice faith at anytim e an d anyw here.

K onko D aijin ’s Faith m ore consideration.

In these ways, u sin g K onko D a ijin ’s

W h en Fujim ori was cured o f his illness in

body an d voice, K am i w as able to touch

one night as if it never had existed, he began

peop le’s lives an d help th em realize ho w to

practicing faith fervently w ith his wife. After

live a fulfilling life. B eing aw akened to the

becom ing a M ediator, Fujim ori recalls one o f

kam i inside o f th em m ad e these people so

his lessons from K onko D aijin,

grateful th a t they could n ot selfishly bask in

W hile serving as a M ediator on the west

it alone. T h ey w ere eager to tell others so

side of K ono Bridge in N anba, O saka, I

th a t others could be saved from suffering as

felt m uch responsibility in serving the

they h ad been. T h ese people becam e

hirom ae [worship hall]. I thought, “A

K onko D a ijin ’s disciples and co n tin u ed to

person like m e w ith no virtue cannot

spread the Faith o f K onko D aijin in th eir

continue serving the Faith. I m ust acquire

ow n villages, tow ns, an d cities.


BEGINNINGS OF AN ORGANIZATION A

s K o n k o D a i j i n ’s F a ith s p r e a d ,

J 1

w here there w ere no disciples to

.A.

.^ p r o v id e M ediation, followers

o rg anized self-study religious groups and

recognition for K onko D a ijin ’s Faith. Told th a t th e basic principles n eeded to be in w riting, he w en t to K onko D aijin , before he passed away, to find o u t w h a t they were.

ap p ointed leaders. T h ese groups gathered

Sato N o rio w as told, “It does n o t m atter

to g ether regularly to w orship, an d

w h eth e r this Faith becom es

occasionally they w en t to K onko D a ijin ’s

in d e p en d e n t or not, as long as people

W orship H all.

can be saved.” {Gill: Naiden, 9.3)

As m en tio n ed earlier, the M eiji

B u t N o rio pressed on, “T h in g s w ill be

g o v ernm ent h ad p ro hibited K onko D aijin

fine as long as you are living. B u t after

from p ro p ag atin g his F aith, b u t later w hen

you die, people will th in k th a t this Faith

they lessened th eir restrictions, he could

is tem poral, unless w e have som e

resum e p erform ing M ediation. T h e lack o f

w ritten teachings.” (Gill: Naiden, 9.4)

official approval proved to be a c o n tin u in g

K onko D aijin so u g h t K a m i’s advice u p o n

h in d ran ce for th e disciples an d follow ers o f

this m atter, an d th e n had his son, H ag io ,

K onko D aijin, w ho w an ted to propagate his

an d N o rio begin d o cu m en tin g the

F aith. N o netheless, d u rin g the last years o f

teachings he received from K am i.

K onko D a ijin ’s life, several o f his disciples

E v en w ith th e p rin cip les d o cu m en te d ,

tried to circum vent this difficulty by

how ever, g a in in g official reco g n itio n

co m prom ising w ith the conditions im posed

o u tsid e o f th e S h in to religion in a

by the governm ent. In tim e, the need for

g o v e rn m e n t w ith o u t religious freedom

official recognition o f K onko D a ijin ’s Faith

proved to be difficult. T h is w as especially

w as felt strongly by a gro u p o f follow ers led

tru e o f K onko D a ijin ’s F aith , w h ich was

by Sato N orio, S hirakam i S hinichiro, and

m u c h too univ ersal in its teach in g s for

K ondo Fujim ori.

b o th th e g o v ern m e n t an d m o st people

Sato N o rio w as a yo u n g m an w ho aspired to becom e a m a ster carpenter.

d u rin g th is tim e. W ith in a society th a t could n o t see b ey o n d its c o u n try ’s

D ra w n to K onko D a ijin ’s teachings, N o rio

interests, K onko D aijin o n ce said, “W h ile

eventually becam e a M e d iato r a n d proved

you co n cern y o u rse lf w ith only trivial

to be a g en iu s in th e ways o f org an izin g .

th in g s, I am asp irin g for a b lessin g w h ich

T ak ing th e lead, he co n su lted w ith

w ill co m p letely em b race th e w o rld w ith

S h irakam i S h in ich iro an d K ondo F u jim o ri

this F a ith ” (Gil: Kunieda Sangoro, 11:1).

alo n g th e way. T h e se th ree m en

K onko D a ijin ’s disciples co n tin u ed th e ir

sp earh ead ed th e o rg a n iz in g o f K onko

efforts to g ain official reco g n itio n o f K onko D a ijin ’s F aith , b u t it w as n o t u n til

D a ijin ’s teachings, as they desired to spread his F aith in a m ore active an d

Ju n e 16, 1900, th a t th e Japanese

o rg an ized m anner.

g o v ern m e n t officially reco g n ized his F aith.

In 1882, Sato N o rio sought advice from a S hinto Priest on how to gain official

U nfo rtu n ately , K o n k o D a ijin d id n o t live to see it h ap p e n .

©


THE FOUNDER'S DEATH

I

N T H E LAST YEARS o f K onko D a ijin ’s

D u rin g the last days o f his life, Konko

life, he occasionally m a d e references

D aijin becam e bedridden in his room and

to his ow n d eath . H e once said, “T h e

was able to consum e only soups. Attended by

m o o n m ay d isa p p ea r b eh in d clouds, b u t it

his wife and his second daughter, Kura, w hen

is still there. M y physical form w ill also

the need arose for h im to leave his bed, K onko

d isa p p ea r so m e d ay ” (G//: Fukushima Gihe'e,

D aijin m ade special efforts to sit up and face

22). T h e n , “T h e r e ’s th e lu n a r ca le n d ar

the W orship H all to pray. K onko D aijin

an d th e solar calendar. T h e re w ill be a

requested that know ledge o f his condition be

tim e w h e n th e 9lhan d 10,h day o f bo th

w ithheld from the general public so as not to

calen d ars w ill fall o n th e sam e day. O n

cause people to m ake special trips to see him .

th a t day, I w ill leave th is w o rld ” (G//: Goka

As K onko D aijin neared death, he sum m oned

Keishun, 21).

only his im m ediate family m em bers and gave

K onko D aijin served at his W orship H all for the last tim e on S eptem ber 27, 1883. T h a t evening d u rin g th e service,

them his final instructions. G rateful for being allowed to serve both K am i an d people, K onko D aijin said,

K onko D aijin received a divine m essage to

“A lthough there were days w hen I co uldn’t

leave the W orship H a ll and have one o f his

eat anything, there was n ot a single day in

sons contin u e th e M ediation. W ith this

twenty-seven years w hen I was unable to

perm ission from K am i, K onko D aijin,

perform Toritsugi m ediation at the H iro m ae”

w hose physical condition w as so w eak th a t

{Revelations-. 27:12). T h en , on O ctober 10, 1883,

he h ad to struggle o n his h an d s and knees,

at the age o f sixty-nine, K onko D aijin passed

retired to his room .

away peacefully in the light o f a new day.


The Eternal Workings of | K | G A M (

T

HE

death

o f K onko D aijin

KQNKO DAIJIN

devotion to saving suffering people w ill n ot

created a void for his follow ers,

die. K onko D a ijin said, “H a v in g a physical

w h ich w as so g reat th a t it b ro u g h t

body m akes it difficult for m e to see

m o m e n ta ry u n ce rtain ty am o n g them .

peo p le’s suffering in the w orld. W h e n my

H ow ever, Ieyoshi, K onko D a ijin ’s fifth

body is gone, I can go to w h ere I am

son, im m ed iately fdled this void by

req u ested an d save p eo p le” (G//: Karahi

d ev oting h im se lf com pletely to M ediation.

Tsunezo, 4). Also, “As lo n g as th e U niverse

T h e believers w ere im pressed w ith

exists, th ere w ill be no en d to its teachings.

Iey o shi’s co n d u c t an d felt o ptim istic ab o u t

I am to p reach th e Way o f th e U n iv erse”

th e futu re, despite th e ir sorrow over K onko

(G//: Sato Norio, 14:3).

D a ijin ’s death. Sato N o rio described Iey o shi’s M e d iatio n as follows,

In th is way, K a m i w as able to use K onk o D a ijin to save oth ers. H ow ever,

S h ijin-S am a [M ediator Ieyoshi] prayed

ju st as K o n k o D a ijin said, th e re is no end

for people’s w ishes an d requests from

to th e te ac h in g s o f th e u niverse. A n d as

tw o o ’clock in th e m o rn in g u n til late at

lo n g as th e re are te ac h in g s to be ta u g h t,

night. O n e n ig h t in the fall o f 1 8 8 7 ,1

th e re is a n eed for M ed iato rs. K am i

co m m ented to S hijin-S am a, “I am

revealed,

afraid you m ay exhaust yourself for you

There is no one who has know n the

are w orking too h a rd .”

blessings o f H eaven and Earth which

To this S h ijin-S am a replied, “I could

enable people to live. K a m i shall have

n o t possibly becom e exhausted. K onko

people become aware o f the blessings o f

D aijin is always w ith me. T h is is w hy I

H eaven and Earth by having Konko

can fulfill m y duties.” (Biography, 111)

D aijin be born throughout the world

W h a t M ediator Ieyoshi w as referring to w ere the physical an d the spiritual w orkings o f K onko D aijin th a t co n tin u e to live on.

where the sun shines, in every country, w ith o u t exception. (Revelations: 26:22.3) To have “K onko D a ijin ” born

T h e physical aspect w ith w hich he supports

th ro u g h o u t th e w orld m eans th a t there will

us is his teachings. T h ese w ritings n o t only

be m an y living kam is w h o w ill help K am i

preserved K onko D a ijin ’s F aith, b u t also

save people. K onko D aijin once said,

th e p ath he took to g ain it. T h e y are th e

T h o u g h people call K onko D aijin an

doctrines th a t are passed on to us an d guide

Ikigam i, K onko D aijin is n o t th e only

us today.

one. All people w h o com e to the

T h e spiritu al force th a t gives us energy, as M ed iato r Ieyoshi m en tio n e d , refers to

H irom ae [W orship H all] are K a m i’s children. To be an Ikigam i is to have

th e w orkings o f K onko D aijin even after

K am i born w ith in you. K onko D aijin

his d eath. T h e last en try in his M em oirs,

w as the first to receive divine blessings.

n in e tee n days before his death, is the

E very o n e can receive divine blessings in

follow ing revelation, “For the sake o f all

th e sam e way. (G/: Tokunaga Kenji, 2)

people and to save those who give M e requests, I shall sacrifice [substitute] you.

K am i, th ro u g h K onko D aijin , is p lead in g for each o f us to becom e a living

This is fo r the eternal dignity o f K onko

kam i, so th a t w e m ay find peace and

D a ijin’s virtu e” (Revelations: 2 7 : 15.2). T h is

h app in ess w ith in o u r hearts a n d save others

last revelation has been translated and

an d ourselves from suffering.

in terp reted in various ways. H ow ever, from it w e can know th a t K onko D a ijin ’s

T h is is ho w an o rd in a ry farm er from a tiny village g ain ed u n iv ersal aw areness,


becam e a M e d iato r betw een K am i and

the prosperity o f m a n k in d an d all living

people, an d th e n a L iving K am i him self.

th in g s, from th e early h o u rs o f each

K onko D aijin left for us w h a t he hopes

m o rn in g . H e sits n ex t to th e A ltar for th e

w ill g u id e us tow ard b eco m in g living

rest o f th e day, w a itin g to provide

kam is. E ven today, o u r succeeding

M e d iatio n for peo p le w h o com e w ith th eir

S p iritu al L eader, K on k o -S am a, prays for

p ro b lem s o r req u ests.

Konko-Sama awaiting believers at the Mediation Seat in the Main Worship Hall



JAPAN

HEADQUARTERS

A

QUIET VILLAGE nestled in the valley o f O kay am a P refecture cam e to be called

K onko Tow n after o u r F ounder, K onko D aijin . H e re his disciples w orked tirelessly w ith in the m u ltitu d e o f governm ental restrictions to o rg an ize an d legitim ize the

religion. T h e aim o f those disciples w as to ensure th a t th e w o rk o f th e F o u n d er w ould

co n tin u e an d spread. Today, this is th e location o f th e K onkokyo H ea d q u arters. Konkokyo Spiritual Leader (Konko-Sama) i Our Founder passed on the responsibility of performing Mediation to one of his sons. Preserving this sacred role, although each church has ministers and every minister performs Mediation, the Mediation at Headquarters is reserved for KonkoSama, who is nominated from the descendant families of the Founder. Getting up in the early hours of each morning, Konko-Sama continues the role of our Founder by receiving people who seek his Mediation.

M ain Worship H all ▼ The Worship Hall, changed five times over the years, has been built to accommodate the increasing number of people seeking Mediation from Konko-Sama. Although the various facilities within the building close for ' the evening, the worship area itself is open at all times for people to worship freely.

Q KONKOKYO TODAY @


Administrative Office ► The Administration Office runs Konkokyo's organization in Japan. Staffed by Konko ministers and members, it is divided into five departments; General Affairs, Religious Affairs, Financial Affairs, Worship Hall Affairs, and Propagation Affairs. The Office plans and executes Konkokyo's propagation, and both religious and social activities. it

Konkokyo Seminary ► The one-year seminary term combines physical, spiritual, and mental exercises to ready the students for running a church, strength­ ening their understanding of Kami and their relationship with Kami, and ultimately saving other people.

4

Faith Training Center

Ministers, believers, and people who have an interest in Konkokyo attend the various seminars the Faith Training Center holds throughout the year. The seminars, ranging from one to four days in length, include faith-training activities such as: attending Konko-Sama's 4:00 morning service and prayer services at the Main

4 Konkokyo Research Institute The Research Institute is divided into three departments: Founder, History, and Doctrine. The Institute continues research

Worship Hall throughout the day, listening to sermons, practicing giving sermons, and participating in group discussions. Through this training, participants are able to deepen their faith while

sharing their experiences with in these three areas, by each other. sifting through the archives they have collected from the time of our Founder. With the new information they find, they write theses and reports, and publish them bi-annually. A scholarly journal called, "Journal of the Konkokyo Research Institute," is published annually as well.


i Konkokyo Broadcasting Center

The Konkokyo Broadcasting Center was created to produce a broadcasting program based on the faith of Konko Daijin that addresses the problems of humanity in this age. They broadcast a program called the "Konkokyo Hour" once a week. From the collection of broadcasts in the past, the Broadcasting Center also publishes a book called The Voice of Konkokyo. i

Konko Library

The Konko Library is located within the Administration Building. Working to fulfill the Spiritual Leader's wish for the Konko Library to be a "living library," the Library serves the society by being open to the public, holding various activities and reading sessions for children, and sponsoring cultural activities. The Konko Library also i Konkokyo Propagation Centers and Administrative Offices

Konkokyo divides Japan into twelve administrative blocks. A propagation center or an administrative office is responsible for the necessary communication and acts as a representative and consultant for each block.

© KONKOKYO

Konkokyo International Center (KIC) ► Located in Tokyo, KIC gathers overseas information for the organization and

TODAY

disseminates this information about the Konko Faith to people overseas. KIC handles most of the international relations and issues for the organization, as well as the translation of religious material into foreign languages.

sponsors the Bluebird Braille Group, which translates library materials into braille. They have produced over 12,000 materials in braille, which are catalogued in the Library. They also research braille translation techniques and hold translation training sessions annually.

©


4 Kansoi University O f Social W elfare (KUSW ) The Kansai (Western) University of Social Welfare is a university founded in 1997 by the Kansai Konko Gakuen (School) Educational Foundation Group. Combining classroom study with field experience, the KUSW aims to educate and develop people who will then use their skills and knowledge to contribute to the creation and development of welfare programs in the society.

4 Konkokyo Schools To help society educate children, Konkokyo has established five kindergartens and preschools, and seven junior and senior high schools. Considered to be private religious schools, the senior high schools offer religious classes once a week, and most of the schools close to Headquarters have the students take a trip to the Main Worship Hall to give prayers of gratitude at the beginning and ending of each semester. To help broaden the students' education and views, some of the schools put special emphasis on volunteer activities, and others send their students to Great Britain or to Canada for overseas study during the summer.

4 Konkokyo Youth Festival Held at Headquarters, this festival transforms the entire town into a colorful and lively place. Countless food booths are set up, as well as various activity and craft booths for children. Konko Youth groups from all over Japan come to enjoy the huge mazes, jungle gyms, water adventures, and other activity areas that are set up by the Headquarter staff. The youths also put on a performance after marching through the town in their respective marching bands. Participants range from children just able to walk to grandmas and grandpas, all enjoying this long awaited moment.

*

o z *

o o o a


A M ER IC A

KONKO CHURCHES OF NORTH AMERICA (KCNA)

T

Fresno, G ardena, Los

various functions and

C hurches o f N o rth

Angeles, Sacram ento, San

gatherings. T h ese include

America (KCNA) is

D iego, San Francisco, San

“T h e K onko Review”

he

Konko

an association o f K onko Jose, and W hittier in

C hurches in the continental

newsletter, regional sem inars

California; Portland,

an d an an n u al conference. It

U nited States and C anada.

O regon, and Seattle,

also prom otes the

First established in 1938 as

W ashington. T h e

propagation o f its Faith by

the Konko-Kyo Federation

propagation hall is located in

providing inform ation,

in America, it developed into

Chicago, Illinois.

m aterials, and consultation

the K onko C hurches o f

T he KCNA

Am erica (KCA) in 1954, and

Adm inistrative Office,

becam e the K onko C hurches

together w ith the M inistry

o f N orth America (KCNA)

Board o f Review and the

in 1961. T h e K C N A is a

H ouse o f Delegates,

supportive organization for

share the responsi- '

its believers and churches,

bility o f directing

and currendy consists ot

the efforts o f the

twelve churches and one

Konkokyo O rganization in

propagation hall. T h e

N o rth America. K C N A

churches are located in:

works to strengthen relation­

Toronto, O ntario, and

ships betw een the K onko

Vancouver, British

C hurches and the believers

Colum bia, in C anada;

through printed m atter and

for people w ishing to know m ore about the K onko Faith.

KONKO MISSIONS IN HAWAII (KMH)

T

gatherings, study groups,

O n ce every five years, the

M issions in H aw aii

y outh cam ps, w orkshops,

K M H joins an d w orks w ith

(K M H ) originated

and the “M alam alam a

the K C N A at a

he

Konko

from the K onko

C h u rch es o f

^

N ew sletter.” G a in in g

K C N A /K M H Joint

strength in its diverse and

C onference, altern atin g

A m erica, an d w as

exciting youth

w ith a K C N A ch u rch as the

recognized by the state o f

program s, the

host for the event.

H aw ai i in 1971. T h e K M H

K M H w orks to

presently consist o f six

develop an d educate th eir

churches: H o n o lu lu , H ilo,

y outh in order to secure

W aipahu, W ahiaw a,

th eir future. M em bers o f

H a n a p e p e and W ailuku.

K M H have organized to

S u p p o rtin g the

create a gro u p called

K onkokyo believers and

“B loom ers” th a t also

churches in H a w a i’i, the

actively plans program s and

K M H A dm inistrative Office

creates E nglish m aterials

plans and hold conferences,

for the people o f H a w a i’i.


KCNA/KMH ACTIVITIES

4 The KMH Youth Camp is held on the beautiful island of Maui. With icebreakers, sports, beach trips, shopping, and lots of mingling, these youths are able to make new friends and learn a little more about their faith.

Konko Youth Camps (YC) In the KCNA the Konko youth live as far apart as Toronto, Canada, to San Diego, California. In the KMH, the youth are scattered across the Hawaiian Islands. Thus the youth activities sponsored by each organization allow the youth to gather together i Winter Camp participants enjoying the view of Lake Tahoe in California, from a slope on Heavenly Valley Ski Resort.

K CNA W inter Camp (WC) With the growing desire to meet their friends more than just once a year, the youths themselves organized the

KCNA Missionary Women's Society Seminar (MWSS) & K M H Missionary Women's M eeting (M W M )

start of the Winter Camp. Now sponsored by the KCNA, youth in the thirteen to twenty-five age range enjoy skiing and other winter

As annual events, these two gatherings bring together the women who are the strength

activities as they continue to

and backbone of our churches.

experiences.

As ministers, many of these women have the responsibility of helping run a church, while also caring for their children, and some even have part-time or full-time jobs. Sharing experiences, difficulties, and solutions, the participants teach each other various skills and give each other support. They also exchange ideas on how their churches might better reach the people in need. Joint KMHKCNA Missionary Women's meetings are held periodically. ►The MWSS displaying their sushi-making efforts.

study the doctrines of their faith and share their

and meet. The KCNA Konko Youth Camp was created to provide an environment were young people, ages thirteen to seventeen, can gather and socialize as well as learn more about the Konko Faith. All costs of the camps are borne by the KCNA, including transportation and housing. Held before the KCNA Conference, the four days are packed with group games and activities, allowing the partici­ pants to get to know one another and share their experiences. The Youth Camps have also included various sessions, including CPR training, drug avoidance, and AIDS education.


KCNA Young Adult Seminar (YAS) Participants of the Youth Camp, feeling lonely upon reaching their eighteenth birthday, requested the KCNA to start a new camp for them. The KCNA responded to this request by creating the YAS for those between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. These maturing adults need a sense of accomplishment and direction to help organize their thoughts, especially those

A collection from the 1995

young Adult Seminar

associated with faith. Thus, the YAS is more oriented toward discussion and the study of doctrine. The YAS participants concentrate their efforts on producing materials they can share with other members, but to no degree do they leave out the fun! ►YAS participants all tied up in a group game called "Knots."

Bloomers

KCNA Regional Seminars

The Bloomers is a group formed by the "baby boom" Konkokyo believers in Hawai'i. These members seek to deepen the friendship among believers their age, enrich their own faith, and

These seminars are held annually in each region

pass down their faith to the younger generation. As the number of Konko youth who can understand Japanese declines, the Bloomers are concerned when youth leave the Faith because they cannot understand it. Feeling the urgent need to start activities using English, and activities that appeal to youth, the Bloomers have presently begun to hold monthly services in English. They also hold various social activities to include people who do not yet know Konkokyo. Through these activities, the Bloomers hope to support the youth, spread the Faith in Hawai'i, and deepen their own faith and experiences in Konkokyo.

respectively: the Pacific Northwest, Northern and Southern California, and the Eastern Region. They allow believers to share experiences and listen to presentations by their peers. Usually located in a natural environment, it creates a peaceful atmosphere where they can relax and reflect on their life.


Conferences

A KCNA/KMH Joint

Each year a member church of the KCNA, selected on a rotating

Conference held in Santa Barbara, hosted by the Los

basis, hosts the KCNA Conference. In three days and two nights of discussions, sports competitions, group games,

Angeles Church.

nature hikes, and the ever popular "Saturday Night Live" skits put on by the various age groups, the Conference develops faith while bringing the believers closer together. As the Conference is not an intensive faith study, many friends of believers happily come to participate in the Conferences. Once every five years, the KMH joins with KCNA at a KCNA/KMH Joint Conference, alternating with a KCNA church as the host for the event.

KCNA/KMH Faith Training Institute (FTI) ►A student being shown the proper way to put on ceremonial robes. The Faith Training Institute (FTI) was created for people who are seeking an in-depth study of Konkokyo. It is also an integral part of the KCNA/KMH ministerial development program. During the two-week session, students learn through handson experiences as well as lectures. Subjects such as: service etiquette, the Founder, doctrine, sermons, how to prepare offerings, and instructions on dressing in ceremonial robes are included in the curriculum.

Only those activities sponsored by the KCNA and KMH are listed here. Individual Konko Churches hold many more activities such as charity bazaars, camp-outs, picnics, senior citizens appreciation trips, various volunteer activities, and Sunday school activities and outings. If you would like more information about activities, please refer to Appendix C.


SO UTH AM ERICA

BRASIL Konkokyo has four churches in Brasil located in: Birigui, Sao Paulo, Rondonia, and Mogi Das Cruzes. Believers in Brasil have been growing rapidly in the last few years, so propagation halls have been opened in Critiba and Butanta. The churches hold bazaars, camp-outs, picnics, barbeques, kids' festivals, and various other activities where believers and non-believers alike can get together, discuss experiences, and enjoy life. The entrance of the Konkokyo Birigui Church. The churches join their efforts to hold a conference each year as well. During these conferences, the adults have study sessions using the Konkokyo Kyoten (Konkokyo Book of Teachings) as their reference, while the kids are very contentedly having fun camping. This group also is working on translating materials into Portuguese.

PARAGUAY The Konkokyo Asuncion Activity Center was established in 1996. Still young and just beginning to grow, the center strives to fulfill the needs and wishes of the believers in Paraguay. They hold many discussions and gatherings about faith to support each other, and also hold activities such as volunteering at orphanages. 4 Designed to fit the atmosphere of Paraguay, the Kami Altar is arranged in front of a beautifully painted wall.


KO REA • G A T H E R IN G S

KOREA A few Koreans became believers

Wf-

in the Konko Faith in the 1990s. These new believers have been developing their faith by making occasional visits to the Konkokyo Headquarters in Japan, and by holding gatherings with ministers from Japan. The strong desire to help people has allowed them to obtain a new facility, and they have officially established Konkokyo in Seoul, South Korea. The organization is called "Konkokyo of Korea," and is run by an all-Korean staff. The Konkokyo of Korea Organization holds monthly services at their new church, officiated by Korean ministers who have trained and studied at Headquarters in Japan. There is always someone at the adminis­ trative office and the church to help anyone who should drop by the church to pray, or come to the office for information. A service in Korea. ►The Konkokyo of Korea Administration Office Building.

GATHERINGS As the number of Konkokyo believers around the world has begun to grow, these believers, without any churches nearby, have organized to hold Faith Gatherings. To support them, ministers from KIC attend these gatherings at least once a year. So far, gatherings have been held in London, England; Frankfurt, Erlangen, and Tuebingen, Germany; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The beginnings of gatherings can also be seen in Australia. Believers, as well as people who just have an interest in Konkokyo, attend the gatherings to talk about faith, share experiences, and give support to each other.


PEACE A C TIV ITIES

PEACE ACTIVITIES

E

VERYONE SHOULD be able to enjoy freedom , live

com fortably, an d be treated kindly. H ow ever, K am i w arn ed us, “A lthough they say th e w orld is

b ecom ing civilized, it is not. It is c o lla p s in g ...” (6/: Ichimura Mitsugoro, vol. 1:17). K am i is concerned for th e w elfare o f the

earth. We h u m a n s have m ade m any m istakes that m u st be corrected. K onkokyo is jo in in g in th e grow ing effort across the w orld to supp o rt global issues, prom ote peace, an d save o u r precious earth. Konkokyo Peace Activity Center (KPAC) As a non-governmental, non-profit organization, KPAC works together with its counterparts in Cambodia, the Philippines, and Thailand, to promote projects in these countries such as nutrition supplement, sanitation programs, welfare, and education systems for children. One of the projects KPAC sponsors is the "Give A Meal" project in which they combine the donations that the various Konkokyo institutions and churches in Japan collect. With this funding, KPAC provides nutrient-rich meals for the malnourished children in the Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia. One yen (or one penny) can provide these

Philippines: Children making

children with one meol. KPAC hopes to expand this project

hand-made postcards made from recycled newspapers. This project not only gives these kids an enjoyable afternoon activity, but also teaches them about how to

beyond the Konkokyo organization and even overseas.

care for the earth, and raises funds to generate future activities. < Thailand: The lives of these kindergarten children living in slums are made just a little brighter today, as they dance and laugh away their troubles. i Cambodia: A story-telling session to Cambodian children. ▼ Cambodia: Elementary school children eating their nutrient enriched meals in a rural farm ing area. The "Give A M eal" project offers meals to children once a week in order to provide their much needed nutrition.


Peace Gatherings Konkokyo holds annual Peace Gatherings at various locations throughout Japan. At the gatherings, participants offer up sincere prayers and discuss ways to improve their surroundings. They then work on implementing these suggestions within their communities. Participants gather in Hiroshima to march to the Hiroshima Peace Park to offer prayers for all the victims of the 1945 U. S. atomic bomb detonation. ► Children gather for a picture in front of the posters and thousands of paper cranes they made to promote peace. This picture was taken after a peace march and service that Konkokyo held in Tokyo, Japan.

Okinawa Project This project, started by Konkokyo, has Konkokyo believers and non-believers, Japanese and non-Japanese, and people of all different nationalities help to gather the remains of war victims scattered in Okinawa. Prayers for the deceased and for peace are given onsite. This program started in 1977, and the number of participants has grown ever since. ► Prayers being given in front of the remains of war victims unearthed in Okinawa.

KIC Club KIC Club is a friendship building party for all peoples of the world, which is held in Tokyo, Japan. Sponsored by KIC, these parties provide an opportunity for participants to learn from each other and enhance their understanding of each other's culture and customs. This will hopefully result in their broadening their viewpoints of the world, and thereby encourage peace through internationalization. So far, people from more than 40 countries have taken part in these parties, which have been held monthly since 1994. KIC also holds international symposiums to facilitate better future relations. i Participants at a Western theme KIC Club learning to line-dance.


APPENDIX A

FURTHER INFORMATION & READING D O C T R IN E

Kyoten Gorikai III:

Konkokyo Kyoten

T h is book consists o f eight sections th at

(K onkokyo B ook o f T eachings)

include com pilations o f K onko D a ijin ’s

Sim ply put, kyo-ten m eans “teaching-

teachings, an d records o f lectures on K onko

book.” It is a com pilation o f teachings and

D aijin given by his lead in g disciples. N o ted

w ritings by o u r Founder, K onko D aijin,

as G III.

Teachings o f Konko Daijin III

an d his disciples. It has been translated into E nglish as five separate volum es: Record o f Revelations, M emoirs o f K onko Daijin, and

S U P P LE M E N T A R Y D O C T R IN E M A T E R IA L

Teachings o f Konko D aijin in 3 volum es.

Kyoten Oshirase-goto Oboe-cho: Record o f Revelations T h is is a record o f fam ily m atters, religious activities, an d revelations from K am i th a t w ere w ritten in diary form by K onko D aijin. It dates from O ctober 1857 until n in eteen days before his d eath on O ctober

Prayer Book T h is book o f prayers is provided for believers. A cting as a g u id e for personal prayers, an d as a tool to unify the congre­ gation, these prayers are recited to g eth er by th e believers d u rin g services.

Selected Teachings of Konko Daijin:

10, 1883. T h is book includes the latter part

With contemporary explanations *

ot his life, w hich he did n o t record in his

T h e m ost im p o rta n t teachings w ere selected

M emoirs. N o ted as Revelations.

from the first tw o volum es o f Teachings o f

Kyoten Konko Daijin Oboegaki:

K onko D aijin in o rd er to p u b lish a m ore

Memoirs ofK onhp Daijin T h is is K onko D a ijin ’s autobiography cen tering on the developm ent ol his religious beliefs. U p o n th e instru ctio n o f K am i, he started w riting his M em oirs on

com prehensive collection o f K onko D a ijin ’s teachings. E ach teach in g is follow ed w ith a b rief explanation to help us u n d erstan d an d incorporate the teachings into o u r lives today. It is org an ized by them e.

N o vem ber 23, 1874, at th e age o f 61. It is a

Voice of the Universe:

d etailed account o f th e events w ritten in his

Selected teachings o f Konkokyo*

Record o f Revelations describing K onko

A h an d -sized book o f ab o u t 140 pages, these

D a ijin ’s reasoning for his faith, an d giving

teachings w ere selected from the K onkokyo

specific exam ples o f how people can deepen

Book o f Teachings an d are org an ized by the

th eir faith. N o ted as Memoirs.

subject o f th e teachings.

Kyoten Gorikai I: Teachings o f Konhp Daijin I T h e first o f the three sets o f teachings, this is a collection o f K onko D a ijin ’s teachings recorded by 25 o f his disciples. N o ted as GI.

* T h e original Teachings o f Konko Daijin I, I I and III, are org an ized alphabetically by the nam es o f those people w h o received the teachings from o u r F ounder, n o t by the

Kyoten Gorikai II:

subject o f th e teachings. Also, m any o f the

Teachings o f Konko Daijin II

teachings are clips o u t o f long conversations,

T h is is a collection o f K onko D aijin ’s

excluding any explanation. T h u s, the

teachings th a t w ere tran sm itted orally by

m arked books are recom m ended for th eir

152 o f his disciples. N o ted as GII.

easy use an d u n d erstan d ab le explanations.


PAMPHLETS

Konko Daijin: A

A Bright Light for Humanity

Biography

APPENDIX

KONKOKYO HISTORY

A

T h is biography was translated an d m odified

(introduction to Konl{oltyo)

from its Japanese version into E nglish.

K C N A p am p h lets ab o u t K onkokyo

C overing the beginning o f the F o u n d e r’s life

(in clu d in g teachings from 1990 to 1992 an d

to his passing away and the beginnings o f

1996 to 1999)

the establishm ent o f K onkokyo, this book gives great insight into the F o u n d e r’s era and a detailed description ot the d evelopm ent o f his faith. Section 2: “T h e F o u n d er o f K onkokyo” in this guidebook is

Voice of the Ministry (collection Selected Teachings of the Konko Faith, (series 1 an d 2)

largely based on this biography.

Shine in Happiness

D ivine Favor D e pends U p o n Y ou r O w n H e a rt (video in Japanese w ith

p am p h let w ith photos)

(in troductory

E n g lish su b title s— 105 m in u te s)

Humanity's Golden Light of Salvation (brief in tro d u ctio n to

Set in traditional Japan, this video re­

K onkokyo)

creates the F o u n d e r’s life. B eginning just

me, Konko-kyo is...

before K onko D aijin received the D ivine

To

C all, it introduces m any o f his key disciples.

from the 1995 Young A d u lt S em in ar

C haracters in traditional Japanese clothing an d hair-styles help create the feeling o f the

of

serm ons from 1996 to 1997)

A collection

NEWSLETTERS

F o u n d e r’s era. It is a very inform ative video th a t goes w ell before or after reading K onko

" Face to F a ith ” (published

D aijin ’s biography.

q uarterly —K onkokyo In tern atio n al C enter)

Konko Kyo's 50 Years in America

"

K o n ko R e vie w ” (published every

Published as a com m em orative book, this is

o th e r m o n th —K onko C h u rch es o f N o rth

a chronological history of Konkokyo

A m erica)

propagation in N o rth A m erica, H a w a i’i, and

" M a la m a la m a " (published

C anada. B eginning in 1919, this book uses

q u arte rly -K o n k o M issions in H aw aii)

photos and captions to illustrate K onkokyo’s m issionary w ork and the people w ho played key roles as m issionaries through 1975.

* M any K onko C h u rch e s publish th eir own m onth ly new sletters. To in q u ire w h a t is available, please refer to A ppendix C.

The Founder of the Konko Religion: A Picture Storybook^ W ritten in th e form o f a com ic book, this storybook gives a b rief background o f the F o u n d e r’s childhood days. It th en creates a dialogue betw een characters to uncover the trials K onko D aijin experienced an d how

T h e m aterial listed here is all in E nglish.

he learned to accept them . It goes on to

For m aterial in G erm a n , S panish,

include a few stories o f the lives of his

P ortugese, French, C h in ese, K orean or

disciples, as w ell as a few faith stories o f the

Japanese, please contact one o f the

believers.

K onkokyo offices listed in A ppendix C.


APPENDIX B APPENDIX

KONKOKYO CHRONOLOGY

B

1814

September 29-Konko Daijin (Founder) born

1855

June 10-Bunji (Founder's boyhood name) became critically ill

1859

November 15-Bunji received the Divine Call (founding date of Konkokyo)

1868 November 1 1 -Bunji received the Divine Title, 1873

Ikigam i Konko Daijin,

from Kami

February-Mediation suspended by the government April 1 1-Konko Daijin received the Divine Reminder

1883

October 10-Konko Daijin passed away November-Konko leyoshi (5"' son) succeeded Konko Daijin

1887 Konko Faith spread to Kyushu (southern island of Japan) 1891

Konko Faith spread to Hokkaido (northern island of Japan)

1893 Konko Setsutane succeeded at age thirteen 1900 Konko Faith officially recognized as the independent organization "Konkokyo" (Teachings of Konko Daijin) published in Japanese

1913

Konkokyoso G orikai

1919

Propagation in North America begun

1929 Propagation in Hawai'i begun 1941

Konkokyo Ministers in the U.S. detained as prisoners of war

1954 Konko Missions in Hawaii (KMH) incorporated 1959

Konkokyo celebrated the 100th anniversary since its founding Konkokyo Service Hall in Headquarters constructed

1961

Konko Churches of North America (KCNA) incorporated

1963 Konko Kagamitaro succeeded as the Spiritual Leader of Konkokyo 1964 Propagation in Brasil begun 1973 Konkokyo Central Worship Hall in Headquarters constructed 1983 The 100,h anniversary of Konko Daijin's passing away The Konkokyo Kyoten

1991

(Sacred Scriptures of Konkokyo) published in Japanese

Konko Heiki elected as the Spiritual Leader

1993 Konkokyo International Center established 1994

First Konkokyo gatherings in Europe held in: England, Germany, Spain, and France First Konkokyo gathering held in Malaysia

1996 Konkokyo Asuncion Activitiy Center established in Paraguay 1997 Konkokyo's internet website in English set up 2000 Konkokyo of Korea established Konkokyo celebrated the 100,h anniversary of its independence

©


APPENDIX C APPENDIX

CONTACT INFORMATION Japan 320 O tani, Konko Town,

2-17-1 1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku,

Okayama Prefecture, Japan 719-01 1 1 Tel: -1-81 -(0)86542- 31 1 1 Fax: + 8 1 -(0 )8 6 5 4 2 -4 4 1 9

Tokyo, Japan 1 13-0033 Tel: +81-(0)3-381 8-3701

www.konkokyo.or.jp

E-mail: kic@ konkokyo.or.jp

Fax: +81-(0)3-381 8-3793 www. konko ky o .o r. j p/e n g/ki c

E-mail: konkokyo@ konkokyo.or.jp

America Konko Churches of North Am erica

Konko Missions in Hawaii

KCNA O ffice 1909 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 941 15

KMH O ffice 1744 Li Ii ha Street, Suite 304 H onolulu, HI 9 6817 Tel: + 1 -8 0 8 -5 3 6 -9 0 7 8

Tel: + 1 -4 1 5 -9 3 1 -1 2 0 8 Fax: + 1 -4 1 5 -5 6 3 -1 8 3 0 Toll Free: + 1-888-400-K C N A (5262) www. Ko n ko kyo .com E-mail: KCNAOFFICE@ aol.com

Fax: +1 -8 0 8-55 0 -80 0 8 E-mail: km h@ pixi.com

Brasil

Paraguay

Korea

Konko Churches of Brasil

Konkokyo Asuncion

Konkokyo of Korea

Igreja Konko Do Brasil

Activity Center

327-1 3rd floor,

Rua M aestro A ntonio

Centro de Actividades de

Passarell No. 772 Birigui S.P 16200 Brasil Tel: + 5 5 -1 8 6 -4 2 -1 6 9 5 Fax: + 5 5 -1 8 6 -4 2 -1 6 3 6

Konkokyo en Asuncion

Hangangro 2ga Yongsan Area Seoul, South Korea Tel: + 8 2-(0 )2-790-0579

Barrios Los Laureles AV. Eusebio Ayala, Eso, C/R. I. 13 Correias No. 4195 2-Piso No. 1 Asuncion, Paraguay Tel: + 5 9 5 -2 1 -6 0 6 -6 1 8 Fax: + 5 9 5 -2 1 -6 0 6 -6 1 8

Fax: + 8 2 -(0 )2 -7 9 0 -0 5 7 9

C

Konkokyo International Center (KIC)

Konkokyo Headquarters


We hope this book has helped you understand Konkokyo. Even if you never visit a Konko Church, decide to join a different religion, or are already involved with another religion, we hope this book has given you an insight to life and the blessings that are abound in it. Whatever path you choose, may you live each day with an inner radiance of peace and joy!

www.konkokyo.or.jp