Varieties of Faith (Narratives)
Faith comes in various forms. Just to name a few: benefit belief, circumstantial belief, gratification belief, exploitative belief, spiritual possession belief, covetous belief, narcissistic belief, neglectful belief, buffet belief, capricious belief, dried bonito shavings belief, and counterfeit belief. Of course, there are many others.
Allow me to explain each form I have named, one by one.
Benefit belief: All the individual wants is to obtain benefits, blessings. What God wants, what is necessary for the world is all secondary. Benefit belief is content as long as it is satisfied, a self-centered form. This form is prevalent in the middle classes and above. Even though these people realize they are only using faith, service and appreciation rendered to God is unknown. Thus using faith is to put human beings in a primary position and to put God in a secondary position. Since blessings are bestowed by God only when God is worshiped and service performed, benefit belief rather diminishes benefits, or blessings, and does not continue for long.
Circumstantial belief: While a religion is buried below the surface of society, individuals are not very enthusiastic, but once the religion becomes thoroughly known, individuals find this and that, one thing or another to talk about it, and they begin to approach God and find themselves involved in activities.
Gratification belief: Followers of this pattern are always so gratified and thankful, and on the surface they appear to have quite a sincere faith, but they do not think of God’s great purpose of the salvation of humanity. This form is very shojo, and as there is no activity, this form only amounts to the level that doing something is being better than doing nothing.
Exploitative belief: Religion is exploited for gain. It is an attitude that harbors some level of ambition. Once professed believers realize that exploitation is impossible, they are gone in an instant.
Spiritual possession belief: There is an inordinate propensity for spiritual possession phenomena. Handling phenomenon of spiritual possession is considered permissible, and ever more information about the spiritual world is actively sought. This form of belief is not that bad, but it is not the correct course for faith. That is because in dealing with that such as spiritual phenomena research groups, it is easy to believe what is said by spirits of a low level. Prophecies that are worthless and off the mark are highly prized, so it is a negative pursuit.
Covetous belief: Individuals are only interested in desire. Individuals make visits to well-known personages or to certain low-level shrines, and a faith is made of presenting money and offerings in the hope of receiving some benefit. The misfortune of society or human beings is not given a single thought. The most commonplace type.
Narcissistic belief: A belief that likes to show off its self-importance. Likes to receive. Wants to be well-thought of by others. Wants to be well-spoken of by others. As it seeks to be praised by others, it is a shallow faith that cannot separate itself from self love. These forms are also of the low levels of faith.
Neglectful belief: After having been forgotten, individuals reappear. They have been absent for so long, other believers think that they had given up their faith, but not really. As if they remembered something, they stumble back. It is probably better that such individuals just quit faith.
Buffet belief: Such individuals cannot keep to one faith. They want to try various faiths. Their attitude toward faith is of a type that is attracted by the floating weeds blooming on the opposite river bank, so they cannot receive any real benefits or blessings. Still, they feel desolate without a faith and are often much confused. They change readily based on what others say. Such people are rather unfortunate.
Capricious belief: Like those of buffet belief, these individuals are capricious and cannot concentrate on one faith. They change from one to another. They are religious nomads. There is a tendency for there to be relatively many of this form in the intellectual classes.
Dried bonito shavings belief: God and faith are used as soup stock, a pretext to satisfy personal desire. Much like covetous belief, it is a pattern often seen in religious organizations, particularly in the upper leadership levels.
Counterfeit belief: Individuals show themselves to be faithful on the surface but actually do not recognize the existence of God at all. A particular attribute of those of this ilk is that they are glib-tongued, so in the beginning they can easily deceive others. God does not permit such activity for long, however, and they show their true colors and run away with their tail between their legs.
If the reader has a faith that does not resemble one of those enumerated above, then that faith is true and correct.
Narratives, Jikan Library, Volume 12, page 54, January 30, 1950
translated by cynndd
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“Shinkō no Shurui,” was published originally on page 5 of Chijōtengoku, Issue 7, August, 30, 1949. Within four months, Meishu-sama made several revisions to include the essay as a chapter in the Nihon Miroku-kyō publication Jikan Setsuwa-shū, Jikan Sōsho, Jūni-hen (Narratives, Jikan Library, Volume 12), January 30, 1950, page 54, and, later while Meishu-sama still alive, the magazine version was reprinted in the essays anthology for ministers Goshinsho: Shūkyō-hen (Divine Writings: Volume on Religion), March 25, 1954, page 14. The book version has previously appeared in translation. Citation is given below for reference.
“Types of Faith,” Meishu and His Teachings, no date, page 45.