Great Construction

Paradise on Earth (Essays on Faith)

     The expression paradise on earth, or heaven on earth, has such a beautiful sound. There is probably no other phrase that gives such light and hope. Most people, however, probably believe that paradise on earth and other such notions are merely dreams with no possibility of realization. I have the strongest conviction that paradise on earth will be realized, nay, I discern and recognize that the time for its realization is approaching. One must ponder deeply why else would the Saint of Nazareth, Jesus, have proclaimed “repent ye for the kingdom of God is near.” I do believe that Jesus, the founder of a religion that has achieved the success of its teaching spreading throughout more than half the world would not have uttered a falsehood with no accuracy. Probably most all would like to know what it will be like, so I will write about my visualization of what paradise on earth will be.
     In simple terms, paradise on earth is a world of happy people. It is a world free of disease, poverty, conflict with the highest level of culture. Thus, the great problem of how to make a heaven, a paradise of this world where people suffer in agony, from one full of sickness, indigence, and war is our tremendous assignment. But as the true cause of the three great calamities listed above is disease itself, first the method to eradicate disease must be discovered. The next calamity is indigence or poverty and it’s primary cause is disease. The secondary causes of poverty are the poverty of mistaken thought and politics along with the defects in social systems. The third calamity is the thought that favors conflict, and the cause of this preference is that humanity has not been able to escape from the realm of barbarism. So, the fundamental issue is how can these three great calamities be eliminated. I have gained confidence in how to resolve this fundamental problem, and here I explain the basic aspects of my method.
     After joining the Japan Kannon Church, being educated in its precepts, becoming purified in mind and body, and developing into an individual of true health, most everyone are surprised to discover the intriguing facts that they are also gradually freed from poverty and come to dislike conflict. Countless accounts show that within a year, most of my followers are close to approaching a state of happiness.
     It is not my inclination to speak of the defects of others, but I wish to be permitted to touch on the points given above. In particular, there are those who in spite of pursuing faith, also continue to groan under intractable disease, suffer from poverty, and yet are still joyful. Yes, such individuals, more than non-believers, have been saved spiritually, but it is only the spirit that has been saved; their physical bodies have not been saved. Their salvation is only halfway. True salvation must be the salvation of both spirit and body. One must become a healthy person, released from poverty, with one’s household immersed in joy. Until the present, however, all means of salvation were of the spirit and none had the power to save the physical, so inevitably came about the preconceived idea that faith saves only spirit. An example of this idea is something that those of religion often say: faiths that offer material benefits are of a low level. This way of thinking, however, is absurd. There is no reason anyone should not want to enjoy material benefit. Another sentiment often expressed is that “the human being must earnestly overcome life and death,” but such thinking is also peculiar. That is because no matter the human being of whatever station, overcoming life and death is not something anyone can actually accomplish. If anyone says it is possible, they are lying to themselves. In this regard I recount an anecdote about the Zen priest Takuan.
     When the priest was facing death, those around him offered him paper and brush and and asked for a few words. Takuan took the brush and immediately wrote, “I do not want to die.” His followers thought that a famous priest like Takuan would not write such a thing, that there must be some mistake, and again offered paper and brush. This time he wrote, “I really do not want to die.” I do believe Takuan’s attitude here was great. It is at times like these that someone of his stature would probably write something like “Death or life; they are both the same.” I was quite impressed by the fact that Takuan was able to do something most individuals of his level could not, honestly write what he was thinking without any sort of pretense.
     So far, it has been the practice that those who have sounded the call to save others have themselves not been able to free themselves from disease, poverty, conflict, and although this sentiment is commendable, it is not the way salvation should work. Because you yourself have been saved and become a happy person, you recommend your faith to others who are suffering a life of hell which will allow them to become fortunate like you. The individuals see your fortunate state, their hearts are stirred, and the result of your efforts to inform efforts are one hundred percent. I myself did not have the courage to try to spread my message until I had satisfied the condition of happiness, but fortunately the gods and buddhas have showered me with the blessings of happiness, and I brought myself to propagate my message. Paradise on earth is a world of happy individuals, so what else is paradise on earth but the reality in which happy individuals have been created and gather?  

Essays on Faith, page 38, September 5, 1948
translated by cynndd

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“Chijōtengoku,” originally published as the eighteenth chapter of the Japan Kannon Church publication Shinkō Zatsuwa (Essays on Faith), September 5, 1948, and later, while Meishu-sama still alive, reprinted in the essays anthology for ordinary followers and members of the general public Tengoku no Fukuinsho (Gospels of Heaven), page 50, August 25, 1954, has previously appeared in translation. Citation is given below for reference.

Paradise on Earth,Foundation of Paradise, 1984, page 241.

“Paradise on Earth,” Teachings of Meishu-sama, Volume Three, 2005, page 32.

“Paradise on Earth,” Meishu and His Teachings, no date, page 19, with slight abridgments.