Great Construction


   What is the impression of those who have finished reading this volume? I do wish to know your unreserved opinion. My intention in writing this book, as can be seen throughout, is to implant a firm religious conviction in the minds of readers and guide them to a state of peace of mind with which they can make their way through the confused conditions of our age that can be observed everywhere. I continue to endeavor to contribute to the formation of eternal peace that will be paralleled by the creation of happiness on the individual level, on the next level, to the reconstruction of society with better conditions, and ultimately to dramatic improvement for all of humanity. When we trace the development of culture from primitive ages to the present, there is no need to remark on the wonderful progress, but inexplicably this progress has not been accompanied by the creation of happiness for human beings. We must understand that there is an important defect in our culture if its progress does not include the condition of happiness for its members. In other words, the progress of material culture has not also seen progress in spiritual culture, and our civilization is nothing more than severely crippled.
   Because of this fundamental handicap, I keenly feel that if humanity does not make great strides forward in the development of its backward spiritual culture, our hopes for happiness will remain unfulfilled. Knowledge of the actuality of the spirit and the significance of life and death, which are the fundamental concepts for the development and progress of spiritual civilization, must be firmly implanted in all members of society. It is only natural that great difficulty accompanies my work since I am trying to bring people to be able to recognize the reality of what is invisible to the human eye. As the first step in accomplishing this purpose of education, an indispensable requirement is the writing of my personal experiences as they are, without addition of subjective elements.
   Encouraging the progress of spiritual civilization is something religion should have undertaken, but it did not. There might have been some persons who did teach these matters, but because what they did teach was of such an academic and theoretical nature, the general public could not understand. Otherwise, most who taught were to the point of being either eccentric and self-righteous or else mythical and allegorical, so they appeared amusing if not superstitious, and did not manifest power to truly save. As the modern age came into being, this trend became even more pronounced, and increasingly the powerlessness of the existing, established religions came to be propounded. Intellectuals especially feared that embracing religion would impinge upon their own influence, and some continue to warn against any form of contact with religion. Conditions in the world have gradually deteriorated, though, and religion reiterates that only it has the key to solving problems, but as we have seen, people are not prepared to give an ear to these claims.
   Furthermore, the problem of youth has become a grave issue since the war. Loyalty and patriotism which had been the driving forces of Japanese youth were completely shattered with the end of hostilities. Youth has become lost in the course of events, some falling into desperate nihilism, and not a few others in utter desperation, turn to crime. No new purpose has come to take the place of former goals, and a guiding force is not on the horizon. In addition to the economic torment, young people live each day in unease and in turmoil. The situation is indeed serious. I frankly declare that the power to solve these problems regretfully cannot be found among existing religions.
   Nevertheless, the kinds of social problems I have described need to be solved as quickly as possible. When we turn our eyes to the situation overseas, there is probably no one who has not seen in the newspapers or heard on the radio of the people who tremble in fear oppressed by the grave conditions of their daily lives in. My evaluation of how the happiness of humanity has not paralleled the progress of culture is illustrated on many levels in many ways.
   I know that I am not the only person who finds the future of the world difficult to predict unless there appears a religion both powerful and rejuvenating.

Essays on Faith(Shinkô Zatsuwa), September 5, 1948, page 114