November 23rd is The First Turning of The Wheel of Truth

The First Turning of the Wheel of Truth commemorates the day Master Ryuho Okawa gave his very first sermon on November 23rd 1986

Why Master Okawa gave over 3,500 lectures

In this modern era, we are not distributing things like bread or milk. What people want the most are right teachings. “What are human beings?” “Where did we come from, and where do we go?” “What is death?” “What happens when we die?” “If there is suffering after death, how can we be saved from it?” “What can I do to become a wonderful being who can lead people after I die?” Teachings that can answer these fundamental questions are needed now in Japan and across the entire globe.

“Laying down my life for the Truth”

I gave over 180 lectures in 2014. I, myself, feel that this is an absurd amount. You would be overwhelmed listening to one lecture every two days. Even I feel that way. As I give the lectures, I think to myself that giving 180 lectures a year might kill me and that I might end up dying early. But if I were to die early and leave things untold, I might feel restless, so I continue to give this many lectures from the wish to say all I have to say as quickly as possible.

I am laying down my life for the Truth. I want to teach the Laws to as many people as possible. I want to give teachings to as many people as possible. I want the heart of love to reach as many people as possible. This concrete action is the very power of mercy.

Happy Science was created to explain the existing differences

In my book The Laws of the Sun (New York: IRH Press, 2013) as well, I clearly state that Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions actually stemmed from one fundamental source.

When people cannot love someone, it is because they cannot understand that person. When they come to understand the other person, they come to love him or her. Because people cannot understand each other, they hate each other; because they cannot understand, they attack. Because people cannot understand, they exclude others; because they cannot understand, the chain of hateful acts never ends.

Happy Science was not created to bring confusion or chaos to this world. It was established to explain the existing differences, to help people understand each other and to live in harmony, thereby creating a great new utopia.

The importance of knowing the meaning of death

Some people may live materialistically without knowing the Truth, or by solely acting under hedonistic thoughts. If such people were to suddenly lose their lives by some natural disaster or accident, they would not have any idea about what happened, where they are, what they should do, and what people around them are doing.

However, one should not end up like this. This is something that infringes upon human dignity, upon the dignity of the soul. In fact, knowing who you are, knowing how you should live, and furthermore, knowing what you should do after you die are part of what it is to be human, a part of the human condition.

How to avoid falling into the Hell of Strife or the Hell of Beasts

There are many different realms in the other world, and among them are realms that are called Hell. For example, there is a realm called the Hell of Strife, which is the realm of fighting, destruction, and war. There is also a realm called the Animal Realm, or the Hell of Beasts, where many human souls live like animals and transfigure into animals. In order to avoid going to places like the Asura Realm or the Hell of Beasts, you must have a merciful heart.

Figuratively speaking, the realm of fighting and destruction and the realm of animals are realms where beings consume each other, where they eat each other as food, a realm where inhabitants live in constant fear of losing their life, or in fear of death. They only think of eating other inhabitants. That is why a heart of compassion is essential to avoid going to these kinds of realms.

The reason for this is that compassion allows one to accept and understand the sadness other people hold in their hearts; it is the desire to help others ease their sadness. In other words, if you have a heart of mercy, it means that you already have a head start as a human being.

Conversely, if you cannot comprehend this heart of mercy, then you are basically living in a dog-eat-dog animalistic world or a realm in which people are killed daily. If you cannot comprehend the heart of mercy, you will return to that kind of world after you die. Ending up in a world ruled by fear or a world ruled by the law of the jungle after death is not a desirable result for humans.

Reasons why competition exists in this world

Depending on the way you look at it, a competitive world may appear like a brutal, animalistic world. However, there is more to humans than simply aiming to win and survive, increasing monetary gain, or having an easy life at the cost of other people or other companies. In that sense, our world is not the same as the world of animals.

Even when you see other companies expanding, it is important that your company continuously aims to create better products to benefit the world. If you want to monopolize sales in a market by crushing other companies, your company will become an animalistic, dog-eat-dog world. Therefore, you must have a heart of mercy. That will create a world where everyone can help and nurture each other.

On the individual level, there is also competition to enter prestigious schools, for example, and some people may harbor ill feelings or jealousy toward people who can study better than themselves. On the other hand, those able to study well may scorn, put down, discriminate, or mock people who cannot study, causing all sorts of pain. Such attitudes are due to extreme narrow-mindedness.

Competing just for the sake of competition is wrong. One aspect of competition is that it promotes mutual improvement. If you stay idle and neglect to improve yourself, you are letting down your parents and forgetting the reason you were born.

Do not let your life and your parents’ effort go to waste. Instead, strive to study hard and do good work. Aim to be a respectable person who can contribute to society and who can support those in need of help. For this purpose, it is essential to learn a variety of things through friendly rivalry and develop your abilities. We want the power of funds to become the power to help many people.

Awaken to the power of mercy dormant in you

I want all of you to awaken to this power of mercy dormant in you. Many people are waiting for the Truth. I pray from the bottom of my heart that the light of love will reach all people throughout the world.

– “Awakening to the Power of Mercy” Chapter Five of The Laws of Mission
by Master Ryuho Okawa

November 23rd
The First Turning of the Wheel of Truth

Gratitude Service

37 years ago, 30 year old Master Ryuho Okawa quit his job, and with no income and very little funds, gave his very first sermon. He was determined to spread the Truth and bring salvation to all people, even if it meant doing it alone. That was the First Turning of the Wheel of Truth, the beginning of missionary work. Please join us in giving thanks to Master Ryuho Okawa for giving the first of over 3,500 sermons, allowing us to discover what happiness truly is, and open the way to a brilliant future for all on this planet.

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