The New Year has started off in even more
dire conditions, hasn't it?
Given the circumstances of the world today
it is clear that the biggest challenge is
"peace". I think the simplest way
to get there is to rid in our own hearts
of the dislike we have of certain people.
We can hope for a global peace as much as
we wish but how can we achieve it when we
do not even like our own neighbors?
Just do a litmus test, because the simplest
way to know whether you have the right to
discuss "peace" is to ask yourself
if you are disgusted with certain people
or wish to avoid them. I believe this is
a definite path and a shortcut to peace.
Humans are creatures of emotion that hold
grudges and feelings of hatred towards others
over trivial matters. It is nobody else but
yourself who suffer the most. If you hate
somebody it is you who will suffer. The person
who is the target of your hatred no doubt
suffers too but the person who projects the
hatred suffers even more.
It is the pain that you create for yourself;
therefore, by looking into your heart, you
should be able to see your feelings of hatred
When you look into yourself and overcome
such thoughts, only then can you start discussing
Because world peace is such a big issue,
we must ask ourselves what we can do to contribute.
It is just as I say, examine your minds and
get rid of feelings of dislike we have for
Have you heard of the term "fueki ryukou"?
I wrote about it in my books on "the
Principles of lifelong integrated education",
and it is a term used in the Haiku (the shortest
form of Japanese traditional poetry) by Basho
In the dictionary, it says "fueki is the life of a poem that is eternal in
its essence," and "ryukou denotes aspects of its continual change
that bring new perspectives from time to
Moreover, it says that the two concepts of
"fueki" and "ryukou"
are "both produced from literary art
and are therefore fundamentally of the same
That is to say, since they are products of
literary art, such as poems and verses, they
may appear to be different, they are actually
one and the same.
Speaking in terms of what we learn each day,
this phenomenal world does not stay constant
for even one moment. Everything is varying
and changing. However, beneath the phenomenal
world, there is an everlasting and unchanging
world of essence.
I think this is what is meant by "fueki
ryukou", or "unchanging and varying".
We always tend to separate the two.
We may know the essence of "fueki"
but there are certain things that cannot
be the essence. And if anything, we are always
pushed towards "ryukou", towards
those things and matters that change. That
is what I think. However, if "fueki"
and "ryukou" are one and the same
and are both real, we must perceive them
in the proper light.
The other day I watched a television program
featuring a discussion between Dr. Shigeaki
Hinohara (prominent medical doctor) and Jakucho
Setouchi (Buddhist nun), and they both agreed
that we are being "let alive by a greater
power". They both agreed, "It is
a matter of course that we should return
the gift because we are let alive in the
It seems the more one ponders life in a philosophical
manner as these two prominent persons have
done, the more one comes to discern that
we are not alive on our own but are being
let alive. And they are able to experience
the world of essence and the unchanging,
The ordinary man cannot easily arrive at
those grounds and tends to be halfway in
the middle?not being able to submerge oneself
in the essential world of "fueki",
and not following the actual shift of "ryukou"
but only at superficial changes, and being
swept away and overwhelmed by them. If "fueki"
and "ryukou" are one and the same,
we must be able to find the unchanging in
the changes and to understand that there
is never-ending changes out of the unchanging
If you begin to understand these things you
will be an expert on life. Are you not being
too confused by the phenomenal world? When
you encounter something that inconveniences
you, troubles you, or makes you sad, do you
let them get hold of you and panic?
But when you search for the source of such
phenomenon, you will learn that it all comes
from the world of essence. So, it should
no longer get to you nor confuse you.
"Kuu-soku-ze-Shiki", voidness equals
existence, and "Shiki-soku-ze-Kuu",
existence equals voidness, which I discussed
in my keynote address at last year's international
forum, mean that the phenomenal world with
forms in difference and otherness and the
world of "voidness", the world
of essence and equality without forms, are
in no way separate but are circulating; this
is the truth that I believe is also carried
in the term "fueki ryukou".
Basho, being a master in the world of Haiku,
was probably enlightened to this truth. He
must have seen the world of essence beneath
the phenomenal surface. That is probably
why he was able to capture the truth in the
short 5-7-5 syllable verse, creating so many
There is one more thing I would like to talk
about, and that is the direction of our lives
in the future. Japan is currently called
an economic superpower; however, I believe
that we should strive to become a "cultural
mini-country". It does not have to be
a big power but though small to have a sparkle
that shines ever so brightly.
And to be so, we should not be satisfying
our greed with money and material goods.
The lust may make our country great, but
it would not be outstanding. As I said last
year, we must have a heart that "knows
when it is enough". The Earth has limited
resources and cannot support growth infinitely.
It is critical, therefore, to set the whole
world in the right direction.
You may recall "Shusho ichinyo",
a Zen doctrine that teaches that disciplining
oneself (the practice) and enlightenment
(the confirmation) are not separate but are
in fact the same; that is to say, disciplining
self is not a path to enlightenment but is
enlightenment itself. I also discussed last
year, I believe that to raise the quality
of human beings, we should not own too many
things. The more you gain, the more you want?that
is simply human greed. Once you train yourself
to discard things, you may find that the
feeling begins to multiply. Even if you do
not have enough, you do not lament the lack
but instead rejoice in the simplicity. This,
I believe, is another essential nature of
In place of owning things, you can create
the qualities for which you will be respected
and loved by everybody wherever you go. Develop
such qualities in the Japanese people. I
would like to see you do that, especially
for your children.
Loving people is the most cherished act of
all. It goes beyond liking and disliking.
I would like to share this with you as the
truth I hold. The human society is in such
a sad state right now, so please, start by
loving people close to you.
Nomura Center for Lifelong Integrated Education