What is a ‘Religious’ Way of Life? – Part 2 of 3

I have summarised and translated one of Masahiro Oki’s articles which was written in his Japanese monthly magazine ‘Yoga’ issued in April 1969. As it is a long article, I post it in three parts. This is the second part. Three native English-speakers, Junko Furugori, Hiroyuki Mori and Michael Cullingworth assisted me by correcting and polishing up my English translation.

Translator’s Notes:

religious: By the word ‘religious’, Masahiro Oki does not mean ‘relating to an established religion or believing in it’. He means ‘with a spirit similar in quality to that of religion beyond name and form’. So, this title means “What is it ‘to live with a spirit like that of religion’?”

religion: Masahiro Oki expressed his philosophy saying that the purpose and value of religion is beyond the name or form of any system, and used the word ‘religion’ to refer to ‘what teaches the most fundamentally important thing in life’.

mind-heart: A Japanese word ‘kokoro 心’ means the integration of intellect, heart, emotion, spirit, consciousness and the subconscious, that is to say, both the source of these functions and the functions themselves. According to every context, the word can be translated into different English words such as heart, mind, mentality, emotions, feelings, and spirit. Each of these English words also has a specific Japanese expression other than kokoro. However, in many cases, the distinction between these meanings is less important or difficult to clarify. Traditionally in Okido Yoga, we adopt the word ‘mind-heart’ as a translation of kokoro. In this text, I follow the same way.

D. Make yourself alive in others

12– ‘To realise one’s mission as a human being’ means that, as a social being, one consciously tries to create balance on the earth. This means training oneself to create balance in oneself and at the same time between oneself and others. This is love. In order to practise this love, it is good to live in a broader perspective on the ‘self’ and make oneself alive in others. A natural way for human beings is that, by doing one’s best for others, one also lives for oneself. We are protected to the degree that we have protected others, we are benefited to the degree that we have benefited others, we are given joy to the degree that we have given joy to others, and we are saved to the degree that we have saved others.

13– We seek happiness, peace, joy, and freedom, but in many cases our way of life seems to be heading in the opposite direction. No true joy is given unless we correct our lifestyle. Correcting lifestyle means correcting the content of mind-heart, correcting the content of mind-heart means correcting our way of thinking, and correcting our way of thinking means to find a way of co-existence and co-prosperity for oneself and others.

14– The basis of this mind-heart consists of the four principles:

  • Mind of unconditional gratitude or infinite gratitude for all things (kansha),
  • Mind of apology and self-reflection (zange),
  • Mind of humbleness with respect (geza), and
  • Mind of service with devotion (hōshi).

I think all religions teach this after all.

E. Become a ‘doer of love’

15– A person who puts these four principles into action is a ‘doer of love’. To be able to practise love correctly, we need to be able to judge, sense and act correctly.

16– There are numerous good teachings. But their effects do not appear in human society because they are not implemented. Focusing on the importance of implementation, I named my yoga group ‘Dōjō** for Seeking and Practising Truth’. The yoga dojo I run is a place where you are going to develop your ability to practise truth. (Translator’s Note: Dōjō** – a Japanese word – means ‘a training place’.)

17– In order to become a ‘doer of love’, it is necessary to acquire a state in which you accept everything affirmatively and utilise it. Nature does not deny anything. Nature affirms and utilises everything. If you deny something, you will be in conflict with it, discriminate against it, or try to escape from it. When you affirm things and try to deal with them positively, you can find a way for both you and the other person to live. The intention to enable everything to be alive — this is the mind of Nature. To do this consciously and rationally is to practise love.

F. To live a ‘religious’ way of life

18– To live with human naturalness, that is, to live a ‘religious’ life, it is necessary to consciously devote yourself to others. For example, when you wake up in the morning, please make up your mind to do something good for others, even one or two things. To love others, one needs to consciously care about others. That’s because unconsciously one tends to think about oneself most of the time.  

19– In addition, it is necessary to train yourself to perceive everything as God. The state in which you perceive everything as God is the state of gratitude and worship. When you come to feel that you are serving God, the right way of thinking and acting will come out naturally. When your mind-heart becomes reverent, joy as a human being will arise.  

20– If you are not aware that both you and others are God, you may thoughtlessly allow yourself and others to do some bad things. When you realize the preciousness of your body, you will naturally try to stay healthy.  Not only will you want to be healthy because you dislike illness, but you will come to want to train your body in order to live in the right way because it is a precious ‘tool’ for implementing your ability. That should be the way to human health. When you become aware of this, you will realize that all the aspects of your life and work should be opportunities for self-discipline.

This continues to Part 3 of 3.

2 thoughts on “What is a ‘Religious’ Way of Life? – Part 2 of 3

  1. Thank you so much for this reminder. I loved watching Master Oki’s talks on black and white film at the Dojo in Holland (was it 30 years ago?). It was an important part of my spiritual/yogic education. And especially his book “Meditation Yoga” which I haven’t looked at for many years now but is still one of my favourite books.

    Its lovely to get this reminder, just at a time when I need it.

    Thank you all for translating and proof reading and sending this out.

    • Thank you, Jenni, for your comment. What we heard then and what we hear now are the same thing but resonate in our different dimensions. This is a beautiful happening we can associate aging and experiencing with. To enjoy this, let’s try to stay healthy! Take care!

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