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  • Writer's pictureSweet Orange

#39 小さくても「先施の心」を、、、Heart of charity

Rev: Toshio Maehara 前原利夫

Title: Heart of charity


More than 10 years ago, when Yozan Uesugi (1751-1822) was widely introduced and his books were selling well, I read about him with great interest. President J.F. Kennedy's comment that Yozan, whom the Japanese press had never heard of, was the most respected of all Japanese, may have been the trigger that brought Yozan, who had been uncovered, into the spotlight. Yozan's original name was Harunori. He was a feudal lord of the Yonezawa domain and is considered a great lord of the mid-Edo period. The reason for this is that he paid off the domain's large debt, said to be 20 billion yen, by reforming the domain's administration. His famous saying was, "If you do, you will succeed; if you do not, you will not succeed. If you don't do something, it will not be done." He must have told himself that if he did something, it would be done, and this belief worked. He left behind many famous phrases, and even 200 years after his death, he seems to be encouraging many people. One of the great influences on Yozan was Heishu Hosoi. I do not know much about him, but it is said that he was a Confucian scholar and deeply believed in his teachings. One of his famous sayings is "Sensi no Kokoro" (heart of charity), which is mentioned at the beginning of this article. As you probably know, this mind means to do unto others the best you would have them do unto you. If we live today with this kind of mind and spirit, there will be less conflict, less fighting, and more peace in the world around us and in our country. However, this kind of mindfulness will be wasted if we do not change our small acts of kindness and selfishness so that they will spring naturally from our daily life. If we do not change our small acts of kindness and selfishness, they will be in vain. The other day, as I started rehabilitation at the YMCA pool, I greeted a man next to me with "Good morning," and I got back, "Good morning, I am happy I could wake up this morning , and God is giving me another day to live.” Whenever I feel pain and my body does not move as it should, I feel a prick in my heart that it would be easier to be in heaven. It may seem small to thank God that I am alive today, but isn't it the beginning of "the mind of prior charity"? Also, in the shower room, there is a big guy by the name of Big John, and when he saw my sour face, he shouted to me, "Hey, smile!" I was so embarrassed. Had he known I was a pastor, I would have been greatly embarrassed. If you are moody, unhappy because you are sick or tired, there will be no joy and no peace. Peace must come where circumstances are bad, where there is smiling and laughter even in times of adversity. Then there was my recent experience of trying to open a door from the inside and pushing with my left weak hand. Usually the receptionist would push it open for me, but that day there was no one there. I pushed it myself and it opened very lightly. I thought that was strange, and when I looked up, a young man was pulling it open from the outside. Smiling, smiling, smiling! Thank you, thank you, and we went outside. If we keep the "spirit of thankfulness" in our hearts, we can do it in our daily lives. It doesn't matter how small it is. Jesus Christ said, "And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"(Matthew 5:47)

He also said, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12) Here we have the "heart of charity" of Christ 2,000 years ago. Let us convey this spirit in our small but familiar greetings to each other, in the encouragement of our neighbors, and in other hidden places.


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