Awakening to a way of living life (Section III)
Transcript from a talk (Translated from Japanese)
What the development of the brain produced
As I have mentioned before several times, human society is facing a dead-end in many ways. So, as we think about what are the root and the deeper root cause, I think that perhaps the feature that most highlights the difference between humans and other animals is the development of the brain. The developed brain works to create the sense of separateness, scientific and rational thinking, and egoism.
There are millions of stars and galaxies in the universe. These move following a regular pattern like a clock, revolving around each other in perfect and beautiful harmony. In addition, in the world of nature, there are millions of minerals, microorganisms, plants, animals, sun, moon, water, air, rivers, oceans, sky, clouds, and rain. These circulate and help each other, and are also in perfect harmony.
Animals, which live only by instinct, live in harmony in nature and as one with the surrounding environment. When a lion eats a deer or other grass-eating animal, it might appear like the law of the jungle where the weak are victims of the strong. However, let us say that this is a surface-level way of looking at the situation. When a lion’s stomach is full, it does not even look at deer. It does not eat more than necessary. Also, it is said that if lions did not eat any deer or grass-eating animals at all, the number of these grass-eating animals would increase too much, and it would lead to their ruin. So, meat-eating animals such as lions are absolutely necessary for grass-eating animals such as deer to survive and thrive. In addition, lions never kill each other in masses. If this happened, all lions would become extinct. In this way, animals that live by instinct alone live in nature in harmony and as one with the surrounding environment, plants and animals.
In comparison, how are we humans with our developed brain? We look only at short-term convenience and desires, put poison into our food and drinking water, pollute the air that we breathe, and pollute and destroy the natural environment that we absolutely need to survive. In addition, we humans continue to kill each other in masses. If we look at the situation in this way, as long as our overall way of living does not change from the root, isn’t it clear that we humans will become extinct at some point?
This is not just my imagination. Of the world’s intellectuals, fairly many say that humankind will probably perish in the near future. They say that we are clearly headed in the direction of destruction. Although these people say, “we must do something,” no one has mentioned specific ways for “how we can save ourselves from destruction.”
Living beings have evolved from a single cell to humans over billions of years. For certain, the development of the brain in humans has greatly helped in the competition for survival. However, now, with our developed brain, we humans are facing what can be called a crisis situation that will decide our future. I feel it is already impossible to overcome this crisis situation no matter how much we try different ideas, if the ideas are from within the same dimension or the same direction of the past ways of thinking. To survive this worst crisis in human history, we need a new way of thinking that changes at the root-level, the past direction of advancement (?) of our human society. In other words, new ideas are necessary from a higher dimension than the ideas of the past.
Is there a next step in evolution for humans?
In one sense, even if we accept the advancements of human society, we can say that human society has a deadly illness and is just one step away from the last stage before death.
So, is a next step of evolution for humans actually possible? Or, is this the end point of human evolution and history? We are witnessing this type of stage. In the history of the universe, history of the earth, evolution of living beings, and human history, we are witnessing this kind of particularly historical era or moment.
Certainly, humankind is deeply in trouble, but personally, I feel that instead of the end point of human evolution and history, I think this era is one step before we move to the next stage. Based on several facts, I think this is the case.
By reading books that have recorded the experiences of people (sages) who gained awareness in the past, it seems that most of them followed almost the same process before they gained awareness. They discovered the true world when they reached a dead end after thoroughly struggling in their earnest search for the true way of living or a way to overcome the agony of the heart and mind.
This is only one example, but there are many similar actual examples. There are many cases in which when a person faced a dead-end situation personally or socially, he or she thoroughly reflected on the things that led to the dead end, completely broke free from these things and made a great breakthrough.
Many illnesses arise and worsen from an incorrect way of living or attitude of the heart. However, as long as it is not too late, even if a person suffers quite a lot from the illness, if because of the suffering, he or she starts to reflect on the true way of living or attitude of the heart, the person should be able to realize his or her incorrect ways from the root level. If the person does this and corrects his or her mistaken ways, for certain, the illness should be cured and health restored.
In this way, by becoming ill, a person can realize the correct attitude of the heart and way of living. To put it simply, maybe we can say that except for people who are very humble and have a receptive attitude, most people will not think seriously and sincerely about even the most important matters as long as they are not truly desperate.
(Of course, that would mean the people think there is still much more time, but it will already be too late when they realize it. In addition, if a person becomes ill and the illness worsens because of a mistake in attitude of the heart or way of life, and the person does not reflect on his or her ways, does not correct them, and thinks the illness is something that can be cured by another person such as a doctor or medicine, even if the illness is cured temporarily, it is likely that the illness will appear again or appear in the form of an even worse illness. If the root cause is not removed, we cannot say the illness has been cured from the root-level.)
The meaning of the crisis situation of human society
Similar to the examples I described before, I feel that maybe except for people who are very humble and have a receptive attitude, we are made in a way that we do not readily try to think seriously and sincerely, and face the facts directly as long as human society does not reach a crisis situation. To say it another way, by being in a crisis situation, facing this fact directly, and trying to survive, I think we (humankind) can become aware of the true way of living and bring out our real underlying power. In other words, when we stand at the edge, where we will die for sure if things remain as they are, I believe we will be able to become serious. When we become serious, we will be able to see clearly our past mistakes and at the same time, ideas will spring forth from a different dimension to overcome our mistakes.
（It is a fact that there are people who have given up or are not interested and say things such as, “I cannot do it” or “It is not for me to do.” Maybe there is nothing that can be done about these people. However, what if these people could say, “Even I can do it.” I would like to suggest, “It is exactly because we are living in these times, that even I can do something, and you also can do something.”
The universe continues to evolve
Instead of saying this a test that the universe has given to humankind, maybe we can say that humankind has been given the best opportunity to realize what is true. I think that maybe the scheme of the universe itself is this way. It is said that the universe began with the big bang. First, matter appeared, and then life appeared. Finally, humans came into being. There are probably different theories, but if we look at evolution overall, there was a period when living beings made big jumps in evolution. When did these jumps in evolution occur? Before every jump in evolution, the situation was that things absolutely could no longer continue as is. The living beings directly faced becoming extinct or certain death. In these kinds of times, for some reason, a big jump in evolution occurred to overcome the crisis. Then, life progressed to the next step in evolution.
In this universe, or we can say the earth, at first, only “matter” existed. Then, living organisms appeared and separated into plants and animals. Since we are considering the evolution of humans, let us think about animals. In the evolution of animals, apes appeared. It is said that humans evolved from a form of ape. However, I think that animals up to the ape, and humans are definitely on different dimensions. What does this mean? Let us look at an example. Animals are made from matter (a physical body). While animals are made from matter, at the same time, they have a factor, “life,” which is from a different dimension than matter. In a similar way, we can say that while we humans are made from matter and are animals, at the same time, we have a factor “heart” or “mind” from a different dimension.
Humans have a factor, “heart” or “mind,” that is from a different dimension than animals. This does not simply mean intelligent life. Of course, there is no mistake that humans came into being through the evolution of animals, but I do not think of humans as simply one type of animal.
Of course, following common wisdom, humans can be considered as animals belonging to the ape “family.” But, I want to say that even if that is the case, we humans are very unique because we have a “heart (mind).”
What is the universe evolving toward?
I think the universe is evolving in a definite direction. Why do I think this is the case? It is because there is no universe outside of the universe. So, there is no force that can be added from outside of the universe. Therefore, with the force of the first big bang, or the force that triggered the big bang, the universe has been going in a definite direction. This is not simply a physical force or direction, but the “content” of the universe is also continuing to advance (evolve) in a definite direction.
In the end, in what direction is evolution headed? Evolution has progressed from matter to living beings (animals) to humans. (It is probably not wrong to call it “evolution of living beings” in the overall picture.) I think the direction of the evolution of living beings is not simply that living beings survive and their numbers increase. If the aim of evolution was only to make survival more certain and increase in numbers, insects have been much more successful than humans. Furthermore, bacteria have been more successful than insects.
So, one-celled organisms were in a much more stable condition. Then, why was it necessary for them to become many-celled organisms, and for even more complex organisms to come into existence? Instead of ensuring survival or numbers as Darwin said, my guess is that in the end, the evolution of living beings is going in the direction of creating “beings that have awareness.”
I will describe my theory next, so I hope you will keep that in mind as you listen. The world of animals is a world in perfect harmony. Since their cerebrum is not as developed, they live by instinct only. This instinct obeys the laws of nature (or laws of the universe). So, they live in harmony with nature and the surrounding animals and plants. However, animals do not have the ability to be aware of this. They just live in harmony.
To say it as if representing the universe, probably the universe wants to create “beings that are aware” of “what am I” and “the universe is this kind of universe (one that works in this way).”
Already, at least since thousands of years ago, many people who have lived before us, including Buddha and sages, have found the “true world” and the “true self.” If we think about this, we cannot think humans are just one type of animal. The universe is continuing to evolve in a definite direction. After going through a very long process of evolution, at long last, humans appeared, and we humans have a “heart (mind).” Even though they are still few in number, some “humans with awareness” have appeared. If we assume this, at the end of this direction of evolution, many more “humans with awareness” will be born. In addition, after that, I think, “all humankind will have awareness.”
Of course, if you say that no one knows the will of the universe, the discussion will end there. However, from my personal experience, I think the will of the universe can be sensed deep inside each of us if we make our mind clear and still, and not by trying to convince ourselves with our head.
Some may say that it is difficult to do this. However, while saying it is difficult, most people have more than once asked themselves the questions, “For what purpose was I born?” “What am I?” “What is this world?” If we think for a moment that we, who have these questions, were born as a result of the evolution of the universe, instead of considering this self as simply a whim or passing thought, isn’t it possible that the will of the universe is to produce “beings with awareness?”
“Why” and “For what purpose”
So, why do we humans, who have been called “the lords of creation” and are at the highest step in evolution, cause suffering to ourselves, cause suffering to others, are pushed around by our desires, and fight in ugly fights? And, why have we come to such a dead-end situation now? Humans have created wonderful cultures. In our history and in our daily lives, there have been many scenes of expressing our wonderful humanity and love. On the other hand, for certain, we are following a path toward suffering and destruction. As I mentioned before, I believe it is because of the development of our brain.
“Why” does this happen?” I am using the word “why” in the following way. For example, when a person gets a fever, he or she thinks, “Oh no, I got a fever.” Usually, we think a fever is bad, and we take medicine or get treatment from a doctor. There are probably some people who do not do anything, but most of us have come to think that fevers and colds are bad.
Until a certain point, I also thought in this way. However, one day, I wondered, “For what purpose do humans catch colds? For what purpose are fevers necessary?” Instead of “why,” when I changed the question to “for what purpose,” I got a completely different answer than before. “A cold is one type of natural healing force. The purpose of a fever is to adjust the body and fix parts where something is not working properly.”
Later, I read the book, “Colds and Their Benefits,“ by Haruchika Noguchi, the founder of Noguchi Seitai, and I was able to confirm that my way of thinking was correct. When the body functions poorly from built-up fatigue or distortions in the body, the body catches a cold as a natural healing ability to try to correct the fatigue or distortions. If you think a fever is bad and force the temperature to go down after the body had made the effort to raise it, this will block the natural healing ability of the body. So, a cold is not bad. We catch a cold because it is necessary.
Following the same way of thinking, “why” do humans cause suffering to others? If we think “why,” we find answers such as that it is because of the development of our brain, or because of conflicts in national egoism. However, “for what purpose” do we cause suffering to others and head toward our ruin? If we think about it by specifying, “for what purpose,” I believe we will be able to see things that we could not see before.
The meaning of suffering and the dead-end situation
As I described before, many sages including Buddha became aware of “the truth of our existence” miraculously when they were desperate, facing a crisis situation in which there was nothing more that they could do. If we review the history of the evolution of living beings, it appears that a great jump in evolution is triggered when facing an absolute crisis. In order to survive an absolute crisis situation, a completely new form or ability from a different dimension was probably necessary.
It is said that the same kind of crisis situation was the trigger when the first humans came into existence. It is said that the ancestors of humans were monkeys like the chimpanzees. From a sudden change in climate, the forests that had been the monkeys’ home gradually disappeared. So, these monkeys, which had lived for millions of years in the safe forests, had to leave the safety of life in the trees and move to the grasslands. This was the start of actual walking on two feet. It is said that along with this, the brain developed rapidly. Naturally, for the rapid development of the brain and walking on two feet, it was necessary to make dramatic jumps in form and functions.
There are different opinions about whether to consider that these happened by chance or were necessary in the scheme of the evolution of living beings. I think these may have been built into the scheme of evolution. There are many pieces of evidence. Looking at the perfect harmony of the universe and nature, I don’t think the forces or laws that created these exist by accident or by chance. If these did exist by chance, I think these forces or laws would also have been built into the scheme of the evolution of living beings.
The power to survive the critical situation of the present era
If we think in this way, we will come to think there is also a significant meaning in the critical situation of human society today. This is repeating what I said before, but the root causes of the crisis in human society are “viewing yourself and others as being separate” (view of separateness), the scientific method of thinking based on this view of separateness, and the egoism that comes from these. To put it simply, it can be said that we are not looking correctly at the “truth of our existence.”
For what purpose are humans suffering? It might cause misunderstanding to say this, but in a sense, I think humans are suffering because there is a need. To say it another way, I feel that perhaps unless we humans suffer thoroughly we will not realize what is true. Although I say this, it certainly does not mean that I support suffering. Instead, I think that in our attempt to seriously and sincerely try to overcome suffering, we search for the root cause of that suffering. By resolving the root cause, we become aware of the “truth of our existence” that everything is one and cannot be separated, overcome our suffering, and come to live life in the true way.
It is exactly the same for the overall human society. By facing this worst crisis of human society, many people all around the world have emerged who say we must become serious about surviving. If we are serious, naturally, a temporary solution or partial solution will not be good enough. If we seriously try to survive, naturally, we will come to see that we must aim for a root-level solution. Then, we will probably reach the conclusion that there is no other way to survive except by finding the root cause of this crisis and removing it.
By going through this kind of process, finding the root cause, which is “egoism based on seeing everything as separate,” making new policies to eliminate these causes, and putting them into effect, I think we will be able to overcome this crisis situation from the root level. In this way, the overall level of awareness of humans about “the truth of our existence” will rise.
(Probably, the possibility of humans becoming extinct from environmental destruction or war will be eliminated at least. However, it will take a long time for all humans to have awareness. Even if wars or major fighting do not occur, small-scale fighting and personal disputes will probably continue.)
Humankind is evolving
If the direction of the overall human society becomes settled in the direction with “the truth of our existence” at the foundation, at this point, we will use our brain in the correct way based on “the truth of our existence,” and new technologies will be created. In addition, rapidly, the social system will change to follow in line with “the truth of our existence.” If this happens, humankind will awaken from the delusion of the past millions of years of “seeing everything as separate,” and we can anticipate that the level of awareness of humankind overall will rapidly rise.
I think that by going through this process, a new human society will be born, which heads in the new direction of “the truth of our existence” where all beings are one and inseparable. From the viewpoint of evolution, probably, humans who have become aware, in other words, “new humans,” will be born one after another.
With this direction of evolution, we humans will realize our true form. In order to live in harmony with everything, now of all times, we need to severely reflect on ourselves and ask ourselves, “For what purpose are we suffering this much?” Some may think maybe it would have been better if the universe did not create humans with our developed brain that easily makes mistakes, and instead stopped with animals that live only by instinct and in harmony with everything as the final stage of evolution. However, as I said before, the universe wanted to create “existences that are aware” and that live in harmony with all things in nature. I think that we humans with a developed brain that easily makes mistakes were created for this very purpose.
Looking at the light in the future of our human society
There is a saying, “Change toward the positive after reaching the negative extreme.“ This probably means that in fact, at the stage before reaching the negative extreme, things have already begun to change toward the positive. If we look closely at our present world that is facing a dead end, around the world, not only religious people or famous intellectuals, but more and more people such as ordinary citizens, company employees, and housewives feel we must change to a new way of living.
If my suggested explanation about evolution is correct, by facing this worst crisis in the history of human society, following the scheme of the evolution of the universe, by necessity, more and more people from around the world will begin to realize “the truth of our existence” as being one and not separable. In addition, naturally, more and more new ideas will arise based on this. (In this sense, most important is to have as many people as possible know that we are facing the present dead-end situation.)
The concept of “raising an ideal in Japan of a non-egoistic nation” is one of these new ideas. Personally, I think that at our present stage, this way of thinking is the most effective way to overcome the crisis of our human society from the root level. The Constitution of Japan in its present form is a non-egoistic constitution that came from thinking in a completely different dimension than in the past. My way of thinking is exactly the same as the foundation of the idea for the present Constitution of Japan. My proposal of “raising an ideal of a non-egoistic nation of Japan” is interpreting the spirit of the present Constitution of Japan in an active form, and suggesting that we actively bring the Constitution to life.
However, as I mentioned in the example of an illness, if each of us does not know the facts well, or even if we know the facts and think that everything will be all right, it has nothing to do with me, or I cannot do anything, this cannot be helped. If we fall into a state of ignorance, groundless optimism, are not interested, or are pessimistic, in time, it will become too late. If this becomes the case, humans, the great masterpiece that the universe created, will only have become “crazy monkeys” with an abnormally developed brain.
At the same time, I see a bright light in the future of humankind that is definitely not based on ignorant optimism. This is because I have firm faith that we humans are beings who are worthy of being trusted in the end. (End)
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Friday, December 5, 2008