Gun Control and Mental Health Care
What Should Be Considered Effective Health Care?
In the wake of the shooting rampage in Connecticut, President Obama announced that a new task force would develop concrete proposals for dealing with gun violence.
As President Obama mentioned, authorities must work to make “access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun”. This recent slaughter has ignited renewed national debates over gun control, mental health care, and school safety.
Strict gun control measures, of course, need to be implemented. Along with that, limiting mentally ill people’s access to weapons should also be reconsidered.
“To reduce the risk of multi-victim violence, we would be better advised to focus on early detection and treatment of mental illness,” Washington based think tank, Cato chairman Robert Levy told the Times.
But what is the definition of mentally ill in the first place? And what should be considered effective health care? Will the existing psychiatrists be able to continue to provide effective prescriptions to their patients?
With heartfelt condolences for the innocent victims, we’d like to introduce a few excerpts from Master Ryuho Okawa’s lecture titled The Principles of Spiritual Possession — How to Protect Yourself from Evil Spirits— (this lecture was given on February 11, 2004) which explains how and why ordinary people’s characters change when they are possessed by evil or malicious spirits. We truly hope that this offering will, in an indirect way, contribute to the prevention of an appearance of another Adam Lanza before the enactment of effective laws.
We would like to note that Master Okawa has given a wide variety of lectures regarding spirit possession as well as self-reflection. The following presentation of Master Okawa’s work only represents a small portion of what he has taught us.
To Avoid Possession by Spirits From Hell
Abandon Envy and Complaint, Live With a Righteous Mind
I have spoken about various issues in relation to spiritual possession. It is, of course, a good thing to be in touch with your guardian spirit or with angels. There are not so many people who are able to connect with higher beings like angels, but I think many people are able to communicate with at least their guardian spirit.
If you are connecting with spirits from Hell, however, it is a problem. Spirits from Hell drive people’s lives to misfortune and increase the number of unhappy people, so we must put a stop to this type of possession phenomenon, at all costs.
As I explained earlier, possession takes place when the wavelengths of your mind are attuned to those of a spirit. So then, what kind of mind will attract evil spirits? What kind of mind can be described as a negative one?
There are numerous examples of a negative mind. There is, for example, an envious mind, a mind that is full of jealousy. There is a mind that is always filled with dissatisfaction and complaint. Then there is the kind of mind that is always slandering or abusing others, hurting people with negative words. There is also a cynical mind.
Also, there is a mind that suffers from a persecution complex. Those who are susceptible to spiritual possession generally suffer from a persecution complex. They believe that people are always bullying them, that they are being hurt or injured, and that they always lose out.
This type of thinking is usually accompanied by a mind that blames others. It is a mind that always believes that somebody else is at fault, always trying to put the blame on parents, friends, teachers, superiors at work, colleagues, lovers, the environment, their job, the economy, anything but themselves. They do not assume responsibility for the awful situation that they are in and continue blaming others. Spirits in Hell find it very easy to approach people like this who tend not to take responsibility for their own life.
Another kind of negative mind is an angry one. Everybody gets angry at times, but people who become angry on a regular basis, who are always in a rage, are generally in tune with Hell. People who are always angry, who are filled with unreasonable rage, will attract spirits from Hell.
People who easily lose their temper, who say and do terrible things, who complain, or who have a persecution complex, always blaming others for their misfortune, will be approached by spirits from Hell.
There is also the opposite type of mind. People with low self-image, low self-acknowledgment, low self-esteem, people who think that they are no good, a complete failure, that they are beyond help, and that they should have never been born, will also attract Hell spirits. Their minds are also covered with dark clouds.
The Six Worldly Delusions: Greed, Anger, Ignorance, Pride, Doubt, and False Views
According to the Buddhist doctrine, the main factors that create a negative mind can be summed up as the six worldly delusions, which are greed, anger, ignorance, pride, doubt, and false views.
Greed is excessive desire. Everybody has desires, but if they are taken too far, it appears very ugly to others. When others see greedy people, they think, “He is too greedy. He is expecting big returns for the little work he does” or “She is trying to make money without doing anything.”
In samurai movies, for example, we often see a corrupt local administrator defeated by a virtuous hero. In these stories, the evil administrator is generally greedy and willing to break the law to make unfair profits. These kinds of people have excessive greed.
The next delusion is anger. It is the kind of mind that suddenly flies into a rage, and people with this kind of mind are prone to possession by animal spirits, particularly snakes.
Next, we have ignorance, or foolishness. This refers to the kind of people who make many mistakes and create their own suffering. In particular, there is ignorance with regard to religious truth. There are many people who claim the opposite of religious truth, who believe the opposite of what I teach. They think that worldly pleasure is everything and immerse themselves in it.
Fools are people who do not seek any spiritual values but seek happiness only through material objects or physical pleasure. This is what is meant by ignorance. There are plenty of foolish people even among those who have a high IQ and are able to excel in their studies at school. The pain created by this ignorance attracts the spirits of Hell.
Pride is the conceited heart, or the arrogant mind. This is similar to the mind of tengu (long-nosed goblins) who are forever boasting of their power. Tengu (see note 1) do not necessarily belong in Hell, but in many cases their conceit brings them down and makes them suffer. This suffering, in turn, creates a road to Hell. Conceit is a shortcut to failure and there are many people who fail as a result of conceit.
The next delusion is doubt. In this context, I am generally referring to a mind that doubts Buddha’s Truth, but it also includes suspicion, a tendency to doubt others, and a defiant heart.
The last delusion, false views, refers to mistaken ideologies and outlooks. There are numerous mistaken outlooks, and some of them are taught in schools. There are mistaken political and economic ideologies and also mistaken ideas taught in various organizations or religious groups.
Once you become obsessed with a mistaken idea, once it has entered your head, you will see everything from the opposite perspective. For this reason, it will be extremely difficult for somebody who is a member of a misguided religion, who believes in wrong ideologies, to attain enlightenment. They must at least leave the organization to achieve that. In the same way that it is hard to achieve enlightenment while in a gang of robbers, it is difficult to find the Truth while amongst people who believe in a false ideology.
There are many false views in the world today; even among intellectuals, false views are extremely common. The worst disseminator of false views is journalism. The world is being f looded with mistaken ideas through the reports that appear in the newspapers, on television, in weekly magazines and the like. As a result, confusion is created on Earth and Hell expands itself, creating a large number of inhabitants. This kind of occurrence is common.
You should think of greed, anger, ignorance, pride, doubt, and false views as basic examples of a negative mind. In addition, on an emotional level, sudden rage, complaining, and putting the blame on others denote a negative mind. Somebody whose words and actions are bad and whose lifestyle is disorderly can also be said to have a negative mind.
Commit Yourself to a Healthy Lifestyle
To approach the problem from a different angle, an unhealthy lifestyle is another major factor in attracting evil spirits. Therefore it is also important that you lead a regular and orderly life, and allow your body to rest. Even if you are living with a right mind, if you become exhausted, it will be difficult for heavenly spirits to approach you. In fact, if you are too tired, evil spirits will be attracted and find it easier to possess you. So living a healthy lifestyle can protect you from evil spirits.
In order to keep away evil spirits, willpower is necessary. You cannot fight off evil spirits without having a certain level of willpower. Moreover, it is beneficial for increasing your spiritual power.
In Eastern medicine, there are various plants that are said to have the power to increase vitality and spiritual power, such as garlic, ginseng, and so on. These have a certain efficacy because they themselves contain spiritual energy. If you take these, you will quickly gain energy. It is not good to rely on these aids for too long, however.
When you are physically exhausted, you will find that light does not enter your body, but evil is easily attracted instead, and you will be unable to correct your mind, no matter how hard you try. Therefore, when you are feeling exhausted, it is important that you first return to a healthy lifestyle. Take a rest, eat nutritiously, and rebuild your body. Unless you regain your health, it may be impossible to get rid of evil influences.
In this way, to avoid possession by evil spirits, it is important to live with the righteous mind and follow a healthy lifestyle.
Create a Spiritual Screen to Prevent the Entry of Evil Spirits
Religions often talk of creating a spiritual screen or barrier. If you are fighting with evil spirits on your own, your mind can be connected to various realms in the spirit world according to the laws of the mind. That is why it is important that you create a good spiritual field to prevent evil spirits from intruding.
There are many spirits who actively try to hinder me and, to prevent them from succeeding, I have to make a systematic defense. This can be achieved through personal spiritual discipline as I have stated, as well as by the use of a spiritual screen.
The local branches of Happy Science are also protected by a spiritual screen. Believers come to visit and take part in ceremonies in the prayer rooms. A kind of spiritual aura guards the local branches. Naturally, this is also true of our head temple, Shoshinkan in Utsunomiya, and other main temples and shojas. They are surrounded by a kind of barrier.
In the home, if the whole family believes in Happy Science, if they recite our fundamental sutra, Buddha’s Teaching: The Dharma of the Right Mind, watch my lecture videos, listen to my lecture CDs, read books of truth, and practice self-reflection, then a barrier will be created around the house, making it difficult for evil spirits to enter. The house will become a kind of fortress to protect your family from the outside world.
To sum up, in order to prevent possession by evil spirits, it is important that you first maintain harmony in your own mind and look after your physical health. Then, in order to maintain your defenses for a long time, you should work together with your Dharma friends and other believers to protect yourself. In particular, you should create a spiritual screen in your local branch, in your temple, and in your own home that will prevent evil spirits from entering. This is a very important thing to do and it is a good idea to protect yourself in a systematic way.
In this chapter, “The Principle of Spiritual Possession,” I have explained the subject of possession from various perspectives. There is plenty more to be said on the subject, but I have tried to focus on a few important subjects. I hope that this chapter will help you advance on your path to enlightenment.