(Master Okawa originally gave this lecture in Japanese at Happy Science’s Kanazawa North Branch on July 20th, 2015, and bi-lingual members of the HS staff translated the Q&A session into English in order to share its contents with you.)
Master Ryuho Okawa was born on July 7th, 1956 in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from the prestigious University of Tokyo, he joined a Tokyo-based international trading company. While working at the company’s New York headquarters, he studied finance at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
On March 23rd, 1981, Master Okawa started communicating with the Spirit World and attained Great Enlightenment. He awakened to the fact that he is the rebirth of Shakyamuni Buddha and the core consciousness of El Cantare – the supreme God of the Earth. He established Happy Science in October of 1986.
The year 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of Happy Science, and it now has members in over 100 countries. There are many temple branches (shoja) all over Japan and in various other places around the globe.
Master Okawa has published over 2,000 books, and many of them are bestsellers, having sold millions of copies, including The Laws of the Sun and The Happiness Realization Party. Furthermore, his books have been translated into 28 languages for readers all over the world, beginning with English, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Korean. In 2014, he broke his own Guinness World Record for the Most Books Published in a Year (formerly 52 books) with 161 books published. He has given over 2,400 lectures, and has made 10 feature films as executive producer, including Tenshi ni “I’m Fine”, which debuted in cinemas all over Japan on March 19th, 2016.
In addition, Master Okawa established Happy Science Academy, Happy Science University (HSU), Happy Science’s private school of politics, and the Happiness Realization Party.
Recently, I won my local town election. Please tell me the mindset for people with religious souls to become religious politicians.
Of course, you have to honor the people who support and vote for you as a politician; but politics isn’t just a ‘give and take’ world.
Many politicians nowadays only think about this ‘give and take’: you do something for them, and they do something for you. This is simple, easy to understand, and will show quick results, which makes it attractive to many politicians. Many of them stop there, and many of them still become elected for this.
It is true that people who vote for you at an election are important. While you work as a politician, it is important to be grateful for their support, and act accordingly; but you must not forget to love and to wish for the happiness of even those who did not support you.
Once you are elected as a public official, it is important to protect and to defend your area properly, and to do your part in supporting the country. For Happy Science related candidates who are elected, it would be natural to work for those Happy Science members who were there in support. But once you become a public official, you must go beyond that and always think about what is right for the country as a citizen and in the political world. You must always place great import on the happiness of the citizens as a whole. It is wrong to forget about having this sort of public awareness.
Do Not Let Religious Friends and Foes Dictate Your Opinions
Happy Science is not doing politics to satisfy our egos. We truly wish for the Happiness Realization Party to enter the Japanese parliament and for people to think, “Gee, this member of parliament is always thinking about the happiness of others!” Then, even non-Happy Science members will start to support us.
Here is a point we must not forget: regardless of whether someone is a rival or an enemy, we must all come to an agreement about what is best for the country. Political parties of religions such as Rissho Kosei-kai (RK) that arose for the sole purpose of rivalling Soka Gakkai (SK) lack consistency in their politics, but simply act on the premise of whether someone is a religious friend or foe. (First RK’s political arm, Shinshuren, supported SK’s Komeito party when the latter was the Opposition, but as soon as SK’s Komeito party was up against the Liberal Democratic Party, RK’s Shinshuren group supported the latter.)
Happy Science does not do this. That is that, and this is this, and we don’t bring religious relationships into politics, but always think about what is most politically correct. Please be sure not to misunderstand us on this point. We have no intention of using politics for the profit of our organization. We are involved in politics as one area through which we wish to achieve a utopian society.
There are indeed times when parties become friends or enemies. This can happen partially, but we need the ability to examine this closely and overcome it.
The Fusion of Religious Teachings and Realism
I became a religious leader, but I graduated from the Faculty of Law at my university so I have a strong tendency to search for ‘rightness’ in a political sense. I always evaluate whether something is politically correct, and whether a particular ideal will steer the country in the right direction. I have both a religious, universal side and a realist side.
In this sense, contrary to what some people may think when they see a religious person doing politics, politicians from Happy Science do not go haywire. We will produce members of parliament who can properly make logical decisions.
We have been advancing in the field of national politics, but it had unstable ground, so we now have people becoming local assemblymen. This will become stable ground for future election campaigns and political movements that are required in order to increase our fans. In turn, this will start to influence national politics.
We can’t build a castle without stone foundations. Local politicians are that stone foundation, and so we need to solidify this stone before we build the castle. While we are unable to build the castle, we must focus on piling these stones. Local politicians from the Happiness Realization Party constantly play a part in our political activities, so we really need them.
People probably couldn’t believe in us because we aimed straight for the national administration without taking this local government step. It takes time to mature politically, and only then can we bear the trust of many millions of people. We just have to be tenacious. We cannot be otherwise. We have to be tenacious and gradually spread little by little. It is important that we don’t give up easily.
Great Achievements Call for the Gathering of Power
Education, politics, and international movements, the type which Happy Science is now undertaking, are usually unachievable while a religious founder is still alive. They usually succeed only when the 2nd or 3rd generation leaders appear, so the fact that our activities in these areas are not going as smoothly as we like, is not unusual.
It is still important for us, however, to keep tenaciously at it, as this will build a foundation and an overall course of direction for our future activities; then, they will gradually come to fruition. My power alone is insufficient, and so we need to gather power from the many people who believe in our teachings. Otherwise, we cannot achieve anything. Unfortunately, my vote is still only one vote. I always vote, but even El Cantare is only one vote (laughter from the audience). It is a difficult situation.
In 2009, the year we founded the Happiness Realization Party, I went to the polling station and a staff member there gave me a nonchalant look when I said “I’m Okawa from the Happiness Realization Party.” I remember then feeling disappointed that our party was so unknown. New political parties are rising everywhere, which is why I think the person was so indifferent about our party. Either that or the staff is required to keep a poker face. Nevertheless, I felt disappointed in the lack of response to our party.
So, I ask everyone to do activities that will ignite responses from the public. It will take time, I know, but now that we’ve broken the hard ground, we need to keep training the younger generation of politicians to build foundations, always aiming to build the castle.
It is the same with Ryoko Shaku, the head of the Happiness Realization Party. The castle itself won’t suddenly stand, so we must keep building from what we can.
Again, I cannot do this with my strength alone. I would like to establish a culture here where we gather the wisdom and power of many people to achieve our ends. If you are elected, of course, you must do things for Happy Science, but you also need to undertake political activities that will steer the country and its people, or even the world, in a positive direction.
The Regrets of Konosuke Matsushita of Panasonic
Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic, appeared in my dreams this morning. In fact, I think we actually met in the spiritual world. We spoke for about an hour from around 5am to 6am in what looked like a mountain villa. He appeared to be around 65 or 70 years old. After we spoke, he wrote the main points of our discussion on a sheet of paper. When he was alive, Matsushita founded The Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, but did not quite get to found a political party. He also failed to do many things he wanted to, and I really felt how difficult it must be to aim for a seat in parliament.
So, I ask you to please be tenacious and keep striving, and it will bring much joy if we can produce good results.
I really want to make it so that when I go to the polling station and tell them “I’m Ryuho Okawa,” they’ll nod and say, “Yes, I know!” We can’t let the people think we’re a party that only produces unlikely candidates. Please, let us do our best.