The Beauty of The Organization
World Teacher's Message No.244

 

The Question:

I am a student studying Future Industry at Happy Science University. Please give us advice on how to harmonize each individual’s uniqueness in an organization – such as a school or company – while maintaining the beauty of the whole.

Excerpt from a lecture given on 19 October 2015 at Happy Science University.

 

A large part of the teachings of Happy Science are aimed at the individual. But while individual training is at the foundation of religious pursuit, we will teach more about ‘the group’ when our [religious] organization begins to stabilize.

Documents suggest that a particular kind of beauty – the beauty of the organization – could be seen during Buddha’s time when the monks would descend from Vulture Peak in single file to receive alms.

This scene may not have appeared beautiful to everyone. Some people might have thought that the monks looked like a plague of locusts sucking the land dry of food. And while their clothing wasn’t particularly beautiful, the monks walking around in the unified yellow-brown attire looked orderly and respectful to people from other religions. This made Buddhism very popular, and many of the laity made offerings.

So when other religious groups came asking for alms, the villagers would refuse saying, “I’ve already decided to give alms to the Buddhists”. In those times there was quite a bit of scrambling between religions over the laity.

These people were believers who were looking to give offerings to a religion of some kind, and they had the tendency to give to the popular groups. These people saw a kind of beauty in the orderly activities of the Buddhist group.

 

The Harmony of the Monk

Religion has a serene, orderly and respectable beauty about it. When Japan was modernizing its army during the Meiji Era, the military leaders went to the Zen Buddhist Eihei temple to study group maneuvers. In an army, it doesn’t matter how strong the individuals are, if they don’t move effectively in a group they cannot create value. Orderly maneuvers are imperative to a strong army.

In religion, orderly movement helps the monks calm their minds and maintain harmony, so much so that the laity admire their professionalism.

I came to HSU today by car, but as we passed by Kazusa Ichinomiya station in Chiba prefecture, it looked very out of place. This modern structure sits there in the middle of the pastoral landscape, and seems as though it shouldn’t really be there. It’s almost like something came down from space and landed there. It almost foreshadows the future construction of UFO landing sites.

Anyhow, I think it is very important to think about the beauty of the “group” or “organization” that comes from beautiful harmony maintained by its members, and the results it can bring. It’s harder than it sounds.

 

The Beauty of “The Organization” Seen in the Toyota Factory

You said you study in the Future Industry faculty, so let me give you an example of this in a manufacturing company.

I once went to visit a Toyota factory. It was probably the most advanced car manufacturing factory in the world, and I really felt amazed. For instance, every conveyor belt had a thin rope running above it, and people would pull the rope when there was a mishap, which signaled the supervisor to come and have a look. If the mishap was not corrected within a certain time, all of the conveyors belts in the factory were automatically stopped.

Usually, this idea is inefficient: there were hundreds of people working at the conveyor belts and stopping the entire assembly line would disrupt the workflow. But the amazing thing is, they managed it all very smoothly.

If smaller companies were to adopt this method, it would cause great inefficiency. As soon as one person makes a mistake and the assembly line is stopped, people will start to rest and have a smoke while the matter is being cleared, and the work cannot go on. Toyota, on the other hand, raised its efficiency with this method.

 

An Artistic Restocking System

“Just-in-time” is a company strategy, and Toyota’s approach of never holding items in stock reflects this perfectly.
Toyota only ever orders the amount of parts that is needed. Motor vehicles require many different parts, from tyres to nuts and bolts, and obviously the vehicle can’t function if it’s missing anything. But Toyota only stocks a very small amount of parts. They send minute reports on which parts they have used, and only restock as much as they need.

Again, we would think this is an inefficient method because their subcontractors have to come down every time they need parts. Usually it would be easier to just have extra parts in stock.

But Toyota works “just-in-time”: they don’t hold unnecessary stock. I found this incredibly intriguing. It was unbelievable that they made this possible, but they achieved it through thorough training of the organization.

To summarize: I was amazed at how the conveyor belts stop when someone notices a mishap, and that they had very few parts in stock.

 

Constructing Multiple Cars on the Same Line

But my greatest shock was when I saw a variety of different models being constructed on the same line.

In the U.S. when Henry Ford made the Model-T, they were all black and all the same shape: the only difference was the serial number. This sort of mass production lowers costs, which even makes it possible for each worker to own a car. This was Ford’s worldview: all cars had to be the same.

But if all the cars on the street were black, the scene would be lacking in beauty. Later on, Ford ended up losing to other new car manufacturers such as Chrysler.

People like color, so they end up buying the colorful cars and ones that have a different shape. This, however, makes it more difficult in terms of production. So they had to use the potential of ‘the organization’ to reduce costs and time.

The Toyota factory I went to was using robots on the assembly line. The first one was making a red car, the second a yellow car and the third a black car: the robots build the right cars in order according to the command. This was astounding.

I had imagined that they would build the same black cars in one factory, the same yellow cars in another and red ones in yet another: but in fact this one factory could build different models with different colors as desired.

 

Beauty as an Expression of Love

It is generally believed that it is inefficient when people in a group all do the same thing. But when you really refine this, unified movement brings great results.

‘Group beauty’ brings to mind the cheer dance squads at Happy Science Academy. The Nasu campus school won the world championships and the Kansai campus school is about to enter the world championships. These groups are not about one person being the star of the show; it’s about all of them working together.

No matter how great one person may be it doesn’t work if the rest of them fall short. Even if each individual doesn’t stand out much, the unified moves of all of them contribute to ‘functional beauty’ and ‘movement beauty’. This is what gets them recognition. For instance, I have heard that just getting their jumps to line up is a substantial task. All of these elements merged together is what creates the beauty in it.

A gravure model can embody the ‘beauty of the individual’, but once we line up ten of them in a row, the focus of beauty shifts to the unification of their movements.

I think it is important that we begin create a new sort of beauty out of this idea.

Students at normal universities usually only think about how the individual can achieve success. So the successful people look very egotistical, and they cannot comprehend why society treats them so harshly.

At HSU we do pursue individual excellence. But while individual training is of vital importance, HSU will make you think about the importance of the whole.

If we think of beauty as an expression of love, a school or a company should think about how each individual’s love can contribute to the whole of mankind.

 


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