Words that nurture the mind
We’ve picked some tips from “NEW MORALS” to live better.
We will update it irregularly.
（Quote from『New morals:Words that nurture the mind 366 days』〔Written in Japanese〕）
Small Kindness Spreads Small Good Deeds
There is a Zen master called Dougen (1200-1253) who is the founder of Eihei-ji Temple. He said “If you wish your own happiness, first thing to do is to make other people happy” and indicated four different ways to realize it.
First: “Fuse”- Offering your own belongings or knowledge to others to make others happy
Second: “Aigo”- Giving a warm and gentle words to others
Third: “Rigyo”- Behaving in a way to benefit many other people and make them happy
Forth: “Douji”- Working with others with cooperation
It is not difficult do these actions. Simply by giving a seat to the elderly on the train, answering kindly when somebody asked the directions or greeting people cheerfully, we will be able to build the basic morality for coexisting in the society. If each of us spreads the kindness and good deed, we shall realize the warm-hearted and comfortable society.
（Update on 2020. Oct. 13）
Appreciating “Life” and Fulfilling the Life of Goods
The word “MOTTAINAI” is defined as “losing a body of something,” according to the dictionary called “KOJIEN” (Publisher: Iwanami Shoten). “MOTTAINAI” seems to express the sense of regret not being able to make the best use of something or maximize the meaning of an existence. It also expresses the sense of waste when something is discarded while it still has some roles, or when “the life” was not fulfilled.
Traditionally, Japanese people have been seeing life in any kind of existence. The mass for the used needle or ink brush are some of the examples of existing custom which is to give the memorial service for the tools that fulfilled the role. We have inherited the mindset to appreciate any kind of things by giving the commemoration to the goods, not discard them once it finished its role.
It would be nice to reflect the spirit of “MOTTAINAI” and appreciate the “life” of any kind of existences, trying our best to maximize the ability of the things and fulfill its life to the fullest.
（Update on 2020. Oct. 5）
Different Places, Different Perspectives
There is a saying, “Rolling stone gathers no moss.” In the United Kingdom, this saying originally meant that “those who move from company to company will be able to gain neither the social status nor the wealth.” The moss requires long period of time for growing, and it was interpreted as “goodness” in this interpretation.
In the United States, on the other hand, there is a totally opposite interpretation such as “those who always move around never get left behind by the society.” This interpretation implies the negative image about the moss such as “dated” or “something that has to be removed.”
This saying represents how one saying could be used with totally different meanings depending on how it was perceived on moss. In the same way, there may be cases that we sometimes judge the event whether good or bad, even when there is no one and only value in itself? If you look at your worries from different angles, you may be able to interpret them in other ways.
（Update on 2020. Sep. 29）
Aging and Life Purpose
Japan has entered into a long-lived society. Longevity is something to be celebrated, but there are also concerns about how we should spend our time after the retirement, as the life in old age is getting longer. In order to sustain a colorful and active life even after the retirement, a social educationalist Mr. Masumi Tanaka suggests us a tip: “Engage in any job you like even in the old age.”
Having a “job” that is connected to our life goal or purpose gives us fulfilling and enriching life.
However, the meaning of job would not be limited to “a job for earning a living.”
By positively engaging in any kind of “job” including volunteering or house choir within your family, we will be able to contribute to the people surrounding us while gaining some joy for yourself.
（Update on 2020. Sep. 11）
Overcoming Difficulties By Changing Your Mindset
Mr. K, a 28-year-old office worker, had encountered a traffic accident and got hospitalized when he was in the third year of high school. It was right before the entrance exam of the university, so he had to give up on the exam that year. However, he turned over a new leaf by thinking “I would rather gain something from this experience to progress.” Next year, he finally gained the admission into the university that he strived for. When the graduation season got closer, he put extraordinary efforts on job hunting especially because he was one year behind his friends who were the same age. Now that he is getting married, he reflects back his life and says “If it were not for the traffic accident, I am not sure if I was able to work for my current company or if I could find my wife. Experiencing the traffic accident built up my current life.” Sometimes people unexpectedly encounter some difficulties throughout the life. It is not possible to put everything back in place once it happened, but it might be possible to transform the experience into “foundation of life” and make it meaningful, depending on your own mindset.
（Update on 2020. Sep. 1）
Cherish “the time with parents”
The old saying, “By the time you wish to be a good son, your parents are long gone” came about when the average life expectancy was much shorter. However, even now, in the era of longevity, there are many people who are tormented by the wish that “I could have taken care of them better” after their parents were gone.
The time a grown-up child spends with his/her parents is surprisingly short. For example, let’s say a child around the age of 40 lives independently at a distant location. If the parents are in their late sixties, their life expectancy will be about twenty years from now according to the current average longevity. If parents and children spend 10 days a year, 9 hours a day, face to face together, there will be 1,800 hours, which are equal to 75 days, in 20 years. Shall we think carefully about how to spend this limited time?
（Update on 2020. Aug. 15）
Don’t you take anger out on objects?
Everyone has the experience of being angry and frustrated in the unfavorable circumstances where things don’t go your way. However, how you handle the emotion varies from person to person. Some people may express his/her emotion in words and attitudes while some people may suppress his/her own emotion without showing it to the outside. There may be some people who take anger out on familiar objects.
No matter how you handle them, no objection comes back from any objects which don’t have emotions. There is no fault on the objects’ side in the first place. It doesn’t make sense to take your arbitrary emotion out on objects.
Shall we say “thank you” to everyday items such as cars, phones, shoes and dishes, like we say it to people who take care of us. It doesn’t make those items happy or cheerful, but it brings out our feeling of appreciation and enriches our heart. By accumulating it every day, rich humanity will be nurtured.
（Update on 2020. July 31）
Beware of “right thing”
Have you ever experienced that you were neglected by others before you knew even though you tried to say the “right thing” and to do the “right thing”?
It is important to follow the rules and etiquette of the “right thing” in order to maintain the social order. On the other hand, you can never build a good human relationship by blaming the people around you for the “right thing” in familiar places such as homes, workplaces, and communities.
We can see other people’s misconducts well, but we hardly notice our own mistakes. We may unknowingly bother others around us. It is important to think what if you are pointed it out. A person who is always considerate of the other person’s position and situation and who can act with a humble heart will be able to become familiar with everyone and build good relationships. It would be nice to have a warm personality like spring breeze.
（Update on 2020. July 4）
Give your mind to a third party
When we take action for someone else, we wonder “how the other person will receive our actions,” but sometimes such “consideration” is not enough. There are cases that you cause unexpected trouble to the people other than those who receive the action directly, or make those people feel uncomfortable.
In order to achieve the favorable results for yourself, the other person, and a third party, it is important to take a breath, no matter what you do, and give your mind to the person who is affected by your actions. You should imagine who will receive what kind of impact, how they are perceived, and think of ways to make it work better and take action. By making the habit of paying attention to the “third party” in this way, we can spread the mind of consideration to more people.
（Update on 2020. June 21）
Don’t forget your first resolution.
It is often said “don’t forget your first resolution.” First resolution is the pure and serious state of mind when you make an aspiration and get things started for the first time. Zeami, who was a master of world’s oldest theatrical art “Noh” during the Muromachi period, wrote the book “Kakyo” and said as follows.
“Don’t forget your first resolution as your inexpertness. Don’t forget your first resolution at any age level. Don’t forget your first resolution even after mellowed.”
We form resolutions of each size according to our own growth since our youth, and have “first resolution.” As long as you have a strong resolution, you will eventually accomplish anything as there is a saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
At the beginning of the year, we would like to renew our resolutions, inspire the original intentions and work toward the goals. It is said that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Shall we walk steadily, step by step, with firm guidelines?
（Update on 2020. June 4）