The following is a faith experience essay by Gary Sakai. He graciously allowed us to publish it on TR. A portion of this article was translated into Japanese and appeared in issue no. 240 of the quarterly magazine Arakitoryo (published August 26, 2010; pp. 136–138).
Hello my fellow brothers and sisters! My name is Gary Sakai and I am from Hawaii. I belong to Kakaako Church/ Honjima Grand Church. Although I feel I am not worthy to write this article, I am very honored to share my story on how God the Parent and Oyasama have guided me and awakened me to the Truth.
I was born and raised in Hawaii. At a very young age I was not interested in school and grew up in the streets. I would get into fights, steal cars, and do many bad things. By the age of 20 I had my own surfboard factory. Then, my life started to change. I became friends with people through my business that were involved in organized crime (mafia). Next thing I knew I was a member of the mafia. I moved up the ranks quickly and was living a life of luxury and power. It was a sex, drugs and rock n’ roll lifestyle. I had no fear of dying nor cared about other people’s lives. The things I have seen and done to people because of business I wish no one needs to see in their lives.
One day I was arrested and charged by the Federal Government. I was facing a very long prison term. At that time I hired a prominent defense attorney in Hawaii. During my court trial Reverend Colin Saito of Honolulu Church testified on my behalf. The criminal trial itself was one of the lowest point in my life. When I took the stand, I remember seeing my parents in the front row with my mother with her head down, hands in prayer, eyes closed, chanting Namu, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. I thought to myself: “How can I have done this to my mother?” Every time I think about this it brings tears to my eyes.
When I won the case first I thought it was because of my defense attorney but it was because of God the Parent and Oyasama’s divine guidance along with the true sincerity of Rev. Colin and my parents. After this, I realized that I was going through life with no direction, no purpose in life, being self-destructive and only caring about my own well-being.
Then I entered the English Shuyoka class where I received great nurturing and guidance from my teachers Mr. Matsui and Reverend Ito. I realized that God the Parent and Oyasama was guiding me all along to this Residence. Because of my stubbornness Oyasama had me walk through a dark and dangerous path in life in order to see the truth. God the Parent and Oyasama have drawn me to this Residence to wake up to the ultimate truth, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. God the Parent and Oyasama have been watching and protecting me throughout my whole life. I have been saved from a path of darkness and pain. With all the opportunities I was given to correct the misuse of my mind, I know I don’t have another chance in this life, and I know God will have me reborn. I owe my life to God the Parent and Oyasama. Oyasama has already drawn a path for me and it is the path of saving others.
Everyday I am thankful for the blessings we receive. Being able to smell, touch, feel, see, hear, taste, to have feelings (emotions), to experience the physical manifestation of this world that God the Parent created, to interact with one another, to bring joy to others, to look into each other’s eyes and see how wondrous the human body (God’s body) is. I’ve come to realize that we are all brothers and sisters, one world, one family, embraced in the very bosom of God the Parent.
We are men! We are blessed with the providence of Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto; in the human body, the providence of the male organ, of bones and support; in the world, the providence of support in general. We must use the strength God the Parent provides us like how bones provides us with support. Not only must we be strong and hard to give support, but we must also be like a bridge because if we are too strong-minded then we will crack and be of no use. We must have a mind where we can bend and adjust to one another. That’s how our unity in mind as Arakitoryo should be! We must respect and help one another. We need to watch each others’ back. We are brothers forever. We are all in this together. But we must never forget that this is only because of God the Parent.
God the Parent keeps us alive and protects us everyday. We are being saved everyday, regardless of who we are, where we come from, or what religion you believe in. God the Parent loves everyone in the world. We just haven’t awakened to the truth yet.
Our faith begins with Oyasama. Through Oyasama we were taught about God the Parent for the first time. We were also taught the true way to be saved and the way to the Joyous Life. We came to know God the Parent because Oyasama taught us and it was not from human intelligence. Without Oyasama, our faith does not exist.
Oyasama has blessed me with a wife who is my best friend, lover, teammate, and soul mate. I am so grateful for this blessing. We know that this is just the beginning and our lives will get difficult but we will do our best to follow the Divine Model as our guide that Oyasama has shown us.
Currently my wife and I are blessed with this opportunity to sow seeds of sincerity in Jiba as husband and wife. We are doing this not for us, but for our parents, our children, and for all our brothers and sisters in the world that can’t come home to Jiba.
I admit there are times that I take it for granted and forget about the day of my origin of faith. That is when God the Parent reminds me. I keep this quote in my wallet from the Shinbashira: “I would like those of you who are pioneers of the path to be the forefront of the Yoboku community and go forward at top speed. I would like you to maintain your youthful vitality and spiritedness and open one path after another in yet unexplored regions as you move into the future… With the end of your association’s 90th anniversary season, now is the time for you to take a new step.” I also try to be mindful of this year’s association guideline, “Maintain the awareness of being Arakitoryo and take action.”
Fellow brothers, now is the time, so let’s take action! Oyasama did not withdraw from physical life so we can contemplate and sit on our asses to just think about this Path. It’s not ok to say step by step for ourselves. It’s just an excuse. Let’s never forget how the first followers must’ve felt when Oyasama withdrew from physical life. Let’s not forget that because this Path exists, we exist. For us that are on this Path, the time is now! For those that are not aware of the truth lets not force them, since Oyasama is guiding them step by step.
Lets also truly settle in our hearts the Guiding Principles of Arakitoryo:
- We Arakitoryo shall dedicate ourselves spiritedly to single-hearted salvation and be the vanguard of world salvation.
- We Arakitoryo shall sow seeds of sincerity at Jiba so that we may receive the blessings of the Parent.
- We Arakitoryo shall keep the Divine Model in mind at all times and live with a mind that will bring joy to Oyasama.
Let’s always self-reflect on ourselves and on how we are using our minds, be sure to follow the Divine Model straightforwardly, put our hearts into performing the Service, and strive in sprinkling of the fragrance and doing the Sazuke. Oyasama is always walking on our side and holding our hand. Oyasama is always guiding us and protecting us and is already waiting for us on the other end.
I believe that God the Parent has even chosen me to write this article to remind me of the origin of my faith and to make sure that I do not even let a day pass without being grateful of when I was saved. So let’s do our best to bring joy to God the Parent and Oyasama. Thank you very much. Gambarimasho!
Day after day, listen to the teachings of God step by step and enjoy them. It is the Divine Record.