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Because they sincerely hope for the happiness and prosperity of their descendants, ancestral spirits are ceaselessly sending them warnings to prevent their making mistakes and doing evil that runs contrary to their own well-being, and to help them avoid falling into negative ways. When their posterity left in this world are lured by evil forces into doing something wrong, the ancestral spirits inflict all kinds of calamity and illness on them both as a warning and as expiation for sins already committed. For example, a person who has made a fortune by dishonest means will be made to suffer fire and loss that destroy all his property. With some sins, again, purification by illness is carried out.

Such admonitions manifest themselves in various ways. For example, it may happen that an infant or a child undergoes purification in the form of a cold a simple illness that Johrei should be able to cure easily yet nothing has any effect. Perplexingly, the child begins to vomit a great deal; loses appetite; rapidly declines and dies. This is an admonition from the ancestral spirits of the kind already described, necessitated by, say, the child's father's marital infidelity or by his keeping a mistress. Where the man fails to understand the first time such a warning is delivered, his other children are taken from him one by one. It is lamentable in the extreme that a man should thus sacrifice the life of a dear child for fleeting moments of pleasure. In a case of this kind, the spirits hesitate to take the life of the father, who is the mainstay of the whole family, and are compelled to take the child in his stead.

Here is an interesting illustration of such an admonition. The head of a family, about forty at the time, was disinclined to worship in front of the family Buddhist shrine; this disturbed his daughter, who discussed the matter with her father's younger brother. As an outcome of these talks, the family shrine was transferred from the house of the older to that of the younger brother. The younger man began to worry about what might happen in the future and went again to his older brother's house to request him to write a clear statement of the shrine' s transier. The older brother agreed and took pen and paper in preparation, but in the very instant in which he was about to write, he had a spasm of the hands, and his tongue was paralyzed. He was unable to write or say anything.

Various kinds of treatments were tried on this man, but to no avail. Finally he came for help to one of my disciples, who related the daughter's story of the family shrine to me. The ancestors delivered this admonition to the older brother as head of the family's main branch, because, while willing to permit the transfer of the shrine temporarily to the home of the younger brother, they could not countenance a permanent transfer, since this would upset the family lineage and could result in severance of the family line.


February 5, 1947



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