The following explains some of the key precepts of Konkokyo in plain language.
Konkokyo's Ultimate Goals
Konkokyo seeks to help resolve people's problems and human suffering and pave the way for peace and happiness. These problems can range from a physical ailment to wars and environmental destruction.
It is willing to work with other religions and organizations to attain these goals. Konkokyo has no desire to wield political or financial influence.
This is a central theme of Konkokyo. It was the Founder's strong desire to help people in distress that led to the founding of Konkokyo in the first place. He stressed that people must live to help others.
The Cause of Problems and Suffering
Problems occur when people go against the ways of the Universe. We try to alter nature to suit our self-centered motives. We disregard the Universe which includes nature and the environment. As a result, we have environmental pollution, environmental destruction, and the extinction of living things.
We also arrogantly think that we can live on their own and do as we please. We try to rule our own worlds and forget that we are interdependent and reliant on many people and things. Since we ignore our connection with the ways of the Universe, we get upset when things don't go as they wish.
Many everyday problems stem from one's misguided heart and attitude. It can also prevent you from seeing blessings in disguise. With the right heart, in other words, the heart that follows the way of the Universe, what at first seems to be a misfortune or hardship can transform into a blessing. Negative emotions such as envy, hatred, and distrust, which cause so much pain and suffering, can also be expelled.
Blessings and Happiness from Within
Konkokyo believers strive to find blessings and happiness within themselves. They try to recognize the blessings they already have and those not so readily apparent. To this end, they endeavor to have a heart or attitude which seeks to understand and recognize life's meaningful lessons and the ways of the Universe. In doing so, they inevitably start to recognize and appreciate the blessings bestowed on them, leading to personal happiness. It is important to open one's heart to life in general and to keep an open mind for all things.
The more open the heart and mind are, the more blessings and happiness will fill them.
When Konkokyo believers pray, they pray to Tenchi Kane No Kami through Ikigami Konko Daijin, the all-encompassing divinity believed to be the parent of all people. Although Konkokyo has formal prayer services and prayer books, there is no set phrase or manner for praying in private. You can pray anytime and anywhere, even while working, jogging, or lying down. And everyday words (or silence) can be used while praying since it is like speaking to your own parent. A prayer is given for any of the following three purposes: A request for something, an apology for something, and an expression of gratitude.
People must of course apologize if they have done wrong. In society, it is generally understood when an apology is owed to another person.
However, people often do wrongful (even if legal) acts without realizing it. It is for these acts that we must apologize. For example, acts which affect the environment which happens to be part of Tenchi Kane No Kami's body. Even if there was no intentional harm or maliciousness, apologies are in order.
We must appreciate Tenchi Kane No Kami's Work and Blessings that allow us to live. Give thanks to Tenchi Kane No Kami for the air, water, food, plants, natural resources, etc., which support human life. In addition the Founder of Konkokyo said that we should express thanks to everything, even to the tree stump we sit on. We should give thanks to all the people and things which help us in our daily lives. They can be friends and relatives, neighbors, shops, and tools.
Going to Church
Konkokyo has churches where people can go to worship and pray. We believe that Tenchi Kane No Kami is everywhere. Therefore we can talk to Kami anytime and anywhere.
So what purpose do the churches serve? They are places where we can request Toritsugi Mediation. The minister in the church acts as a mediator between us and Tenchi Kane No Kami. We give our request to the minister who then relays the request to Tenchi Kane No Kami. Through the minister, Tenchi Kane No Kami offers advice and teachings. In this way, we can receive tailor-made teachings which can resolve our problems or enhance our daily lives. Toritsugi mediation is performed on an individual, one-to-one basis. Konkokyo churches are open every day (usually from around 6 a.m. to around 9 p.m.) with a minister sitting inside waiting for people to give their requests to Tenchi Kane No Kami.
A Konkokyo church is a place to listen to teachings to give prayers, to appreciate blessings and to apologize for any irreverence.
Konkokyo churches conduct monthly services, grand ceremonies, and private services such as weddings and funerals.
The Church Altar
Konkokyo churches have an altar with offerings but no likeness nor symbol for any deity. There is instead the Tenchi Kakitsuke (Divine Reminder) which is a piece of paper written with names of Tenchi Kane No Kami and Ikigami Konko Daijin. This reminds us that blessings are found within our hearts.
The Family of Human
Konkokyo believes that all people came from a common parent which is Tenchi Kane No Kami. This means that all people are children of this Divine Parent and we are all in the same family. There is no one that does not belong. Konkokyo desires to have all people, regardless of race, creed, gender, and occupation, work together to resolve the problems of the world.
No Racial, Religious, and Other Discrimination
Since we are all in the same family, Konkokyo respects and accepts all ethnic groups and religions.
Konkokyo does not force or require people to quit another religion before joining Konkokyo; believers are free to belong to another religion concurrently.
The Equality of People
All people are regarded as equal regardless of race, religion, gender, occupation, social status, and wealth. Women in Konkokyo are also held in high esteem with many women serving as head ministers at its churches.
The Importance of Children
Konkokyo wishes to pass on the faith to future generations. Children are therefore highly valued and welcome by Konkokyo. The relationship between parent and child is also given much importance. Many activities for children are held, including an annual children's festival held at Konkokyo Headquarters with the participation of children from all areas.
No Taboos and No Superstitions
Konkokyo does not believe in taboos including beliefs related to unlucky days, unlucky years (age), and ominous directions. There are no distinctions between pure and impure things or sacred and non-sacred places.
Konkokyo also does not impose any restrictions on food and drink. Konkokyo believers are permitted to consume alcohol, caffeine, meat, etc.
Celibacy is also not a requirement for the clergy or anyone. There are no restrictions for Konkokyo believers.
Donations and Dues not Required
Konkokyo believers are not obligated or required to pay any dues or make any donations.