夢 (Yume) means “dream or future vision.” This character consists of three parts. The top part of this character represents an eyelash and eye. The middle part represents a blanket to cover a person’s face. The bottom part represents the moon at evening.
Most of us think of the word “dream” as what we see while we’re sleeping. However, we also use “dream” to signify a future vision.
I recently read the March 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest. I was impressed by the story of a young woman entitled, “Freedom from Want: An unwavering belief in the American dream — plus the kindness of hundreds of strangers — lifted Liz Murray from homelessness to Harvard.”
According to the first-person account she wrote, in 1997 Murray found herself alone and living on the streets of Manhattan. The 16-year-old was searching for a high school that would allow her to enroll after she had been truant for years. Her father had been estranged from her family, at some point staying at a shelter, and her mother had died.
At the time, she only had a few dollars, a picture of her mother in her pocket, a few articles of clothing, and some shoplifted food. To deal with her feelings of isolation and loneliness, Murray would daydream, picturing her family of four — mother, father, sister Lisa and herself — together again. “But the most vivid daydreams were about my future. I’d see myself walking across a college campus filled with tall stone buildings drizzled in autumn leaves, my attention focused as I walked briskly to class,” she wrote.
Later she graduated not only from high school but also from Harvard University — one of the finest colleges in the world.
She said it was important “to be grateful for the things that I already have rather than dwelling on what I don’t.” Her dream and vision and her tremendous efforts led her to success. Now, she’s helping young people in the same dire situation, by opening a high school for homeless teenagers and encouraging them to have a dream or vision in their future.
Her story reminds me of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He delivered his most famous speech at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he so eloquently said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
John Lennon, the former Beatle, once sang about making heaven on earth and to, “Imagine all the people living life in peace… Imagine all the people sharing all the world.”
The Konko founder also had a dream. The Konko founder wanted to establish a Kami (or a divine family) and divine world instead of a human family or human world. This is because without divine Kami, the human family or world cannot establish true peace.
When we can respect or treat each other as a Kami or divine person, we will be able to establish true peace in the world. While the Konko founder lived, he gave divine names to his wife and all his children and he respected them as divine. He also gave divine names to his relatives, church members and respected them as divine. He believed that humankind should build up a divine or heavenly world not after death but rather now on this earth.
Let us have a good dream or vision like the young woman, John Lennon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. or the Konko founder.
Rev. Masato Kawahatsu is a minister at the Konko Church of San Francisco and Konko Center of South San Francisco, who teaches shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and martial arts. He also gives spiritual counseling. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 517-5563.