永 (Ei) means “eternity,” and consists of two parts. The top dot is shaped like a single drop of rain. The bottom is a stream from a great river that continues to the sea or ocean.
遠 (En, Tooii) means “far distance,” and consists of two parts. The right side is a person who wears Japanese cloth (kimono) with a letter in the front pocket. The left side indicates a path or way.
旅 (Tabi) means “trip or journey,” and consists of two parts. The left side and top of the right side is a flag pole. The right side bottom shows some people are marching together.
路 (Ji) means “way or path,” and consists of three parts. The left side indicates a person’s leg. The top right side is a person’s foot and below is a person’s mouth. A person has a difficult time finding someone who lives far away, so he or she uses his or her feet to walk. The person also asks — with his or her mouth — how to find someone who is far away.
The title “An Eternal Journey” is an English book that I published recently.
I would like to share with you the beginning of this book:
“Ten years ago, I was inspired to write this book after reading the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) book ‘12 Steps.’ The AA book was given to me by the late Mr. Ray Taylor, a former member of the Konko Church of San Francisco. The AA book was a way to help those with alcohol or drug problems take steps to triumph over their difficulties. I realized the need to write something that could help those seeking spiritual guidance take steps to reach higher spiritual levels.
Back then, I made just a few copies of the book and shared it with a small group. I had forgotten about this. However, during the summer of 2010, I had the opportunity to organize and lead a group visiting Japan. Six of us climbed Mt. Fuji. Although not everyone reached the summit, each of us gained a humble awareness of the universe’s grandeur and our eternal journey.
Recently, I started using the book as a spiritual guide for the Shin Shin Gaku Do classes I teach weekly. These are classes to integrate body, mind and spirit through judo and shodo (Japanese calligraphy). My students’ responses encouraged me to make more copies. My hope is that this book will help you open your spiritual eyes and find true peace of mind and happiness in your heart.
As I look back on my life experiences, I took many steps to be where I am today. My life changed spiritually when I was 20 years old. At the time, I determined that if I lived my life with no true purpose, I’d regret my entire existence at the end of my physical life. From that moment on, I trained spiritually for more than 30 years fulfilling my life with passion in the Konko faith and also finding eternal happiness. Not only did I find my destiny with Kami’s guidance, but I am assured I’ll be at peace at the end of my life and for all eternity.
My eternal goal is to share with you the true purpose of life so that you can achieve happiness and security. Sharing this higher purpose and the heart of Kami to those around us is the ultimate goal in our lives; it is also truly fulfilling and joyful. Please join me on this marvelous journey to share the purpose of life.”
My book-signing event will be held Wednesday, Aug. 24, at Nihonmachi Terrace Tower, 1615 Sutter St. (at Octavia) in San Francisco’s Japantown from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
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.