借 (Shak) means “debt,” and consists of two parts. The left side is a person standing. The bottom right side is the sun, which represents the date. Above it is continuity. Together it means many people have been helping someone for many days, so the person is in debt to many people.

金 (Kin) means “money,” and consists of two parts. The top is a shape of a mountain, and below represents gold in the soil of the mountain.

There are three different ways that people treat money. One person tries to keep a lot of money in his or her bank. A second person has income, but he or she spends it all so there is no savings. A third person spends more money than he has, so he or she accumulates many debts. Which person are you?
In recent years, people have used their credit cards to spend more money than they had, thus creating more debt in their bank account.

Shak kin. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

There are different types of banks, including the bank for humankind and “the bank of the universe” or Kami or God.

The Konko Founder’s teaching says, “If you live day by day without faith, you will accumulate debt in the universe.” What does Konko Daijin’s teaching mean?

We have received many great blessings from the universe, including sunlight, water, air, food and countless other things to sustain our lives. Most people naturally believe these things are free and take them for granted. However, when we buy something, we must pay for it. If we don’t pay, we go to jail.

The universe never asks us to pay for all the blessings we receive. However, we should at least express our appreciation. By showing appreciation, we can accumulate good deposits into the bank of the universe.
Recently, a person told me he had pain in his stomach. He went to see his doctor. The doctor said he had a kidney stone and an infection. An appointment was made for his operation. After, he learned it was scheduled for the same day he was supposed to volunteer at the Konko church. The day of the operation arrived and he prepared to go to the hospital, but at the last minute decided to go to church instead. He wanted to show appreciation for all the blessings from Kami by volunteering. After finishing, he went home and noticed that his stomach pain had gone away. After hearing of this story, I thought it made a lot of sense.

He was able to accumulate many deposits in the bank of the universe because of his sincere appreciation. As a result, he was able to receive special blessings from the universe, Kami-sama, or God. People often go to church for many different reasons, but the most important reason is to show appreciation for all the blessings of the universe. If we don’t appreciate these blessings, we accumulate debt.

Try to think about how much debt in the universal bank we could accumulate if we had to pay for all of our blessings. I believe we would have to pay at least $1 billion in debt. If we add together all the debt of the past 100 generations, we would owe more than $100 billion of debt to the universe.

Even though a person may accumulate $1 billion in his or her human bank, the significant debt in the universal bank will prevent this person from being happy. We should attend church more often and show appreciation by participating in service, having toritsugi mediation, or doing volunteer work so we can accumulate divine deposits. With divine deposits, we’ll be able to receive happiness not only for us but also for our family, relatives, friends and future generations.

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 is the author of “An Eternal Journey.” He can be reached at or (415) 517-5563.

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