THE HEART OF KANJI: Practice seeing the good side


Yoiho wo miru renshu. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

Yoiho wo miru renshu. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

良 (Yoi) means “good.” The top lines indicates a box and the lines below indicate measuring something correctly.

方 (Ho) means “direction.” This word indicates a small boat heading in a certain direction.

見 (Miru) means “look or see.” This word represents the human eye.

練習 (Renshu) means “learn or practice.” The left side of this character 練 represents a string and the right side is the branch of a tree. Together, the string is tied to the strong tree branches. The top side of this character 習 symbolizes a white feather. The combined character for 練習 (renshu) represents a white bird learning how to fly.

In our lives, it is sometimes easy to get distracted by negative thoughts. Though it is important to be aware of flaws or struggles so that we can work to correct them, spending too much time obsessing or complaining about the negative aspects of life can depress not only ourselves, but also those around us. This issue is made worse by the fact that the negative parts of our life may only be 5 percent or less of the whole, but it can make us completely ignore the 95 percent or 99 percent of life that is going well for us.

Seikan Kobayashi, a well-known Japanese spiritual leader, guided and helped many people with this problem. He gave 300 lectures a year and many seminars as he traveled all over Japan. During a seminar, a chiropractor asked him a question, “I help others with their physical pain, but I cannot heal my own hip pain. Why is this?” Mr. Kobayashi replied, “Since you are a chiropractor, you know all about the human body. More than 99 percent of your body is working well and in no pain. Do you express your appreciation for those good parts of your body?” When the chiropractor admitted that he didn’t, Mr. Kobayashi asked him to spend some time alone in another room to meditate on why he didn’t send appreciation for all the parts of his body.

After more than one hour, the man returned and reported that he had spent the time giving thanks to all the parts of his body. Surprisingly, the pain in his hip had disappeared. The rest of the participants at the seminar were in awe.

Let us try to see and appreciate the things that are going well for us in life. Turning towards our blessings can change our perspective dramatically.

When I was sick, I was only focused on what was wrong with my body. One day, I decided to pray for others who were sick, instead of worrying about my own illness. I spent so much time focused on their health and well-being that I was no longer thinking about my pain. I was able to forget my own pain and I was able to regain my good healthy body again. I was amazed by this experience. This is just my personal experience. Each person’s situation is different, but if you agree with me, try this and let me know how things change for you with this new attitude.

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). He can be reached at or (415) 517-5563. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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