The Science of Happiness
The Science of Happiness*
The Principle of Happiness
To begin, I would like to describe how I became
involved in the world of religion. I was a university student in my twenties,
without much interest in spiritual matters. In those days, however, when I was
on a bus or a train, for some reason the word
eternity would often
appear in big white letters before my eyes. I didn't know why the word kept
appearing to me, but it happened from time to time. Without any idea of what lay
ahead, I would often say to my friends, "In the future I would like to pass on
thoughts that will be handed down for thousands of years." I wasn't aware of why
I was saying this, but I had a vague dream of becoming a writer, or at least of
being a philosopher. Now I understand that, at that time, the stage was already
set for my future. But as time passed, my dream started to waver. Although I was
attracted to the concept of eternity, and the word
appearing in my mind, I was gradually influenced by my friends, whose aim was to
achieve worldly success.
During my student days at the University of Tokyo,
I read books on a wide range of subjects, rather than pursuing one field of
study. I became interested in the laws that govern society, and unwittingly, I
was further drawn to worldly success. Gradually, my wish to get ahead and
succeed in the world became stronger and stronger. I thought I would be very
happy if, as a result of diligent study, I could dedicate my life to a highly
respected job. At that time I had two options: to stay in the academic world and
become a scholar, perhaps specializing in political philosophy, or to achieve
success outside academia. I continued to waver between these two paths, but as
graduation approached and I saw friends start to put their abilities to the test
in the larger world, I felt increasingly pulled in that direction. However, I
still wanted to study and learn.
I majored in law and studied very diligently. In
spite of my efforts, however, my dreams of worldly success were frustrated. At
the time, I couldn't figure out why. My classmates seemed to have no trouble
finding careers in their chosen fields. Most of the members of my study group
succeeded in becoming diplomats and high-ranking public servants, and some
entered the legal profession. As graduation neared, my goal was to enter one of
these fields after finishing my studies. However, every time I scheduled an exam
or job interview, something intervened; it was as if a wall would appear and
block my path. I became confused and doubted whether I really should enter the
world of business or public affairs.
However, one autumn day I received a phone call
from a trading company, and before I knew it, I had accepted their offer. In
those days I still wasn't sure what path to take, or in what direction to
channel my aspirations. In fact, it's not surprising that I couldn't find a
position that matched my ideals, because no profession would have been able to
fulfill my yearning for eternity. I had been brought up in a rural area, but
ironically, I started to work for a company involved in international trade and
was immediately sent to New York City. I found myself in a world completely
opposite that of Buddhist or Christian seekers of Truth. It was a dog-eat-dog
world where people were chasing numbers, day in and day out.
First thing in the morning, I went to the office a
couple of hours before the other employees to read the overseas information sent
by Telex (which often amounted to more than thirty feet of paper), analyze it,
and consider the day's strategy as quickly as possible. Coffee cup in hand, I
scanned the newspapers for the latest economic and financial information, trying
to unearth useful clues to trends and critical factors that no one else had yet
discovered. That was my work in the trading company.
The Path to the Truth
On March 23, 1981, I
quite suddenly began to receive the heavenly revelations that eventually would
lead to a decisive turning point in my life. The first messages, which came from the
spirits of the Japanese Buddhist teachers Nikko (1246-1333) and Nichiren
(1222-1282), came as a shock, as if I had been pierced by a shaft
of light. The revelation from heaven disclosed that my life was completely on
the wrong track. However, I had to hold my life together. After receiving
revelations from the heavenly world, I felt I would not be able to continue
living an ordinary life. Yet it was impossible to live on alms, as monks used to
do, so I sought somehow to balance my business career and my quest for eternal
Truth. Over the next four or five years I continued seeking the Truth while
still working in the company. But my spiritual seeking occupied less than ten
percent of my time. At that point, although I was continuously receiving
spiritual messages, I was still uncertain as to what lay ahead, so I decided not
to make any dramatic changes in my life until I had a clear vision of my future
course. In any case, I was young and not experienced enough to communicate my
extraordinary discoveries to other people.
I thought, "The spiritual phenomena that I am
experiencing must be real, but if I start to teach people now, I will surely
fail. People will think I'm out of my mind. For now, I just need to be patient
and constantly strive to learn, so as to compensate for my lack of experience."
So I decided to wait patiently until I gained the confidence to teach people the
Truth that was being revealed to me. I thought I should wait until the time was
ripe, believing that before long the moment would surely come to make a move.
I continued to accumulate many kinds of spiritual
experiences. Finally, after returning to Japan (having turned down a significant
promotion in New York), eventually giving up the business world and undertaking
a prolonged retreat, I published a number of books of spiritual messages, and
was amazed that they became bestsellers in Japan. But I had also received
hundreds of other communications that I didn't publish at that time. I have had
contact with hundreds of high spirits. For my first book,
The Spiritual Messages of
Nichiren, I spent four years accumulating data, which means that in
addition to what appeared in that book, there were one hundred times that number
of additional messages. Hence, that book had a remarkably solid foundation of
experience and received wisdom. I was determined that without such a foundation,
I would not make any move forward. I also realized that Nichiren was only an
initial guide, and that beyond him were four or five hundred high spirits who
were ready to support me.
Three or four months after my first spiritual
communications, I started to receive messages from Jesus Christ.
However, instead of conveying these messages immediately, I spent some time
confirming their authenticity. In fact it was at least another three
years before I finally comfirmed that the messages from Nichiren were genuine.
The Responsibility of a Religious Leader
There are many newly established religious
organizations in these tumultuous times, and most of the leaders of these groups
started preaching as soon as they had unusual spiritual experiences. However,
many do not seem to realize how great a religious leader's responsibility is. A
simple mistake can mislead millions of people, not only in this age, but also in
future generations. Such damage cannot be corrected easily.
Spiritual contact with many deceased religious
leaders has led me to be extremely cautious, which is why I refrained from
taking action until I could confirm with certainty the authenticity of the
revelations I'd received from Nichiren. For more than four years his messages
were coherent and his character was consistent. The messages were so logical and
inspiring that the smartest people on earth could not hope to equal them.
On the other hand, spirits from hell are
inconsistent. No matter how fervent their efforts, the inconsistencies in what
they say are soon revealed. Ordinary damned spirits are straightforward; they
only complain of their pain. However, Satan and his demons are very experienced
and quite shrewd. They boast of their religious knowledge regarding, for
example, karma, or reincarnation. They may even send
messages, such as, "Save people. I'm conveying God's words to you, so you must
spread these messages to the people. Publish my messages as a book and deliver
it to each and every house." Even if you hear them say things like this, you
need to be cautious. Spiritual intelligence, or knowledge of the Truth, is
essential in order to unearth these spirits' real intentions. There may be
malicious spirits who have strong psychic powers or willpower, but they do not
have a systematic knowledge of universal Truth, because there is no place in
hell to learn such truths.
However, if you humbly study not only Buddhism but
also a variety of religions, such as Christianity, Shintoism, and Taoism; and if
you study morality, philosophy, and science as well, your deepened understanding
enables you to grasp the golden thread that runs through all thought and
science, and recognize the inconsistencies in what demons say. In contrast,
those who believe exclusively in, for example, esoteric Buddhism or a particular
sect of Christianity, keeping their eyes shut tight against other ideas, can
easily be deluded by a malicious spirit, one who is an expert in that particular
belief. You may come across these sorts of believers in certain Christian sects.
I myself have been accosted by such
One day, when I came out of a subway station, a
woman from a Christian sect approached me and asked, "Could you spare me a
moment?" She didn't give me a chance to refuse, but continued, "You seem to be
in trouble." Of course I was in trouble, wondering how I could escape from her.
She went on, "Perhaps you are possessed by some bad spirit. I can purify you if
you can spare a couple of minutes." I declined to be purified on the street.
Then she said, "Why don't we move somewhere quieter?" I did my best to refuse
her offer. But she was relentless, insisting that she had to save as many lambs
as possible. Finally, I was forced to make an excuse in order to escape.
Having observed new religions and seen their
founders in the afterlife, I strongly resolved not to undertake the path of
religion unless I could do so with total conviction. Normally, no one would wait
six years after receiving messages from Nichiren or Jesus Christ. Usually people
who have such experiences start spreading the word immediately, but I did not. I
decided that even if it took years, I wouldn't take any steps to appear in
public until I could positively confirm that the spiritual messages I'd received
really were from high spirits. Happy Science has been prudent and careful in its
I started out very modestly, wanting to build a
firm foundation before presenting my own teachings. My books of spiritual
messages represent only a tiny portion of all the knowledge I have acquired.
They are selected messages that I have analyzed and confirmed to be true. Those
who join Happy Science are required to cultivate Right Mind daily, but some
quickly forget this necessity, even if they were inspired at the beginning.
However, for years I have continued cultivating Right Mind daily. Otherwise it
is impossible to communicate with high spirits. You must attain the same
vibration as high spirits if you want to communicate with them. This is the law
of the universe, and there are no exceptions.
What Is a Prophet?
Prophets are different from ordinary spiritual
mediums. While mediums hear the words of the spirits of ordinary people who have
passed away, prophets can hear the words of high spirits. They do not simply
predict what is going to happen; they convey the words and will of God.
One example is Moses, who led the Israelites out
of slavery in Egypt thousands of years ago. Moses could hear
the voices of divine spirits
of the ninth dimension because he was a prophet. It was his mission to convey
the words of these divine spirits.
Another prophet, Elijah, who lived nearly three
thousand years ago, challenged five hundred priests of Baal in
order to show them the error of their belief that Baal would
grant people whatever they wished for. Their
worship of the storm-god Baal, also known as the god of fertility, had been
unable to reverse the drought prophesied by Elijah. The prophet said, "You call
on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who
answers by fire -- he is God" (1 Kings 18:24).
The Mount Carmel confrontation started early in
the morning. The pagan priests laid a sacrifice on the altar and prayed to Baal
to ignite it. From morning till noon they prayed to their god, but there was no
answer, no fire from heaven. Midday passed and they began to slash themselves
with swords and spears, as was their custom. Covered in blood, they danced and
continued praying aloud, but still no fire appeared. On seeing this, Elijah
began to mock and taunt them. He called out to his god,
Yahweh, and no sooner did he begin praying than a fire from heaven roared down,
setting his altar ablaze and consuming his sacrifice. Shortly thereafter, rain
fell for the first time in three years.
More recently, Jesus Christ was sent from heaven.
When Jesus was asked by one of his disciples, "Lord, show us the Father and that
will be enough for us" (John 14:8), he answered, "Don't you believe that I am in
the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my
own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work" (John
14:10). The truth was that great divine spirits came down and spoke through
Jesus. Divine spirits of the ninth dimension preached
through Jesus, or, rather, they inspired him when he preached. That is why Jesus
used to say, "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in
me" (John 14:11). Jesus was conveying the words of these divine
Mohammed (570 - 632 CE) was a trader and desert
camel driver who became a prophet. At the age of forty, while meditating in a
cave, Mohammed heard a loud voice say to him, "Mohammed, I am the god, Allah."
Although initially frightened, Mohammed came to realize the significance of this
spiritual experience. He received numerous revelations from heaven, and these
divine messages are the basis of the Koran, the teachings of Islam. Mohammed
listened attentively and memorized the messages
and later repeated them to his followers, who scribed
them on parchment, bones, or whatever was handy. (See
chapter 5 of The Golden Laws.)
Thus, throughout history, divine spirits have come
to Earth as prophets to convey God's words.
First Learn, Then Teach
At Happy Science we place great importance on
knowledge, because without it, one cannot distinguish right from wrong. This is
not the sort of knowledge needed for school exams, but knowledge of spiritual
Truth. If you examine existing religious teachings and philosophies against the
knowledge of the Truth found in our books, you will find some inconsistencies.
In other words, our books contain certain tacit criticisms.
Knowledge, as we know, is power. So for the first
step, I would like you to acquire knowledge of the Truth, for knowledge is very
important. When you read the books of the Truth, please don't be satisfied with
reading a book just once; check and see whether you have really assimilated what
If you want to deepen your academic studies, there
are many teachers, but there is nowhere to check whether or not your
understanding of the Truth is correct. Our intention is to convey the Truth
throughout the world, but at the present time, I place the utmost importance on
making our foundation solid. Our basic strategy is first strengthening the
inside, then the outside; building the foundation and then the pillars. The
correct order is exploring the Truth, studying it, and conveying it to others.
Just as I spent six years creating
the foundations of Happy Science, first study the Truth thoroughly.
Consider carefully what you want to convey. As Jesus Christ said, "If a
blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit" (Matthew 15:14). You
cannot teach others what you don't understand. New religions often create
problems, because those who have not yet attained true spiritual wisdom try to
lead other people and draw them into their organization. It's wonderful to talk
with someone who has a good personality, possesses vast spiritual knowledge, and
has an understanding of the Truth. But usually this is not the case, so
followers try to convert others to their religion by force, making everyone feel
To avoid similar problems, it's better to spend
some time exploring the Truth and studying it before we convey it to others.
This is why I kept our organization to a study group for the first couple of
years. We did not yet have any lecturers to teach
newcomers, and an expansion of membership at that stage
would only have given rise to confusion. So in the first
few years, I cultivated people who had
enough knowledge of the Truth, lecturers who could teach
others and who would become the core of our missionary
effort. Now, I have built the
foundations for teaching the Laws, so before you think of teaching anything,
first please study. To explain what I am saying now in Buddhist terms, Mahayana
can only start after Theravada has been established. Only after you have
attained enlightenment can you save others. When people start doing the reverse
of what I am saying, there can be tragic consequences. So first find happiness
for yourself before trying to make others happy.
Happy Science started its activities
as a kind of Theravada group.
I would like to disseminate the Truth all over the world
with the inner foundations firmly established. What did you
learn from the teachings of Happy Science? Unless you can answer this question,
you cannot teach people the Truth.
The Fourfold Path to True Happiness
Finally, I would like to address the main theme of
this lecture, the principles of happiness, which are unique to Happy Science.
There are numerous ways to become happy, but the kind of happiness I am talking
about is not the sort you can enjoy only in this world. It is a joy that carries
over from this world to the next. We're exploring principles of happiness that
apply to the past, the present, and the future. The starting point of these
principles is willingness to explore Right Mind. Every individual has a diamond
within, and this pure diamond represents Right Mind. You may think that highly
developed spirits are better than lower-level spirits, for example, that Tathagatas of the eighth dimension are greater than Bodhisattvas of the
seventh, and Bodhisattvas are better than the spirits in the Light
Realm of the sixth dimension in the other world.
However, people should not be judged by their
spiritual level alone. The diamond within everyone is essentially the same, the
only difference being in the level of refinement and the brilliance of the
diamond, which is the result of numerous incarnations. Those who make the effort
to polish the diamond within become angels of light. So if you continue to
refine your inner diamond, it will surely shine. This is true for everyone.
However, no one can become a Tathagata instantly.
To make your diamond shine brightly, you must put forth constant and tireless
efforts. These efforts are exactly the same as the exploration of Right Mind;
this is the spiritual discipline that allows you to discover your true nature.
Through daily effort to explore Right Mind, you will enter the next stage, in
which you seek true happiness.
The first principle of happiness is love. This
love is not the kind of love that you expect to receive from others. The love
that I teach at Happy Science is love that gives.3 The true nature of
love that gives is based on awakening to the fact that all human beings are
children of God and originate in him, and that you are essentially one with
others. Even if you seem to have a completely different personality from anyone
around you, your true nature is essentially the same as the true nature of
everyone else. This is the basis of true love. It is only because you think you
are separate from other people that friction and discord arise. Once we have
awakened to the fact that essentially we are all one, that we all originate from
God and are all his children, we naturally come to love one another. We may have
different personalities, but each of us is expected to realize our common
spiritual essence while valuing our individuality.
What exactly does it mean to love others? It means
wishing for the good of others, and wishing to nurture others without expecting
anything in return. It is a selfless love, detached from personal desire.
Because your essence and the essence of others is the same, you are required to
love others just as you love yourself. It is easy to love ourselves; it's not
something we need to be taught. But unfortunately, once we have been born into a
physical body and experience ourselves as separate and distinct, we forget to
love others. This is why we need to learn to practice love that gives.
The teaching of love sounds very Christian, but
love that gives is the same as compassion, which is the basis of Shakyamuni
Buddha's teachings. Translated into modern terms, Shakyamuni taught, "First,
think of giving love." This was the meaning of his teachings on compassion.
Love, therefore, is the first principle of happiness.
The second principle of happiness is wisdom. As I
mentioned before, it is important to have a correct knowledge of spiritual
Truth. Without this knowledge of Truth, human beings cannot be free in the
truest sense. I feel truly free because I am confident in my correct knowledge
of the Truth. Some religions don't understand this concept. Take, for example,
Christian missionaries who come to Japan. In their zeal to convert and save
people, they insist, "You must throw away your Buddhist altar and convert to
Christianity. You cannot enter heaven unless you abandon Buddhism." These
missionaries may be pure in heart and dedicated, but they are unaware of the
Truth. They believe that unless people abandon their faith in "heretical"
Buddhism, they cannot go to heaven. They feel relieved to see people converting
to Christianity, confident that they now will be able to enter heaven.
High spirits in heaven feel unhappy when they see
this. Many dedicated religious people believe that only their particular brand
of religion can save people, because they don't know that Truth can also be
found in other religions. Such confusion is very sad. To avoid this, you need to
have correct knowledge of the Truth. This is the real meaning of the phrase "The
Truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
The third principle of happiness is
self-reflection, which is closely related to the
cultivation of Right Mind. We are essentially all children of God with
brilliantly shining souls. However, just as a diamond accumulates dirt if it is
neglected, our souls inevitably collect dust and grime as we live in this world.
Our life mission is to refine the soul.
Of course, there may be help from an outside
power; it's like getting help from a specialist, and sometimes we need that
help. But instead of doing nothing while waiting for help, we need to get busy
polishing our own diamond. If we do not refine ourselves, what is the meaning of
During the course of your life,
mistakes sometimes occur. If you realize you've made a mistake, who can correct
it except you? Although someone else could wash your body, only you can cleanse
your soul. Self-Reflection is based on personal power;
it helps us to see what needs to be polished. Start by reflecting on your past
thoughts and deeds. There's no point in gold plating rusty metal. If there is
rust beneath, the shiny surface will soon peel away.
The teaching of self-reflection is the path to the
level of Arhat, the upper realm of the sixth dimension. Arhat is the
preparatory stage for becoming an angel of light, a Bodhisattva. Before entering
this gateway to the level of Bodhisattva, it is essential to follow the path of
self-reflection. You must endeavor to remove the "rust" from your mind, allowing
a spiritual aura, or halo, to emanate from you. Aim first for the level of Arhat,
a level we all can reach in this lifetime. Although everyone has accumulated
karma, or rust on the soul from past incarnations, and although we are all going
through different stages of spiritual development, everyone -- without
exception -- can attain the level of Arhat. It is much more difficult to advance to
the stages beyond this, but through spiritual refinement you will certainly be
able to develop a spiritual aura and become an Arhat. This is the true purpose
of practicing self-reflection. If we produce one thousand Arhats in every
country, their work as politicians, teachers, and business leaders will exert a
great influence on the people around them, and society will eventually change.
One Arhat can influence fifty or even a hundred people, so if there are one
thousand Arhats, about one hundred thousand people will gradually change, and
those one hundred thousand will change another million, and so on. I believe
this is the right way to spread the Truth.
the fourth principle of happiness: progress. If people seek progress without the
practice of self-reflection, they will most likely face
difficulties before they attain success. One can become
an Arhat when one reaches a certain level of
enlightenment. When people reach the next level of
practicing loving and saving others, they
advance to the level of Bodhisattva of the seventh dimension. Bodhisattvas then
proceed to the Tathagata Realm, where there is no darkness, no evil or shadow,
These steps clearly show that the dualism of good
and evil does not conflict with the idea that only light exists.
It is simply a question of different stages. Most people first need to practice
self-reflection in the world of duality, and once they have finished cleansing
their souls, they can enter the world where only light exists. It is an
undeniable fact that there are distinct levels in the spirit world, and one
must progress from one stage to the next. The spirits in the fourth dimension
cannot leap straight to the eighth dimension; they first need to attain mastery
of the fifth dimension. The spirits in the fifth dimension must first aim to go
to the sixth dimension, then to the Bodhisattva Realm of the seventh, then to
the Tathagata Realm of the eighth dimension. This is how progress can be
achieved on the path of self-reflection; without the
feeling of making progress, you cannot feel truly happy.
The last principle of happiness is progress: the
development of the self, of others, and of society. The ultimate goal is to
create a utopia, an ideal world on earth. The four principles of happiness,
then, are love, wisdom, self-reflection, and progress.
This is the modern Fourfold Path that will lead you to true happiness. This is
the first gateway to the Theravada path that I teach. There will be further
steps, but as the first step, I would like you to explore
the Fourfold Path of love, wisdom, self-reflection, and progress. I'm sure that
you will develop your own unique, true happiness.
*This excerpt from The Science of Happiness is
reprinted by permission of the publisher, Destiny Books, Copyright C 2009, All
purchase this book from Amazon.com, click here!