The Study of the Soul (Teaching of GLA)
The Study of the Soul taught by Shinji Takahashi and Keiko Takahashi is the fundamental way of thought and concept of activities within GLA.
In short, the Study of the Soul is a perspective concerning human beings and the world, whereby human beings are viewed as souls, and it is a system how to practice it.
Human Beings Exist as Souls
During the period of Japan’s rapid economic growth when people placed importance on material wealth, Shinji Takahashi taught the importance of the inner dimension of human beings. He taught that our life does not end when we die, but that we continue to live as souls that harbor eternal life. He also stressed that everyone’s life has its own purpose and mission.
Fundamentally, the Study of the Soul not only views human beings as a physical existence but also as a soul. It guides us to regain our lost sense of the soul, and teaches us the importance of living each moment to our fullest from an eternal standpoint.
Core Theory of the Study of the Soul – The Law of Causality of the Soul
So then, how should we live in this world as a soul? Keiko Takahashi guides us to a path of concrete practice so that we can live in the present as a soul harboring eternal life. The core theory of the Study of the Soul is called the Law of Causality of the Soul.
What Is the Law of Causality of the Soul?
The Study of the Soul defines human nature as a soul, and states that a mind-heart is born into the world when a soul encounters its body. There is a law of cause and effect, or a causal connection, between our soul, mind-heart and reality that exists every day. This means the realities we now face are, in fact, the effect (reflection) of our mind-heart, and furthermore, the effect (reflection) of our soul that lies deep within us. This is the Law of Causality of the Soul. (There is a blending of two types of energy in our soul, our soul's aspiration and karma, which have significant impacts on our mind-heart and reality.)
How Does Our Mind-Heart Work?
The function of the human mind-heart can be described by the words, "Ju-Hatsu-Shiki" or perception-response-reality. "Ju" means the function of reception by the mind-heart. That is, our immediate feelings and perceptions. "Hatsu" are functions of the mind-heart's response, such as thoughts and actions. "Shiki" is a Buddhist term meaning reality. In other words, the human mind-heart is a circuit that continuously perceives various realities and that creates new realities while repeating the processes of "Ju", "Hatsu", and "Shiki." The words "Ju-Hatsu-Shiki" represents a conjunction between mind-heart and reality. Note: The Study of the Soul explains the formation process of mind-heart and of life after the soul's birth into this world by the concept of the "three streams of influence (family, place, and era)."
Changing One's Own Mind–Heart Changes Reality
Wouldn’t everyone want to change their reality if they were faced with something undesirable? Unfortunately, we cannot change our reality as we wish. This is because, most of the time, we cannot take initiative over reality. However, we can change our mind-heart, which creates that reality. As indicated by the Law of Causality of the Soul (the law of cause and effect), our reality will change when our mind-heart changes.
What then, can we do to change our mind-heart?
Secret to Changing the Mind-Heart
GLA offers us a means for changing our mind-heart that is broadly divided into two methods.
The first step is to take a thorough look into our mind-heart of darkness, of distortion and prejudice. We can then purify and overcome this darkness.
The second step is to excavate our inner light.
These two methods are intricately linked with one another. The more we purify our darkness, the more inner light appears. In other words, the more we excavate and nurture our inner light, the more we can diminish inner darkness.
Identify and Overcome the Four Types of Darkness of the Mind-Heart
What is the first step of identifying and overcoming darkness?
Distortion and prejudice of the human mind-heart can be categorized into four types based on the perspective of “Ju-Hatsu-Shiki” described above. The method then guides us to identify each type of distortion and prejudice in order to overcome darkness.
The four types of darkness of the mind-heart are: Pleasure-Recklessness (Over-Confident Type); Pain-Recklessness (Resentful Victim Type); Pain-Lethargy (Self-Depreciating Type); and Pleasure-Lethargy (Self-Satisfied Type).
The Study of the Soul reveals four types of distortion and prejudice of the human mind-heart (Bonno or inner darkness) by means of Bonno Map (Soul Compass). It also guides us to overcome each Bonno through concrete practices for each type; namely, practices to overcome: (1) Pleasure-Recklessness; (2) Pain-Recklessness; (3) Pain-Lethargy; and (4) Pleasure-Lethargy.
Light That Exists in Everyone’s Mind-Heart – “Bodaishin”
Let us think about the other step - a method for discovering the mind-heart of light that lies dormant in each one of us. GLA offers several methods to us for bringing out our inner light. Such methods include meditation whereby we trace the history of our soul back to its origin and direct dialogue with our soul, both of which are guided by Keiko Takahashi. Among them, let us mention the fundamental method of Excavating Bodaishin.
As a Buddhist concept, the word, Bodaishin means “a mind-heart that intends to walk the path of Buddhist priesthood to seek for Bodai or enlightenment.” Reverently accepting its spirit, Keiko Takahashi broadly defines Bodaishin as “a mind-heart that seeks one's real self, loves others and contributes to the harmony of the world."
We have a natural tendency to think “I want to help people who are in trouble,” “I want to find ways to solve irresolvable situations,” or “I want to be of help to someone who is suffering.” Bodaishin - a heart that wishes to heal pain, bring order to a state of confusion, and revitalize stagnant conditions - lies dormant inside each one of us.
The World Is in Pressing Need of Bodaishin
This Bodaishin is what the world needs most at this moment.
Keiko Takahashi has written that “Ultimately, we cannot move towards resolution of problems in the world, such as global warming, poverty, and unequal society, without the proper functioning of Bodaishin. What the world needs is Bodaishin, which plays an integral role in revitalizing our life and the world.” (Adapted from Keiko Takahashi, The Twelve Bodaishin, Published by Sampoh Publishing Co., Ltd.)
The Twelve Bodaishin
The Study of the Soul reveals in detail the diverse characteristics of light that is radiated from Bodaishin from twelve different aspects. They are: a heart like the moon, a heart like fire, a heart like the sky, a heart like a mountain, a heart like ears of rice, a heart like a spring, a heart like a river, a heart like the earth, a heart like the Kannon Bodhisattva, a heart like the wind, a heart like the sea, and a heart like the sun. Most of these are forms of nature that we are familiar with, and teaches us the way of living since ancient times.
Method to Discover Bodaishin
Then, how can we excavate Bodaishin within ourselves? Keiko Takahashi suggests Exercises to Nurture each of the 12 Bodaishin.
You Can Understand Your Soul's Aspiration and the Reason Why You Were Born
As we live excavating our Bodaishin, we can experience extraordinary changes in our reality and relationships.
Moreover, the energy of Excavating Bodaishin leads us to recall aspirations that exist within our soul, and the reason why we were born.
Keiko Takahashi says, “A light of Bodaishin guides us to radiate another light of Bodaishin. As you fill yourself with the light of each Bodaishin, you feel free and refreshed, become energetic, patient, compassionate and tolerant, and yet you have a profound sense of humility. This also means opening up of the dimension of the soul, the dimension of the main essence of human beings that spreads deep within our heart. This is a path of drawing out the force of the soul that knows eternity and responds in an infinite way.”
People Who Practice the Study of the Soul Are Continuously Coming into the World
The Study of the Soul is not mere theory.
In fact, a large number of individuals in GLA discovered Bodaishin by learning and practicing the Study of the Soul. They have resolved problems that they have had for many years and made excellent recoveries from crises from which they once thought there was no way out. At GLA, a growing number of people are living a new life that they have never imagined before. And there is a constant flow of others like them experiencing a new self being born.