From Jesus to Jesus’ Father
Heleno from Brazil grew up as a Christian in one of the most eminently Christian countries, Brazil. This is his journey of discovering God’s love beyond difference of religion and finding whom Jesus called Father, El Cantare.
Strict Adherence to the Holy Bible
Before encountering Happy Science, I was a Christian, and from the age of 14, lived the strict religious Protestant Christian life of the Evangelicals. In the Evangelicals, the stringent worldview is that Jesus is the sole savior, the Virgin Mary is of no particular significance and idol worship is prohibited. Additionally, there are many precepts that are applied to daily life, among these being that men are prohibited from playing soccer and that it is a taboo for women to shorten their hair. However, after reaching the age of 20, I began to feel that this worldview was becoming a hindrance to my life and I eventually attended church less often.
At first, I swore to never relax my grasp on faith, but, chased by the realities of life, I gradually came to have doubts even in faith itself. Jesus’ resurrection? Did it even happen? Maybe Jesus was neither God nor a savior, but only a common man?
On the other hand, life without faith was tantamount to living an existence where every day was exactly like the other; merely watching TV, working without accomplishing anything, eating and sleeping. All my attempts to attain a sense of fulfillment continued to be futile. I knew my previous religious life did not provide the answers I sought. Without knowing any alternative way of seeing, I was left with the daunting struggle of a blind man.
Why Can I Not Believe?
My first encounter with Lord El Cantare was in 2008. My wife, who previously had been of the same religious faith, discovered Happy Science and took me to one of its centers. However, what I saw when I went there was idol worship; people praying to a principle image of God. I refused to give Happy Science a chance to convert my way of seeing because of this difference from the tenets of my prior faith.
One day, just over a year after this first encounter, a staff member of Happy Science approached me asking, “We are publishing a book called, Spiritual Messages from Jesus Christ* and would like to hear your comments from the viewpoint of an Evangelical.” I read it through once and concluded that its content claiming the words of Jesus was totally unbelievable. “This is completely the opposite of what we Evangelicals believe. The Evangelicals will never accept this.” I returned the text to the staff member with harsh criticism. However, after returning home, a passage in the book kept recurring in my head. “Why is it that you cannot believe?” I somehow felt that passage contained Jesus’ love. I found myself wondering, “I want to believe, but can I?” Curious, I started to read and learn more, little by little.
* Spiritual Messages of Jesus Christ: a book published internally and available in Japanese, English and Portuguese at your local temple.
Redemption from the Fear of Death
From that point on my bland and dry life began to change. The first change was in my way of thinking; I learned that true happiness lies inside my soul. Inspired by the question “Do you feel deep joy within your soul?” (The Starting Point of Happiness), I started to pray whenever I was rattled at work in order to calm and pacify my mind.
Then, people began to trust me more. Some who were having troubles in their relationships began asking me for advice which I gave based on what I had learned from the teachings. Colleagues started asking, “Why have you changed so much?” My job evaluation and salary improved. The more I learned about Buddha’s Truth, the more I was filled with a new freedom in my soul and the indescribable feeling of true happiness.
The philosophical insight of reincarnation also saved me from my long dreaded fear of death. In the teachings of the Evangelicals, once one falls into hell, he or she was forever barred from passing through the gates of Heaven. However, in Happy Science, I learned that self-reflection can erase past sins, that self-reflection can return one to the heavenly world even if they had fallen and that we are all given the chance to be born again. This teaching released me from the fear of death that had always burdened me from the time I was an Evangelical; these teachings gifted me with the confirmation of the compassion of the Lord who grants us many chances.
A Desire to Answer the Lord’s Calling
I am only recently awakened to this faith, but by God’s grace was able to witness the Lord during his lecture tour in Brazil. I was able to directly see and hear from the Lord himself - a momentous occasion for my soul. I am still almost moved to tears whenever I think of the love He showed in journeying all the way to Brazil to bring us His message.
Before I found this faith, I was in darkness: I was preoccupied with material things; I did not know the meaning of life; I truly did not know anything. Now, however, I can clearly see the light of the Truth; I can perceive the world of the Truth and know what I must do. Just as the Lord tells His disciples, “The Eternal Buddha is now reincarnated” (The Eternal Buddha), I passionately feel that I must answer to the calling of the Lord.
Evangelicals are, as are we all, the same in being human beings. I am sure they will understand just as I do the love of the Lord. I will pursue preaching the teachings to them to let them know of the ‘the Lord’s salvation’- a salvation that extends beyond the boundaries of different religions.