58 Selected Writings 1: Tips to Avoid Becoming Upset

The following is a translation of “Hara o tatenai kotsu” by Kuraji Kashiwagi from Ohanashi goju hassen published in 2004 in Japanese by the Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association. Translation originally posted on Tenrikyo Forum on March 12, 2007.

Tips to Avoid Becoming Upset

by Kuraji Kashiwagi

What can we do to avoid becoming upset? Something that upsets us can become a source of joy if we just change the way we think and perceive.

For instance: A person says, “You’re stupid!” There are people who react by becoming upset and starting a fight. However, there is another way to react.

A person says, “You’re stupid!” We can react by thinking: “I thought that I was pretty smart, but it looks like I’m not. I think I’ll make a big effort to become smarter. I should begin by working twice as harder than the next person.” Thinking in this way enables us to improve ourselves in proportion to our efforts to study. If we feel joy and appreciate the fact that someone calling us “stupid” led to our self-improvement, then we have no reason to become upset.

The way we react not only enables us to avoid becoming upset in any situation we may face, but can also provide us with new opportunities become a better person. We can avoid becoming upset simply with the way we think, perceive, and react. Another way to accomplish this is to become more open-minded. A person with great open-mindedness does not allow him or herself to be troubled by small matters. Such a person would find most situations fun and amusing.

A case in point: the open sky never becomes upset. Though one can say the analogy can only go so far since the sky is subject to storms, the open sky is clear high above every storm. The open sky is unconcerned and allows a storm in its bosom to rage freely as it wishes. My recommendation to avoid becoming upset is to have a mind like the open sky.

On the author

Kuraji Kashiwagi 柏木庫治 (1888–1977): Served as first and third head minister of Higashichuo Grand Church (1928–1953; 1956–1962). Promoted to executive official of Church Headquarters (Honbu-in) in 1963.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.