Zenshen Lin lives in Taiwan. He became a member of Shumei in January of 2015.
I have been deaf since birth. When I was one year old, my younger brother was born. When I was ﬁve, my twin sisters came into the world. Three of us four brothers and sisters have hearing impairments. Only one of us children was born with normal hearing. My poor mother did not have the strength to stand up against the pressures of living in a household with three disabled children and a demanding husband. She ﬁnally left us when I was in the sixth grade.
From the time that she left, I had to take my mother’s place. I did all the chores around the house and took care of my younger brother and sisters. My father was burdened with the many expenses of caring for us, including buying medicine for my grandmother, who had a severe heart condition. He was under a lot of stress. The stress was made worse because he had trouble communicating with his own children because of our hearing problems. If my younger brother and sisters did not obey him, he would become enraged and beat them. Seeing that broke my heart.
When I entered junior high school, I found that I liked running. I enjoyed running very much and felt that I had found a purpose in my life. At times I was bullied and teased by people because I could not hear or understand them. once, because of this harassing, I almost quit track and field for good. Luckily, my dear grand-mother encouraged and supported me. She gave me the courage to continue. So, I was determined to keep running until I graduated from high school. After graduating, I entered the Taipei Physical Education College.
While in my second year of College, I experienced Jyorei for the ﬁrst time. It was at a friend’s restaurant. When I closed my eyes to receive the blessing, I felt my head become warm and my body light. This got me interested. So, I went to the local Shumei Center. It was there that I met Shunichi Matsumoto, who was visiting from Misono as part of a study group. It was he who introduced me to Shumei’s teachings. And a little later I received my ohikari. I am thankful to Shunichi for that.
Soon after becoming a member, I participated in a race meet. Most of the other competitors were people with the ability to hear normally. I ran a 400-meter race and beat the national record for the hearing impaired. With that, I was qualiﬁed to run in the Hearing Impaired Asian Track and Field Competition, which was to be held in october of that year.
While preparing for the race at a training camp set up for the competition, my fellow team members and I had to practice, sleep, and eat together. I had no time for myself or anything else but the upcoming meet. So, I could not go to the Center and perform hoshi. However, in what little time I had, I was able to read Meishusama’s teachings.1 I have come to feel that my reading of these teachings had in some way a profound eﬀect on our team. At ﬁrst, my fellow runners had problems communicating with one another. This had nothing to do with hearing problems. It had more to do with being very eager, very competitive, and very guarded. It had nothing to do with verbal skills. but, gradually, as I continued my reading of our founder’s texts, I saw that we all began to act more like a team. we began to talk with each other and work together more closely. We all came to realize that we could trust and rely on each other.
One day, I fell during training and pulled a muscle in my thigh. I had been careless. Afterward, I had to conﬁne myself to doing only light exercises. My Shumei Group leader told our Sensei at the Shumei Center about my mishap. The sensei advised me to put holy water2 on my thigh every day. And my muscles recovered quickly during the upcoming days.
October came, the games began, and I was under a good deal of pressure. After all, I was representing my birthplace, Taiwan. I did my very best and tried hard to relax. I prayed a lot during that time. I came to realize that my real goal, my true goal was to overcome my own limitations. I knew that Meishusama would always be with me. I also knew that all I had to do was to trust in him and leave everything in his hands.
I injured both of my legs while running in the games. But I applied holy water to them as my Shumei Sensei suggested and the pain was eased. I seemed blessed. It was an important competition. In the end, I won two gold medals, one silver medal, and a bronze medal.
One day, I felt very sick. So, I went to the Shumei Center. While receiving Jyorei, in my mind’s eye I saw Meishusama sitting on a bench in a garden that was at the entrance of the Center. In my daydream, I knelt before him. And even though I am deaf, I could hear his voice clearly telling me that I should work for God. In this reverie, Meishusama asked me to give him my hand. when I did, he started to write on my arm. The writing told me that I should leave all my worries to God and do the best I could. If I did that, I would do well. He said I should look at the world from a God-centered perspective, and that I should not let other people inﬂuence me too much. He told me to share Jyorei with ten people every day. He also wrote that I should read his teachings regularly and that I should do whatever kind of work is needed at the Shumei Center. Meishusama gave me detailed guidance for doing God’s work. After that, I went to the Center every day and practiced Shumei’s essential spiritual disciplines.
My mother, Jinrien Lin has lived alone in Taichung City in the central western part of Taiwan ever since she left our family and she and my father divorced. She was a sad and lonely woman. I thought that if she received an ohikari, it would make her happier. I suggested that she go to the Shumei Taipei Center. She did. And eventually, she received her own ohikari.
Before my mother became a Shumei Member, my kid brother was constantly out joyriding on his motorcycle. He was careless and prone to accidents. Each time an accident occurred, I felt obliged to pay compensations for the damage that he caused. The funds I paid out were part of the money I won in the races. winning those races was hard work and I planned to save the money for years to come. My biggest fear was that my brother would cause me to lose all my savings. However, after my mother received her ohikari, my brother was never in another accident.
While preparing for the races, I made a friend named Tsuaoyan Tsuen. like me, he is hearing impaired and had problems communicating. I introduced him to Shumei. After he received his ohikari, his relationships with other people improved dramatically.
In early 2017, as part of my hoshi service, I started sewing many ohikari pouches3 for my fellow members. being assigned this volunteer work was something that was very special. Usually, women with delicate hands and ﬁne needle skills sew the silk pouches. Yet, Sensei Yoshihiro okada, who once was assigned to the same task himself, trusted in my skills enough to allow me to do this holy work. It was quite a privilege. I was deeply honored. A little before that time I began to experience occasional pain on the right side of my abdomen. I could especially feel it when training. However, since the day I began sewing the pouches, the pain disappeared. Whenever I sew pouches, my body becomes warm, and a calmness comes over my mind. People have told me that I smile more often since I began sewing. I believe that this is due to the spiritual light I receive when doing this hoshi.
Since becoming a Shumei member, I have tried to visit the Shumei Center daily to share Jyorei. I also try to introduce other people to Shumei when I can. Last February, something extraordinary happened to me at my Center. I was cleaning a room on the second story and as I did, I could hear people speaking in the kitchen on the ﬂoor below. Their voices were bright and pleasant. My right ear is totally deaf. Yet, I could hear voices entering it. I began to hear a conversation in another room with a completely soundless ear. I rushed down the stairs, ran into the kitchen, and shouted to the people there that I could hear them. Words now fail me. I cannot express the joy I felt at the time. Since then, my hearing has been improving.
Other things changed as well. My parents are divorced, and my brothers and sisters and I live with my father, who was very angry with my mother for leaving. I rarely got a chance to see her. If my father found out that any of us visited her, he became furious. However, last April, I was with my father and brother at a shrine in Taiwan, and my father told me that it would be alright with him if we visited our mother. I was very happy. Later, he approved of my mother attending my brother’s wedding. We were blessed. We have more time to spend with our mother, and our family dynamics dramatically changed for the better. I am relieved and very grateful.
This year, I became a Group leader within the Shumei organization. I still want to learn even more about Meishusama and what he has to teach all of us. I want to care for my fellow group members within the Shumei family. And I want to help all of mankind through practicing Shumei’s three primary activities: sharing Jyorei, Natural Agriculture, and the appreciation of Art and Beauty.
And so, with much gratitude and a deep sence of Makoto,4 I offer my thanks to our founder, Meishusama.
- Many of Meishusama’s teachings are available in translation. They are based on the written and oral teaching of Shumei’s founder. Within Shumei, it is an important spiritual practice to read his writings.
- This holy water is drawn from a fountain in Misono called Kumo GaTaki. It is considered sacred and thought to have healing properties.
- The silk pouch in which the ohikari is held must be kept clean and changed regularly. Shumei Centers usually have special rooms for changing these pouchs. Making these pouches is an honor.
- Makoto is a word often used by Shumei’s founder. It means to practice sincerity and truth in all thoughts, words, and deeds. Meishusama used it for such things as honesty, faithfulness, integrity, compassion, gratitude, and dedication to principle. Its meaning might vary by circumstance.