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Q:  How do you portray the Founder Konko Daijin?

 

A:  The Founder was born as the second son of a farmer named Juhei Kandori and his wife Shimo in 1814 at the current locality in Konko Town, Okayama, Japan.  He was adopted into the Kawate family at the age of 12.  He worked diligently and accomplished economic gains as a successful farmer. 

The Founder encountered and endured 7-deaths in the family believed to be incurred through the wrath of the evil deity, Konjin.  He lost five of his family members and two oxen that were treasured as the valuable labor force.

At the age of 42, he encountered a life and death experience caused by a grave illness.  He took this critical moment in life as an opportunity to reflect upon himself and extended his sincere apologies for the irreverence and offense he might have committed against the deity unknowingly.  In responding to his sincerity, the deity appeared before him as a transformed deity whose ultimate concern is human salvation.  The Founder also attained his spiritual transformation through aggravated interactions with the deity in his daily living. 

In 1859, when the Founder reached the age of 46, he responded to the Divine Call, and gave up his family occupation of farming.  He devoted himself in serving the deity in helping people who suffered from confusions developed during the turbulence of social and political upheavals that took place between the end of Edo Period and the beginning of Meiji Era. 

The Founder intently listened to each and every individual who came to seek his help and guidance for their personal issues and situations.  He extended his earnest prayers and helped them to understand the principle of mutual interdependent relationships between Kami and people.  He guided them to live in acknowledgement of Kami’s presence and work in their personal lives.

In this manner, we witnessed the emergence of the distinctive sacred work of “Toritsugi-Mediation” that helped people to establish connectedness to the deity and actualize the spiritual world in which both people and the deity uphold each other.

The deity granted the Founder the divine title of “Ikigami Konko Daijin” in acknowledgement of his contribution in the realization of Kami’s wish.  The Founder perpetuated his prayers for all the people in the world and departed at the age of 70 in 1883. 

The Rev. Heiki Konko has presided as the 5th Spiritual Head of the Konkokyo Organization since March 1991. 

(An English translation of the reference to the Konkokyo Q & A presented in the official Japanese Konkokyo Web site)

 

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