随処作主(zuisho sakushu): Be your own master
Personally, I think that being one's own master is important to achieving harmony with oneself. In the world, and especially now, there are so many things happening that cause us to feel anxious. Some of these things are completely out of our own control, because there is nothing we can do to change it. On a smaller scale, this can be something like the weather, or whether there will be traffic on the way to work. On a larger scale, natural disasters and disease affect many people every day. When one begins to think of all the troubles people go through, it is easy to realize the lack of control in a variety of situations. We do not have control over others, either, and sometimes this becomes a source of stress when there are conflicts.
However, regardless of what happens in life, we will always live with ourselves. We will never leave "us," and to me that is something I can be relieved about. If nothing else, I have the power to change my mindset and become a better person. The more I reflect on myself and make efforts to refine my character, the more I act as my own master, the more I feel I am grounded in the world. Even if there are some things I can never change or control the course of, I can be assured that my path is one that I walk by myself and true to myself.
和 (wa): Harmony
「和」means gentleness, harmony, and peace in English. Speaking of harmony and peace, we often emphasize the importance of being mindful and maintaining a peaceful mind in our daily life. However, in addition to our inner peace, it's also crucial to note that inner peace can be greatly affected by external factors, such as the words or body languages from other people. Words and languages are so powerful that they can ruin our moods or save our lives in a second. In this sense, today's statement reminds me of the the other statement 「和顔愛語」which means "gentle faces and loving languages". Looking at the status quo of our world, where so many hate crimes are surging against Asians globally, where there are still quite a lot of people calling covid-19 as "China virus", where most of us in the United States are still constrained at home, I think it is really pivotal for us to show our gentle faces and to speak in a gentle, uplifting, and empathetic manner to the people we don't know, to the people we just meet, and to the people we love. Gentle faces and loving languages are our weapons to fight against hates and to defend our inner peace. Love will win.
一隅を照らす(ichiho wo terasu): Illuminate one corner
生きがい (Ikigai): a reason for being, a reason to live
Tea students in the Urasenke Urbana-Champaign association