If you have a child who is diagnosed as autistic, both you and your child may be very worried about future. However, the doctor's words that it is a disease or a disability should not be taken as to denying the possibility of human growth. If we work righteously and hard, we can all grow. It is important to accept the truth of our soul and our personal tendencies, and to live with faith in the future.
From the teachings of Master Ryuho Okawa, we have selected prescriptions for the mind to lighten the worries and suffering caused by autism.
Do not get too caught up in the diagnosis of autism
Doctors are quick to use the label “autistic” on anyone whose unusual behavior and strange actions are troublesome to deal with and end up causing headaches for parents and teachers. The problem, though, is that this definition of autism is entirely too broad.
It may, indeed, be the case that such children will face difficulties as they try to make their way in a management society. They might have a hard time finding a steady job. This may be correct. When you look more closely, though, you will see that everyone today, who is making a name for oneself, is an unusual person. The type of person who is easy to manage may be good to use as a subordinate but everyone who starts something original in the world is “strange.” Someone even wrote a book titled, Great Men are All Unusual. Thomas Edison was unusual, Ryoma Sakamoto was unusual, and I, myself, am unusual.
It is miserable to conform to fixed ways of thinking, which is why I cannot readily accept the things that doctors say. It is especially the case in Japan that whenever anyone is different or has a distinctly individual personality, there is a tendency toward rejection. The Japanese often think that everyone has to be just like everybody else.
However, it is precisely those who have strongly individualistic personalities who go on to change the world. The strong individual is the one who breaks through the status quo and causes changes unheard of.
If a doctor tells you that your son or daughter is autistic, do not let such a diagnosis trouble you. Instead, I would like you to have faith that your child has a strongly individualistic personality. If you think along these lines, then everything will turn out well.
The profound meaning of the given scenario of your life
It is generally believed in modern society that people are born with DNA that determines their physique and how they will live with it.
There certainly is a kind of blueprint for the physical body, and our bodies will take shape according to those instructions as we age.
The soul inside the body, however, is not the same as that which can be seen from the outside. Even if a person has some disability in outward appearance, the actual soul that resides within is an intact, adult soul that used to live in the heavenly world before being born into this world. In essence, people with disabilities were previously able to think, speak, and hear naturally as souls, and were born with the hope to achieve something.
There are of course cases in which a disability occurs due to some kind of accident when a person is born, but it is not always the case. It is actually part of the plan to have different kinds of people born onto this earth.
A world filled with the same kind of individuals is undesirable, which is why there are differences in gender and age, and also in appearance. As people grow into adults, they determine their own path that matches their aptitude and capabilities.
Sometimes parents give birth to a disabled child or their child becomes ill as he or she gets older. Even if they had wished to live freely and actively, it may turn out that they face a decades-long life with a burden much heavier than they had expected. But this, too, is life.
Think of it as a scenario given to you: "Try this kind of experience once" in one of your many lives
There are no two lives the same. It may be surprising, but although a soul may be reborn, its life will differ each time because the era, the region, the surroundings, and how work is done would all be different.
It is often said that you only live once. It is true in that you can only live this current life once. But the opposite is also true; this life is not your only chance because you have actually experienced many lives in the past and will most probably experience more in the future as well.
People's experiences in this lifetime differ; some are born as men, some as women; some are born healthy, some with disabilities; some suffer from serious illnesses, some from physical disorders at some point in life. But it is better to consider these experiences as individual scenarios prepared especially for each person; these are experiences worth going through in one of the brief journeys of life that can last about a hundred years.
For over 30 years, I have been working as a religious leader working to give energy to many people in different places, but as long as I have a physical body, things do not always go as smoothly as they do in the heavenly world. I have already given over 2,800 lectures [as of October 2018], and I feel overwhelmed when I think about how much more I have to do. At this rate, the number of my lectures would eventually exceed 5,000, which would take more energy than climbing high mountains. Thinking that far in advance makes me feel this way, but I believe it is important to accumulate good work one at a time.
Some 30 years ago, I gave my very first sermon (November 1986) and public lecture (March 1987). I have continued to do this work since then. The number of publications under my name now exceeds 2,400 [as of October 2018].* I have reached such high productivity, far beyond average, accumulating all this by taking it one step at a time. Rather than trying to put out something immensely huge, I have simply taken each step one at a time.
One of these efforts is the “You Are An Angel!” movement I mentioned earlier. This activity is introduced in the Happy Science documentary film, Heart to Heart [released May 2018]. I, too, am strongly encouraged when I see people with disabilities making efforts in their daily lives. I cannot tell whose “assignment” is heavier, the one assigned to me or to them. They have many challenges in their lives and their efforts inspire me to work harder.
“Autism” has been used in a very broad sense over the years. Perhaps doctors feel that they've solved the problem when they make a diagnosis of an illness or disorder and that this will put the patients at ease. They probably believe it's their job to attach a name to their patients' problems and prescribe medications to treat them. But we should be wary of taking our doctors' word for it when they offer a diagnosis, especially if the doctor works with this sort of mentality.
Instead, we need to believe that we human beings are all children of God with splendid potential lying within us. We possess the potential to transform ourselves, and we have the right and capacity to find happiness just as we are. We have the ability to change our perspectives and, by doing so, change the way we perceive the world we live in.
It isn't necessarily a misfortune to have been endowed with a child that's harder to manage or who has special needs. Even though it may appear as if you bear an extra burden, your child could be teaching you something very important. Your child can be giving you a lesson on what it means to give love. By raising your child, you are tested as to how much weight you are capable of carrying on your shoulders and how deeply your heart can love, nurture, and forgive your child.
Especially those with a strong heart of forgiveness face experiences that test the degree of love they can demonstrate toward others who have irregularities about them, such as an illness. I hope that a greater number of people will learn to believe in the power within us all to improve, grow, and develop, and know that cultivating inner maturity will allow us to overcome the sins of others as well as our own and conquer seemingly insurmountable difficulties.