Oyasama once said to a follower:
“If you do something with gratitude, no matter how hard or unpleasant it may be, your virtue will reach heaven. Virtue which is accepted by God will be turned into joy. But no matter how hard or trying the work that you do may be, if you do it complaining, ‘How hard it is, how I hate it,’ the complaints will also reach heaven and be returned to you in kind.”
Anecdotes of Oyasama, no. 144
Everyone wants to be seen in a positive light.
People try hard to make themselves look important by, for example, striving to graduate from good schools, achieve financial success, and earn impressive titles. Many endeavor to improve their looks by making desperate efforts such as going on a diet and using expensive cosmetic and clothing products. There are some who perform good deeds to gain fame, some who commit crime to attract attention, and even some who take their own life to enhance their reputation, if only posthumously.
People tend to be very sensitive to how others perceive them and can be easily upset or hurt by negative remarks others make about them.
When people make a mistake, they are more worried about others’ reactions than about the mistake itself. They are more concerned about whether the mistake has been noticed by others or whether they might be laughed at or scorned. In fact, many worries and concerns that people have in their daily lives may be due to being overly sensitive to others’ perception. This can be a factor giving rise to stress.
We spare no effort to improve our image. Yet what about our inner life, which surely is more important? Perhaps we tend to neglect our inner well-being.
No matter how beautiful we may be outwardly, our life can be hollow if our inner substance is impoverished. The gap between our outward image and inner well-being might be the cause of many of the difficulties that we face.
Oyasama is not looking at our outward appearance but at who we are inside. She is aware of what goes on within us—whether it is our deep indignation, hidden selfishness, or profound sense of gratitude. What reaches heaven is our true state of mind and heart.