Review: “Tips to Find Happiness”

Suitable illustration picture from the animated movie “The Laws of Eternity”, also by Ryuho Okawa. Florence Nightingale points out that it’s up to us to become the force of love. This book applies this to the family, for those who have that.

I already finished reading through the book “Tips to Find Happiness” by Ryuho Okawa. It is fairly short, and quite a page turner, so it did not take me long to finish it.

Like several of his books, this one is mostly down to earth. There is no way to guess from the book itself that the author is worshiped as a living Buddha and divine savior of all mankind by thousands of Japanese. Sure, he does recommend his own books and recordings of his lectures to help drive away negative spiritual influences, but then again he hardly consider these “stray spirits” a worthy adversary: He compares them to roaches. Clean up your soul and keep it bright, and they won’t appear.

Most of the book consists of practical advice in different situations of life, with focus on the family. It is clear that Master Okawa favors traditional gender roles, which are still common in Japan. Here in Scandinavia a woman is just as likely to work outside the home if her husband is rich as if he is poor, whereas in Japan it seems to still be a bit of a shame to need your wife to work to pay the bills. In any case, workplace stress is seen as a common reason for disturbances in the family, and the home is seen as a place to unwind in a constructive manner. Parents are encouraged to spend time with their children, and spouses to be accepting of each other’s faults and rather work on their own.

There are also other themes, like how to live with elderly relatives, and how elderly relatives should live out their life. An intriguing advice (also found in another of his English books) is to assume a lifespan of 120 years. If you are called home before that, so be it, but it would be a shame to end up finishing your life while still alive and have to just sit down and die for lack of reason to live.

(Master Okawa does not mention this, but life expectancy in the developed world is still increasing with approximately 5 hours a day. Yes, despite getting fatter, we are still living longer. So it is not entirely impossible that Japanese in particular, already a long-lived people, may actually live to see 120. A few people already do. I guess it would suck to spend the last 40 of those just tossing and turning in bed! But most old people die quickly when they no longer have anything to live for. This may well be a mercy.)

Overall, the small book, based on questions from his readers, is an easy read and quite practical. It will appeal only to conservatives and preferably those at least a bit religious though. I cannot imagine a liberal feeling happy about reading this book.

There is some reincarnation stuff, about how the spirits of future children match up with their parents and such. This makes up only a small part of the book though, and Christian readers can safely ignore this. Of course, Christianity also includes some degree of reincarnation (of the spirit, not the soul) but it is a fringe part of the religion and most Christians barely even know about it. Most of the rest of the book should be familiar to the western reader though.