One of the newest publications from Ryuho Okawa, World Teacher and Founder of Happy Science Group is The Royal Road of Life. Okawa initiates the book by exploring what he defines as the Royal Road and the essential quality thereof is that it is a way of life that allows for a perpetuation of inner peace, virtue and a sense of purpose. There is a brief discussion about the manner in which the virtues that are embodied presently will carry on into the afterlife, and the Buddhist concept of abandoning attachments is likewise explored as a precursor to experiencing happiness.
With the second chapter the tone shifts in order to explore how inner peace arises and the manner in which humans can gain a sense of peace-inducing mystical union with the divine. While Okawa condemns the act of worrying as harmful and wasteful, he doesn’t merely leave the reader at that, and instead goes on to provide a discourse on the development and maintenance of peace of mind. Included techniques are taking time for silence, refraining from becoming angry by remaining mindful of one’s thoughts and reactions, cultivating a tolerant heart, allowing time to resolve certain problems, and apologizing sincerely when one has wronged another.
The third chapter discusses the rebuilding of one’s life and elaborates upon the previous chapter further. Okawa outlines the reasons why resentment is a quality that must ultimately be cast away if one is to be successful in this world, and goes on to explore qualities of both successful and unhappy people in general. Ultimately, Okawa explains at depth that much of the key to success exists in perseverance and humility, and that unhappy people are commonly those who do not see things through to the end and give up on themselves before their success has even had a chance to flourish.
The book continues in chapter four with an analysis of time-management, an often overlooked but profoundly important concept. Okawa explores the relativity of perceptions of time, and the fact that despite subjective evaluation, all people are given a 24 hour day that can be perceived in the context of density, area and volume; this is a unique and technical, though no less intuitive, way to perceive time. As Okawa demonstrates, in part by employing examples from his own successful time-management, an abundance of activities can be performed in 24 hours, providing that the most essential matters are attended to. This concept is explained in accordance with the 80:20 ratio first developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, which posits that where 100% must be accomplished, concentrating on the 20% which comprises the most essential qualities will yield a success rate of 80%; in other words, what appears like 10 hours of work can be accomplished in 2 hours if only the essential tasks are performed, which furthermore implies that 5x the amount of work can be accomplished in a 10 hour span. The Royal Road of Life is worth reading for this chapter alone, and Okawa’s explanation of time is something that can be useful for anyone from entrepreneurs to regular working people trying to juggle their many responsibilities.
Throughout the next two chapters Okawa explains the impact of the subconscious guidance in one’s everyday actions as being ultimately benevolent and inspiring a greater passion for life. Unlike the secular perspective of the subconscious, the perspective outlined by Okawa and Happy Science in general perceives the subconscious in a spiritual sense, in that it is a constant guide towards something greater, despite the difficulties in life that it may present in order that one may grow and develop. Okawa goes on to discuss what he calls the Five Conditions and Virtues of a True Leader; these are respect, wisdom, belief, righteousness, and courage. It is easy to take any or all of these for granted, but they are of preeminent importance for all people, and especially for the leaders of the world that are in a place to set a benevolent example for humanity.
The final chapter is comprised of a transcription of one of Okawa’s lectures at the University of Tokyo and is akin to a recap of everything that has been discussed throughout the book. He reinforces the importance of thinking and acting strategically, taking care to preserve one’s mental and physical health, and discusses the crucial importance of preserving democracy in the world.
The Royal Road of Life is a book worthy of study for any person who is in a place of leadership, and perhaps even more so for those who are presently striving to become leaders, but is with enough wisdom that any person can benefit from reading and applying its contents. This is a book comprised of universal wisdom and it is a truly compassionate contribution to humanity.