25. Inquiry Posed at the Workplace by the Meishin-gumi Confraternity
Of matters concerning dust, go to the workplace.
In 1883, the Kyoto Meisei-sha Confraternity gathered followers under the legal pretense that they would be holding Shingaku sermons (a type of life philosophy developed by Ishida Baigan and others that became popular among townsfolk and peasants in late 19th-century Japan). Disciples in Jiba felt this was a good method to quickly establish legal status for the path.
In 1884, Gisaburo Nakata and Risaburo Yamamoto went to observe how the Meisei-sha did this and suggested to Shirobei Umetani, then the head of Meishin-gumi, that he do the same. Shinnosuke Nakayama, Kichitaro Matsumura, Nakata, Yamamoto, and others went to Osaka and met with a number of people but the sheer amount of arguments they received made it difficult to agree on how to proceed.
The men then decided to return to Jiba inquire of Oyasama on what to do. Oyasama sent them to Izo, who delivered God’s message as follows:
This path that you are establishing is a seed bed, a seed bed connected by a narrow path. You are scattering seeds here and there, planting as you are walking.
After receiving this instruction, the Meishin-gumi decided to temporarily utilize the pretense of holding Shingaku sermons as a precaution to defend themselves from the police.
(From Shinpan Izo Iburi den p. 93)
- Next installment in this series: 26. “I Returned Your Contribution Ten-Thousandfold”
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.