37. “How Unworthy I Feel, When I Think of Oyasama”
Even after he became the Honseki, Izo always began speaking with the phrase, “Oyasama said….”
In other words, whenever the Honseki spoke, he never spoke his own words or his own thoughts. In fact, it was almost impossible to hear him talking about himself.
The fact that he saw and experienced firsthand Oyasama’s life of poverty, led him to consistently adhere to an austere lifestyle for the rest of his life. The Honseki constantly bore in mind how Oyasama, Shuji and Kokan lived through the cold winters without a fire and sometimes had nothing but water and pickled vegetables to nourish themselves.
When he would talk of this past, the Honseki would say: “There was a point in time when such were the circumstances of the path. Because of this, please make sure not to waste even the smallest thing.”
Whenever a special meal was made for him, the Honseki would always say: “How unworthy I feel, when I think of Oyasama. I am unworthy to have something like this prepared for me.”
In the winter, he would use a lit charcoal just to heat his hands and bury it deep in the ash when he was finished.
(Adapted from Shinpan Izo Iburi den p. 47 and Ten no jogi pp. 141–142)
- Next installment in this series: 38. Frugal Use of an Oil Lamp
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
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