Fusekomi (Sowing Seeds of Sincerity)

*The following is a translation of an excerpt from Omichi no joshiki (Tenrikyo fundamentals) by Koji Sato, assistant professor at Tenri University and instructor at Tenri Seminary.

Fusekomi (Sowing Seeds of Sincerity)

In the path, the act of serving with sincerity without seeking any tangible results is held in high esteem and described with the verb fusekomu or the noun fusekomi.

The compound words fusekomu and fusekomi do not appear in any dictionary. But for reference’s sake, the Kojien has the following usages for the verbs “fuseru” and “komu“:


  • (1) to look downwards; to lie face down
  • (2) to lie on one’s side; to lie down
  • (3) to topple or push something down
  • (4) to turn upside down or inside out
  • (5) to conceal or hide
  • (6) to cover; to cover and catch.


  • (1) to become full, crowded, or congested
  • (2) to make something intricate, complicated, or confusing
  • (3) [When used in conjunction with another verb]
    • (a) to put in; to go in
    • (b) to completely become
    • (c) to fully or sufficiently become
  • (4) the abbreviated form of swallow (nomikomu); to understand.

Thus the meaning of the compound word fusekomu (fusekomi) is most likely the combination of fuseru (5), (6) and komu (3a), (3b), giving us “to completely (fully, sufficiently) become concealed or covered.” This term is used to refer to actual situations in the path such as, “I did fusekomi (or served as live-in staff) at my church so many years ago,” and “I donated (fusekonda) my assets.”

In the Osashizu, the word fusekomi is used concretely to refer to how Izo Iburi exerted his sincerity for Oyasama’s sake or when he moved into the Residence with his family. Izo Iburi became a devoted follower after his wife Sato was saved from complications following a miscarriage. Because he was a carpenter, he was involved in the first construction of a sanctuary in the path with the building of the Place for the Service.

When followers were on their way to Chushichi Yamanaka’s home in Mamekoshi Village (presently, Mamekoshi, a suburb of Sakurai City) after the ridge-raising ceremony, they stopped at the gate of Oyamato Shrine to conduct the Service. Because this disturbed the prayers of Chikuzen-no-kami, the superintendent of Shinto priests in Yamato Province, it led to an incident (the knot at Oyamato Shrine) where the followers were detained for what was seen as outrageous behavior on their part.

Following this incident, most followers stopped coming to the Residence out of fear and the construction on the Place for the Service fell behind schedule. During this time Izo Iburi continued to finish the construction by himself. Also, Izo and his family vacated their home in Ichinomoto to serve the Residence as Oyasama requested at a time when there was no sufficient space for them to live. Truly, this is a model for fusekomi, where one lives cheerfully and spirited despite being in an uncomfortable situation.

Presently, it is said that one loses out unless one is self-assertive. It is not very easy to continue to make material or monetary offerings and contribute physically out of the sight from others. However, just like how seeds do not spout buds unless it is placed inside the soil, sincere contributions likewise become seeds at sprout buds, flowers, and fruit only when such efforts are concealed.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.

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