Sweeping Dusts

The following is an excerpt from Omichi no joshiki [Tenrikyo Fundamentals] (pp. 44–47) by Koji Sato (佐藤浩司), assistant professor at Tenri University and instructor at Tenri Seminary. Note: This translation is tentative and may require further revision.

Sweeping Dusts

God the Parent created human beings and lends us our bodies so that we will respect and help one another. God the Parent also granted us the freedom to use our minds.

Yet we humans often tend to use our minds in a manner that goes against the spirit of the Joyous Life. Oyasama likened such wrongful use of the mind as dust, something that is so light that it can be blown away in a single puff of breath.

The types of wrongful use the mind that we have been specifically cautioned against are the eight dusts of “miserliness, covetousness, hatred, self-love, grudge-bearing, anger, greed, and arrogance.” Other wrongful uses of the mind that have been named include “falsehood, flattery” and “reservation and hesitancy” (enryo-kigane).

It is best that we not let such dusts to pile up and accumulate. Yet it appears that everyone has the tendency to have dusts accumulate rather easily. A particular story goes as follows:

Naokichi Takai was once sent by Oyasama to save a person who lived about 12 kilometers south of the Residence. When he was instructing the man about the cause of illness, the man pounced upon Naokichi, saying, “I have done nothing wrong in my life.” Naokichi said, “I have heard nothing from Oyasama about such a situation yet. I will go back at once to ask.” When he then ran the 12 kilometers back to the Residence to ask Her, She explained:

Suppose you have a new house built and you seal up the windows so that no one can enter. The dust will still settle so thick on the floor that you can write a letter in it when you do not sweep it up for, say, ten or 20 days.

Anecdotes of Oyasama 130, “Fine Dust”

When Naokichi returned and conveyed what Oyasama told him, the man nodded and was convinced by the explanation.

Oyasama also elaborated on the teaching of dusts of the mind by likening it to the dust and leftover scraps that always result from the process of making cotton into clothes.

First of all, when cotton is spun into thread or yarn by a spindle, the cotton that is not made into yarn becomes cotton dust. Next, when the yarn is woven into fabric on a loom, there will always be leftover thread or yarn that is not woven by the loom. Further, scraps of fabric results when the fabric is sewn into a set of clothes. Like such cotton dust, leftover thread or yarn, and scraps of fabric, dusts of the human mind appear quite naturally.

From these two examples, we see that dusts of the mind tend to accumulate quite easily. Oyasama did not tell us to stop accumulate such dusts. Instead, She taught us to be aware of the fact that dust tends to accumulate easily and that we make efforts to sweep them away.

How then, are we to sweep away these dusts? Oyasama told us to clean our minds by using God as “broom.” Oyasama specifically taught the “Service” as the means to save humanity. We are able to sweep away the wrong use of our minds that result in our interactions with others by facing God the Parent and performing the Service of “Ashiki o harote” (All ills sweep away).

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

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