The following excerpt is from Omichi no joshiki [Tenrikyo Fundamentals] (pp. 94–97) by Koji Sato 佐藤浩司, assistant professor at Tenri University and instructor at Tenri Seminary. Note: This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Mind of Sincerity
In the summer of 1883, rain was scarce throughout Japan and this deeply affected the harvest that year. The absence of a major river in Yamato Province especially made the region susceptible to drought. It was a matter of life-or-death for many farmers.
The situation in the area surrounding the Residence was no different. Rice fields dried and cracked; rice plants were on the verge of withering. In The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, it is detailed how followers conducted the Service for Rain as taught by Oyasama when the desperate villagers pleaded for help.
About this time, Isaburo Masui of Izushichijo Village (currently a section of Koriyama City) made his living as a farmer and went to the Residence each day to help care after the rice fields of the Residence. A messenger from his home came by as he was tending to the Residence’s crops and relayed to Isaburo: “People back at the village are busy drawing water into the rice fields. They loudly voice their complaints, saying, ‘While everyone is out helping, we have yet to see any sign of Isaburo.’ Can’t you come home just for a while just to show your face?”
Isaburo had long resigned to himself, “I do not care what happens to my own field,” so he quickly replied to the messenger, “Thank you for coming all the way here, but I cannot go,” and sent him home. However, later Isaburo thought, “I am contented because I feel there is nothing greater than being able to put even a bucketful of water into the fields of the Residence during this drought. But I cannot allow my neighbors to be discontent and complain on account of this. Although I said I would not go, I think I shall go to show my face.”
When Isaburo went to Oyasama to explain his situation before taking his leave, She said to him,
“Even if it does not rain from above, as long as there is virtue (ri), I shall make water rise as moisture from the ground below.”
When Isaburo returned to his village, he found all the villagers in the middle of a great commotion, as they had been drawing well water into the rice fields all day and night. Isaburo went to the fields with his wife Osame and drew water throughout the night. Not a drop of water was drawn into their field; all the water they drew went to the fields of others.
Osame later took water that had collected near the Kanrodai and mixed it water from their home. She sprinkled this mixed water on their field with a dried rice stalk twice a day, once every morning and evening.
Several days passed. As dawn broke one day, Osame went to check on the progress of their field when miraculously, she saw moisture coming up from the ground into the field where she had no memory of drawing water into. Osame remembered Oyasama’s words and was deeply moved at seeing another convincing example that there is no mistake in any of Her words.
Although the rest of the village had a bad harvest, the Masuis were blessed with a sufficient yield that autumn.
Oyasama’s words, “As long there is virtue,” probably can be restated as “As long as your mind is in accord with the Truth of Heaven.” One would believe that Isaburo’s “mind of sincerity”—in which he showed concern for others instead of having any concern for his own matters—was in accord with the mind of God the Parent and the Truth of Heaven.
The mind that God the Parent desires of humankind is a mind that wishes for others to be saved. Such a mind is also described as a “mind of sincerity,” a “sincere mind,” or as “true sincerity.” When such a mind accepted, it becomes the basis of God the Parent granting us remarkable and miraculous salvation.
- Next installment in this series: Great Salvation
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.