The following is a translation of an excerpt from Ishizue: Kashihara Genjiro no shinko to shogai (Cornerstone: The Faith and Life of Genjiro Kashihara) by Teruo Nishiyama. Note: This translation is a provisional one and may need to undergo further revision.
Man of the Low Valleys
Genjiro was given a six-mat (10 m2 or 107 ft2) room at Muya Branch Church where he previously served as a live-in seinen. His adoptive mother Kiku came to offer her hinokishin in the kitchen while looking after him.
Rev. Tosa did not treat Genjiro as an ill person. He didn’t shut Genjiro away in his room; he never even mentioned that he might do such a thing. He had Genjiro dressed in his kimono and hakama. When he was at the church, he made it a point to serve Genjiro’s meals himself. In turn, Genjiro was completely obedient only to Rev. Tosa. An entry in the church records at the time reads: “Ko Kashihara makes a visit but Genjiro ignores her. He follows directions as if he were a trained monkey.”
When Rev. Tosa was away, he ordered others to serve Genjiro’s meals in his stead. At such times, Genjiro would say: “You’re not my parent, so you only give me a little bit of rice. Rev. Tosa gives me a lot of rice in my bowl.”
With this in mind, one can imagine what Rev. Tosa’s innermost thoughts were. Deep sincerity is not something that can be expressed by words. Although Rev. Tosa never said a word about his feelings regarding Genjiro’s condition, it is surmised that he committed to dealing with it as a means to repent for his behavior to his parents.
Rev. Tosa, born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, lost his father at an early age. He first became a sailor and then was adopted by the Tosa family. Despite the fact he may have done so for the sake of the path, he left his adoptive parents and family at one time and later had them live together with him in abject poverty. Rev. Tosa must have been torn and felt sorry for what he had done.
A mental illness was an affliction of the brain. The brain is located in the head, which in turn corresponds to one’s parents. An affliction of the brain symbolizes the act of tormenting one’s parents. Rev. Tosa saw and considered Genjiro’s tragic predicament as if it were his own matter and an opportunity offer his repentance. He often conducted prayer services at Muya during the time and inquired for Divine Directions on three separate occasions. At his third request for Divine Directions on June 22, he pressed for further instructions two more times.
There is no form of love greater than the love a parent has for one’s child. It is not an easy task to devote oneself to one’s spiritual children with the same amount of love. It is a love that far surpasses the ordinary limits of human compassion.
It appears that God accepted Rev. Tosa’s sincerity, as Genjiro’s mental state suddenly cleared on one summer day. He completely recovered in August and returned in September on a thanksgiving pilgrimage to Jiba. He had healed to a point that not even a hint of his illness could even be detected.
This was a grand knot for Genjiro. Genjiro was completely reborn after having been saved by God’s miraculous providence. He was alive now because of Rev. Tosa’s sincerity and he was filled with the joyous determination to entrust the rest of his life to Rev. Tosa and repay his debt to him.
Genjiro simultaneously awakened to his personal causality for the first time. He realized that he possessed a deep causality that ought to have led him down the path to become a disabled person. Later in life, Genjiro referred to himself as a “person of the low valleys.” This had its beginnings around this time.
Being a “person of the low valleys,” he immediately came to the conclusion he would be dead if he thought and acted like other people. He made the resolve to have a mind of his own, despite what others might think or say.
When one observes Genjiro’s life thereafter, he persisted in having a mind of his own. This originated from his recovery from a mental illness.
Come to think of it, Genjiro became a Yoboku who lived according to the truth of the Parent because of his condition. It is surmised it was God’s intention to have things turn out this way.
- Next installment in this series: The Spirit of Our Predecessors