The following is an excerpt from Omichi no joshiki [Tenrikyo Fundamentals] (pp. 113–115) by Koji Sato 佐藤浩司, professor at Tenri University and instructor at Tenri Seminary. Note: This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
The Foundation of This World is Heaven; the Core of Heaven is Tsukihi
It is my assumption that like in the past, many people even today were adherents of other faiths before they were guided to the path. There were even predecessors taught directly by Oyasama who were former followers of Buddhism or Ubusuna-gami. People at that time often visited several reputable places of worship to make prayers to receive blessings and benefits. Among our predecessors were people who, during their visits to such places of worship, heard the reputation of the “living goddess of childbirth,” before deciding to go.
Oyasama often said the following to people such as these:
“You surely chose to come the long way around. That’s strange. You could have met all those gods if only you had come here.”
Another time, Oyasama said,
“Here dwells the Supreme God of all directions.”
The Life of Oyasama, p. 36
In the many versions of the “Divine Record” (Koki-banashi) we can see that Oyasama explained to intermediaries the functions of the instruments at human creation by identifying them with deities found in Buddhism and folk belief. Also, we are taught that the places where Izanami-no-Mikoto gave birth to the first humans all became the sites of shrines, graves, or temples.
Oyasama taught that we should not ignore or make light of the gods and deities enshrined nearby and spoke of the importance of worshiping them. The same goes for our forebears who are buried in graves and enshrined in temples. She said:
“People worshiping at a place will increase the authority of that place. Because people worship at a place, that place will be able to maintain itself. The place where Ubusuna-gami is enshrined is one of the places where man was given birth. Even people who worship Ubusuna-gami are expressing their appreciation to God the Parent.”
Due to the arrival of the Promised Time, God the Parent became revealed to teach us the true story about the creation of the world and humankind as well as identifying the Jiba, the place where the Supreme God of all directions lives. Oyasama said:
“Each other place of worship, whether it be a shrine or temple, is like a single finger of your hand. This place of origin is like having both hands and each hand with all its fingers. The foundation of this world is heaven. The core of heaven is Tsukihi. The core of the human body is the eyes. The core of the human being is the clear water of the mind, the clear eyes. At any shrine or temple, pay your respects and then chant Tenri-O-no-Mikoto.”
These are words Oyasama taught to Shirobei Umetani, the first head minister of Senba Grand Church.
- Next installment in this series: All Days Are Lucky Days
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.