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.
Saving a Couple from Leprosy
Several of Shuto’s subsidiary churches are located in Oita Prefecture. With the exception of churches in Beppu City, they are mainly gathered in former farming villages along the Kyudai Railway Line.
For decade after 1897, Genjiro frequently stopped at Yutaka Propagation Office1 in Shonai. After staying for two or three days, he would walk the Kuzumi Road toward Aso and further to Hitoyoshi or Yoshimatsu.
During the construction of the North Worship Hall of the Main Sanctuary leading toward the 30th Anniversary of Oyasama (1916), Myodo fell short of fulfilling its resolution during the first round of collection since Hofu and Shuto had still not fully spiritually matured. Genjiro didn’t even stop to undo the thongs of his straw sandals as he went on repeated mission tours one after the other mainly to the Yamaguchi and Kyushu regions. He visited Yutaka again in December 1913.
Genjiro got off Okunoya Station, roughly 22 kilometers (13.67 mi.) from Oita, and walked a country road strewn with many pebbles that twisted back and forth. When he reached Shonai, a church officer from the propagation office brought a woman whose stepson and wife were suffering from leprosy.
“Can Tenrikyo even save someone from a disease such as this?”
“God says: ‘No matter how serious your illness may be, nothing is incurable. It depends on your mind.’2 This disease is a result of a deep causality. Some people with this disease end up with both their hands clenched into fists. I conclude this is a sign of a greedy mindset. It is most important that you forget this greed.”
The woman unhesitatingly went to her stepson to relay the information.
“My family owns three hectares of rice fields (7.35 acres) and other mountain properties worth up to 10,000 yen. I would like to donate it all to the construction of Church Headquarters’ Sanctuary so it will benefit the salvation of others.”
Genjiro was deep in thought for a while and said: “What you propose is good but others will probably criticize you if you did that. Such a result would go against God’s intention. I cannot have you donate everything your family owns.”
“Then I will donate just one hectares (2.45 acres) worth.”
After the stepson made this resolution, Genjiro began a prayer lasting three days and three nights. On the third day he walked the 8 kilometers (4.88 miles) from the propagation office to where the couple suffering from leprosy lived and explained the teachings throughout the night.
The couple lived with their stepmother in a small village comprising 12 households. Although the man’s father served as the village mayor, he had already passed away by then.
The man’s birth mother had stressed over how his father lived a life of debauchery. It was then revealed she once accidentally started a fire that burned down the entire village.
The man deeply repented over this causality and when he awoke the next morning, his face had completely healed. Even Genjiro was astonished, for he had never before seen an instance of a person being saved from leprosy. Before going home, Genjiro reminded the man to fulfill his resolution.
When the man announced he was selling one hectare of rice fields, one of his relatives voiced opposition to it. In fact, it was his own father-in-law, who served as his guardian and lived next door to the north. The father-in-law got angry and forced himself into the man’s home, even bursting into the sickroom where he usually dared not even approach.
“It looks like you’ve been deceived by Tenrikyo and are going to sell the rice fields. Those rice fields belong to your ancestors! I’m not going let you have your way! I’m totally against it!”
“Those rice fields are under my name. I’m not going to let you or anyone else tell me what to do.”
“What did you say!?”
The father-in-law struck the man down from behind. But the man still insisted, “Please let me do as I wish.”
When the father-in-law looked into the man’s face as if to check whether or not his son-in-law had lost his wits, he saw a face that was completely healed.
“Okay. If that’s the case, then I approve. I’ll sell the property so that no one will cheat you for what it’s worth. You go ahead and do as you like.”
The father-in-law found a buyer for the one hectare of rice fields and the man got the money before the year was over. He donated it all at the Grand Service in January. It is said that the donation helped buy two round pillars for the North Worship Hall. The man’s wish for his donation to benefit the construction of a place used to save others for eternity was fulfilled.
This miracle can be thought of having been possible because Genjiro made mission tours twice a year in the spring and autumn.
- Next installment in this series: As Long As He Lived