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 presently incomplete.
Cholera might be one the most feared infectious diseases in the world. It is not completely unreasonable for the tremendous clamor in Japan when the first case was reported. Since it was clear that the source of the outbreak was some locale in Asia, the countermeasures that were adopted included strict surveillance of all forms of transportation, passengers, and food products that came from the area. Such countermeasures are normally referred to as a “crisis prevention” or “water edge operation.”
Genjiro adopted asceticism and referred to it as the six weapons he used to battle his causality. His six weapons can be thought as having a strong characteristic of crisis prevention that stopped him from succumbing to his causality.
This crisis prevention accomplished its goal by protecting Genjiro quite well. At the same time, it also became a weapon by which he used to save others.
In the past, much mention was made of the “eight great illnesses,” which were also called causality-borne-diseases — kankatakai1 hearing-speech impairments, physical disabilities, blindness, consumption, paralysis, cancer, and leprosy. It appears that these eight ailments were associated with the eight dusts of the mind. While there are many other more serious diseases, Genjiro came to perceive that anyone who suffered from one of these eight ailments had failed at crisis prevention.
In his sermons, he usually spoke about the six weapons that he used to battle his causality. He did so not to boast about his iron will. Rather, tried to teach a course one could set out on to receive God’s blessings and described his way of living proof of this.
Through his crisis prevention, Genjiro avoided falling to his causality. Also, when he went out to help save those who were already suffering from their causality, he urged them to thoroughly replace their mind and reform themselves by implementing one of the “six weapons.” This was the basic manner how Genjiro engaged in salvation work among members of the general congregation. This was how Genjiro ordinarily gained and shared his insights regarding the cause of illnesses.
Yet there was a serious problem regarding this. It is human nature for people to favor an easy life and modern civilization progresses forward while encouraging this tendency. To put it simply, contemporary society is progressing away from the asceticism that Genjiro promoted.
Genjiro came to the following conclusions regarding this tendency. When left alone long enough, the human spirit is sure to drift into desire. Any increase in desire is based on what humans legitimately require. From a doctrinal perspective, an increase in desire is an increase in dust and inevitably gives rise to a weakened spirit. A weakened spirit is sure to lead to a fearful rash of causality-borne-diseases, increasing the number of destitute people in a household and a nation.
As long as one is aware of this vicious cycle, those who engage in salvation work must devote their full effort toward battling this phenomenon of weakened spirits and seek to reform the minds of the masses. One cannot make easy concessions to the tendencies of modern society.
Genjiro was concerned that people of the path who ought to stand at the forefront of reforming the masses are instead influenced by social trends and tend to prefer comfort. Yet Genjiro was convinced of the power of asceticism, for it was not something he came up himself but what he learned from Rev. Tosa and he believed in Rev. Tosa as a person who implemented Oyasama’s Divine Model.
I will now give a few examples of how Genjiro’s asceticism worked during his salvation efforts.
- Next installment in this series: Saving a Young Woman from Consumption
- Research into what this illness may refer to has come up empty so far. ↩