“I Am Tenrikyo”

The following is an excerpt from Omichi no joshiki [Tenrikyo Fundamentals] (pp. 142–143) by Koji Sato, professor at Tenri University and instructor at Tenri Seminary. Note: This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

“I Am Tenrikyo”

A true person of the faith would be someone who walks the walk and talks the talk. It would be shameful if someone said, “I think your teachings are wonderful, but when I see that so-and-so is a follower, it makes me think twice….” There is no meaning in being a follower of the path unless people say, “I have no idea what the teachings are about, but when I see so-and-so, it must be a truly wonderful faith.”

I once went to India to gather research material on the history of the Tenrikyo mission there. The teaching of Hinduism — which the majority of Indians are adherents — contains many aspects that can also be found in Tenrikyo. I asked a follower, “If this is so, why did you become a follower of Tenrikyo?”

The person gave me the following answer: “Although Hinduism has wonderful teachings, there is no one who practices them. I am a follower of Tenrikyo because we implement the teachings.”

The second Shinbashira, Shozen Nakayama, once asked, “Give me a simple explanation what the Tenrikyo teachings are about.”

The people around him each gave various responses according to what they thought. But the second Shinbashira was not satisfied with their answers. He passionately said, “It would be best if you could just say ‘I am Tenrikyo.'”

It would be best if we all could become followers who can say with confidence, “Look at me,” when we are asked what Tenrikyo teaches.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.