The following is a translation of Part 61 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the January 2008 (No. 469) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Part 61: Causality (Innen)
Masayoshi and Fuku Ando were blessed with three children. However, they were gravely concerned over their children’s health: the two eldest were sickly since birth and their youngest suffered from seizures and from being underdeveloped, both caused by whooping cough.
Fuku then began regularly worshiping at a Tenrikyo shudansho1 on the recommendation from one of Masayoshi’s business employees. Fuku eventually met with Yoshi Nakagawa, the first head minister of Tohon Shikyokai. Upon hearing the teachings from Yoshi, Fuku’s conviction that there was no way to save her family other than to believe in the teachings of Tenrikyo deepened steadily in her heart. Yet there was a big obstacle standing in her way: it was Masayoshi.
Yoshi had instructed Fuku that it was vital for her and her husband to walk the path of faith together in order to erase the negative causality of the severance of their family line. Although Fuku told Masayoshi about this, he showed no interest in the teachings of Tenrikyo, on the pretext that he was too busy with his transporting business.
In time, Masayoshi and Fuku were blessed with their fourth child. However, the baby had the tragic misfortune of succumbing to the same whooping cough that afflicted his brother and his short life came to an end a mere month after his birth. Masayoshi and Fuku, having tasted the tragedy of losing a child for the first time, had their hopes of somehow avoiding such a fate crumble before their eyes.
In her profound suffering, Fuku increasingly sought Yoshi out and prayed to God the Parent, hoping to seek a way out as soon as possible so their other children would not meet a similar fate. She also pressed Masayoshi to come worship with her with all her might. Masayoshi accompanied her on his first worship as he thought to himself: “If going to worship might ease my wife’s anguish even just a little….”
When they reached the shudansho and sat in front of the altar, a woman with a plump face appeared out from the back and sat in front of Masayoshi. It was Yoshi Nakagawa.
Masayoshi had a mysterious feeling as he silently gazed at her, thinking: “How do you describe the mixed sensation of warm tenderness and tough discipline that is emitted by this person? I’ve never met anyone like this before….”
Yoshi then calmly said: “Ando-san, God is in great haste to save you. You must have firm faith. God has drawn you here because your causality (innen) is fast catching up on you.
The single word “innen” struck a chord in Masayoshi’s heart.
Yoshi then stood up and went back from where she came with a stern look on her face. Along with feeling a degree of holiness he had never felt until then, Masayoshi was struck with the conviction that if he made the effort to have faith in and delve into the Tenrikyo teachings, he would surely someday discover the means to shape a new destiny for his family.
Masayoshi subsequently visited Tohon Shikyokai many times. Soon, the lone source of support that allowed him keep going in the grave circumstances he found himself in was his visits to Tohon where he went to hear Yoshi’s instruction on teachings concerning personal causality. Metaphorically speaking, his faith first burned in his heart like the weak flame of a small candle that became a wood fire that burned with its own power once he began to visit Tohon, which further became a towering inferno.
Masayoshi took the first step on his life of faith with solid determination, thinking: “I won’t be able to be redeemed of this causality of mine unless I devote my life toward saving others.”
References: Hon’ai Daikyokai shi.
- Next installment in this series: 62. A Resolution to be Single-Heartedly Dedicated to God (Katayama, Yoshizo)
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
Rev. Masayoshi Ando [安藤正吉] (dates?) later went on to become the first head minister of Hon’ai Senkyosho [本愛宣教所] (literally, missionary or propogation office) in 1914. Now known as Tenrikyo Hon’ai Daikyokai [天理教本愛大教会] (grand church), it currently oversees 168 bunkyokai (“branch churches”) and 310 fukyosho (“fellowships” or “mission stations”), including Hon’ai Taipei Kyokai in Taiwan and Hon’ai Atlanta Church in the U.S.
- A shudansho (集談所 literally, “a place to gather and discuss”) did not need authorization from the local government office (which was required for a branch church, i.e., a bunkyokai or shikyokai), but only required authorization from law enforcement officials to allow followers to gather and conduct services or listen to sermons. Though shudansho were not formally registered with Tenrikyo Church Headquarters, they were nevertheless significant during the late 19th century in that they often were established as a preliminary step before founding a branch church (Tenrikyo jiten pp. 412-413). ↩