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.
The First Miracle
In October 1941, Genjiro and Headquarters Executive Official Torakichi Tagawa were appointed to the newly Church Headquarters Altar Sermons and Counseling Section (now known as the Main Sanctuary Counseling Section). Numerous instances of miraculous salvation during these counseling sessions were recorded in his Kiseki daicho (Records of Miracles). These miracles not only caused many people to acknowledge the precious truth of the Jiba–Kanrodai, but also made Genjiro’s faith widely known among the Tenrikyo’s general membership.
One of the two officials would be on duty, switching every four days. The sermon room, located in a corner of the North Worship Hall, opened on October 26. Either Rev. Tagawa or Genjiro would deliver a sermon and administer the Sazuke to anyone who made a special request.
Genjiro was on duty the first day. The number of people who heard his sermon totaled 200. He administered the Sazuke to 11 people. According to records, these were the numbers of people who came to hear sermons and had the Sazuke administered to them:
- October: 500 74
- November: 885 329
- December: 485 174
The total for the year 1941 was 1,870 people came to listen to sermons and 577 people had the Sazuke administered to them. Here are the numbers for the next two years:
- 1942: 8393 3063
- 1943: 9206 3903
The majority of these people had heard sermons from and had the Sazuke administered to them by Genjiro.
There may be a variety of ideas of what constitutes a miracle. The first miracle according to Genjiro’s standard, occurred in 1942.
Genjiro began his sermon at 8:00 a.m. on July 22 as he usually did. Genjiro was experiencing the extremes of physical exhaustion on that day. On the 20th, Genjiro had returned on a night train from a mission tour to Shuto. The train was filled and he did not have a chance to sleep a wink. On the 21st, he departed Myodo Followers Dormitory for Himeji to administer the Sazuke to a Rev. Ono, a senior church officer of Shikito Grand Church.
Genjiro went to bed at 1:00 a.m. He awoke at 3:00 a.m. and returned to Myodo Followers Dormitory.
Yoshinori and Shizue were concerned about Genjiro’s fatigue and encouraged him to find someone to substitute for him. But he said: “This is the precious duty of counseling at the Main Sanctuary we are talking about. There is no way I can give due respect to God’s intention if I were to find someone to substitute whenever it suits me. Oyasama never once said that She was tired. There is no way one becomes tired doing salvation work. Please get my things ready.”
The morning sun was blinding and invigorating. When he arrived at the office in the North Worship Hall, there were 60 people assembled. After the sermon, a 58-year-old man from Shimoichi, Yoshino County requested the Sazuke to be administered on him.
The man had suffered from an inflammation of the bladder for 100 days. A neighbor guided him to worship at Jiba for the first time on the 20th.
When Genjiro administered the Sazuke, the man’s body shook all over and at the end, he shouted, “Oh, the pain!” The people who were with him were astonished and rose from where they were sitting. Immediately after the man shouted, he stood up, as if dancing, said: “Ah! The pain’s gone! I’ve been cured of the pain that’s been nagging me for 100 days!”
Before the excitement could subside, a 61-year-old man from Yokkaichi, Mie, suffered from pain in the back of his head. He said that the pain began a month ago and no matter what he did, it refused to go away.
When Genjiro administered the Sazuke, this man too began crying in a loud voice. His cries could be heard across the large worship hall. When it was over, the man faced Genjiro and everyone else and said: “I apologize for crying like that. If I were to explain why I was crying, it was just that I felt so unworthy. I felt so unworthy that I couldn’t help but cry.”
His crumpled and he shouted once more, “The pain in the back my head is gone!” He left bawling in tears.
Genjiro’s exhaustion disappeared after he saw these two miracles occur.
“The gifts of heaven will be bestowed on those who devote their service.”
Genjiro was filled with gratitude and joy as he gave his thanks to God.
Genjiro would thereafter witness miracles from time to time. They often happened on days he was tired.
- Next installment in this series: Seventeen Paraplegics Stand