Cornerstone: Chapter 19-1

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.

Genjiro’s Impressions in His Later Years

Maxim Gorky wrote, “The noon of one’s life is 30.” Although it depends on the individual, these words may be true for a person in either the public or private sphere who has retired at age 60.

Nevertheless, there is no retirement age for Yoboku. In regard to salvation work, it may be considered that 60 is the age when one naturally can make vigorous salvation efforts.

Genjiro was 67 years old in 1941 when he was appointed as a member of the Church Headquarters Counseling Section. He was over 70 years old before he saw miraculous instances of salvation appear before his eyes one after another.

Genjiro could not help but shed tears of gratitude when he thought how following Oyasama’s Divine Model over his long life resulted in God’s wondrous protection being manifested. The sight of his would renew his preparedness to continue following the path single-heartedly. Still, as he dedicated himself over the years, it occurred to him after the completion of Myodo’s sanctuary, when he was 78 years old, that he was entering the later years of his life.

As Myodo bustled in preparation for the dedication service that the Shinbashira was scheduled to attend, Genjiro stepped away from the babble of the crowd and had a quiet talk with a distant relative, Take Sato (Nagaoka Branch Church in Niigata Prefecture). He said: “Take, we were able to repair the rain gutters of Muya Grand Church, our parent church, while leading up to this construction. We had to take down the original gutters during the war and replaced it with a set made of inferior material, which soon became worthless. The new gutters cost a million yen. But they say that we won’t have to replace them again for another 60 or 70 years. That’s because it doesn’t snow there like it does in your parts.

“I will probably be reborn before it’s time to do the next set of repairs. Isn’t that gratifying to know?”

Genjiro’s eyes sparkled as if they were pursuing a future dream.

“Isn’t that exciting and gratifying thing to hear? Ha ha ha!”

Contributing to his parent church was such a joy for him that he would gladly continue it in his next life. His heart shone brightly, free of even a single doubt of its truth. It was routine enough for him just like washing one’s face in the morning.

“I must honor my parent. I must make salvation efforts.” One may strain oneself as long as one has the strong desire to do such things. It can be compared to how water deep in the mountains make a sound when striking a rock.

Genjiro’s salvation efforts at the Church Headquarters Counseling Section had the appearance of a small river that flowed soundlessly. Rather than being conscious of the need to make salvation efforts, his whole being — the words he spoke and the actions he took — was poised with readiness to save others. When one considers that Oyasama’s parental heart was that of single-hearted salvation itself, it can be said that Genjiro made big strides to approach the parental love embodied by Her Divine Model.

Genjiro was most pleased when he was appointed to the 70th Anniversary of Oyasama Preparatory Committee in November 1952. He had been appointed to the 60th Anniversary of Oyasama Preparatory Committee as well, but many of his wishes went unfulfilled since full a set of anniversary activities could not be done in the immediate aftermath of the war. Now Genjiro had a purpose to devote his deep spiritual ambitions.

However, during this time, an anguishing event occurred. Yoshiro, Myodo’s successor, fell ill. His condition became so severe that there was little hope for his survival. It became a matter of great importance that involved Genjiro’s conviction.