Cornerstone: Chapter 19-4

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.

Salvation Work at Myodo Dormitory

Genjiro didn’t retire even after he turned 80 years old. He continued to make salvation efforts without a day of rest.

People would come to him, asking him to administer the Sazuke after morning and evening services and after Besseki lectures. On a busy day he would administer the Sazuke to dozens of people. Some even came to Myodo Dormitory to ask.

One day, he had some free time until evening service, so he went to rest. A Shuyoka student belonging to a different church lineage with a bad leg was accompanied by two other people. Megumu Motoki was the dormitory director at the time told them to come back the next day since the Shuyoka student wasn’t going anywhere soon.

When he informed Genjiro about this before evening service, Genjiro became upset, scolding him: “What is the meaning of not waking me up?! How dare you decide to send them away on your own when they went to the trouble of coming here? Call their dormitory and tell them to come at eight o’clock tonight.”

Genjiro gave three sermons a month to Myodo’s Shuyoka students. On nights when the students were dozing off because they were tired from doing hinokishin, he would stop after speaking for an hour and say: “I have time tomorrow so I’ll talk again then. Be sure to save dinner until later. I won’t eat either.”

Sometimes, he would add a few jokes in his instructions.

He turned once to Rev. Motoki and said, “Motoki-san, be sure to take good care of our lady Shuyoka students. If a woman is passionate about her faith, she will inspire her husband to join the path. Men are unreliable regarding this point. Even if they finish Shuyoka, if their wife is against Tenrikyo, they’ll gradually revert to worldly ways.”

A man then took offence and said, “I came to Shuyoka, even though my wife is against Tenrikyo.”

“Oh, yes, you’re a passionate one. After you’re finished and go home, be sure to spread the fragrance and have her attend the Besseki lecture. That’s the quickest way to do it. Why, you can do it while you’re asleep. Ha ha ha ha.”

While Genjiro was pouring his heart and soul into administering the Sazuke and going on mission tours, Kazuko’s conviction was beginning to waver as she had exhausted herself taking care of her husband over a long time. One night, she just wanted to know whether or not Yoshiro would be saved or not and went to the Foundress’ Sanctuary to worship. After praying for some 30 minutes, she opened an Ofudesaki she had brought with her and asked for a message from Oyasama.

She saw the four verses, which burned right into her heart:

Look all over the world and through all ages. You will find many kinds of illnesses so-called.

This time, no matter how serious your illness may be, I shall teach you the family recipe for your assured salvation.

From now on, I shall tell you clearly about the ingredients. Please understand well, whatever I say.

Your suffering at this time must be trying. But look forward to the promise in your future.1

Kazuko shed tears of joy upon reading the last verse. She ran straight for home and told everyone about what had happened.

Not long after this, Yoshiro was able to urinate again. On New Year’s Day, two years after falling ill, Yoshiro swallowed three pieces of midwinter mullet sashimi. Yoshiro began recovering from that night. This happened just before the 70th Anniversary.

Brought back from the verge of death, Yoshiro did not think that it was his faith that saved him. However, after having gone through this experience in which his life hung in the balance, became deeply impressed at how many times Genjiro was close to death. Genjiro’s greatness was such that he was from another world. He truly began to feel a spiritual connection with Genjiro.

Translator’s note

  1. Ofudesaki 9:33–36.