The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 17

The following is a translation of Part 17 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the May 2004 (No. 425) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

Part 17: A Prayer for Rain (2 of 2)

Previously, central Taiwan was in the midst of a severe drought that went on for nearly six months, causing much hardship for local farmers. Genjiro Ichijo then made efforts to unite his mind with the people and made a firm decision to hold a prayer service for rain to receive God the Parent’s protection.

The day of the first prayer service finally arrived. Every follower of Taichu Shikyokai gathered in the worship hall and ceremonies began at 7 p.m. After the offerings were put in place on the altar, everyone bowed deeply with Genjiro as he read the following prayer with intense concentration: “May You grant the protection so that every single farmer will be able to plant rice after three days and three nights…. Those who heard of the path for the first time have also been told about Your teachings. We will replace our minds, correct our behavior, and make our livelihood in a righteous manner worthy of people of the path…. May You, God the Parent, shower us with Your immeasurable divine favors. We wish to receive Your abundant protection so we all can become better human beings in both body and mind.”

Before the prayer service, the azure sky was completely clear of even a single cloud. However, as the service began, a cluster of rainclouds emerged from the southern corner of the horizon. By the time the service proceeded to Song Three and Song Four, the sound of rainfall striking the roof could be heard. The service performers and followers who filled the worship hall clapped their hands and cheered. Genjiro was the singer during this shift. He was filled with so much gratitude for God’s benevolence that tears of joy streamed down cheeks and his hoarse voice almost gave out. Seeing Genjiro’s emotional state, everyone joined him in crying tears of gratitude and joy. The rain grew heavier and continued into the night. The skies became clear the next day.

On this second day, when the service began from 7 p.m. as it did the previous night, it soon began to rain once again. This time, it continued to rain until the following evening. This time, the farmers throughout each village in central Taiwan were not only moved by the greatness of God’s virtue but also praised God in various ways, such as staring in open-eyed wonder with tears in their eyes, sitting in prayer at the church gate, or even bowing and prostrating themselves on the earth over and over.

After receiving the blessing of two days of rain, Genjiro thought it was necessary to look at the actual state of affairs in each village himself. After making a tour on the morning of the third day, he saw that two nights’ worth of rain was only enough to moisten the cracks in the soil. In order to receiver further blessings that would allow the fields to fully recover from the great drought that continued for the last several months, Genjiro encouraged everyone to offer their deepest prayers before embarking on the third prayer service. This time, the rain began falling lightly before the service began. The rain grew heavier as the service progressed. The rain became an intense downpour by midnight, and continued until 9 a.m. the next morning.

Strangely enough, after the end of the time period slated for the three-day prayer service, the heavy rain stopped and the skies were cloudless and clear once again.

The rains that fell for three days and three nights not only revived the dried rice fields but also restored every river, pond and swamp so they overflowed with water. Genjiro, his followers and people from the general public were both greatly moved and filled with gratitude at such a vivid display of God the Parent’s immeasurable and boundless protection. This event was significant enough that it was reported in the local newspaper (『臺中毎日新聞』) at the time.

Reference: Ichijo Genjiro. Shogai no tabi.

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