The following is a translation of Part 18 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the June 2004 (No. 426) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Part 18: “If Sincere, God Accepts”
Kiku Masui of Izushichijo Village (currently, Izushichijo-cho of Yamato-Koriyama City, Nara Prefecture) traveled near and far for her husband’s asthma whenever she heard about a miracle at a certain shrine or temple. However, when she was troubled that her prayers did not have their intended effect, she heard from a neighbor about “the living god of Shoyashiki Village.” In 1863, Kiku visited Oyasama for the first time, who at the time, said to Her:
You have certainly taken the long way around before coming here, stopping at this place and that. That’s strange. If you would have first come here, [you would have found that the gods] that you visited all [already] here.
Kiku’s husband soon received the blessings of a recovery.
In the following year (1864), Kiku herself became ill. Her condition grew increasingly worse until it became critical. Her 15-year-old son Isaburo waited until dawn and walked the five or so kilometers from Izushichijo to Shoyashiki to see Oyasama and asked: “Please somehow save my mother from the illness afflicting her body.” However, Oyasama said,
Isaburo-san, [I am sorry to say this] after you have come so far, [but your mother’s illness] cannot be saved.
Since it was none other than Oyasama who said this, Isaburo simply said, “If that’s the case….” and returned straight home. However, when he reached his house and saw his mother suffering from her illness before his very eyes, he was filled with the desire to have his mother saved by any means.
Isaburo once again headed to the Residence and asked: “Please, I beg of you. Though it may be impossible, please save [my mother].” Oyasama then said,
Isaburo-san, I am sorry, but [she] cannot be saved.
After having Oyasama say this, Isaburo felt to himself, “Ah! It cannot be helped!” However, upon reaching home, when he saw his mother suffering, as her son, he could not sit still. Isaburo once again trudged the road of five or so kilometers to Shoyashiki Village. When he reached the Residence to see Oyasama, it was already dark.
Although Oyasama had retired for the night, Isaburo asked, “I understand that [my mother’s condition] is said to be impossible. But, please somehow, please save [her].”
Then, Oyasama replied:
The child comes for the sake of his parent to ask that the life, which cannot be saved, be saved at whatever cost. This is sincerity itself. If sincere, God will accept.
In this way, Isaburo’s mother was saved from her illness. Kiku Masui lived to the ripe age of 88.
Kohon Tenrikyo Oyasama den itsuwa hen.
Tenrikyo Doyusha, ed. Michi no sakigake: Oyasama den ni miru jinbutsu hyoden.
- Next installment in this series: 19. “You Are Able to Eat Food Because of Tsuki-Hi”
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
Some background info on Rev. Isaburo Masui 桝井伊三郎 (1850–1910): His childhood name was Yoshizo 嘉蔵 and he was known as Iemon 伊右衞門 until his father Isaburo passed away in 1868, when which he took on his father’s name. He was designated by Oyasama as the dancer for Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto in the Kagura Service and often fulfilled this role when the Kagura was performed. Oyasama bestowed him the Sazuke of the Kanrodai on December 26, 1874. It is mentioned he danced the Kagura and Teodori on the Service performed on 1/26/1887 (lunar) in which Oyasama withdrew from physical life.
When Tenrikyo gained legal status in 1888, he was named as a director (riji 理事) of Tenri Kyokai Honbu (later Tenrikyo Kyokai Honbu or Tenrikyo Church Headquarters). When the first diocese system was implemented in 1902, he was but in charge of overseeing Dioceses 7 (Chugoku region) and 8 (Shikoku). He was among the first to be appointed as a Honbu-in (Tenrikyo Church Headquarters executive official) in December 1908 (Tenrikyo jiten, pp. 835–836).
Further suggested reading
- Refer to Anecdotes of Oyasama 10, “The Long Way Around” (pp. 5–6) for another account of Kiku Masui’s first visit to the Residence. She also appears in 50, “Kosuke and Suma” (pp. 43–44) and 161 , “To See Children’s Enjoyment” (pp. 129–130).
- See 16, “The Child’s Concern for the Parent” (pp. 11–12) for another account of the story above and 122, “As Long As There Is Virtue” (pp. 100–101), and 137, “A Single Word” (pp. 111–112) for more stories on her son, the Rev. Isaburo Masui.
- Takano Tomoji. Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, p. 20–23.