The following is a translation of Part 20 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the August 2004 (No. 428) issue of Taimo, p. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further polishing and revision.
Part 20: “God Gives Thanks”
Tokuzo Nakagawa ran a seed supplying business along Sakai Boulevard in Osaka. After being saved from a certain illness, he was encouraged to pay his respects to “the god of Shoyashiki” and met with Oyasama for the first time.
Yet as a merchant in the dog-eat-dog business world of Osaka, Nakagawa never showed any faith in anything. He still held some skepticism in his mind and approached Oyasama with a hidden air of arrogance, thinking to himself, “I don’t see the fuss about a mere fox-charmer (kitsune-tsukai).”1
Oyasama, happened to be resting with Her head pointing to the north. After Nakagawa bowed to Her, She calmly rose and said:
“How happy, how happy Tsuki-Hi is at the mind that gives a coin or two to those in need. God gives most gracious thanks….”
Oyasama’s unexpected words shook Nakagawa’s body to the core. Beyond being filled with appreciation, he was filled with such alarm it was downright creepy.
There was good reason for Nakagawa to have felt this way. Until then, Nakagawa had made it a practice to give at least a coin or two to any beggar who happened to come to his store. Even when his employees said, “That’s the same guy that came the other day,” Nakagawa would let it pass and say: “No matter. Though he may come two or three times, he is a new person each time he comes to my store,” and would give out alms without the slightest reluctance.
When Oyasama, who was known to give Her kindest attention to those in need said, “God gives most gracious thanks, most gracious thanks,” Nakagawa was filled with an inexpressible feeling.
Oyasama then moved forward and said,
“Give me your hand for a moment.”
Nakagawa raised his hand to Her, and She pinched the skin of his hand with Her little and index fingers.
When he shouted, “Ouch, that hurts!” Oyasama beamed him a warm smile and said:
“Do not have any concern when you come to this Residence. It will not do to doubt God.”
With these words, Nakagawa changed his attitude and embarked on the path of faith.
Reference: February 20, 1934 issue of Michi no tomo.
- Next installment in this series: 21. “By Saving Others, You Yourself Shall Be Saved”
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
Tokuzo Nakagawa 中川徳蔵 (1856–1941) went on to become the first head minister of Nabari Shikyokai 名張支教会 in 1892. Now known as Nabari Bunkyokai, it was a branch church under Kita Daikyokai 北大教会 until 1933, when it became a branch church under the direct supervision of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- See my commentary at the bottom of Footsteps 19 (“You Are Able to Eat Food Because of Tsuki-Hi”) for an explanation of the term “fox-charmer.” ↩