The following is a translation of Part 21 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the September 2004 (No. 429) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further polishing and revision.
Part 21: “By Saving Others, You Yourself Shall Be Saved”
In early April 1875, Eijiro Enomoto of Sugahama, Sandoson, in Fukui Prefecture (currently known as Sugahama, Migata-cho in Mihama-gun, Fukui Prefecture) embarked on a temple pilgrimage in the western provinces (saigoku junrei)1 in hopes to have his daughter Kiyo be saved from madness.
He worshiped at the eighth temple on the pilgrimage circuit, the Hase Kannon (the Hasedera-Hokiin 長谷寺法起院 in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture). While he was there, he heard miraculous stories of a “living goddess” in Shoyashiki Village from an old woman who ran the tea place there.
Oyasama told Eijiro the following:
“You need not worry, you need not worry. Go home quickly, as a great misfortune has happened in your home. Visit houses in your village one by one and save 42 persons. Pray to God earnestly at each house, chanting, ‘Namu Tenri-O-no-Mikoto,’ while pressing your hands together in prayer. By saving others, you yourself shall be saved.”
Eijiro felt his spirits become uplifted at Oyasama’s words. Leaving Shoyashiki, he reached Sugahama on April 23.
Upon reaching home, he found his daughter in a serious state, shrieking in fits of madness. However, he remembered Oyasama’s words and put his hands together and prayed, repeatedly chanting, “Namu Tenri-O-No-Mikoto.”
Miraculously enough, his daughter gradually calmed down. Eijiro then made rounds in his village, spreading the teachings as Oyasama had told him to. He found people who were ill and visited their homes over and over. He continued in this way and prayed for the recovery of 42 people.
As he did so, miraculously, his daughter also experienced a complete recovery and the people who he prayed for also came to express their thanks for the blessings they received.
Now that his daughter Kiyo had made a complete recovery, she eventually was able to marry someone who was willing to take on the Enomoto name. Eijiro later returned to Jiba on a pilgrimage to express his thanks with Kiyo and his new son-in-law, who were granted the opportunity to meet with Oyasama.
Reference: Kohon Tenrikyo Oyasama den itsuwa hen. (translated into English as Anecdotes of Oyasama)
- Next installment in this series: 22. Oyasama as “Daruma”
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
Eijiro Enomoto 榎本栄治 has turned out to be a man shrouded in mystery. The only information I can gather on him is what comes from Anecdotes of Oyasama 42, “By Saving Others” (p. 36–37).
While many of the figures who appear in Anecdotes went on to become founding kyokaicho (church head ministers) or other prominent positions, Eijiro Enomoto seems to disappear off the face of the earth after this; none of the kyokaicho (head ministers) in Fukui Prefecture presently have the surname Enomoto…. what ever became of this man? It would really be interesting to find out.
- The saigoku junrei is a well-known pilgrimage of 33 sites dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of mercy, Kannon. There is actually ink-brush art accompanying this article that shows a man bowing (presumably Eijiro) dressed in Buddhist pilgrimage garb with the words “Namu Kanze Bosatsu” (variant of Kannon/Kanze’on) inscribed on his back. It would be really great if I could get permission to post this art with these translations (which I have been posting sans permission or notification, since, I would argue, these stories belong in the public domain). Maybe some day it will happen. ↩