The following is a translation of Part 30 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the June 2005 (No. 438) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Part 30: “I Accept the Mind You Have Settled”
Rin Masui was raised as the only child of prestigious household in Kawachi. She married a man who was adopted into her family and was blessed with children. She lived a happy life free from worries and misfortune. However, in the year she turned 30, she was at a loss of having to look after her three children alone after both her father and husband suddenly passed away. She herself succumbed to an eye disease known as sokohi1 and completely lost her vision.
It was around this time when her eldest son Ikutaro went to Tatsuta in Yamato on business and overheard the tales of a “goddess in Shoyashiki” that saved people from all forms of illness. Ikutaro related to her: “Tenryu (Tenri)-san of Shoyashiki is supposed to save any illness, no matter how incurable it is thought to be. It is said that all will be cured with a three-day prayer.”
Rin prayed facing Shoyashiki for three days, but there was no sign of a recovery. She then sent her servant Tamehachi to the Residence in her stead. Tamehachi listened to God’s teachings and returned with written instructions on how to make a prayer. The entire household then immediately prayed together. Then, on the morning of the third day, Rin regained vision in her eyes.
Overjoyed, Rin went to the Residence to visit Oyasama with Tamehachi, who carried a token of her appreciation with him. Gisaburo Nakata happened to be there and served as intermediary between Rin and Oyasama. Oyasama then said:
“Sah, sah, your vision was lost in a span of a night. Sah, sah, causality, causality. God drew you here. Welcome, how sweet of you to come. Saemon2, make sure you explain everything carefully to her.”
Rin stayed the night at the Residence and listened to a variety of teachings the next day before returning to Kawachi. When she returned again to worship some days later, Oyasama gave Rin the following precious words:
“Being unable to see—this is like having God’s hands blocking what lies ahead in your line of vision. Sah, you said you could not see ahead. Sah, when God’s hands were removed, you were able to see immediately. Sah, sah, be spirited, be spirited. You will not face any more adversity, even when you may come to wish to. The manner in which all things turn out all depends on your use of mind.”
Rin again spent the night at the Residence and received these words of Oyasama when she made her farewell greetings before departing for Kawachi:
“You came from a far place, crossing steep mountains and valleys after only hearing a faint hint of the truth. Sah, sah, I accept the mind that you have settled. Take delight; take delight [in the future]. Sah, sah, I shall give you clothes to wear, food to eat, and some money to spend. Make sure that you serve Me for a long time. Sah, sah, take delight; take delight [in the future].”
Rin, overwhelmed with emotion, could only sit there with tears welling in her eyes. She thereafter made frequent pilgrimages returning to Jiba.
Reference: Takano Tomoji 高野友治. Senjin sobyo 『先人素描』. (English translation published as Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo by the Tenrikyo Overseas Mission Department in 1985)
- Next installment in this series: 31. A Sake Cup with Mirin
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
The Rev. Rin Masui 増井りん (1843–1939) went on to become the personal attendant of not only Oyasama, but the Honseki Izo Iburi’s attendant as well. She was also the only woman ever to receive the rank known as Honbu-in (headquarters executive official). Women presently have an equivalent ranking referred as Honbu-fujin (literally “woman/lady of Church Headquarters”).
Her son Ikutaro 幾太郎 (1863–1926) became the first head minister of Ogata Shikyokai 大縣支教会 (branch church) in 1892. Now known as Tenrikyo Ogata Daikyokai 天理教大縣大教会 (grand church), it currently oversees 122 bunkyokai (“branch churches”) and 133 fukyosho (“fellowships” or “mission stations”).
Further suggested reading
Refer to Anecdotes of Oyasama 36, “Firm Resolution” (pp. 29–32) for an alternative narrative of Rin Masui’s conversion, which includes an emotional account of how her she regained her eyesight. (Also note the differences in how some of the same words of Oyasama are translated differently as I deliberately chose not to refer to Anecdotes when doing this translation.)
Rin Masui is also mentioned in:
- Anecdotes 44, “A Snowy Day” (pp. 38–39)
- 45 “Wrinkles of the Mind” (pp. 39–40)
- 46 “Everything from This to That” (pp. 40–41)
- 47 “Be Joyful of the Future” (p. 41)
- 65 “Drawn Here to Be Used” (p. 57)
- Takano, Tomoji. Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 60–66.
- Sokohi appears to have been used to refer to a number of eye ailments, leading to a lack of consensus in the translations from Anecdotes of Oyasama (whose 200 selections were divided and translated by several people). Sokohi has been variously rendered in the English Anecdotes as “amaurosis” (24, p. 17); “glaucoma” (36, p. 29); “cataracts” (115, p. 96); and simply “eye disease” (145 , p. 117). ↩
- Saemon (sometimes romanized as “Sayemon”) seems to have been Gisaburo Nakata’s given name before the government edict forcing those who had appellations such as suke, (y)emon, jo, and kami in their names to change them. ↩
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