Third Installment of “Savoring the Realm of the Mikagura-uta” Lecture Series
The second lecture of “Savoring the Realm of the Mikagura-uta” lecture series sponsored by the Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion was held at 13:00 on June 25. (The venue, as always was the sixth floor of the Tenrikyo Doyusha building.) The lecturer this month was Midori Horiuchi sensei and she was assigned to discuss the so-called “Second Section” or Section Two (Dai-nisetsu) of the Mikagura-uta:
Choto hanashi Kami no yū koto kiite kure
ashiki no koto wa iwan de na
kono yō no ji to ten to o katadorite
fūfu o koshirae kitaru dena
kore wa kono yo no hajimedashi
(“Just a word: Listen to what God says. I never tell you anything wrong. Representing heaven and earth I have created husband and wife. This is the beginning of this world”).
As always, it is a formidable prospect to give justice to what these senseis say at these lectures (and sermons, as below) in my summaries since I always find myself lethargic and dazed when I attend them recently for some reason. But here goes.
Horiuchi sensei began with discussing the connection between the Mikagura-uta and the Service (Tsutome). Among the notable things she said was that the Mikagura-uta is a Scripture that is sung and danced to musical accompaniment. Also, it represented an expression and transformation of the self for many followers during Oyasama’s physical lifetime.
Finally, while empowering those who participated in the dancing it attracted the curious (to the point where some have been said to poke hole in the paper shoji doors to watch) as well as coming across as strange and even brought an uneasy fear among others as they witnessed the transformative/healing power of the dance.
(I’m out of notes by this point, at least until the Q&A session that followed. . . I’m getting this from the handout that was passed out. . .) Central to the overall lecture was a discussion on the Tenrikyo creation narrative and the basic human male-female relationship between husband and wife. The usual passages from Tenrikyo Scripture on the later theme were quoted, teaching the importance of a married couple to come to an agreement in all matters as well as the value of cooperating and expressing their faith together (“Settle the minds of the two in one accord! Then any and everything shall be realized” MKU 4:2; “Second, Husband and wife working together in hinokishin; This is the first seed of everything.” MKU 11:2).
Notable lesser known passages from the Osashizu or Divine Directions on this subject of the relationship between husband and wife include:
This [is a matter] for husband and wife to view and live through Listen to this well.
March 22, 1891
Between husband and wife, do not look at or listen to [the examples of] others. If you reform your mindset [and subsequent conduct] from now on, it can be said it will last for a lifetime. Allow me to leave you this one instruction .
November 8, 1891
Also, a Divine Direction on the topic of divorce:
Although you may claim “What about God’s instructions?” It cannot be stopped even you wish to if I have arranged matters to turn out so later. If matters have come to this, have them dissolve and end [their marriage]. (omitted) You say that the relationship between a husband and wife has ended. Even if the marital relationship no longer exists, help them form a brother-sister relationship.
May 22, 1895
There was a Q&A session afterward and several questions touched upon the issue of prostitution for some reason — to the point where an exasperated man in the front shouted out: “These questions have nothing to do with the content of the Mikagura-uta passage being discussed today. Can we hold back from covering such questions?” (Is it because Horiuchi sensei is the so-called prominent “feminist” scholar in Tenrikyo?)
While she expressed her opposition against the act of purchasing sex, she stated that the act of selling sex must be viewed with a case-by-case basis since many women and children are coerced against their will into the oldest profession on earth. She also expressed her disdain at how Japan is a “paradise” for those seeking to purchase sex and that laws incriminating such activities have been only put into effect recently and are rarely enforced.
Finally, on the topic of enjo kosai (“compensated dating” — basically a front for prostitution), Horiuchi sensei stated that a woman who demands “What’s wrong with getting paid for sexual favors? I have no qualms about it” is making a fundamental error from the basis of moral principle. However, Horiuchi sensei argued that this matter must not be addressed as an individual issue, but as a matter affecting society as a whole.
June Monthly Service at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters
The Monthly Sermon was delivered by Yoichiro Miyamori sensei, my boss at the Tenrikyo Overseas Department. I liked how he went straight into his sermon without the usual “Oh how spirited I am after the performance of the Service today” kind of banter that always seems to be said at the beginning of most sermons. He just began right away, bam!: “Back in 1882, Naokichi Takai, Yosaburo Miyamori, Umejiro Izutsu, and Zenkichi Tachibana left for Enshu to engage in missionary work…” (Anecdotes 119)
The theme of his sermon was the sincere mind (makoto no kokoro) and changing one’s perspective/consciousness. He quoted the Kakisage as follows: “Daily and always, I say daily and always: sincerity alone. At first glance, people may think the mind of sincerity is weak, but there is nothing firmer or more enduring than sincerity.” Miyamori sensei went on to declare that one who cries out ,”Why is this happening to me after all I have done?” does not possess a mind(set) of sincerity. A mindset of sincerity consists of switching one’s priorities, replacing the mindset of desiring to be saved with a mindset that wishes for the salvation of others.
On the theme of changing one’s perspective/consciousness, he utilized the story describing Kuraji Kashiwagi sensei’s conversion to Tenrikyo. After donating a large amount of money in hopes to have his son saved from illness, there was no sign of an improvement. Kashiwagi sensei said, “He isn’t getting better, is he?” and the female missionary replied, “Yes, but he’s still alive, isn’t he?” These words of the female missionary resonated with Kashiwagi sensei, awakened him to the constancy of God the Parent’s blessings and filled his heart with appreciation for them that helped clear away the cloudy thoughts that were darkening his consciousness.
I have nothing else in particular to say this month. Upon some self-reflection, I feel that it was not a good idea to use this space to last month on personal matters, especially bitching and moaning about the police. Petty, petty.
My mind is on the many various natural disasters occurring in Japan (earthquake in Tohoku, floods in Kyushu), U.S. (Iowa floods), and rest of the world (cyclone in Burma/Myanmar, typhoon in the Philippines and the Sichuan earthquake) this month and last. Not really sure how to place them into perspective, especially since I haven’t been keeping up with current events recently. . . and I am at a loss for words on how sad I feel for everyone who has been affected.
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication. Further, all Osashizu translations above are my trial attempts and may need further tweaking and revision.