The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 49

The following is a translation of Part 49 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the January 2007 (No. 457) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

Part 49: “Solely On Your State of Mind”

February 1931 in Niigata: An elderly woman suffering from a middle ear infection came to Suibara Senkyosho seeking for help. Her doctor had said, “I cannot guarantee that your life will be saved even if I operate.”

The woman confided: “I cannot help but feel that I will die if I allow myself to be hospitalized and operated on. Allow me to donate the money for the operation; I wish to be saved by prayers to God from this church.”

A young live-in (seinen) by the name of Yuji Hida who began living at the senkyosho due to contracting consumption promised to conduct a prayer service and administer the Sazuke to the woman over three days and three nights. On the third day, the woman’s severely swollen right ear softened and pus began dripping little by little from her nose. The woman felt it was inadequate on her part just to pray for a cure. She made a promise to God to bring the donation in two or three days. However, her family told her, “We’ll give you the money if it’s for the operation, but we can’t if you are going to donate it to a Tenrikyo church.”

Yuji comforted her, saying, “Your family will be persuaded to give you the money once they see you have completely recovered,” and urged her to resolve to return to Jiba for the Grand Service and attend a Besseki lecture. All the pus in the woman’s ear came out from her nose and she received the blessing of a full recovery in a months’ time. Still, she wasn’t able to gain her family’s understanding and had no way to come up with the money to travel to Jiba.

Yuji thereupon told the woman: “Since I have been placed in the position of mediating between you and God, you can say I am your guarantor. As your guarantor, I shall take responsibility from now. Do not back out from your resolution to go to Jiba. Continue to make your preparations to go.” Yuji was filled with the conviction that God “shall help you follow the hard-to-follow path depending solely on your state of mind” (Osashizu, April 28, 1895).

Three days later, a young woman came wishing to be saved from uterine cancer. She said: “The doctor tells me to quickly undergo an operation, but people tell me that even if things go well, everyone they have known who has had the operation passed away two or three years later. So I do not want to have an operation.”

Yuji explained God’s teachings to her and administered the Sazuke to her. The next day, he went to the young woman’s home and administered the Sazuke once again after he explained God’s teachings further to her and her husband, which included the teaching of personal causality, the importance of repentance, as well as resolving and settling the mind.

Ten days later, the young woman came to the senkyosho’s monthly service looking very healthy. She said: “Thanks to your efforts, I have been blessed with the divine providence. Thank you very much.”

According to the young woman’s statement, on the third day after Yuji had visited her, a series of grumbling sounds came from her lower belly and she experienced a severe case of diarrhea. She went back to the doctor to be reexamined and was told that her cancer had mysteriously vanished without a trace.

This mysterious instance of salvation led to many others, and Yuji was able to come up with the funds to allow the elderly woman to return to Jiba. For the Grand Service of October 1931, Yuji was able to take home four followers to Jiba attend their first Besseki lecture.

Reference: Hida Yuji. Bonpu no kyudo: bonpu ga ayunda michi no hinagata.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.

Supplemental information

I have not been able to find any more information on Yuji Hida 肥田勇次. The Tenri Central Library does not even seem to have a copy of the reference cited above!

However, looking at the most recent Tenrikyo kyokai shozaichi-roku (a log of all Tenrikyo churches) reveals the following information: the surname of the current head minister Suibara Bunkyokai is Hida. Suibara is a branch church belonging to Hokuyo Daikyokai that was founded in 1896 and has two branch churches of its own. One can assume that maybe Yuji Hida eventually took over his senkyosho following his missionary success. (Note: “Senkyosho” 宣教所 literally means missionary or propagation office. All “senkyosho” that had not been changed to/renamed bunkyokais or “branch churches” were done so shortly after WWII.)