The following is a translation of Part 56 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the August 2007 (No. 464) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Part 56: There Is No Other Path to Salvation (Part 2 of 2)
After experiencing deep emotion upon hearing the teachings of God the Parent for the first time, Kikutaro Shimamura began to visit Takeji Tsuzuki on a daily basis. Yet Tsuzuki had just converted to the faith himself and had not received the truth of the Sazuke, so he could not elaborate any more beyond what he said the first time.
Tsuzuki recommended to Kikutaro that if he wanted to learn more, he had to return to Jiba. Although everyone around him urged him that it was a far-fetched idea considering his condition, Kikutaro nevertheless stated his solid resolve: “Even if I may collapse along the way, it is my utmost desire to go. Please do not stop me.”
He then departed with Tsuzuki, forcing himself ahead in his weakened physical state. They traveled from Kokubu in Kawachi on foot. It took them two days to reach Jiba as Kikutaro endured the pain of his hemorrhoids, stopping several times along the way to wash away the blood and pus from the affected area. At the time, Tenrikyo was not yet granted the legal freedom to practice its teachings. So Kikutaro and Tsuzuki checked in at an inn by claiming they were in Yamato under the false pretext of making a pilgrimage of temples in the area.
Kikutaro and Tsuzuki waited until nightfall and after offering their prayers at the Kanrodai1, they visited the home of Risaburo Yamamoto, who patiently conveyed the teachings to them. Kikutaro, who intently listened to the end without noticing the passing of time, returned to his lodgings with such deep emotion that he could not sleep. As morning dawned, remarkably, the pain that had consumed him until yesterday had disappeared. He was in incredibly high spirits and with a light heart, he said to himself: “We’ll give ourselves away if I remain here all day after we claimed we’re here to visit the temples in Yamato. I think I’ll take up Tsuzuki’s invitation and go sightseeing around Nara.”
However, along the way Kikutaro’s hemorrhoidal pain suddenly relapsed near Obitoke. And, the pain was more excruciating that it was ever was before. After making it back to the inn with great difficulty, Kikutaro departed that night to pay his respects once again at the Kanrodai. He deeply apologized, praying, “To think I went and gave priority to my own pleasures without even done anything to repay the blessing I received….”
Along his way to Jiba, the string that tied the paper lantern he brought from the inn became untied from its bamboo handle and the lantern fell to the earth. Plunged into darkness, he fumbled as he attempted to pass the string through the hole of the bamboo handle. Kikutaro thought to himself as he did so: “If it passes through in one try, then it means one; if it passes through in two tries, then it means two…. There can’t be any mistake that I will be saved from my condition once I make the number of pilgrimages to Jiba equal to the number of tries it takes to have this string pass through its hole.”
Then, the string passed through on the third try. Then, just as he had anticipated, after Kikutaro made his third pilgrimage to Jiba with Tsuzuki, he was blessed with the divine protection that healed his hemorrhoids.
Upon expressing the vivid workings of God, Kikutaro discussed with Tsuzuki if there was any way for him to express his gratitude for being blessed. Tenrikyo Church Headquarters had received legal recognition in Tokyo and was about to prepare its relocation to Jiba. Kikutaro then decided to donate the funds to purchase a drawing curtain for worship hall at Church Headquarters.
Reference: Tenrikyo Kochi Daikyokai shi, vol. one.
- Next installment in this series: 57. Demonstrating With His Own Actions (Kashihara, Genjiro)
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
Rev. Kikutaro Shimamura 島村菊太郎 (1858–1911) later went on to become the first head minister of Kochi Bunkyokai 高知分教会 (branch church) in 1891. Now known as Tenrikyo Kochi Daikyokai 天理教高知大教会 (grand church), it currently oversees 260 bunkyokai (“branch churches”) and 403 fukyosho (“fellowships” or “mission stations”), including Lima Kyokai in Peru, Sunhan Gyohae (church) 順韓教会, Sungyeong Gyohae 順京教会, and Haman Gyohae 咸安教会 in South Korea, Los Angeles Central Church in L.A., and Kochi Makoto Church in Honolulu.
Former branch churches of Kochi Daikyokai include Takaoka, Kawanoe, Shigeto, Aiyo, Ino, and Ochi grand churches.
As for Takeji Tsuzuki 都築竹治 (dates?), maybe someone from Kochi Daikyokai can later add something; I all know is that Tsuzuki seems to be a common surname among ministers in this grand church.
- Historically speaking, this was not a full wooden model of the Kanrodai (13 sections) since it was not until 1934 when a wooden Kanrodai built to Oyasama’s specifications was placed at Jiba for the first time. At the time of the story, the Kanrodai was only made of two wooden sections, which was placed at Jiba in 1888. See Kanrodai monogatari, edited by Tenrikyo Doyusha, for more information. ↩