The following is a translation of Part 67 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the July 2008 (No. 475) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Part 67: A Pure and Innocent Faith
Eigoro Furuta first heard the teachings of Tenrikyo from Sasuke Uehara in 1886. They were teachings of a kind that he had never heard before, yet each of them penetrated his heart one by one. He continued to visit Uehara after coming home from work to listen to the teachings over the next three days.
On the third night, on the way home after listening to the teachings once again, he stopped by a secondhand store and sold his Buddhist altar. He said: “I’ve decided to follow the teachings of the original and true Kami from now on. I have no need for Buddhism anymore.”
He also took his family’s ancestral tablets and threw them into the Kanda River. Then, he turned to his wife Kiku and said: “When I went to hear the teachings of the original and true Kami, I was told that all human beings — parents and children, husband and wife — are the beloved children of God the Parent. Because I did not know this, I only called you “O-Kiku” without the proper honorific since I merely considered you to be my wife. I will show you the respect you deserve by calling you “O-Kiku-san” from now on.”
Apparently there was something about the teachings of Tenrikyo that deeply touched Eigoro’s heart. He even called his daughter-in-law “O-Sato-san” and gave the same honor to church live-ins (seinen) and beggars. Toward the latter, he would never throw things in their direction but dispense charity to them in a respective manner. When they would beg from him, he would give them his own food and took pleasure in seeing their joy. He treated everyone with respect and appreciated everything as God’s blessings.
Eigoro often came home drenching wet after going out engaging in salvation work (o-tasuke). He would never run and take cover from the rain, he would walk with composure in the rain, basking in the blessings of water. Eigoro frequently said: “It would be unforgivable to run and take cover from what heaven provides.”
One time, went he passed by a gardening store, he stopped at the front and gazed admirably at a particular bonsai or plant. He asked the price, “How much is this?”
When the store owner replied, “It’s X sen” (note: one sen being 1/100 of one yen).
Eigoro then said: “You’re asking too little for the care you put into raising this plant. I’ll give you this much,” and attempted to go home after paying more than the asking price.
This astonished the store owner. When he tried to give Eigoro his change, he refused to take it, saying: “No, you are asking for too little. This plant is worth much more than I gave you.”
The owner, in his astonishment, followed and saw Eigoro enter a Tenrikyo kyokai. He thought to himself, “Tenrikyo certainly must teach something impressive,” and later converted to the faith. Much later, this gardening store owner helped Eigoro’s kyokai find a new site when he was looking for a place to relocate to.
Eigoro Furuta went on to become the first head minister of Ushigome Daikyokai (grand church). He embodied a pure and innocent faith like that of a child.
References: Takano Tomoji. “Senjin-byo” (Michi no tomo, May 1957); Tenrikyo dendo-shi, vol. 7
- Next installment in this series: 68. In the Face of a Knot (Ando, Masayoshi 2)
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.