The following is a translation of Part 68 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the August 2008 (No. 476) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Part 68: In the Face of a Knot
In 1912, Masayoshi Ando enrolled himself in the eighth session of the six-month Special Course (Bekka) at Tenri Seminary. One day at the seminary, one of his classmates received a telegram saying, “Mother is critically ill.”
Masayoshi silently felt that God the Parent was testing this person and prayed so that the knot would prove to be a good opportunity for the person’s spiritual growth. But contrary to Masayoshi’s hopes, the person rushed straight home without offering prayers at the Kanrodai. His classmate’s mother had passed away before the person reached home.
A similar situation awaited Masayoshi in his third month at Tenri Seminary. He received a telegram that said: “Fuku is critically ill. Return immediately.” Masayoshi immediately perceived this as a test from God the Parent. He was convinced that God had provided him with a positive knot through his wife’s illness.
Masayoshi had awakened to his personal innen that threatened the severance of their family line and became devoted to the path in order to clear this negative innen away.
However, the human mind can be undependable: The mind that was resolved one day is not necessarily the same mind the next. Masayoshi had perceived through his personal innen that God the Parent desired for him to dedicate his life toward saving others and that he was sufficiently determined to carry out God’s intention.
In the face of this present knot, he felt his resolve waxing and waning. He quickly went to and bowed before the Kanrodai to offer the following prayer and promise: “God, please give me a sign if Fuku’s condition is critical enough that she cannot be saved even if I returned to her. If I do not receive a sign, I will truly promise this time I will completely lean on Your protection and dedicate myself to single-hearted salvation. I shall even close my business to concentrate on salvation work.“
Masayoshi had not received any physical sign the next day. He quit thinking of returning to see Fuku and finally found the resolve to dedicate himself to a life of single-hearted salvation. Just then, he received a telegram from home that said, “Situation not serious enough to require your return.” This experience gave Masayoshi absolute conviction of God the Parent’s existence.
Later, when Masayoshi completed the Special Course at Tenri Seminary, he engaged in missionary work while making preparations to close his business.
Although his relatives and acquaintances were furiously against his decision, he had fulfilled his immediate promise to God and shifted to a life that was single-heartedly devoted to the path in about six months. Then, in November 1913, Masayoshi and his wife Fuku complied with the instructions of Yoshi Nakagawa, the first head minister of Tohon, and left for Nagoya on a missionary expedition.
- Next installment in this series: 69. “If the Spirit Lives, the Body Will Live” (Matsumura, Kichitaro 2)
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
Rev. Masayoshi Ando 安藤正吉 (dates?) later went on to become the first head minister of Hon’ai Senkyosho 本愛宣教所 (literally, missionary or propogation office) in 1914. Now known as Tenrikyo Hon’ai Daikyokai 天理教本愛大教会 (grand church), it currently oversees 168 bunkyokai (“branch churches”) and 310 fukyosho (“fellowships” or “mission stations”), including Hon’ai Taipei Kyokai in Taiwan and Hon’ai Atlanta Church in the U.S.