The following is a translation of Part 70 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the October 2008 (No. 478) issue of Taimo , pp. 36–37. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Part 70: Offer What Happens to Flow Down (Part 1 of 2)
In 1922, Yasu Yoshifuku enrolled in the six-month Bekka course at Tenri Seminary. Since it was a year after the official inauguration of the preparatory period leading to the 40th Anniversary of Oyasama (that was to be held in 1926), the Tenrikyo congregation as a whole was passionately occupied in pre-anniversary activities. The words “40th Anniversary” were deeply inscribed in the mind of every follower, with Yasu being no exception. She willingly forewent sleep, waking every morning at 2 a.m. to head to the offering preparatory room at Church Headquarters and frantically devoted herself to hinokishin until her dormitory finished their daily toilet-cleaning sessions that began at midnight.
One evening, when she was doing hinokishin at Church Headquarters as she usually did, she received a sudden phone call from her dormitory informing her: “Come immediately. Daikyokaicho-sama wishes to see you.”
Her daikyokaicho (“grand church head minister“) was also the headmaster of Tenri Seminary, Rev. Michioki Masuno. As much as she tried to think what matter could concern her and her grand church head minister — she being a mere Tenri Seminary student — nothing readily came to mind. She walked the halls, thinking, “Could it be something about school or hinokishin at the dormitory?”
When she opened the sliding door to enter Rev. Masuno’s room, he signaled her to come closer. She obeyed, inching forward on her knees.
“Could you go to Kyushu to collect donations?”
Yasu unconsciously replied, “Yes,” at Rev. Masuno’s sudden words. He did not say anything further. Unable to endure his silence, she asked, “How much am I supposed to bring?”
“How should I know the amount!?”
Disoriented, she finally asked, “Then when do you need it by?”
Rev. Masuno shouted at her again, “Do you really think you can count on deadlines!?”
Yasu nearly lost her presence of mind. She initially thought to herself, “Could kaicho be out of his mind?” But she suddenly remembered something she learned in class: “Children are unaware of their parent’s feelings. Hear your parents out, even though you may think it is impossible to do what they say.”
“Aha! All I need to do is to offer whatever happens to flow down to me. I’ll just accept my parent’s1 instructions with an affirmative ‘Yes.'”
Once she resolved herself in this way, she smiled and said: “I understand. I’ll be on my way.”
“So you say you understand? Good! Go on.”
After hearing Rev. Masuno’s encouraging words, Yasu withdrew from his room.
However, Yasu was penniless. She immediately borrowed ten yen from someone to cover her traveling expenses and went to the Main Sanctuary. Having been given a task that was akin to grasping at clouds, there was no way but to cling to God’s strength. She offered three yen out of the ten yen she borrowed and wholeheartedly prayed, “Oyasama, please give me your guidance.”
When she returned to the dormitory, Rev. Masuno was sitting in the office. When he saw her, he asked, “Where did you go?”
“I went to ask God for help.”
“If that’s the case, do your best to receive God’s blessing within three days and three nights and wire me the money by telegraph.”
This specific instruction gave Yasu the courage to ask, “What kind of mindset will allow me to receive God’s blessing within three days and three nights?”
He replied: “God will work. Go with God accompanying you.”
However, this reply was difficult for a young Tenri Seminary student such as Yasu to understand.
(To be continued)
Reference: Ueda Ritaro. Hi ni mo yakezu.
- Next installment in this series: 71. Offer What Happens to Flow Down (Part 2 of 2)
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
- I.e., her “spiritual” parent or her daikyokaicho, Rev. Masuno. ↩