Ninth Installment of “Savoring the Realm of the Mikagura-uta” Lecture Series
The ninth installment of “Savoring the Realm of the Mikagura-uta” lecture series, sponsored by the Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion, was held at 13:00 on December 25. The lecturer in December was Koji Sato sensei and he was assigned to discuss Song Four (Yo Kudari-me) of the Mikagura-uta. The title of the lecture was “Mune no uchi yori shian seyo” (“Ponder over it from your innermost heart!”).
Here is the present official translation of Song Four:
First, Whatever others may say; God is watching, so be at ease!
Second, Settle the minds of the two of you in one accord! Then any and everything shall be realized.
Third, All of you close to Me, Watch whatever God acts and works!
Fourth, Night and day, dong! chang! we perform the Service; The neighbors may feel it noisy and annoying.
Fifth, As I am always in haste to save you, Quickly become joyful and come to Me!
Sixth, Villagers I wish to save at once, But they do not understand My heart.
Seventh, Helping each other in any and everything, Ponder over it from your innermost heart!
Eighth, All illness shall be completely rooted out, And step by step your hearts will become cheerful.
Ninth, Here is paradise on this earth. I, too, wish to go quickly to worship.
Finally, This time, my innermost heart has become completely pure. How grateful I am!
Lecture Nine: “Mune no uchi yori shian seyo” (Song Four) by Koji Sato (translation of Tenri jiho article, January 18, 2009 p. 4)
Like Song Three, Song Four begins with the use of folding fans in the dance. Although the use of the fans does not necessarily create any difference among Oyasama‘s instructions, there are interpretations that claim these particular verses contain “God the Parent’s profound intention” (Tadamasa Fukaya). Song Four is also a song on the subject of “spiritual growth” (seijin).
Yoshinaru Ueda sensei has given his interpretation of Song Four as follows: “This song befits to be called the song on spiritual growth. It is a joyous song that truly overflows with the elation of having a faith that wins over the trials we encounter. The song embodies the heightening of the spirit that comes from taking a step further to help save others when we awaken to the truth of respecting and helping one another, allowing us to receive God’s providence that completely cures disease.”
The expressions “save others” and “respecting and helping one another” from Ueda sensei’s explanation are precisely those that are deeply linked with today’s theme “Mune no uchi yori shian seyo” (verse 7).
First, I’d like to start with the keyword in this verse: shian (ponder). The general meaning of this word is to “meditate” or “ruminate” about something (omoi-megurasu). I would like to suggest that in Tenrikyo, to “ponder” is to think by contemplating over what God has instructed us to find the ideal manner to follow the divine intention based on the learning and convictions that humans built with the reason we were endowed with.
I also propose that Song Four in particular, teaches us how to “ponder” in a way that brings the world of the Joyous Life into realization and accomplish the means of respecting and helping one another.
God also hastens to us in the Ofudesaki to save others as follows:
Ponder from your innermost heart to understand. Through saving others, you will be saved (3:47).
To My sorrow, no matter how deeply you have pondered, you have no mind to save others (12:90).
The verses that follow verse 7 clearly express how respecting and helping one another completely cures disease (verse 8), about bringing the ideal world called “paradise” into reality (verse 9), which then leads to the establishment of the ultimate condition for the faithful (verse 10). This ultimate condition for the faithful is particularly exemplified in the innermost heart being completely purified.
To purify the innermost heart, we are required to actually put ourselves in a position to respect and help one another, as well as telling others of what we have discovered as a result of our pondering. By doing so, not only do we reflect the minds of God the Parent and Oyasama into our own, our minds are reflected into the minds of others that are then reflected again back to us. In other words, enabling us to receive the “God’s providence.”
(end of translation)
The article ends with a note saying the lecture series for 2008 ended with this lecture and will resume again from April 25 with Sato sensei as the lecturer on Song Five (entitled “Yasashiki kokoro ni narite koi” or “Come to Me with a gentle heart!”). Guess that means a three-month break from blogging this lecture series. Hey, maybe I’ll start going to the lectures again!
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.