二ニ につこりさづけもろたら やれたのもしや
二に ニッコリ授けを貰ったら やれ頼もしいや
Nii-ni / Nikkori / Sazuke morotara / yare / tanomoshi ya
Two / A smile / the Grant if [you] receive / oh how / promising
The issue of zero subject1 arises here in verse 2 as it is not explicitly clear who is doing the nikkori or smiling.
The majority of commentators assume that it is the recipient of the Grant who is doing the smiling. Representative commentary include “A smile is the natural facial reaction expressing the insuppressible joy of a person who has received the Sazuke”2 and “When we receive the treasure for a lifetime, we are filled with inexpressible feelings of gratitude, unworthiness, and joy. Such a state of mind can be described with the word nikkori.”3
But nikkori may merely be the natural reaction of followers after hearing one after the other two things they would celebrate — New Year’s and fertilizer — mentioned in verse 1.
However, I feel it is nevertheless a little presumptive on the part of the commentators to claim that it is the recipient of the Grant doing the smiling.
In my experience interpreting at Sazuke bestowals, the Yoboku-to-be and the people accompanying them such as their ministers, fellow church members, and family are usually nervous and rarely are in the frame of mind that affords them to smile. It is only after the bestowal is finished without a hitch when people finally allow themselves to smile.
Even when Oyasama bestowed the Sazuke in its various forms to our spiritual forebears, it is doubtful that they received it with a smile.
First of all, in many cases, followers had no idea what they were receiving and could not yet appreciate what Oyasama had bestowed to them. When Chusaku Tsuji applied the Grant of Fertilizer to his field for the first time, he is said to have doubted the mixture that resulted from administering it had the efficacy of 135 kg of conventional fertilizer. His plants became infested with insects, resulting in a failed crop.4 There is another surviving anecdote describing how he secretly applied conventional fertilizer to his fields in at night when he felt his crops were not growing as high or luxuriant in color compared to those growing in other fields. He went the next day to the Residence pretending as if nothing had happened and Oyasama said to him, “Tsuji-san! Are you tending your fields hoping to grow straw?”5 Chushichi Yamanaka also appears to have his doubts as well, for in Anecdotes of Oyasama 12, she is quoted as telling him, “Try it and see.”
Secondly, Oyasama often bestowed the Sazuke suddenly with no prior indication she would do so. Because there was nothing like the Besseki system in place, there was really no sign or guarantee that anyone would be granted the ability to administer the Sazuke. I imagine early recipients were hardly in the frame of mind to smile at the time of bestowal; they more likely than not prostrated themselves in front of her at the unexpected gift.6 At least narratives of Yahei Nishiura receiving the Sazuke from the Honseki especially suggest this must have been the case.7
I believe if there is anyone who is smiling at a Sazuke bestowal, it is Oyasama. One commentator mentions that “nikkori” evokes people’s recollections of Oyasama’s beaming expression when she gave sweets to them as children and likens her expression then to how she bestows the Sazuke.8
Also, even though it may not be a realistic expectation, verse 2 is perhaps pointing to the ideal frame of mind a recipient ought to have at a Sazuke bestowal. Or, it can merely reflect how followers felt about the Grant of Fertilizer at the time Oyasama composed Song One, as some years had already passed since she first made it available. In any case, a Sazuke bestowal is a happy occasion. “The joy of receiving the Sazuke makes us grin and smile. It truly is a joyous event.”9
Song Two, verse 2 also may evoke the Tenrikyo creation narrative in which Izanami-no-Mikoto is described to have said, “Now that [the children] have grown so tall, in time they will reach the height of human beings five feet tall” and withdrew from physical life with a smile (nikkori warau).10
Sazuke morotara yare tanomoshi ya
“How promising it is if [one] receives the Sazuke!” Tanomoshi has the nuance of a development that is encouraging or brings peace of mind.11
One commentator writes:
“We must come away with the conclusion that by resolving for a lifetime the mindset we had on the day we ‘received the Sazuke with a smile’ and not detract from it, remembering to rejoice regardless what situation we may encounter, and living a life of genuine sincerity can make our future full of promise.
“With the exception of cases in which we may drop the Sazuke due to a mistaken frame of mind, the Sazuke otherwise is not something that can be stolen or is it something we can misplace or forget so that we end up not having it on us at any given time. As the Sazuke has no substance or any visible form, it does not burden or inconvenience us when we actively do something. As long we have the mind to, we can administer it at any place and at any time to as many people as time allows. The Sazuke also does not decrease with use. I believe there is nothing more amazing as it merely manifests the results of the sincere efforts we dedicate.”12
According to others:
“If we are allowed to use the Sazuke and cleanse our mind, we can receive wonderful protection for our illnesses and other adverse circumstances. Thus, Kami-sama calls it the treasure for a lifetime…. When it comes to intangible assets, there is no greater asset. This is precisely what makes it a treasure for a lifetime and causes Kami-sama to say ‘how promising’.”13
“Receiving the truth of the Sazuke is, in itself, promising. However, our future holds even more promise when we are fully aware of our role as Yoboku and get to work administering the Sazuke. If we do not take it upon ourselves to administer the Sazuke that has been bestowed on us, we will never know how promising and dependable it is.”[Nagao E29:55.]
Just as it is possible to equally interpret the smiling (nikkori) as being done by Oyasama (Kami), the follower receiving the Sazuke, or both, the sentiment “Oh how promising” can similarly be seen as one being expressed by Oyasama (Kami), the follower receiving the Sazuke, or both.14
Passages from the Osashizu on the promise of the Sazuke
I have spoken of the Sazuke, the Sazuke. The Sazuke, no one can know how great its value or how precious it is.
Osashizu, July 7, 1890, 3:00 a.m..16
When you go home after receiving the Sazuke, you are taking a souvenir for home, a treasure for home, whose value is immeasurable.
Osashizu, December 30, 189817
- See Introduction. ↩
- Fukaya 61 E43. ↩
- Ando 31. ↩
- Masui 73. ↩
- Sawaharu Tashiro, cited in MST 103. ↩
- Narratives of Oyasama bestowing the Sazuke include Anecdotes 83, 114, and 166. ↩
- The Life of the Honseki, Part Nine, Masui 80–1. ↩
- Keiichiro Moroi, cited in MST 103. See Anecdotes of Oyasama 134 and 193 for narratives mentioning that she gave sweets to children. ↩
- Ueda B 11. ↩
- MST 102. ↩
- MST 104. ↩
- Ono 51. ↩
- Ando 33. ↩
- Keiichiro Moroi, cited in MST 104. ↩
- Verses from the Ofudesaki containing the word “tanomoshii” include:
You who are devoting yourselves day after day, settle the heart. Then a promising future will be yours.
When this main path is truly opened, thereafter you will lead a life full of joy and promise.
This time, if I should inform those in high places about the truth of any and all matters,
Then, some among them may ponder. And if they all gather and speak to one another,
Some among them will understand and truly feel hopeful over the teachings.
Ponder and come follow Me with firm resolve. There is a path of hope in the future.
There is no one who knows the way to dig up the root, the truth of this world.
If you have but truly dug up this root, this path will become truly promising.
- Cited in Fukaya 62; Masui 77; Ono 50; Ueda C 25; Yamamoto 67. ↩
- Cited in Hirano 64; Nagao E29:55; Ueda C 25. ↩