40. Stay Here
The year was 1874. Yonosuke Okada (later known as Yosaburo Miyamori), at the age of eighteen, had a severe pain in his arm. He visited this and that doctor but the pain did not ease at all. He leaned against the bedding and suffered day and night. Looking at his suffering, Wasa, his married sister from Miwa, conveyed the teachings to him, suggesting, “Why don’t you try to go to Shoyashiki?”
“Yonosuke, welcome home.”
Upon receiving these words, the pain in his arm instantly stopped. He spent all that day at the Residence and went back to Higai Village that night.
However, when he returned home, he began to feel pain in his arm again. He waited impatiently for daybreak and returned to the Residence. Then, incredibly, the pain in his arm stopped.
These same events occurred repeatedly and during three years he returned to the Residence almost every day. Toward the end of this period, Oyasama said gently:
“Yonosuke, stay here.”
And so, in accord with Her words, he stayed at the Residence and helped with the work there. He remained there because unless he did so, the pain in his arm would return.
It was in this way that Yonosuke began to work at the Residence.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 34–35
Translation of “Sawa’s note”
“[Based on] an 1973 interview with Tsuru Okada, wife of Kojiro, the eldest son of Miyamori Yosaburo’s older brother Zenshichi Okada and records [belonging to] Shikinori Daikyokai.
The central theme of Anecdotes 40 — illness being God’s means to call and draw forth people who are to dedicate themselves to the path — has already been a prominent one in earlier selections. That a pain in his arm first drew Yonosuke Okada/Yosaburo Miyamori to Oyasama is yet one more example in the Tenrikyo tradition that helps make a case for the theological claim that illness is God’s “guidance” or “tending/care.” Words attributed to Oyasama in earlier selections that share this theme include:
- “I have given you guidance through an illness” (Anecdotes 8);
- “You have an innen with God and God has drawn you to this Residence” (Anecdotes 11);
- “No matter how serious, any sickness will be cured…. I have been eagerly waiting for your coming” (Anecdotes 33);
- and “Sah, sah, your soul has an innen. When it is the divine will to use a person in God’s service, God will draw that person to this Residence by any means…. Persons who are destined to be used as instruments in God’s service will be drawn to this Residence even by means of physical pain. Because I must draw you even by means of giving you suffering, what I do is different depending on the person” (Anecdotes 36).
- Further, that Yonosuke experienced pain in his arm unless he worked at the Residence also brings to mind Oyasama’s words as chronicled in Anecdotes 37: “While working in this Residence, you will not be able to leave, even if you want to.”
Lastly, that Yonosuke commuted to the Residence for three years before Oyasama asked him to stay may be symbolic in how the number three (san 三) is associated with birth (as in san 産) and with God’s protection of “joining.” (The third aspect of God’s protection — given the sacred name Kunisazuchi-no-Mikoto — is that of skin and joining.
If the 1874 date is accurate, this would suggest that Yonosuke was probably the first follower to have moved into the Residence three years later in 1877. According to the Tenrikyo jiten, Yosaburo embraced the faith in 1877. It would be interesting to know the circumstances that led him to be adopted into the Miyamori family (marriage to a Miyamori daughter?), but I have not yet come across any sources that discuss this topic in any detail.
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- Omichi no joshiki: “Please Allow Me “
- The Footsteps of Our Predecessors, Part 66: Prepared to Risk His Life
- Takano, Tomoji. Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 75–78.
- Refer to items under “Further reading” for more information about this trip to Mt. Kongo. ↩