48. Waiting, Waiting
Around two o’clock in the afternoon of November 9, 1876, Kajiro Ueda was leaving for the Tenjin Festival at Kayo. Suddenly his daughter Naraito, who was weaving, began to cry, “Iwagami-san of Furu with his great mass of hair is descending on me. I’m frightened.” Later, she was administered all possible medical treatment without success. Through the devoted efforts of Yahei Nishiura, a neighbor, the Ueda family entered the faith and Naraito gradually recovered. She returned to Jiba the following month and was received by Oyasama who graciously said to her:
“I have been waiting, waiting. You were My aunt who saved Me five generations ago.”
She was completely cured in three days. Naraito was then fourteen years old.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 42
Translation of “Sawa’s note”
“Recorded by Yoshinaru Ueda in 1955. Kajiro Ueda was a person from Asawa, located south of Sanmaiden. This marks the beginning of Naniwa Bunkyokai.”
My research/ my take
Naraito Ueda (1863–1937) ought to be considered an important figure in Tenrikyo history just from the fact that she took over the role of bestowing the truth of the Sazuke from the Honseki Izo Iburi (1833–1907) three days before he passed away for rebirth. Anecdotes 48 offers an account of how she was drawn to the faith. Outside sources help paint a more detailed picture of the same event.
Supplemental information from Yoshiyo Ueda sensei
The Tenri jiho series that has supplied much information in my Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama project includes an article from Yoshiyo Ueda, a fourth-generation relative of Naraito Ueda.
The first thing that jumped out at me in the article was the author’s use of the term “musume-bun” when describing Naraito’s relationship with Oyasama. The term implies that Naraito acted in place of her daughter, which I found to be highly significant to two ways:
- Naraito was drawn to the faith about a year after Oyasama’s daughter Kokan (1837–1875) passed away1
- Oyasama instructed Naraito to live out her life as a single woman as she did to Kokan
What follows is a rough paraphrase of portions of the article.
Naraito was born 2/23/1863 (lunar) in Sonohara, Asawa Village. She was considered large in build from when she was young and had a sharp mind. She was also nimble with her fingers and was highly skilled at needlework and weaving at the loom from when she was about 13 or 14 years old.
Then one day, her demeanor changed as she claimed in tears that the deity of Isonokami Shrine (Furu) was descending. Her subsequent behavior suggests a nervous condition similar to obsessive compulsive disorder. She claimed that something dirty had gotten on her hands and would wash them over and over. She would then say, “I must clean the interior,” and would clean every corner of her home and demanded her siblings do the same.
Although her father Kajiro (known as Kasuke before the Meiji era edict that forced many commoners to change their given names) prayed for her recovery at various shrines and temples, it did not achieve the effects he was looking for. It was at this time when his neighbor Yahei Nishiura2 introduced the faith to him.
Kajiro was dismissive at first, saying he disliked any faith that to him appeared to be nothing but a passing fad. Yet when he found there was no other place to turn to, he relented and paid a visit to the Residence.
Oyasama then told Naraito: “I have been waiting, waiting. You were My aunt who risked her life to save Me five generations ago. I shall return the favor by allowing you to live your present lifetime as a lifetime of paradise and play (gokuraku asobi).”
To offer some insight on the meaning of this statement attributed to Oyasama, I present the following lengthy quote:
There are historical documents showing that Oyasama also spoke the words “Matteita, matteita” ([“I have been] waiting, waiting”) — which happen to be the title of this selection from Anecdotes — to others who returned to the Residence.3
In the first place, Oyasama waits with expectation and wishes to warmly welcome anyone who returns [with the words “I have been] waiting, waiting.” Such an intention of Hers is expressed in the Ofudesaki in the following way:
About causality: though people are numerous, never think that I discriminate among any of you.
To God, who began this world, all of you in the world are equally My beloved children.
Oyasama also said to Naraito on her first return [to Jiba], “I shall return the favor by allowing you to live your present lifetime as a lifetime of paradise and play.” When examining Naraito’s life in order to contemplate what “a lifetime of paradise and play” referred to, Oyasama told her at age 17, “Be sure to remain single throughout your life.” Despite repeated knots, she observed Oyasama’s words and served her utmost in accordance with Her intention with a single-hearted devotion to God. I cannot help but believe that this life of single-hearted devotion to God is precisely what was meant by “a lifetime of paradise and play.”
I believe that the days that she served at Oyasama’s side, in single-hearted devotion both to God and toward the salvation of others, were days that were filled with radiant joy. While each one of us in God’s service may have roles and positions that differ from one another, it is ideal for us to go before the everliving Oyasama as many times as our feet will carry, speak with Her with a childlike honesty, and live each day in a manner that will bring joy to Her.
If we do so, we truly will be able to bring paradise on this earth into reality so that everyone in the world will [feel], “I, too, wish to go quickly to worship4,” and return to meet with their true Parent. When this happens, Oyasama will surely be smiling contently and say, “[I have been] waiting, waiting.”5
I will close for now and plan to present the remainder of Yoshiyo Ueda sensei’s article when I discuss Anecdotes 55.
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- Ueda Yoshiyo. 2009. “Itsuwa no kokoro tazunete: gendai ni ikiru Oyasama no oshie 14.” Tenri jihō No. 4144 (August 23, 2009), p. 3.
- I discuss Kokan’s passing in Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 43: That Will Do. ↩
- Yahei Nishiura appears in Anecdotes of Oyasama 39: Much Better. ↩
- Earlier selections that I have already covered in which Oyasama is described to openly express such a sentiment include 8: By a Slight Illness and 10: The Long Away Around. ↩
- Ueda sensei here is alluding to Song Four, verse 9 of the Mikagura-uta. ↩
- Ueda 2009. ↩