44. A Snowy Day
After Rin Masui entered the faith, she diligently visited the Residence during the years 1875 and 1876.
One of her visits was on January 10th. It had been snowing heavily since the morning. Rin was on the way to the Residence from Kawachi. When she entered Yamato Province the snow began to fall in a whirl as a storm gathered. She was crossing Taka Bridge of Nukatabe. The bridge at that time was less than one meter wide and there was no railing on it. She was afraid that she might fall so she crawled barefoot on the snow-covered bridge.
She had struggled along to the middle, when a sudden blast of wind struck her, causing her to sway dangerously, almost falling off the bridge. This happened many times. Each time she clung to the bridge, pressed against the snow, and crawled like an ant, praying earnestly, “Namu, Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto, Namu, Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto.” She was just barely able to cross the bridge. Then, going through Miyando and Nikaido, she arrived at the Residence around four o’clock in the afternoon. When she slid open the door and entered the Place for the Service, Iye Murata told her, “Just this moment Oyasama was looking out of the window, and said:
‘Well, well. Someone is coming on this stormy day. How sincere she is! She must be having a hard time of it.’ “
Rin was overjoyed with her safe return to the Residence, saying, “Ah, thank God!” Her hands and feet were numb after walking about thirty kilometers from Kawachi to the Residence in the snowstorm. Those people who happened to be there helped her take off her traveling attire, took good care of her in many ways and warmed her with three braziers until warmth returned to her body. Then she went into the presence of Oyasama to pay her respects, and Oyasama said to her:
“Oh, I am so glad to see you have come. God the Parent lent a hand to bring you home. You had a hard time, slipping at many places. However, you were joyful. Sah, sah, God the Parent accepts fully, fully. Whatever you ask, it is accepted. God protects you. Enjoy it, enjoy it, enjoy it!”
So saying, Oyasama grasped Rin’s cold hands with both Her own. It was something more than warming them over the brazier. Rin was moved with gratitude and awe at the inexpressible warmth of Oyasama.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 38–39
Translation of “Sawa’s note”
“[Based on] the oral account of Rin Masui, 1931.”
This is quite an amazing story, so much that I feel it would be futile to add any of my commentary to it. Still, to add absolutely nothing here would amount to pure laziness on my part. I’ll just present what I happened to stumble upon in my research.
First of all, if one may recall, Rin Masui’s emotional conversion is described in Anecdotes 36. Since then, it is said that she promulgated the teachings as she commuted between her home in Kawachi and Jiba. Once she spent time serving at the Residence, she would go around engaging in salvation work (o-tasuke). When she walked around doing salvation work, she would take off her wooden clogs and walk barefooted since the clogs would wear out in a month’s time. She would put her clogs back on when she reached the entrance of the homes she was visiting (Tsujii 2000, p. 21).
According to Yoshinaru Ueda sensei, the episode as described above was such an emotional one for Rin that when Ogata Chukyokai (church), founded by her son Ikutaro in 1892, was in the midst of compiling its history, she said to the person put in charge of the task that she could still feel the warmth of Oyasama’s hands from that day (p. 38).
Lastly, a Tenrikyo Doyusha publication entitled Ikiru kotoba (Living words) offers the following commentary:
Although there is no such hardship involved when returning to Jiba in this day and age when there are all forms of transportation located nearby, one nevertheless perceives the guidance of the Parent1 in this as well. We can be assured that the everliving Parent smiles and greets us with a “welcome home” to the many children who return and gather before Her (p. 36).
It may be true that there is little hardship for most people, even for those from overseas, when they make a pilgrimage to Jiba because of how modern transportation has made the trip much easier. Therefore, I feel that most Tenrikyo followers have much to learn from the example of Rin Masui and her “joyful” effort in returning to Jiba even in wind and snow since few people would willingly place themselves in a similar situation.
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- Tenrikyō Dōyūsha, ed. 1995. Ikiru kotoba: Tenrikyō Oyasama (kyōso?) no oshie. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha.
- Tsujii Masakazu. 2000. “Ichiryū manbai.” In Oyasama no oshie to gendai — Oyasama go-tanjō nihyaku nen kinen kyōgaku kōza shirīzu 1998 nen. Tenri: Tenri Daigaku Oyasato Kenkyūsho. pp. 9–28.
- Ueda Yoshinaru. 1976. “Kōhon Tenrikyō Oyasama-den itsuwa-hen ni tsuite.” Michi no dai 65 (May 1976), pp. 26–43.
- This is referring to Oyasama. ↩