Kokonotsu / Kokoro o / sadame / iyō nara
Nine / Heart-mind / resolve / if [you] maintain
Kokoro o sadame
This phrase appears earlier in Song One, verse 3 but in the case here in Song Two, verse 9, it is not made explicit what kind of “kokoro” (heart-mind) is to be resolved and maintained. One commentator explains it is to be a mind resolved to have faith or the mind of joyous acceptance.1 Another writes that it is to commit oneself to align to the Cosmic Intention of the Joyous Life, the purpose behind human creation.2
Then there are explanations that strive to explain what kind of kokoro we are being asked to resolve and maintain strictly in the context of Song Two. The first one maintains verse 9 refers to a heart-mind that is resolved to:
- Conduct the Service (verse 1)
- Begin/participate in the wondrous construction (2)
- Follow the path (5)
- Help others to overcome their suffering (7)3
The other explanation shares two of the elements included in the one above. It maintains that verse 9 refers to a mind that is:
- Aware of the importance of internalizing merit (3)
- Resolved to follow and come despite one’s circumstances (5) and
- Resolved to help others overcome their suffering (7)4
Another commentator writes that “kokoro sadame” is often a phrase evoked when one wishes to overcome a great knot or challenging situation.5 He then explains that the hand motion here (osae or press motion) at “sadame” (resolving) indicates a mind that is:
Yet another commentator explains “kokoro sadame” as the act of resolving one’s heart-mind and making a pledge to Oyagami that one follows through to receive a blessing.7
For more on “kokoro (o) sadame” See also:
- Song One, verse 3
- Song Eight, verse 4
- Song Nine, verse 6
One commentator notes that this phrase means impervious, untouched, unchanged.8
Tode / Tokoro no / osamari ya
Ten / Places [everywhere] / will settle
Tokoro no osamari
Tokoro literally means “place.” Commentators have expressed a variety of interpretations regarding the meaning of this verse.
- “‘Tokoro’ does not refer fixed place by any means. Depending on how one resolves and implements one’s commitment, one’s being or an entire region or nation can become this ‘tokoro.’”9
- “Tokoro means places where people live. That, I believe it refers to our households, workplaces, countries, and the world.”10
- “Tokoro no osamari” means for peace to settle in the home, locale, country, and the world.11
- Citing the Ofudesaki, one commentator notes osamari (settling) means peace settling in the world (3:13), in the places the teachings spread early (2:39; 3:4), peace settling for endless generations (3:67).12
- Another commentator cites the third Shinbashira’s Spring Grand Service sermon from 1973: “‘Tokoro ga osamaru’ can be interpreted to mean the world of the Joyous Life that is to last for endless generations.” He then elaborates on the phrase, writing: “It does not simply mean the settling of local places so there is no longer conflict or strife. It refers to a settling that is more rich and elevated in substance. Once the entire human race awakens to the Cosmic Principle that Oyagami is their true Parent and that they are all brothers and sisters, everyone will respect and help another according to Oyagami’s intention, leading to a state in which all can savor the joy of being alive.”13
Verse 10 can also be expanded to mean the “settling” of the weather and other natural phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes. With this and the above in mind, I personally feel that “tokoro” can also mean a state of mind in addition to physical spaces and places.
Song Two summary/comparison to Song One
Whereas Song One is filled with agricultural metaphors and has a financial and material dimension, Song Two has a more social and spiritual focus16, with health and peace being singled out in particular.17 The social aspects of Song Two include dancing (verse 1), construction (2), everyone following (5), cutting the root of rebellion (6), and having harmony settle in all places (10). Song One is about settling harmony in society by stabilizing the growth of crops while Song Two is about stabilizing society through the elimination of conflict and illness.18 In the sense they both are about fulfilling basic conditions of the Joyous Life, Songs One and Two are like two sides of the same coin.
According to one commentator, while Song One covers the budding of faith with the single phrase “sanzai kokoro,” Song Two goes into more specific detail regarding the progression of our spiritual maturity through the joyous Service dance (1), construction (2), believing (5), salvation work (7), and making resolutions (9).19 In turn, faith means being continuously oriented toward:
- Spiritual uplift through the Service (symbolized by verse 1)
- Expressing our indebtedness through the collective effort of construction (2)
- Leaning on Oyagami (5)
- Mutual help and mutual respect (7)
- Maintaining these spiritual states (9).20
Songs One and Two have several elements in common. First, they are structured differently from the rest of the Twelve Songs. For instance, they both have two verses that are only four-kana syllables in length (i.e., verses 4 and 5 in Song One, verses 3 and 4 in Song Two.) The second Shinbashira wrote that they both deviate from the waka-poem structure the other Songs have.21 The rest of the Twelve Songs, beginning with Song Three, more or less follow a 7-5-7-5 meter.22 One commentator writes that the rhythm of Songs One and Two can be compared to what children traditionally sing while playing hanetsuki at New Year’s.23
Another structural characteristic shared by Songs One and Two are how verses with grammatical conditional forms are followed by verses that describe the result when that condition is fulfilled. This structure is more evident in Song Two than in Song One.
In Song One, there are portions where this structure is merely implied in an imperative statement:
If you receive the unprecedented sacrament of the Sazuke, how promising your future will be! (1 & 2)
Resolve a sanzai heart-mind (3). (If you do so) blessings will burst forth (5) in the world (4) unlimitedly all over (6).
If you exert the effort to grow and gather crops in very shape and form (7), Yamato will experience a rich harvest (8).
Come and follow to the point where you can receive these blessings (9). (If you do so) Finally, the harvest yield each year will be set as an abundant harvest (10).
As mentioned above, this condition = result structure is more obvious in Song Two. Apart from an implicit conditional in verse 1, this structure is presented in an obvious way in the remainder of the Song:
(If you) begin the Service dance, how delightful it would be! (1)
If you begin the wondrous construction, how lively it will become (2), and this will allow you to attain and internalize merit (3) that leads to the rebuilding of the world (4).
If everyone follows despite what circumstances they encounter (5), the root of rebellion will be cut (6).
If you help those in need (7), the root of illness will be cut (8).
If you are resolved and committed to achieve these things (9), harmony will settle in the spiritual and physical spaces you inhabit (10).
The last element Songs One and Two have in common to be discussed here in length is how they both contain the word Shōgatsu. This may reflect the fact that Songs One, Two, and Three were composed in the first lunar month of 1867. Yet I believe there is a deeper meaning behind this.
There are two verses in the Ofudesaki that contain the word Shōgatsu. The first verse (1:39) is a message directed to Shuji Nakayama to have his common-law wife Yasu return back to her parent’s home by the 30th of the first month (Shōgatsu). Verses leading up to 1:39 implicitly reveal how this “wrongdoing” is the source of Kami’s displeasure (1:34) and an obstruction to a pending construction (1:35). It is possible there is a connection with the construction mentioned here to the “wondrous construction” of Song Two.
The second instance Shōgatsu appears in the Ofudesaki is 3:73, which is commonly regarded as a verse foretelling that Oyasama would withdraw from physical life on the “26th of the first month.” On the night of the 25th of the first month in 1887, when Izo Iburi was approached to deliver Divine Directions concerning Oyasama’s physical condition, he pronounced the following:
“Sah, sah, I shall begin to level the ground completely. Sah, sah, with the portals opened, opened, I shall level the ground all over the world. Sah, I shall step out to level the ground. Sah, sah, shall I open the portals and level the ground? Shall I close the portals and level the ground?”
When those present, which included the first Shinbashira, answered, “Please open the portals and level the ground,” the folding fan used for the invocation Izo held in his hands suddenly opened. Then came the words:
“The approaching confrontation…. You may not what confrontation it is. I draw everyone, everyone, to Me. I draw anything and everything to Me. Drawing everything to Me, I shall open the portals to the whole world, open, open, open. Everything will be entirely changed.”
I feel there is profound symbolism in how the folding fan Izo held suddenly opened on that Shōgatsu day when the followers replied, “Please open the portals and level the ground.” The hand motions for “Shōgatsu” in Songs One and Two evoke an open folding fan. This makes me feel that the time period between the start of Tenrikyo in 10/1838 and Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life can be regarded as the dawn of a new age for humanity.
If we are to ask what is most necessary in this new age, it is the Sazuke (mentioned as “koe no Sazuke” after “Shōgatsu” in Song One, verse 1) and the Service (mentioned as the “dancing” after “Shōgatsu” in Song Two, verse 1.)24
At the expense of repeating myself somewhat, here my summary of Song Two:
[1st verse] Ton, ton, ton, goes the start of the dancing at the dawn of a new age. How delightful it is!
[2nd verse] If you begin the wondrous construction, how lively it will be!
[3rd verse] You will attain merit and [4th verse] begin to see the world with a changed perspective.
[5th verse] If everyone, no matter what their background or circumstances, come to follow the path, [6th verse] Oyagami will cut the root of rebellion.
[7th verse] If you help rescue people in need, [8th verse] Oyagami will cut the root of illness.
[9th verse] If you resolve your mind to do these things, [10th, finally] this will bring harmony to the spiritual and physical spaces you inhabit and peace to the world.
Here are a series of Ofudesaki reinforcing elements from Song Two:
Be firm day after day, you performers of the Service! Calm your minds and learn the hand movements quickly!
What do you think this Service is about? It is solely to bring peace to the world (10) and salvation to all.
When this path is clearly seen, the root of illness will be cut off (8) entirely.
On this matter, hasten to resolve your minds (9) firmly and begin quickly.
Hasten to prepare everything for the Service. Fear nothing, for the Parent gives you assurance.
On this matter, resolve your minds (9) and ponder. I am in haste to assemble the performers.
If you quickly unite your minds and do the Service correctly, the world will settle (10).
Lastly, the following verse is notable in how it reinforces elements from both Songs One and Two:
Ponder and come follow Me (Song One, v9; Song Two, v5) with firm resolve (Song One, v3; Song Two, v9). There is a path of hope (Song One, v2) in the future.
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication. Most recently revised on September 3, 2015.
- Fukaya 79 E55. ↩
- Yamamoto 95–7. ↩
- MST 135. ↩
- Ono 80. ↩
- Ueda A 209. ↩
- Ueda A 209. ↩
- Tsutsui 34. ↩
- Keiichiro Moroi, cited in MST 136. See also Ueda A 209. ↩
- Kanenobu Takeya, cited in MST 136. ↩
- Hirano 89. ↩
- Masui 109. ↩
- Keiichiro Moroi, cited in MST 137–8. ↩
- Ono 81–2. ↩
- Yamamoto 95 ↩
- Tsutsui 35. ↩
- Hiroshi Shionoya, cited in MST 139. Another commentator has pointed out Song One’s central theme is on livelihood and the environment and Song Two’s focus in on human relations (Fukaya 70 E49). ↩
- Fukaya 70 E49; Ueda A 162. ↩
- MST 138. ↩
- Ueda A 162–3. ↩
- Ueda A 208. ↩
- Zoku Hitokotohanashi sono ni, 17. ↩
- Nagao 91 E30:22; Yamamoto 99. ↩
- Yamamoto 78, 99 in reference to Anecdotes of Oyasama 19. ↩
- Masui writes that this means the Sazuke and Service are most important on the path (95). ↩
- Verses 93–4 cited in Ueda C 36. ↩
- Verse 14:92 is cited in Fukaya 80–1 E56; Ueda C 37. ↩