Song Three, verses 2–4

Verses 2 and 3

二ツ      ふしぎなつとめばしよハ たれにたのみはかけねども
二つ 不思議なつとめ場所は 誰に頼みは掛けないけれども
Futatsu / Fushigi na / Tsutome basho wa / tare ni / tanomi wa / kakene domo
Two / wondrous / Place for the Service / anyone / request / although not make

三ツ みなせかいがよりあうて でけたちきたるがこれふしぎ
三つ 皆世界が寄り合うて 出来立ち来るがこれ不思議
Mittsu / Mina / sekai ga / yori-ōte / deke-tachi kitaru ga / kore fushigi
Three / All / the world / will gather together / That it comes to be built / this is a wonder

Paraphrase of verses 2 & 3: This wondrous Place for the Service. Although Oyasama does not request anyone (to build it), all in the world will gather together and it will come to be built. This is a wonder.

Fushigi

The dance motion for “fushigi” in Song Three, verse 2 is a spin, similar to “Yashiki” (Residence) in Song Seven, verse 8 and Song Eleven, verse 8. This can be taken to mean “the Place for the Service within the Residence is a wondrous place of salvation.”1

See also:

  • Song Two, verse 2
  • Song Five, verse 2
  • Song Six, verses 2, 10
  • Song Eight, verse 2
  • Song Ten, verse 2
  • Song Twelve, verse 2

Fushigi na Tsutome basho

As opposed to verse 1’s “Tsutome no basho,” verse 2 is “Tsutome basho.” Does this absence of the possessive particle “no” give a subtle but important nuance? Or was the omission because of singability?

“Tsutome basho” happens to be mentioned in the Besseki Pledge and translated as follows: “We are taught that the Jiba is the place where [Oyagami] resides and where the Service for [manifold salvation] is performed.” (Allow me to briefly note here that the Ofudesaki verse referred to above (8:36) contains the phrase “Tsutome basho”).

Tare ni tanomi was kakene domo… sekai ga yori ōte deke-tachi kitaru

“Although Oyasama does not request anyone to build the Place for the Service, all in the world will gather together and it will come to be built.”

Many commentators note that these two verses allude to the circumstances that led to the construction of the Place for the Service.2 In 1864, Izo Iburi offered to build an altar shrine to express his appreciation to Oyasama for saving his wife Sato from complications resulting from a miscarriage.

To Izo’s offer, Oyasama replied, “There is no need for a shrine. Start building something small. It is to be a structure of one tsubo (six feet square). Additions can be made depending on your minds.”3

When followers came together to hold a discussion regarding the matter, the decision was made to build a structure 36 feet long and 21 feet wide to accommodate the many people who were coming to the Residence to worship every 26th of the month. Certain followers promised to cover the labor and expenses for construction materials such as roof tiles and tatami mats.4

The construction of the Place for the Service did not come about because Oyasama commanded it. It was not until Izo Iburi made the offer to build an altar shrine for the gohei followers used to focus their prayers that the structure came to be built. Neither did Oyasama specify the exact dimensions of the structure. Instead, these early followers came together, discussed how large the structure was to be, and the Place of the Service was built as a natural outcome of their wish to express their indebtedness to Oyasama for either saving them or a family member.

One commentator writes:

“Izo Iburi’s sincere wish to express his indebtedness can said to be the fuse that led to the construction of the Place of the Service…. Izo Iburi considered the construction of the Place of the Service as his own matter and exerted (exhausted) his genuine sincerity toward its cause. I believe he received great merit because he exerted his sincerity in this way.”5

In the Osashizu, there is a passage that goes:

I begin with a story from the past. The first step, the very first step. Although a wondrous construction is to be done, I do not request anyone to build it. If everyone gathers together and it comes to be built and people become uplifted, Kami will also be uplifted. A wondrous construction is to be done, so Kami does not make a request. You did a fine job undertaking it.

June 17, 1890

The message in verses 2 and 3 that “Although Oyasama/Oyagami does not request anyone to build the wondrous Place for the Service, it will be built when people from the world all gather and build it” can also be interpreted to refer to the present Main Sanctuary. One commentator mentions that the grand Main Sanctuary of Church Headquarters is the present Place for the Service and a crystallization of the gratitude and deep emotion of countless people experiencing instances of wondrous salvation. This Place for the Service will in turn further be the source of wondrous salvation in the future.6

Another commentator writes:

“The Kagura Service is conducted to pray for Oyagami’s wondrous protection. Building a structure where this Service is to be conducted is not a construction for the narrow interests of a specific individual but a construction for the sake of saving everyone in the world. For this reason, this is not a construction Oyagami requests human beings to undertake but for human beings to ask Oyagami to build out to express our joy, appreciation, and indebtedness.”7

Yet another commentator implies that this “Tsutome basho” is yet to be built, writing that Oyagami does not request anyone to build it and that it will one day be built without fail when human beings spiritually mature and understand the Parental intention.8

Mina sekai

Literally, “all the world.” Although it may be natural to take this to mean “everyone in the world,” it may be more accurate to interpret this as “everyone who participates in the construction will come from the world” (i.e., from outside the Nakayama household, not from within). This reflects the historical record that Izo Iburi and others initiated and participated in the construction of the Place of the Service while Oyasama, Shuji, and Kokan are not described as taking on active roles in the construction. (See Song Eight, verse 5 for more on this topic.)

One commentator maintains that “mina” represents the notion of “itte hitotsu,” working collectively with minds in unison.9 Regarding “sekai,” he writes:

“The task of exclusively bringing relief to this wide world is one we cannot afford to cease even for a moment. If we are late even a day, we are leaving people for dead. Once we gain such an insight, we ought to believe there is not a moment to hesitate and rouse ourselves to action, allowing Oyagami’s providence to appear.”10

Yori-ōte, deke-tachi kitaru

The same commentator interprets “yori-ōte” as bringing together the materials to be used in the construction from various areas in addition to people assembling to offer .11 He also equates “deke-tachi kitaru” as the accomplishment of something under the natural and spontaneous power of “tennen shizen” (natural, without human intervention).12

Verse 4

四ツ      よう/\こゝまでついてきた じつのたすけハこれからや
四つ ようよう此処迄随いて来た 実の救けはこれからや
Yottsu / Yōyō / koko made / tsuite-kita / jitsu no tasuke wa / kore kara ya
Four / finally / until here / [you] have followed / actual salvation / is from now on

Yōyō

Although there is a tendency to interpret “yōyō” as yōyaku ようやく (finally, at last, with much effort)13, most commentators, beginning with the first Shinbashira, take yōyō as words of commendation or an expression of appreciation such as:

  • Yōkoso ようこそ, “welcome, all hail, thank you.”14
  • Yoku よく, “(you have) done well.” The verse amounts to “Oyasama’s words of comfort to followers who endured trials and tribulations.”15
  • Yokumāよくまあ, “(you have) done well.”16
  • Yokuzo よくぞ, “(I’m) glad, my compliments.”17

One particular commentator, in addition to explaining “yōyō” as both an expression of commendation and a term representing a long period of time18, interprets it to symbolize the faith that people had until the advent of Oyasama’s teachings, the teaching of “you will be saved through the principle of saving others” in particular.19 To elaborate on the quality of the faith people tended to have, people would only turn to prayer when they were troubled, which he claims causes the Kami and Buddhist deities to suffer.20 He considers Song Three, verse 4 as a whole to symbolize the spiritual progression we should make from wanting to be saved to wanting to save others through the Sazuke.21

Koko made tsuite-kita

It can be argued this part of verse 4 alludes to the request/command in Song One, verse 9 as well as Song Two, verse 5. While “koko made” can be interpreted to mean “until here (Jiba),” it may be more natural to interpret it as “until this point in time.”

One commentator paraphrases the first half of verse 4 as, “If you think about it, there were days you felt pained, distressed, and miserable. But you have done well to have followed the path during this time without becoming frustrated or allowing your spirits to be thrown into disarray.”16

Several commentators have connected verse 4 here with the knot that arose when a group of followers passing by Oyamato Shrine on their way to Chushichi Yamanaka’s home to continue celebrating the raising of the beam of the Place of the Service unintentionally disturbed the prayers of Chikuzen-no-Kami Moriya at said shrine.23

As a result of this incident, the followers were detained at Oyamato Shrine for three days, incurred an unexpected expenditure that ate into the already tight finances of the Residence, and caused the majority of the group to quit the faith altogether.24 Izo Iburi and Chushichi Yamanaka were the exceptions and stayed with the fold. The implication here is that those who remained were able to receive jitsu no tasuke or “true salvation.”

Jitsu no tasuke

Commentators have offered several slightly different definitions of “jitsu no tasuke” (actual, true salvation or relief). They include:

  • “The rebirth of humanity and rebuilding of the world into the world of the Joyous Life through the performance of the Service.”25.
  • “Actual, true salvation does not merely amount to temporary relief but the cutting of the roots of rebellion and illness made possible through the replacement of our heart-mind. It is having our causality transformed, bringing a true Joyous Life into reality.”26
  • “This is to receive salvation spanning endless generations, made possible because dust from our heart-mind is swept away and our (negative) causality is canceled out, which changes our destiny and that of our family.”27
  • “This does not refer to a temporal, physical salvation that is brought about by ritual prayers or medical treatment. It refers to sweeping dust from human hearts, giving us a fundamental and eternal salvation from all undesirable happenings. It is bringing the Joyous Life into reality.”28 It is bringing an ideal society into reality through the Kanrodai construction.29

Anecdotes 147, “True Salvation” (honto no tasuke) may also offer hints into what “jitsu no tasuke” amounts to.30

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication. Most recently revised on September 6, 2015. 

References/notes

  1. Keiichiro Moroi, cited in MST 147.
  2. Examples include Fukaya 86–90; Hirano 93–5; Ono 88; Ueda A 227–8, 236–7.
  3. For more, refer to The Life of the Honseki Izo Iburi, Part Two.
  4. Refer to The Life of the Honseki Izo Iburi, Part Three.
  5. Hirano 94.
  6. Ueda A 225–6.
  7. Hirano 93. See also Ueda A 228–30.
  8. Tsutsui 37.
  9. Ueda A. 231–3.
  10. Ueda A 234.
  11. Ueda A 235.
  12. Ueda A 236.
  13. Ueda A 239; Ueda B 18.
  14. Hirano 95; Yamamoto 103 fn.
  15. Shinnosuke Nakayama, as cited in MST 150.
  16. Ono 90.
  17. Ueda C 40.
  18. Ando 59.
  19. Ando 61, 63.
  20. Ando 60–1.
  21. Ando 63.
  22. Ono 90.
  23. Examples include Fukaya 88–91; Hirano 95–6; Nagao 98; Ono 88–9, 91–2; Ueda C 41; Yamamoto 103.
  24. Refer to The Life of the Honseki Izo Iburi, Part Three for more on this incident. An excerpt entitled “Okina no hanashi” (“Tale of an old man,” based on the oral recollections of Izo Iburi) in Hitokoto-hanashi identifies the following individuals who are assumed to have left the fold as a result of the first Oyamato Shrine incident: Seizo, Eitaro, Hisataro of Shiba Village, Kanbei, Yasaburo, Heishiro, Kura, Yasu, Yanosuke among others from Onishi Village. No surnames are given for these individuals.
  25. Fukaya 91 E60
  26. Hirano 96–7.
  27. Ono 94–5.
  28. Ueda B 18.
  29. Ueda A 243.
  30. Cited in MST 151; Yamamoto 104–5.

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