五ツ いつもわらはれそしられて めづらしたすけをするほどに
五つ 何時も笑われ謗られて 珍しい救けをする程に
Itsutsu / Itsumo / waraware / soshirarete / mezurashi tasuke o / suru hodo ni
Five / Always / laughed at / slandered / extraordinary salvation / to the point of
When Oyasama began falling to the depths of poverty, emptying the Residence of her possessions as well as those of the Nakayama family, people around her derided her as mad. They considered Tenri-O-no-Mikoto as a fox spirit or god of poverty.1 Verbal abuse was also directed at Zenbei, as villagers are said to have spoken of his “weak character” especially after Oyasama had the roof tiles and takabei (the “gable walls,” a status symbol) removed from the Nakayama home. The ridicule and slander was constant throughout the 50 years of her exemplary life.2
One example of a follower who went through the experience of being laughed at and slandered is Chushichi Yamanaka, an episode recounted in Anecdotes 21. There is also evidence suggesting that Rin Masui was subject to harassment for practicing her faith (Anecdotes 47).
Regarding the subject of laughter, the Ofudesaki contains verses that are usually understood in the context of Shuji Nakayama’s prospective marriage to a woman 30 years younger than he was. The verses say that no matter how strange the people of the world may find this situation to be or how much they may laugh, it was greatly important that it take place. Although the world might ask, “What on earth are you doing?” Kami would take delight in the people’s laughter (1:71–2).3
Taking verses 1 to 3 into consideration, one commentator suggests the Service is a major reason for the ridicule and slander.4. Some commentators have associated this part of Song Three, verse 5 with Oyasama’s command to “become a fool.”5 One writes that he believes this teaching means no other than to cast away our human thinking and transcend the phenomenal world.6
While one commentator defines “mezurashi tasuke” as unprecedented and unparalleled forms of salvation brought about by conducting the Service7, it also happens to be a phrase used in the Ofudesaki when describing the Cosmic Intention to set the human lifespan at 115 years and grant us protection from illness, premature death, and weakening.8
To paraphrase these sets of verses: “If only the dusts of miserliness, covetousness, self-love, greed, and arrogance have been clearly swept away, then all that remains is extraordinary salvation (mezurashi tasuke). This salvation will be granted according to the sincerity in a person’s mind, until they no longer fall ill, die (prematurely), and weaken. This salvation reflects Kami’s exclusive desire to set the term of life at 115 years” (3:96, 98–100).9
“Because Cosmic Space-Time has nothing but love for all the world’s children, Cosmic Space-Time fervently wants to clean the hearts of everyone in the entire world. What are your thoughts on this cleaning? It is because Cosmic Space-Time is thinking of nothing but to grant salvation, which is not meant to merely heal ills. It is to be an extraordinary salvation that frees everyone from illness, death, and weakening. This is something that has never happened anywhere until now. I, Cosmic Space-Time, wish to inform you proof of this” (17:49–53).10
The adjective mezurashi is also used in Song One, verse 1 to describe the Sazuke (of Fertilizer).
Suru hodo ni
I feel that this phrase helps give the following nuance to this verse: “Always, laughed at and slandered, to the point where Kami will be compelled to provide extraordinary salvation.”
The open folding fans are put down after verse 5 and the remainder of the Song is danced without them. To offer some of my own commentary regarding the use of folding fans in Song Three, in my summary on Songs One and Two, I mentioned that these Songs both contain the word “Shōgatsu,” whose corresponding hand motion has the index fingers drawing an open folding fan. While Shōgatsu literally refers to the New Year or the first lunar month of the year, I suggested that it could be interpreted to mean the dawn of a new age.
Being that Song Three was also said to have been composed during Shōgatsu or the first lunar month of 1867, I do not think it is a complete coincidence for Song Three to use actual folding fans. I wonder if it is not an overreach to suggest that the first five verses of Song Three where two open folding fans are used symbolize bringing into reality what was merely hinted at in Songs One and Two (symbolized by the “Shōgatsu” hand motion drawing an open folding fan).
Although it is not entirely clear why the fans are only used until verse 5 in Song Three, one explanation is that the open fans are used to emphasize what are regarded as Oyagami’s direct words.11 But after taking into consideration that verse 6 ends with koi, an imperative form of a verb (a command), I personally feel this is not a satisfactory explanation.
There may be a more practical reason the fans are put down before verse 6. For instance, the “hitosuji” (straight line) hand motion in verses 6 and 7 would be difficult to pull off while holding the open fans.12
六ツ むりなねがひはしてくれな ひとすぢごゝろになりてこい
六つ 無理な願いはしてくれな 一筋（一条）心になりて来い
Mutsu / Muri na negai wa / shite kure na / Hitosuji gokoro ni / narite-koi
Six / unreasonable wishes / please do not make / a straight line heart-mind / become
Muri na negai
One commentator defines “muri na negai” or unreasonable wishes as wishes that are not aligned with the Cosmic Order. They are selfish wishes or prayers made because of selfish human thinking and arise from greed and arrogance.13 Other commentators explain unreasonable wishes as asking for a bountiful harvest without sowing seeds, asking for a particular vegetable to grow from a seed of a different kind14, asking for good results when one has sown bad seeds, and asking for the seeds one sows today to immediately sprout tomorrow.15
“Muri” is written with the kanji 無 and 理. Not only does muri connote the impossible, but also the condition in which sufficient merit (理) is lacking (無).”16 In other words, the first half of verse 6 can be paraphrased as, “Please do not make wishes that cannot be granted.”
“Muri” also appears in other verses of the Twelve Songs. See also:
- Song Seven, verse 6
- Song Nine, verse 6
- Song Eleven, verse 6
- Song Twelve, verse 6
If are to make wishes at all, it ought to be only after we have dedicated a degree of genuine sincerity and effort. There are a couple of Ofudesaki verses that go: “If you make wishes with a heart-mind that is genuinely resolved, Cosmic Space-Time will provide free and unlimited workings right now” (7:43) and “If your heart-mind is genuine, quickly make a wish, it will be granted immediately” (7:46).
Another commentator mentions the Tenrikyo teaching that maintains we are provided blessings in accord with the state of our mind, not in accord with our desires. Thus, it is important to have hitosuji gokoro.17
“Hitosuji gokoro,” literally, “straight line heart-mind,” has been defined as the unchanging and receptive mind of sincerity that merely seeks to conform to the Cosmic Intention.13 The symbolism of the corresponding hand motion in how one draws a straight line upward to the heavens with the right finger has been noted by one commentator.19
The lone appearance of the term “hitosuji” in the Ofudesaki is in a verse that advises us to avoid short cuts, greed, and arrogance and tells us to go on the single and straight main path (5:30).20
One commentator elaborates on this Ofudesaki verse by writing: “Taking short cuts means to merely ask for large results and benefits without making the dedication or effort. Greed is a self-serving mindset in which one emphasizes one’s benefits and rights at the expense of others’. Arrogance refers to a mindset that is unable or refuses to acknowledge that one is kept alive due to Oyagami’s benevolence and instead believes one is alive due to one’s power.”21
The phrase hitosuji gokoro also evokes the Story of Creation where it is described that when Cosmic Space-Time surveyed the muddy ocean in search for suitable materials to start the process of creating human beings and found a uo (fish/salamander) and mi (white serpent). When summoning them, they came in a straight line.22
The significance of the models of husband and wife coming to Cosmic Space-Time in a straight line was lost on me until I read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Darwin mentions a dog that had a wolf as its great-grandfather, writing “[T]his dog showed a trace of its wild parentage only in one way, by not coming in a straight line to his master when called.”23 Wolves usually hunt in packs and it is noted that they instinctively rush around (instead of directly at) to chase their prey toward a particular spot. While there is nothing wrong for a wolf to exhibit this instinct, for the master of the dog Darwin mentions, the dog’s inability to come in a straight line was arguably an undesirable trait. To come in a straight line or at least having the intention to do so when summoned is a reflection of a dependable and trustworthy quality that puts others at ease that is highly valued in Tenrikyo.
Lastly, one commentator writes that Oyagami cannot save us as long as we are selfish and willful, qualities of mind that detract from the Cosmic Law. If we truly wish to be saved, we must accept and follow Oyagami’s teachings and build spiritual capital.24
- Ueda A 253. ↩
- Ando 64. The takabei or “gable walls” are otherwise known as “udatsu” http://www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus/deta/u/udatsu.htm ↩
- Cited in Ueda A 250. ↩
- Ueda A 246–7 ↩
- Hirano 97; Ueda A 250. ↩
- Ueda A 250. ↩
- Fukaya 92 E61. ↩
- Ono 95; Ueda A 268–9; Yamamoto 106. ↩
- Verses 3:98–100 cited in Ono 94; Ueda C 41; Yamamoto 106–7 fn. ↩
- Cited in Ono 94; Ueda A 269; Yamamoto 107–8 fn. ↩
- MST 163. ↩
- As suggested in my hand written notes in Ueda C 42. ↩
- Fukaya 93 E61. ↩
- Ono 97. ↩
- Hirano 98; Ueda C 42. ↩
- See Ando 68; Ueda A 272–3. ↩
- Nagao 100 E30:24. ↩
- Fukaya 93 E61. ↩
- Ueda A 281. ↩
- Quoted in Hirano 99; Nagao 100–1 E30:24; Ueda A 276; Ueda C 42; Yamamoto 109 fn. ↩
- Hirano 99. ↩
- Masui 124–5; Ueda C 42. ↩
- Chapter VII. “Instinct.” ↩
- Tsutsui 41. ↩
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