Song Eleven, verses 1–4

The main theme of this is Song is hinokishin toward the construction of the Kami’s “abode” (yakata). An example of such hinokishin is presented in the tangible form of carrying earth.

It may be noted it is quite appropriate that a Song with such a theme happens to be the “busiest” of the Twelve Songs. That is, there is a lot of arm swinging and hauling dirt that’s going on.1

Verse 1

一ツ      ひのもとしよやしきの かみのやかたのぢばさだめ

一つ 日の本(火の元)庄屋敷の 神の館の地場定め

Hitotsu / Hinomoto / Shoyashiki no / Kami no yakata no / Jiba sadame

One / origin of the Sun / in Shoyashiki / Kami’s abode

Hinomoto Shoyashiki

  • See Song Three, verse 1

Kami no yakata

The building where Kami resides/is enshrined.2 The yakata dance motion suggests a physical structure with a roof and sides. One commentator explicitly interprets “Kami no yakata” as the Kanrodai.3

Jiba sadame

The phrase “jiba sadame” has two interpretations.4

  1. Leveling/preparing the ground to establish a foundation for a construction. It is notable that the first Shinbashira takes this interpretation.
  2. The identification of Jiba that took place in 1875. (The event is anticipated in Ofudesaki 8:81–83; 9:18–20.) The majority of commentators accept this interpretation, presuming that Oyasama was giving advance notice of this event in this verse. One particular commentator notes how the hand motions are similar to Song Eight, verse 4’s “sadame-kake5

These two interpretations do not necessarily exclude the other, but I lean toward the first interpretation since it more readily connects verse 1 thematically with of the rest of the Song. Besides, it is unknown whether or not that Oyasama’s “identification of the Jiba” was even referred to as the “(Kanrodai no) Jiba-sadame” such until much later. Also, one Tenrikyo sensei has expressed an opinion that the identification of the Jiba in 1875 is somewhat different from what Song Eleven, verse 1 is describing 6

Verse 2

二ツ      ふうふそろうてひのきしん      これがだいゝちものだねや

二つ 夫婦(夫夫・婦婦)揃って日の寄進 これが第一物種や

Futatsu / Fūfu sorōte hinokishin / kore ga daiichi / monodane ya

Two / married couple together hinokishin / this is primary / seed of everything

Daiichi no monodane

Definitions and explanations of this phrase include:

  • “When a husband and wife work spiritedly in hinokishin daily, each helping and encouraging the other, their happiness will overflow and harmony and brightness will fill their home. This is what is taught by the phrase the ‘first seed of everything.’”7
  • One commentator defines monodane as “seeds that give fruit to whatever is most needed in the time of greatest need.” He further writes, “The matrimonial union between a man and his wife, being modeled after heaven and earth, embody the foundation of human relations and set the tone for civilization. All fortune in life is bestowed on the harmonious marriage…. We are taught the act of husband and wife uniting and engaging in hinokishin to express their indebtedness and gratitude is an intangible seed that produces virtue/merit.” 8
  • The fundamental cause (根本原因) from which all things grow. 9
  • When a married couple works together and spiritedly engages in hinokishin, this becomes the first seed that enables their family to live a Joyous Life and the first seed that brings the world of the Joyous Life into reality.10
  • In a commentary on The Life of Oyasama, one author explains monodane in the context of the set of three unnumbered Ofudesaki verses Oyasama gave to followers on December 24, 1874, which happens to be the day after Oyasama was summoned to Ensho Temple/Yamamura Palace to undergo an interrogation by a government official]. He explains that “seeds of everything” are seeds sown during adverse circumstances (such as those faced by first-generation followers). Once sown, these monodane continue to grow for all ages to come. Oyagami will surely accept these monodane sown with sincere devotion day after day during adverse circumstances. We are told that, once these “monodane” gradually grow, they will be the talk (comprise the Koki i.e., Divine Record) of all ages to come. 11


The seeds of your sincere devotion sown day after day, I have certainly accepted.

The seed which [Kami] truly accepts will never decay through all eternity.

When these seeds sprout in the course of time, it will be the talk of all ages to come.

Ofudesaki, unnumbered set

The term monodane also appears in Anecdotes 15.

Since the bond a married couple has is said to be the foundation for all other human relationships, when a married couple works together in hinokishin, creating the foundation for a happy home, this ideally inspires more and more people contribute to this hinokishin as well, setting up what is described in verse 3:

Verse 3

三ツ      みれバせかいがだん/\と      もつこになうてひのきしん

三つ 見れば世界が段々と モッコ担って日の寄進

Mittsu / Mireba / sekai ga / dandan to / mokko ninōte / hinokishin

Three / If you see / the world / gradually, step by step / straw baskets / carry / hinokishin

This verse symbolizes Oyasama’s anticipation for her children (human beings) from every country and region across the world to yearn for and return to Jiba in order to engage in hinokishin.12

The construction of the east wings of the Oyasato-yakata building complex during the 70th Anniversary of Oyasama, which saw a grand total of 2.9 million participants, has been cited as a historical example of the kind of scene that verse 3 anticipated.13


The official English translation presumes the subject of the verb mireba as Kami (i.e., “I behold”). Most commentaries follow this interpretation. Yet it is also possible to interpret human beings as the subject here (i.e., “when you have realized it”).14


Historically, it was common for people to contribute their hinokishin in construction projects done at the Residence by carrying earth in straw baskets. This embodies the ideal that hinokishin does not require some particular knowledge or skill but can be done by anyone irrespective of one’s age or social position.15

Some commentators have noted that the “straw baskets” motion not only symbolizes the carrying of earth but can refer to the sincerity one dedicates to Jiba. It may be noted here that the “Taira ni en” motion for “mokko” is essentially the same motion for “Jiba” in Song Five, verse 9. The series of motions that follow (ninōte + hinokishin) symbolizes the act of dedicating oneself to and from Jiba while shouldering a heavy load as well as the value of not staying still but being constantly on the move.16

Lastly, a straw basket is usually carried on a wooden pole by two persons. This symbolizes the importance of working (breathing) in tandem with others in accordance with Oyagami’s intention while forgetting selfishness and greed (which is a theme covered in the next verse).15

Verse 4

四ツ よくをわすれてひのきしん これがだいゝちこえとなる

四つ 欲を忘れて日の寄進 これが第一肥となる

Yottsu / Yoku o / wasurete hinokishin / kore ga daiichi koe to naru

Four / Greed / forget / hinokishin / this is / primary / fertilizer / becomes

Working in hinokishin as a way of expressing one’s indebtedness and gratitude distances oneself from a mind of greed.

It speaks volumes how powerful hinokishin can be in how it allows us to “forget” greed, even momentarily, considering how deep-seated it is, being intermingled in the minds of people throughout the world (Song Nine, verse 3) and fathomless like muddy water (Song Ten, verse 4). Ideally, however, we are to eliminate greed entirely through continuously engaging in hinokishin.

Daiichi koe

This hinokishin in turn becomes the “primary fertilizer.” Obviously there is a connection here with the daiichi monodane (the “primary seed of everything”) mentioned in verse 2. Engaging in hinokishin (together with one’s spouse) not only potentially supplies the symbolic “seed of everything” but also the symbolic fertilizer (which some have identified as toku, virtue/merit) that nourishes and brings out a seed’s full potential.

The Doctrine of Tenrikyo reads: “There is no greed in someone who is working spiritedly in hinokishin. To devote oneself silently, seeking nothing and sparing no effort, is the best fertilizer to cause splendid fruit to bear in one’s life”18.


  1. Song Eleven contains more dynamic motions (11x) than any other Song in the Teodori. The Song that comes closest is Song Seven (7x). To be specific, these dynamic motions include:
    1. “Activity” motion: 5x (Hinokishin verses 2, 3 (*preceded by ninōte), 4, washi mo yuko 5, kishin to naru naraba 7, similar to 3)
    2. “Carry basket” motion, which only appears in this Song: 2x (Tsuchimochi verses 5, 7)
    3. Ichiretsu type spin (“Turn around”) motion: 3x (Yashiki no (on heel) bakariya de (back step turn) verse 8, ichiretsuni verse 9.) Only Song Seven has more spins (4x) than Song Eleven. As of comparison, in Song Eleven, these three spins take place within two verses (8 & 9) whereas they occur in verses 4, 5, 8 & 10 of Song Seven
    4. Dancing while back toward altar: 3x (verses 3, 5, 7. Motions of hands and feet happen to be opposite from one another for 3 & 7)
    5. Motions for tsuchi o hori torite in verse 8.
    6. MST 310.
    7. Hirano 213.
    8. MST 311.
    9. Keiichiro Moroi, cited in MST 311.
    10. Yamochi 288. ぢば定めとはかんろだいのぢば定めのことであります。いわばかんろだい建設のためのぢば定めであって、みからぐらうたの(十一下り目の一ツ)とは少し趣きが異なるように思われます.
    11. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, Chapter Eight, 61.
    12. Ueda A 47.
    13. Fukaya 214.
    14. Hirano 214–5.
    15. Yamochi 271–2.
    16. Hirano 216.
    17. Fukaya 216 E145.
    18. MST 315.
    19. Ono 230.
    20. Kanenobu Takeya, cited in MST 315–6; Ueda **.
    21. Ono 230.
    22. 60

1 thought on “Song Eleven, verses 1–4

Comments are closed.