58. Today from Kawachi
The following incident took place in about 1877. Chozo Yamada of Kawachi Province, then twenty years old, had been confined to bed for several years, suffering from illness.
One day, a tradesman who came to buy cotton told him that there was a wondrous god at Shoyashiki in Yamato. Unable to move, Chozo single-heartedly prayed to the god from his sickbed. Much to his surprise, he gradually began to feel better. He would pray gratefully even when he drank water and this made him feel even better. Within several days, he was able to get out of bed.
Chozo, deeply moved by God’s wondrous providence, made up his mind to visit Shoyashiki to give thanks to the living god. His family thought that in his condition it was still too early to do so and opposed the plans. He insisted, however, and set out on his pilgrimage on crutches, accompanied by his brother, Yosakichi. As they reached Minamikashiwara, about four kilometers away from his home in Osakabe Village, he found himself able to walk with a single crutch. When they reached Tatsuta in Yamato Province, he was able to walk without using any crutches. He then let his brother go home, and continued his journey to the Residence alone.
An intermediary told him, “You came from Kawachi, didn’t you? This morning, God said,
‘Today there will be a visitor from Kawachi.’
That must be you. God has been waiting for you.” Chozo was astonished and thought that this was indeed the place where the living god resided.
When he was granted an audience with Oyasama, She spoke to him tenderly. During his one-week stay he recovered completely. When he bade farewell to Her, She said:
“Come back soon, won’t you?”
He went home in high spirits, singing folk songs as he crossed the Shigi Hills.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 50–51
Translation of “Sawa’s note”
“Submitted by Chuzo Yamada, head minister of Nishiyodo Bunkyokai (fifth son of Chozo?) in 1973.
“Chozo Yamada was from Osakabe, Akegawa Village, Nakawakachi County, Osaka. He later moved to Yodo-ku, Osaka City. He promulgated the teachings while farming and working as a rickshaw puller; he introduced Yasashichi Koyama (first head minister of Nishinari Daikyokai) to the faith in 1886.”
There’s really not much for me to add here. Anecdotes 58 is a straight-ahead description of a gradual yet miraculous cure experienced by a young man after he prayed to God, which motivated him to make a thanksgiving pilgrimage to Jiba even though he wasn’t yet completely cured. On his journey, he finds he is able to walk without one of his crutches.
When he discovers he can walk without the other crutch as well, he sends home his younger brother, who had accompanied him until then, and continues the rest of the journey by himself.
The description fails to go into detail on the manner in which he specifically prayed, but one would assume that he either chanted the name of God (“Namu Tenri-O-no-Mikoto”) or sang the Songs for the Kagura (which also happen the same songs for the seated service).1
It appears to me that the central lesson of Anecdotes 58 is that Chozo Yamada desired to express his gratitude for the blessings that allowed him to get out of bed to the point where he was willing to travel roughly 22.5 kilometers or 14 miles to Jiba to do so. Other than that, it is just yet another episode in which Oyasama is depicted warmly welcoming a person “home” to “the Residence where [God] began human beings” (Ofudesaki 4:55).
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- I discuss the Songs for the Kagura/seated service in Recent Questions no. 6. ↩
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