60. Sacred Sugar Candy
When Oyasama gave the sacred sugar candy, She explained:
“This place is the Oyasato, the parental home where all human beings were originally conceived. Therefore, at this place I give you the sacred sugar candy*.”
She also taught:
“The first packet is the truth of initiation. The truth of the reason for the three pieces in a packet is the beginning of being nourished. The second packet is the truth of firm protection. The third packet is the truth that after being fully nourished, sufferings disappear. is the truth of the providences coming forth. Three fives is fifteen; therefore, it is the truth of the sufficiency of the providences coming forth. The seventh packet is the truth of nothing to worry about. Three sevens is twenty one; therefore, it is the truth of fully settled peace. The ninth packet is the truth of the disappearance of sufferings. Three nines is twenty seven; therefore, it is the truth of nothing at all to worry about.”
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 52–53
Regarding the Grant for Safe Childbirth, The Life of Oyasama reads, “The Grant of Safe Childbirth originates from the Residence of Origin, the Home of the Parent (Oyasato), where human beings were first conceived.”2 The same source also mentions that “It was also about… 1878, that Oyasama began to bestow sugar candy called konpeito, as a sacred gift (goku), in addition to the roasted barley powder called hattaiko that had been bestowed since the early days.”3
Anecdotes 60 is a description of Oyasama explaining the numerological significance of how the Grant of Safe Childbirth was to be partaken. The translation has the sacred sugar candy coming in “packets,” but the original Japanese counter “fuku/puku” is quite ambiguous in meaning; it may easily refer to “doses” or “puffs of breath.” But of course, it is more than possible that each “dose” was wrapped in a paper packet.
In any case, it must be noted that the Grant of Safe Childbirth is now offered in three paper packets. I am unaware whether or not each packet currently contains a specific number of grains of rice, but I am sure it is more than three grains.
The significance of certain numbers echoes the explanations Oyasama gives in Anecdotes 173 “All Days Are Lucky Days.” The significance attached to particular numbers above also reflect a kind of play on words that is not fully translatable into English, but I’ll do my best to explain the original Japanese phrases since I feel the official translation above leaves a little to be desired.
The first “dose” (ippuku 一ぷく) is “Chotto no ri,” which can be translated as “a little of God’s providence/protection.” Tadamasa Fukaya sensei has explained the term chotto (kanji written as 一寸) as follows: “The word ‘chotto‘ occurs many times in the Osashizu, but after the word, ‘chotto,’ God often expounds on topics which are not ‘chotto‘ (just a little) but of paramount importance.”4
Oyasama then explains that the three grains (mitsu-bu) in each “dose” represents the “truth” or providence that seeps in a little or that one acquires (mi ni tsuku ri; translated as “being nourished”5 above).
Two “doses” equal six (roku) grains. Thus, this represents the “truth of firm protection” (roku ni mamoru ri). Another possible translation of “roku” is “equal.”6
Three “doses” (mi-fuku) equal nine (ku) grains. Thus, this represents the “truth” of sufferings (ku) disappearing after God’s providence seeps in (mi ni tsuite ku ga naku naru7). (I’m not sure where the “fully” of the translation “truth of that after being fully nourished, sufferings disappear” comes from.)
Five “doses” equals fifteen (ju-go) grains. Thus, this represents the “truth” of the providences coming forth (ri o fuku ri8) sufficiently (jubun ni 十分に, literally “ten portions”).
Seven “doses” (nana-fuku) represents the “truth of nothing to worry about” (nan ni mo iu koto nai ri). (I would have translated this as the “truth of having nothing more to say” instead.) Seven “doses” also equals 21 grains, that represent “truth of fully settled peace” (tappuri osamaru ri9).
Nine “doses” (ku-fuku) represents the “truth of the disappearing of sufferings” (ku ga naku naru ri). Based on the numerology already given earlier, nine “doses” is 27 grains, or the “truth” of fully having nothing more to say (tappuri nan ni mo iu koto nai ri).
As for the reason why explanations for four, six, and eight “doses” (or 12, 18, 24 grains) are skipped, this is not explicitly clear. (Was the explanation long enough as it was already?) It is possible that the basis for this stems from how even numbers were not considered as “sacred” compared to odd numbers in Japan for some inexplicable reason.
In any case, I will close by offering another quote from Yamochi sensei regarding the significance of Anecdotes 60:
“While the sacred gift comes in the form of cleansed rice today, we nevertheless have the tendency to treat the sacred rice in a causal and careless manner. We ought to explain the truth that is contained within the sacred rice as it is mentioned above and have it understood before we hand it over to anyone. There are times when we find out that people have not eaten the sacred rice when we have visited them a second time after merely handed it to them the first time. We then find ourselves repenting for this, thinking how careless we were to allow this to happen. It is important when we engage in salvation work to fully explain the truth contained in the sacred rice to ensure that people partake it with the mindset that acknowledges its preciousness”10
- Fukaya, Tadamasa. 1978 . Commentary on the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Tsutome (revised edition). Tenri: Tenrikyo Overseas Department.
- Satō Kōji. 2004. Omichi no jōshiki. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha. (online version of article)
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- _________. 1996 . The Life of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, third edition. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- Yamochi Tatsuzō. 1993 . Kōhon Tenrikyō Oyasama den nyūmon jikkō. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha.
- Yamochi 1993, p. 337. ↩
- The Life of Oyasama, p. 34. ↩
- idid p. 106. ↩
- Fukaya 1978, p. 19. ↩
- The precedence for “mi ni tsuku” to be translated as “nourished” was established with the current translation of verse 3, Song Two of The Songs for the Service (Mittsu, mi ni tsuku = “Third, Nourishment will be put on you”). The “mi” of “mi ni tsuku” refers to the physical body. ↩
- See this explanation of a similar term, rokuji or “leveled ground.” ↩
- The phrase “ku ga naku” also appears in the Ofudesaki, Part 13, verse 73: “On the eleventh, the nine will be gone and hardship forgotten. I await the twenty-sixth of the first month.” ↩
- The precedence for “ri o fuku” to be translated as “providences coming forth” was established with the current translation of verse 5, Song One of The Songs for the Service (Itsutsu, ri o fuku = “Fifth, the providences shall come forth”).
Koji Sato sensei explains the connection of “itsutsu” with “ri” as an example of assonance, or the repetition of the same vowel (2004, pp. 119–120), which is a rare occurrence in the Twelve Songs of The Songs for the Service, in which alliteration is evident in the vast majority of verses. To be specific, each verse of the ten verses of each of the Twelve Songs begin with a number (hitotsu or one, futatsu or two, etc.), and the first syllable of the text of each verse shares the syllable of the number in 106 of 120 cases. ↩
- Koji Sato sensei explains that “tappuri” (translated “abundance” elsewhere) is connected with the number two (and consequently the number 20) because futatsu (two) sounds similar to the word tafutafu that signifies fullness (2004, p. 119). Further, I imagine that the osamaru (“(settled) peace”) here is somehow connected with the fact that verse 10 of Song Two goes, “Tōdo, tokoro no osamari ya” (Tenth, peace shall reign everywhere). ↩
- Yamochi 1993, p. 338. ↩