65. Drawn Here to Be Used
The following incident happened around June 1879. Oyasama used to say every night:
“I need a personal attendant. I need one.”
So promptly the next morning at ten o’clock, Shuji and Nakata, followed by Rin Masui, went to see Oyasama to receive her approval. Shuji explained. Oyasama immediately gave these words:
“At once, at once, at once, at once. Drawn here to be used. At once, at once, at once. Quickly, quickly. You are overdue. You are overdue. Sah, sah, be joyful, be joyful. Whatever you do, do it with the thought that you are serving God. Whatever you do God will accept ten thousandfold. Sah, sah, quickly, quickly, quickly. At once, at once, at once.”
In this way Rin served Oyasama as Her personal attendant from that night until Oyasama withdrew Her physical being1 in 1887.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 57
Translation of “Sawa’s note “
“[This selection is] from a [work entitled?] history of Ogata Chukyokai, 1932.”
Insight from Masakazu Tsujii sensei and elsewhere
Before going on, I can’t help but feel that “Shuji explained” needs “the matter” or “the situation” following it to make the statement a little clearer. But I digress.
Masakazu Tsujii, from Tenri University’s Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion, has written briefly on Anecdotes 65. To quote:
A personal attendant is someone who personally cares for another. Tasks also included washing bowls, cleaning toilets, and other odd chores at the Residence. While Oyasama may have been who Rin was assigned to take care of, when one comes to think of it, the substance of her assignment was essentially that of a maid. It was unglamorous work. Therefore, even though she may have agreed to do it as a religious duty, if this went on for a long time, it would have been a common reaction to think to oneself, “How long am I going to be doing this?” One must wonder if this is the reason why in Anecdotes 65, Oyasama says,
“Whatever you do, do it with the thought that you are serving God.”
In any case, God will assuredly accept one’s efforts done with such a mindset. For Oyasama then said,
“Whatever you do, God will accept ten thousandfold.”
Certainly, as can be deduced from her story until this point, Rin sensei had already embarked on such a path before then. I believe that she is here being encouraged to continue this hereafter as well. . . .
Another publication entitled Ikiru kotoba (Living words) provides the following insight:
The work we do comes in multiple shapes and forms. Every occupation is indispensable — not only in supporting the lives we lead, but also toward building God the Parent’s ideal of the Joyous Life. We are taught that if we pour ourselves into our work with the thought we are serving God, “Whatever you do, God will accept ten thousandfold.” Whether we work in or outside the home, if we wish to reap a rich harvest, we must work both in the open and behind the scenes with the attitude of hinokishin.3
Although the values embodied by hinokishin and the mindset that considers one’s tasks or occupation as one’s way to serve God may be commendable in most respects, there nevertheless is a potential danger for people to use these religious ideas to exploit others when applied without the keeping others’ best interests in mind. (Needless to say, sometimes even the best intentions backfire as well.) Thus, it is essential to keep these religious ideals and values in perspective and ensure they bring spiritual enrichment and a sense of fulfillment to everyone involved.
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- Tenrikyō Dōyūsha, ed. 1995. Ikiru kotoba: Tenrikyō kyōso no oshie. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha.
- Tsujii Masakazu. 2000. “Ichiryū manbai.” In Oyasama no oshie to gendai — Oyasama go-tanjō nihyaku nen kinen kyōgaku kōza shirīzu 1998 nen. Tenri: Tenri Daigaku Oyasato Kenkyūsho. pp. 9–28.
Further reading (other Anecdotes selections with Masui Rin)
- Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 36:Firm Resolution
- Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 44: A Snowy Day
- Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 45: Wrinkles of the Mind
- Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 46: Everything from This to That
- Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 47: Be Joyful of the Future
- Takano, Tomoji. Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 60–66.
- This is an old gloss for “on-mi (more frequently utsushimi) o kakusareru,” a phrase that is only used to refer to Oyasama’s passing. This phrase is currently translated as “withdrew from physical life” in most cases. “Hid her physical being” is an even older English gloss. ↩
- Tsujii 2000, pp. 22–23. ↩
- Tenrikyō Dōyūsha 1995, p. 121. ↩