76. Peonies in Full Bloom
The following is a story which Tane Izutsu heard from her father.
Umejiro Izutsu thought Oyasama must be bored since She was always sitting silently on the dais. He wanted to take Her sightseeing, and said to Her, “Surely, you must be bored.” Then, Oyasama, holding out one sleeve, said to him:
“Place your face here.”
Umejiro did so and he saw beautiful peonies in full bloom as far as his eyes could see. It was the season of peonies. He was filled with awe, realizing that Oyasama could see anything in any place at Her own will.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 66
Here is an account from Anecdotes of Oyasama describing her showing a vision of a field of peonies to Umejiro Izutsu when he expresses his presumption that she is “bored” from passing much of her time merely sitting on the dais. (I assume the dais Oyasama is sitting on is located in the “raised room” of the Place for the Service.1) By showing Izutsu sensei this vision, Oyasama convinces him she “could see anything in any place at Her own will.”
While it is possible to speculate that Oyasama somehow stealthily conjured an illusion of an endless field of peonies because her kimono sleeve was red, there is an upcoming selection from Anecdotes (97) that describes her showing a vision of a tobacco field that suggests this was not a mere slight of hand on her part.
Those who have a wholehearted, unquestioning faith in Oyasama and that anything was possible for her since she was the Shrine of Tsukihi may have no problem accepting Anecdotes 76 at face value.
In turn, it offers a direct challenge to those who may not be so sympathetic toward claims of paranormal phenomena. I personally feel it to be such a challenge; it surely is a story that throws me out of my comfort zone and urges me to deepen my faith instead of obsessing over a rational explanation for every historical detail that is described or alluded to in Tenrikyo literature.
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
(On Umejiro Izutsu)
- The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 26: Like Sliding On Water
- Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 71 “In Such a Heavy Rain”
- Takano, Tomoji. 1985. Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 83–87.