80. The Two of You Together
In 1880 or 1881, Tamezo Yamazawa, then twenty-four or twenty-five years old, returned to the Residence with his brother, Ryozo. Oyasama, who sat in the raised room in those days in the building called Place for the Service, said to them:
“Try to pull me down from here, the two of you together. I do not mind falling off,”
and She stretched out Her hands.
They hesitantly held Her hands, one of them Her right hand and the other Her left one. They pulled Her hands as they were told, but Oyasama remained sitting straight not even slightly disturbed. Instead, the harder they pulled, the closer they were drawn to Her. They were astonished and realized that She was really more than human and indeed the Shrine of God the Parent.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 67–68
Translation of “Sawa’s note”
“The Yamazawas were from Niizumi in [what is now called] Tenri and embraced the faith in 1864. Tamezo married Hisa Kajimoto in April 1887. He was installed as the second head minister of Asahi Shikyokai in 1907.”
This is just one example among many other accounts describing Oyasama testing her physical strength with a young man. (Earlier selections from Anecdotes on this theme include 61, 68, and 75.) Anecdotes 80 is notable for being an account that describes her overpowering two young men rather than one.
That the story relates how the two young men were drawn closer to Oyasama the harder they pulled my be symbolic of how, in some cases, a person becomes more involved in the faith when he or she makes the attempt to pull away. This possible meaning may be even more significant when one considers that both Tamezo and Ryozo were second generation adherents. The harder one born in the faith tries to pull away, the harder and closer one will be drawn right back.
Although I’ve read someone expressing the opinion that stories like these prove Oyasama had some knowledge of martial arts techniques (from Yoki Kempo, now defunct?), Anecdotes 80 is explicit in the religious significance of such accounts in the Tenrikyo tradition: By demonstrating a physical prowess one would not expect someone at Oyasama’s age (82 or 83 by Western count in 1880 or 1881), she made Tamezo and Ryozo think to themselves: “This is not humanly possible. Truly, Oyasama is the Shrine of God.” (This is my humble attempt at a re-translation of the concluding phrase.)
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
(On Tamezo Yamazawa)
- Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 69: Prefer the Younger Brother
- Koji Sato sensei’s Omichi no joshiki: Nurturing Our Youth
- The Footsteps of Our Predecessors: A Mark on the Parent
- Takano, Tomoji. 1985. Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 15–19.