Life of the Foundress, Part 5

The following is an excerpt of “The Life of the Foundress” by Yoshinaru Ueda as it appears in Tenrikyo: Its History and Teachings (1966), pp. 28–30. Note that this excerpt has been slightly revised to reflect current translation styles.

The content below more or less corresponds what appears in The Life of Oyasama, Chapter Six.

The Ofudesaki

[Oyasama] was then also writing the [Scripture], Ofudesaki, conveying to the people the will of God the Parent and urging them to perform the Service.

God the Parent spoke urgently, “Your [brush], your [brush], take up your [brush].” She took up her [brush] and the [brush] raced on even in the dark as if in daylight; so the will of God the Parent was written down. When the revelation was written, the [brush] stopped.

Thus She wrote the [Scripture] Ofudesaki which is composed of 17 parts and contains 1711 pieces of poetry.

The will of God the Parent as revealed in the Ofudesaki is to show people how to lead a life of [the Joyous Life]. It is as we are taught in the Ofudesaki:

Everywhere in the world, people are the same: they only have depressed minds.1

From now on, firmly replace the mind and become the mind of joyousness.2

The reason [Cosmic Space-Time] began human beings was the desire to see you lead a joyous life.3

Ofudesaki 14:2325

In truth the will of God the Parent, since mankind was first created, has been to see people lead [the Joyous Life]. But the people, sunk in the mire of [greed], have been complaining of the miserable state of the world. Filled with pity, [God the Parent] urges people to reform themselves as soon as possible. To reform oneself is to go back to the mind flowing with joy, free from self-centered human thoughts. This has been the wish of God the Parent since [God] created mankind. Through [the] whole-hearted performance of [the] Service, [God the Parent] has taught us the most fundamental means to the [Joyous Life]. The accomplishment of this Service is the greatest aim of God the Parent as revealed in the Ofudesaki.

Here God the Parent urges the [Service performers] to gather and learn the movements of the Service, in order to perform it perfectly, and to make haste with the construction of the Kanrodai as the central aim of the Service. Moreover, in order to teach the fundamental idea of the Service, [God the Parent] explains the creation of mankind, tracing man back to the genesis of the world, and now revealing the ultimate teaching of saving the world at large at the Original Residence, assembling all the necessary members of the Service in accordance with the truth of the creation of the world.

Red clothes and bestowing the Sazuke

In 1873, [Oyasama] ordered Izo Iburi to make a [model of] the Kanrodai. In the following year, 1874, as the result of the dispute between Her followers and Oyamato Shrine priests, [Oyasama] was summoned to the Enshoji Temple where She explained what constituted the teaching of God the Parent. Three days later She put on red clothing to convince people of the authenticity of Her being the Shrine of [Cosmic Space-Time], God the Parent. At that time She first granted the Iki, Nitamono, Teodori, and Kanrodai-Teodori Sazuke or divine grants.

Identification of the Jiba

In the following year, 5/26, in the eight year of Meiji (1875), She assigned the site where the Kanrodai was to be set up. The site was fixed in the following way: A mark was first put on the spot where [Oyasama] walked and was held immovable, and next Kokan, Nakata, Masu Tsuji, Matsuo, and other faithful people were suggested to walk blindfolded, and when they came to the same place they suddenly stopped, as if their feet were attracted to the spot.

Soon after this, [Oyasama] taught the Song and movements of the following prayer:

Ashiki harai tasuke tamae ichiretsu sumasu Kanrodai.”

(Sweep all evils and save us, and establish the Kanrodai to settle the world.)

Then also the movements of Kanrodai no Tsutome were completed for the first time. In all, 11 kinds of Songs and movements of various Tsutome were taught during the year. Thus the Tsutome or Service and the masks used in the Service of Kagura-zutome were perfected.


  1. Old translation: “The people in the world are all the same. They are always dispirited in mind.”
  2. Old translation: “From now on make a definite reformation and ill your minds with joy.”
  3. Old translation: “I created human beings because I wished to see them lead a joyous life.”