Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 90

90. Deeper in the Second Generation than in the First

When Tamezo Yamazawa began to serve Oyasama in 1881, Oyasama instructed him in the following manner:

“God says, ‘Showing innen to parents, God waits for children to appear.’ Do you understand? Therefore, virtue is more deeply planted in the second generation than in the first one, and deeper still in the third than in the second. By becoming ever deeper, it will become virtue which lasts forever. It depends on the mind of a man whether it lasts for one generation only, or for two or three generations, or forever. By the continuation of this virtue even a bad innen becomes a good one.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 76.

Supplemental information from Taimo (translation)

“Tamezo Yamazawa [山澤為造]: Born the second son of Ryojiro Yamezawa in Ansei 4 (1857) in Niizumi Village, Yamabe County (presently known as Niizumi-cho, Tenri City).

“Receiving divine guidance in the form of an illness, Tamezo returned to the Residence on the recommendation of his father in 1878. When his father passed away for rebirth in 1883, he resolved to move into and dedicate himself at the Residence. In 1887, he married Hisa Kajimoto, the elder sister of the first Shinbashira. After the first Shinbashira passed away for rebirth, he served as the acting superintendent of Tenrikyo from 1915 to 1925. He also served as the first president of the Young Men’s Association from to 1918 to 1924. He passed away for rebirth in 1936 at the age of 80.”

Insight from Kazuhiro Hatakama sensei

Since background information particular to Anecdotes 90 has been covered elsewhere (i.e., The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 72), I would like to focus this time on Oyasama’s words (or at least the words that have been attributed to her here) themselves rather than historical context for a change.

Kazuhiro Hatakama, from the Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion (affiliated with Tenri University), has shared some of his insights on Anecdotes 90 in a lengthy article, which I would like to summarize here.

One of the major points he brings up is that there are two distinct ways in which innen (causality) is used in the Tenrikyo tradition1 (I have also done so in my discussion of Anecdotes 11):

  1. moto no innen” or the “original causality” all human beings are connected to (i.e., the original intent behind God’s creation of the world —  the Joyous Life)
  2. kojin no innen (personal causality), the bulk of karmic residue (for lack of a better term) that each individual has accrued over multiple rebirths.

As examples of (1), Hatakama sensei cites the following Ofudesaki verses:

If you wish to know and will come to Me, I shall teach you the original cause (Moto no innen) of all things.


This is the Residence where I began human beings. Because of this causality, it is here that I descended.


As an example of (2), he cites Chapter Seven of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo:

[A]s we conduct our lives with the free use of mind that has been allowed to us, we sow both good seeds and bad seeds. When our deeds are good, the truth of good will appear. Conversely, when our deeds are bad, the truth of bad will appear.

There is every kind of causation in this world. There is good causation as well as bad causation.

Osashizu, July 22, 18952

Hatakama sensei then goes on to suggest that there is an intermediate usage of innen that he dubs “tebiki no innen” (causality of (divine) guidance) which describes the proactive manner some people are drawn to the faith according to God’s intention.3

As for examples of this third type of innen, he gives Part Four, verse 54 of the Ofudesaki4, Oyasama’s pronouncement to Rin Masui related in Anecdotes 365, and her words in Anecdotes 90.

Hatakama sensei analyzes the quote attributed to Oyasama (as given at the top) to some detail, but to highlight what I feel are essential themes of his analysis, although the meaning of the declaration that virtue becomes planted deeper with each successive generation seems clear enough, he pointedly asks exactly whose innen is being changed from a bad one to a good one.

He then goes on to state that innen — whether it be the “original” or the “personal” variety — seeks to explain the realm of the unseen.6

Nevertheless, if I were to say what the greatest difference between these two categories are, details concerning the original innen can be found in the Ofudesaki and various narratives describing Tenrikyo’s account of creation. A picture of one’s personal innen, on the other hand, can only be acquired through one’s experience, intuition, and insight. (I would like to add there are many accounts maintaining that Oyasama knew the details of the previous lives of the people she met. Several forebears of the faith had the opportunity of having her relate some of this information to them.)

As for what a Tenrikyo adherent today can do to know the essentials of what their previous lives were like, Hatakama sensei cites the following from The Doctrine of Tenrikyo:

One can, upon quiet reflection, discern the reasons for the appearance of causality if it is a result of one’s own conduct. In the case of causality from a previous life or lives, however, one must first reflect on one’s own past and then on the lives of one’s forebears. If we continue to seek answers in this way, we shall come to an understanding of our causality. This understanding is called “the self-awareness of one’s causality.”7

Hatakama next relates the established theological notion that one’s children are one’s forebears reborn.8 He then cites Midori Horiuchi, who has restated this notion as following: “Human parents and children are tied by innen, a connection that is deeper than what we comprehend it to be.” The same can also be said for married couples.9

Hatakama sensei eventually answers his question on whose innen is being changed from a bad one to a good one by suggesting that individuals are placed in the families they end up in to best facilitate their “self-awareness of their causality.” Gaining this self-awareness thus has two inseparable contexts: the personal/individual (ichimei-ichinin) and the collective/familial. Hatakama sensei notes it is essential for a Tenrikyo follower to come to the conclusion his or her personal innen and that of his or her family’s is one and the same. Thus, he concludes the causality that is being changed from a bad one to a good one is that of an entire household’s, not just that of a single individual.

Other research

It may then come to no surprise that the words attributed to Oyasama in Anecdotes 90 are often alluded to or quoted directly in discussions of the importance of passing the faith on to succeeding generations. One excellent example comes from the 2001 Spring Grand Service Sermon by Zenji Nakayama, the current Shinbashira. After quoting the part that goes, “virtue is more deeply planted in the second generation than in the first one…” he said:

This passage indicates that as faith is handed down from generation to generation, virtue becomes more and more deeply implanted.

First-generation followers followed the path joyfully and spiritedly because of their experience of being saved from deep anxiety and suffering. They began where there was nothing to build on; yet, even though they met with opposition and encountered various other difficulties, they continued their faith with vigor and determination, bearing Oyasama’s Divine Model in mind. They laid the foundation for the path in this manner. If this path is followed by second-generation followers, third-generation followers, and so forth without forgetting the day of origin of their faith, it becomes possible for them to savor even the sort of joy that the first-generation followers were not able to.

A Tenrikyo publication entitled Ikiru kotoba (Living words) also discusses Oyasama’s words from Anecdotes 90 as follows:

We are able to take delight when our faith endures longer than a single generation and is transmitted to our children and grandchildren. There is no joy if our faith is restricted to our generation alone…. [Oyasama] also teaches us here the importance of going to church with the entire family.10

Oyasama taught: “Virtue is more deeply planted in the second generation than in the first one, and deeper still in the third than in the second. By becoming ever deeper, it will become virtue which lasts forever.11” The world of the Joyous Life will become reality when people living in the same era help one another and improve the causality we will hand down to our descendants for the better. That is, the Joyous Life will become reality when horizontal and vertical efforts are combined on a massive scale.12

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.


  • Hatakama Kazuhiro. 2006. “Tsuzuku ri: 90 ‘Ichi-dai yori ni-dai’.” In Itsuwa-hen ni manabu iki-kata 2. Tenri: Tenri Daigaku Oyasato Kenkyūsho, pp. 31–50.
  • Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, Manuscript Edition. Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
  • Tenrikyō Dōyūsha, ed. 1995. Ikiru kotoba: Tenrikyō Oyasama (kyōso?) no oshie. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha.
  • Tenrikyō Seinenkai, ed. 2007. “Oyasama: Ri ga fukaku natte, matsudai no ri ni naru no ya de.” Taimō 461 (May 2007), pp. 16–17.

Further reading (on Tamezo Yamazawa)


  1. Hatakama sensei intriguingly notes that The Doctrine of Tenrikyo was revised only as recently as 1984 to express a clearer theological difference between moto no innen and kojin no innen. The earliest Tenrikyo author that I am aware of who explicitly noted the difference between these two usages is Yoshikazu Fukaya (Omichi no kotoba in 1977), but I suspect that, since the distinction these two types of innen appears implicit in the Ofudesaki, the notion must have been picked up at a much earlier date by someone else. I still have yet to find the time to become adequately acquainted with much of Tenrikyo literature written by the tradition’s leading theologians.
  2. Citation is from The Doctrine of Tenrikyo (tenth edition), p. 55.
  3. Hatakama, p. 35.
  4. This verse is as follows:

    People come to Me from whatever places. It is because they all are of the original causality.

    The Ofudesaki chushaku (Notes to the Ofudesaki) paraphrases this verse as:

    Many people from each country will begin to return yearning for Jiba. However, all of them are all My children, the children of God the Parent. They will be returnees who return because of the true causality that exists between parents and children. Thus you must never think that it is a coincidence when they return.

    Hatakama sensei then points out that a strict interpretation of the doctrine of original causality would maintain that all human beings are God’s children. He believes that there is a somewhat different quality about the innen described here that only seems to be restricted to those who have returned to Jiba, which sets up his suggestion that a third category of innen ought to be considered.

  5. “Sah, sah, your soul has an innen. When it is the divine will to use a person in God’s service, God will draw that person to this Residence by any means.”
  6. Hatakama p. 36.
  7. The Doctrine of  Tenrikyo, p.  55.
  8. Hatakama quotes the following passage from the Osashizu (The Divine Directions):

    Sah, sah, the children I give you are the parents of your parents. I have given you the parents of your parents.

    June 16, 1889

  9. While Hatakama sensei refers readers to Taketo Hashimoto’s Innen fufu oyako (Causality, husband and wife, parents and children), a frequently quoted verse regarding this topic from the Ofudesaki goes:

    I bring you together according to the causality of your previous lives and protect you. This settles the matter for all time.


    Also see “I bring you together and protect you according to your causality” by Fukaya Yoshikazu.

  10.  Ikiru kotoba, p. 15.
  11. It may be worthy to note that “matsudai,” translated as “forever” in Anecdotes 90 and “eternity” elsewhere (Anecdotes 41), literally means “endless generations.” Also see “Eternal truth” by Yoshikazu Fukaya.
  12.  Ikiru kotoba, p. 21.