The following is a translation of an excerpt from “Survey on the History of “Moto no ri” (The Truth of Origin) Studies” by Teruo Nishiyama.
The character of “The Truth of Origin”
While I will add some chronological disparity in my presentation here, I would like to bring up the studies of Rev. Yoshinori Moroi 諸井慶徳. Although volume seven of his collected works, Ningen kansei no michi toshite no Tenrikyo (Tenrikyo as the path to completing humanity), does not offer a special study on the Truth of Origin, he mentions it as an indispensable part of his study on Tenrikyo doctrine. He summarizes the doctrinal significance of the character of the Truth of Origin as follows on page 52:
“The Truth of Origin is a story that teaches the divine principle (理の話). It is not just a description of human past, but it is a story that illuminates the foundation of human existence. It is not just a story of origin or genesis, but a story of reason (グルンド), the foundation.”
Fundamentally, the Truth of Origin describes the process in which God the Parent created human beings. But there are three major types of creation narratives. The first type is a narrative of God literally making human beings. The second type is a narrative with continuity where God gives birth to human beings. The third type is a natural-scientific description of human beings emerging from and developing in the natural world. As to which type the Truth of Origin falls under, Rev. Moroi writes on page 57: “Human life developed because of God’s workings. This development does not connote that humans were made by God, or were given birth to by God, or resulted from natural processes. The Truth of Origin shows that God provided the divine protection that allowed human beings to emerge.”
Rev. Moroi states that the Truth of Origin is not a simple creation narrative like Genesis as adhered by Christianity, but a narrative with an extremely complicated structure. Further, on page 59, he describes the Truth of Origin as follows: “Although it is not just a creation, neither is it just a biogenesis. As an observable phenomenon it is a manifestation, yet in essence, it is a creation.”
On page 60, Rev. Moroi writes, “Another aspect of the Truth of Origin that we must savor is that not only does it present the ten aspects of the complete providence as they each manifest within a human life but also within the husband-wife relationship that forms the basis of the social lives of human beings as well as the basis of the settlement of harmony in the world.”
Rev. Moroi then introduces to the Truth of Origin the philosophical concept of categories that has been utilized since Aristotle. In our case, it is sufficient to take this to mean principle factors.
To elaborate on this, Rev. Moroi writes on page 95: “In the path [the sum of] God the Parent’s workings are presented as ten characteristic workings that are each given a sacred name. This is clearly presented in the Story of Creation. The ten sacred names presents the principle workings of God the Parent and teaches its contents from ten points of view 観点… First of all, each aspect of the complete providence has its corresponding sacred name, gender—that is, male or female—heavenly body, direction, an animal form in the muddy ocean during Creation, and protections it provides, both in the human body and the world at large. These were compared to aspects of faiths existing at the time before presented as the complete truth behind the Service.”
To categorize the ten aspects of the complete providence in another way, one category would be the truth of God’s workings in the muddy ocean. Second would be God’s corresponding workings in the actual world. It is explained that the third category—the corresponding truth of each aspect in the realm of faith are presented at the same time the first two categories are. It is from here where we will find the fields of study that we ought to develop in the future.
Responses to and uses of “The Truth of Origin”
One example of this is the standpoint that seeks the prototype husband-wife relationship in the Truth of Origin. Rather than being an actual study on the Truth of Origin, this is more of a practical-oriented response or use of the Truth of Origin based on a subjective understanding of its contents. A representative work would be Fufu no hanashi kenko no hanashi (Husband and Wife and Health) by Hisanori Kontani 紺谷久則.
These kinds of talks are often given at various seminars, lectures, or one-on-one situations in the missionary field. I believe that an effort to do a comprehensive survey and present these findings in a streamlined fashion would be a meaningful step toward the development of the Truth of Origin.
Kyori kenkyu – Moto no ri1 by Tadamasa Fukaya 深谷忠政 (1912–2007) is a work that is completely dedicated to the subject of the Truth of Origin and has been valued and widely read within Tenrikyo. This work is basically a passage-by-passage interpretation of Chapter Three of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo. To give an interpretation in portions and by following the sequence of the original text is an orthodox method used in various kinds of study.
What makes this work most fascinating is how Rev. Fukaya adds an understanding of the meaning of the Truth of Origin that is intimate and comes from on his missionary experiences. One can call his work an existentialist interpretation.
As far as bibliographical studies on the Truth of Origin go, there are various re-publications made available by the efforts of Toshio Ueno 上野利夫. I feel that their scrupulous examination make them valuable resources for those who wish to seriously embark on studying the Truth of Origin.
This ends my simple survey. I wish to change the subject and offer my thoughts on what studies are being done and what developments are being made Truth of Origin at present as well as what studies and developments are required in the future.
- Published in English as A Doctrinal Study: The Truth of Origin by the Tenrikyo Overseas Mission Department in 1983. ↩