136. Now, Go Forth with This (sā, kore o motte)
Once when Oyasama had returned home from prison and had changed Her clothes, She gave the red kimono-undergarment that She had been wearing to Gisaburo Nakata, who had accompanied Her home. Oyasama said:
“Now, go forth with this to save others. Any and all sick persons shall be saved.”
Gisaburo was very happy. He placed the red garment in a kerchief and carefully wrapping it around his body, he busily engaged himself in efforts to save others. When he lightly stroked the afflicted areas of a sick person with the red garment, chanting, “Namu, Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto, Namu, Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto,” everyone received God’s blessing at once, no matter how serious the illness had been.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 111
My research / take
It is unfortunate that Anecdotes no. 136 is undated. There were a few occasions — six times according to my count — when Nakata Gisaburo had been summoned or was detained by the police together with her. However, since it merely reads that he “accompanied Her home,” Anecdotes no. 136 may not necessarily be an account of what happened after one of these six specific “hardships.”
Its chronological place within Anecdotes of Oyasama suggests that the events it describes occurred in 1883 or 1884. There are several possibilities of a specific date just based on this information, which include:
(1) August 15, 1883, when Gisaburo was arrested with a group performing the Service for Rain. Oyasama was also arrested as a result of the cross-examination of these performers
(2) October 16, 1883, when Oyasama was “taken away” by two police officers who wished to question her
(3) April 5, 1884, the day when Oyasama was released after having been sentenced for 12 days when officers had found offerings on a search conducted the night of March 23 (lunar 2/26)
(4) lunar 4/27/1884, after Oyasama was released after having been detained since 4/25
(5) lunar 5/27/1884, after Oyasama was released after having been detained since 5/25
(6) lunar 6/27/1884, after Oyasama was released after having been detained since 6/25
(7) August 30, 1884, after Oyasama was released after having been detained since August 18
As for the content of Anecdotes no. 136, which describes Oyasama bestowing a red kimono undergarment to Gisaburo, it is unique in terms of how it is described how this red cloth was later used for “salvation work” or blessing people so their illnesses may be cured. I do not recall any other examples of any missionary using the red clothes to stroke the ailing areas of people when they blessed them. What makes this example even more intriguing is that Oyasama had already bestowed to Gisaburo the Sazuke of Breath in 1874.
An example I happen to know that comes closest was in April 1884 when Oyasama bestowed the Sazuke of Breath to Takai Naokichi and she gave him a set of her red clothes. Oyasama’s instructions to Naokichi at the time allegedly went as follows: “Although I thought it is still early, I will grant you this ahead of time. Wear these red clothes when you go out to bless others. When you do, you are a proxy of Moon-Sun (God)” (Takai 2008). However, it is noteworthy here that there is nothing mentioned about using the clothes themselves to bless people.
Takai Hisatarō. 2008. “Itsuwa no kokoro tazunete: gendai ni ikiru Oyasama no oshie 5.” Tenri jihō No. 4089 (July 27, 2008), p. 3.
Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1996 . The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo (third edition). Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
Tenrikyo Overseas Department. 2000. Reference Materials for The Life of Oyasama. Tenri: Tenrikyo Overseas Department.