147. True Salvation (hontō no tasukari)
In 1882, Isa, wife of Yohei Yamamoto of Kurahashi Village in Yamato Province, who was then forty years old, received such marvelous salvation that she was completely healed of a leg ailment of long duration. At the moment of her healing, as she rose to her feet, her leg and hip joints gave out cracking sounds from the long disease.
Yet the trembling of her hands did not cease. She worried about it very much, even though it did not seem serious. She returned to Jiba in the summer of 1884. When she was received by Oyasama, she begged, holding out her trembling hands, “May I ask you to breathe upon these?” Then Oyasama instructed Isa:
“It would be very easy to breathe upon them. But your trembling hands seem of little inconvenience since you have already been saved from your serious leg ailment. Rather than being cured completely, it is better that you have some trouble left to be healed; then you will understand the innen of your previous lives and be continually reminded of it. This will lead to your true salvation. People tend to wish nothing but to be completely cured. But what is most important is to gain virtue that will lead to true salvation. So I lend you this book instead of breathing upon your hands. Have this book copied and read it every day.”
Oyasama lent her a complete set of the seventeen parts of the Ofudesaki. From that time on her trembling hands no longer bothered her. For the rest of her life, she read the Ofudesaki which had been copied for her by her own father, and she spread the teachings to whomever she met. She was so blessed that she lived to be eighty-nine.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 119-120
Anecdotes no. 84 briefly describes how Yamamoto Isa was blessed with a recovery from paralysis. This development is said to have caused Kami Hyoshiro, who had just a casual involvement with Oyasama’s teachings until then, to become more ardent in his faith (which I briefly mention in my discussion of Anecdotes no. 34).
Anecdotes no. 147 is a follow-up of Isa’s situation. Although she was blessed with the ability to stand and walk again, she also wished to be healed from the trembling of her hands and asked Oyasama to breathe upon them. (Oyasama’s breath was considered holy and she frequently used it as a way of blessing people.)
Oyasama’s response was: “Rather than being cured completely, it is better that you have some trouble left to be healed; then you will understand the innen of your previous lives and be continually reminded of it. This will lead to your true salvation. People tend to wish nothing but to be completely cured. But what is most important is to gain virtue that will lead to true salvation.” Oyasama then lent Isa a set of the Ofudesaki (completed in 1882), assumingly to help her build upon this virtue that would lead to her “true salvation.”
There is an overwhelming tendency for people to focus on what they are “missing” rather than what they have been blessed with. Although Isa should have rejoiced and been sufficiently content with being able to stand and walk again, she still struggled to accept the trembling of her hands. The following Divine Direction touches upon a similar theme of how forgetful we tend to be if we are completely restored to health:
Even if I reveal the free and unlimited workings of God, you remember it only for the time being. But when a day passes, ten days pass and thirty days pass, you forget it entirely.
Osashizu, May 9, 1898
Oyasama ultimately helps Isa to accept her situation (tanno). Mori Yomei and Sato Koji both point out that the trembling of her hands “no longer bothered her,” which does not necessarily meant that the trembling actually stopped.
Mori Yomei sensei also observes that Isa later makes fervent efforts to spread the teachings (nioi-gake) and claims that she was able to live to 89 because she heeded the message embodied in the following Ofudesaki verse:
Ponder over it from your innermost heart to understand. Through saving others, you will be saved.
Lastly, one wonders if Isa ever gained any insight regarding her innen (causality) from her previous lives and, if she did, how she was able to do so. To briefly explain what innen is, one Divine Direction puts it this way:
Even if you try to cause something to happen, it may not happen. Even if you try not to let something happen, it may happen. Such is the truth of causality.
Osashizu, May 31, 1894
I have always wondered if innen can be described as a kind of karmic destiny that can be improved with the combination of one’s efforts and divine protection. I can only speculate that Isa was no longer bothered by the trembling of her hands when she realized she had been spared of an innen to have been left paralyzed for the rest of her life.
Mori Yōmei. 2009. “Tasuke: 147 ‘hontō no tasukari’.” In Itsuwa-hen ni manabu iki-kata 3. Tenri: Tenri Daigaku Oyasato Kenkyūsho, pp. 19-27.
External links (Tenrikyo Online)
Tanno in The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, Chapter Seven
 The description from Anecdotes no. 84 goes as follows: “Koiso then found that Isa Yamamoto, a relative of the Yamada family had been bedridden for more than five years due to the paralysis of her limbs. Koiso prayed to God for her recovery and repeatedly gave her sacred water. The following year, when Chushichi Yamanaka came to visit them, Isa was marvelously healed. She rose to her feet, all her joints cracking, and was able to walk by herself” (Anecdotes of Oyasama, p.70)
 Descriptions of such blessings include:
“[Oyasama] breathed three times upon the belly of Her daughter and stroked it as many times. This marked the beginning of the Grant of Safe Childbirth” (The Life of Oyasama, p. 28).
“However, when in the same year pain returned to Shuji’s leg, becoming so acute that he had to be moved on a stretcher, Oyasama breathed on his leg and applied a piece of paper to the affected area. The pain was gone in about ten days” (Anecdotes no. 3).
“Tsurumatsu returned to the Residence where he had come to worship before, and received a blessing directly from Oyasama, who affixed to his sores a piece of sacred paper on which She had breathed” (Anecdotes no. 155).
“Then Oyasama breathed upon the boil three times. At that very moment, the pain in [Saki’s] right arm stopped and the swelling went down” (Anecdotes no. 156).
“So Naka, accompanied by Hyoshiro, returned to the Residence and was received by Oyasama. At their request, Oyasama breathed three times upon Naka’s forefinger. At that moment, the acute pain stopped instantly” (Anecdotes no. 182).