164. Deep Affection (kawaii ippai)
The following is from the notes of the words of Oyasama as recorded by Ihachiro Yamada on March 28, 1885:
“You say ‘God’ and wonder where God is. God is within the body. Then again there is no discrimination between those within the path and those without; that is, the people of the whole world are all children of God. Think of everything in terms of your own child. Everything is solely from deep affection.
A farmer prays for a rich harvest; God considers how best to do this.
Again, only if the mind of man is accepted, God will exert the utmost strength to protect man forever.”
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 131
My take / research
I noted in an earlier Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama post regarding how Yamada Ihachiro “compiled much of what he heard from Oyasama in a series of manuscripts” (Anecdotes 101). I even mentioned the titles of these manuscripts in Anecdotes 84 as Bunmonki (Record of inquires and questions), and Oyasama o-kotoba (Words of Oyasama).
Anecdotes no. 164 happens to come from the latter document and happens to only contain the first half on the entire entry that is dated March 28, 1885. Oyasama o-kotoba contains 20 entries or records of various oral instructions. These entries are arranged in chronological order. The first entry is from February 14, 1885 and the last is dated December 6, 1887.
I find this intriguing since at least six of the entries from Oyasama o-kotoba are written records of revelations delivered by Iburi Izo. That Yamada Ihachiro chose to give the title “The words of Oyasama” to this manuscript suggests that he must have been convinced that Oyasama spoke through Iburi Izo even after she “withdrew from physical life” on February 18, 1887 (or 1/26/1887 according to the lunar calendar).
As for the actual content of the instructions Yamada Ihachiro recorded that also appears here in Anecdotes no. 164, Ikiru kotoba (Living words), a Tenrikyo publication which I have been referring to frequently recently, offers three pieces of commentary for this particular selection from Anecdotes of Oyasama which I present here.
1. “You say ‘God’ and wonder where God is. God is within the body. Then again there is no discrimination between those within the path and those without; that is, the people of the whole world are all children of God.”
The statement that “God is within the body” may help make a compelling case for Tenrikyo’s concept of God as being immanent. However, I do not wish to ruminate on this subject. It’s best to leave it for the experts.
Nevertheless, these opening sentences appear to be about the notion that God is responsible for keeping the human body functioning. God is said to provide these functions to everyone without discrimination, regardless of whether they believe in “the path” or not.
Ikiru kotoba elaborates on these words as follows:
Oyasama also once taught: “Fire and water are the primary aspects of God. There is no God without these elements and wind.” Both the world without and the human body within are maintained by the subtle balance of fire, water, and wind. Although God cannot be seen by human eyes, God’s workings are present in the exquisite activity seen in the world and within the human body. They are things borrowed from, things lent by God (p. 50).
2. “The people of the whole world are all children of God. Think of everything in terms of your own child. Everything is solely from deep affection.”
In Ikiru kotoba:
God the Parent created human beings out of where there was no form and is our true Parent who provides the blessings of life at every moment. As long as we are at God the Parent’s side, human beings are all brothers and sisters. The love our Parent has for us and the love we feel toward our own children is the same. From the child’s perspective, it is only proper to remind ourselves of the struggles our Parent underwent (p. 78).
3. Again, only if the mind of man is accepted, God will exert the utmost strength to protect man forever.
Checking the original text of Anecdotes no. 164 made me realize that “mind of man” is a translation of “ningen no mune no uchi.” “Mune no uchi” is often translated elsewhere as “innermost heart.”
I thus translate the commentary from Ikiru kotoba as follows:
“Innermost heart” refers to the depth of a person’s true sincerity. It is taught that, “Words of flattery are unwanted” (Ofudesaki XI:8). What God seeks from us is the mind of true sincerity, the mind that seeks to save others. “If you are truly of a mind to save others single-heartedly, I shall firmly accept you, even if you say nothing” (III:38). Such words are truly promising when we know they are words from our true Parent (p. 58).
Finally, I wondered whether if it was appropriate for me or not to supply the rest of the instructions that Yamada Ihachiro recorded for March 28, 1885. Although I hesitated to at one point, I’ve decided to go for it. Hopefully someday I will offer a translation of Oyasama o-kotoba in its entirety.
I add the concluding sentence of the selection under discussion and underlined the new information to give a better idea of what was left out:
“Again, only if the mind of man is accepted, God will exert the utmost strength to protect man forever. But that is not all. God is hastening for objects of veneration to be established in each country. Do not speak of this in front of everyone.
Further, God will not be able to work if there is anyone among you who wonder, ‘What a preposterous thing to say!’ I will give out the fragrance in detail to those who come to My side again and again.” Such were the words from God that Oyasama spoke.
God descended to the Jiba of Origin 48 years ago. There is no one who knows of the genuine story regarding the Origin. Such is the reason why Oyasama is hastening to instruct this to Her children all over the world (Tenrikyo Doyusha 2003, pp. 41-42).
I admit the phrase “Do not speak of this in front of everyone” caused me to hesitate when I thought of divulging this additional information. This may come across as a rare occasion that Oyasama comes across as secretive. Yet there is an implication here that God’s work could have been obstructed if anyone doubted what she said was going to take place. I’ll just claim I presumed that most of God’s work being alluded to here has already been achieved to some degree if anyone ever objects to me for posting this extra info.
Tenrikyō Dōyūsha, ed. 1995. Ikiru kotoba: Tenrikyō kyōso no oshie.
_________. 2003 . Senjin no nokosita kyōwa 3: Ne no aru hana, Yamada Ihachirō.
“Fire, water, wind” by Fukaya Yoshikazu
Tenrikyo jiten: “Fire, water, wind“
 “Objects of veneration” here is my gloss for “honzon,” which happens to be a Buddhist term. An endnote in the same publication I got this entry from explains that honzon was often used as a metaphor to refer to a central figure or thing, and in this context indicated a person who was entrusted to be the central figure in a given area or community. In other words, a missionary or “Someone who lives up to God’s expectations and who plays a central role of bringing God’s intention into reality” (Tenrikyo Doyusha, p. 42).
Nevertheless, I chose to translate honzon literally as “objects of veneration” since it may equally be possible that Oyasama meant the establishment of places where God was to be worshiped. This is the first occasion that I have come across the word “honzon” in Tenrikyo literature.