169. This Suits Me Very Well, Doesn’t It? (yō niau yaro na)
In Her later years, Oyasama used to say to Hisa Kajimoto, who was attending to Her:
“Tell me if there is something you want.”
“If you want to buy something, do so and say that you have bought it for Grandmother.”
Oyasama once bought a gaily colored cloth from a textile peddler and, throwing it over Her shoulders, said with a smile:
“This suits Me very well, doesn’t it?”
And She gave it to Hisa, saying:
“Keep this for yourself.”
On another occasion, Oyasama bought a coral beaded hairpin from a tortoise shell worker who came from Nagasaki, and putting it in Her hair, said:
“This is beautiful, isn’t it?”
She then gave it to Hisa, saying:
“Now you shall have this.”
Thus, occasionally, Oyasama bought something for Herself first and then later gave it to someone else. It is surmised that Her intention was to let others be able to accept these gifts without reserve. And, truly, people who received a gift from Oyasama were stirred with deep emotion.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 136
There may not be anything in Anecdotes 169 that comes across as markedly profound. Yet I presume its significance stems from how it is considered an example of Oyasama’s parental love and forethought.
The text above itself provides an explanation for Oyasama’s seemingly mundane actions—”It is surmised that Her intention was to let others be able to accept these gifts without reserve.”
Anecdotes 150, earlier described a seemingly inconsequential exchange between Oyasama and Tosa Unosuke in which she ate some persimmons with him. This selection we find a similar sentence: “Tosa was moved with emotion because he felt that Oyasama was eating the persimmons so that he would not hesitate in deference to Her.”
Such examples of forethought may not be so obviously meaningful by their lonesome. They more likely will take on greater significance once one takes into consideration that the Japanese traditionally tend to be reserved when they are on the receiving end of spontaneous gift-giving. Further, these seemingly commonplace gestures on Oyasama’s part arguably loomed large in the minds of her family and followers precisely because she inspired an unparalleled reverence among them.
Admittedly, even though the Fukushima reactors are more than 300 miles from Tenri, it is a bit hard to focus on this blogging project with the ongoing nuclear alert. It helps that I had relatively little to discuss regarding this particular installment.
In the meantime, please go to Tenrikyo Resource for info on Tenrikyo’s response to the current humanitarian crisis in northeastern Japan.