172. Repentance for a Previous Life (zenshō no sange)
There once lived a daughter of a seaweed dealer in Sakai, Osaka, who was inclined to steal. Her parents reverently asked Oyasama the reason why, and Her answer was:
“That is the result of a previous life. Your daughter is not at fault. She only does what her parents did in a previous life.”
The parents then sincerely repented for what they had done, and their daughter was marvelously healed of the bad habit.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 138
It may be worthy to mention that “result of a previous life” above is a gloss of “zensho no innen,” which may otherwise be translated as “causality from a previous life.”
I assume that the unnamed girl mentioned here was under the age of fifteen, for it is commonly taught in Tenrikyo that any illness/health condition (mijo) or trouble/situation (jijo) experienced by any child under fifteen is “a matter for the child’s parents.”
Anecdotes 172 might be said to be most significant in how it demonstrates the ideal response to being confronted with a child’s bad habit: to sincerely repent that it may be the result of something one has done in a previous lifetime (if not present lifetime). If only curing a child of a bad habit was so straightforward!