187. Solely to Jiba (Jiba ni hitotsu ni)
Kunisaburo Moroi was so saddened by the passing of his three-year-old fourth daughter, Hide, that he returned to Jiba in June 1886. “I may have been mistaken about some things, so please let me know my shortcomings,” he said to Oyasama. Oyasama gave him these words:
“Sah, sah, concerning your child, three years was the life of the child. For the rest of your life, the heart of a three-year-old child. Unite your heart solely to Jiba. If you unite your heart solely to Jiba, then roots will spread to four sides. If the roots spread to four sides, even if one side decays, three sides will remain. If two sides decay, two sides will remain. Strong buds shall sprout.”
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 147
Moroi Kunisaburo had received the Grant of Safe Childbirth when his wife Sono was pregnant with Hide in 1884 (as described in Anecdotes 151). Hide grew up in robust health and had never even caught a cold. However, she had a sudden convulsion and passed away. Kunisaburo was so poor by then that it was almost an impossible prospect to hold a funeral for her.
Kunisaburo’s seventh generation descendant, Moroi Michitaka, describes that his ancestor cried incessantly after this unexpected misfortune. Filled with sorrow and disillusioned in his faith, he went to Oyasama for instructions.
Moroi Michitaka writes:
It is likely that Oyasama’s words mentioning that “three years was the life of the child” did not help persuade Kunisaburo that his daughter may have passed away for rebirth to fulfill a particular purpose or because of a particular cause from a previous life.
However, he cast away his disillusionment by accepting Her instruction to unite his heart to Jiba with a pure mind like a three-year-old child and pursued the path to salvation by uniting his heart “solely to Jiba.” He overcame his grief by devoting himself ever deeper to single-hearted salvation, convinced that doing so would help spread roots to four sides and allow thick buds to sprout.
Sono became pregnant again not long after this great “knot.” It was a girl. She was named Roku.
Then, in February 1888, the Honseki Iburi Izo bestowed the Sazuke on Roku when she was only 10 months old. The wondrous effectiveness of this Sazuke would help save many people.
According to Moroi family lore, Roku is said to be Hide reborn.
It may be useful to compare the passing of Moroi Hide with the passing of Umetani Michie that is covered in Anecdotes 184. From this account, I come away with the impression that Michie’s father Shirobei may have been seeking for Oyasama’s consolation when he mentioned that Michie, previously ill, had passed away. He is understandably astonished at Oyasama’s response, “How fortunate.”
Thinking that Oyasama misheard him, Shirobei said, “My child is dead.” Oyasama then replies (in my paraphrase), “Is it not fortunate that it wasn’t one of your healthy older children who passed away?”
In comparison, Moroi Hide’s passing was completely unexpected. Nevertheless, Anecdotes 187 portrays Kunisaburo as composed and humble when he approaches Oyasama for instructions. He says, “I may have been mistaken about some things, so please let me know my shortcomings.”
It is possible to conclude that the six-day trip to Jiba from Shizuoka helped put Kunisaburo in a more reflective frame of mind. To compare, my guess is that Shirobei was already in Jiba when he received word from Osaka about Michie’s passing. In any case, Kunisaburo’s humility results in Oyasama giving him an encouraging set of instructions.
The fortitude Kunisaburo shows may be considered a model way to deal with sudden misfortune. His willingness to utilize the passing of his daughter as an opportunity to better himself leads him to resolve a faith that is firmly connected to Jiba. Moroi Kunisaburo later became the first minister of Yamana Daikyokai, which is one of the oldest Tenrikyo churches, and a total of 1,171 churches can presently trace their lineage to it.
Moroi Michitaka. 2009. “Itsuwa no kokoro tazunete: gendai ni ikiru Oyasama no oshie.” Tenri jihō No. 4138 (July 12, 2009), p. 3.
Fukaya Yoshikazu: “Truth of effectiveness / Sincere efforts (Kono no ri)“