Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 190

190. This Path (kono michi wa)

In the summer of 1886, Kichitaro Matsumura returned to the Residence. In the eyes of Matsumura, who had acquired some education, the illiteracy of the people who gathered at the Residence and their very uncouth manners seemed questionable. He had even come to harbor a sense of contempt toward them. One day, when he had an audience with Oyasama, She said to him:

“This path is not the way of intelligence or knowledge. I do not say, ‘Do not come,’ to those who come. I do not forcibly say, ‘Come,’ to those who do not wish to come.”

Upon hearing these words, Matsumura realized his arrogance and repented from the bottom of his heart. Thus the preciousness of the truth of Jiba became deeply embedded in his heart.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 149–150

Supplemental information from Taimo (translation)

Matsumura Kichitaro: A Honbu-in (executive official of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters) and the first minister of Takayasu Daikyokai as well as Sanmaiden Bunkyokai and Byodoji Bunkyokai, a branch church affiliated with Takayasu.

Born in 1867. He returned to Jiba in 1886 upon receiving blessings for pleurisy. He established Takayasu Bunkyokai in 1890. From 1898 onward, he devoted himself to achieving Tenrikyo’s independence from the Shinto Honkyoku. He held several key positions, which included superintendent of Osaka Diocese, administrator of the Manchurian mission, and principal of Tenri Middle School (now Tenri High School). In 1931, he established Sanmaiden Senkyosho. In 1957, he established Byodoji Bunkyokai. He passed away later that year at the age of 85.

My take

Anecdotes 190 happens to be a selection I often identify with. (Another one that similarly speaks to me is Anecdotes 123.) This is probably because, of all the things my mother has taught me, one instruction she has consistently told me over the years goes along the lines of, “Always be vigilant against becoming arrogant.”

Arrogance is one of the so-called “eight dusts.” It also happens to be the last of the eight, and I remember reading someone’s interpretation somewhere that it comes last on most lists because it happens to be the “heaviest” of the eight, making the dust that is most difficult to rid oneself of.

Although arrogance has been defined in a variety of ways[1], the visceral “contempt” that Matsumura Kichitaro is said to have harbored against the people he encountered at the Residence is something I readily identify with.

To elaborate, I occasionally become frustrated at what I view as an unforgivable level of ignorance among Tenrikyo ministers in Japan I happen to be acquainted with. I can still remember the disgust I felt when a certain minister I’ve known for at least 10 years misspelled my last name. Even though I’ve yet to meet anyone born in Japan who has been able to spell it correctly on the first try, I must admit that I was initially quite offended.

It would be all too easy for me to impulsively dismiss this as an unintended slight by someone who should have known better and leave it at that. Yet, after some reflection, I had to conclude: Wasn’t it somewhat insolent on my part to expect this man to correctly spell my name? What was so special about me that demanded my name be spelled perfectly when he merely had a rudimentary grasp of English at best? I came away with a feeling of repent and a reminder not to be so judgmental of others.

Further, it can be said that Oyasama’s instruction that goes “I do not say, ‘Do not come,’ to those who come” provides a useful reminder that the people we encounter in the faith is beyond our control and that it is best for us to accept them as they are instead of resenting them for their supposed shortcomings. Obviously, I’ve got much work to do before such a notion becomes second nature for me.


Tenrikyō Seinenkai, ed. 2007. “Oyasama: kono michi wa, chie gakumon no michi ya nai.” Taimō 463 (July 2007), pp. 16–17.

Further reading

Footsteps of Our Predecessors 28

Footsteps of Our Predecessors 69


[1] To give a couple of examples: “[T]he dust of arrogance is to be proud without being worthy, to look down upon others, for the rich to use money to intimidate others, or for officials to flatter their superiors while being cruel to their subordinates. Our feeling of being superior to others, in rank or knowledge, makes us treat others with contempt or ignore their feelings. Arrogance is also to find fault with others, pretending to have knowledge and looking down on others” (Besseki lecture).

“The dust of ‘arrogance’ includes pretending to know what one does not; trying to look superior to others; wanting to force one’s ideas or opinions on others, no matter how unreasonable they are; trying to contradict or oppose others’ ideas or opinions as much as possible; and desiring to obstruct others’ plans. All such states of mind—whether they are haughtiness or stubbornness—as may cause one to be perceived by others as being prideful or egoistic come under the dust called ‘arrogance'” (Seibun iin sho, quoted in A Glossary of Tenrikyo Terms, pp. 79–80).