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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 59

59. Festival

In January 1878, when she was twenty-eight, Koiso Yamanaka (later Iye Yamada) was drawn to the Residence to serve Oyasama. Oyasama told her about the significance of the twenty-sixth day of the month:

“Festival (Matsuri) has the meaning ‘to wait.’ (matsu: wait, ri: principle). Do not do anything else the whole day of the twenty-sixth. The only thing you must do on that day is to give thanks for the marvelous protection of God the Parent.”

Koiso sewed the red garments and combed Oyasama’s hair as part of her daily routine. Usually, Oyasama prepared the red cloth Herself and handed it to Koiso.

Not long after Koiso started to serve Oyasama in the Residence, on April 28, 1878 (March 26th, lunar calendar), there was still time left after sweeping and cleaning. So she said, “Oyasama, it seems wasteful to be doing nothing from early morning. I wish you would give me some red cloth to sew.” After thinking for a while, Oyasama said:

“I understand.”

Then, She cut the red cloth quickly and smoothly, and gave it to Koiso.

Koiso was happy to have something to do, and began sewing at once. No sooner had she put a few stitches into the cloth than she was in pitch darkness even though it was daytime. In complete amazement, Koiso cried out, “Oyasama,” and said to herself, “Now, I understand. It was against the divine will to think it was wasting time. I will sew the red garment tomorrow.” The moment she made up her mind, it became daylight again, and everything was all right with her.

Later, when she told Oyasama what had happened, Oyasama instructed:

“I cut the red cloth because you, Koiso, said it was wasting time to be doing nothing from morning. If you sweep and mop, you need not do anything else on the twenty-sixth day except perform the Service. You must not.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 51–52

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Question no. 5: What goes on in the Foundress’ Sanctuary?

Q: Recently I had the opportunity to pass through Tenri City. (It was quite a nice place.) As we drove past the Foundress’ Sanctuary , my teacher—a Zen monk—told me that there is a television in the sanctuary in case Oyasama gets bored. Is this true? More generally, what is believed to go on in the sanctuary, and is it meant to resemble Kukai’s sanctuary at Koyasan?

submitted by Avery M.

A: Thank you for the interesting questions, Avery! Only designated individuals are allowed inside what is called the “Foundress’ Residence” portion of the Sanctuary, so while I haven’t seen this with my own two eyes, because Oyasama is treated as though She is still physically alive there, she allegedly gets the daily paper, she is served cooked meals, her bath plus bedding is prepared every evening, and I have heard she does have a television.

I am not sure how her attendants can tell whether she is “bored” or not or even know what kind of programming she enjoys, but whaddya know?

Continue reading Question no. 5: What goes on in the Foundress’ Sanctuary?

Question no. 2: Is Tenrikyo a Buddhist or Shinto tradition?

Q: Being that Tenrikyo is a religion from Japan, how is it categorized? Is it a Buddhist or Shinto tradition?

submitted by Paradise Plastic (real name withheld)

A: Great question, Paradise Plastic! I get similar ones all the time. Anyone who asks is understandably curious since Tenrikyo appears to share many elements with Buddhism and Shinto.

Continue reading Question no. 2: Is Tenrikyo a Buddhist or Shinto tradition?