Tag Archives: contest of strength

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 174

174. If You Let Go Your Strength (socchi de chikara o yurume tara)

Hidenobu Nakano, who had been in charge of horses for the Koizumi feudal clan in Yamato, was also proficient in jujitsu and kendofencing. He returned to Jiba one day and was granted an audience with Oyasama. Oyasama said:

“Nakano, you are known as a strong man in the country. Now try and remove your hands,”

and She took hold of both his wrists. Nakano at first exerted only a little strength and tried to free his hands, but She would not let go. So he became serious about it, and with a shout, tried with all his might to pull both hands free. But the venerable Oyasama remained steady with perfect composure.

Nakano, who was still in the prime of life, tried, with his face flushing, again and again with all his might to pull free his hands, shouting each time, “Ya! Ya!” But Oyasama retained an awe-inspiring calm, and continued to smile pleasantly. He could do nothing.

Not only that, the most astonishing thing was that the more he exerted his strength, the more strongly his own wrists were gripped. Finally, they started to feel as if they were being ripped apart. Powerful as he was, Nakano could not bear the pain any longer. “I am overwhelmed. Please release my hands,” Nakano conceded to Oyasama. Then, She said:

“You need not apologize at all. If you let go your strength, God will also let go God’s strength. If you exert strength, God will also exert strength. This applies not only now but always,”

and She quietly released his hands.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 139-140

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 152

152. Twice as Strong (bai no chikara)

It was rare to be admitted to an audience with Oyasama around 1884 as the police exerted very strong pressure in those days. On one occasion, Unosuke Tosa returned to Jiba with twenty-five or six followers. An intermediary told Oyasama, “He is here from Awa.” Oyasama appreciated Tosa’s effort and said:

“Welcome back from a distant province.”

Continuing, She said:

“Tosa, you are here from a distant place, but if you do not realize the true strength of God, you will feel uneasy in bringing back many followers. Why don’t you try God’s strength today?”

Oyasama told an attendant to bring a hand towel and, holding its border between Her thumb and index finger, She asked Tosa:

“Now try and pull it.”

After bowing respectfully, Tosa tried to pull it toward himself with all his might, but he could pull it no closer. Oyasama said, smiling:

“Now, pull it harder. Pull with all your might. Do not hesitate.”

Tosa pulled, his face reddening with the effort. However strongly he pulled it, he was unable to draw it close to himself. Tosa was a strong-armed man by nature, and proud of the strength which he had gained as a sailor, yet he could not draw the towel closer to himself. At last he bowed his head and said, “I am overwhelmed.” Then, Oyasama stretched Her right hand toward him and said:

“Try once more. Now hold Me by the wrist this time.”

Tosa said, “Pardon me,” and respectfully gripped Oyasama’s hand. Oyasama said:

“Now more strongly. More strongly.”

The more strongly he grasped, the more painful his hand became. So he admitted his defeat at last, and bowed deeply before Oyasama, saying, “I am overwhelmed.” Then, Oyasama said to him with a pleasant smile:

“This is God’s strength. Twice as strong as yours.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 124-125

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 131

131. On the Side of God (Japanese title: Kami no hō ni wa)

Oyasama said to Naokichi Takai, Yosaburo Miyamori, and others who worked at the Residence:

“Let’s have a contest of strength,”

extending Her arm. She said:

“Press down as hard as you can.”

However, not only were they unable to force Her hand down, but when Oyasama used just a little of Her strength and grasped Her opponent’s arm, his arm became numb and lost all strength. Then Oyasama said:

“Twice as much strength is on the side of God.”

Further, She said:

“Can you do this?”

pinching the skin on the back of a young man’s hand with Her forefinger and her little finger. The skin was pinched so hard that it was very painful and it turned black and blue afterward.

On another occasion, She put Her hands together in perfect prayer position in the middle of Her back as we do in front of our chest.

These are Miyamori’s reminiscences.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 107-108

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 118

118. On the Side of God (Japanese title: Kami no hō ni wa)

Kunisaburo Moroi returned to Jiba for the first time on February 10, 1883. When he was granted an audience with Oyasama, She said to him:

“Put your hand down like this,”

indicating how by putting Her own hand on the tatami-mat with the palm down. When he did exactly as he was told, Oyasama bent her two middle fingers, and with Her index and little fingers, pinched the back of his hand, pulling up the skin. Then She said:

“Pull your hand. Try to free it.”

He tried to free his hand, but he only made it hurt. He finally said, “I am overwhelmed.” Then Oyasama said:

“Hold My wrist.”

She let him grasp Her wrist. Oyasama then grasped his. Clasping each other’s wrists, Oyasama said:

“Put your strength behind it.”

And She added:

“Stop if I say ouch, all right?”

Then he squeezed Her wrist, but the harder he squeezed, the more his wrist hurt. Oyasama said:

“You do not have any more strength, do you?”

His hand ached more and more as he clutched harder. So he said again, “I am overwhelmed.” Then Oyasama released Her hold and said:

“You really do not have any more strength? Twice as much strength is on the side of God.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 97-98

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 81

81. Now, Help Yourself

Sasuke Uehara, accompanying his sister Ishi, and his uncle Sakichi and his wife, returned to Jiba on May 14, 1881. They were happy to be granted an audience with Oyasama. Oyasama was very pleased. She Herself served to each of them small dishes containing bamboo shoots, young taro, and burdocks cooked in soy sauce, and then poured the offered sake into a sake cup that had the design of the moon and sun with a cloud.

“Now, help yourself,”

She offered.

At that time Sasuke was a vigorous young man in his thirties. Oyasama, after explaining various things about the teachings to them, quickly and gently extended both of Her hands, grasped Sasuke’s wrists, and said:

“Try to shake them loose.”

Sasuke felt his body grow numb and all he could do was to bow deeply saying, “Mercy, please.”

His sister, Ishi (later Ishi Tsujikawa), in her later life reminisced, “Her solemn appearance at that time can in no way be expressed with words. I was awestruck and I instinctively bowed my head.”

Sasuke, who at that time had been personally shown the warm parental love and the power of Oyasama, began to hold a firm belief and strived for the single-hearted salvation of mankind.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 68

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 80

80. The Two of You Together

In 1880 or 1881, Tamezo Yamazawa, then twenty-four or twenty-five years old, returned to the Residence with his brother, Ryozo. Oyasama, who sat in the raised room in those days in the building called Place for the Service, said to them:

“Try to pull me down from here, the two of you together. I do not mind falling off,”

and She stretched out Her hands.

They hesitantly held Her hands, one of them Her right hand and the other Her left one. They pulled Her hands as they were told, but Oyasama remained sitting straight not even slightly disturbed. Instead, the harder they pulled, the closer they were drawn to Her. They were astonished and realized that She was really more than human and indeed the Shrine of God the Parent.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 67–68

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 75

75. This is Tenri (The Reason of Heaven)

In the fall of 1879, Bunkichi Nakagawa, who lived at Honden in Osaka, suddenly contracted an eye disease and his condition became so serious that he was in danger of losing his sight. Umejiro Izutsu, his neighbor, without a moment’s delay began praying for Nakagawa’s recovery from the disease. Nakagawa was marvelously healed within a period of three days and three nights.

One day in 1880, Bunkichi Nakagawa visited the Residence to express his gratitude for having been saved. Oyasama received him and said:

“I welcome your seeking the parental home and returning here. Let us have an arm-gripping contest, shall we?”

Nakagawa, who habitually boasted of his strength and had even participated in amateur sumo-wrestling matches, could not refrain from smiling wryly for a moment upon hearing Her words. He could not, however, refuse Her and so he stretched forth both of his muscular arms.

Oyasama then quietly gripped Nakagawa’s left wrist and instructed him to grip Her left wrist as tightly as he could with his right hand. As instructed, Nakagawa gripped Oyasama’s wrist with all his might. Then, contrary to his expectations, he felt a sharp pain in his left arm as though it were about to break. He cried out, “I give up! Please, forgive me!” Then Oyasama said:

“You need not be surprised. If a child puts forth all his strength, the parent also must put forth strength. This is the reason of heaven. Do you understand?”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 65

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 68

68. The Way Ahead Is Long 

In 1874, at the age of nineteen, Tatsujiro Hirano of Sakai became sickly and for the following six years, he was on a diet of wafers. Then in 1879, when he was twenty-four years old, the fragrance of the teachings was spread to him by Risaburo Yamamoto. He listened to the teachings of God and received such marvelous divine providence that he discontinued the wafer diet and on that day he ate thirty small fish for one meal.

He returned to Jiba in his great joy for being saved. There he enjoyed a steam bath, and later he listened to the words of God related by intermediaries. After he returned home, Tatsujiro promptly enshrined God in his own home and began to strive fervently to spread the fragrance of the words of God and to save others. Thus, he often returned to Jiba.

On one such day, he had an audience with Oyasama, and She said:

“One who is called Tatsujiro Hirano of Sakai, is that you?”

Then She extended Her hand and said:

“Hold My hand.”

When Tatsujiro reverently held Her hand, She said:

“Is that all the strength you have? Put forth more.”

So he gripped Her hand with all his might. Oyasama gripped back with much greater strength. Tatsujiro was utterly awestruck and deeply impressed by the greatness of Oyasama. At that time he received the following words from Oyasama:

“How old are you? It is remarkable that you have followed the path this far. The path ahead of you is long. No matter what you may encounter, do not become discouraged in faith. The future is all well.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 59–60

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 61

61. Beneath the Corridor

This incident took place in 1878. When Tamizo Ueda, at the age of eighteen, returned to the Residence with his mother, Iso, Oyasama said:

“Tamizo, let’s, you and I, have a contest to see who is stronger.”

Oyasama went up on the north raised room and Tamizo stood below. With the shout of ‘one, two, three,’ they tightly gripped each other’s hands and began to pull. Tamizo pulled with all his might but Oyasama did not move even an inch. Tamizo marveled at Oyasama’s strength.

On another occasion, Oyasama spoke the following words when Tamizo came to visit Her:

“Tamizo, you are returning from Onishi now but in the future you will come together with Onaka to this Residence to live.”

Tamizo thought, “I am a farmer and I have children. It cannot be possible for me to do such a thing.” Later on, however, because of the illness of his child, he and his family were drawn to the Residence to live.

Also, on another occasion, Tamizo returned to the Residence with his mother, Iso. At that time Oyasama said:

“Tamizo, in this Residence in the future, many people will be walking back and forth beneath the corridor.”

It is said that in his late years, Tamizo was truly amazed by the fact that Oyasama’s words one after another became a reality.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 53–54

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The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 20

The following is a translation of Part 20 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the August 2004 (No. 428) issue of Taimo, p. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further polishing and revision.

Part 20: “God Gives Thanks”

Tokuzo Nakagawa ran a seed supplying business along Sakai Boulevard in Osaka. After being saved from a certain illness, he was encouraged to pay his respects to “the god of Shoyashiki” and met with Oyasama for the first time.

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