7. Offering with a Sincere Heart
The following occurred at a time when the Nakayama family was living in the depths of poverty. One day at the end of the year, a follower brought some small, beautifully made rice cakes in the finest of boxes and said, “Please, offer this to Oyasama.” Kokan, Oyasama’s youngest daughter, promptly took it to Her. Oddly, Oyasama only said:
“Oh, is that so?”
and did not seem to be particularly pleased.
About two or three days later another follower came. She brought out a package in a plain kerchief and said, “Please, will you offer this to Oyasama?” In it were only a few sweetened rice cakes in a bamboo wrapping. Kokan as usual took it to Oyasama. Thereupon, Oyasama said:
“Please, offer it to God the Parent at once,”
and seemed very pleased.
The following fact became known later. The follower who had brought the finely made cakes was well to do. She had made some rice cakes for New Year’s, and as there were some left over, she took them to the Residence as an afterthought. The follower who had brought the plain cakes was poor, and barely able to make enough rice cakes for New Year’s. However, her family said, “This is also the blessing of God the Parent. First of all, let us make an offering.” They took the first freshly made rice cakes to the Residence.
Oyasama had known what was in the heart of each of these two persons.
There were many such incidents. Later, many followers began to bring the rare seasonal foods grown in their localities to Oyasama when they visited Her. Oyasama always appreciated the sincere heart with which the followers brought these offerings more than the offerings themselves.
Further, when things were presented to Her with arrogance, She often gave them to those nearby. When, on occasion, She did eat them, She said:
“It has no taste at all. It tastes as though we are forcing ourselves to eat when we do not want to eat.”
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 3–4