Tag Archives: early rising

Cornerstone: Chapter 7-4

The following is a translation of an excerpt from Ishizue: Kashihara Genjiro no shinko to shogai (Cornerstone: The Faith and Life of Genjiro Kashihara) by Teruo Nishiyama. Note: This translation is a provisional one and may need to undergo further revision.

Churches’ Reception on Genjiro’s Mission Tours

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 111

111. Being Awakened in the Morning

The following is one of the instructions which Oyasama gave to Yoshie Iburi:

“Early rising, honesty, and work. There is a great difference in merit between being awakened and waking up someone else. Working in the shadows and praising others is honesty. If you do not put into practice what you hear, you will become a lie. Work on top of work, saying to yourself, ‘Just a little more, just a little bit more’; this is not greed, it is work that comes from true sincerity.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 94 Continue reading Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 111

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 29

29. Three Treasures

Once Oyasama said to Izo Iburi:

“Izo, open your hand.”

She had three unhulled grains of rice in Her hand, and when Izo opened his hand as requested, Oyasama said:

“This is early rising, this is honesty and this is work,”

and placed them one at a time in the palm of his hand. Then, She continued:

“Hold these three firmly in your hand. You must try not to lose them.”

Izo adhered to this teaching for the rest of his life.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 24

Continue reading Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 29

The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 57

The following is a translation of Part 57 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the September 2007 (No. 465) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

Part 57: Demonstrating With His Own Actions

Genjiro Kashihara, who became the head minister of Myodo Shikyokai, heeded the advice his older brother Eki’emon gave him, “Never forget your straw sandals.” While this was advice to Genjiro to always be mindful that he was merely a Tenrikyo missionary, he nevertheless wore straw sandals with his cotton kimono wherever he went on his travels and missionary visits so he could tend to his subsidiary churches. The streets he walked were not the paved streets we have today, but roads full of pebbles and stones. Further, since he preached the importance of rising early to others, he found it unfathomable to allow himself sleep in late. He would always wake an hour before morning service. Yet on his missionary visits, he would wake another 15 minutes earlier to give himself time to contemplate on his schedule for the day.

He would send notification beforehand to each church he visited with the following precautions, which did not change even when he was promoted to a Honbu-in (executive official of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters): “Only reserve trains seats in third class. I will not ride a vehicle with a hired driver, so do not prepare one. I only ask for a one-course meal with soup, there is no need to prepare or buy anything more. I do not drink alcohol.”

He would scold those who would prepare anything more than he asked. He would take it upon himself to walk distances under two kilometers, even in the twilight of his life. He would take the bus for any distances farther than this and insisted for no more than two people to welcome him at the bus stop.

He would preach without having dinner at one particular subsidiary church, a practice he continued for more than 10 years. After the monthly service was over, he would speak for two hours, take a 10-minute break, and night would fall while he spoke for another hour. When he stepped down from the dais to take his break, he would say: “I’ll be back and resume speaking in 15 minutes. Don’t eat dinner. If you eat dinner, you’ll get sleepy and miss my important talk. I won’t eat dinner either.”

Since Genjiro proved to have such an attitude, the seinen (young male staff) who accompanied him were different when it came to their mental preparedness. While Genjiro was strict when instructing and training seinen from Myodo’s subsidiary churches, he did so because of his desire to have them be grounded spiritually so in the future they could become Yoboku who served God by firmly dedicating themselves solely to the path. Genjiro felt there was nothing more unfortunate if these seinen were unable to serve God efficiently when they became head ministers or missionaries.

A particular seinen accompanied Genjiro to a church located in a farming village where the only three worshipers were senior citizens. While he thought the talk would probably be over in an hour, Genjiro passionately spoke for over two hours. Genjiro later said: “Yoboku ought not to pay attention to numbers or to who happens to be in attendance. There is no knowing what kind of large path will open through these three people. There is the precedence of what happened in Kyushu. Never be complacent. You cannot uphold the divine truth if you pay attention to numbers or to who is in your audience. It leads to unspiritedness.”

Reference: Nishiyama Teruo. Ishizue: Kashihara Genjiro no shinko to shogai.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.

Supplemental information

Rev. Genjiro Kashihara [柏原源次郎] (1875–1957) became the second head minister of Myodo Shikyokai [名東支教会] (branch church) in 1900. Now known as Tenrikyo Myodo Daikyokai [天理教名東大教会] (grand church), it currently oversees 131 bunkyokai (“branch churches”) and 109 fukyosho (“fellowships” or “mission stations”), including Brotherhood Church in Los Angeles.

Rising Early, Honesty, and Hard Work

The following is an excerpt from Omichi no joshiki [Tenrikyo Fundamentals] (pp. 61–65) by Koji Sato (佐藤浩司), assistant professor at Tenri University and instructor at Tenri Seminary. Note: This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

Rising Early, Honesty, and Hard Work

Izo Iburi was an honest and hard worker, having the reputation in his neighborhood as a sincere person. He earned his living as a carpenter and was also praised for his work. He joined the faith in 1864 after his wife Sato was saved from severe complications resulting from a miscarriage.

Izo subsequently served Oyasama and the Residence in such a fervent manner that he was called a “man of true sincerity.” Even when the building of the Place for the Service was almost interrupted by an incident at Oyamato Shrine, Izo shouldered the responsibility of completing the construction on his own.

One day Oyasama took three unhulled rice grains and placed them one after another in the palm of his hand, saying:

This one is for rising early, this one for honesty, and this one for hard work. Hold these firmly in your hand. You must make sure that you never lose them.

Anecdotes of Oyasama 29 “Three Treasures”

It need not be mentioned that since Izo was the embodiment of “early rising, honesty, and hard work,” he took Oyasama’s words to heart and further committed himself to implementing them throughout his life. Yet, we may ask, why did Oyasama instruct Izo in this way?

*         *         *

Oyasama taught the lesson of “rising early, honesty, and hard work” to Izo’s eldest daughter Yoshie in the following manner:

Working hard out the sight of others and praising others is honesty. If you do not put into practice what you hear, you yourself will become a lie. If you continue to work, saying to yourself, ‘Just a little more, just a little bit more’; this is not greed, it is work that comes from true sincerity.

Anecdotes of Oyasama 111, “Being Awakened in the Morning”

There is a proverb that says, “In spring one sleeps a sleep that knows no dawn.” Again, it is not very easy to get out of bed on in the morning on a cold day. Especially in our youth, our wish is to sleep even a minute or second longer.

In the west there is the well-known proverb “The early bird gets the worm.” There are similar proverbs in Japanese (“An early riser gains three mon1) and in Chinese (“An early riser gains light from three sources—the Sun, the Moon, and the stars”).

In any case, the act of waking early in the morning is promoted as an effective means to bring about success. The reason why early rising has been promoted this way in the East and West, both past and present, is because of the reality that it is quite a difficult thing to accomplish.

There are some who insist that “asa-oki” (“rising early,” or literally “waking in the morning”) is different from “haya-oki” (“early rising”). By examining the Chinese character to write “asa” (朝, i.e., “morning”) we see that it is made up of a combination of other characters. We can interpret the character for morning to mean “the sufficiently (十) early (早) time when the Moon (月) looks bigger than the Sun (日).” Thus “asa-oki” as Oyasama meant it can be interpreted to waking when the Sun is about to rise. What do you think of my suggested interpretation?

*         *         *

A psalm that is often quoted says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” There is also the general view that “Honesty does not pay.” Yet the problem of improprieties being committed by individuals working at government agencies and big businesses in recent years is a result of lies heaped atop one another. When the truth comes out, even a well-established company can make a negative about-turn and endure the misery of bankruptcy. As the proverb “God dwells in an honest man’s head” instructs us, it is better for us to live with righteousness and honesty.

But honesty does not simply end at being a frame of mind.

As Oyasama instructed, “If you do not put into practice what you hear, you yourself will become a lie,” the implementation of honesty in our daily life is important.

*           *           *

The path tells us that humans were born to work in this world. Oyasama taught we work (hataraku) in order to make things easier (raku) for those around us (hata).

People must work in order to make a living. But as the proverb says, “Man does not live on bread alone,” people work with different aspirations in mind. The concept of “work” or mutual help that Oyasama taught as a means “to make things easier for the people around us” was adopted from the path by the acclaimed “god of management” Konosuke Matsushita as his company motto when he founded Matsushita Electric.

*         *         *

As for the answer to the question I posed earlier on the possible reason why Oyasama taught the lesson of “rising early, honesty, and hard work” when Izo was already the embodiment of these qualities, She also taught the following lesson while holding a grain of unhulled rice:

The same is true with a human being. If you sow a grain of sincerity, within a year’s time, it will yield two to three hundred grains. In the second year there will be grains in the tens of thousands. The providence of a single grain returning ten-thousandfold will be granted. By the third year there will be enough to sow the entire province of Yamato.

Anecdotes of Oyasama 30, “Ten Thousandfold”

I feel that Oyasama’s emphasis on the importance of “rising early, honesty, and hard work” is revealed to us by the fact that She taught this lesson using an unhulled grain of rice. This lesson is significant due to the very fact that Izo embodied these qualities on a daily basis.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.


  1. A mon is an ancient unit of money worth one-thousandth of a yen.

The Life of the Honseki Izo Iburi, Part Four

Oyasama Conveys the Teaching to Izo

Obstructions from inside and outside the path

In the 10th lunar month of 1865, Izo accompanied Oyasama to Harigabessho, where a former follower by the name of Sukezo began expounding a false teaching. He claimed that his residence in Harigabessho was the original dwelling of God and thus superior to the Jiba in Shoyashiki. Despite the fact Oyasama was nearly 70 years old, She boldly led the way up the treacherous mountain road to Harigabessho to correct Sukezo’s mistaken views.

Continue reading The Life of the Honseki Izo Iburi, Part Four