Tag Archives: environmentalism

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 138

138. You Must Treasure Things (mono wa taisetsu ni)

Oyasama endured hardships in police stations and prisons about seventeen or eighteen times. Gisaburo Nakata accompanied Her several times.

On one such occasion, She had a scrap of writing paper brought in and She made twisted paper strings out of it. With it, She wove a net basket to carry a sake bottle. It was very strong and beautifully made. When She left the jail to return home, She gave it to Nakata, saying:

“You must treasure things. You must make good use of everything. Everything is a gift from God. Now, keep this as your family treasure.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 112

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 124

124. A Drawstring Made of Wood Shavings (Japanese title: Kanna kuzu no himo)

In 1883, during the time of the construction of the Resting House, Hisa Kajimoto would take a sewing lesson every night from Oyasama.

One night, Hisa learned how to make a bag by sewing pieces of material one inch square together. But she could not find any cord to use as a drawstring. Just as she was wondering, “What shall I do?” Oyasama said:

“Dear Ohisa, will you go and get those wood shavings?”

When Hisa brought the wood shavings, Oyasama skillfully braided them into a cord which She then threaded through the opening of the bag.

Oyasama often carried a purse similar to this when She now and then visited the Kajimoto family of Ichinomoto. On each occasion, She would take some sweets in the purse so She could give them to the children of the family and also to the children of the neighborhood. The purses were of patches of various colors, such as red and yellow. And for their drawstrings, wood shavings were sometimes braided into a cord, and other times, paper-thin wood shavings were twisted into string.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 102-103

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 104

104. Faith in God

In the middle of September, 1882, fifteen-year-old Yonetaro, the first son of Denjiro Tomita, then forty-three years old, was in critical condition from a recurrence of stomach ailment. The elder followers in Wadasaki Town sincerely prayed for his recovery. Within three days, he was wondrously saved. In gratitude, Denjiro returned to Jiba for the first time, accompanied by his mother, Jun Fujimura, who was seventy-six years old.

When Denjiro was led by an intermediary to have an audience with Oyasama, She asked him:

“Where did you come from?”

“I came from Hyogo,” he answered. Then Oyasama continued:

“You did? Hyogo is such a faraway place, I am happy that you have come.”

Further, she asked:

“What is your occupation?”

“I am a konnyaku* seller,” answered Denjiro.

Then Oyasama said:

“You are a konnyaku seller, then you are a merchant, aren’t you? A merchant must buy dearly and sell cheaply.”

She further instructed:

“Faith in God is to believe in God just as you do in your own parent who gave you birth. Then your faith will become genuine.”

Denjiro did not understand what was meant by “to buy dearly and sell cheaply.” It seemed to him that he would suffer losses and could not help but go bankrupt if he ever followed Her words. Therefore he asked one of the seniors at the Residence, who explained as follows. “When one lays in a stock of goods from wholesale dealers, one should buy somewhat more dearly than others to avoid risk of their going bankrupt or having some other trouble; when one sells goods one should sell somewhat cheaper than others, making only a small profit; then, one’s wholesale dealers will prosper and one’s customers will be happy; one’s shop will also prosper. This is the principle of mutual prosperity with no suffering of losses in return.” Now Denjiro understood.

On the same occasion, She granted him sacred paper** and sacred powder of roasted grain. He gave these to his mother, Jun Fujimura, who brought them home to the town of Miki. By virtue of these grants, marvelous healings occurred one after another, and the teachings spread all over Banshu Province thereafter.

Konnyaku: a gelatin-like food made from the root of a certain plant.

** Iki-no-kami: literally, ‘paper of breath;’ paper which has been made sacred through the breath of Oyasama.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 87–88

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 64

64. Smoothed out Gently 

Yearning for Jiba, Tokichi Izumita (nicknamed Kumakichi) returned one day and found Oyasama smoothing out small pieces of crumpled paper on Her knee. Oyasama said to him:

“These crumpled pieces, if smoothed out gently like this, become neat and can be used again. Nothing is useless.”

Receiving this instruction, Izumita cheerfully went back to Osaka to continue his work of saving others even more earnestly.

However, it was hard to save others and spread the teachings. Accordingly, whenever his confidence was shaken, he poured water over himself to encourage himself on to further efforts. At midnight, during the coldest season of the year, he would immerse himself in the Yodo River for as long as two hours, and climbing up on the bank, he would dry himself in the wind, as he thought drying with a towel would spoil the effect. It was not so cold in the water, but the blowing north wind would severely and coldly sting his wet body. However, he patiently continued these cold water ablutions for about thirty nights. He would also remain all night in the water holding onto a post of the Tenjin Bridge before walking about to save sick people, as he was once told that he must first torture himself.

One day he returned to Jiba and was received by Oyasama, who said to him:

“Kumakichi, on this path you must not torture yourself.”

Hearing these words filled with parental love, Izumita was able to fully understand the preciousness of the human body, a thing borrowed from God the Parent.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 56

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 45

45. Wrinkles of the Mind

Oyasama did not waste one sheet of paper, not even an old scrap of paper. She carefully smoothed the wrinkles even out of the paper that had been used as gift wrappings and placed them under Her cushion to be used again. Oyasama taught:

“If wrinkled paper is left as it is, it can be used only as toilet paper or as paper to blow one’s nose, but if its wrinkles are carefully smoothed out, it can be used in many ways. Once it is used as toilet paper or paper to blow one’s nose it cannot be retrieved and used again.

The saving of a man also follows this principle. It is to smooth the wrinkles of man’s mind with the truth of the teachings. When the mind becomes completely wrinkled, it becomes like the toilet paper. Saving such minds, rather than discarding them, is the principle of this path.”

Once when Rin Masui came to see Oyasama and asked for permission to copy the Ofudesaki, Oyasama said:

“Do you have any paper?”

When Rin answered, “I will go to Tambaichi and buy some,” Oyasama said:

“It will be late if you do so. Let Me bind some for you.”

She then took some sheets of paper out from under Her cushion and disregarding the difference in their sizes, She selected those that had no writing on them, and bound them Herself. Then saying:

“Sah, I will read it to you. Write it on this,”

Oyasama read the Ofudesaki. Rin picked up the writing brush and wrote. It was a copy of Part IV of the Ofudesaki, and to this day it is preserved as it was originally bound, with the paper irregular in size.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 39–40

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A Single Vegetable Leaf

The following excerpt is from Omichi no joshiki [Tenrikyo Fundamentals] (pp. 102–105) 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.

A Single Vegetable Leaf

Most people are aware of the importance of the balance between production and consumption in economic pursuits. This is also evident when we observe prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies, agrarian societies, and even animal societies.

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Anecdotes of the Honseki Izo Iburi 40

40. Using God’s Blessings in a Precious Manner

The following story is from the April 1947 issue of Michi no tomo by Keitaro Nakayama (1884–1964), the grandson of Masa Nakayama and great-grandson of Oyasama:

“The Honseki always walked from his home and worshiped at the Kanrodai each day. He would usually do so around three or four o’clock in the afternoon. He would stop by at the Church Headquarters dormitory for a rest and then proceed to the Kanrodai, the Foundress’ Sanctuary, and the Memorial. He would then always return to the dormitory for some tea.

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Anecdotes of the Honseki Izo Iburi 39

39. Calligraphy on a Glass Plate

The Honseki would not even let the smallest thing go to waste. When the Honseki began practicing calligraphy in 1891 when he was 60 years old, at first he thought it was wasteful to actually write on paper. So he practiced on a glass plate and wiped the ink off each time.

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Tenri Forum Presentation on July 17, 2006

Taking Cues from Oyasama’s Divine Model in Creating an Environmentally Conscious Culture

(This is my manuscript from my presentation at Tenri Forum 2006 at the Section Meeting Tenrikyo and Its Approach to the Environment)


Hello everyone. Although I fear that I am by no means an expert and lack a background in environmental activism which our two previous presenters—Mr. Cedric Noto and Ms. Amira Dali—have, I hope to use the best of my limited background in what I call “Tenrikyology,” or Tenrikyo studies, to approach the subject of this section meeting.

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