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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 27

27. Happy Day

On the morning of the tenth day of Oyasama’s visit to the Matsuo residence in July 1872, Ichibei and his wife went to Oyasama’s room to extend their greetings. Oyasama asked:

“Would you like to have God enshrined?”

Ichibei replied, “Yes, I would like to have God enshrined, but where would be the best place?”

“Over there,”

Oyasama said, pointing Her finger to where the Buddhist altar was. It was so unexpected, like a bolt out of the blue, that Ichibei and his wife were speechless, thinking of their ancestors enshrined in the Buddhist altar. The couple exchanged glances and silently nodded their heads in approval. Ichibei asked, “Then where shall the Buddhist altar be moved?” Oyasama said:

“The ancestors will not be angry, nor will they oppose the move. Set it in a similar place in the other room.”

The other room was the old guest room. A carpenter was called at once to draw up plans for God’s altar in accordance with Oyasama’s directions. Preparations were made for the relocation of the Buddhist altar. The Buddhist priest was strongly opposed to their proposal, but they asked him to offer the prayer against his will. The relocation of the altar was completed that night without trouble. The following morning four carpenters came to build God’s altar.

“If you do not hurry you will not finish in time,”

Oyasama said to speed up the work. It was completed on the evening of the twelfth day of Her stay. The next morning, the couple went to Oyasama’s room to extend their greetings, but She was not there. When they went to the other room, they found Her sitting silently before the newly completed altar.

“You did well. This will be fine, this will be fine,”

Oyasama said, and then She went to the sickroom of their eldest son, Narazo, who was unable to move from his bed. As Oyasama sat beside him, She said:

“Your head must itch.”

She took Her own comb and began to comb Narazo’s hair slowly. Oyasama said as She returned to Her room:

“Today is a nice day, a happy day, because today God is to be enshrined,”

and She smiled happily. The couple was wondering how the enshrinement was going to be done when they heard someone at the front door. Haru went to greet the visitor and it was Shuji, Oyasama’s son. As soon as Shuji was escorted to Her room, Oyasama said:

“Arrangements for the enshrinement are complete, so please make the gohei, the sacred staff.”

When it was completed, Oyasama personally took the staff to the altar and offered Her prayers to sanctify it.

“God is going to be here also from today. How happy! This is truly wonderful,”

Oyasama said, overjoyed.

“I am returning home now,”

She said, and She returned to the Residence.

The Buddhist altar was completely removed from the home at a later date.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 21–23 Continue reading Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 27

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 25

25. Seventy-Five Days of Fasting

This episode occurred in 1872 when Oyasama was seventy-five years of age. During a period of seventy-five days of fasting, She visited the home of Ichibei Matsuo for the purpose of saving people in Higashiwakai Village, north of Tatsuta. Before leaving the Residence, She had three small cups of sweet rice wine and three round pieces of raw eggplant.

“Let us start on our trip,”

She said. “Please go on a litter,” someone pleaded. She replied:

“Remember that this is a test,”

and, so saying, began to walk briskly. When She arrived at the Matsuo residence, Ichibei and his wife were so overjoyed that they were close to tears. Assuming that Oyasama was tired and exhausted after walking about sixteen kilometers while fasting, they had a hearty feast prepared for Her.

“What a tempting dinner! Thank you very much. I accept your kind thoughtfulness, and it fills my stomach. Please take away the dishes now, and bring me water and salt instead,”

She said. Ichibei’s wife, Haru, thought that the dishes might not have been to Her liking, so she inquired about it.

“Each one of them is my favorite. They all look delicious,”

Oyasama replied. Whereupon Haru said, “But you haven’t touched anything. You ask for just water and salt, but I cannot do that.”

“I am now fasting in accordance with God’s will. My stomach is always full. I understand how you feel. Well, then why don’t you take those chopsticks and try to feed me?”

Oyasama asked.

Haru was pleased and she moved the tray in front of Oyasama. Haru picked up the bowl of rice in one hand and, using chopsticks, took some rice from it. Just as she was about to move the chopsticks toward Oyasama, who was waiting to be served, Haru’s knees began to shake. The rice on the chopsticks, together with the bowl, suddenly dropped upon the tray. Bowing deeply before Oyasama, Haru humbly apologized. She withdrew the tray from in front of Oyasama, who was smiling, and brought another tray that she had prepared.

“Thank you very much for your trouble. Are you going to feed Me again?”

Oyasama said, opening Her mouth wide. Haru again picked up the bowl and took some rice with the chopsticks. As Haru moved her hand toward Oyasama’s mouth, Haru’s right thumb and index finger twitched painfully, and the chopsticks and rice fell on Oyasama’s lap. Feeling deeply ashamed, Haru apologized for her repeated carelessness.

“I am thankful for your kind thoughts, but it will be the same no matter how many times you try. God has stopped you. So please take away the tray of dishes quickly,”

Oyasama said tenderly to console her.

So Oyasama continued to fast during Her stay, and news of this reached the Residence. On the fifth day, three persons — daughter Kokan, Iburi, and Yohei of Ichieda — came from the Residence. Kokan asked Oyasama to have some food.

“You all think that I am not eating of my own accord, but it is not so. It is just that I cannot eat. If you think otherwise, try and feed me,”

Oyasama said. Kokan tried to feed Her, but the chopsticks jumped up and hung in the air. Witnessing this, everyone was convinced. So Oyasama’s fasting continued to the day of Her return.

Shuji came to take Oyasama home, and Ichibei decided to go with Shuji to borrow a litter from the Kohigashi family of Byodoji Village. They asked Oyasama to ride in the litter, and when they came to Tatsuta, Oyasama said:

“I feel dizzy.”

So they respected Her wish, and Oyasama began to walk. Oyasama explained:

“God has said, ‘Do not ride in a litter. Walk.’ “

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 18–20

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Ascetic Training

The following excerpt is from Omichi no joshiki [Tenrikyo Fundamentals] (pp. 146–149) by Koji Sato, professor at Tenri University and instructor at Tenri Seminary. Note: This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

Ascetic Training

Many religions have established forms of ascetic training to deepen one’s faith and to cultivate the mind. There are some that are life-threatening and actually have taken the lives of a number of people.

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