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Cornerstone: Chapter 13-1

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.

Training Successors of the Path

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 71

71. In Such a Heavy Rain

On April 14, 1880, Umejiro Izutsu and his wife, accompanied by their daughter Tane, returned to Jiba for the first time. It had been raining hard when they left Osaka the previous morning but the weather cleared up toward noon. They stayed overnight on the way and arrived at the Residence around four o’clock in the afternoon on the following day. They were granted an audience at once by Oyasama, who patted Tane on the head, saying:

“It is very good of you to have come in such a heavy rain.”

Oyasama added:

“You’re from Osaka, aren’t you? You are drawn here by the marvelous God. God is letting the roots of a great tree take firm hold in Osaka. You need not worry about the child’s illness.”

Afterward She placed a sheet of sacred paper on the affected area of Tane’s body which had not yet been completely cured. Needless to say, she was very soon completely cured.

The deep emotion which Umejiro felt when he met Oyasama and the marvelous cure kindled in him a passion for the faith and inspired him to spread the teachings and save others with single-hearted devotion.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 61–62

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 62

62. East from Here

In December 1878, Togoro, father of Toshiro Yamamoto of Kasa Village in Yamato, came down with a serious eye disease. The father’s condition gradually grew more serious and became beyond the doctor’s help. Even incantations proved to be ineffective. Toshiro, having no other course opened to him, was in a state of deep despair when he heard from his friend, “In Shoyashiki there is a god who saves man from illness.” Toshiro’s only thought was to have his father get well at any cost. Because of weakness from the long illness and the eye disease, it was difficult for his father to walk. Therefore, Toshiro carried him on his back and walked about twelve kilometers of mountainous road. Thus he returned to Jiba for the first time.

They were received by Oyasama, who spoke these words:

“Welcome home ! Soon he will be saved. Out of respect for your devotion to your father, he will be saved.”

They lodged at the house called Inada in Shoyashiki Village and stayed at Jiba for a little over a month. During that time they worshiped day and night and listened to the teachings taught by the intermediaries. The father, even with such a serious illness, received the divine providence and began to recover slowly but steadily each day, and finally recovered completely.

In the summer of 1880, Toshiro’s wife, Shyu, was cured of a stomach ailment and then Kozaburo, his second son, from convulsions; Toshiro continued to follow the faith more fervently.

Also, one autumn when he returned to pray for the salvation of a sick person to whom he had taught the teachings for the first time, Oyasama said:

“Yamamoto from Kasa, how faithfully you always come to worship! About the illness there is no need to worry.”

Upon receiving these words of Oyasama he returned home and found that the sick person already had been cured.

As he continued his devotion in this way, he came to know Chuzaburo Koda quite well. Koda, who admired Yamamoto’s steadfast faith, spoke about it to Oyasama. The words of Oyasama were:

“East from here, at the remote village of Kasa, there shall be worshipers from all directions. Go at once.”

Thereupon Koda went to Kasa Village with Chusaku Tsuji and conveyed these words of Oyasama to Yamamoto. Thus Yamamoto became all the more ardent in spreading the fragrance of the word of God and saving others.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 54–55

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 53

53. From This Residence

One day in 1877, when Yoshie Iburi was twelve years old, her fingertips ached unbearably. She asked Oyasama what to do. Oyasama said to her:

“Learn to play the shamisen.*”

She decided to learn at once. However, in those days at Takashina in Ichinomoto there was no place to learn the shamisen. So she asked Oyasama, “Shall I go to Koriyama or some other place to learn?” Oyasama said to her:

“I am not sending you anywhere to learn, or inviting anyone to teach you. All things are to be learned in this Residence. There is nothing that can be learned from the world. Because it is first taught from this Residence, there is truth in what is learned.”

Oyasama personally taught her how to play the shamisen. This was to become the shamisen part for the Service.

* Shamisen: a three-stringed instrument similar to a lute which is plucked with a plectrum.

Note: Yoshie Iburi was married in 1888. Her married name was Yoshie Nagao.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 46–47

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 52

52. Learn the Koto*

In 1877, Oyasama told Tomegiku Tsuji, who was then eight years old:

“Learn to play the koto.”

But her father, Chusaku, ignored the instruction, saying, “As we are farmers, she does not need to learn to play the koto.”

After several days, Chusaku developed a large boil on his right arm. He reflected on his condition and realized that he should have his daughter learn to play the koto. So he made up his mind and went to Koriyama to buy a koto.

While he was talking with the shopkeeper at the music shop, the boil on his right arm burst and the pain stopped completely. He realized that this indeed had been God’s intention. Carrying a big koto on his shoulder with the arm which had hurt until shortly before, he went home in high spirits.


* Koto: a thirteen-stringed long zither which is plucked with picks. This instrument is one of the women’s instruments used in the performance of the Service.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 45–46

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 51

51. Family Treasure

One day in June or July 1877, Iye Murata was serving as Oyasama‘s attendant as usual, when Oyasama unexpectedly handed her a piece of red cloth prepared for a vest and said:

“Oiye, please sew this.”

Iye wondered why Oyasama told her to do the sewing, but before long, she finished the work and Oyasama at once put on the newly tailored vest.

On the evening of that day, Iye’s son, Kamematsu, returned to Jiba to worship at the Residence because of severe pain in his arm.

When told of his return, Oyasama said:

“Oh, really?”

and soon after, She went to bed. After a while, She sat up and said:

“Call Kamematsu here if he still has pain in his arm.”

When he came before Her, Oyasama said:

“Sah, sah, do not wear this out. It shall be your family treasure. Whenever occasions require, put it on and pray.”

So saying, She took off the red vest and personally helped him put it on. She further instructed him:

“Keep it on and go to the Kanrodai at once to perform the service of Ashiki harai, tasuke tamae, ichiretsu sumasu Kanrodai.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 45

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 40

40. Stay Here

The year was 1874. Yonosuke Okada (later known as Yosaburo Miyamori), at the age of eighteen, had a severe pain in his arm. He visited this and that doctor but the pain did not ease at all. He leaned against the bedding and suffered day and night. Looking at his suffering, Wasa, his married sister from Miwa, conveyed the teachings to him, suggesting, “Why don’t you try to go to Shoyashiki?”

Yonosuke had heard about the living god of Shoyashiki before, but at this time he decided to return to the Residence. When he had an audience with Oyasama, She said to him:

“Yonosuke, welcome home.”

Upon receiving these words, the pain in his arm instantly stopped. He spent all that day at the Residence and went back to Higai Village that night.

However, when he returned home, he began to feel pain in his arm again. He waited impatiently for daybreak and returned to the Residence. Then, incredibly, the pain in his arm stopped.

These same events occurred repeatedly and during three years he returned to the Residence almost every day. Toward the end of this period, Oyasama said gently:

“Yonosuke, stay here.”

And so, in accord with Her words, he stayed at the Residence and helped with the work there. He remained there because unless he did so, the pain in his arm would return.

It was in this way that Yonosuke began to work at the Residence.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 34–35 Continue reading Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 40

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 36

36. Firm Resolution

On the morning of December 4, 1874, as Rin Masui tried to get up, she strangely felt pain. Both of her eyes had become badly swollen. They grew worse each day. When the consulting doctor diagnosed it as glaucoma, she became frightened. She received medical treatment, but finally lost her eyesight. This happened two years after her husband passed away.

The whole family was overcome with grief. During the year-end and New Year’s season, twelve-year-old Ikutaro, the elder child, heard the news of a god from a fellow traveler at Tatsuta. The traveler said, “The god ‘Tenryu-san’ at Shoyashiki in Yamato will save anyone from any sickness. One has only to offer prayers for three days and three nights.” Upon Ikutaro’s return, the parent and child promptly began praying for three days and three nights, facing toward Yamato, but there was no sign of improvement. So they sent a man-servant, Tamehachi, to Shoyashiki to pray for the family. He left Ogata early in the morning, and arrived at the Residence before noon. Tamehachi saw Oyasama, who was wearing the red garments, and he prayed to Her. He listened to the teachings from the intermediaries and asked to have the main points of the teachings written down on paper to take home.

As Ikutaro read aloud to Rin the notes that Tamehachi had brought home, Rin said, “Since we have thus received God’s teachings, I don’t care what happens to my physical body. For the sake of eliminating the family innen I will engage in the work of single-hearted salvation, not minding the severe cold and heat, and even if I have to walk with the aid of two canes. We three, mother and children, will follow the path with joy, even through fire and water.” This was the firm resolution of the whole family.

Not only Rin, but Ikutaro as well as eight-year-old Tomie poured cold water over themselves as a form of ascetic ritual. The whole family joined in a three-day and three-night prayer. Facing Jiba, they chanted, “Namu, Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto,” over and over, and prayed earnestly.

The dawn of the third day came. Rin had been sitting before the brazier throughout the prayer, and Tomie, who was sitting beside her mother, noticed a ray of light through a slight opening in the door. She said, without thinking, “Mother, it’s daybreak.”

Hearing her daughter’s voice, Rin turned toward the front door. She saw a gleam of light through a slight opening in the door. Thinking that it might be a dream, she quickly stood up, rushed to the front entrance and rolled open the sliding door. Outside it was glittering with morning sunlight, just as it had been years before. She had received a wonderful blessing and had recovered her eyesight completely.

Rin returned at once to Jiba to offer her thanks. She thanked Oyasama through the intermediary, Gisaburo Nakata. Oyasama said:

“Sah, sah, you lost your eyesight during one night. Sah, sah, it is an innen, innen. God has drawn you to this Residence. Welcome, welcome home. Sayemon,* please explain the teachings in detail to her. Please explain to her.”

Rin stayed over that night. The next day she heard the teachings from Nakata. While she was learning the hand movements for the morning and evening service, she received Oyasama’s words:

“Sah, sah, your soul has an innen. When it is the divine will to use a person in God’s service, God will draw that person to this Residence by any means. Be thankful and follow the path joyfully, no matter what you may encounter. Persons who are destined to be used as instruments in God’s service will be drawn to this Residence even by means of physical pain. Because I must draw you even by means of giving you suffering, what I do is different depending on the person. It is natural that there is difference. Because of My intent, you never got any better. It was only natural that you never got any better because I do things differently. Your eyesight never improved. Sah, sah, it is an innen, innen. Sayemon, please explain in detail. You could not see because it was as if God’s hands were in front of your eyes. Sah, she says she cannot see ahead. When the hands are removed you can see at once. You can see, can’t you? Sah, sah, take heart, take heart. You will not have any hardships, even if you wish to undergo hardships. It is all up to the individual’s mind.”

Rin stayed over again that night. The next morning, she asked Nakata to tell Oyasama that she was returning to Kawachi, and she again received Oyasama’s words:

“You just heard a bit of the teachings and you have returned from a far place, passing through mountain trails and valleys. Sah, sah, I accept your firm resolution. Look ahead with joy, with joy. Sah, sah, I will provide you with clothing, food, and spending money. Remember you are to serve God for a long time. Sah, sah, look ahead, look ahead, look ahead with joy.”

Rin was speechless and was moved to tears. Rin Masui was then thirty-two years of age.


* Gisaburo Nakata was the former Sayemon Nakata. In or about 1873, due to the Japanese government’s edict abolishing names ending in “-suke,” and “-yemon,” “Sayemon” was changed to “Gisaburo.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 29–32

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 11

11. God Has Drawn You to this Residence

It was about the middle of January 1864 when Chushichi Yamanaka was thirty-eight years of age. Chushichi’s wife, Sono, had been suffering from severe hemorrhoids for over two years. Her condition became so critical that for several days she could not even drink any liquids. Two doctors had given up hope of recovery. Just about this time, Chushichi learned about the teachings of God from Seibei of Shiba Village. He immediately returned to the Residence* and was granted an audience with Oyasama. She said:

“You have an innen** with God and God has drawn you to this Residence. You need not worry about your wife’s condition. I will save her in an instant, but in return, you must be willing to serve God.”


* In Tenrikyo, Jiba, or the Residence, is the place of Creation. Therefore, it is said that a person ‘returns’ to Jiba even if it is the first time that he goes there in his life.

** Innen: literally “destiny” or “cause and effect.” Man’s original innen is to live a joyous life. Being allow free will, man has used his mind to pursue selfish goals, incurring dust which results in bad innen. In order to change his bad innen into a good one, man must gain merit by using his mind in accord with God’s will.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 6–7.

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 8

8. By a Slight Illness

On May 6, 1861, Koto Nishida had a toothache. She left home to visit an Inari temple in Senzoku. Senzoku lies to the north of her house, but she was walking to the east without intending to do so, and happened to meet a friend of about the same age. This friend had married into the Okuda family in Bessho. She asked Koto where she was going, and then told her that if she would pay a visit to Shoyashiki, any illness could be cured. So Koto made a pilgrimage to Shoyashiki at once. She arrived toward evening. Oyasama greeted her:

“Welcome home. I have been waiting for you.”


“I have given you guidance by a slight illness only.”

Then, telling her the divine teachings, Oyasama gave her the sacred powder of roasted grain. By the time Koto got home after listening to the divine teachings, the toothache had completely stopped. She did not pay a visit to Shoyashiki for some days. Then, her eyes began to hurt violently. Immediately, she visited Oyasama, who said to her:

“I have given you guidance through an illness.”

Oyasama taught Koto the divine teachings step by step, and prayed for her. The pain stopped by the time Koto left to go home.

For the following three days Koto visited Shoyashiki to clean the Residence, bringing her lunch with her. That was the beginning of her faith in Tenrikyo. Koto was thirty-two years old that year.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 4–5

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