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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 65

65. Drawn Here to Be Used

The following incident happened around June 1879. Oyasama used to say every night:

“I need a personal attendant. I need one.”

The intermediaries, Gisaburo Nakata, Chusaku Tsuji and Rihachi Yamamoto, after discussing the matter, consulted Shuji. Whereupon he suggested, “Rin should be a suitable person.”

So promptly the next morning at ten o’clock, Shuji and Nakata, followed by Rin Masui, went to see Oyasama to receive her approval. Shuji explained. Oyasama immediately gave these words:

“At once, at once, at once, at once. Drawn here to be used. At once, at once, at once. Quickly, quickly. You are overdue. You are overdue. Sah, sah, be joyful, be joyful. Whatever you do, do it with the thought that you are serving God. Whatever you do God will accept ten thousandfold. Sah, sah, quickly, quickly, quickly. At once, at once, at once.”

In this way Rin served Oyasama as Her personal attendant from that night until Oyasama withdrew Her physical being1 in 1887.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 57

Continue reading Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 65

  1. This is an old gloss for “on-mi (more frequently utsushimio kakusareru,” a phrase that is only used to refer to Oyasama’s passing. This phrase is currently translated as “withdrew from physical life” in most cases. “Hid her physical being” is an even older English gloss.

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 47

47. Be Joyful of the Future

On the evening of June 18, 1876, Gisaburo Nakata said, “Oyasama often says:

‘The pine tree may die, but do not worry.’

We were wondering which pine tree She meant.” Rin Masui then told of the prevailing superstitions among the people: “A pine tree that has been exorcised will die. The pine tree in the Masui residence has been exorcised, so the pine tree will die and the family is doomed. It will die out. This is what the people are saying.” Hearing this, Nakata immediately went and asked Oyasama the meaning of this talk about pine trees. Oyasama said:

“Sah, sah, do you understand? Do you understand? Although you cannot see anything today, be joyful of the future. Be joyful! The pine tree may die, but do not worry. No matter what people say, no matter what people may say, do not pay any attention to what people say.”

A few moments later, Oyasama added:

“The pine tree in the residence, the pine tree may die, but do not worry. There is joy in the future. That residence is to become an uchiwake-basho, a place of salvation.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 41

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 46

46. Everything from This to That

One day a follower brought a large fish for an offering. After the fish was offered, Shuji asked Rin Masui to prepare it. Rin looked for a carving knife but could not find one. Then Shuji said, “Orin, is it a carving knife you are looking for? There is a large vegetable knife in the kitchen. Use that to prepare the fish.” There was no carving knife.

Rin thought, “How inconvenient,” and one day asked to have the day off, and returned to Kawachi. As that day happened to be the day of Otaiya at Yao,* she immediately went to Yao and bought a carving knife, a thin fish-slicer, a pair of scissors, and other useful household items. She returned to the Residence and presented them as a gift from her. Shuji and Matsue were so delighted with the presents that Shuji said, “Such nice things! I want to show them to Grandmother.** Come along with us,” he urged. When they met Oyasama, Rin first thanked Her for the day off. Oyasama accepted the presents and said:

“Orin, you have given thought to everything from this to that. Oh, I am grateful. Oyasama was very pleased.”

It is said that Rin, overwhelmed with the graciousness of Oyasama, bowed, pressing her forehead against the tatami-mat and shed tears of gratitude.


* Otaiya at Yao refers to a string of roadside stands which open between the Temple of Yao and the Temple of Kyuhoji on the eleventh and twenty-seventh of each month.

** Oyasama.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 40–41 Continue reading Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 46

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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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 44

44. A Snowy Day

After Rin Masui entered the faith, she diligently visited the Residence during the years 1875 and 1876.

One of her visits was on January 10th. It had been snowing heavily since the morning. Rin was on the way to the Residence from Kawachi. When she entered Yamato Province the snow began to fall in a whirl as a storm gathered. She was crossing Taka Bridge of Nukatabe. The bridge at that time was less than one meter wide and there was no railing on it. She was afraid that she might fall so she crawled barefoot on the snow-covered bridge.

She had struggled along to the middle, when a sudden blast of wind struck her, causing her to sway dangerously, almost falling off the bridge. This happened many times. Each time she clung to the bridge, pressed against the snow, and crawled like an ant, praying earnestly, “Namu, Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto, Namu, Tenri-Ō-no-Mikoto.” She was just barely able to cross the bridge. Then, going through Miyando and Nikaido, she arrived at the Residence around four o’clock in the afternoon. When she slid open the door and entered the Place for the Service, Iye Murata told her, “Just this moment Oyasama was looking out of the window, and said:

‘Well, well. Someone is coming on this stormy day. How sincere she is! She must be having a hard time of it.’ “

Rin was overjoyed with her safe return to the Residence, saying, “Ah, thank God!” Her hands and feet were numb after walking about thirty kilometers from Kawachi to the Residence in the snowstorm. Those people who happened to be there helped her take off her traveling attire, took good care of her in many ways and warmed her with three braziers until warmth returned to her body. Then she went into the presence of Oyasama to pay her respects, and Oyasama said to her:

“Oh, I am so glad to see you have come. God the Parent lent a hand to bring you home. You had a hard time, slipping at many places. However, you were joyful. Sah, sah, God the Parent accepts fully, fully. Whatever you ask, it is accepted. God protects you. Enjoy it, enjoy it, enjoy it!”

So saying, Oyasama grasped Rin’s cold hands with both Her own. It was something more than warming them over the brazier. Rin was moved with gratitude and awe at the inexpressible warmth of Oyasama.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 38–39 Continue reading Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 44

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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The Truth That I Do Not Tell and Cannot Tell

The following is an excerpt from Omichi no joshiki [Tenrikyo Fundamentals] (pp. 137–142) 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.

The Truth That I Do Not Tell and Cannot Tell

There are times when people are able to understand each other without saying anything out loud. In a majority of cases, it is likely an unspoken agreement to help one another, ala, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” There is also the Japanese proverb, “The eyes speak as much as the mouth.” Words between lovers can often seem unnecessary.

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Anecdotes of the Honseki Izo Iburi 53

53. Before a Timely Talk

The Honseki was often afflicted physically before the delivery of a Timely Talk. It did not matter whether it was day or night. Yet this more frequently occurred at night. Rin Masui or one of the seinens (male attendants) on duty would massage him at such times, either stroking his chest or rubbing his back. Continue reading Anecdotes of the Honseki Izo Iburi 53

Anecdotes of the Honseki Izo Iburi 51

51. Rin Masui Becomes the Honseki’s Personal Attendant

After the passing of Izo’s beloved wife Sato on March 18, 1893, the need for find someone to wait on the Honseki arose. A request for Divine Directions was already posed on March 24, asking, “Is the personal attendant of the Honseki to be a man or a woman?” Yet God the Parent gave no clear answer, only encouraging everyone to put their minds together and come to a collective agreement on the matter.

Continue reading Anecdotes of the Honseki Izo Iburi 51

The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 30

The following is a translation of Part 30 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the June 2005 (No. 438) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

Part 30: “I Accept the Mind You Have Settled”

Rin Masui was raised as the only child of prestigious household in Kawachi. She married a man who was adopted into her family and was blessed with children. She lived a happy life free from worries and misfortune. However, in the year she turned 30, she was at a loss of having to look after her three children alone after both her father and husband suddenly passed away. She herself succumbed to an eye disease known as sokohi1 and completely lost her vision.

Continue reading The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 30

  1. Sokohi appears to have been used to refer to a number of eye ailments, leading to a lack of consensus in the translations from Anecdotes of Oyasama (whose 200 selections were divided and translated by several people). Sokohi has been variously rendered in the English Anecdotes as “amaurosis” (24, p. 17); “glaucoma” (36, p. 29); “cataracts” (115, p. 96); and simply “eye disease” (145 , p. 117).