The fourth installment of part two of the “Savoring the Realm of the Mikagura-uta” lecture series, sponsored by the Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion, was held at 13:00 on July 25. The lecturer was Takanori Sato sensei and he was assigned to discuss Song Eight (Ya Kudari-me) of the Mikagura-uta (The Songs for the Service). The title of the lecture was “Hayaku fushin ni torikakare” (“Begin the construction at once!”). Here is the current translation of Song Eight:
First, In this wide world and its many countries; Are there no stones or standing trees?
Second, Though I carry out marvelous construction, I never ask a favor of anyone.
Third, All coming together from the world one after another, It will be accomplished.
Fourth, Forgetting away the mind of greed, Set out to determine your mind firmly!
Fifth, However long you may hesitate, It will never be accomplished by yourselves.
Sixth, Never hasten so thoughtlessly! Ponder over it from your innermost heart!
Seventh, When your mind becomes somewhat purified, Begin the construction at once!
Eighth, Having entered into the mountains, I have already seen the stones and standing trees.
Ninth, Whether to cut down this tree or to take that stone; It entirely depends upon the heart of God.
Finally, This time, the hearts of all equally Have become completely purified.
Lecture Four “Hayaku fushin ni torikakare” (Song Eight) by Takanori Sato (translation of Tenri jiho article, August 23, 2009 edition, p. 4)
Note: English translations of particular terms, phrases, and my additions to the text (in my hope to ensure smoother reading) are put in brackets.
(Beginning of translation)
Yoshinaru Ueda sensei has straightforwardly explained each Song of the Twelve Songs from the Mikagura-uta [with names/themes such as] “the rich harvest chapter,” “the health and peace chapter” and “faith chapter.” Regarding Song Eight, he writes, “It is a chapter on kensetsu [construction] that brims with the most vitality and vigor in The Songs for the Service.” He further stresses that it is a “chapter about the gathering of Yoboku for the purpose of fushin [construction].” Here we can get an idea how important Song Eight is in regards to [teaching us about] the everyday faith of Yoboku.
For the theme [of my lecture] today — “Begin the construction at once!” (verse seven) — the interpretation of the term fushin [construction] especially carries much significance. Ueda sensei writes: “Fushin in Tenrikyo does not merely [signify] visible ‘construction.’ Ultimately, it refers to the unseeable, ‘kokoro no fushin‘ [spiritual construction].”
Further, in the opening verse, “In this wide world and its many countries,” Ueda sensei interprets “sekai” [world] as the “entire face of the Earth” and “kuninaka” [many countries] as “the countries of the world that have been regionally marked off from one another by boundaries.” Taking this idea a step further, we can think of the construction that we are told to begin both as a tangible and intangible phenomenon that is to develop on a glocal (global and local) level.
The most pressing issue humanity faces concerns the Earth’s environment. As a specialist of this field, I cannot help but conclude that Song Eight provides us with clues to help resolve environmental issues. In the Ofudesaki, we read, “Thunder, earthquakes, great winds, and floods: these are from the regret and anger of Tsukihi” (8:58). We are taught here that, starting with climate change, various natural disasters come about because of God the Parent’s “regret and anger.”
The environmental issues of the present is the “sejo no kagami” [world’s mirror] that happens to reflect of the “dusts of the mind” that have piled up due to human activities pursued in the name of profit and convenience [with the mindset that] “all is well if the present is well for the self alone.”
Technical solutions conceived by governments and specialized agencies are indispensable to resolve such issues. Yet at the same time, I imagine that that each of us is expected to have the awareness that we are alive in God’s bosom, the body of God, and that we must aim for “kokoro no seijin” [spiritual growth] (spiritual construction) as we sweep away our own dusts of the mind.
This “construction” precisely refers to the gratitude we express for the “Ten no atae” [gifts of heaven] we receive from God the Parent on a daily basis. It is essential that we begin with small efforts such as taking care of things and being humble.
God the Parent has said, “If you bind yourselves together in a unity of mind, I shall provide any blessings for you” (Osashizu, January 19, 1898). It is possible that, by taking the verse “Begin the construction at once!” to heart and having Yoboku unite their efforts and help one another, we will uncover a breakthrough that helps resolve our environmental problems.
Truly, Song Eight is a “chapter about the gathering of for the purpose of fushin.”
(End of translation)
I can’t help but feel that the article is leaving out essential chunks of Sato sensei’s presentation. (But I can’t fill in the gaps since I wasn’t able to attend the lecture last month.) The condensed version here feels awfully incomplete and unsatisfying.