Tag Archives: Song Three

Song Three Summary

Song Three covers a diverse array of themes, which include:

  • [1st verse] The revelation that the Place for the Service (Jiba) in Shoyashiki is the origin of the world.
  • [2nd verse] Although Oyasama (Oyagami) does not explicitly request anyone to build the Place for the Service, [3rd verse] people outside the Residence will gather to initiate and participate so it will come to be built.
  • [4th verse] You have done well to have followed this far until now, a true, lasting salvation will be made available from now on.
  • [5th verse] Always laughed at and slandered, to the point until Kami will be compelled to promise and provide unprecedented forms of salvation.
  • [6th verse] Do not make any wishes that lack merit or that are not backed up with the necessary effort that will help bring them about. Instead, become of a heart-mind that is straight and unswerving.
  • [7th verse] A declaration: In any situation from now on I will go in a straight and unswerving manner while leaning on Kami.
  • [8th verse] There is nothing more painful than illness. I, too, will join in the hinokishin, to contribute on a day-to-day basis.
  • [9th verse] I have entrusted myself until now, but did not know I was entrusting myself to the original Kami.
  • [10th, finally] At this time, as various forms of protection have been revealed, there is no mistake that an actual Kami, the Source of life’s sustenance is involved.

Continue reading Song Three Summary

Song Three, verses 9–10

Song Three, verses 9–10

九ツ      こゝまでしん/\゛したけれど もとのかみとハしらなんだ
九つ  此処迄信心したけれど 元の神とは知らなかった
Kokonotsu / koko made / shinjin shita keredo / Moto no Kami to wa / shirananda
Nine / until here / believed have done but / the original Kami / did not know

十ド このたびあらはれた じつのかみにはさうゐない
到頭 此の度現れた 実の神には相違ない
Tōdo / Kono tabi / arawareta / Jitsu no Kami ni wa / sōinai
Ten, finally / This time / appeared / true, actual Kami / there is no mistake

Continue reading Song Three, verses 9–10

Song Three, verses 7–8

Verse 7

七ツ      なんでもこれからひとすぢに かみにもたれてゆきまする
七つ なんでもこれから一筋(一条)に 神に凭れて行きまする
Nanatsu / Nandemo / kore kara / hitosuji ni / Kami ni motarete / yukimasuru
Seven / In all matters / from now on / in a straight line / Kami lean on / [I] will go
Continue reading Song Three, verses 7–8

Song Three, verses 2–4

Verses 2 and 3

二ツ      ふしぎなつとめばしよハ たれにたのみはかけねども
二つ 不思議なつとめ場所は 誰に頼みは掛けないけれども
Futatsu / Fushigi na / Tsutome basho wa / tare ni / tanomi wa / kakene domo
Two / wondrous / Place for the Service / anyone / request / although not make

三ツ みなせかいがよりあうて でけたちきたるがこれふしぎ
三つ 皆世界が寄り合うて 出来立ち来るがこれ不思議
Mittsu / Mina / sekai ga / yori-ōte / deke-tachi kitaru ga / kore fushigi
Three / All / the world / will gather together / That it comes to be built / this is a wonder
Continue reading Song Three, verses 2–4

Song Three, verse 1

Song Three is one of two Songs that use the open folding fans. Whereas the fans now have a red-orange disc1 on a white background and brings to mind the Japanese flag, they supposedly represent the Sun2 in addition to the Moon and the Sun.3 Folding fans from the late 1880s and 1890s had the Sun and crescent Moon.4 It is unclear when or why the church leadership adopted to use the folding fans with a red-orange disc, but it may worthy to consider a change away from the present convention sometime in the future.

Verse 1

一ツ      ひのもとしよやしきの つとめのばしよハよのもとや
一つ 日の本(火の元)庄屋敷(初屋敷)の つとめの場所は世の元や
Hitotsu / Hi no moto / Shoyashiki no / Tsutome no basho wa / yo no moto ya
One / origin of the Sun / in Shoyashiki / The Place for the Service is / the world’s origin

Continue reading Song Three, verse 1

  1. According to my observations, the disc of older folding fans tend to have a redder tinge while it is more of a more orange hue in newer fans.
  2. Ueda A 214.
  3. Ono 84. Yoshinaru Ueda states that holding an open folding fan in each hand represents the principle of Tsuki-Hi, Moon-Sun or Cosmic Space-Time. In other words, he states that holding the fans can be interpreted to express the principle of Cosmic Space-Time in a state of spiritual uplift before our very eyes (A 214).
  4. MST 163.

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 95

95. The Path of Eight Hundred Kilometers 

Chuzaburo Koda of Kawahigashi Village in Yamato Province was employed at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Niigata Prefecture. When he went home on vacation late in 1881, he found that the condition of his second daughter, Riki, who had been suffering from an eye disease for two or three years, had become worse. Although medical attention was given, it was said that it was only a matter of time before she would lose her sight.

The new year, 1882, arrived with the whole family being deeply concerned. Early in the year, they were about to decide that they should offer prayers at one of the most famous temples of the country, the Kanzeon at Mount Otowa in Yamato Province. Yosaburo Miyamori of the same village heard of their plan and visited the Koda family. Miyamori had already been a follower in the faith for several years. The family had him offer prayers for Riki at once. The next morning she was able dimly to see her fingers and cookies as well.

As a result, they gave up the idea of going to Mount Otowa, and instead, the parents and Riki returned to the Residence on March 5th. They stayed there for seven days. On the third day, Chuzaburo’s wife, Saki, offered this prayer: “I will offer one of my eyes as a sacrifice, so please save at least one of the eyes of my daughter.” From that night on, Saki gradually lost the sight of one eye. In exchange, Riki gradually regained the sight in one of her own eyes, until it was fully recovered. Chuzaburo was so moved by this wondrous blessing that for the first time he made a firm resolution to have faith in God.

He submitted his resignation to the prefecture because he wished to serve God at the Residence, and because travel between Niigata and the Residence took sixteen days. However, the prefecture refused his resignation and ordered his return. At a complete loss, Chuzaburo asked Oyasama, “What should I do?” She told him:

“There is a bridge of the path which is eight hundred kilometers long, and there is no one but you to cross that bridge.”

Koda was filled with emotion by these words. He made a firm resolution from the depths of his heart to spread the fragrance of the teachings and to save others. He departed on March 17th. Thus, he took the first step of mission work in Niigata Prefecture.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 79–80.

Translation of “Sawa’s note”

“Roughly in the area west of JR Yanagimoto Station in Higaki-cho, Tenri.”

Insight from Yomei Mori sensei

In a pithy article of just six and a half pages, Yomei Mori sensei from the Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion offers much insight regarding this particular selection from Anecdotes, which I will try my best to paraphrase at length here. The main focus is on three key expressions:

  1. ni-hyaku ri” (200 ri or 800 kilometers)
  2. hashi” (bridge)
  3. shinjin” (faith)

200 ri

In discussing the expression 200 ri, while the wondrous blessings his daughter received for her eye condition motivated Chuzaburo Koda to make a “firm resolution to have faith.” The government must have placed great trust in Chuzaburo and his technical expertise to have refused his resignation and demanded for his return.

Chuzaburo, who wished to devote himself exclusively for the path, was caught between carrying out this wish and meeting his worldly responsibilities. Torn, he approached Oyasama for advice and she told him, “There is a bridge of the path which is 200 ri long, and there is no one but you to cross that bridge.”

Mori sensei then speculates that Oyasama’s words here are suggesting that exclusive devotion to the path is not at all incompatible with working in society if one’s heart is in the right place. He then goes on to explain that such a sentiment is embodied in the expression “sato no sennin” or “hermit/sage of the village.” Although hermit/sage is usually associated with a person who secludes oneself from society to free oneself from distractions and practice physical austerities, the phrase “sato no sennin” embodies the ideal in Tenrikyo for adherents to remain in a community and do their best not to be swept away by prevailing social currents.

Mori sensei also suggests that the expression 200 ri symbolically refers to Tenrikyo’s overseas mission of today. There are a variety of ways in which adherents are building bridges in overseas communities, beginning with cultural activities such as judo and instruction of Japanese language to providing medical or financial assistance.


On to the theme of “bridge.” In Niigata Daikyokai monogatari, Oyasama is quoted as saying to Chuzaburo Koda: “I have put in front of you a bridge spanning 200 ri. I put it there with the hope that you would cross it. If you do not cross it, it would mean I placed the bridge for nothing.”

Mori sensei goes on to write that the bridge Oyasama is referring to is obviously not a real bridge but a metaphor for the connection between Jiba and another place (Niigata in Chuzaburo’s specific case). To be connected with Jiba means to be constantly mindful of the original intention that led God to create human beings and the creation process itself. An adherent can outwardly express this connection to Jiba and show one’s appreciation for God’s daily blessings with a “return” or pilgrimage to Jiba.

He then goes on to note:

Even today, when many people return from all over the globe to make a pilgrimage to Jiba, it is a fact that some cannot return even they wish to. There are differing reasons for this. One must enter Japan, one of the world’s biggest economic powerhouses in order to return to Jiba. Financial factors especially loom large for followers from developing countries. It is downright ironic that the homeland of humanity is located in a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world.1

The notion that a person cannot return to Jiba without God’s blessing has been expressed in Scripture.2

Further, there are Timely Talks that warn adherents of the rotting of the spirit, becoming swept away by social currents, and losing sight of the original Parent, which will cause one’s bridge to rot or be swept away.3

Mori sensei then mentions that although Chuzaburo never steps foot in Niigata again after he returned to Jiba to serve at the Residence4, the people who he led to have faith in the path continued to support the “bridge” that had been put into place and made efforts to establish Niigata Daikyokai.


The word “shinjin” (faith) makes several other appearances in instructions attributed to Oyasama in Anecdotes. Some representative selections in addition to selection 95 include:

Mori sensei writes that these instructions describe a faith that anyone can practice at anytime on a daily basis in any day and age. Such a faith has much in common with the notion of the “hermit/sage in the village” alluded above.

Finally, Mori sensei offers his commentary on a number of verses from The Songs for the Service that include the word “shinjin” (rendered in the official translation as “believe(d)”). He suggests the sequence of its appearances represent different stages of how faith should develop.

  1. Although one believed until now, one did not know that Tenri-O-no-Mikoto was the Creator (Moto no Kami) and not merely a common deity who could be petitioned to with prayers or ritual incantations for personal benefit (paraphrase of Song Three, verse 9).
  2. If one continues one’s faith, one will be blessed with a life that is at the apex of joy (paraphrase of Song Five, verse 5).
  3. If one is resolved to continue one’s faith in any situation, unite one’s minds with companions of the faith and form a “brotherhood” or religious organization (paraphrase of Song Five, verse 10). This demonstrates that faith in the path is not merely an individual matter, but ought to be conveyed to others and embarked on together. Faith that is open to anyone now must become faith that can be shared with anyone.
  4. Even if one has had faith for many years, a usage of the mind that goes against God’s intention will not do (paraphrase of Song Six, verse 7).
  5. Even so, one must continue one’s faith. But if one’s mindset is not corrected upon self-examination, one will have to start from the very beginning or in some cases return the body (paraphrase of Song Six, verse 8).
  6. When one lives in accordance with the teachings and embarks on the path exclusively devoted to performing the Service and saving others, the result one’s efforts must appear (paraphrase of Song Six, verse 9). While a person’s faith is not something that is readily visible, as one continues it, a group dedicated to the faith naturally forms and one’s efforts must manifest itself in visible form as “effectiveness.” When one boldly crosses a bridge placed by God, people at the other end will begin to believe in the original Parent, forming a group of believers and a road that connects to Jiba.

My take / research

My intuition leads to me to assume that “Kanzeon at Mount Otowa” refers to Kannon-ji, but I can’t be completely sure.

Oyasama is also described using the metaphor of a bridge in Anecdotes 33, saying to Risaburo Yamamoto as follows: “You shall be saved for sure if you decide to dedicate your whole life to serve this Residence. The bridge between countries; a rough log bridge. Without a bridge, a river cannot be crossed. Will you dedicate your life or not? Arakitoryo, arakitoryo!

The word “arakitoryo” or “(rough) wood master” implies that Risaburo was asked to become the master to find and hone the rough pieces of timber (i.e., missionaries) that can be fashioned into bridges. While Risaburo made some missionary efforts himself (as described in this story), it appears that he devoted most of his time at the Residence as an “intermediary,” and instructed Oyasama’s teachings to returning followers. In this sense, his role was not different from that of Chuzaburo Koda’s.

If I were to compare my own faith with that of a bridge, it would admittedly be short and rotten, not unlike the one in the picture below:


Image source: pbase.com


  • Mori Yōmei. 2006. “Michi no ni-hyaku ri mo.” In Itsuwa-hen ni manabu iki-kata 2. Tenri: Tenri Daigaku Oyasato Kenkyūsho, pp. 75–81.
  • Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
  • Tenrikyō Seinenkai, ed. 2006. “Oyasama: Kekkō to omōte sure ba, Ten ni todoku ri.” Taimō 449 (May 2006), pp. 16–17.

Further reading (On Koda Chuzaburo)


  1. In no way does Mori elaborate why he finds this so ironic. It is because one of the first things Oyasama did after becoming the “Shrine of God” was to “fall to the depths of poverty”?
  2. In Divine Directions dated April 23, 1887:

    This Residence is the Four-fronted Mirror Residence. Even if you wish to come here, you may not be able to come. I shall not tell those who have come here to go away, nor shall I tell those who do not wish to come here to come.

    An Anthology of Osashizu Translations, p. 37.

  3. Here are passages from the Osashizu that were not available in English until now (or at least as far as I’m aware). My translations:

    Although a bridge may appear strong, it will be swept away in a flood. There have been times when they have been swept away. It will surely happen again.

    March 23, 1896

    Even if you have a bridge, can you cross that bridge if it has rotted?

    October 31, 1900

  4. According to supplemental information from Taimo, Chuzaburo Koda took over overseeing the Nakayama household after Ryojiro Yamazawa passed away on June 19, 1883.

Post-26 Report (Nov 2008)

A belated Happy New Year 2009 (Year of the Ox), everyone!

Many thanks to all of you for visiting the site in 2008 and to those visiting for the first time. I am always humbled that to think that people take the time to visit this site considering there are a vast multitude of activities available to them on the web. If I actually had the luxury of spending as much time as I could on the web, I probably would be watching NFL and NHL games, learning another language, or trying out online guitar tutorials.

A big thanks once again for all your visits to the site. Now on to (at least the first part of) an overdue Post-26 Report.

Continue reading Post-26 Report (Nov 2008)