Newpath Tenrikyo:  Tenrikyo's Dynamic Mission - JUST A NARROW PATH

This universe is the body of God.
Ponder this in all matters.
Just a narrow path opened
About the Service: first the Teodori, then the Kagura.
Thus, I have opened just a narrow path.

But weeds have gradually grown thick and the path is obscure.
Quickly, the preparation to open the main path!

God our parent of origin taught a number of different kinds of service ("tsutome", work) at particular times and primarily in a particular place. God's intention in teaching the various kinds of work or services is to prepare the human mind for awakening to the reason of heaven. The preparation of the human mind means finding ways of settling out the worldly common truths that occupy it from moment to moment so that only the truth of origin remains. In most cases that settling did not happen and instead common worldly expectations and interpretations gradually began to overgrow and choke the path that was intended to lead  to single-hearted salvation in all matters and for all human beings equally.   When a path becomes overgrown with weeds and obscure it means that few if any people are walking on it.

Before we take an honest and sincere look at the way in which our predecessors misunderstood God the Parent's intention it might be useful to reflect on the fact that anyone reading this is a beneficiary of the sincere efforts of people who though they did not understand God's intention were still sincerely committed to providing those who followed with the opportunity to mature and do so.  Though clearly and persistently explained and given, it is in fact very easy to misunderstand the intention of our Parent of origin.

Sah, sah, the time is fully ripe and pressing. I have already told you everything but you have not understood at all. No matter how much I explain there is no one who understands. This is My regret. You must reflect deeply on the life of doubt you lead.   

Osashizu, January 4th, 1887

When the above direction was given ten or eleven years had passed since Oyasama wrote the poem :

So the days come and go, but at no time is there anyone
who is able to understand My intention.

We can see from these sources that misunderstanding of God the Parent's intention continued to be the norm. There were however two significant changes in the circumstances worth noting in this context. First, the number of people who misunderstood or failed to understand God the Parent's intention increased considerably and second, some of the sincere followers began to perform the Teodori and the Kagura Service even though they misunderstood their intended use. Fortunately we have been left clear instructions concerning the cause of our predecessor's misunderstanding and indeed the way to quickly remedy that misunderstanding has been taught and is still very much open and available to us today.  

When we think about misunderstanding it is valuable to recall that "real" common worldly truths, actions and results flow from  misunderstandings and those common worldly truths causally ("Innen") work themselves out in the world as a logical way of reasoning. For instance, if I imagine that men are superior to women or that for some reason, that makes sense to me, that I am closer to god than other  people then I can create in my own mind a multitude of truths in the world that are based on those truths of the world which may, to me, seem to be fundamental truths. It stands to reason then that since no one understood God's intention there were and continue to be real worldly common truths, actions and results flowing from the use of logic and reasoning that has as its foundation the misunderstanding of God's intention. It is not enough to acknowledge that God said something or another about misunderstanding, the topic requires some deep and honest self reflection to make sure that we have identified the foundation of those misunderstandings in all of their forms and understand the worldly common, truths, actions and results that flowed and continue to flow from those misunderstandings. Of course once those misunderstandings are identified we can, if we wish to, make any necessary adjustment or correction to the way that we use our own mind and enjoy the sweetness of God's free and unlimited workings as a return for our sincere effort. 

 Alternatively if our notion of God's intention is based upon a foundation of misunderstanding and we are complacent and comfortable with that misunderstanding then perhaps we can expect some difficulty and delay in intentionally awakening to the truth of origin.  Fortunately we have been given very powerful tools for identifying God's mind, the truth of origin and for measuring our progress in how closely our mind conforms and is in accord with God's mind.

Though there are lots of ways to approach this problem I will use three concise categories that can be used to explain the reasons why we find it so difficult to understand God's intention. They are:

Self-centered thinking

The self-centered mind will not do.
The mind of God differs entirely.

Common Worldly thinking

I shall begin to tell you about this origin clearly,
but I cannot tell it as long as you think in common worldly ways.

Today, being aware of nothing
all people remain in a common worldly state.

Unaware of this, those of you within
are thinking of everything as being worldly common.

Shallowness in our pondering 

As human being are shallow,
you speak about everything without knowing the core.

Right from the beginning the intention to expose the core of the mind, the original cause of all things becomes very tricky. When we make an effort to look we find and realize that the "self-centered mind" is the default mind for all human beings.  It is to us our natural way of looking at things. It is the standard way that we come from the place of our "manufacture" (Jiba). Self-centered thinking is fundamentally understood in each of us. Each of us is the subject of all of our thoughts and experiences and each of us has a unique point of view such that no two human minds are exactly the same. In short, the self-centered mind is who with think we are. It is the foundation of our self image or who imagine ourselves to be. Most of us have never gone any deeper into the truth of our self than that. 

These days we are in a better position to look at the way that human beings have been assembled from prototype to prototype until the present powerful suite of elemental instruments has been assembled and appears in the form of human beings. The human self-centered imagination then is something of a marvel in the natural world as it not only experiences the world self-centeredly it also has creative power and is capable of self-centeredly creating truths to use in adapting to and  modifying its environment as it goes about its daily self-centered  business.   

Self -centered thinking then is very cool. Self-centered thinking is also the way we are naturally built. Self-centered thinking appears to us to be all we can know about ourselves and our experience of the world. So why does it present a  problem when we speak of knowing the mind of God? Why can't self-centered thinking be used to know it's place of "manufacture"(Jiba), its original cause? Why should we even be interested in knowing the original cause the mind of God anyway? 

The reasons why we might be interested in knowing the mind of God can be summed up in two words, "dissatisfaction" and "suffering". Among the many marvels that the self-centered mind can create, dissatisfaction and suffering stand out as experiences that most of us would rather do without. Even though as a by product of self-centered thinking we might tend to have a tolerance and indifference toward dissatisfaction and suffering as experienced by others, still when it comes to our own experience we generally view dissatisfaction and suffering as evils. 

Though our self-centered mind differs entirely from the mind of God we are instructed to see the truth through our own mind. Our self-centered thinking though unable to capture or contain its own origin can in fact be recruited and used as a tool to settle, sweep or move itself out of the way to reveal what remains as the original cause, the mind of God and in so doing provide the "cure" for all of our experiences of dissatisfaction and suffering in a single moment of awakening, understanding and true satisfaction.

However difficult it may be,
see the truth through your own mind!

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