Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven

     

This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


 

The book at hand, Book X could be viewed as being a handbook for those who would be Moonsun’s “intermediaries”.  To make this point I will draw a distinction between being taught and being trained.  Moonsun, the parent of Origin, wishes to teach all human beings the truth of origin so that we can enjoy the free and unlimited workings that flow from returning to the origin and single heartedness with God the Parent.

To accomplish that task Moonsun intends to ”teach”, in ways that are appropriate for the time, the place and the individual level of spiritual maturity of each and every person equally, all of us human beings how to calm our minds and return to our origin and single heartedness with our Parent of Origin. 

The first step in that process was to gather together those who would be Moonsun’s intermediaries and “teach” them, in ways appropriate for their time, place and level of spiritual maturity, how to purify their own mind and return it to the truth of origin. 

The second step was to “train” those intermediaries in how to open the countless new paths that will be necessary to “teach” the way to return to the origin to all human beings in the world equally, in a way that is appropriate for their time, their place and their individual level of spiritual maturity. 

Please ponder this world plan. This is somewhat complicated by the fact that the second step can also be used as an effective method of the first step.  Which is to say that the first crucial step can be accomplished through the sincere effort to help other people to purify their minds in ways appropriate for them.

The seventeen Books of the Ofudesaki and the Mikagura-Uta model these two steps in great detail. The Osashizu ( timely directives) then, are a demonstration of the model both explained and put to appropriate use.  In terms of words and phrases there is much in the Osashizu that does not appear in the Ofudesaki. However, in terms of intent and spirit there is nothing in the Osashizu that does not appear in the Ofudesaki.

Taken together, the model and its appropriate use, all of the paths of the human mind that lead back to the truth of origin, constitute the “divine record” made in the origin. It is the record of Moonsun’s tireless efforts to gather intermediaries and to train them to teach all human beings in ways appropriate for their time, place and level of maturity the way to purify their mind and return to the origin and single heartedness with God the Parent. 

X: 86-89

 You may wonder what Moonsun is speaking about,

but the future is promising. 

It has become apparent that there is a problem with our reception and understanding of Moonsun’s intention. The reason, both then and now, why we might wonder what Moonsun is speaking about is because the very foundation of our thought process is biased toward denying or misunderstanding what Moonsun is trying to teach us. We all pretty much think and act according to worldly common self-centered reasoning. That worldly common self-centered reasoning is the foundation of all of our thinking and it is that foundation that we are hastened to replace.  In our daily use of our mind we do not have to summon up or make any effort to use self-centered thinking as the basis of our thinking because it is “understood” by us as the proper way to view the world. It could be truthfully said that pretty much all human beings speak the same language in so far as we all use worldly common self-centered reasoning as the foundation for all or most of our thoughts. Though that self-centered imagination is a marvel beyond compare we unfortunately have been unable to find joy in relying solely on that foundation. Though unintended at its origin, worldly common self-centered thinking could be said to be a shaky and insecure foundation as concerns support for a free and unlimited joyous life.

 Be that as it may, Moonsun assures us that the future is promising.  In such a promising future, Moonsun will use trained intermediaries to show all human beings equally the way to replace the shaky and insecure foundation that is the self-centered imagination with the secure foundation that is the truth of origin. 

Each person no matter where or no matter what kind of mind we may have, can look forward to the free and unlimited joyous life that is single hearted salvation because the Parent of Origin is tirelessly working to train intermediaries to show each of us equally a way that is appropriate for our time, our place and our individual spiritual maturity to calm our mind and return it to single heartedness with its true origin.  

Above all, the mind of Moonsun

desires a divine record for Nihon. 

It could be said that we human beings all speak “worldly common”.  That is to say that we all ordinarily deal in and communicate with worldly common, self-centered ideas. To converse with us, Moonsun finds it necessary to also speak “worldly common”.  It must be noted however that there is a great difference between our use of worldly common speech and ideas and Moonsun’s use of worldly common speech and ideas. When we deal in worldly common self-centered thoughts we expect that our words will be understood or misunderstood in a worldly common way. On the other hand, though Moonsun, in order to accommodate our needs, also uses worldly common words to speak to us, Moonsun never has a worldly common self-centered meaning intended for those words. 

To bridge the gap in understanding that such an exchange implies, Moonsun constantly reminds us that our worldly common self-centered interpretations cannot be used to understand Moonsun’s intention and we are constantly hastened to purify our minds of worldly common self-centered thinking and to ponder deeply on the actual intended meaning of Moonsun’s words. 

At the time that these poems were written there was good reason for Moonsun to use the worldly common words “divine record (koki) and Japan (Nihon)” in these poems. There was already a worldly common understanding of what “divine record” could mean (an important and ancient record) and as such it was appropriate basis for a teaching for the time, place and spiritual maturity of some of the earliest followers.  Assuming that Moonsun was referring to an “ancient record” (koki), some of the followers expressed their sincere desire to help with the completion of such a “divine record” by writing down various recollections and interpretations of the stories of creation that were passed orally from person to person apparently after the Ofudesaki had already been written. Of course the use of Japan (Nihon) was entirely appropriate in a worldly common sense because that was the place where Moonsun was gathering intermediaries and teaching. 

The Third Shinbashira addressed this very question in his Address at the Tenrikyo 150th Anniversary Doctrinal Seminar delivered on October 28, 1987.  I specifically mention this because it is often the case that even sincere ponderings can come up empty and need some guidance and direction. In my own case I often turn to the Shinbashira, both past and present, whom, though I may be thought of as being presumptuous, I consider to be my poetry teachers. Briefly then we can take a step from a solely worldly common view of this phrase by expanding the meaning of “Divine Record” to include the entire Ofudesaki and indeed the entire divine model (hinagata). 

Having made that expansion, I suggest that the next step might be something like the recognition that both the Ofudesaki and the Hinagata are dynamic models. They are not meant to gather dust on a shelf somewhere. Nor are they even intended to be venerated as incomprehensible ancient and sacred texts or stories to be told. They, the divine model and the Ofudesaki, are meant to be actively followed exactly as they are shown until they reach their promised conclusion in single-heartedness with Moonsun and the free and unlimited joyous life for all human beings. 

The “Divine Record” then, in the context of Moonsun’s intermediaries, would be the pursuit and completion of the purification of all human minds in ways that are appropriate for the time, place and spiritual maturity of those who would be saved. Though made by Moonsun, as all things are, the “divine record” will be made and bought to completion through Moonsun’s intermediaries as they too use simple worldly common language to craft paths that are appropriate for time, place and maturity and that show the way to purify and settle the self-centered imagination so that it can return to the truth of origin and Moonsun’s free and unlimited workings, a joyous life. The meaning then is the action of following and completing the service that leads to single-hearted salvation, both for oneself and for others. 

If the Divine Record is surely made in Nihon and spread widely,

Kara will do as I wish. 

As was mentioned, the use of the worldly common term Japan (Nihon) was used by Moonsun because it was and perhaps still is appropriate for the time, place and level of spiritual maturity of some persons who wished to be saved. There is reason to pause and reflect here as the worldly common meaning is so clear it is also apt to be left with its worldly common meaning unless we actively make the honest effort to find its intended meaning. 

In this verse we see Japan (Nihon) used in opposition to China or alien (Kara).  For the people who were hearing this and indeed for all human beings it is conceivable that Japan Nihon as used here refers to the state of mind that has returned to its native, natural and original place, the truth of origin. In such a view China, alien, (Kara) would refer to the self-centered imagination, which is alienated from and does not know the truth of its origin or its native, natural and original place. This of course represents the meaning of a poetic metaphor and is only a slightly more sophisticated worldly common view of the two words. The true and intended meaning is for each of us to make the sincere effort to actually purify and return our own mind to its natural, native and original state of single-heartedness with Moonsun the truth of origin. And then to help others in all times, places and levels of spiritual maturity to do the same. 

What are you all thinking of this talk?

It concerns all of you, the people of Nihon. 

As always when asked a question it is a good opportunity to sincerely ponder one’s answer. In worldly common terms this would draw attention to the apparent a lack of understanding and the misunderstanding of Moonsun’s intention. However, for a person in this or any other time who may aspire to be one of Moonsun’s intermediaries it presents an opportunity to mature and truly become an effective instrument in opening and maintaining new paths of single-hearted salvation for all human beings equally, just as Moonsun intends.

 

The words Oyasama uses when She speaks are plain and simple words that are easy to understand. For that very reason, however, we tend to limit the meanings of Her words to the usages with which we are familiar, and I fear that this will lead us to make erroneous interpretations. We must, by all means, step inside Oyasama's mind, leaving our preconceptions behind, and be skillful in seeking Her innermost heart to discover the true intention behind Her teachings.  

The 3rd Shinbashira, October 28th 1987

It is not the outer form but the true inner spirit that we must ponder deeply. It will not due to look at the outward form alone and draw the hasty conclusion that that constitutes the tradition of the path. Of course, it would be unwise to reject or deny a given practice outright, claiming that it is merely a formality. What is important is to discern whether the true spirit of Oyasama’s teachings is implemented in a way that is appropriate for the times in which we live.

 The 2nd Shinbashira, March 29, 1944 MHFTY 

As I mentioned before, the Koki [Divine records] are all the talks concerning the path of single-hearted salvation which completes the Service of the Kanrodai. I believe, therefore, that we should understand the Koki to be the entirety of the Ofudesaki.

 Consequently, if one just settles the Koki firmly in one’s heart, then that person will also have settled the intention of God the Parent and Oyasama, the parental heart of the Divine Model, the truth of the Kagura Service, and the state of mind that is capable of receiving the truth of the Kagura Service, and that person will be braced with dauntless and unwavering courage in following the path of single hearted salvation.  

The 3rd Sinbashira, October 28, 1987