Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven


This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.

XII: 170 - 173

Today, there is no knowing what talks I shall give.

Please understand whatever I say.

This verse is setting the stage for the teaching of something out of the ordinary. We are asked to be sure that we understand what is about to be taught and at this point it is appropriate to recall  that we have been warned that we will not be able to understand if we think about what is to be taught in worldly common ways. 

I shall make everything in the mind of each of you 

clearly manifest on you body.

This is a very interesting and provocative verse. I think that one way to approach understanding it is to first identify examples of understanding it in a common worldly way and then work from there. 

There are two general categories of worldly common interpretations of these poems. The first and most common is to reject or deny their message as being worldly common ideas of a utopian nature generated wholly in the imagination of Miki Nakayama. The second, less common worldly way of understanding this teaching is to accept it self-centeredly. That is, from the point of view that accepts Oyasama as a Goddess in Yamato but which misunderstands the intention and content of the teaching. I have referred to this as the point of view of self-centered devotion as opposed to the point of view of single-hearted devotion. These two worldly common interpretations have been described as a lack of understanding and a misunderstanding. Taken together they include everyone, in that on more than one occasion Oyasama informs us that no one understands the intention of what is being taught. 

It is instructive that both common worldly interpretations are based on common worldly truths. Moonsun does not deny or claim that our self-centered truths are false. Moonsun understands that in a worldly common way they are true. Further it is actually Moonsun that supports and makes those common worldly truths possible. What Moonsun is saying however, is that there is also an original, not worldly common truth and it is that truth that Moonsun wants to show us. 

Now, as concerns the verse at hand, there is no need to look at the truth of the mind that denies it outright as there is no regard given to its meaning from that point of view. The meaning of the verse is not pondered it is just rejected. In this case, the teaching is rejected for reasons having nothing to do with the actual intention of the teaching. The Model Story shows examples of political and cultural reasons for the common worldly truth that manifests as outright rejection of what is taught. 

The Model Story also gives ample examples of the misunderstanding that can flow from the use of common worldly truths to try and sincerely understand the one truth that Moonsun is trying to help us to understand. In this case the teaching is pondered but the pondering involves worldly common thinking and lacks depth; resulting in the one truth being misunderstood.  We can see examples of worldly common thinking as regards this verse in the events prior to Miki being taken as as Shrine of Moonsun. Those examples are clearly and honestly described in the life of Oyasama. It is a common worldly truth that the physical condition of our bodies is influenced by gods and spirits. Miki held that common worldly truth as did her contemporaries. As we have been taught however all that changed and Oyasama as the Shrine of Moonsun was able to open and show a path of single-hearted salvation for all human beings and the promise of a Joyous Life.  

So much for worldly common misunderstanding and lack of understanding. Let's move forward and use Moonsun's means and methods to understand what this verse actually means. To do so I suggest that we ponder this matter but of course not in a worldly common way. 

Moonsun hastens us to ponder all matters from the point of view that this universe is the body of God. Further, we are taught that all human bodies are things lent by God. So let's begin our pondering there. The truth of those two statements is not however apparent to us. We tend not to understand that the universe is the body of God and instead understand, as the foundation of our thinking in pretty much all matters, that our bodies as ours. 

The thought that our bodies are ours is understood by us and acts as the unspoken foundation of all of our thinking. We call the results of that thinking, common worldly truths or worldly common self-centered truths. Indeed the human condition is such that we cannot in general see any other truth other than worldly common self-centered truths. We call that situation being lost in the darkness of the self-centered imagination. 

Now it is reasonable to assume that since this universe is the body of God, the denial of that truth, the idea that is understood as this is my body, must be a fiction that is superimposed over a portion of God's body thereby claiming it as its own. This is the reason of heaven. 

To show us the truth that this universe is the body of God, Moonsun intends to show us how to identify, distinguish, quiet and calm the shallow idea that is the self-centered imagination so that we can see that it is just that, an idea manifestly superimposed on God's body. 

Whoever you may be, when this is seen,

the cleansing of the heart will be truly accomplished of itself.

Once the distinction between the one original truth of origin and the self-centered imagination that is superimposed on God's body is clearly made, the cleansing of the heart will  be accomplished of itself. To quote a friend of mine who sincerely pondered this: "I will never be the same and I would guess that that would be true of anyone who sees this."

This time, I shall bring all things clearly out into the open

and demonstrate My working.

What is brought into the open is the truth of origin, the truth that is known and understood through the totally purified mind like clear water. Try identifying the self-centered imagination now. Pay attention to the little voice of the mind. Open your eyes and look through it. See how it is superimposed on the world. Settle that voice and the world is understood as one body. Feel the warm heart of the Parent of origin embracing you, its beloved child.  

What is Moonsun's working that is demonstrated to the sincere mind that ponders without using common worldly thinking? The mind like clear water understands that everything without exception is the working of the God of origin.

At present, we can always have access to the Three Scriptures, which contain the direct teachings of God the Parent, and we know a great deal about the Divine Model of Oyasama. Certainly we ought to be far more thoroughly versed in the teachings than the early followers were. Nonetheless, there is a danger that our slowness in making spiritual growth may prevent us from being straightforward in bringing ourselves into complete accord with the divine intention or becoming thoroughly single-hearted with God. 

What this probably means is that, even if we know the teachings, we have not truly internalized them or placed complete trust in them. This, among other things, can give rise to a situation in which, even when we claim to be following Oyasama's Divine Model, for example, we may be arbitrarily choosing to follow only certain aspects of it or interpreting it in a self-serving way. 

The 4th Shinbashira, October 26, 2004