Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven
This universe is the body of God.
Ponder this in all matters.
To say what this talk is about:
it is equally about Nihon, Kara, and Tenjiku.
In the context of this poem, "Nihon, Kara and Tenjiku" simply means everywhere. That is the worldly common understanding of that phrase and that is the intended meaning of those words in this verse. That being the case, we must wonder what the non-worldly common meaning of this verse is. That meaning, the non-worldly common meaning, is to be found by pondering the meaning of "this talk is equally about everywhere" or "this talk is about everywhere equally" depending upon how you like your syntax. We can rather easily and generally understand a concept of everywhere but "equally about everywhere" is in fact a much more complex and difficult situation to grasp.
Let's look at a couple of examples of how this might work. Suppose that you have been given a message with the intention that it be understood by you and then passed on to be received and understood by everyone, everywhere in the world. Assume if you will, that the nature of the message ( the true meaning and intention of the message) is such that to be correctly received it has to be correctly understood.
Suppose that you have received such a message and are going to start to distribute that message by first delivering it to your spouse and your children, then to your friends, neighbors and co-workers. Your intention is that each in turn will understand the message and will then also pass the message on and in so doing will spread until eventually everyone, everywhere in the world receives and understands it.
So you start with your spouse and your family, sincerely interpreting equally as meaning that you are to say exactly the same words that you heard as the content to the message to each and every person. The result that you get is understandably mixed. Some of your family members respond that they have received the message and proceed to distribute it equally, according to the understanding that equally means saying the same thing to each and every person. Others that you have spoken to respond that the message is incomprehensible or not worth receiving. You reasonably assume that you have done your best, having memorized the message and delivered it to as many people as possible. Those who reject the message or who fail to grasp it are not your problem. You have delivered to all equally and will faithfully await the time when those who do not repeat the message in exactly the same words as you will begin to do so. Certainly this is one interpretation of what "equally about everybody" in the world could mean.
For a second interpretation of what "equally about everywhere" means, let's turn to the model story at hand. Because of its causality of origin, Miki Nakayama's mind has been replaced by Moonsun's mind. That is to say that at its very foundation Miki's mind is the same as the mind of the one true immortal being, whose body is the whole universe and whose mind is the true and original core of all human minds. Because Moonsun exists we exist. Everyone everywhere then has an equal affinity to the truth of origin. We are all equally the children of the one true parent. The parent of origin has no preference for one child over another, Moonsun loves and cares for each of us equally.
Because we children (self-centered imaginations in all times and places) have been unable to find joy in the imagined experience of a physical existence that is totally independent of the truth of our origin, Moonsun, our original parent, is hastening us to return and understand that truth of origin so that we can once again play in the universe freely and joyously.
As Miki's mind is the mind of the Parent of Origin we can look to Miki as the Parent of Origin and as a true and reliable guide for our own return to the truth of origin, single-heartedness with Moonsun and the joyous life that flows from that understanding. In this respect we can have the expectation that our true and original parent will make an equal and intimate effort to guide each of us back to our origin, equally, according to our various needs and capabilities.
Isn't this what the model is showing us? Beginning with Her family and neighbors Miki, the Parent of Origin, teaches a path of single-hearted salvation that is suitable for the time, the place and spiritual maturity of the children. That is to say that God the Parent enters into the children, the various self-centered imaginations and makes an equal effort to guide each and everyone who will hear to the realization of single-hearted salvation.
By the time that this, Book XII of Ofudesaki, was written in 1876 God the Parent had already worked tirelessly to open a path of single-hearted salvation. To mention just some of Her tireless efforts to attract the minds of those around Her to Moonsun's mind: She had already taught through numerous "Timely Talks", given away the family household goods as a lesson concerned with self-centered attachment to objects, bestowed the Grant of Safe Childbirth, encouraged the formation of fellowships with the intention that they be a means of cooperatively hastening the refinement of the human mind, granted the Sazuke of Gohei, the Sazuke of Fertilizer, the Sazuke of the Fan, bestowed "hattaiko" (roasted barley powder) as a sacred gift, taught the hand movements for the Service, changed names from God (kami) to Moonsun (Moonsun) and of course had written the first eleven books of the Ofudesaki each containing several models for the opening of a path of universal single-hearted salvation.
It looks to me like Moonsun is here showing a model of tireless willingness and effort to enter into each and every self-centered imagination and embrace any child who sincerely wishes to make the effort to return, pretty much on their own terms. The thought content of any given self-centered imagination is then not important. What is important is how those thoughts will be lined up (the order of the path) to yield the desired causality of origin, single-heartedness with the truth of origin. The truth that is known through the totally purified mind like clear water.
Know that from now on Moonsun will cleanse
everyone in the whole world.
This model is entirely transparent as regards intention, means and methods. The intention is single-hearted salvation, the means is the totally sincere purified mind, the method of cleansing, purifying, is modeled as being appropriate of each and every human mind according to the needs of time, place and maturity. It is a misunderstanding to think that Moonsun wants us to hold onto any self-centered thinking as the truth of origin. The true art is in the replacement of the self-centered imagination with Moonsun's mind, the truth of origin as known through the totally sincere, cleansed mind ( the mind like clear water).
Even until now, though Moonsun has tried to the utmost
to reason with you step by step,
There is a way of reasoning, the reason of heaven, that has at its foundation and starting point the understanding that the whole universe is a single immortal being. In every matter in which that reasoning is employed as the foundation of the human imagination the yield is freedom and joy. In the reverse, reasoning backward from the shallow self-centered imagination to the truth of origin reveals the self-centered imagination to be the one and only obstacle to single-hearted salvation. Sincerely following the step by step process of calming and settling the self-centered imagination eventually leads to single-hearted salvation which of course can then be turned back into the world as the free and unlimited joyous life based on the stable foundation of the heart of the parent, the truth of origin.
Since I only told you by the spoken word,
no one was able to understand clearly.
Though no one was able to understand clearly there were at the time a number of "children" (self-centered imaginations) gathered at the Residence who were willing to adore Miki as a Goddess. Their problem was in not being able to follow the line of reasoning that constitutes the "reason of heaven". That this shortcoming was true of "those within the Residence" as well as those without is instructive, however it doesn't necessarily have to be the case for us, now in this time and place. In my own case I can honestly say that without a doubt, in every matter that I sincerely reason from the point of view that the whole universe is one immortal and original being, Moonsun, the yield is freedom and joy. Why then, I ask myself, don't I stay there? The answer to that is also instructive and provides the reason for the many discussions concerning conditioned causality and the rather unfortunate impact of primitive emotions (drives that were necessary for survival in the early stages of our evolution) on the self-centered imagination, that appear in the "Timely Talks". Diving into and popping back up from the origin produces a kind of inconsistent yo-yo effect but still the time in the origin makes it all worth while. Indeed it is the high point of my existence. Even so, my causality "innen" is not an obstacle to anyone else's awakening. There may be someone whose causality of origin just needs a little nudge to be perfectly lined up with the reason of heaven and whose self-centered imagination will settle immediately and permanently in the truth of origin. Try it now, that someone may be you. With your eyes open see that the whole universe is one body, the Parent. The voice within that you hear is the "child". Be aware of it and know the warm parental embrace.
For those at the Residence at the time, neither written instructions nor the spoken word were enough to open a dialog leading to the reason of heaven. A hands on approach was necessary, a step by step workshop format if you will.
Despite Her frequent hardships and Her constant strivings to implement this plan for salvation, the people at the time could only think of it as being an airy dream. It sounded absolutely unbelievable, even to Her family members and Her followers, that they could receive the free and unlimited workings of God the Parent by performing the Service. Consequently, they were not obedient to Her words and, rather, gave priority to their worries about Her body.
The 3rd Shinbashira, October 26, 1987
[T]he series of Divine Directions delivered on January 13, 1887, takes great care to enlighten us as to the place to set the mind that is singly intent on God.
This would be an ideal day for us to read these pages from the Osashizu together and thereby perceive this mind of Oyasama. Unfortunately, time does not permit this. Let it suffice to say that these Directions make it clear that where people thought there was understanding, there was in fact none.
The 3rd Shinbashira, January 26, 1988