Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven

     

This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


 

A brief resume: Primarily seeking relief from illness and troubles, numbers of people are coming to ask the Shrine of Moonsun for miraculous salvation. Moonsun responds to those requests by offering the free and unlimited workings that flow from single-hearted salvation. And by showing the way to prepare the human mind to receive those free and unlimited workings.

Unfortunately, because of the obstacle presented by the ordinary limited worldly common workings of the human self-centered imagination, no one was able to understand the truth that was being offered as single-hearted salvation. By fully understanding this situation and with infinite care, compassion and patience, Moonsun has entered into the "muddy water" of the human mind and has painstakingly modeled a path of single-hearted salvation for us to follow in order to settle and purify the "muddy water" of our mind. In creating such a detailed model, which, though showing manifold approaches is still only one path, Moonsun has crafted a model for engaging and awakening every kind of human mind in all times and all places. Thus the way is shown in detail for us to prepare our mind to return to the origin and in so doing realize the free and unlimited workings that flow from single-heartedness with God.

Among those worldly common truths that stand in the way of single-heartedness with God are the doubts and questions that arise concerning our expectations of methods, and expectations of returns in one's relationships with gods, spirits and human authorities. Examples of expectations of methods and returns that come to mind include prayer and ritual magic, "innen" or causality altering miracles and a wide variety of fears.

As we turn to the poems Moonsun continues to address the misunderstanding and lack of understanding that surround those obstacles to awakening.

VI 112-119

Though even until now I have made most of My appeals,

still more needs to be said of Moonsun's thoughts.

This shows Moonsun's willingness to remain engaged with our misunderstanding, though at a certain cost to us. That cost being the worldly common self-centered truth of our mind instantly "returned", reflected back to us as the truth of our world. By now we can see that the simple truth of origin is known by the mind that has followed the instructions to settle and "see" that truth through "the mind like clear water". However it is typical of our self-centered imaginations not to settle but rather to seek understanding through the accumulation of still more worldly common truths.

Though all that is needed to awaken to single-heartedness with God has by this time been given to us in many different ways, it is still necessary to continue to hasten the self-centered imagination to follow the path of single-hearted salvation in yet another way.

At this time, because the regret of Moonsun has piled up so high,

you shall hear all of it.

The "regret of Moonsun" is the accumulated self-centered thinking in all of our worldly common minds. It is of course piled up mountainously high. When we are taught that we "shall hear all of it" we are being warned that the state of our minds, both individual and collectively is returned to us both individually and collectively as the state of our world. It seems to me that when I look at the current state of our collective world it is obvious that no resolution of conflict based on worldly common self-centered truths is possible.

Since the single-hearted salvation is being stopped at this place,

I cannot bear but to give a return.

Within the context of time and place this refers to the suppression of the path by various religious and civil authorities. Within a broader context of all mankind in all times and all places it refers to any such active suppression of the path of single-hearted salvation from any source.

In this return, I shall clear away the grand shrines

and high mountains. Let all of you be aware!

Again, in the context of time and place this verse generally identifies some sources of the local suppression of the path. It also gives us an opportunity to see what we have learned concerning God's returns and how they work. One model that presents itself is a courtroom while the other is a mirror. One attempts to hold onto things while the other is the source of all things.

There are eternal truths here to be compared. On the one hand there are eternal truths that are based on ideas and things that seem permanent from the worldly common point of view that judges a long time, hundreds or even thousands of years as being forever. It has been common in the history of mankind for us to attach our self-centered imaginations to such worldly common truths and in so doing hold them to be eternal truths. In the context of this particular time and place the keepers and defenders of those worldly common eternal truths were fearful that the teachings of Moonsun would mislead people and draw them away from true authority and the eternal worldly common truths embodied in their ideas and things. Therefore in defense of those worldly common eternal truths they sincerely felt it necessary to suppress the teachings of Moonsun.

On the other hand, Moonsun teaches the eternal truth that is not dependent upon any ideas or things. The eternal truth that is taught by Moonsun encourages us to settle our mind in the truth of origin, the eternal truth that exists before all ideas and things. The eternal truth that is known through the mind like clear water. On the path of single-hearted salvation there are temporary expedients for temporary purposes but the only truth that is eternal is the truth of origin as known thought the purified mind like clear water.

 

What are you thinking on hearing this talk?

Flames of heaven, rains of fire, and tidal waves in the seas...

When these poems ask a question it is a good ideas for anyone who would seriously entertain this teaching through these poems to answer it for our self. Keeping in mind that there are many ways to interpret any one of these poems, I will offer just a few readings of this one. Certainly we are invited to make a straightforward reading of this as being God's judgement and retribution against the local temples and shrines for interfering with and attempting to stop the path of single-hearted salvation. In which case we should look for evidence that God has attacked the grand shrines with "flames of heaven, rains of fire and tidal waves in the seas...".

A second reading might view the question asked by God as being rhetorical. In which case it might be understood as saying something like "when you read that I will clear away the grand shrines and high mountains are you thinking that I meant that I would attack them with flames of heaven, rains of fire and tidal waves in the seas? Are you continuing to misunderstand my teaching of immediate returns that says that the state of one's mind becomes the state of one's world? Be warned! By attaching your mind to temporary truths you are denying the path of single-hearted salvation.

Or a third reading might emphasize the impermanence of all things within Moonsun's providence as opposed to the eternal truth of origin by using "Flames of heaven, rains of fire, and tidal waves in the seas..." to represent the enormous providential powers of change that are beyond our human control. Within the context of the current state of our knowledge about the "innen" that flows from the instruments of creation as enormous natural powers that are beyond our human control, such a reading might go something like this. "It is my providence that continents tear apart, drift and collide, mountains rise up and wear down, volcanoes explode, oceans rise and fall, suns are born and die and galaxies collide. In that scale of things what do you think will be the fate of the grand shrines and temples that you are now so fearful of?"

Such is the great anxiety in the mind of Moonsun.

What is the whole world thinking?

Again we are asked to answer a question and it is a good idea to do so. Obviously in my own case I am still thinking in fundamentally self-centered ways. However I am happy to report that step by step my self-centered imagination seems to be settling. One might ask why it is taking so long. I believe that the answer to that can be found in the next verse.

Though I appeal to you in sorrow over and over,

I shall save you if you become of a sincere mind.

That God has to say "Though I appeal to you in sorrow over and over" is a reprimand that tells me that I have not done exactly as God has instructed me to do to return to the origin and single-heartedness with God. However, when God says "I shall save you if you become of a sincere mind." There is no hint here of condemnation or retribution. No matter what kind of mind we might have God only wants us to return and enjoy the free and unlimited workings that flow from single-heartedness with God. Our lack of joy comes from the truth of our limited self-centered imagination that God has no choice but to reflect back to us as the state of our world. Recall that words, like anger, anxiety and sorrow do not apply to God's mind. God's mind is free and unlimited. We can learn a great deal about the way that God has entered into the mud of our mind by being aware of the way in which God is willing to use the language of our misunderstanding in order to communicate with us.

The sincerity that is taught is the degree to which we orient our mind with the truth of origin. The mind of true sincerity, the mind that has returned to its origin and is single-hearted with God is the mind like clear water. The mind that would receive the return of God's free and unlimited workings is the mind that sincerely follows God's instructions for single-hearted salvation.

Whoever you are, you are all My children.

Awaken to the anxiety in the mind of Moonsun!

And finally we can close this discussion of methods and returns by revisiting the power of the model of parental love. If we have any doubt about God's intentions, regret, warnings, anger, anxieties and returns we can look to the relationship between parent and child. All that the model parent can provide for the child is freely and fully provided. That the self-centered imagination of the child is unable to find joy in the creation is the regret of the model parent. The intention of the model parent is always to tirelessly strive to do what is best for the protection and happiness of the child. When the model parent warns the child it is because the parent can see the hazard that the child cannot. The anxiety and fear of the model parent come from the recognition of behavior and tendencies in the child that the child thinks will succeed and which the parent knows will not. The anger of the model parent comes from foreseen and planned for opportunities for awakening to the joyous life that the child has ignored and lost. The model parent does not discriminate among the children, welcoming and tirelessly caring for all of them equally.

Whoever we may be in whatever time and place, we are the children of the original and true parent. To prioritize and put things in perspective by pondering the impermanence of worldly common truths it is perhaps helpful to recall that all human beings with all kinds of minds, in all times and places are children of the one true parent. If we make the effort to distinguish between what is original and permanent and what is worldly common and impermanent in our own mind then we will not only see our individual mind settle but we will see peace in the world settle of its own accord.

To awaken to the anxiety in the mind of Moonsun "Moonsun" is to awaken to the dust in our own mind. Let us take a moment now and with our eyes wide open look carefully at the present truth of our own mind, distinguishing those truths that are temporary by God's standard until only the permanent truth of origin alone remains.

One part of us is always changing and one part is eternally unchanging. We can reunite with this total truth of self through single-heartedness with God. As a metaphor "Moonsun" Moonsun expresses the total truth of self which we can find within our self. Though it was rejected once out of fear and misunderstanding, conditions have changed and there is no need for us to reject it now.