Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven

     

This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


 

This is probably a good time to say a few words about some of the views concerning the way that the Ofudesaki poems are collected. One view is that there are seventeen parts or chapters to the Ofudesaki, each part or chapter delving deeper into God's teaching and intention in a gradual progression. Yet another view holds that there are seventeen books of Ofudesaki, each book presenting the totality of God's teaching and each book containing a certain and complete path to the goal. The last view that I will mention takes the point of view that the totality of God's teaching can be found in a single verse or even in a single word of the Ofudesaki. When viewed from the point of view of God's model of parental love I should like to suggest that all three of these views are acceptable to the mind of the true Parent of all mankind.

From the very beginning we have seen that God is hastening the children to awaken quickly. It is inconceivable that God, the perfect parent, would hasten the children while at the same time withholding any of the ingredients necessary for our awakening. Thus, from this point of view, God the Parent provides the full guidance necessary for awakening single-heartedness in each and every instruction. Unfortunately, as we have often discussed in the course of the first five Books, we have a difficulty distinguishing between things as they are originally and things that are purely the creation of our own imaginations. For that reason we have trouble calming our self-centered imaginations so that we can understand what God's intention is. For the same reason we also have trouble discerning what it is that God is asking us to do so that we might understand the truth of origin and awaken to a joyous life.

It is equally inconceivable that God's model of parental love would respond to our lack of sincerity and our inability to understand by abandoning us to our own fate. For this reason we can expect and indeed it was promised, that God has entered into the muddy water of our minds and will make them clear no matter what their condition. What parent would do less? God is not standing back and offering us a take it or leave it path. God is constantly showing us a model of parental love and care by speaking to the children in ways that they can relate to. Thus we can certainly see a path of gradual nurturing that is appropriate for a time, place and level of spiritual maturity deepening and unfolding in the poems from chapter to chapter.

As concerns the view that a single verse or word can contain the entire teaching. Can there be any doubt the God the parent eagerly awaits our return and will accept us in the warm embrace of the origin at any instant? The poems often hasten us to ponder. Certainly the intention is for us to awaken to single-heartedness with God at that very moment or for that matter even now.

In my own case my self-centered imagination was first drawn to these poems when I encountered the name MoonSun, "Moonsun". It suited my temperament and signified to me the original cause manifesting changing appearance as its own light reflected. In short, the truth of all things. To one mind Moonsun can be a metaphor that can open the door to the mind like clear water or to another it can be a proper name and nothing else. The poems of the Ofudesaki demonstrate a willingness to try to help us to return in whatever way works best for us. God the parent expresses the intention that human beings live joyously in single-heartedness with God, the truth of origin and will try in every way to open our minds and hasten that awakening.

Let's get started on Book VI.

 

VI 1- 5

This time, I shall begin to tell you something marvelous.

Calm your mind and please listen.

Again, "this time" can refer to the time of the awakening of Miki as the Shrine of "Moonsun", the time that the poem was written, or now the time that we are reading it. I am always interested in experiencing something marvelous, aren't you? The hitch here is the instruction to "calm your mind". In our eagerness to experience the marvelous we often forget to follow the instruction to begin by calming our mind so that it will be able to understand what is being taught.

Everything is what God says or does.

I shall never cause trouble to you who are close to Me.

The opening line of this verse has at least two interpretations. First we can read this as Miki's assertion that her mind has been totally replaced by the mind of God. And indeed that is something that she wants us to know. We can also however take the line literally as it relates the truth that remains when the self-centered imagination is settled.

The second line responds once again to the self-centered imagination's misunderstanding of returns and the notion that God's teaching could itself somehow be the source of some evil. As was commonly held to be the case with other gods and spirits that the followers and villagers knew of.

All of you, please calm your minds

and become truly convinced of this talk.

Once again it is important to note that from God's point of view we become convinced of God's teaching by calming our minds. The mind like clear water being the true benchmark of understanding.

What do you think this path is?

It is the true path that will settle the world.

God intends the reader to honestly answer this question and to compare our answer with the answer that is provided. In my view "the true path that will settle the world" means the true path that will settle the minds of the world. In which case God is not trying to put anything into our minds, God is trying to get us to settle out our self-centered imaginations so that we can see things as they really are.

When the distinction between fire and water in the high places

is made, joyousness will settle of its own accord.

Yet another theme is developed to hasten us to make a distinction and two more metaphors to show us the way. One metaphor refers to the mind and the other to its origin. When the distinction is made among the influential of the world, joyousness will settle of its own accord. Not to detract from this verse but it is an example of the total teaching in a single verse. Make the distinction and the goal will naturally appear.

Of course this is an excellent time to make the distinction. With one's eyes open identify the images of the imagination. Now be aware of the light that illuminates them. It is marvelous, is it not?