Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven

     

This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


 

VI 20-25

Though the mind of God hastens day after day,

to what avail if the ten performers do not assemble?

Again, since they were and we are asked a question, it is appropriate to answer it. The answer, I think, isn't very difficult. We have in fact already encountered it in earlier verses. If they did not and we do not assemble to perform the Service, then they and we will remain as we are.

Take warning: fire, water, and wind will withdraw from

the tree deemed as right-hand men among the ten.

Whatever happens, it is the work of God.

Never think it is an illness.

Yikes! Taken out of context and on the surface the two verses above sound like at worst a threat and at the very least a dire warning. Metaphorically, fire, water and wind comprise God's providence and without them one must certainly be dead. How else can we read this? Well let's put the verses back into context and find out.

First and foremost, these poems are an expression of a divine model of parental love. We might think that God has a different idea of what that model should be but in fact we are taught that we can look to our own parents to see how this model works (see V:21-23). Using this model as a guide we find that among all human groups it is expected that parents love and make great efforts to protect and nurture their children. In all human cultures parents who harm their children are viewed as abnormal, criminal or mentally unstable. In all of the poems of the Ofudesaki we can use this model of parental love to discover God's true intention. Second: In verse two of the Book at hand, God showed an awareness of the anxiety of the children and their expectation that gods could just as easily do them harm as good (see V:71-72). Though as we mentioned that has entered into the mud of our human minds and is speaking in language that meets the expectations of the children in a particular time, place and level of spiritual maturity, the meaning of God's words is never worldly common.

Let us look then and see how these verses work in light of the divine model of parental love. "Fire, water and wind" is a graphic metaphor for the cause and effect of natural processes. Fire, the sun, heats the water of the earth causing clouds to form and winds to blow. It is a really great metaphor and beautiful graphic image. In it there is shown one free and unlimited cause for all of the changes and effects that flow from the laws of nature "innen". Though sometimes the changes are unexpected and seem to be too little or too much, the sun as the cause of it all is unlimited in its giving and unaffected by the results that flow from its presence. We could say that by association with the sun the wind and waves are born, go through changes and die, while all the while the sun remains unchanged.

Certainly this is a metaphor for the providence of "Moonsun" (Moonsun). Recall however that in this instance God wants us to show us, through the performance of the service that calms the mind and makes it like clear water, the "mind of Moonsun". In this case the "fire, water and wind" metaphor points not only to the original cause of natural processes in the world but to that same truth as it exists in our own innermost heart, at the core of our mind. It is up to us then to distinguish fire, water and wind internally, through our own mind. So it is that when God says that through the performance of the Service, by purifying the mind, God will be revealed to us. By not performing or stopping the performance of the Service that truth will be withdrawn, it will be out of our reach.

Now concerning verse twenty-two. If we are only "water and wind" then we go through changes and blow around. Some changes can be called birth and others death and yet others illness or trouble. Some are pleasant changes and some are not. Some times it seems like there is too much change and sometimes not enough. Riding those changes and never knowing where we will end up can for some of us become a burden that we no longer feel that we can take. If on the other hand we really and truly know the total truth of self as "fire, water and wind", then we will be single-hearted with the eternal one enjoying the constantly changing, ever new and fresh creation that flows from the origin.

I work all matters because I truly desire to let you know

of the free and unlimited workings of God.

The changes and movement of "water and wind" are bound by natural laws "innen". God desires to give us the point of view that is free and unlimited, the point of view of "fire", the point of view of the truth of origin.

Until now, no matter what path you may have been on,

I kept still because the day had not yet come.

To converse with human beings and teach the truth of origin God needs suitable human instruments. Miki Nakayama was such an instrument and become single-hearted with God to teach us as God the Parent here among us.

Hereafter, I shall tell you the real truth

of all matters step by step.

It is because of that truth that God the Parent "Oyasama" can teach us all to awaken to the truth of origin and single-heartedness with God. As we step by step perform the Service to purify our minds we can look forward to making the distinction between "fire" and "water" and hasten to the joy that flows from the warm parental embrace of the truth of origin. Perhaps there is time even today to identify the elements of "fire", "water" and "wind" through our own mind. One never changes while the other two are constantly changing. Stop now and "see" them for yourself.