Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven

     

This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


 

VI 64-79

Even until now, though everything was under the rule of Moonsun,

things were overlooked because the day had not yet come.

Though everything in the universe is the one truth of Moonsun there was no way to convey this truth to the world because until Miki became settled as the Shrine of Moonsun there was no instrument through which that truth could be conveyed.

Now that the time is sufficiently full,

I shall manage everything as I intend.

Having settled Miki as the Shrine of Moonsun it was now possible to bring the truth of origin to the whole world. Both because the Shrine of Moonsun was available to teach it and because the instruments that make up human beings are now capable of receiving it.

Unaware of this, what is the thinking of the high mountains

who are managing everything as they please?

My view of the metaphor "high mountains" is that it refers to that which has appeared out of the dark and muddy ocean. Much the way that Japan rises out of the sea. In this view, we human beings are the "high mountains". We are said to manage everything as we please because we have as the basis of our thought and action, the self-centered imagination, which does not know the truth of its origin; the one truth, the truth that is known through "the mind like clear water".

In any concerns, never think

that there is a human mind at this place.

Recall that Moonsun is trying to convince us that Miki's human mind has been replaced entirely by the mind of Moonsun.

Whatever I may say or write by the tip of My brush,

it is none other than directions from the mind of Moonsun.

These poems then are not the work of a human mind with a worldly common meaning. Instead they are directions from the mind of God. The directions given to show the way to return our self-centered human minds to their origin where they will be replaced with the mind of joy, the mind that is once again one with its origin.

Whatever the high mountains may say or think,

it is all from their human thoughts.

Unfortunately, we human beings have been rather slow in realizing God's intention for us and continue to wander about lost in the darkness of our self-centered imaginations, guided only by our selfish human thoughts.

They banned the name given by Moonsun.

What do you think of this regret of Mine?

In the past I have often mentioned God's promise to enter into the mud of our minds and make them clear in whatever way necessary. This verse introduces a theme that is familiar to our self-centered thoughts. It is a response that we can relate to it. In return for the authorities banning the name Moonsun we are going to get a scolding. Moonsun is now going to speak to us in what appears on the surface to be our own language of anger, the very hallmark of the self-centered imagination. See how comfortable we are with it.

We are also asked what we think of God's regret. This is a good time to take stock of our thinking concerning this matter as we are almost certainly going to have the opportunity to compare our thinking with God's mind in the upcoming verses.

Know that in truth the anger and regret of Moonsun

are not small matters.

We know how this works in the world. When angered we tend to strike out at what we perceive to be the cause of our anger. Is it possible that the mind of God works just like our minds in this matter? I suggest that we step carefully through these verses so that we can see how they develop. That the "anger and regret of Moonsun are not small matters" sounds somewhat threatening. It will be important to discover just what that anger and regret is and what consequences they might carry with them.

Until now, the high mountains, boastful, have thrived

and done as they pleased in every matter.

Once again I believe that this refers to the self-centered imagination and not a particular social or economic class of people.

But from now on, I, Moonsun, shall do as I please instead.

Copy what I do if you can.

I think that it is safe to say that everyone would have been happier if Miki as the Shrine of Moonsun would have conformed to the will of the authorities and the worldly common expectations of the followers. Instead Moonsun, through Miki, continued to teach and act freely. The invitation to copy that freedom by returning to the truth of origin and realizing God's free and unlimited workings is genuine and indeed the basis and intention of all of God's teachings.

Whatever I may say or do at this place,

it is none other than the thought of Moonsun.

Though the context is one of establishing Miki's authority to teach single-hearted salvation. Again the point is made that it is single-heartedness with God, taught by the mind of God and not human thoughts and ideas that are being taught.

From now on, I shall work solely on preparations

to clear away the regret from the mind of Moonsun.

Hereafter, whatever dust may be stirred up,

never think it is an illness.

I shall give returns for the regrets of Moonsun

piled mountainously high until now.

Even until now, though I spoke of My returns,

you have been wondering what it could mean.

This is what My returns mean in truth.

Beware, all of you on the high mountains!

These five verses are dense with the fundamental teaching and should be grasped as a whole. I think that I would like to approach them with some general comments on the whole theme and then comment on them individually as we step through them one by one.

In English prose we expect a topic to be introduced in the first line and then elaborated on as the text progresses. In this kind of poem however, the subject of the theme is often stated at the end of the verses, as sort of a punch line if you will. The subject of the theme at hand is the true meaning of God's returns coupled with a warning about what is given in return for God's anger and regret. The thing to keep in mind here is that at the end of this theme, if we have pondered deeply and understood what we have read, we will know the meaning of God's returns! I add the condition that we ponder deeply because of the verse that informs us that though this is a topic often spoken of by God those who heard God's teaching could only wonder at its meaning. I take this to mean that the meaning is not worldly common or at all obvious though the tone of the poems is familiar enough for a topic dealing with returns given for anger and regrets.

Perhaps a word about how the human truths of a particular time and place might have contributed to this uncertainty concerning God's meaning of the words, anger, regret and returns is in order. I think that we can look to "The Life of Oyasama" for typical examples of the kind of expectations that flowed from the human truths in the minds of the villagers at that time. Prior to awakening as the Shrine of Moonsun, Miki Nakayama provides us with vivid glimpses of those truths and the human expectations associated with the interaction between gods, spirits and human beings. Gods and spirits were commonly understood as being the source and cause of both the good and evil things that happened to human beings and it was expected that they could be coaxed or magically induced to provide returns for particular human efforts, promises or actions. It stands to reason that the villagers of a particular time and place would assume that the truth of this same relationship would also hold true with Moonsun. Let's take a look at the verses one by one and see what Moonsun says is the case.

From now on, I shall work solely on preparations

to clear away the regret from the mind of Moonsun.

Note here, a very subtle change has taken place. In the past we have talked exclusively about clearing away the dust from individual human minds. Now the point of view has shifted and we are talking about clearing away the regret from Moonsun's mind. The dust in our individual minds is collectively the anger and regret (dust) in Moonsun's mind. It is important to keep this point of view in mind as we progress to distinguishing between God's fundamental truth and our self-centered fundamental truth.

Hereafter, whatever dust may be stirred up,

never think it is an illness.

Let's try and look at this verse with a fresh mind. Most of us have been drawn to this teaching because of some illness or trouble that we would like relief from. For us human beings it is a fundamental truth of our self-centered mind that bad and unwanted things happen to our bodies. We call those bad and unwanted things that happen to our bodies, illness. However it is a fundamental truth of God's mind that illness, trouble and even death, do not exist. They are, according to God, just "dust" in our human minds. Further, what we call "our body", is not our body, it is God's body, that is loaned by God to our self-centered imagination. To understand the truth of these two points of view and be freed from illness, trouble and death, we are instructed to return the body to God, at once. To do that requires that we settle or remove the dust of the self-centered imagination, that imagines that it is an entity separate from God and that it owns a body, and in so doing awakening to the truth of origin. The mind that returns to the origin is instantly given the truth that any and everything of this universe is the body of God. The name Moonsun embodies this truth. Though there are changes that can be seen, there is still only Moonsun [Moonsun]. The mind that awakens to this truth can freely play in the changes high spiritedly and joyously in the knowledge of the one truth. It is important to recall that this one truth is not an idea. It is the foundation and origin of all thoughts and it is known when all thoughts settle. That is, it is known through the mind like clear water.

I shall give returns for the regrets of Moonsun

piled mountainously high until now.

So, now we have the collected dust of all self-centered imaginations piled up on God's mind like a mountain. This dust, our self-centered dust, is what is called God's anger and regret. God gives a return for this dust. How does this work? We should know how this works as we have encountered it many times before in the teaching. God, like a "Four Fronted Mirror" reflects the dust of our innermost heart back to us instantly and perfectly. The state of our mind becomes the state of our world. In the case of illness, if we insist upon claiming God's body as our own and refuse to return it, then what is reflected back is just that reality. Our self-centered imagination experiences the changes that the body goes through as if it really is our body and not God's body that is changing. Our greed and selfishness in this matter is returned to us as if by a mirror. To escape this return we are advised to give back what has been borrowed at once.

In this respect we could say that Moonsun is calling back to their origin all of the instruments of creation. Doing so, in order to remove the unintended suffering that the marvel that is the self-centered imagination has unintentionally become ensnared in, so that the instruments of creation can play, freely and joyously, within the absolute protection of the body of God.

Even until now, though I spoke of My returns,

you have been wondering what it could mean.

Hopefully, we now know what God's returns means.

This is what My returns mean in truth.

Beware, all of you on the high mountains!

The warning given is for all of us who continue to claim what is in truth not ours. Of this there is no doubt. The state of my mind becomes the state of my world.