Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven

     

This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


 

VI 6-13

Know that the distinction between fire and water will be made

by the performance of the Joyous Service at this place.

In verse five we were taught that the goal of Joyousness will be reached naturally when the distinction between fire and water is made. In the above verse we are taught that the way to make the distinction between fire and water is "by the performance of the Joyous Service at this place." It should be clear then that the purpose of the Joyous Service is to make the distinction between fire and water but what does "at this place mean"?

Fire and water are metaphors for the self-centered imagination (called mind when viewed as a whole) and the original light that illuminates the mind (called by many different names in the Ofudesaki, God, Parent, Pillar, "Jiba", "Moonsun" and Origin, to mention just a few). The Joyous Service refers to the narrow path opened by God for calming the mind so that a distinction can be made between the original and the imaginary. And finally "this place" refers to the place of origin, the "Jiba"(the place where human beings are created), the Four Fronted Mirror Residence.

Let's take a moment and reflect on the significance of "place" in the performance of the Joyous Service. There is a rather simple mechanical problem in distinguishing between "fire" (the origin of the mind) and water (the mind or self-centered imagination). The imagination, self-centered or otherwise cannot contain or behold its own origin, it is unimaginable! However from the point of view of the origin the self-centered imagination can easily be contained and can be beheld, separated out and distinguished. When we look out through a pane of glass we most often think that we see clearly. However, when we readjust our focus and change our point of view we can easily become aware of the dust that has settled on the glass. That dust lays between us and the objects that we are looking at. And although we are often not aware of it, that dust affects the way we see things. It is the same with the point of view of the origin. From that point of view, the point of view that is the point of view of the performance of the Joyous Service, we can see the distinction between the origin and the self-centered imagination appearing in and before it. We can see that like dust on a pane of glass, the self-centered imagination affects what we experience as the world.

I shall do marvelous things,

the same as My beginning of this world.

I think that we all like marvelous things. This verse defines the scope of the marvelous things that God is offering and puts them in perspective. The marvelous things that God intends for us are on the order of a new and fresh creation. A new world of joy based on the ability to distinguish between "Fire" the origin and "Water" our self-centered imaginations.

I shall begin a Service which has never existed since I began

this world, and assuredly settle the world.

There is a deep significance to the assertion that the Service "never existed since I began this world". Recall that this Book or Chapter goes deeper into the mud of our minds to overcome our misunderstanding of God's teaching and intention. Our self-centered imaginations are "one thing leads to another type machines", they run on causality, "innen". We find it very hard to get a handle on anything really new. We need to relate new ideas to old ideas and in so doing make a progression or evolution of thoughts and ideas that appeals to our causal view of the world. This is the way of the world's reason. We are limited in this way and not free to embrace a creation that is always new and fresh. For this reason it is necessary for God to find ways to teach that all human beings can relate to regardless of time or place. One way to do so is to use words and images that are familiar to us in a particular time and place and at a particular stage in our spiritual maturity. In this verse we are reminded that though the words God is using and the appearance of the Service may sound familiar they are meant to indicate something entirely new and fresh. The performance of the Service being the way to free us from our limitations and bring God's free and unlimited workings to our minds and in so doing settle the world.

There may be no one at all who knows

the truth of the mind of Moonsun of this universe.

We have been taught about the distinction between "Nihon" and "Kara", "Fire" and "Water" and now the truth of the mind of "Moonsun" [Moonsun] of this universe. This is not a new teaching or a new direction in the poems, it is a new device meant to capture our self-centered imaginations and bring understanding yet a moment sooner. Again there is the context of making clear that we should not expect that the familiar sounds of words in the teaching mean that the familiar meanings of those words should be expected. To the villagers this was the name of a new god made up of the names of two old gods. To the authorities this name was unacceptable. For us we can ponder the truth of God's name starting with an inquiry into the truth of relationships and ending with single-heartedness. The moon appears to shine by its own light but the truth reveals otherwise.

Until now, you have been saying that you cannot see a god

with your own eyes, whatever kind of god it may be.

There is a long tradition in the journey of mankind that gods or god, though their works are visible, are themselves invisible powers defined and fleshed out by the power of our own self-centered imaginations. Indeed the way in which our self-centered imaginations define those invisible powers often shape the boundaries of the tribes and nations of mankind. Where this teaching differs is that the service performer is invited to actually become single-hearted with God. This amounts to "seeing" God and directly knowing the truth of God.

This time, truly revealing whatever gods there may be,

I shall speak to you.

God is directly revealed to the mind that has returned to the origin. The mind that distinguishes between "fire" and "water" knows the mind of "Moonsun" [Moonsun] and is directly informed of the truth of god and indeed of all the gods whatever kind they may be.

From this time on, whatever you say or think

will appear just as you say or think. This is the wonder.

The state of our mind is instantly reflected in the origin as the truth of our world. This is indeed a wonder. If you have never checked it out please do so. It is a marvelous power. Not only is the instant reflected but a whole past and future is understood from moment to moment. When we are up and high spirited, the past, present and future look up and high spirited. When we are down and dispirited, the past, present and future also look down and dispirited. All just because of the momentary state of our self-centered imagination.

At the sign of the wheat harvest, all things will begin to appear.

Hurry and begin the Joyous Service.

As always we are hastened to begin the Joyous Service and in so doing make the distinction between "Fire" and "Water", and through the knowledge of the truth of the mind of "Moonsun" awaken to the free and unlimited joyous life. I am sure that there is a moment available even now to make that distinction and returning even now to the origin "seeing" God's truth and indeed the truth of all of the gods whatever kind of gods they may be. What a wonder and marvel it is!