Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven
This universe is the body of God.
Ponder this in all matters.
There are many ways to approach the stories of creation as they appear in these poems. I will not try and do justice to the various interpretations that flow from those many approaches, other than to say that I believe that the intention of the stories, regardless of interpretation, was and is, to remove misunderstanding and hasten the awakening of the human mind to the joy that is single-heartedness with God.
My approach then is from the point of view of a person living in the twenty-first century who has been attracted to the promise of single-heartedness with God and the joyous life. As single-heartedness with God is my goal, I will try to go straight to the interpretation that I think will provide me with the shortest route.
To begin with, I suggest that this story is not an old true story about things that happened in the distant past. Instead, I suggest that the intention of this story is to provide us with instructions that we can carefully and deliberately follow in our own mind, right now, so that the truth of origin can be seen in the present as the truth of our own mind.
This world was a muddy ocean.
Therein was Moonsun alone.
We are invited to imagine a time before there were any names and forms. It is crucial to this interpretation to grasp that Moonsun is alone. The creation takes place out of Moonsun and nothing else. Indeed, even the name Moonsun did not as yet exist, as there was no other to be distinguished from and thus no need for a name. Please take a moment and imagine this original condition in your own mind.
An idea came to Moonsun:
how promising it would be to begin a world.
From where there was only Moonsun an idea rises up. Though it happens very fast and we are not usually aware of it, this is also how the ideas that determine the state of our world rise up in the darkness of our own mind. If we watch closely we can see this process as it happens. For those who perform the Service this distinction is a rather easy matter both during the performance and thereafter.
It was difficult to begin a world which did not exist.
I prepared to find what could be used as instruments.
I will emphasize the word "difficult" here. A significant obstacle to understanding God's intention has always been the unreasonable demands and expectations that we human beings have held on to. What flows from these unreasonable demands and expectations are notions that God may be giving us human beings less than God's full providence and flowing from that notion is the idea that there should be a way to influence God to provide us with that full providence. I think that if we ponder the difficulty that God is referring to in the creation of this world, then we can appreciate that God's full providence is always given and God more than anything, wants us to have that full providence. The problem stems not from any providence that God has withheld but from the unintended difficulty that our minds have in awakening to the truth of origin and the joyous life that flows fully and freely from that truth.
Looking carefully within, I found loaches,
a fish and serpent, and other creatures, too.
Moonsun looks within Moonsun (recall that Moonsun is alone, there is no other at the time of creation) and finds the instruments of creation. Everything in this universe is made by Moonsun and from Moonsun! One could say that the whole universe is the body of Moonsun and that our that our human bodies are things borrowed from Moonsun
I called them together and conferred with them
to begin My providence for human beings.
I am drawn to the phrase "conferred with them". To me, this implies both the freedom of the instruments and the difficulty that is involved in a coordinated effort that requires consent. It is significant and part of the difficulty that is inherent in the creation, both then and now, that God does not command the instruments.
Even today, as God attempts to find the instruments necessary for the construction of the world of Joyous life this same relationship applies. And God, through these poems, is conferring with the us, the instruments now manifest as human beings capable of understanding the truth of our origin, with intention of creating a new world of Joyous Life. .
In order to begin a world which did not exist,
I, Moonsun, devoted Myself at every step.
This is another reflection on the notion that Moonsun may for some reason be withholding some providence. Recall that the misunderstanding of God's "returns" introduces this creation story. Moonsun is now and has always been the sole constant support of this creation. There is nothing now or ever that is not Moonsun and because of Moonsun. Even our power to imagine otherwise is because of Moonsun.
This is no one who knows of this path.
What do you think of this regret of Moonsun?
Indeed it is the marvelous power of the human self-centered imagination to fundamentally imagine that everything is not of and by Moonsun, that is the dust in human minds and the regret in the mind of Moonsun. However the regret of Moonsun is not because Moonsun wants or needs credit or recognition for the creation but rather because we have become lost in the darkness of the self-centered imagination, cannot in many cases find joy in the creation and are constantly praying for help.
If we study various "divine records" now preserved thoroughly, we shall realize that the essence of the true teachings is the Story of Creation. However, even when we listen to the Story of Creation, we humans cannot immediately think that God the Parent teaches the true way of our daily living. We may tend to take the Story of Creation as an old true story and may not notice the close relation between the Story of Creation and the Joyous Life.
...The most important part of the divine records is, so to speak, the story of the painstaking work undertaken by God the Parent in creating man and this world where they were not.
The 3rd Shinbashira, October 28, 1981