Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven


This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.

Tracing the course of Moonsun's tireless efforts to awaken the human mind to the free and unlimited workings that flow from the origin as single-hearted salvation, we find that Moonsun's intention in teaching us has been consistently misunderstood. Throughout the previous eight books of Ofudesaki that we have discussed there have been numerous efforts made to help us to move from misunderstanding to the spiritual awakening which results from returning to the origin and savoring that truth as the intended joyous life. 

For example, we have been taught to reason our way back to the origin by realizing the truth by the words "clear" or "muddy", with the mind like clear water being given as the benchmark of the true sincerity that is itself the truth. We have been given the physical presence of Oyasama as a model of the way to single-hearted salvation and a visible guide to knowing the Parent of Origin clearly. The Jiba of origin and the Kanrodai have also been given as a place and an object to whose purpose is to hasten our intended awakening. In spite of all of these efforts our misunderstanding of Moonsun's intention has prevailed and in each book we have been told that despite Moonsun's tireless efforts to the contrary, no one understands. This situation might seem discouraging but we should recall that the sweeping of the mind that we have been taught to do through the sincere performance of the service (Tsutome), selfless activities (hinokoshin) and complete reliance on  the power of the origin (sazuke) will of its own accord, prepare our mind for the understanding and awakening that is promised and intended. 

We can however, hasten our spiritual awakening by aligning our self with the means of overcoming those misunderstandings that our parent of origin has supplied us in response to each and every situation or "knot" of misunderstanding that arises in the course of our journey of awakening. To do that, it might be beneficial to recall how the path has been made from the moment that Miki awakened as the Shrine of Moonsun to the present moment. 

When we examine the model life (hinagata) we see that meaningful communication between the point of view of the truth of origin and the point of view of the ordinary, worldly common, self-centered imagination was difficult and misunderstanding of the point of view of origin was almost universal. As the model life progresses we can see the unfolding of a path of single-hearted salvation, the purpose of which is the step by step awakening of all human beings in all times and in all places to the truth of origin and the establishment of the joyous life for all human beings equally. 

We currently see this tireless and universal effort as the willingness of the point of view of origin to teach, hasten and guide all human beings in ways that are appropriate for the time, the place and the spiritual maturity of those being taught. This can be understood as an equal and intimate dialogue between the parent of origin and each and every individual in whatever time or place and regardless of the individual's level of spiritual maturity. On a universal level then, because of the shear magnitude of the intention, that dialogue is unimaginably complex. On both the universal and the  individual level that dialog has two essential criteria. First: the dialogue must be able to capture the human self-centered imagination. That is,  the dialogue must be able to draw the self-centered imagination either directly to the goal or to the step by step way to realizing the goal. Second: once the self-centered imagination is captured, the dialogue must be able to actually return the individual self-centered imagination to its origin. To keep us on course and avoid the confusion of a multitude of conflicting and competing interpretations of the teaching that returns the human mind to its origin; we are surely guided by the teaching that of  the multitude of  possible interpretations of the teaching, there is one interpretation that is certainly not the correct interpretation. That interpretation is the ordinary, worldly common, self-centered interpretation that is the current foundation of human thought. 

It occurs to me that a word about the meaning of the phrase "capturing the imagination" might be in order. Simply put, every movie, television or radio show, every political proclamation, newspaper article, book or magazine, every advertisement, speech, billboard and product label, to mention just a few examples, have as their goal the capturing our self-centered imaginations with the intention of  drawing us to choose a particular course of action. That means that Moonsun's efforts to attract our minds to the reason of heaven and the truth of origin have quite a bit of competition. In my own case it means that my self-centered imagination is constantly on the move, constantly analyzing the flood of sensory and intellectual offerings and deciding which ones appeal to me self-centeredly and which ones do not. Moonsun understands this situation and continually makes adjustments to the dialogue to remain a contender for our attention. The goal and the way to the goal does not change but the dialogue changes to meet the needs of those who would seek the path of single-hearted salvation. This I think is the model that is shown in the model life (hinagata). 

IX 46-52 

From now on, I shall teach you clearly, step by step,

solely about the preparations for the Kanrodai.

At first glance it might appear that this verse is moving us from a goal of making the Parent of Origin clearly known to clearly teaching about the preparations for the Kanrodai as if these were two different goals. The goal, I believe, remains the same. What is indicated is a change in the dialogue with the intention of hastening the time of awakening to the truth of origin. Though there are, I am sure, many interpretations of the significance of the Kanrodai, I will offer here my own personal favorites. 

As I mentioned before, in my own case my self-centered imagination tends to tumble all over the place. It is after all a marvelous power. It can superimpose itself over the present state of the world from points of view that take into account the past and can also project itself and its states into the future with predictive power. I recently watched a television show concerned with anthropology that brought this point home nicely. Suppose an animal, a lion for instance, were to happen on the foot prints of a gazelle. Unless the lion could directly experience the gazelle with one of its senses it would not, as far as the lion would know, exit. Modern humans however have the predictive imaginative power to know that the prints are those of a gazelle and that by following the prints there would be a very good chance that a gazelle would turn up for dinner at the end of the trail. This predictive power makes the human self-centered imagination a most wondrous and powerful tool. 

In my own case however, I have discovered that I don't have full control over my own self-centered imagination. For instance: in response to my desire to savor Moonsun's promise of free and unlimited workings I have found that it is very difficult for me to settle (stop the movement of) my self-centered imagination so that it becomes like clear water. Thus allowing me to distinguish between "Clear" and "muddy". I can reason my way but often I find that I don't even remember when it was that I lost the thread of my reasoning. I can appeal directly to the parent of origin for help but likewise I often drift off into some other train of thought. Then there is the Kanrodai.

I utilize the model Kanrodai both as a physical and mental object to attach my self-centered imagination to. That of course is easy to say but, at least in my case, is not all that easy to do. I have found that to make and hold an image of the Kanrodai in my mind's eye requires some practice. However, with just a little practice, it is rather easy to do. I find that it is especially beneficial for me to do this when I am under stress. I should add that it is easier to start practicing without the stress so the the Kanrodai is available when it is needed. Indeed I find its image to be ideal company while walking to and from work and during my afternoon walks in the park. I work in a beautiful park and am quite capable of missing its beauty if I just walk through it with my imagination running freely. Getting back to the model Kanrodai. At first it is rather hard to set it in place in the mind's eye. Other imaginings crowd it out and its image is vague and hard to anchor down. With some practice though the pillar takes on shape and substance. Its size in the mind's eye can vary from a small image in the "theater" of the mind to an erect pillar roughly occupying the size of my entire body. When the entire self-centered imagination is committed to the project and with my eyes open, the world appears as it actually is rather than as I usually imagine it to be. All of the senses are then at their best. It is joy. 

Make the base of this Stand three shaku across and six-sided

with a mortise at its center. 

Our teacher takes us deeper, calming our infatuation with the self-centered imagination and the changing phases of the moon. The details of the model Kanrodai are revealed. The mental image of a complete stand is to be replaced with a more robust model. One with mass and details. Each element crafted in the minds eye and assembled. When the first stage is fitted into the stand the base of the stand sinks in the minds eye because of the weight of the stone. Certainly a place can be found to securely set up such a substantial structure. Completed and set up the Kanrodai is the parent of origin. The wonder that is the ever changing phases of the moon is replaced by the truth of any and everything, single-heartedness with all that is and changes as well as with  its origin, Moonsun.. 

Until now, I have taught you various things,

but they are all preparations for setting up this Stand.

It is through the setting up of the Kanrodai that the origin, the parent of origin is to be made clearly known. 

If only this Stand has been put firmly in place,

there will be nothing fearful or dangerous.

We are by now familiar with the fears expressed by the villagers and the reasons given for their reluctance to comply with Oyasama's requests. On a more universal level we can ponder our own fears and be assured that by setting up the Kanrodai those fears will be removed. 

Should anyone dare to stop what is ordered by Moonsun,

his own life will be stopped.

In its worldly common reading this verse can certainly catch our attention. So much so that it is perhaps difficult to see any other meaning for it. I suggest that Moonsun offers us the fullness of free and unlimited joyous life. Even within the model of parental love it is a mistake for the child to spurn the efforts of the parent. 

When you see it, you will be truly satisfied

and know that Moonsun's teachings are indeed marvelous.

This refers to the actual Kanrodai, the parent of origin and not necessarily one's reaction to the model. 

As soon as this Stand is completed, the Service will be done.

Nothing will remain that cannot be realized. 

As an object lesson this refers to the Kanrodai Zutome, the service around the sacred stand. Internalized in the totally sincere mind this refers to single-heartedness with the origin, knowing the parent of origin clearly.