Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven

     

This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


IX 57 - 64

From now on, I shall teach you everything

in detail step by step. Do not go against My words.

Count me in. I'm up for being taught everything in detail and I am willing to follow instructions too. Though I suspect that that may be the hard part. 

Do not wonder what it is that I am saying.

It is solely about he preparations for the Kanrodai

No need for me to imagine what the above promise is all about. It is about  preparing my mind for setting up the Kanrodai at the Jiba. Since I know that the Kanodai is the Parent and since I know that the purpose of this series of poems is to make the Parent of origin clearly known to me, I can then safely assume that the setting up of the Jiba Karodai is an important step in my efforts to clearly know the Parent of origin. 

This Stand is to be made one block atop another.

The uppermost is to be two shaku and four sun

So, here I am in San Francisco, California in the year 2003 and I am reading instructions for the Stand. First I have to decide if these instructions are for me or were they only intended to be only for a particular person or persons at a particular time and place in the not too distant past. As no two minds are the same, this is of course a very personal choice. In my own case I have decided that these instructions are addressed to me and specifically to my unique self-centered imagination. I can take this approach because I have accepted that the Parent of origin resides at the core of my being  knowing and understanding each of my thoughts and motivations perfectly and is tirelessly using that perfect knowledge to try and guide me back to the truth of origin so that I might awaken to a joyous life. 

That said, it falls to me to determine how and when to set up the Kanrodai so that the Parent of Origin can be clearly known. For my effort I have decided that I will start with the instructions for the model Kanrodai and assemble that stand in my mind, that is using my self-centered imagination. This of course is only one approach to setting up the Kanrodai. There are many others, probably as many as there are self-centered imaginations. 

Day one, I try to make a clear mental image of one of the segments of the stand. I find it is not so easy for me to do. The lines are not clear and the image lacks substance. Imagining the entire Stand is easier but it is hard to keep the image straight as it keeps tilting to one side or the other. Worse still the image keeps drifting off, being replace by other thoughts. Before going to bed I give it a last try. The next morning to my surprise I awakened with a pretty good image of a single segment of the stand. It has the right number of sides and is mortised correctly. I start stacking them and things move along pretty smoothly. The more I practice setting up the stand the easier it is to do. Sometimes the image contains wooden segments and other times they are stone. 

Weeks go by and with each passing day the image is much clearer. The task requires all of the resources of my self-centered imagination however with effort I have managed to fit all of the mortised segments together and have a pretty good stand but there is a problem. The work of setting up the stand has so far been conducted in and by my self-centered imagination and if I would try to describe the location of the task I would say that it felt like it went on in the upper part of my mind between the back of my eyes and the back of my forehead. The result being that it was difficult for me to both hold the image in place and move my head. I began to wonder if I could find some way to hold the Kanrodai other than as a "freeze frame" up  in my self-centered imagination. 

While walking through the park on my way home from work I began working on setting up the stand and got a nice hold on it. It was made of stone and though held steady in my imagination, because of the weight of the stone, it began to sink. It turns out that there is a nice fit for it between the center of my chest and the "floor" of my self-centered imagination. In this position though the imagined image of the Kanrodai cannot be seen its truth, however, shines in the mind now made like clear water as the marvel that is single-heartedness with the Parent. It is just what is promised and from that point of view, the state of the world is viewed by a human mind that savors the natural joy of the truth of origin. How grateful I am!

Place a flat vessel on top,

and I shall surely bestow the Food of  Heaven.

In the exercise I have described above, the "floor" of the mind or imagination corresponds to the "flat vessel" placed on the top of the Kanrodai. The "Food of Heaven" corresponds to the natural joy that remains when the self-centered imagination has been returned to its origin. Tenrikyo followers trace this out as they perform the hand movements of the seated service. If anyone finds this attractive they can try it and see with certainty the result of their sincere effort.

Sweeping away evils, hasten to save us

All humankind equally purified,

The Kanrodai

Single-Hearted salvation does not exclusively refer to working for others' salvation. It includes endeavoring to attain one's own salvation as well. After all, the truth that enables a person to be saved flows from that person's own genuine effort to follow the path of the Divine Model of Oyasama. If we ourselves follow the path, we will be in a position to share that experience with others who may walk after us. Salvation work entails being saved. 

The Second Shinbashira, My Hopes for the Young