Taking the Shinbashira Seriously

Whatever It Takes

The true objective of the activities of a church is to assist Oyasama in sweeping away the dust from the hearts of people. It is also to seriously discuss, with those who make the effort to purify their minds as taught by Oyasama, how to ponder in following the path in order to accord with Oyasama's intention. A church should thus help people with their construction of the mind, thus guiding them toward spiritual maturity. In other words, a church exists to sprinkle the fragrance of the teaching and to save people.

SAS October 28, 1987 - The 3rd Shinbashira

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Some years ago a "Timber" of many years who was experiencing some frustration with the course of the path in North America told me that while driving down the road it suddenly occurred to him that we are meant to be taking things out of our own minds and helping other people to do the same. Not, he said, putting things in! I agreed. The problem, it seems to me, centers on how one interprets the phrase "as taught by Oyasama" as it is used in the quotation above.

The first interpretation that comes to mind is usually the ever popular "worldly common" interpretation. Worldly common interpretations are of course based on a foundation of worldly common truths. The present the state of the human mind and the current state of our world is the sum of all of those worldly common truths. It is a state in which many are finding it difficult to find joy in.

Fortunately there are other ways to understand the meaning of the phrase "as taught by Oyasama". I will mention a few taught in the "Tip of the Writing Brush":

The phrase "as taught by Oyasama" could mean viewing every matter from the point of view that this whole universe is the body of God. This exercise is a very fast and powerful method of countering the denial that is the self-centered imagination moment to moment and in every matter and in so doing exposing the the truth of origin in every matter. Certainly this sincere effort returns the point of view of free and unlimited workings surely and quickly.

Then again "as taught by Oyasama"  could mean viewing every matter from the point of view of the Model of Parental Love. According to that model all of the children in the world have an equal affinity to and an equal access to Parent and truth origin. That all human beings are brothers and sisters is a worldly common truth. The implications of equal access and equal affinity are not.

Then too one could view "as taught by Oyasama" as meaning that by saving others we are saved. I believe that the sincere effort to save someone else is expressed as the willingness to do whatever is necessary to reach out and bring salvation to each and every human mind in ways appropriate for the time, place and level of spiritual maturity of both those who would save and those who would be saved. Of course it helps to know what salvation is all about in the first place and that is after all the subject of the Shinbashira's sermon. Those who would save others are intended to show them how to sweep their heart. It is a removal process only. There is nothing new to be added.

And finally, to be sure that we have the proper understanding of what "as taught by Oyasama" means we are provided with the benchmark of "the mind like clear water". I think that we have to have a sense of humor about this one. By pondering the mind like clear water we are brought face to face with our rather childish resistance to the truth of origin. Almost unbelievably there are also worldly common interpretations of this instruction but it is a hard one for the self-centered imagination to explain away and in general the self-centered imagination tends to try to stay away from it and pretend that it doesn't exist. If however one wants to purposely awaken to single-heartedness quickly pondering the mind like clear water is also a very quick and powerful method.

Somewhere there is a Timely Directive that says something like "return to the path of sweeping alone."  Perhaps someone would be kind enough to tell me where it can be found.

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This just in from a helpful reader: 

In the section entitled "The True Objective of a Yoboku," you mentioned you are looking for information about a Divine Direction containing the phrase "return to the path of sweeping alone." Well, I've tried with not much success. I couldn't find that exact phrase in my files. But I 
came across a passage that seems a bit similar, so let me send it to you, though it may not at all what you are trying to locate.

"Set out anew on the one path of sweeping that leaves no corner 
unswept. You will need tools for sweeping, tools for putting things 
away, tools for settling, and tools for wiping. Always sweep. Sweep 
there, sweep here. Sweep all corners. If you wonder where to sweep, it 
is the mind that you should sweep."
(Osashizu, March 29, 1888)

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Thought the above Osashizu is not the one that I am looking for it more than adequately captures the spirit of the path as being a path of removal. Since we need tools to carry out the task it is perhaps appropriate to mention that the tools have to be appropriate for the both the task and the user. A farmer needs a plow, an accountant a calculator etc..