Newpath Tenrikyo - Tenrikyo's Dynamic Mission -   A BASIS FOR REASONING AND LOGICAL FLOW



The name Tenrikyo implies a method of reasoning from the point of view of knowing and understanding a single truth. That single truth is often referred to by using phrases such as "the truth or origin", "single-hearted salvation", "the truth of the original cause of all things" or the truth that "this universe is the body of God" and that human beings or human bodies are "things lent, things borrowed" from the single body of God which is the entire universe. All of those assertions have been around in various forms in the human imagination for millennia and they can be found as beliefs held by the members of  numerous philosophies, religions, cults and in moral ethical teachings throughout the ages.

 In Tenrikyo usage that means that as ideas entertained by the human imagination they are common in the world or to use a Tenrikyo term, they are "worldly common". The Tenrikyo Dynamic Mission intends to distinguish itself from worldly common ideas held as beliefs in the the human imagination by offering a quick reasonable proof of the one truth of origin that is available to all human beings equally, without the need of the human imagination or the ideas or beliefs that it contains.  In that regard it is the statement of a straight forward hypothesis and also of a method for testing the truth of the hypothesis. 


 In the Tenrikyo Dynamic Mission the topic of  reasoning from a single original premise is addressed by making a comparison of the discussion of "how we self-centeredly use our mind" as opposed to using our mind "God's free and unlimited workings" or "the truth that the body is a thing lent a thing borrowed" as opposed to the body being exclusively our own and the center of our identity. Coming to an understanding of how we use our mind to logically reason our way in the world is fundamental to the teaching of the "Truth or Reason of Heaven". Indeed the goal of replacing the mind is to inform the self-centered foundation of our logical reasoning with an awareness of the original cause and support of our self-centered logical reasoning and thinking. So in stepping through this discussion, in case there is someone whose experiences are similar to my own or is new to the part of the teaching that deals with logic and reasoning, working together, I will attempt to inform and deepen our understanding of how we use our mind by looking at and sharing what I think I have learned through pondering the Teaching of the Reason of Heaven about how I use my own mind. 

At the outset let me say that this discussion is not meant to be an academic or scholarly discussion. I'm neither an academic or a scholar. Though I am currently retired my day to day living has been made in the areas of theatrical management, truck driving and laboring, retail, wholesale and manufacturing, guest services, law enforcement, security and safety. It should be apparent that I moved around quite a bit and enjoyed a restless youth. So please forgive me the shortcoming of my vocabulary and style of writing. We all however have a mind and we all engage in logical reasoning so in this case I will do what anyone can do and look at the way I use my own mind and see if I can use that effort to bring my mind into accord with the teaching of the Truth or Reason of Heaven and in the process perhaps find some kindred spirits to work with in spreading that awareness around.  

How difficult it may be,
see the truth through your own mind.

Ok, so I'm going to go  into my own mind to see how it developed and how it works, but where do I start? Perhaps I'll start at the beginning and see where that leads my inquiry. There is of course nothing particularly unique or interesting about the development of my mind and its use. Since no two human minds are exactly the same there is nothing unique about having a unique mind. My intention here is to invite you, the reader to perhaps find some framework in my reflections to use in examining the way in which your own mind has developed and now works.  In that way perhaps we each can end up by seeing the truth through our own mind.

I have a color photograph of myself that was taken when I was perhaps two years old. I have been told that it was taken by a professional photographer who traveled up and down the street selling color photos to all of the mothers on the block, none of whom at the time worked outside of the home.  Nice color photos, who could resist? When I reflect on that photoMe at two or two and a half I find it interesting that I have no memory of it being taken. Nor would I have been able to recognize myself in the photo had I not been told later on by my mother that it was a picture of me. That is surprising to me as after all it must have been something of an event, with my mother or older sisters no doubt scurrying about to get a nice quilt to spread on the dining room table, sitting me up and making sure that I was wearing nice shoes, a clean outfit, that my hair was combed and of course that I was smiling for the camera. I'm sure that I would have been the subject of all the attention and the activity at the time. So why don't I remember? For most of my life the answer to that question would have been that I wasn't old enough to remember and that would have been that. I will return to this question as it is central to the point that I am trying to make.

  In retrospect it was not too long after this photo was taken that I gradually and naturally began to develop an idea of myself as being at the center of all of my thoughts and experiences and to store those thoughts and experiences in memory as being me.  I can actually recall  those earliest memories of the awakening of self-awareness. Perhaps you do too. Those accumulated and remembered thoughts and experiences then are centered on the understood fact that I am located in time and space as this body. All of my thoughts are related to that single understood fact. Because of that fact I can naturally understand that the sum total of my thoughts, centered on my body is the total truth of myself. It is who I understand myself to be. I have no doubt that the body that is me writing this is my body and not someone else's body and that the experiences that I call my own are mine and not someone else's. I can then say without reservation that the foundation of all of my thoughts is the understanding that I am this body and this body is me. 

 By the time I reached my junior or senior year in high school I learned in Heath Class, which was mandatory for all students to take, that those memories added up to my self-image and like everyone else in the class I was exposed to ideas of different types of self images. The emphasis in teaching about self-image was that particular kinds of self-images might result in anti-social behavior and were to be avoided. Basically we were taught that we built our self-image out of the way that our actions were reflected of off other people.  I found it all very interesting but by that time I already had a secure self-image that I was comfortable with and didn't feel the need to reflect on how my self-image was made or where it came from. The world of ideas was rapidly opening up for me and I found it to be really quite interesting so I plunged full speed ahead into the collection of experiences and ideas. 




As a basis for a logical flow of reasoning then I could take the idea or truth of being naturally provided for from the womb to the grave and logically and reasonably project it out into the world as a basis for my world view, that is to say the way in which I see and interpret my experience of the world. From that single assumed truth I might possibly select one of the many popular flavors or logical reasonable interpretations of divine providence or one of the newer logical reasonable flavors of biological materialism (the idea or truth that no supernatural or divine agency is necessary to explain my existence as it can be explained by faith in physical laws as will be seen when those physical laws are discovered).  From the assumption of  just that one truth then there are numerous other truths that can logically and reasonably be seen to flow out from it and contribute to other truths that then become the basis for further logical reasoning and the creation of even more truths. Upon reflection it is clear that my world view is deeply biased by the truths that I choose to subscribe to.  [Resource]

 This relationships between truths and their offspring that also give rise to truths has been likened to a tree with a single root and lots of branches.  It should be obvious then that since there are so many ideas or truths flowing from this one truth that those truths end up being in competition with each other and that what is true for me may not be true for anyone else. The truths that I hold, the truths that are true for me could be described as being self-centered truths. It is, I imagine, the competition between just such self-centered truths that is the basis for a great deal of conflict and suffering in the world. In my youth and immaturity I entertained two logical reasonable flows in the regard. The first assumed that there was a set of ideas or truths that if adopted by everyone in the world would bring about peace. I didn't have a very comprehensive idea of that that set of ideas or truths was but comforted myself with the feeling that somehow it corresponded to whatever truths my mind held at the time that I thought about the subject of world peace. That is to say the the key to world peace just happened to correspond to the truths of my own mind at any given time and level of maturity. What a guy I must be. [Resource]  

Getting back to my development, it wasn't too long after the above photo was taken that I began to develop an idea of myself, a self awareness and to store memories of my experiences in relation to those rather rapidly accumulating ideas of self or who I was by then imagining my self to be. By the time I was four years old things really started to get interesting. My mother would sit with me and both entertain and teach me by reading to me. My world began to be inhabited by characters both real and imaginary. I was for instance quite concerned that Peter Rabbit had to run away from Mr. McGregor's the cabbage patch "leaving his jacket behind" and was impressed by my Mother's multimedia approach, turning the Peter Rabbit lamp shade by my bed so that looking from my head on the pillow I could see Peter running from the garden without his jacket and apparently shortly thereafter, before falling asleep, I resolved not to make that same mistake myself. Looking back I suppose that  it was assumed that I would be able sort out the real from the imaginary or non existent by myself, as a matter of course, as I matured but perhaps not. There was however a clue that parents and older siblings were encouraged to offer as a kind of a rite of passage.  At an early age, perhaps between four and seven years old, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, two major characters in a child's world at that particular time and place, were destined to be exposed as imaginary and non-existent. It would have been nice if that were all that it took to end the mixing and confusion that flows from identifying the imaginary as being real but at least in case of Santa and the Easter Bunny it was all over. Unfortunately I was to be still a long way from being able to distinguish between what was original or real in myself and the creations of my self-centered imagination . [Resource]

Next came school and reading. I started out with "Fun with Dick and Jane" and in no time was reading illustrated Bible Stories at home. I can recall laying on the floor in front of the bookcase and eagerly turning the pages. They were very interesting and entertaining as they were chock full of stories of heroic deeds, miracles and stories that were just right for a beginning reader. The illustrations also made a big enough impression on me that I can still remember some of them to this day. In the environment that I was in it seemed that they must after all have been true stories as all of the adults, with the exception of my father whose maturity I was only later to appreciate, thought that they were true and could offer good and in some cases scary, reasons for not questioning their validity. I emphasize scary because fear played an important part in keeping me in line and away from questioning a literal and fundamental interpretation of the foundation stories of the culture that I was being conditioned into. On the positive side, that conditioning also attempted to develop an awareness of conscience, though there wasn't much follow through because the interpretation that flowed from conscience, (also referred to as the sacred heart or holy spirit), was so far out of step with the intentions of the "upper people" it was left pretty much to the idealized activities of saints and martyrs. [Resource]

 I went to a Roman Catholic school up until the 8th grade. I looked forward to going to school and over the years it provided me with a basic education and lots and lots of  fun and laughs. Fortunately for me the Sisters of Saint Mary were very kind and patient. I loved them and never doubted that they loved all of us too. Unfortunately, as the years went by some of the Bible stories both old and new that had resonated so true in the first, second and third grades no longer seemed to be entirely plausible. I recall a time in the eighth grade when one of the smarter girls in class, all of the girls in class were smarter than me, asked how it was possible for the Old Testament Patriarchs to live to be six hundred years old and what evidence there was that that was actually the case. I felt sorry for the nun who could only answer that there was no choice but to believe that it was so as a matter of faith.  In my adult life I worked in the area Safety and often had the pleasure of explaining to people that in the event of an earthquake if the walls, floor and ceiling of room that they were in filled with small cracks during an earthquake it was Ok to stay put but if the cracks were heading toward being one inch or more wide then it's time to go. For me that was perhaps my first one inch crack in the validity and truth of the stories that conditioned my childhood. If asked in retrospect I would admit that the stories were morality tales meant to teach children how to act in particular circumstances but to continue to accept the stories as fundamentally true was, I imagined, rapidly becoming too much to ask. It is however also a fact that my first encounter with the mind like clear water came to me while sitting quietly by myself in a Catholic church. [Resource]

Through High School and my early years in college I continued to be a nominal Catholic and would often accompany my father to church on Sundays but the final "over one inch crack" came during a sermon in support of the Viet Nam war and against the people who were protesting against it. The contradiction with the Christian ideal and conscience was just too great, I walked out on that sermon and never looked back. When I got home my father casually mentioned that I had left him sitting in church but as I look back on his warmth and understanding I know that he too clearly saw the contradiction and looked upon me perhaps as a bird that had been nurtured, moved to the edge of the nest and had been made ready to fly. In any case my departure from the fold did not cause conflict or come between my father and I nor did it come between me and the rest of my family.  More than once I have reflected on the proposition  that the purpose of the whole exercise was perhaps to bring people to the point where they could in fact happily walk away. [Resource]

"Happily walk away" is perhaps not an entirely correct way of putting it. Though I was free from listening to what I might still characterize as Old Testament tribal reasoning spread around in support of savagery and  presented in a New Testament wrapper, I was still very heavily conditioned through many years of training. Though it is an over simplification let me say that  there are perhaps two categories of ex-Catholics: Those who have washed their hands of the whole thing and become agnostics or atheists and those who continue to believe in a higher power that they can access by them self, without the middle man priest class and its needs and motives. In either case in order to freely walk away it is necessary to come to terms with the threat and fear of eternal damnation that is used to keep a hold on the faithful.  In my own case I turned my attention inward and surrendered to the judgment of the conscience that I had been taught to rely on and that I knew permanently dwelt within me. After that I was given freedom from doctrine but not real knowledge or understanding and not satisfaction and peace of mind. [Resource]

As a college student I more our less embarked on the journey of a mind that tried to find true ideas or truth in ideas and to collect as many interesting experiences as I could. My mind was very busy and full of  true ideas, some of which held both my interest and the "ring" or "flavor" of truth for longer than others, however my now "free" mind was also something of an  unresolved and dissatisfied mess. It was also around this time when still a student, while laying on the grass in the park, that I more our less out of the blue, revisited an idea  that was causally planted in me by a friend of mine while I was still in High School and he was in his first year of college. While we were standing at the bar of the local tavern that serviced our neighborhood I asked him how college was and what courses he was taking. He mentioned that he was among other things taking freshman philosophy. I asked what that was about and he answered by asking me if I had ever considered that the universe is a single being. I said no and we both chuckled at the kind of nonsense that students in Philosophy 101 were subjected to. Anyway my effort as getting handle on the proposition was more than a little immature. Though I didn't want to I kept coming back to trying to form an image of the entire universe as a giant body much like my own. I dropped the effort and returned to pondering other more easily accessed and digested truths. These days I understand that category of truth, thoughts and ideas that can be imagined, believed and manipulated by my imagination, worldly common truths.  [Resource]

After spending a number of years in and out of college, I worked full time for the last four, I graduated and it was my good fortune to meet my wife. The two of us then set off on something that for different reasons we both wanted to do. I had since my childhood been interested in History, Geography and Human cultures and pretty much knew that I will eventually travel around the world to see the sites that had captured my imagination as a child and she enjoys the company of people of all kinds and loves to travel.

It was at this time, while traveling with my wife in Mexico, that I had my second encounter with the mind like clear water. As we were walking through a neighborhood in some town or city I suddenly stopped. When my wife asked me why I had stopped I answered without hesitation or doubt that we had been there before. She gave me a puzzled look and explained that it was impossible that we had been there before because we had just arrived, and besides she explained during our travels, we always moved forward and never backtracked. I once again insisted that we had been there before. My wife has an excellent sense of direction while I habitually get lost whenever I leave my neighborhood. I couldn't be convinced, I was sure that we or at least I had been there before. It was the same state of mind that I had encountered as a child sitting alone in church. It is a state of mind that leaves a big impression but which is impossible to actually fully describe. The closest I could come was that it was a very deep feeing of warmth, safety and familiarity and as quickly as it had come it was gone. I really didn't know what to make of it and so put it down to deja vu.  When I much later pondered this experience in the light of the Reason of Heaven I realized that the absolute familiarity that is experienced as deja vu is in fact the parental heart, later  mistaken by the returning self-centered imagination as familiarity with the surrounding objects of sensory experience, thus the absolute certainty of having been in that place before.  It is the parental heart that really is absolutely familiar, warm and safe, as it is the parental heart that is the one "place" that all human beings have in common and it is the parental heart that is the one "place" that all self-centered ideas arise from.  I find it interesting that as I write this I am able to clearly recall each conscious encounter with the parental heart through the mind like clear water as well as what my senses perceived at that time. Which is more than not bad for a guy who often forgets what he has had for breakfast in the morning.  [Resource]

After a couple of years we returned from our travels and set up house and found work in the City that I had been born in and set about enjoying our lives and having a good time. During this time I had begun to gradually change from looking for truth in ideas to looking for the truth of myself. I recall vividly sitting in a chair in our living room when it dawned on me that I was indeed a self image, a collection of imaginings that added up to a continuous idea of being a self. It logically flowed of course, almost instantly, that up until that time I had spent most of my life in my engrossed in my imagination. In a heartbeat a ton of childish stuff was swept away but not all of it and there was still plenty more to be added where that came from. [Resource]

Two or three years later my wife took a job in another city and we moved. I found work and we were happy except for one little thing. I wanted to know the truth of self and though identifying my imagination was, for me, a big success I was dissatisfied with my progress in settling the question of the truth of myself once and for all. Most of the people that I worked with in our new home city were between the ages of sixty-five and ninety-one. One day the owner, an eighty-five year old marketing genius and philanthropist took me to lunch and said to me, "brother Lewis", he was a high degree Mason, "you think to much." I appreciated his interest but already knew that that was the case. As an artifact of my search for true and truth in ideas I was then and continue to be now, full of opinions on a number of worldly common topics that I am quite happy and willing to share, often whether the person I am talking to wants to hear them or not.  It was at that time that I began to talk to various people about my discovery of the imagined self as well as lots of other topics that I didn't fully understand.  [Resource]

One day I found that the question of the entire universe being a single conscious being had arrived once again on the front burner so to speak.  By this time I was far more familiar with the interior of my own mind and knew that my thoughts were illuminated by a consciousness that  reflected my thoughts back to me as the truths of my world. I know that the topic of my reflection on that particular day was the question of the whole universe being a single conscious being and I know that with each sincere effort to understand that, my self-centered imagination would, instead of trying to make an image, spread itself thinner and thinner. On that day I walked out of the toilet where I had been sitting and pondering and enjoyed, the longest up until then, embrace of the parental heart. The settling lasted  long enough for me to move about from room to room. Then in my excitement I began to think about what was happening and it was gone. There were two pieces of information that I immediately recalled. First, I wanted to get back to that state of mind and second I imagined that I didn't know how to do that.  [Resource]

Knowledge and understanding









From now on, I shall teach you about the long journey
of humankind. Ponder over it firmly.

Look at things in the world and through all ages.
Calm your mind and ponder them.

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