Book I, Verses 45-50, John Lewis

So far we have looked at Book I as it unfolds its teaching. We have seen that thirty years of tireless effort had resulted in "no one who has understood my heart". Verse 4 showed us one way of misunderstanding the heart of God, the truth and original cause of all things in detail. " You are calling this place the Jiba, the Residence of God, in Yamato, but you may not know the origin." Through this verse we are shown the misunderstanding of those who would like to understand but who cannot get past worldly common ways of thinking to do so. When we arrived at verse 42 we were shown another way of misunderstanding. "Until now, you have doubted the words of God. You have been saying that they are all false." This kind of misunderstanding rejects the teaching of the truth of origin as being so out of line with worldly common ways of understanding, that it seems to be not worth the effort to try and understand the teaching on its own terms.

To this point then in Book I, there are two themes with a single intention. One theme addresses the mind that wants to understand but is having trouble doing so, while the other theme address the mind that does not want to understand but which is complaining and asking for help. In both cases the intention is the same, single-hearted salvation, returning to the Origin. Though the tone is different for each kind of misunderstanding or problem mind, the prescription for relief is the same. The Services are given so that we can sweep, purify the mind ,return, understand the heart, truth of and original cause of all things in detail. Understanding that, we can distinguish the relationship between our mind, God's mind and the state of the world. Settling that understanding, is the spirited viewpoint of the joyous life.

Continuing with the poems: Book I, Verses 45-50

Looking all over the world and through all ages,

I see various paths of life.

Hereafter, I shall speak in the metaphor of a path,

not indicating any place in particular.

Over steep mountains, through tangles of thorns, along narrow

ledges, and through brandished swords, if you come,

Yet ahead through a sea of flames and a deep abyss,

you will arrive at a narrow path.

After following the narrow path step by step, you will

come to a broad path. This is the trustworthy main path,

This talk is not someone else's concern. It is a matter

of your own and your single-heartedness with God.

This is an intimate "not someone else's concern" message addressed to everyone or no one in particular. I say intimate because the poems recognize that we all have our own life path and it speaks to us from the knowledge and acceptance of who we are at this point in our own life path. The message also recognizes that for perhaps all too many of us, our life path has become less than a joyous picnic.

The narrow path to be followed step by step is of course the quieting process that allows us to distinguish between our self-centered thoughts and the mind of God. In perfection this is the gradual awakening that is single-heartedness with God. The goal of the broad trustworthy main path teaches us that the intention of following a "narrow path step by step" is not to diminish the human experience but to open it out to the free and unlimited point of view of the joyous life.

"Sah, sah, devoting yourself to the path of truth in due order, and understanding the truth of single-hearted salvation is the one truth." Osashizu, August 9, 1888.