Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven


This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


XI : 13-16

From your suffering at this time, 

be convinced, you and all the others.

I am counting myself in with "all the others" so I will take stock of my experience ( not too extensive, I am happy to report) of suffering.  Physical pain, the messages that our nerve endings send to our brain is essential for our survival. Without those messages we wouldn't know if our body was damaged or even on fire. One kind of suffering is the result of what our self-centered imagination makes out of those messages (pain resulting from injury or illness). Chronic pain, the same message repeated over and over, is particularly problematic as it often does not respond to currently available medical treatments and can result in chronic suffering. Suffering then is the dialog that our self-centered imagination has with itself about pain messages. Suffering can also be the result of such a self-centered dialog even in the absence of physical pain messages. We usually refer to this kind of suffering as trouble or a troubled mind. In my own case it is that kind of suffering that I am most familiar with. 

Our suffering then is a message or reminder that we are indulging our self-centered imagination. In the case of suffering that follows from physical pain we are reminded that the body is a thing borrowed and are hastened to relinquish the fiction of ownership and return it to its real owner at once. In the case of suffering that is not related to any physical cause we are hastened to distinguish between the original mind like clear water and the self-centered imagination. Wisely settling into the joy and safe haven that is the very nature of the truth of origin.

There is no error in My free and unlimited workings,

but there must be understanding in everyone's mind.

There is a difference between the unreasonable demands and  expectations of the self-centered imagination and Moonsun's free and unlimited workings. From the point of view of the self-centered imagination that difference is seen as an error in Moonsun's free and unlimited workings. From the point of view of Moonsun, the point of view of the truth of origin, that difference is the misunderstanding of Moonsun's intention and free and unlimited workings.  

When understanding comes to all of you, 

Moonsun will assuredly save you.

Salvation then flows from understanding. Salvation, like understanding, is something that comes to the mind. It is the "Gift of Heaven" that comes to the totally purified mind like clear water. That is, to the mind that returns to,  knows and understands the truth of its origin. 

What do you think of this salvation?

You will be able to go out of doors in three days.

We are asked a question which each of us, pondering and reflecting on what is being taught, are expected to answer. 

The reference to being able to go out of doors in three days speaks to a family circumstance (I cannot be sure what that circumstance was) that forms the backdrop for this theme. Indeed most, if not all, of these poems have a very close and intimate circumstance as the foundation or starting point of a teaching that applies in all times and all places. That is a teaching that is never false. Though the use of a small intimate circumstance as the foundation of a story or a teaching is a known literary and poetic device, in these poems I believe that it is used as an important part of the model. Through these poems we are being shown and taught the intimate way of the model of parental love. It is a teaching that is carefully crafted for each individual and their most intimate circumstances. Most of us are already deeply committed to a worldly common view of these kinds of situations. They are the fabric of our self-centered lives. What I think is shown in these poems is Moonsun's tireless efforts to enter into the commonplace circumstances that we rather innocently are trying to navigate through in our self-centered worldly common ways and show us a way to be free of suffering and to live joyously with the kind of certainty that our ordinary changing and conflicting truths are incapable of delivering. In short we are being shown how to be saved and how to help save others. The process is one of returning the self-centered imagination to its origin and it is the most intimate of human endeavors. 

The verses of the Ofudesaki, each said to be the foundation for a teaching, instruct people, including ourselves, in the way we should ponder over events that occur. The events appearing in the Ofudesaki, each portraying the construction of the mind, show us the way in which God the Parent saves people throughout the world.

 The 3rd Shinbashira October 28, 1987