Tenrikyo - The Reason of Heaven


This universe is the body of God.

Ponder this in all matters.


Moonsun's intention is to save all human beings by drawing them back (returning their minds) to their original pristine condition, one with Moonsun, so that they can live joyously and freely, without limitations and be instrumental in the recreation of a world that is full of joy. To realize such a "marvelous salvation", Moonsun intends to purify the minds of all human beings of the self-centered thoughts that have accumulated in them (like the accumulation of dust on a mirror or debris at the bottom of a pond) gradually depressing and holding down the clear understanding and natural joy that is buried beneath them. 

To complete the process of removing that dust and debris from all of the minds in the world (the completion of the service), Moonsun intends to train human "intermediaries" to work as instruments so that they will be able to step by step show the way to single-hearted salvation. Starting with Miki Nakayama whose mind had completely settled and become one with the truth of origin, it was intended that the truth of origin flow out, going person to person until each and every one in the world has awakened to the truth of origin. 

These poems then model the process and its difficulties as we see Miki trying to find a way to awaken her children to their roles as instruments in the recreation of a world of joyous life. Some points to keep in mind here are that: Moonsun intends to bring about the marvelous salvation that is the awakening to the truth of origin through human instruments. Moonsun intends that those instruments engage in the work of purifying the mind (the service) of their own accord, Moonsun doesn't force anybody to do anything. Moonsun intends that the process of universal salvation be carried out within the natural flow of causality. There is then a rational (the reason of heaven) and natural order (causality, "innen") to this path that cannot be circumvented by human beings and will not be circumvented by Moonsun. It is also Moonsun's intention that the instruments of recreating the world know and understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. And finally because all human beings have an equal affinity with the truth of origin, Moonsun intends that all human beings have equal access to the path of return. This equality of affinity manifests in the model and through the instruments as the tireless effort to try and find a way, appropriate for time, place and level of spiritual maturity to draw the minds of all human being back to the truth of their origin regardless of what kind of mind they may have. Moonsun then enters into the mud and dust of our minds and speaks to us, in the language of our own mud and dust ( things that do not exist but which accord with a path to the truth of origin) constantly trying to open and maintain a path for us to return to the truth of our origin. 

I emphasize this because as time passes and place changes we human beings will find it ever more difficult to get the full benefit of the model if we do not grasp its intention,  means and methods. I for instance honestly cannot clearly identify with the thoughts of 18th or 19th century American villagers much less with the thoughts of 18th and 19th century Japanese villagers, yet the essence of the Model is intended to intimately accommodate both and indeed all human minds through all times and places. Every human being has a mind and every human mind can be returned to its origin. The question then is how is that return to be realized. If the instructions for purifying the mind  are too difficult then we will not be able to follow them. If the instructions are too worldly common, that is if they lack Moonsun's intention, means and method then they lose the property of being a path. That is to say that they don't quickly and consciously lead to the intended destination of single-hearted salvation. 

XI: 33-36

If you had only known earlier that she should have been 

returned home to be saved completely...

Because of her causal connection with the origin, the same connection that we all have I might add, Moonsun had intended that Miki's daughter Kokan be returned to the origin and become instrumental in the recreation of human beings and the foundation of a joyous life for all. Unfortunately, Kokan chose to do otherwise and died as a result of illness while staying with another family. 

The lesson here is one of priority. We are all in the same position as Kokan and are reminded that the work or service for returning to the origin should be our first priority. 

We might also wonder what it means to be saved completely. We have been promised that the mind that returns to the origin and single-heartedness with Moonsun would be free from falling ill, dying and weakening. Though we might be tempted to look to a worldly common view of this promise we are however,  hastened to find the point of view that is single-hearted with Moonsun.  This poem then provides us with an opportunity to recall the teaching that in all circumstances it is appropriate to understand that the whole universe is the body of Moonsun and that these bodies, which we call our own and our self are in fact things that our self-centered imagination has borrowed from the one that is all, Moonsun. When the self-centered imagination is quiet (purified), whose body is it that becomes ill, dies and weakens? Returning what is borrowed also returns the limitations that are associated with the thing. 

Unaware of it, you would not return her, 

but tried to care for her there.

Because of the way that our self-centered imaginations function it it relatively easy to misunderstand or have a lack of understanding of what Moonsun"s intention is. That is the circumstance that is being modeled in this poem. 

If you had known this earlier, 

there would have been no suffering or anxiety.

So too with us. Suffering and anxiety are states of the self-centered imagination. They are not states of the mind that has returned to, knows and understands the truth of origin. Miki is modeling that mind for us to see in this circumstance. Miki's daughter, Kokan, has died and these are the poems describing that circumstance from the point of view of the truth of origin. 

Because you humans are shallow-minded,

you did not heed the words of Moonsun. 

When we ordinarily speak of shallow mindedness we are actually referring to the breadth and depth of the human imagination. Deep thinking, education, sophistication and the ability to deal with subtle ideas come to mind. When Moonsun speaks of us human beings as being shallow minded the distinction is not between kinds of thoughts or ideas. The distinction that is drawn is between all thoughts and ideas on the one hand and their underlying origin or source on the other. Thoughts (our self-centered imagination) and their origin (the root and core of our being), that truth within us which makes ideas and thoughts possible. 

Those who could hear Moonsun's teaching through Miki's human mouth had a choice to make. These poems clearly show that even instruments in the creation of human beings are capable of choosing poorly. We too have a choice to make. 

Understanding the truth of “a thing lent, a thing borrowed” is important because it is the basis of all the teachings and is the fundamental for the realization of the Joyous Life.

 …Checking the Ofudesaki to find where the words “a thing lent, a thing borrowed” first appeared, I realized that it was somewhat after the beginning of Part III, in the verse that reads:

 All human bodies are things lent by God. With what thought are you using them?

Ofudesaki III: 41

However, this is directly preceded by the verse that reads:

This universe is the body of God. Ponder this in all matters.

Ofudesaki III: 40

 These two verses must be savored as a couplet, as being linked together. If we separate them, the profound meaning underlying Oyasama’s teachings will be difficult to perceive. 

The 3rd Shinbashira – April 19, 1990