Tenrikyo Dynamic Mission A SURE GUIDE

This universe is the body of God.
Ponder this in all matters.
So long as you remain unknowing that the body is
a thing borrowed, you can understand nothing at all.

A sure guide

Two interpretations of the phrase "a sure guide" as found in the "Doctrine of Tenrikyo" come to mind. The first assumes that "sure guide" refers to the tireless efforts of our original parent to guide or lead us to the direct knowledge and understanding of God's mind by showing us the sure quick way to  merge back into that original consciousness. That is to say that we are invited to actually know and understand the mind of God, not as a believer or bystander but as a recipient of a proven truth given to any mind that has totally merged its self-centered imaginations back into the original mind of God. The original consciousness  that our self-centered imaginations rise up in. The second assumes that any mind that has become single-hearted with the mind of God can bring the reasoning, knowledge and understanding of that original state of mind back into the world and can use that newly created self centered imagination as "a sure guide" for the realization of free and unlimited workings in all future matters.

 Let's begin our reflections with the interpretation that it refers to a "sure guide" to lead us to single-heartedness, being one with  the mind of God ("kami ichijoo") and the knowledge and understanding that flows from that state. When we desire to go somewhere or achieve something that is important to us there are a number of choices that we can make. In this case we are speaking about choices that will lead to single-heartedness with the mind of God.

When on October 24, 1838 during the course of a healing ritual in which Miki had agreed to act as a medium she suddenly and unexpectedly stopped the ritual.  From that point on Miki, whose mind had been replaced by the mind of our parent of origin became a "sure guide" for anyone who wished to learn the truth of origin, the original cause of all things in detail and to return to single-heartedness with the mind of God enjoying the free and unlimited workings that flow from that state of mind. That She can be such a "sure guide" is because Her original parental mind lives eternally and is tirelessly willing to give sure instructions to anyone who would like to quickly test Her path of intentional awakening and surely come to merge with, know and understand the mind of God.

We can put ourselves in the position of those were present at that ritual exorcism on October 24, 1838 and entertain the same doubts that certainly came to the minds of those who were present when Miki interrupted and put an end to the healing ritual. Anything was possible. Perhaps she had been possessed by the same kinds of demons, spirits or gods that the magical ritual was intended to exorcise. Perhaps she had lost her mind and become mentally unstable. Perhaps she intended to move into Ichibei's business and run her own magical ritual exorcisms or perhaps her mind had actually been replaced and taken over by a new god among others that no one had ever heard of before as it is said that she had claimed. 

How to sort it out? How do we know that Miki's mind was replaced by the mind of our original parent? How can we be sure that the original parent exists and that Miki Nakayama is a sure guide to show us the way to single-hearted salvation, God's free and unlimited workings and a joyous life?

Well, we can quickly test Her claims and settle the question for ourselves. There is the rub. Though many were willing to accept a new god or two or even ten and integrate them into a worldly common set of ideas that kept things familiar and much the same, nobody wanted to test Her teaching and become one with the truth of origin through their own totally purified "mind like clear water". That may sound like it was too much to ask at that time and in that place but these days we are aware of  all kinds of experiments and processes that require a totally clean environment. To test the claims of the truth of origin it is necessary for us to quickly do the work of  opening our mind to reason, by clearing, settling and purifying it. Making the sincere completion of that work our first priority.

Though people speak about any and all matters,
there is no understanding.

From now on, please quickly make preparations
truly to purify your innermost heart.

As there are a great number of people in the world,
to purify all of them will be difficult.

However difficult it may be,
see the truth through your own mind!

To guide our progress we are provided with both a Model Life against which we can compare our mind with the mind of God and a Model Path that we can use exactly as shown to quickly purify our own mind and become single-hearted with the mind of our true parent of origin. And through pondering the reasoning that flows through that totally purified mind come to know and understand God's free and unlimited workings in every matter.

Though we are guided by the tireless efforts of our original parent it is a good idea to reflect on the fact that God always has and continues to work in the world through instruments. In preparing all of the minds in  the world for single-hearted salvation God seeks out those who are willing to employ "all means" to make the purification of the human mind their first priority. Those people can then serve as "guides" to anyone else who would wish to hear of and quickly complete the work of purifying their own mind and then gradually all human minds so that they can be opened to the free and unlimited workings and the way of reasoning that flows through a human mind that has settled, knows and understands its true origin. Regrettably it is our nature to find this work of settling our mind to be very difficult and uninteresting. Frankly we have numerous other priorities supported by common worldly truths and would rather do something else. When we speak of the Shinbashira or for that matter any other person as being at the "core" of our effort to purify our mind we are acknowledging that persons sincere resolve to make staying  focused on the work of settling the self-centered imagination their first and overriding priority.   They are then in a position to act as guides for others to follow.

In the past I worked in a early twentieth century aquarium and natural history museum. Most people who visited did so for its educational and entertainment value. Visitors could easily get lost in the wonders of its exhibits and would often describe themselves as delightfully lost in the halls and buildings.  A much smaller number made the close examination of its contents and the world that they were drawn from their delight and life's work. They didn't budge much from their investigations and pretty much followed the same path to and from their offices and labs.  In contrast since I worked in the security and safety department I was aware of a different priority and knew that in an emergency one guard would have to quickly respond and provide such immediate care as they were capable of while another would have to guide emergency responders to any part of the facilities in five minutes or less ( in the case of heart failure our brains begin to suffer from a lack of oxygen and will be damaged or die in four to seven minutes.) Fortunately the number of times per year when such emergency action was called for was rather small when compared with the number of persons who visited and who worked there.

 Though that is good news it creates two rather large problems. For those who have to remain focused on their primary responsibility as emergency guides there is a problem with staying alert and prepared. The solution to that problem is to constantly drill the emergency guides so that they can refine each others performance and stay focused on their primary task.  The second problem is much more difficult. It is relatively expensive to train and maintain a staff of emergency responders to be ready and alert twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. There was never any shortage of people with ideas concerning other useful things that could be accomplished by such a large staff. Often such ideas were eagerly embraced by emergency responders that would have actually preferred to do something else. Needless to say with each such change in priority that alert and efficient four or five minute response time moved farther and farther away. Interestingly the expectation that that rapid response would still be available remained even though the suggested additional actions would more or less guarantee that it wouldn't be. 

From the Shinbashira's Sermon at the Autumn Grand Service October 26th, 1987

At that time [around 1874 when Miki was 77 years old], the number of people who were being saved by Oyasama was increasing, and the teachings of God the Parent were spreading to the neighboring provinces of Yamashiro and Kawachi. This was also about the time when Oyasama was gradually revealing the truth of the Service of the Kanrodai according to the degree of the people’s conviction. Despite Her effort, it was not easy for the people to understand the intention of Oyasama, and they did not make a serious effort to listen to Her*. This is only natural, however, since they still did not have any idea of the location of the Jiba of Origin upon which the Kanrodai is to stand as the center of universal salvation. It is understandable that they were listening to Oyasama’s words with doubt in their minds, only half believing what they heard. What they doubted was the teaching that the free and unlimited workings of God the Parent would be manifested if they performed the Service. What they believed, on the other hand, was that Oyasama was God—God who created human beings and lent the body to them and who assured them of safe childbirth and saved them from whatever kind of illness, no matter how serious it may have been; they must also have been convinced that as long as they followed Oyasama, they would not go wrong. They were able to believe in Her because they themselves had personally experienced Her miraculous workings, and, indeed, they were able to believe so long as the object of their belief fell within the limits of their own experience. Surely you are all well aware of this feeling of not being able to believe what you have not personally experienced. I hope that you will keep this in mind as you listen to the following.

There is a commentary on verses 111 and 112 of part three of the Ofudesaki which I quoted above. It reads: “Although I have taught you that the workings of God the Parent are free and unlimited, such free and unlimited workings have never been seen by the eyes of human beings. From now on, I shall tell you everything. When you see the proof of what I say, you should clearly perceive that the workings of God the Parent are free and unlimited.” Then verse 113 is simply annotated: “In the following year, 1875, on the lunar calendar date of May 26, the Jiba for the Kanrodai was identified.” My understanding of verse 113 is that we should not literally take it to mean, “Do not talk about what happened in the past.” Instead, I should like to conceive of it as instructing, “Do not take what you have experienced as the totality of God the Parent’s workings. From now on, I shall show you My workings which are beyond human intelligence and power. I shall begin everything on the 26th. You should, therefore, carefully ponder over and perceive the intention of God the Parent through the events that will appear one after another.”

When we read the above quote it is possible for us to get the impression that the Shinbashira is being a bit hard on us. I suggest that instead we look at the above quote as a guidance. The Shinbashira in his role as the core of the path is guiding us to the next step in our effort to mature and understand. There is much to be learned from pondering the above reflections and commentaries that the 3rd. Shinbashira has shared with us, so let's step through those reflections and commentaries step by step and in so doing add some depth to our own self reflections as I believe that the above comments go right to the root of our misunderstanding of God our parent's teachings.

"What they believed...was that Oyasama was God—God who created human beings and lent the body to them and who assured them of safe childbirth and saved them from whatever kind of illness, no matter how serious it may have been; they must also have been convinced that as long as they followed Oyasama, they would not go wrong. They were able to believe in Her because they themselves had personally experienced Her miraculous workings, and, indeed, they were able to believe so long as the object of their belief fell within the limits of their own experience."

[my comment] Though the details vary from culture to culture, I think that anyone reading this would agree with the above set of beliefs in one way or another. Indeed most of the people of the world would agree with this set of beliefs. I was raised in a Roman Catholic tradition that clearly teaches its followers to believe so. That such is the case means that the above stated set of beliefs is common in the world. It is worldly common.

That is not to say that the Shinbashira is saying that it is wrong to believe so because it isn't wrong. It is however common and worldly and not the core truth as known from the point of view of the truth of origin. Believing so, though not wrong, does not intentionally reveal the direct knowledge and understanding of God's free and unlimited workings. It is lacking in the point of view that flows from the proof that is known and understood through the totally purified "mind like clear water". It is from the realization of the one truth that is given to the "mind like clear water" that God's free and unlimited workings are manifest in the world through the human mind.

Though you are saying that this world is the world of God, you do not know the core of all matters.

That being the case, if anyone was listening and according to the "Model Story" most were not, they would have realized the disconnect between their worldly common intentions and expectations and God's intention of showing the way to quickly purify the self-centered imagination and in so doing reveal the truth of origin that exists at the core of their own mind and the total truth of God's free and unlimited workings that flow from that one truth.

I think that through this guidance we are being hastened to understand that Oyasama, God the parent, is something more than a new god in a modification of an old tradition. To know and be one with Oyasama's mind we are hastened to sweep, calm and settle our mind. When that work is done what remains is the truth or origin, the truth of any and everything. To melt back into the original parental mind requires the faith and sincerity to let go of the limited objects of belief that fall within our own common worldly experience and awaken to the truth of any and everything that exists at the core of our mind. When practicing the "Teodori" take note of how you trace on your chest the process of setting up the Kanrodai at the core of your mind to then bring that knowledge and understanding back into the world. When sincerely followed it is indeed a quick and marvelous path.

Day by day, the mind of God hastens
to show you free and unlimited workings quickly.

If your sincerity does not accord with the mind of God,

in vain is devotion, however great it may be.

When you come, compare your disorder with this place.
If the condition is the same, quickly begin the sweeping.

Walk over where you have swept,
and you will come to a standstill. There, the Kanrodai...


* I added the emphasis.

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