God would like us to understand the soul.
Looking all over the world and through all ages, I find no one who understands the heart (soul/spirit). (Ofudesaki 1-1)
Why does God want us to understand the soul? It is because our souls determine our future. We suffer or have joy depending on what surrounds our eternal soul.
Webster defines the soul as the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life. Another source defines it as the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal. Tenrikyo describes the soul as an amalgam of positive energies; by itself it brings upon joy to us because of these positive energies (see figure 1-1). We are taught that there is “Good” in everyone because of our original pure soul; but our souls have accumulated negative energies around them (Ofudesaki 1-53). This is why we suffer (see figure 1-2). Where do these negative energies that surround the soul come from, and how do we remove them? Let us further explore the soul/heart.
The soul is an individualized ethereal positive energy source from God that enters our borrowed bodies at conception or shortly after; and it leaves our lifeless bodies at death to return to Heaven (see figure 1-3).
During our earthly stays, the soul helps remove the negative energies that are produced by our evil actions; and stores them as negative energies (see figure 1-4). The soul eventually releases the negative energies and redirects it back to us (see figure 1-5). What do these negative energies manifest into?
These negative energies that surround the soul manifests into sufferings, temptations and inconveniences that come back to us as fate on this earth (see figure 1-6). The biblical proverb, “We reap what we sow” would appear to be true; and in the Ofudesaki, the phrase “Mune no uchi yori” (from what comes from the innermost heart) is repeated throughout the book. But before we become discouraged from this ominous fate, let us further explain these inconveniences delivered by the soul.
By these inconveniences that the soul delivers, they gives us opportunities to eliminate the production of evil thoughts from our minds.These evil thoughts are greed, arrogance, miserliness, hate, anger, revenge, covetousness and self-love. If we calm our minds and ponder the existence of evil thoughts in our minds; and do not act on them when faced with what the soul metes out (sufferings, inconveniences and temptations), these thoughts from our minds gradually subside. We do not produce more evil thoughts, and also do not produce the negative energies associated with these thoughts (see figure 1-7). Our minds becomes pure of negative thoughts, and the evil surrounding our souls are eliminated. This results in a pure soul void of negative energy, which brings upon a joyous life for the individual (see figure 1-8).
For many people, the purification of the mind will be a long process, dependent on the amount of negative energy they have accumulated around their soul (Ofudesaki 1-47), which is also equivalent to the amount of evil thoughts in their mind. These sufferings that the negative energies manifest will test their resolve of not taking action on their evil thoughts. But if they continue to control their evil thoughts by not acting on them, the production of evil thoughts and negative energies will be eliminated. There is a saying that from knots (sufferings), buds (opportunities to remove evil thoughts) will sprout if we understand the soul.
But suppose we do not understand what the soul does? If we act on our evil thoughts when the soul distributes its negative energies or even if we act on them without the soul’s message, others will suffer and our minds will continue to produce more negative thoughts and negative energies. This increases the negative energies surrounding our pure soul, causing the soul to bring upon more sufferings upon ourselves (see figure 1-9). From knots, knots will continue to sprout if we do not understand the soul. Do not ignore the manifestations of the soul. This is why we must not blame others for any inconveniences or sufferings; these setbacks are manifestations of our own souls. We must calm our minds, and not act upon the evils in our minds.
What happens to these negative energies surrounding the soul when we die? Death does not sweep away these negative energies. The soul ascends to heaven with these deficiencies, and returns when an appropriate environment and housing are chosen for each unique soul. On returning from heaven, the soul enters our developing bodies; some of the negative energies around the soul converts back into our former negative thoughts, and settles in our minds (see figure 1-10). The process of death erases our past memories; but it does not erase our evil thoughts. This will explain the appearance of anger and other undesirable traits in our innocent children.
It is this soul/heart that will continue for eternity, inhabiting sometimes imperfect bodies, and sometimes producing unimaginable sufferings; but it is the soul that brings upon these conditions by releasing these negative energies surrounding it. Tenrikyo explains how to remove these negative energies surrounding the soul, so we can uncover the pure heart/soul and live the “Joyous life”. The following verse summarizes the path of the soul/heart.
“In the world’s path, you can do whatever you want and get away with it, so long as no one sees you do it. But in the path of the heart/soul, it all comes to bear on yourself” (Osashizu pg 181.)
OUR BELIEFS FROM A RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE:
God descended from heaven to teach us about the soul. God through Oyasama (Miki Nakayama) and Tip of the Writing Brush (Ofudesaki) encouraged the early followers to remove evil thoughts from their minds, often placing temporary illness on their bodies to help them understand the relationship between the mind, body and soul/heart.
God told his/her followers that shared joy is true joy. We can not have true joy while others suffer. We must share these teachings with others. God gave them special instructions to bring others to our places of worship. God told his/her followers that he/she would begin to place illness on others in relationship with the evil thoughts in their minds to help them understand the soul. God gives them a preview of what sufferings they may endure if they continue to harbor evil thoughts. This special guidance is what makes this religion so unique. We pray for the salvation of others! This is why our prayer is so important in our faith.
This guidance as illness is only initiated with our spreading God’s truth about the soul/heart (hinokishin), and performing the special prayer (Joyous Service) with true sincerity. When people we have introduced the soul come to us to be healed, we further explain the soul and God’s teachings. They are then healed and are able to understand the soul; and begin to purify their minds. This process of (1) purifying our own mind, (2) spreading the truth (hinokishin), and (3) praying continues until all mankind is purified of evil in their minds. God hastens for the day that all minds of the world are pure. When this occurs, there will be heaven on earth for all of God’s children.
To continue to purify our minds of negative thoughts ( sin/evil ) when confronted with temptation and sufferings manifested by the soul.
To spread and share God’s truth; telling people that illness and suffering may be God’s guidance to help one understand the soul/heart. This conveyance of God’s truth is called hinokishin .
To pray daily with our special prayer (Joyous Service), asking God to help people understand the soul/heart and to sweep evil from their minds.
Prayer directed toward the Kanrodai at Ojiba
“Evil sweeping. Save them please, Universal Saving God “.
To heal the people whose minds have been revealed when God guides them to us; and teach them about the soul (heart), causality and true sincerity. True sincerity is a mind that ponders over suffering and obstacles that the soul delivers, and accepts these inconveniences in a joyous manner. This will make our minds pure and spirited; and by the principle of causality will bring forth joy in the future due to the pure soul (heart).
All mankind will live a joyous life with everyone helping each other.
WHAT WE ASK YOU TO DO:
Please share this website with others and tell them about the soul/heart.
Reference: Ofudesaki (Tip of the Writing Brush) 6th edition, Oyasama, Miki Nakayama, Tenrikyo Church Headquarter.
An Anthology of Osashizu Tranlation, Tenrikyo Overseas Department @71 Mishima, Tenri, Nara