Welcome to our website and the teachings of the Ofudesaki, the most sacred scripture in the Tenrikyo religion. For those who want to study the Ofudesaki, please click from the menu above. I have attempted to translate word for word from the Japanese version. This will be different from the Tenrikyo Headquarters’ official translation.
UNDERSTANDING THE SOUL (MUNE)
What is the most important message that God wants us to understand? It is about the soul (heart). By understanding the soul, one will be able to understand why we suffer or have joy in this world. The following will attempt to explain in detail information about the soul/heart. The first verse of our most sacred scripture begins with:
Looking all over the world and through all ages,
I find no one who understands the soul (heart). 1-1 Ofudesaki
The Last chapter of the Ofudesaki, God continues to tell us that we do not understand the heart/soul:
Up to the present, there has been no one
who knows the innermost heart (soul). 1-17 Ofudesaki
What information if understood would change the world? What would happen if everyone understood the soul? God in the Ofudesaki tells us that when everyone understands the soul, there will be paradise on earth.
What is the soul? The soul has also been called the heart or the spirit. Scientists have not located and verified the existence of the soul in our bodies. We know that our physical bodies decay upon our death, but many believe that our souls will exist to continue for eternity.
We believe that the soul by itself is energy that contains our pattern of thoughts and our fate. Some may question how energy may convert to thought patterns and fate. Some say quantum physics may hold the answer? But until it is proven or disproved, all we have is our best ideas and theories that we fabricate from what we presently know, including information from religious doctrine.The following will attempt to define the soul according to our current knowledge, and verses from the Ofudesaki. Let us continue to presume that the soul is energy.
When the soul occupies our bodies before birth, the soul programs and activates our minds with our thought patterns in the developing neural system; while in the body, the soul also collects and stores our merits and demerits that were caused by acting on these existing pattern of thoughts. These merits and demerits are eventually released as our fate when conditions are favorable. We reap what we have sowed. The soul is who we are; and it also enforces justice for our behavior.
But some people will say that they can’t remember having sowed evil, yet they suffer. Others will arrogantly boast that they have done evil, yet they do not suffer. It is as if God places a wall in front of us by the prolonged lapse of time between cause and effect; we do not know what fate exist around the corner. This lapse of time between cause and effect often extends into our next lifetime. But why the wait? The soul waits for the right circumstances and conditions to distribute our fate.
These are the concepts of reincarnation and karma, where our memories are erased upon our death; but our pattern of thoughts and our fate are preserved to be manifested later in our next lifetime by the soul. Both our thought patterns we have acted upon, and our fate that were created by acting upon these thought patterns will continue on, even after our physical demise. This is possible because of the soul. Again we reap what we have sowed. We are responsible for our own actions!
Metaphorically, our souls are like little suitcases that contain our pattern of thoughts and our fate, exiting our bodies at death to ascend to heaven; and descending from heaven to enter our new bodies before birth. One can say that we exist both on earth and heaven for eternity because of the soul.
By what mechanism does the soul operate? Upon entering our developing bodies, the soul eventually programs our minds with our previous thought patterns (like greed and arrogance) from our past lives (figure 1).
The soul enters the body and creates the mind, using the body’s complex neural system. ? represents good thoughts in this example. Most of us will have ? (negative thoughts) also delivered by the soul.
There are no surprises to what thought patterns our bodies receive from our souls. We have the same pattern of thoughts that we had acted upon in our past life. For example, if we succumbed to greed in our past life, we have the same thought of greed in this lifetime. The same neural pathways of greed are reestablished. One can say that our souls upon entering our bodies, eventually create and restore our own individualized minds!
It is these difference in the pattern of thoughts that make each of us unique. Some of us will have more or stronger negative thought patterns (see figure 2) than others. Others will have more positive thought patterns. It is these thought patterns that influence our behaviors and eventually determine our fate. God tells us to sweep away these negative thought patterns, so we do not act upon them. If this happens, we will have only positive thought patterns, leading to only positive fate.
Evil thought patterns are arrogance, greed, regret, and self-love. These neural pathways influence our behaviors.
But how do we know if we have these evil thoughts in our minds? These negative thoughts always bring upon an emotion or temptation. For example, when we have the thought of arrogance, often the emotion of anger will arise. Temptation appears when we have the thought of greed or self-love in our minds. Depression will appear if we have the thought of self love or regret. The presence of these negative emotions or feelings are telltale signs that we have evil thoughts in our minds.
What do we do when anger, depression or temptation arises from these negative thoughts? Most people will direct their anger, depression or temptation at what appears to be the source, which could be an coworker, stranger, spouse, circumstance or even God. But if we understand the soul, we acknowledge that it is our own soul that brings upon these challenges or fate. Our past actions created our own fate. These obstacles are only messengers of our souls. Our efforts will be directed to calm our minds, and ponder our evil thoughts that created these obstacles; therefore not acting upon what emotions (like anger) were elicited by them. By this process, the neural pathway of the evil thought becomes less prominent, and the emotions they elicit will also decrease. This is how we gradually eliminate our evil thoughts (figure 3) and become spirited.
No demerits or negative energies (-) and negative thoughts (?) created if we do not act on our evil thoughts.
Eventually by this process of not acting on our evil thoughts, especially when our soul bring upon sufferings, we can purify both our minds and our souls; where only positive thoughts emerge from our minds, and joy flows from our souls (figure 4).
Our positive actions create positive energies (+). Some of these energies convert back to positive thoughts; and some are collected by the our souls as merits. These positive energies of the soul manifest into joy by the exchange of energies. The symbol ? represents good thought
What happen when we act on our evil thoughts?
When we act on our evil thoughts, we cause suffering to others, and more evil thoughts are created in our own minds (figure 5). The neural pathways for these thought become stronger, and the emotions they elicits becomes stronger to resist. This causes us to continually act upon our evil thoughts, causing more demerits which our soul collects. The soul eventually releases these demerits (energies) as fate (figure 6). The cycle of suffering will continue until we understand the soul.
When we act on our negative thoughts (?), we cause suffering to others, and create negative energies (-) or demerits that convert to more negative thoughts and also demerits which the soul collects and stores.
Our negative energies (-) or demerits around the soul manifesting into delayed sufferings, obstacles and temptations to ourselves.
Understanding The Ofudesaki To Spread God’s Truths.
God descended from heaven to teach us how to purify our own minds and live the joyous life. God through Oyasama (Miki Nakayama) and the Ofudesaki (sacred book) gives us the recipe to spread God’s truths. These are the following ingredients:
Understand the soul and continue to purify our minds of negative thoughts ( sin/evil ) when confronted with temptations and sufferings manifested by the soul, and guidance from a loving God.
To spread and share God’s truth, telling people that illness and the healing of illness may be God’s guidance to help one understand the soul/heart. By the recipient understanding the soul and teachings, their current illness may be healed. This conveyance of God’s truth to others is called hinokishin.
To pray daily with our special prayer (Joyous Service), asking God to help sweep the evil thoughts of the people we have spread the truth of the soul to. We pray for the salvation of others! This is why our prayer is so important in our faith.
Kanrodai at Ojiba is where our prayers are directed toward, where we believe God and Oyasama are present to answer our prayers.
Evil sweeping. Save them please, Universal Saving God .
Upon accepting our sincere prayer, God distinguishes the minds of the people we have spread the truth to, and places temporary illness as guidance. By these illnesses, God lets them know of what thoughts are in their minds; and shows them what fate may be in their future. God is showing them their future in this lifetime if they continue to act on their evil thoughts.
They come to our places of worship to be healed. We pray (sazuke) and retell them about the soul and God’s teachings; and are healed of their illness. They are then able to purify their minds by themselves by understanding the soul.
This process of (1) understanding the soul and purifying our own minds by acting appropriately to what the soul manifest, (2) spreading the truth of the soul (hinokishin) by telling people that God will begin to work to help us understand the soul and (3) praying with the Joyous Service, asking God to bring these people we have spread the truth to our places of worship, continues until all mankind is purified of evil thoughts.
All mankind will live a joyous life with everyone helping each other.
WHAT WE ASK YOU TO DO:
Please understand the soul/heart, and share with others our sacred book, the Ofudesaki, that promises you a Joyous Life. Also for those who want to study the Ofudesaki, please join us on Facebook on the Tenrikyo Ofudesaki Study Group.
Contact us: Joyouslife4mankind@gmail.com for more information
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
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