Prophets who miraculous healed people founded many of the religions in the world. What is more impressive to convince others that one is working in behalf of God than to cure the incurable? But enter a religion that tells people that God will place illness or pain on them. This is the religion called Tenrikyo. At first one would question why anyone would join a religion that would hurt him or her.
Sometimes pain is good for oneself. Imagine not having sensory perception to feel fire. Imagine having no sensory perception to feel a contaminant in the eye. These are examples of our bodies helping us to prevent further injury. A few generations ago, spanking was accepted as punishment for misbehavior to guide our children. A little pain inflected to possibly avoid future suffering for our children was thought to be good. Would God give us a little pain to have us avoid future sufferings?
Enter the soul. Some will call it the spirit or heart. It is an intangible asset that we cannot measure qualitatively or quantitatively in our bodies. Yet many will agree that it is what survives after our bodies decay; and continues for eternity in heaven or on this earth. In Tenrikyo, we also believe it is the soul that collects the records of our evil deeds in the form of negative energies. It is these negative energies that surround the soul that manifest into our future sufferings. God sees these negative energies around the soul, and wants to warn us how to avoid them.
God tells us that when these negative energies around the soul manifest into sufferings and temptations, we should calm our minds and not act on our evil thoughts. We should ponder the circumstance as a condition that we have brought upon ourselves; and consider it as a message from our soul to help purify our minds. We should not “Kill the messengers”. When we succeed in not acting upon the evil thoughts in our minds when suffering or temptation occurs, these evil thoughts gradually do not develop in our minds. God tells us these evil thoughts are greed, arrogance, self-love, miserliness, covetousness, anger, hate, and enmity. These are the thoughts that are in many of our minds.
Because God saw the impending suffering of mankind by looking at our souls, God descended from heaven to teach us about the soul. What would be the best way to teach us about the soul, and teach us about the relationship between the soul, body and mind? God will begin to enter into us and place temporary illness dependent on what evil thoughts exist in our minds. God is showing us our future now with illness and pain. It is like our example of a little pain to avoid a major calamity in the future.
Imagine a religion asking its members to pray for pain and suffering of others. It appears cruel at first, but compassionate and justified at the end. We must understand the soul to understand why we suffer or have joy!