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.
Many of us believe that our physical bodies distinguish us from others; but it is the soul that temporarily resides in our borrowed bodies that distinguishes each individual from another. Our physical bodies return to the earth when we die, while the soul lives forever. It is the physical body that the soul uses to either advance or regress as an individual.
The soul is 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 from God.
Among all mankind, there is no one who is evil.
It is only a bit of dust stuck on. 1-53
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. One of the many functions of the soul appears to be retribution. 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.)