I was wondering what would happen if all of the world would understand the soul and the concept of reincarnation. Would we have so much suffering in the world? The Tenrikyo religion believes that eventually everyone will understand the soul/heart to have a “Joyous life”.
Introduction to the soul:
Do you have an illness that doctors and medicine cannot cure?
In the Bible, Jesus and his disciples cured the blind and healed the sick. In the beginning of the Tenrikyo religion, thousands of people were cured of their illness; but where are the miracles now?
What are the ingredients to make these miracles happen now? Does this require believing in God and having faith? The following is from Tenrikyo’s sacred scriptures:
However serious an illness will become, I never say that it will not be cured. 12-52 Ofudesaki /Tenrikyo
The saving of those whom doctors are unable to save is the foundation of the path. You tell them the teachings. They listen and they are healed. Oct 17, 1893 Osashizu /Tenrikyo
What are the teachings? What do we tell people?
GOD WILL HEAL YOU IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE SOUL
Why will God heal us if we understand the soul?
It is because understanding the soul uncovers the mystery of why we suffer or have joy.
Why do we suffer? Why are some people afflicted with cancer? Why do people suffer from diseases? Why do people get into accidents? Why do bad people appear in our lives? Are these all coincidences or planned by God?
The events in our lives are not haphazard coincidences or instigated by God. God has been a spectator since the creation of mankind, but will begin to help us understand the soul.
Though until now God has never come out into the open
no matter what unpleasant occurrences one experienced. 8-67 Ofudesaki / Tenrikyo
God tells us it is our own soul that brings upon joy or suffering to us:
Above all else, guard your heart/soul,
for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
God sees our ominous future by looking at what our souls have collected; and tells us we do not understand the soul:
Looking all over the world and through all ages, I find no one who understands the soul/heart.* Ofudesaki 1-1 / Tenrikyo
Gods tells us why we need to understand the soul:
In whatever matters, if the soul of each of you is purified, there will be no danger. Ofudesaki 13-83 /Tenrikyo
* In the original English translation, mune (heart/soul) is translated as God’s heart, which completely changes the meaning of the verse.
What is the soul, and how do we purify it?
The soul has also been called the heart or the spirit. Scientists have not yet located and verified the existence of the soul in our bodies, but many of us believe that it exists. From a hypothetical perspective, the soul is who we are. “My soul exist, therefore I am” would be an analogous phrase to what the great philosopher Descartes once said to prove his own existence.
Our souls are who we are; and our bodies are transient dwellings borrowed from God, that our souls utilize to seek “True Joy”. Our physical bodies eventually decay, but our souls continue for eternity. Our souls are like little suitcases that carry our essence. They collect, store, carry and distribute information from one lifetime to another.
What information does our souls carry?
Metaphorically, some suitcases (souls) will be described as more heavy and distorted, transferring upon negative thoughts (see figure 1) and sufferings to the developing body; while other souls will be described as light and symmetrical in shape, bringing upon positive thoughts and only joy to the body. Most of us will have souls somewhere in between the two extremes. What makes each soul different? To find out, one needs to understand the relationship between the mind and the soul.
Evil thoughts (?) are arrogance, greed, self-love, miserliness, and covetousness. ? represents good thoughts.
Upon entering our bodies, the soul becomes the control center of our minds. It transfers and collects our individual attitude of thoughts from one life time to another (see figure 2). Because of this, each of us has a distinct individualized mind. The following is from the Ofudesaki:
Even between parent and child, husband and wife, and siblings,
their minds all differ from one another. Ofudesaki 5-8 /Tenrikyo
There are no surprises to what thoughts we receive from our souls. We have the same thoughts that we have acted upon in our past lives. For example, if we acted upon the thoughts of greed in our past lives, we have the same thoughts of greed in this lifetime.
The soul enters the body and creates the mind, using the body’s complex neural system. ? represents good thoughts.
From these same thoughts that we have acted upon in our past lives, the soul brings forth joy or sufferings as fate to our bodies (causality or karma). For example if we acted upon the thoughts of greed in a previous life, the soul may manifest suffering or obstacles to remind us of the thoughts of greed that still persist in our minds today.
We now know that evil thoughts in our minds are the sources of our sufferings. It is these evil thoughts that influence us to act negatively when temptations or obstacles delivered by our souls occur in our lives.
How do we remove these evil thoughts from our minds?
We cannot just will or wish (pray) our evil thoughts from our minds since they are like dusts that are ingrained in a mirror; we cannot easily sweep them away. Much effort will be needed to eliminate them.
Fortunately God gives us free will or control of our minds; and also we have help from our souls to eliminate evil thoughts. How does this happen?
God tells us that we can eliminate evil from our minds by not acting upon them when the soul manifest suffering, temptations and obstacles in our lives. It is because God grants us free will or control of our minds, that we can resist acting on what evil thoughts are in our minds. Many would believe that fate delivered by the soul is not desired, but it actually helps us realize that evil exist in our minds when obstacles occur in our lives. We can eliminate evil thoughts when our souls manifest fate, by calming our minds, acknowledging our evil thoughts, and resist acting upon them. By this process we can gradually purify our minds using both our fate and free will.
What happen when we act on our evil thoughts?
When we act on our evil thoughts, more evil thoughts are created in our minds (figure 3) ; and our soul collects the demerits (negative energy) created by these acts, and eventually releases them as sufferings, temptations and obstacles (see figure 4).
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.
When we do not act on our negative thoughts, there are no negative thoughts created and no demerits that the soul collects. (see figure 5)
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 when our soul manifest sufferings, we can purify both our minds and our souls; where only joy flows from our souls and only positive thoughts from our minds (see figure 6).
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
Understanding the soul explains how causality, innen and karma function as nature’s justice. When we understand the soul, we realize that our present obstacles are the result of our own past evil actions that we do not recall (actions of past lives). We should not become angry at the messengers of our souls. Do not blame your spouse, coworker, strangers, or even God. It is easy to act with retribution when you feel that you have been wronged. It is also easy to blame others, even blaming God when suffering occurs. We must look within our minds to understand why our souls deliver these obstacles.
God compares the digging up of a root of a tree to the process of purifying our minds. As we must have strength and persistence in removing a long root, we must have persistence and strength not to act upon our evil thoughts when inconveniences occur in our lives. We must not be discouraged by what our souls bring forth in suffering; some of us may have longer roots(more sufferings) because we have more evil thoughts to remove from our minds. When we purify our minds (completely dig the root out), our souls will bring upon only joy.
God tells us that God is not a spectator anymore, but will begin to work to have the world understand the soul. God tells us in our sacred book:
The saving of those whom doctors are unable to save is the foundation of the path. You tell them the teachings (about the soul). They listen and they are healed. Oct 17, 1893 Osashizu /Tenrikyo
The sick must not be left to suffer. I trust none of you would leave the sick to suffer. Those whom doctors consider to be beyond their help will merely be left to die. Saving such people is called the basis for teaching. October 17, 1893 Osashizu / Tenrikyo
The healing of the body is of primary concern when we are sick. Most of us will give up all our material wealth in order to be healthy again. It is from this perspective of health, that God will heal you from any illness if you truly understand the soul. God grants us the blessings of healing in order to have us understand the soul, and begin the process of purifying our minds of greed, arrogance, anger, enmity, miserliness, covetousness, and self love.