What is the Tenrikyo Religion about? Someone long time ago asked me what makes our religion special from other religions, specifically the Christian religion. At that time, so many things ran across my mind, but nothing outstanding came upon my mind. What makes one religion stand out from others?
After 64 years, let me tell you what makes our religion stand out. We believe that there is a cause and effect in every one of our actions. Yes, karma and innen are eastern concepts that have been around forever; but Tenrikyo explains what makes karma effective. God does not make karma happen. God does not punish or reward us. But what makes karma effective?
It is our souls that make karma effective. Our souls are like Santa Claus; it knows when we are good or bad. The soul collects our merits and demerits for every one of our actions. It stores them, and eventually releases them as fate, bringing upon suffering or joy to our borrowed bodies. We reap what we have sowed. The soul makes this happen.
The soul also makes us eternal. It carries our pattern of thoughts from one lifetime to another. These thought patterns are greed, regret, miserliness, arrogance, and self-love. Every one of us has to some degree some of these dusts or thought patterns in our minds. It is these evil thoughts that influence our behaviors, causing our demerits when we take action upon the emotions they elicit. It is not surprising that there is a relationship between our fate and our thought patterns, both which our soul carries from one lifetime to another.
We usually cannot eliminate our fate, but we can eliminate our evil thought patterns in out minds. God tells us not to take action on our evil thoughts when our negative fate eventually emerges. This will prevent demerits from accumulating, causing the soul to only contain merits, which will blossom into joy in the future (positive fate).
Yes, it is the understanding of the soul that makes this religion different. We are responsible for our own actions. God has given us our sacred book (Ofudesaki) to understand this, and also how to spread this truth to the world.