Welcome to our website and the teachings of the Tenrikyo religion. Most of us can agree that our physical bodies will decay and decompose when we pass away. We will also agree or hope that there is something in our bodies that will continue on after our physical demise. Many of us call this intangible energy source the soul, heart or spirit. The only debate will be where we (our souls) go after our death.
In our sacred book from God, God tells us about the heart/soul. God tells us 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. For those that have illnesses, you may find the information very helpful!
Do you have an illness that doctors and medicine cannot cure?
*******GOD CAN HEAL YOU*******
In our Scripture, God tells us:
However serious an illness will become, I never say that it will not be cured. 12-52 Ofudesaki
In the Bible, Jesus and his disciples were said to have healed the sick. In the beginning of our 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? Does it require making donations or making a pilgrimage to a holy site? The following is from Tenrikyo’s scripture:
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
GOD WILL HEAL YOU IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE SOUL
Why would God heal you if you understand the soul? To answer this question, we must first find out why there is illness and suffering. Why are some people afflicted with cancer? Why do people suffer from diseases? Why do people have heart problems? Why do people get into accidents? Why do some people have unbearable headaches? Why do bad people appear in our lives? Are these all random events or planned by God?
God tells us that these events are not random or created by God. God has been a spectator since the creation of mankind.
Though until now God has never come out into the open, no matter what unpleasant occurrences one experienced. 8-66 Ofudesaki
God tells us that it is our own soul that brings upon joy or suffering to us:
Above all else, guard your soul,
for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
God tells us that we need to understand the soul to uncover why we suffer or have joy. 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. Ofudesaki 1-1
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 our souls will exist for eternity.
We believe that the soul by itself is energy that is comprised of our fate and our pattern of thoughts. When it occupies our bodies that we borrow from God, the soul programs and activates our minds with these thought patterns; and the soul collects and stores our merits and demerits created by our actions upon these same pattern of thoughts, eventually releasing them as fate. 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 programs our minds with our previous thought patterns (like greed and arrogance) from our past lives .
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, 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 negative thought patterns (see figure 1) 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.
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 and become spirited.
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 2).
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. 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. The cycle of suffering will continue until we understand the soul.