Imagine God descending from Heaven to a small farming community in Fresno California in the 19th century. What would be the most efficient way to convey God’s truths to as many people as possible? I would imagine God using words and terminology that were familiar to the people in the region. For example, they would be familiar with words like acquiring a field, planting the field (sowing the seeds), pure water, weeding, and fertilizing. These are all the ingredients in harvesting a large crop. Do these ingredients also bring in new members to our churches? God compares harvesting a large crop with the bringing of new members to our churches. This is called an analogy, using metaphors and comparisons in teaching.
What are the best ways to spread God’s truths? In the 19th century, it is recorded that God descended from Heaven upon a small farming community in Tenri Japan. God gifted us the Ofudesaki (Tip of the Writing Brush) through Oyasama, which gives us the ingredients to live a joyous life (gives us the purpose of life); but more important God gives us the ingredients to share this truth with others. God through this important sacred document gives us the instructions to spread God’s truth to the world. This is the formula:
Harvest of crops = field + planting the seeds + water + weeding + fertilizer
Any farmer will immediately agree with this formula in acquiring a good crop; but does this formula also work for spreading God’s truths?
God tells us to acquire a field. In agriculture, this determines how much crops one expects to harvest. In religion, one can build a large church expecting many new members, or one can be temporally satisfied with a fellowship, expecting only a small amount of new members.
After building a church, God tells us the sow the seeds or plant the seeds. This is done by hinokishin, or spreading God’s truth. Hinoki is translated as a fine polished timber, and shin is translated as the original pure mind. God asks us to tell the world (seeds) that God will begin to work. The following is from verse 14- 66
There will be no understanding about anything
unless you tell them. Tell them everything, all in detail. 14-66
These people (seeds) who we have spread the truth to, will eventually come to our places of worship.
God uses the terms clear or muddy waters in describing our minds. God requires us to have a pure mind, without greed, arrogance, and self-love. These evils are what makes our minds muddy, and hinders our harvesting of new members.
Weeding refers to illness given to us as guidance from a loving God. God helps us remove greed, arrogance, and self-love from our minds. This is required (pure mind like water) for our harvesting of new members.
The last ingredient is the most important. God has given us a prayer called the Joyous Service. God calls it his fertilizer. In the Ofudesaki is the following:
Truly let the mind be spirited and ponder.
Lean on God and perform the Joyous Service. 4-49
Do not wonder what this talk is about.
It is solely about the matter of the fertilizer. 4-50
The Joyous Service is a prayer asking God to bring people to our churches and places of worship. It does not work unless all the ingredients are present.
In summary, we as a religion have a prayer that will save the world. God has given us the ingredients in the Ofudesaki (Tip of the Writing Brush). Whether we are in Fresno or Ojiba, God guarantees that it will work!