What Makes Our Religion Different

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.

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What Makes Our Religion different

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.

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Tenrikyo Ofudesaki Study Group

In the Tenrikyo Religion, the Ofudesaki (our sacred book) is said to be the words of God. I have created a Facebook study group to discuss the Ofudesaki. Please feel free to go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/458471844742952/

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Changing Our Minds Through Understanding the Soul

Many people have asked me where I have collected the information on my homepage of the website, heaventruth.com. The majority of my information is gleaned from the Ofudesaki, which most Tenrikyo followers believe is from God, written through the hands of Oyasama.

Some people have also questioned my character as a “good person” who is advocating the teachings written in the Ofudesaki. This is my response:  I am still on the broad path of purifying my mind through understanding what my soul brings forth every day. What the Ofudesaki teaches is that for some people, this process of purifying the mind may be very difficult, due to the negative thought patterns that have existed for many life times.  Habits and behaviors are difficult to overcome, but the Ofudesaki teaches us how to change our pattern of thoughts when we understand the soul.

There are many people in the Tenrikyo community that think that I do not have the experience, training, or high status in the hierarchy of the church in expounding the teachings of the religion.  For someone who has no known ancestral relationship to the Nakayama family or any high-ranking officials of the church, they question my motives. It is ironic that in the story of creation, God randomly selected from the vast muddy oceans, the creatures to begin human beings. This creation story emphasizes both the equality of every soul and the potential for each of us to serve God.

Many religions through the sacred books attempts to explain what happen after we die.  They do not explain why we suffer of have joy in this world.  Many depend on their followers having faith in a loving God no matter what suffering one experience. The Ofudesaki actually gives us the ingredients to live the joyous life. It also gives us the ingredients to spread God’s truth to the world.  The following is from the homepage of my website heaventruth.com.

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 we are told by our religious leaders that 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 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 enforces justice for our behavior.

In the world there are two paths that people may believe in, the path of the world and the path of the soul. In the path of the world, one believes that you can do whatever you want and get away with it as long as no one sees you do it; our acts do not have any consequences upon ourselves. God tells us that this path does not exist. In the path of the soul, whatever you do, it all comes back to you. This path leads to both suffering or joy depending on what actions we take. In the path of the soul, it is the soul that distributes justice (fate) back to us for what we have done. We reap what we have sowed. There are consequences 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 life (figure 1).

figure 1

The soul enters the body and creates the mind, using the body’s complex neural system. ? represents good thoughts in this example. Most of us will have ? (negative thoughts) also delivered by the soul.

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 2) 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.

IMG_2065(1)

figure 2

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 (figure 3).

figure 3

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, 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 4).

IMG_1337figure 4

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 (figure 5). 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 (figure 6).   The cycle of suffering will continue until we understand the soul.

figure 5

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.

figure 6

Our negative energies (-) or demerits around the soul manifesting into delayed sufferings, obstacles and temptations to ourselves.

______________________________________________________________

Now we can answer why God will heal us if we understand the soul.

Since the creation of human beings, God has been a spectator; but will begin to work to help mankind live a joyous life.

By understanding the soul, God will heal us so we can begin the process of sweeping away our evil thoughts by our own efforts.

*******GOD WILL HEAL YOU******

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God Can Heal You

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 we are told by our religious leaders that 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 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 enforces justice for our behavior.

In the world there are two paths that people may believe in, the path of the world and the path of the soul. In the path of the world, one believes that you can do whatever you want and get away with it as long as no one sees you do it; our acts do not have any consequences upon ourselves. God tells us that this path does not exist. In the path of the soul, whatever you do, it all comes back to you. This path leads to both suffering or joy depending on what actions we take. In the path of the soul, it is the soul that distributes justice (fate) back to us for what we have done. We reap what we have sowed. There are consequences 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 life (figure 1).

figure 1

The soul enters the body and creates the mind, using the body’s complex neural system. ? represents good thoughts in this example. Most of us will have ? (negative thoughts) also delivered by the soul.

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 2) 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.

IMG_2065(1)

figure 2

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 (figure 3).

figure 3

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, 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 4).

IMG_1337figure 4

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 (figure 5). 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 (figure 6).   The cycle of suffering will continue until we understand the soul.

figure 5

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.

figure 6

Our negative energies (-) or demerits around the soul manifesting into delayed sufferings, obstacles and temptations to ourselves.

______________________________________________________________

Now we can answer why God will heal us if we understand the soul.

Since the creation of human beings, God has been a spectator; but will begin to work to help mankind live a joyous life.

By understanding the soul, God will heal us so we can begin the process of sweeping away our evil thoughts by our own efforts.

*******GOD WILL HEAL YOU******

Please visit more information at heaventruth.com

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The Truth or Lies of Religion

Today I would like to dedicate this blog to Roy Forbes who recently passed away. Unfortunately, Roy and I never met, but communicated through the Internet.  Roy encourage me on my website, heaventruth.com.  He was a very good source on the history of Tenrikyo.  We exchanged ideas early in the development of my website, but for unknown reasons have not communicated in recent years except for acknowledging our birthdays on Facebook. I don’t know very much about him, but I felt a close connection to him, as we were both interested in our religion Tenrikyo.

I became aware of his kidney problems when he once wrote an angry blog on his website complaining about his sufferings at the hospital. I remember that he removed the blog from his site quickly, but it gave me a lasting impression of our struggles understanding God. I truly hope he found some sort of peace before he passed away.

I remember he joked that he might have been the only person who read all of his Master thesis that he has on his website, tenrikyology.com.  When I cursorily read the contents (about 200 pages) the first time, I thought to myself how thorough it was, but it did not really affect me.

A few days ago, I got a notice from Facebook to acknowledge his birthday.  I was curious to see how he was doing, and was shocked to find out that he had passed away. I remember receiving a birthday salutation on my birthday from him in April of this year.

His death left an empty feeling.  I thought by reading his master thesis again would help me understand him better.  I am not sure what affect his master thesis had on the church. I am not even sure if anyone in Tenrikyo administration has read it. The major topic is the splinter groups that have formed from the church, and the excommunication of these groups from the church.

If I were to summarize his paper, I would say that prophets like Christ and Oyasama were messengers of God; and their messages were from God and true.  In the early stages these prophets gained many followers through their miracles and teachings.  Some would say that these early groups were like cults, and not established religions that grew rapidly.  But to become established as a religion or institution, one needs to have rules and regulations. Unfortunately many times these rules and regulations are man made and not from God.  For example, Christianity with its rules and regulations was not established until thousands of years after the death of Christ.  Even the concept of reincarnation, which was accepted when Christ, was alive, was declared invalid by law.  In our religion, regulation to attain the grant of the sazuke was fabricated after Oyasama passed away, with rules and regulations of the besseki lectures.  These regulations are certainly not in the Ofudesaki, which we believe is from God.

The establishment of a religion with all its man made regulation, besides giving credence to its establishment, also provides the church the ability to excommunicate members from their churches who have different opinions. This assures the church of no major disruptions, and takeover from any outside group; and the continual growth of the church.  Roy gives three examples of splinter groups formed from Tenrikyo.

In summary, it becomes difficult to filter what is from God and what is man made.  This is especially true of religions formed thousand of years ago.  Fortunately our religion was formed less than 200 years ago; and we have only one sacred scripture of over 1000 verses. The compilation called the Ofudesaki is said to be from God. God tells us how to purify our minds, and also gives us instructions on how to spread this truth to the world. We must go back to the basics; the Ofudesaki will set us free!

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Disappointed

Suppose everyone in the world believed in causality, where are actions result in some type of effect; where good behavior resulted in joy, and bad behavior resulted in suffering back to us. We would not have to spend trillion in weapons, fences, security systems, prisons, military, government, and medicine. We could spend all this extra money on helping others, and making the world better.

This is not possible because most of the world does not believe in causality. And for those who believe in causality or karma, many believe it is a punishment from God. Unfortunately the world believes that our physical bodies and our possessions are what are paramount; and they do not understand that it is our souls that are most important in obtaining joy. What is good for our bodies may not be good for our souls. Greed, arrogance, miserliness, regret, and self-love may be good for the body, but is definitely not good for our souls. We believe that our bodies are borrowed from God, but the soul and the mind is ours.  You can say that the soul has no color or gender. It is our souls that make karma and causality function in the world.

Today I am a little disappointed at my religion Tenrikyo.  It is said that God descended from heaven to teach us about the soul and how to live a joyous life.  In the Ofudesaki, which has over 1,000 verses, God tells us how to purify our minds and live the joyous life. But more important God gives us instruction on how to spread God’s truth to the world. (1) God tells us to understand the soul so we can purify our own minds first. (2) Then God tells us to spread the truth of the soul, which I believe is called hinokishin.  (3) God has given us a special prayer (Joyous Service) asking God to help sweep evil thoughts of greed, arrogance, regret, and self-love from the people we have spread the truth to.  When all 3 of these ingredients are added, then God will bring these people to our churches or places of prayer.  Unfortunately, the most important ingredient of spreading the teaching of the soul is not taking place. This is why in the first verse of the Ofudesaki; God tells us that we do not understand the soul.  Instead, the religion is more concerned about tradition and customs, which I believe is not as important to God.  God does not want praise, or sacrifices; but God wants us understand the soul so we can all live the joyous life.

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