1,000th Post

Today I am writing my 1,000 post on WordPress. I must admit that some of my post were revisions of posts. I was trying to think of what I could write for this milestone. My purpose and presence on WordPress has been to translate the Ofudesaki (sacred book in Tenrikyo), and summarize it’s content.

What can be more appropriate to celebrate my 1000 post, then to acknowledge the person who gave us the Ofudesaki. The following is from my website.

The following is the story of genesis from the Ofudesaki (sacred book). Some people will say it is a myth to explain the creation, and others will believe it as the absolute truth.    

In the beginning there was God looking over her creations. Then God said, “Let there be joy”, so God began to create human beings. About one billion year ago, from the muddy oceans, God selected a fish (Izanami) and serpent (Izanagi) as the seeding of the first couple. Looking throughout the oceans, God found more sea creatures and added their traits (genes) to the first couple. With their consents, God began to create human beings, promising them that they would return one billion years later to the same location of the Origin. God promised the female fish that she would eventually become the shrine of God, in order to teach God’s truths to the world. Through the process of evolution, we are who we are as human beings.

On April 18, 1798, Miki Nakayama was born in Shoyashiki Village in Japan.  It was October 26, 1838 that God descended on the Nakayama residence as promised by prophecy made at the Origin; and God requested that she become the Shrine of God. This is when the Tenrikyo religion began. Oyasama began to teach others, and began the process of healing people from illnesses, and also began the grant of safe childbirth, promising expecting mothers an easy delivery.

God is said to have communicated with Oyasama. She wrote God’s truth by handwritten verses that are now compiled in our sacred book called the Ofudesaki. This sacred book gives us instruction on how to spread God’s truth to save the world.  God promises that eventually all mankind will live a joyous life.

The Tenrikyo religion is different in that Oyasama is the first parent of mankind as signified by her name translated to English as the parent. She passed away in January 26, 1887, with her soul returning to the Origin where mankind was created. We believe that this location is where both God and Oyasama are now, helping to save mankind. This is why we pray toward this location, represented by a wooden temporary pillar called the Kanrodai, which represents the original location. When all mankind is purified in mind, the pillar will be constructed in stone. God promises heavenly dew that will flow from heaven upon a receptacle placed on the top tier of the Kanrodai. God promises paradise on earth with this happens.

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The Truth of the Soul/heart

Kono soji sukiyaki shitate sen koto ni

Mune no shinjitsu wakari nai kara 5-28

The first translation below is the traditional translation by Tenrikyo Headquarters and the 2nd translation is word for word.

Unless the sweeping is thoroughly accomplished,

You will not understand the truth of My heart.

This sweeping must be thoroughly attentively accomplished,

because no one understands the truth of the soul/heart.

Again, there are two different meaning depending on if you read the traditional headquarters’ translation verses the word for word translation.

*The truth of the soul is that we reap what we have sowed. It is the soul  that brings upon joy or suffering. Until we can understand the soul, it will be difficult to understand God’s teachings

*opinion

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God Can Heal You

Do you have an illness that doctors and medicine cannot cure? What if I tell you that whatever your illness is, it can be cured! You are probably thinking that this is a ridiculous statement, and are questioning my motive. No, I’m not going to sell you a product or ask you to donate anything. All I ask is your time to understand what may be the most important information to you, your family and friends.

In the Bible, Jesus and his disciples healed the sick. In the beginning of our religion (Tenrikyo), thousands of people were cured of their illness; but where are the miracles now? 

I have spent many hours studying our religious literature to find out why these miracles are not occurring more frequently today. What are the ingredients to make this happen now? Does this require believing in God and having faith? The following is from our sacred books:

However serious an illness will become, I never say that it will not be cured. 12-52 Ofudesaki

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

Suppose I tell you that all you have to do is truly believe in the soul to be healed of any illness or disease. This may appear to be an incredulous statement, but you make up your mind after reading the following information collected from our sacred books.

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What Flows From the Soul/Heart

It is said that the early Christians believed in reincarnation and the soul/heart. The following is from Proverbs:

23 Above all else, guard your heart/soul,

    for everything you do flows from it.

24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;

    keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;

    fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Give careful thought to the[a] paths for your feet

    and be steadfast in all your ways.

27 Do not turn to the right or the left;

    keep your foot from evil.

God does not tell us to remove evil thoughts from our minds, but he tells us not to act upon them; because when we act upon them and cause suffering to others, it is the soul that collects the demerit of our actions, and eventually releases (flows) it as suffering back to us. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 10. Luke 8:4-18.

It is this suffering that comes back to us that remind us of the evils in our minds. God tells us how to remove these evils by not acting on them when these sufferings that we created boomerang back to us.

In this world we see cause and effect every day. We see good and evil, and we see joy and suffering, but we do not see the relationship. It is time lapse between cause and effect that obscures our understanding of nature’s or God’s justice.  By understanding the soul and what flows from it, we can control our own future.

Sufferings from physical or emotional causes are indeed difficult to understand when they occur. Many of us would like to blame external factors, but God tells us that it comes from within us, the soul. It is the soul that collects our merits and demerits and releases them as suffering or joy in order to purify our minds. When suffering or temptations occur, God tells us to ponder and reflect on our own minds.

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Tenrikyo-Spreading God’s Truth

On Saturday my wife and I went to a bookstore. When we were entering our car to leave, a middle age Asian woman comes running toward the car and waving at us. For a moment I thought we had forgotten something at the bookstore.  But as I open the door slightly, she asked us if we wanted to know about Jesus Christ.  Surprised by her question, I quickly shut the door and shook my head no and drove off.

Looking back at the incident, I am not usually comfortable with solicitors, especially in parking lots; but I am moved by her courage and her commitment to spread what she believes to be true.  It is the same for those pesky church people who scout our neighborhood during the weekend, going door to door and leaving their pamphlets, which usually end up in our recycle bin.

In the Ofudesaki, in chapter 14 God tells us to go out and tell people that God will begin to work. This is called hinokishin. We must spread our teachings before God accepts our prayer (Joyous Service or Kagura Service) to save mankind. Instead of believing that by performing the Yorozuyo and twelve songs and visiting Ojiba that God will save us, we must do our job of spreading our religion first (hinokishin).  These instructions are in the Ofudesaki, and the Mikagura-uta, but many of us still believe that by performing the Yorozuyo and the 12 songs perfectly in Japanese will bring God’s salvation.

The question arises, what will bring upon new members to our churches? Would it be people like the middle aged oriental woman going door to door, or in her case car to car?  Or will it be a group of people dressed in samurai clothing, dancing to the songs of the Mikagura-uta in Japanese?  The answer is in the Ofudesaki!

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The Soul is Who We Are

It’s surprising how children have different personalities, although we raise them almost the same. In the Ofudesaki is the following:

Ponder over this talk, all of you in the world.

There is no mind the same as another. 5-7

Even between parent and child, husband and wife, and siblings,

their minds all differ from one another. 5-8

It is amazing that a child has his or her inclination of thoughts already established. There are children that are easily angered, while there are some who have a calm demeanor.  Where and how are these traits established?  In our religion we believe that it is the soul that establishes our traits. The soul is who we are. It is comparable to a suitcase, that stores and transfer our inclination of thoughts from one incarnation to another. It also stores our records of good and evil actions.  It is this soul that enters our bodies in proximity to our birth, and becomes like a nucleus of a cell, establishing our minds (way of thinking), and also directing what joy or suffering we encounter dependent on merits or demerits the soul has collected.  It is this same soul that leaves our bodies at death, collecting our existing inclination of thoughts, and our records of good and evil merits.  Then the soul with God’s help looks for a developing body that will be a good home for what the soul (suitcase) contains.  This cycle of the soul continues until all our souls are purified of evil thoughts; when this happens, God promises heaven on earth. 

How do we purify our souls? It is the soul that carries our fate on earth. It is also the soul that carries information that will establish how we think. Both of these functions of the soul are connected to one goal.  This goal is to purify our minds of greed, arrogance, self-love, covetousness, and miserliness.  If we can ponder our sufferings as past demerits that the soul has collected and now disbursed, we can consciously eliminate the evil thought that initiated the suffering.  This is the only way to purify our minds so we do not create more demerits for the soul.  Some of us may have to go through many challenges because of the many demerits the soul has collected; but if we do not act upon these obstacles that flow from our souls, we can eventually remove all evil thoughts from our minds.

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Our Souls Helping Us to Purify Our Minds

Why is it so difficult to change? Let’s say someone from church convinces us that anger is not good for us. We agree to not get angry for any reason. Yet no matter how much we resist, when annoyance appears, our anger appears. We apologize to God and promise not to get angry again, yet we continue to fail to keep our promises.  We make excuses that if it wasn’t for our annoyances, like our coworkers, spouses, or strangers, we would be able to keep our pledges to God.  We all have habits or inclinations of thoughts that are difficult to eliminate from our minds.  It is for this reason that just by declaring to God that we have changed is not enough. We must prove our declaration by conquering whatever sufferings or temptations are placed in front of us. But what or who is it that places these inconveniences or temptations? Many will say that it is God or even Satan that places these obstacles in front of us to prove ourselves.

The Tenrikyo religion, believes it is our own soul/heart that places these obstacles to purify our minds. God wants us to purify our minds of evil thoughts.  These thoughts are greed, arrogance, self-love, miserliness, and covetousness. God says that there are paths of these thoughts, and they all lead to sufferings or temptations.  It is for this reason that God tells us not to act upon these thoughts, when our own soul distributes these temptation or sufferings that we have initiated with our previous actions. We can begin to purify our minds if we can resist acting on our evil thoughts when inconveniences occur in our lives. If we understand these annoyances or obstacles as opportunities to purify our minds, then we can resist acting upon them.

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