A thing lent, a thing borrowed

From Tenrikyo Resource Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

A thing lent, a thing borrowed (Jpn: kashimono karimono[1]) is a central teaching in Tenrikyo that maintains human beings are alive because each person is borrowing a body from God that is sustained by God’s providence. This teaching is important enough that a verse from the Ofudesaki reads, “So long as you remain unknowing that the body is a thing borrowed, you can understand nothing at all.” [2] Another Ofudesaki verse claims that if the knowledge that all human bodies are things lent by God is spread to the world, “no one would remain selfish or greedy.”[3]

“A thing lent, a thing borrowed” also happens to be the title of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo’s Chapter Seven. Chapter Seven of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo begins with an Ofudesaki verse claiming that the conception of a baby and giving birth to it is possible due to God’s workings.[4] This is followed by a statement declaring that, “Everything concerning the body is due to the exquisite forethought and providence of God the Parent.[5] It is then explained that human beings, by living in God’s bosom, are nurtured by God’s fundamental workings. The remainder of the chapter goes on to describe other related teachings.

Teachings related to the tenet “a thing lent, a thing borrowed”

“The mind alone is yours”

The teaching Chapter Seven next describes is the belief that “the mind alone is yours,” the belief that human beings are allowed the free use of the mind—the ability and a degree of control that most people have over how they think and feel.

Dusts of the mind

The free use of the mind granted to human beings and the unawareness of the purpose that brought God to lend bodies to human beings—attaining and living the Joyous Life—occasionally lead people to think and feel in ways that are counterproductive toward this purpose. Such “(mis)uses” of the mind are metaphorically referred to as “dust.” When one allows such misuses of the mind to accumulate, one’s mind becomes clouded, potentially leading one to engage in destructive behavior. A number of verses from the Ofudesaki urge readers to actively sweep this dust away.

Passing away for rebirth

Chapter Seven of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo next makes the claim that the majority of people must return the body—that is, undergo the process of passing away for rebirth—before they have lived out the natural term of life of 115 years due to the “immaturity of our minds.”[6] It is also explained that people fall short of fulfilling this term of life due to one’s dust of the mind and causality.


Although the original causality shared by all human beings is said to be God’s intention for all to live the Joyous Life, it is explained that since we are granted the free use of the mind, we accumulate both good and bad “seeds” according to the way we have used our mind not only during our current lifetime but also our previous lives. Such “seeds” eventually comprise what is referred to one’s “individual causality.”

Any unfortunate circumstance such an illness are considered not as God’s punishment but opportunities God provides for us to replace the mind so we may live a better life. [7]

The universe is the body of God/Universal brotherhood

According to the Tenrikyo jiten, the concept of “a thing lent, a thing borrowed” also incorporates teachings such as:

  • The belief that the universe is the body of God
  • The belief of universal brotherhood (the notion that all human beings are brothers and sisters).[8] This belief was often evoked by early followers in expressions saying that all human beings were equally “borrowers of a body lent by God.”[citation needed]

Ten aspects of God’s providence

The teaching of a thing lent, thing borrowed also partly evokes the teaching of the ten aspects of God’s providence. More specifically, this is the belief that specific functions of the body are, in a sense, “things borrowed” in how they fall under the protection of a certain aspect of God the Parent’s complete providence. Ryosuke Yamazawa, one of Oyasama’s early followers, explicitly described the body as “a thing lent by... six deities” in an explanation attributing the eyes, body heat, skin/joining, bones, eating/drinking, and breathing to the first six aspects of God’s providence.[9]

Nine instruments

Lastly, Naokichi Takai once explained that the third section of the seated service is repeated nine times to express one’s gratitude to God for being lent the “nine instruments” of the body[10], which are:

  1. the eyes
  2. the nose
  3. the mouth
  4. the ears
  5. right arm/hand
  6. left arm/hand
  7. right leg
  8. left leg
  9. reproductive organs

Appearance/frequency of “kashimono” in Scripture

Appearance/frequency of “karimono” in Scripture

See also

External links


  1. It is a convention in Tenrikyo texts to write this in hiragana: かしもの・かりもの
  2. Ofudesaki 3:137.
  3. Ofudesaki 6:121.
  4. Ofudesaki 6:131.
  5. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, tenth edition, p. 50.
  6. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, p. 55.
  7. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, p. 56.
  8. 『改訂天理教辞典』 Kaitei Tenrikyo jiten, p. 202.
  9. The Life of Oyasama, p. 119.
  10. 「かりものの恩」 “Karimono no on.” In 『本部員教話抄』 Honbu-in kyōwa shō, pp. 31–33.
  11. 『おふでさき索引』 Ofudesaki sakuin (index), p. 128.
  12. 『おさしづ索引』 Osashizu sakuin (index), pp. 506–508 (vol. 1).
  13. Ofudesaki sakuin, p. 133.
  14. Osashizu sakuin, p. 480 (vol. 1).