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Causality is a common gloss for innen いんねん. The concept behind innen implies that all events and phenomena are said to be consequences of a given cause. The term also contains nuances equivalent to "reason" (riyu 理由), "origin" (yurai 由来), "history" (raireki 来歴), "association" (yukari/kankei ゆかり・関係), and "connection" (en 縁).[1]

Alternate English glosses of innen include affinity, causation, or cause.

Analysis of the word "innen"

It is a convention in Tenrikyo texts to write the word innen in hiragana (いんねん). However, to analyze the kanji usually applied to write it (因縁), in 印 connotes "the basic cause of a given existent or phenomenon" whereas en 縁 designates "the contributory cause that allows the basic cause to produce its result."[2] Nevertheless, innen is commonly used in Japanese to "loosely indicate the simple view that what is happening at present is based on what happened in the past."[2]

Types of innen

Innen is typically broken down into two broad categories in Tenrikyo:

  1. moto no innen or "original causality"
  2. kojin no innen or "individual causality"

Original causality

Moto no innen is also glossed as "causality of origin" and "original cause." It refers to the original intent behind God's creation of the world according to Tenrikyo, the Joyous Life. The Ofudesaki verses in which "moto no innen" appears include Ofudesaki 1:6, Ofudesaki 7:1, and Ofudesaki 11:29.

Individual causality

Kojin no innen refers to the bulk of "karmic residue" (for lack of a better term) that each individual is said to have accrued over multiple rebirths according to his or her use of the mind. A representative explanation of such a type of causality is given in The Doctrine of Tenrikyo as follows:

[A]s we conduct our lives with the free use of mind that has been allowed to us, we sow both good seeds and bad seeds. When our deeds are good, the truth of good will appear. Conversely, when our deeds are bad, the truth of bad will appear.[3]

Causality of divine guidance

Kazuhiro Hatakama, an associate professor at Tenri University, once suggested that a third category of innen ought to be considered, which he has dubbed "tebiki no innen" (causality of (divine) guidance), which he defines as the proactive manner some people are drawn to the faith according to God's intention.[4] He offered Ofudesaki IV:54 and Oyasama's pronouncement to Rin Masui described in Anecdotes of Oyasama 36[5] as examples of innen falling under this third category.

Hatakama has argued that a strict interpretation of the doctrine of original causality would maintain that all human beings are God's children. He believes that there is a somewhat different quality about the innen described in Ofudesaki 4:54 that only seems to be applicable to those who have returned to Jiba, which prompted him to suggest this third category of innen.[4]

It remains to be seen whether or not Hatakama's suggestion has been given any attention outside a small circle of Tenrikyo academics and theologians.

Three Causalities

Tenrikyo theology maintains that the so-called "Three Causalities" of person, place, and time, helps account for the reason why Miki Nakayama was chosen to deliver the revelations of God the Parent in the Nakayama household of Shoyashiki Village in 1838. The three causalities further function to make the case that the founding of Tenrikyo was a fulfillment of a promise God made before embarking on the creation of humanity.

Other definitions

"Seeds sown through the workings of the mind produce only results that accord with those workings. This law of cause and effect—whereby what we sow creates our future experiences—is referred to as innen (causality)."[7]
Innen: literally "destiny" or "cause and effect." Man's original innen is to live a joyous life. Being allow free will, man has used his mind to pursue selfish goals, incurring dust which results in bad innen. In order to change his bad innen into a good one, man must gain merit by using his mind in accord with God's will.[8]

Appearances of "innen" in Scripture

External links

(Note: pages nos. refer to hardcopy equivalent)


  1. 『広辞苑』 Kojien. *page number needed
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Glossary of Tenrikyo Terms. Tenrikyo Overseas Department, p. 32.
  3. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, tenth edition, p. 55.
  4. 4.0 4.1 幡鎌一弘 Hatakama Kazuhiro. 「続く理—90 「一代より二代」」 "Tsuzuku ri: 90 'Ichi-dai yori ni-dai'." In 『逸話篇に学ぶ生き方2』 Itsuwa-hen ni manabu iki-kata 2, pp. 35–36.
  5. "Sah, sah, your soul has an innen. When it is the divine will to use a person in God's service, God will draw that person to this Residence by any means."
  6. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, p. 26.
  7. Komai, Shigeharu. Faith-Based Management: A Path of Loss is Not Truly a Path of Loss, p. 141 (Glossary).
  8. Anecdotes of Oyasama 11, p. 7.
  9. 『おさしづ索引』 Osashizu sakuin (index) vol. 1, pp. 282–288.