Doctrine 1

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The Doctrine of Tenrikyo
Part 1
1 Oyasama
2 The Path of Single-hearted Salvation
3 The Truth of Origin
4 Tenri-O-no-Mikoto
5 The Divine Model
Part 2
6 Divine Guidance
7 A Thing Lent, A Thing Borrowed
8 On the Way to the Final Goal
9 The Yoboku
10 The Joyous Life

The Doctrine of Tenrikyo Chapter 1 presents the contents of the opening chapter of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo as published by Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. The title of the chapter is:


The content below is equilvalent to pages 3 to 11 of the print edition. "Notes" are footnotes from the print edition.


The significance of the founding of the Teaching

I am God of Origin, God in Truth. There is causality in this Residence. At this time I have descended here to save all humankind. I wish to receive Miki as the Shrine of God.

These were the first words declared by God the Parent, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, through the mouth of Oyasama,[1] Miki Nakayama.



The day of origin of the Teaching

Miki's family was greatly startled by the unexpected revelation. Using every possible argument, they refused God's request, but God the Parent remained steadfast. Finally, forsaking all self-centered human thoughts and concerns of inconvenience to the family, they replied that they would comply with God's request. That day, October 26, 1838,[2] marks the beginning of Tenrikyo.



Through all ages...

Looking all over the world and through all ages, I find no one who has understood My heart.

So should it be, for I have never taught it to you. It is natural that you know nothing.

At this time, I, God, reveal Myself and teach the truth of all things in detail.

Ofudesaki 1:1–3

We human beings wander about on the mind's dark paths having nothing to depend upon but our own self-centered imaginations. This is because we have not known the Parent of Origin, nor have we understood the divine heart. God the Parent felt pity for us and, through Oyasama as the Shrine, became revealed at that time to teach all of God's intentions to humankind.

むねのハかりたものハないから        一  1

なにもしらんがむりでないそや        一  2

なにかいさいをといてきかする        一  3


The Shrine of Tsukihi

These thoughts of Tsukihi are spoken through Her: the mouth is human, the mind is that of Tsukihi.

Listen! I, Tsukihi, am borrowing Her mouth wholly, and I, Tsukihi, am lending My mind wholly.

Ofudesaki 12:67–68

Oyasama's outward appearance was no different from that of ordinary people but Her mind had become that of God the Parent. People who came in frequent contact with Her, however, presuming on their familiarity, not only refused to listen to Her words, but ridiculed Her as being possessed and mocked Her as being insane.

くちわにんけん心月日や          一二 67

心ハ月日みなかしている          一二 68


Oyasama untiringly exerted efforts

While it was far from easy to convince such people of the truth of God the Parent's teachings, unless Oyasama had first convinced them that She was indeed the Shrine of Tsukihi, the path of single-hearted salvation could never have been opened and the reconstruction leading to the Joyous Life could never have been hoped for. So Oyasama guided them with unceasing devotion in the manner of nurturing innocent children. Putting Herself in their place, She taught them with utmost patience by Her spoken word, by Her writing brush, by demonstrating God's teachings in Her daily life, and by showing the free and unlimited workings of God the Parent before their very eyes.


Oyasama demonstrated the Joyous Life through Her own example

Because of Her single-hearted desire to save humankind, Oyasama plunged into the depths of poverty. By living in high spirits even through such difficulties, She demonstrated the model of the Joyous Life.


Showing proof

Further, to prove that God the Parent was indeed revealed in this world through Her as God's Shrine, Oyasama demonstrated many miracles of God's protection before the eyes of all. The first of these was the Grant of Safe Childbirth, which opened the path to all miracles of salvation. Thus, She dispelled doubt from people's minds.


The Ofudesaki

Further, Oyasama wrote the verses of the Ofudesaki (The Tip of the Writing Brush) to reveal the intention of God.

This is a world constructed on reason. So I shall press upon you everything with the reason in verse.

I shall press, though not by force or word of mouth. I shall press by the tip of My writing brush.

It is all very well if you err in nothing. But should you err, I shall inform you by verse.

Ofudesaki 1:21–23

She wrote out of parental desire to allow us to contemplate the teachings of God over and over, again and again.

Step by step, I have informed you by My writing brush. Quickly awaken your mind to it!

Ofudesaki 4:72


なにかよろづを歌のりでせめ         一 21

くちでもゆハんふでさきのせめ        一 22

ちがいあるなら歌でしらする         一 23


はやく心にさとりとるよふ           四 72


Parental love as exhibited in the Ofudesaki

Also, as revealed in later years, the verses of the Ofudesaki were committed to paper in view of our tendency to forget what we hear.

Until now, about everything, I taught by word of mouth. But you forget. Because you forget, I have informed you with the tip of My writing brush.

Osashizu,[3] August 23, 1904

With parental forethought, Oyasama wrote in verse so the teachings would be attractive to all and easily remembered. Also, She often used metaphors so the profound will of God the Parent would be more understandable and convincing.




と仰せになつたように、おふでさきは、耳に聽くだけでは、とかく忘れがちになり易い人々の上を思い、筆に誌して知らされた親神の教である。 そして、何人にも親しみ易く、覚え易いようにと、歌によせてものされたばかりでなく、屡々、譬喩を用いて理を説かれたのも、深い親神の思召を うなずき易く、理解し易いように、との親心からである。即ち、

Using metaphors

Hereafter, I shall speak in the metaphor of a path, not indicating any place in particular.

Over steep mountains, through tangles of thorns, along narrow ledges, and through brandished swords, if you come,

Yet ahead through a sea of flames and a deep abyss, you will arrive at a narrow path.

Ofudesaki 1:46–48

Oyasama compares the path of single-heartedness with God to a journey over steep mountains and through tangles of thorns, showing that no matter how difficult this path may be for a time, if we but travel it relying single-heartedly on God the Parent, the path will gradually open into a narrow path and finally widen into a broad path full of promise. Thus, She encourages us, giving us hope and inspiration. Indeed, spiritedly facing all difficulties which arose, Oyasama personally led the way, demonstrating the Divine Model of the Joyous Life.

Again, using water as a metaphor for the human mind, She taught that the reason we cannot readily grasp the will of God the Parent is that our minds have become turbid like muddy water. If we but calm our minds and cast away our self-centered thoughts, our minds will become as clear as springwater and all truths will be mirrored in them. Comparing our selfish thoughts to dust, She taught us to sweep away this dust constantly, with God the Parent as the broom.

Further, She used the metaphor of construction to refer to the building of the world of the Joyous Life and gave those concerned such names as shinbashira (the central pillar), toryo (master carpenter), and yoboku (timber). By indicating specific roles in the work of construction, She strove to teach us in ways easily understood so that we might quicken our progress toward spiritual maturity.

どこの事ともさらにゆハんで          一 46

つるぎのなかもとふりぬけたら        一 47

それをこしたらほそいみちあり        一 48





Thus, out of Her single-hearted parental love for humankind, Oyasama strove to make the will of God the Parent readily understandable by using metaphors. Further, in order that we might be convinced of the truth of God the Parent, She first referred to God the Parent as Kami (God), next as Tsukihi (Moon-Sun), and finally as Oya (Parent), changing the names in accordance with our spiritual growth.



Further, adding words of explanation in such expressions as "God, who began this world," "God, who made the origin," and "God in Truth," Oyasama clarified the nature of God the Parent.


This salvation is not brought about by formulas of worship, or by exorcism, or by calling on oracles.

Ofudesaki 3:45

Oyasama taught that the name Kami (God) did not refer to the common "gods" of tradition to whom people prayed or whose powers they invoked but to the true God, who created humankind and the world, who is constant in sustaining our bodies and means of life, now as in the long past.


うかがいたてゝいくでなけれど         三 45


Tsukihi (Moon-Sun)

Then She called God the Parent by the name Tsukihi (Moon-Sun) and taught that the sun and the moon are none other than visible manifestations of God the Parent in the heavens. By comparing God's providence to the sun and the moon, which impartially illuminate the entire world and nurture all creation with warmth and moisture day and night, She sought to lead us to a sense of intimacy with God the Parent and to an appreciation of God's blessings.


Even until now, though having firmly received the Shrine of Tsukihi, I have been keeping still.

Ofudesaki 6:59

What do you think of these red clothes? Tsukihi dwells within.

Ofudesaki 6:63

Oyasama began to wear red clothes, which was unusual for the time, to persuade people by this visual symbol that She was truly the Shrine of Tsukihi. The divine intent was to unify the followers' faith in Tsukihi, God the Parent, and their veneration of Oyasama, the Shrine of Tsukihi, and thus to develop in them the firm conviction that the words of Oyasama were none other than the voice of God the Parent.


もろてあれどもいづみいたなり         六 59

なかに月日がこもりいるそや          六 63


Oya (Parent)


Until now, I taught you by the name Tsukihi, but from today I shall use another name.

Ofudesaki 14:29

Finally, Oyasama used the name Oya (Parent) to indicate God the Parent.

Day after day, the concern of the Parent is only about the means to save you.

Ofudesaki 14:35

Thus, Oyasama taught that God the Parent is not merely to be revered as God or Tsukihi but is our true Parent, whose love for us is like the love with which human parents tenderly care for their children, and is the One to whom we can open our hearts and fully reveal our joys and sorrows, on whom we can depend without reservation. Oyasama strove in earnest to lead us to a closeness with God the Parent and, at the same time, to heighten our trust and joy in Her, the Shrine of Tsukihi, as being the true Parent of humankind.


もふけふからハなまいかゑるで       一四 29


たすけるもよふばかりをもてる        一四 35


Regret and anger

In such ways, Oyasama taught clearly and vividly so people would be able to have faith in God the Parent. Yet those who could not understand God's heart increased their opposition. Attempts by society to stop the teachings grew stronger. As a result, there were followers who, deeply troubled by the hardships which fell upon Oyasama, would at times waver, at times be lost. Oyasama, impatient with such hesitation, used words such as "regret" and "anger" to urge them sternly onward. But at the same time, She always reminded people of the Parent's deep love for them. As always, Her thought was for Her children's spiritual growth.

Though regret is so piled up within Me, I shall save all of you according to your minds.

However high My regret is piled, I shall work, holding fast to the utmost.

Ofudesaki 15:16–17


心しだいにみなたすけるで          一五 16

ふんばりきりてはたらきをする        一五 17


Giving the name of God to Jiba

Oyasama untiringly exerted Her efforts in teaching and guiding people by Her spoken word, by Her writing brush, and by the Divine Model of Her life, establishing the path of single-hearted salvation which leads to the Joyous Life. Upon deep consideration, She gave the divine name of God the Parent, "Tenri-O-no-Mikoto," to the eternally unchanging Jiba, the home of the Parent and of humankind.


The everliving Oyasama

To hasten the salvation of humankind, She withdrew from physical life,[4] yet remains alive now and forever at the Residence of Origin, with the portals open, protecting humankind day and night and shedding Her infinite, parental love on each of us.

又、一れつのたすけを急き込む上から、姿をかくして、 存命のまま、恆に、元のやしきに留り、扉を開いて、日夜をわかたず守護され、一れつ子供の上に、尽きぬ親心をそそがれている。

Oyasama, the Parent of human beings

Through Oyasama alone can we human beings come to worship God the Parent and know the divine will. Indeed, Oyasama is Tsukihi on earth and the Parent of humankind.

This Parent, who began human beings, lives. This is the truth.

Ofudesaki 8:37


そんめゑでいるこれがまことや         八 37

Next: Chapter 2 The Path of Single-hearted Salvation


  1. Oyasama is the foundress of Tenrikyo (Oya, parent; the suffix sama, an honorific).
  2. According to the lunar calendar that was use in Japan at that time; December 12, 1838, by the Gregorian calendar.
  3. Divine Directions
  4. January 26, 1887, by the lunar calendar (February 18, 1887, by the Gregorian calendar).