Life of Oyasama Chapter 1
|The Life of Oyasama|
|The Shrine of Tsukihi (1837–1838)|
|The Early History of Oyasama (1798–1837)|
|On the Way |
(1838–1852), (1853–1854), (1862–1864)
|The Place for the Service (1864), (1865–1866)|
|The Salvation Service (1866–1882)|
|The Identification of the Jiba |
(1869–1873), (Jan–Nov 1874), (Dec 1874), (1875), (1876–1877)
| Buds Sprout from Knots |
| Parental Love |
(pp. 121–124), (pp. 124–131), (pp. 132–137), (pp. 137–146), (pp. 146–157), (pp. 157–165), (pp. 165–168)
| The Hardships of Oyasama |
(Jan–Jun 1883), (Jul–Dec 1883), (1884), (1885), (Jan–Apr 1886),(May–Dec 1886)
|The Portals Opened |
(Jan 1–11, 1887),
(Jan 12–13, 1887),
(Jan 18–Feb 18, 1887)
Life of Oyasama Chapter 1 presents the contents of the opening chapter of The Life of Oyasama as published by Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. The title of the chapter is "The Shrine of Tsukihi." The content below is equivalent to pages 1 to 7 of the print edition.
"Notes" are footnotes from the print edition.
With these words, spoken in a voice full of divine majesty, the whole house seemed to become permeated with a spiritual presence. No one dared to raise their head, neither Zenbei, head of the family, nor his relatives, nor even Ichibei, an ascetic monk. Indeed it was a god they had never heard of and a strange revelation they had never dreamed of. Zenbei did not understand the revelation at first, but upon reflection he realized that this revelation was truly a serious matter for the Nakayama family and was most unlikely to be accepted by them. While he was considering the matter in this way, he suddenly recalled a series of strange events that had occurred since the winter of the previous year.
It was on October 26, 1837, when his eldest son, Shuji, seventeen, felt a sudden pain in his left leg while he was sowing barley in the fields, along with his mother, Miki. The pain was so severe that he was barely able to return home, using his rake as a crutch. A physician was consulted immediately, and though he did his utmost in treating the patient, applying a mentholated ointment, nothing seemed to ease the pain at all. At the suggestion of one of those present, Zenbei sent a messenger to Ichibei of Nagataki Village, who was locally renowned for his healing powers. However, Ichibei was away in Nigo Village at that time.
Two days later, on the 28th, the messenger was again sent to Ichibei. As soon as he heard about Shuji's problem from the messenger, Ichibei offered the prayer of a hundred lights to appease what he felt was a spirit tormenting Shuji. Shuji's pain had already eased by the time the messenger returned to Zenbei's house. However, the pain came back on the following day, and the messenger was sent to Ichibei again. Ichibei offered the prayer once more, and again Shuji's pain was gone for the time being, only to recur on the following day. Again the messenger was sent to Ichibei and after the prayer was thus offered for the third time, Shuji enjoyed a comparatively long period of relief, though only for about twenty days.
In his anxiety over his son’s condition, Zenbei called on Ichibei in person and consulted him in earnest. Ichibei suggested that, if such were the case, they should hold an incantation at Zenbei's home. After returning home and talking the matter over with his family, Zenbei agreed to this plan. Ichibei hired a woman of Magata Village named Soyo to act as medium and hold the two gohei, and all the neighbors were invited to the incantation. After lighting a purifying fire, the incantation was performed and Shuji's pain was gone. In half a year or so, however, it came back again, only to be followed by another incantation and ease that lasted only for a short time. This cycle of relief and relapse was repeated nine times within one year.
Each time the incantation was held, Zenbei did not simply call his neighbors together, but he served them food and drink and gave rice to the people in the village in honor of the dead. For those days, the expenditure involved on each occasion was not a light one, the total amounting to four hundred monme. But Zenbei, out of his parental love, spared no expense to save his dear son.
Then at ten o'clock on the evening of October 23, 1838, in addition to Shuji's sore leg, Zenbei had trouble with his eyes, and Miki had a severe pain in Her back. Thus, there were now three ailing persons under one roof. It was the day of the Inoko Festival in Shoyashiki Village, and Ichibei happened to be there visiting his relatives, the Inui family. Zenbei sent a messenger for Ichibei, who came at once, saying: "This must be serious. Let us hold an incantation." Then he proceeded to prepare for the ritual. Scarcely waiting for daybreak, he sent a messenger for Soyo, who had regularly served as medium, but she was not at home. Having no alternative, Ichibei requested that Miki take her place and hold the gohei as medium. Suddenly, in the midst of intent prayer, came the revelation through Her mouth:
After this series of past events had flashed through his mind, Zenbei felt somehow uneasy. But as the intention of God of Origin was really unacceptable, he concluded he had better decline it. So he said: "Though You are so earnest in Your request, I am sorry I cannot accept it. Ours is a busy home as I have many children and I am an official in the village. Since there are many other respectable homes, I beg You to go to someone else's house." Ichibei also entreated God to ascend.
But God of Origin would not accept their entreaties, and Miki's tone became more and more severe and Her behavior more and more agitated. Ichibei, though experienced in the ways of spiritualism, was utterly dumbfounded when he unexpectedly heard the voice of an unknown god through Miki's lips, apparently because he had used Her as a substitute for his usual medium.
The incantation came to a halt, and now the state of affairs took a new turn. After having asked God of Origin for some more time before giving a definite answer, those attending the incantation withdrew from the presence of God to talk the matter over among themselves. They also sent for other relatives who were not present.
The family and relatives, joined by Ichibei, continued talking over the matter, searching for an acceptable solution. But no matter how long they talked, no one was in favor of obeying the intention of God of Origin. Rather, they all encouraged Zenbei, saying: "Your children are still young, and you are an official in the village. How could you manage if Miki, so important to your family, were offered as the Shrine of God? It would be wiser to refuse." Zenbei knew that if he declined, as was suggested, a shadow of uneasiness would linger over him, considering the intensity of the desire of God of Origin. On the other hand, because of the state of his household, he could not bring himself to accept the demand. At this point everyone returned to the presence of God and, in chorus, refused once more, entreating God to ascend at once.
They had hardly finished speaking before Miki’s appearance underwent a complete change. Her words grew more severe than ever, and She admonished them in a tone of command, saying:
But they, too, would not yield an inch. They pressed God to retire at once, protesting that, being human, they could not possibly wait twenty or thirty long years. To this Miki replied in a still more severe tone:
She spoke these words in a state of absolute selflessness, intently conveying the will of God of Origin.
Miki had been sitting straight, night after day, for three consecutive days, holding the gohei in Her hands. She had taken neither meal nor rest during this time. Sometimes She would sit calmly, but at other times She would solemnly reveal the intention of God of Origin in a resounding voice, Her hands trembling and wavering so violently that the paper fringes of the gohei were torn to shreds. <Link to Anecdotes of Oyasama 2>
Those present continued their talk to see if there were any possible means to persuade God to ascend. Naturally, they consulted Ichibei, but the matter had already proved to be beyond his powers. Even less could any of the others suggest an acceptable idea. Meanwhile, the strain and exhaustion on Miki, who was intently conveying the will of God of Origin day and night, taking neither food nor rest, increased visibly. Zenbei, fearing it might cost Her life if the situation continued, finally concluded that there was no alternative but to comply. At eight o'clock on the morning of the 26th, he accepted God’s demand, declaring with firm resolution:
The Shrine of Tsukihi
- I offer Miki to You.
At this, Miki's agitated behavior became quiet for the first time in many hours, and at that instant Miki Nakayama was settled as the Shrine of God. The mind of God the Parent entered into Her, and She, revealing the divine will, began the ultimate teaching for saving all humankind. Indeed She is the One whom we revere as the Shrine of Tsukihi, the One whom we yearn after as the Parent of the Divine Model, and the One whom we glorify as Oyasama.
This event fell on October 26, 1838, when Oyasama was in Her forty-first year.
- Ages given in this book conform to the traditional Japanese system of calculation, whereby a child was considered to be one year old during the year of its birth and, thereafter, one year was added to its age on New Year's Day. Thus, an infant born on the last day of December would be two years old the next day.
- Gohei is a sacred staff with cut or folded paper streamers.
- Monme was a unit in the silver coinage at the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate. One monme is one-sixtieth of one ryo. One ryo was a unit in the gold coinage. Four hundred monme is approximately $1,052 U.S. as of 1993.
- The Inoko Festival was held after the harvest season and before the coming of winter to give thanks for rich crops and to pray for health in the coming winter.
- At that time, Shuji, was eighteen years of age (seventeen years, three months, and twenty-two days since his birth); the eldest daughter, Omasa, was fourteen (thirteen years, six months, and eighteen days); the third daughter Oharu, was eight (seven years, one month, and seventeen days); and the fifth daughter, Kokan, was two (eleven months and two days). The second and fourth daughters had passed away in infancy.
- December 12, 1838, by the Gregorian calendar.