Life of Oyasama Chapter 3-1

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The Life of Oyasama
Chapter One
The Shrine of Tsukihi (1837–1838)
Chapter Two
The Early History of Oyasama (1798–1837)
Chapter Three
On the Way
(1838–1852), (1853–1854), (1862–1864)
Chapter Four
The Place for the Service (1864), (1865–1866)
Chapter Five
The Salvation Service (1866–1882)
Chapter Six
The Identification of the Jiba
(1869–1873), (Jan–Nov 1874), (Dec 1874), (1875), (1876–1877)
Chapter Seven
Buds Sprout from Knots
(1878–1880), (1881)
Chapter Eight
Parental Love
(pp. 121–124), (pp. 124–131), (pp. 132–137), (pp. 137–146), (pp. 146–157), (pp. 157–165), (pp. 165–168)
Chapter Nine
The Hardships of Oyasama
(Jan–Sep 1882),
(Oct–Dec 1882),
(Jan–Jun 1883), (Jul–Dec 1883), (1884), (1885), (Jan–Apr 1886),(May–Dec 1886)
Chapter Ten
The Portals Opened
(Jan 1–11, 1887),
(Jan 12–13, 1887),
(Jan 18–Feb 18, 1887)

Life of Oyasama Chapter 3-1 presents the contents of Chapter Three of The Life of Oyasama as published by Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. The title of the chapter is "On the Way." The content below is equivalent to pages 18 to 25 of the print edition.

The print edition of Chapter Three has been split into three sections on this wiki due to length of text. The chapter is split as follows:

  1. Life of Oyasama Chapter 3-1 (1838–1852)
  2. Life of Oyasama Chapter 3-2 (1853–1854)
  3. Life of Oyasama Chapter 3-3 (1862–1864)


After becoming the Shrine of Tsukihi, Oyasama hastened to obey God the Parent's command: <Links to Anecdotes of Oyasama 3, 4, and 5>

Fall to the depths of poverty.

First She gave to the needy the personal effects She had brought with Her when She married, then food, clothes, money, and so forth, one after another.

In Her parental desire to save all humankind, Oyasama showed the world the model of the path through which one can attain salvation, by walking it Herself. She taught that by giving generously to the needy and renouncing attachment to material things, one will surely become brightened in mind and, once the mind has become brightened, the path to the Joyous Life will open up by itself.

But Zenbei as well as the rest of the family and relatives, seeing that Her words and deeds had become quite different from those of ordinary people, became anxious, wondering if She had become bereft of reason or possessed by some evil spirit. They tried everything in their power to restore Her to normal. They burned pine needles and incense sticks and lit purifying fires, all the while crying in their hearts, "If you are insane, be restored to sense; if possessed, away with the evil spirit!"

One day Zenbei's friends, Hagimura of Bessho Village, Adachi of Shoyashiki Village, and Ueda of Tanbaichi Village, met to talk over a matter of concern. Whenever they had gone to the Nakayamas' recently, they had found Zenbei's children so forlorn and lonely that they could not but pity them from the bottom of their hearts. They wondered if there were any good means of correcting such a situation. They concluded that if She were, in fact, possessed by some evil spirit, they must use all the means in their power to drive it away. Accordingly, after their talks, they went together to the Nakayamas' and, facing Oyasama, repeatedly pressed the supposed evil spirit to ascend, saying they would take him elsewhere to pay homage to him thereafter. However, their solicitations were to no avail.

The people's derision toward Oyasama grew more and more intense. On the other hand, quite a number of poor people from the surrounding country came to Her house, yearning to bask in Her mercy. Oyasama said:

Whoever comes to this house shall never leave without being filled with joy. To Me, the Parent, all human beings in the world are My children.

Out of Her intense love for Her children, She went on giving to the needy ever more generously, until at last every storehouse on Her premises was completely emptied.

After giving away all Her household goods, one day God demanded of Zenbei in one of the Timely Talks:

Dismantle the mansion.

This was too excessive for Zenbei and he did not readily consent to the demand. Strangely enough, Oyasama was taken ill soon after that and was confined to bed for twenty days, rejecting all food. Zenbei called his relatives together at his house and, after having talked over the matter with them, sought the intention of God the Parent. God responded:

Start this very day taking down the roof tiles at the southeast corner of the house.

Having no choice, Hansaburo Maegawa and a servant named Uhei began to remove the roof tiles. Immediately, Oyasama recovered from Her illness.

However, fifteen or sixteen days after that, She was again stricken with an illness, this time losing Her voice, hearing, and eyesight, all at the same time. Zenbei called his relatives together to talk over the matter with them. After that he sought the intention of God the Parent. This time, God the Parent said:

Take down the tiles at the northeast corner of the house.

The relatives, dismayed at this direction, flatly refused to obey it, saying unanimously: "A god is not a being that would cause people hardship. But you dare to demand something that we could never persuade ourselves to do. So, we must request that you retire immediately." Thereupon, the suffering of Oyasama took a sudden turn for the worse and, in spite of all their efforts to nurse Her back to health, Her condition became more and more serious. Still grumbling at its absurdity, the relatives had no choice but to obey the wishes of God. Instantly, the suffering of Oyasama disappeared.

In any age, it is a matter of great difficulty for a family to sell its dwelling, but much more so in those days, when to honor things transmitted from father to son was deemed the most important of all filial duties. For Zenbei, therefore, who was one of the great landowners in the village and who also held the position of village headman, it was simply disquieting that anyone, even God the Parent, should order him to pull down the mansion handed down to him by his forefathers.

In the village, there was much talk about the matter, mainly to the effect that it had been heard that a god had descended at the Nakayama house and was insisting on having the mansion dismantled—a most strange story quite beyond their comprehension. Zenbei's relatives and friends, who had heard such rumors, went to his home one after the other with heavy hearts and tried again and again to reason with him. They minced no words in their vehement remonstration, telling him that if he said, after dismantling the mansion, that he had done it because he had been ordered to do so by a woman whom he had taken into the family as his wife, not only would he be at a loss as to what to say to his ancestors, but also he was sure to fall in stature in the public estimation. Some of them even carried the matter further, telling him that they would break all ties with him if he did not refrain from doing such a thing.

Days, months, and years wore on in this way. No one would lend an ear to the teachings of God the Parent. It was as if people’s minds were solid ice. As a result, the work of saving all humankind could make only the slowest progress.

One day, God the Parent suddenly gave Zenbei another order:

Tomorrow pull down the gable walls.

Zenbei's relatives and friends objected strongly to this order, calling it "outrageous." But since their objections were unacceptable to God the Parent, Zenbei was caught between the two sides. His position became so difficult that one could not help but sympathize with him. He knew that if he obeyed God the Parent, the kind regard of his relatives and friends would be brought to naught, while if he disobeyed God, he would be faced with the imminent danger of Oyasama falling ill. Since he could not bear to see Her suffer again, he decided at last to yield to the impatience of God. Thus, the gable walls were finally pulled down. After that, all his relatives and friends stopped associating with him, while the villagers never met without uttering abusive words, such as: "Has she gone mad at last?" "No, she is said to be possessed by a fox." "Ah! but this man Zenbei, what a weak character he is!" There were even some who, in spite of having received many favors from the Nakayamas and habitually presumed on Oyasama's charity, now joined the others in abusing them, simply to swim with the general current, until at last, they kept away from their former benefactors completely.

Aside from such gossip, the thought of his children's future as well as that of his responsibility toward his forefathers as head of the family kept Zenbei sleepless night after night, although he had pulled down the gable walls with resolve. Thus, one night after many days of painful deliberation, he stood by Oyasama's pillow and, holding a drawn sword over Her, said in tears: "We are mocked and laughed at by the world. Even our relatives and friends have forsaken us. What shall we do?" Then he exclaimed in agony: "If it be an evil spirit, away with it! But if madness, let your senses be restored!" Oyasama, awakened by Zenbei's alarming behavior, asked him:

Dear, what are you doing?

To this, Zenbei replied, "It is all too frightening."

On another occasion, he dressed himself in white and had Oyasama dress likewise. And in the presence of Her brothers, whom he had called from their home, he sat face to face with Oyasama before the Buddhist altar. He chanted prayers to the Buddha and, holding a sword close to his side, severely demanded the immediate withdrawal of the evil spirit, if indeed it were one. At this time, there were words from God the Parent, earnestly explaining the origin of this world and the future to the most remote of times so that people could be convinced that these words came not from a "fox" or "raccoon" but truly from God the Parent. Zenbei persuaded himself of the truth of the words of God for the present, since the divine intention was not altogether incomprehensible to him and, besides, he remembered the initial promise he had made to God. But the Nakayama family was indeed placed in a very serious situation.

Oyasama, as the Shrine of Tsukihi, hastened to make the intention of God known through the Timely Talks. At the same time, as the Parent of the Divine Model, endowed with human form, She showed us the path to surmount the difficulties in the course of life, by walking it Herself.

Oyasama attempted to drown Herself many times, now in a well, now in the pond of the village shrine. But each time, Her legs would grow stiff at the last moment, and She could not take a single step.

Be not rash! Be not rash!

The voice of God the Parent being audible within Her, She could never go through with it.

Wherever you may be, Tsukihi clearly sees your innermost heart.

If your innermost heart accords with the mind of Tsukihi, I shall exert Myself in your favor forever.

Ofudesaki 13:98–99

That is to say, if one's heart is in accord with that of God the Parent, one will be protected by the free and unlimited workings of God, even when one is hanging between life and death.

For several years after 1848, when Oyasama was fifty-one, She acted as a sewing teacher, according to the will of God:

Teach young girls sewing.

It was the intention of God to have Her prove that She was neither possessed by an evil spirit nor bereft of reason.

About that time, Shuji opened a private school in his house and taught reading and writing to some of the youngsters of the village.

Also about that time, Okoyo, the elder sister of Chusaku Tsuji of Toyoda Village, was a sewing pupil of Oyasama. At Okoyo's suggestion, Chusaku arranged a marriage between Oharu, the third daughter of Oyasama, and Sojiro Kajimoto of Ichinomoto Village. The wedding took place in 1852. <Link to Anecdotes of Oyasama 6>

During these years, in preparation for advancing salvation, Oyasama gave so freely that She even disposed of some of the rice fields.

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External link to Japanese text of Chapter Three

第三章 みちすがら