Life of Oyasama Chapter 3-2

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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 3-2 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 25 to 34 of the print edition. The "notes" below are the footnotes from the print edition.

Note: 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)



Passing of Zenbei

While things went on like this, Zenbei passed away for rebirth on February 22, 1853[1], at the age of sixty-six. The grief for the loss of the mainstay of the family was especially deep when they thought of his uncommonly warm affection, by virtue of which all relations in the family, such as those between husband and wife, and parents and children, had been so perfectly harmonious. Oyasama was then fifty-six, Shuji thirty-three, Omasa twenty-nine, and Kokan seventeen.

Sprinkling the fragrance

In that same year, despite the fact that the family was in mourning for Zenbei, Oyasama, directed by God the Parent, sent Kokan, accompanied by Matakichi of Ossaka Village and two others, to the city of Naniwa, now Osaka, on a mission to spread the name of God the Parent. Thus, the divinely determined moment for launching the spread of the teachings, which marked the starting point for the work of saving humankind, coincided with a sad event in Kokan's life—the passing away for rebirth of her father.

Early that day, Kokan and her party started out from Shoyashiki Village for Naniwa. The party advanced westward and, passing through Tatsuta Village and crossing the Jusan Pass, entered Kawachi Province. They continued westward across Kawachi Province and, within the day, arrived at Dotonbori in Naniwa, where they took their lodgings.

The next morning, Kokan stood at a nearby street corner, amid the hustle and bustle in the center of the large city.

Namu, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto! Namu, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto!

She repeatedly chanted the name of God the Parent in her fresh and clear voice, to the accompaniment of wooden clappers. People gathered around her with curiosity, and some of them were said to have felt an unexplainable yet refreshing brightness and warm yearning well up in their hearts, even though they did not recognize that it was the name of their true Parent being invoked. In this way, Kokan stood at one busy street corner after another, chanting:

Namu, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto! Namu, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto!

By her fresh and youthful voice and the most clear sound of the wooden clappers, many people were so impressed that they felt their hearts grow brighter and more peaceful.

About that time, Oyasama's eldest daughter, Omasa, was married to Jisuke Fukui of Toyoda Village.

Also about that time, a buyer for the Nakayamas' main house, for whom Oyasama had been looking, was found. The house was finally to be sold. When the time came to dismantle it, Oyasama said to the laborers:

Now I shall begin to build a new world. Celebrate the occasion with Me!

Then, with lighthearted briskness, She served them sake and a little food. The laborers were both surprised and delighted, saying to one another that they had never experienced such gaiety at the dismantling of a house.[2]

Test of Safe Childbirth

Prior to this, one day in the seventh month of Her pregnancy at the age of forty-four, there came an order from God the Parent:

You must not go anywhere today.

So She stayed home all day. And when night came, God the Parent said to Her:

The child will come out while everyone is asleep.

So She made all the preparations for it and, while waiting, had a miscarriage, followed by a headache. In spite of that, She got up as soon as day broke and cleansed the soiled linen by Herself. She washed it three times with cold water, then once with hot water, and hung it out to dry on three or four bamboo poles. In no time, the headache was gone as if it had been wiped away.

Thus, Oyasama proved the free and unlimited workings of God by a test on Herself, showing that if one relies on God with one’s whole heart, one need not fear even a miscarriage, though a single misstep might possibly endanger one's life, nor need there be fear of complications after childbirth.

1854: The Beginning of the Grant of Safe Childbirth

In 1854, when Oyasama was fifty-seven years old, Her daughter Oharu returned home for the birth of her first child. At that time, Oyasama said:

Whatever I intend to do, I shall test it first in My own family.

So saying, She breathed three times upon the belly of Her daughter and stroked it as many times. This marked the beginning of the Grant of Safe Childbirth.

On the very day of Oharu's delivery, November 5, 1854[3], there occurred a severe earthquake which brought down more than four square yards of the backwall of her lying-in chamber. Oharu, nevertheless, remained calm and delivered a boy so easily that people were convinced that a woman had nothing to fear about childbirth, if only she had received the Grant of Safe Childbirth, and that it was indeed a great blessing to all women. Oharu was then twenty-four years old, and the child who was born as her eldest son was named Kamezo.

The following day, Yuki, who was the wife of a villager named Sosuke Shimizu, visited the Residence. Seeing Oharu already up and working energetically, she was deeply struck with the wonders of God's blessing. She asked Oyasama if she, too, would be granted such protection, should she request it. To this, Oyasama replied:

The same with every woman.

Before long, when Yuki conceived, she came back to ask for the Grant of Safe Childbirth. Oyasama did for her just as She had done for Oharu, blowing upon her belly and stroking it three times. Then Oyasama said:

You must forget all human concern. Rely on God the Parent and have a delivery free from worry.

But Yuki, in spite of having received the Grant of Safe Childbirth, could not rely completely on Her words. Instead, after giving birth, she followed the traditional customs such as the taboo on certain foods and the practice of leaning against something, with the result that she was confined to her bed with fever for about thirty days. When Oyasama was consulted at Yuki’s request, She said:

It is because she harbored doubts.

Yuki perceived the exact truth of this response the moment she heard it and, deeply impressed by it, repented from the bottom of her heart.

Oyasama took charge of the newborn child while Yuki was confined to her bed and, before long, Yuki was completely restored to health.

The next year, when Yuki conceived again, she received the Grant of Safe Childbirth, solemnly swearing that she would never doubt again. Since she kept relying on God wholeheartedly, abiding well by Oyasama's instructions this time, she was blessed with an unusually easy delivery, and her recovery was smooth.

Now the news spread among the villagers, who had already known the course of the matter from the first, and further, to the people of neighboring villages, with the result that people at large became aware for the first time that Oyasama was not an ordinary human being, though they did not yet realize that She was the Shrine of God the Parent.

About 1855, Oyasama mortgaged all the rice fields remaining in Her family, nearly seven and a half acres, to Jusuke Adachi of the same village.

In those days, according to the wishes of God the Parent, all the members of the family always wore cotton montsuki, crested formal garments, even when they went out to the fields. As a result, people in the neighboring villages called them by the nickname "Montsuki-san of Shoyashiki Village." In particular, the sight of Shuji walking around the countryside, selling vegetables and firewood, attracted people's attention and endeared him to the villagers, who called him "Montsuki-san, Montsuki-san."

Oyasama's course of life for about a decade after the age of fifty-six was ever so seriously troublesome. Shuji, in the prime of life, and Kokan, in the bloom of youth, had spent not a single day worth mentioning for their own pleasure. Both of them, however, accepted these hardships without complaint, obeying Oyasama's wishes wholeheartedly.

Kokan emotionally recalled the following scene after years had passed: "Once on an autumn festival day, I found myself all alone, wistfully looking at the festival procession pass, while village girls were promenading about the village in their finest clothes.

Oyasama, even when She was over sixty, amid the ever worsening hardships and privations, applied Herself to sewing and spinning and often sat up all night at work, making the best of the intervals between Her activities devoted to saving others.

On nights when there was a bright moon, She would spin yarn all night by the light of the moon with Her children, Shuji and Kokan, saying:

The moon is shining so brightly for us.

When She was helped by Her children, sometimes the output of yarn amounted to more than four pounds a day, nearly twice that of others, which was about a third of a pound per day per person, or five-sixths of a pound with night work. On those days, She said: "Have we done so much today, indeed?" In the summer, they were tormented by great swarms of thicket mosquitoes, and in the winter, they warmed themselves by a small fire built from twigs and leaves. But hot or cold, they made it a rule to work far into the night.[4]

One day, when Kokan informed Oyasama that there was no rice left in the house, Oyasama said to her:

In this world there are those who are suffering, unable to eat or even to swallow water despite food piled high at their bedsides. If we think of them, how blessed we are, for when we drink water, it tastes of water. God the Parent has blessed us with exquisite gifts.

Another time, Oyasama encouraged Her children, saying:

However wretched you may be, never say you are wretched, for I shall never make beggars of you.

At this, the children's spirits, which had been on the verge of faltering, were raised, and they continued to follow Her.

Even while She was in such strained circumstances, Oyasama used to give food and the clothes She had on to the needy. For instance, She gave a person who begged for food at Her gate the rice, almost two pounds, She had acquired with difficulty, without any feeling of regret. It was also during those years that She took the short-sleeve coat off Her back and gave it to a person whom She had chanced to see shivering from the cold.

You who are devoting yourselves day after day, settle the heart. Then a promising future will be yours.

Ofudesaki 2:28

Do not complain about your present situation. A broad path will appear ahead of you.

Do not grieve over whatever path you are now on. Take delight in the main path that lies ahead.

Ofudesaki 3:36–37

After Oyasama had passed through great hardships in this way for several more years, one day, for the first time, a person came to Her to make an offering, one and a half pounds of rice, as a token of thanks to God the Parent. Before long, women appeared one after another to be blessed with the marvelous protection of the Grant of Safe Childbirth with which She had already opened the path. Hence the news spread by word of mouth in all directions: "It is said that a goddess of safe childbirth lives in Shoyashiki Village," or "She is said to be a living goddess." This news in turn brought more and more women to Her to be favored with this wonderful blessing—women who felt uneasy facing their first delivery, women who were suffering from postnatal complications, and women whose past experiences of difficult delivery had weighed heavily upon their minds. Oyasama not only received these women at Her house but, when asked for help in serious cases, always went to their homes cheerfully.

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  1. March 31, 1853, by the Gregorian calendar.
  2. "To begin this path, we dismantled the house. Think of the day we celebrated the occasion, serving people sake and a little food, saying, "How joyous! How joyous!" Indeed, it is an unusual story, an unusual story. Sah, sah, from such a situation we started and have come to this day, have come to the present situation. In the world, there is such a case that a millionaire suddenly becomes poor and a person from the lowest position becomes great. This path has grown up to the present from the dismantling of the house. You must understand this" (Osashizu 1900-10-31).
  3. December 24, 1854, by the Gregorian calendar.
  4. "In teaching you this path, I gave you delight in the future. I have brought you through a long journey. We had nothing to burn to warm ourselves in the cold of winter for thirty years. We lived through those years gathering withered branches from here and fallen leaves from there. There is not a lie in what God said. Sah, sah, people will gather from here and from there" (Osashizu 1896-03-31).

External link to Japanese text of Chapter Three

第三章 みちすがら