Life of Oyasama Chapter 4-1

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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 4-1 presents the contents of Chapter Four of The Life of Oyasama as published by Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. The title of the chapter is "The Place for the Service." The content below is equivalent to pages 42 to 49 of the print edition. The "Notes" below come from the footnotes of the print edition.

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

  1. Life of Oyasama Chapter 4-1 (1864)
  2. Life of Oyasama Chapter 4-2 (1865–1866)



On June 25, 1864, Izo Iburi and his wife, Osato, visited the Residence together for the first time to offer their thanks for Osato’s recovery. On that occasion, the idea of building a shrine for God the Parent came to Izo when his wife expressed her desire to make some offering to God as a token of her gratitude for having been saved.

On July 26, Izo and Osato returned to the Residence again, at which time they were each granted the Sazuke of the Fan and the Sazuke of the Gohei. Izo then conveyed the message to Oyasama through an intermediary that he wished to be allowed to build a shrine for God the Parent as a token of gratitude for his wife’s recovery from her illness. To this, Oyasama replied:

There is no need for a shrine. Start building something small.

When asked how large it should be, She answered:

It is to be one square tsubo.[1] This structure of one square tsubo is not for human habitation.

Then She added:

Additions can be made depending on your minds.

When asked by Shuji where it should be built, She replied:

Pull down the rice granary and the cotton storage, and build it on that site.

Then She added:

Having begun to talk, I shall instruct you until the completion.

Those present talked the matter over and decided to build a structure twenty-one feet by thirty-six feet. Chushichi Yamanaka volunteered to bear the expenses, Izo Iburi offered his labor, while Chusaku Tsuji, Saemon Nakata, and Isaburo Nishida offered to contribute tiles, six mats, and eight mats, respectively. Thus, they agreed upon their respective shares in the effort.

On August 26, those who were especially enthusiastic remained behind after the other worshipers had departed at the end of the Service and volunteered donations totaling five ryo[2] for the expenses of the construction. Izo Iburi went to Saka Village immediately to order lumber from a shop called Daishin, while Gihei of Shoji Village went to a tile dealer in Morimedo Village to order roof tiles, both of them making use of the donations as down payments.

Following this, a number of followers came together to pull down the granary and cotton storage. The leveling of the ground was also done by them, with the result that the ceremony in honor of the first stroke of the carpenter's adz was held on September 13. The premises resounded daily with the spirited sounds of chisels and hammers, till in due course the ridge-beam was laid on the framework.

The placing of the beam was held on October 26, the day that commemorated the day of origin of the teachings. Oyasama had been in high spirits since morning. The ceremony to celebrate the raising of the beam, participated in by many worshipers, progressed smoothly and was completed by evening. After that, food and drink were served in honor of the occasion. It was indeed a simple meal consisting of a dried pike for each and one or two bottles of sake, which had been offered to God, for all to share. It was a meal that was enlivened by heartfelt joy throughout.

When the meal was over, Chushichi Yamanaka asked permission of Oyasama to invite everyone to his home the next day to celebrate the occasion once again. Permission was readily granted by Oyasama.

The next morning, the 27th, Chushichi and the others greeted Oyasama, saying, "We are leaving now for Mamekoshi Village." Oyasama told them:

You may go. Be sure to pay your respects at the shrine when you pass it on your way.

Then they started for their destination in the highest of spirits. The members of the party were Shuji, Izo Iburi, Chushichi Yamanaka, Seizo of Shiba Village, Eitaro, Kyutaro, Kanbei of Onishi Village, Yasaburo, Heishiro, Yanosuke, and two women, Yasu and Kura.

They proceeded southward, passing the villages of Yamaguchi and Otogi on their left. A little farther on, the villages of Sahonosho and Sanmaiden appeared ahead. They passed through these villages and, continuing their walk to the south, soon came in front of the Oyamato Shrine. There, though no one knew who took the initiative, they all agreed to pay their respects at the shrine, since Oyasama had instructed them to do so. They placed the drum that they had brought with them on a four-foot-square stone in front of the shrine and began to beat the drum and wooden clappers with all their might, singing loudly over and over again:

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

The priests in the shrine, hearing these sounds, rushed out to see what was going on. When they saw what these people were doing, they ordered them to stop at once and confiscated the drum.

On that day, an important prayer was being conducted at the shrine—a seven-day prayer offered by Moriya Chikuzen-no-kami, the superintendent of the Shinto priests in the province of Yamato, who had just come back from a stay in Kyoto. "Indeed," thundered the priests, "it is preposterous that you should use such low-class percussion instruments before the historic Oyamato Shrine and loudly call the name of a god that has never been heard of." Then they declared that the offenders would not be allowed to go home but would be detained until an investigation had been completed.

After the investigation, they were found guilty of having disturbed the prayer and were detained for three days. As a result of this, a feeling of horror arose in the hearts of those in the party.

News of the affair spread quickly. It became known not only to the villagers of Shoyashiki and Mamekoshi, but also to the followers in the neighboring villages. At the Residence, Kokan and those who had stayed behind did their best to help resolve the situation. Naturally, they immediately informed the families of the detainees. Then they contacted not only the village officials but also their acquaintances in the villages of Shoyashiki and Ichinomoto to request their aid in freeing the detainees. Ryojiro Yamazawa of Niizumi Village personally negotiated with Moriya Chikuzen-no-kami.

In addition, Jinshichi Kishi of Ichinomoto Village went to the shrine as the proxy of the village head to speak with the Shinto priests. Kishi humbly apologized for them with good grace, since he thought that there would be no alternative.

"We shall pardon them this time, now that you have humbly acknowledged their faults," responded the priests. "But after this, see to it that the likes of them never approach such a place as this again."

"It will never happen again," replied Kishi, who wrote a statement to that effect on the spot. The detainees were then freed.

Among the members who had recently joined the faith, those who felt uneasy due to this incident dropped out of the faith. Therefore, the formation of a fellowship, which had been progressing so well, came to a sudden stop for the time being.

One day, Kokan casually muttered to herself that they should not have gone. Oyasama suddenly assumed a grave look and said:

Do not complain! This will be the basis of a teaching in the future.

The construction of the building had not progressed beyond the raising of the ridge-beam. The roofing, the plastering of the walls, and the laying of the boards for the floor and the panels for the ceiling remained to be done. Shuji, pressed for money with the increase of building expenses and the unexpected expenditure caused by the Oyamato Shrine incident, was even at a loss how to settle his debts at the end of the year. So it was a great relief to Shuji when Izo encouraged him, saying: "Please do not worry about anything. I shall take responsibility for completing the building."

Thus, despite the Oyamato Shrine incident, the construction made good progress.

The roof was tiled but no earth was laid under the tiles for Oyasama had said:

This construction will only be for thirty years.

On December 26, when the last Service of the year had come to an end and Izo was about to leave the Residence for his village of Ichinomoto, Shuji said to him, "We shall be quite helpless after you have gone." Izo replied, "I shall be back soon." Then Shuji said: "Since you have been staying here so long on our behalf, you may have no food or money at home. Here is one hundred pounds of rice which was just brought in by a farmer as payment for night soil. Please take it home with you." Izo took one-third of it and started for home. As soon as he arrived home, his landlord came to press him for payment of his rent, which was overdue. Izo gave him all the rice he had brought home with him. Then he borrowed a sum of one hundred and fifty me[3] from Sojiro Kajimoto to tide him over temporarily.

Izo returned to the Residence the next day, the 27th, and went to the lumber and tile dealers immediately and apologized: "As you may have heard, the troubles at the Oyamato Shrine involved so much expense for us that we are unable to pay you at present. Although we must beg you to wait a little longer, we shall never let you suffer any loss." His request was readily accepted by both dealers due to the blessing of God the Parent and their trust in Izo. When Izo came back to the Residence and reported the result to Shuji and Kokan, they were greatly reassured. "True," they said, consoling Izo, "we cannot dispose of our seven and a half acres of rice fields freely right now since they are mortgaged. But we expect they will be returned to us in the near future, and then the disposal of one-fourth or one-half of an acre will enable us to pay all our debts. We shall not cause you any further worry."

That same year, 1864, in addition to Chushichi Yamanaka and Izo Iburi, such men as Ryojiro Yamazawa, Heiji Ueda, Isaburo Masui, and Kisaburo Maegawa began to follow the path.

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  1. Tsubo is a traditional Japanese unit for measuring ground and floor space. One tsubo is about six feet by six feet.
  2. Five ryo is approximately $877 U.S. as of 1993.
  3. One hundred and fifty me is approximately $237 U.S. as of 1993.

External link to Japanese text of Chapter Four

第四章 つとめ場所