Life of Oyasama Chapter 5

From Tenrikyo Resource Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
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 5 presents the contents of Chapter Five of The Life of Oyasama as published by Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. The title of the chapter is "The Salvation Service." The content below is equivalent to pages 55 to 76 of the print edition. The “Note” below is a footnote from the print edition.

Although the Mikagura-uta appears in its entirety in the print edition of this chapter, the content of the Teodori (i.e., the Eight Verses of Yorozuyo and Twelve Songs) will be provided via internal links.


The Significance of the Service

In accord with the will of God the Parent to have all human beings lead the Joyous Life, Oyasama taught the Salvation Service from 1866 to 1882 as the path to universal salvation. During this period, She expounded the Truth of Origin and arranged every detail of the Salvation Service, according to the stages of the children's spiritual growth.

In the beginning, God the Parent created human beings out of the desire to see the Joyous Life of humankind and thus share in that joy. The Joyous Life is the life that truly meets the wishes of God the Parent. We human beings were given free use of the mind by God in order that we might enjoy living the Joyous Life. Through the misuse of this freedom, however, we have strayed into a state of self-centered thinking.

God the Parent pitied us in this sad plight. Taking Oyasama as the Shrine, God appeared in this world at the advent of the promised time and taught the Salvation Service as the way to purify the minds of all humankind and thus lead us to the Joyous Life. The Service is divided into two parts: the Kagura, the Service with the Masks; and the Teodori, the Dance with Hand Movements.

The Kagura

The Kagura Service is performed only at the Jiba of Origin. The ten Service performers take positions around the Kanrodai, the Stand for the Heavenly Dew, each performer representing one of the aspects of God the Parent’s providence at the time of creation. Wearing masks and expressing the providence in the movements of their hands, they reenact the workings of God in the creation. When they perform the Service in harmony with the song and instruments and in unison with one another, becoming one with the truth of the Parent, the Origin, then the providence of God the Parent manifested at the time of creation will reappear vividly. Then human beings will be saved from any diseases and troubles, and this world will gradually be reconstructed into the world of the Joyous Life.

The songs for the Kagura are the following:

Sweeping away evils, please save us,

Just a word: Listen to what God says.
I never tell you anything wrong.
Representing heaven and earth
I have created husband and wife.
This is the beginning of the world.

Sweeping away evils, hasten to save us.
All humankind equally purified,
The Kanrodai.

The Teodori

The Teodori, a vivid representation of the Joyous Life, may be performed at any place in the same manner as it is performed at the Jiba, where the Kanrodai stands. The Teodori is indeed a natural manifestation of a world full of joy. The songs which were taught to accompany the Teodori are the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo and the Twelve Songs.

Since the Service is performed with kagura masks, it is called the Kagura Service, and since it leads to the realization of universal salvation, it is called the Salvation Service. Since it is performed with the Kanrodai as center, it is called the Service of the Kanrodai. Also, since it is performed in praise of the Joyous Life, it is called the Joyous Service. By teaching the meaning of the Service through the use of these names, Oyasama taught the profound truths inherent in the Service in a way that was easy to understand and to learn.

The book of the Songs for the Service consists of the songs for the Kagura and those for the Teodori. This book is the Mikagura-uta.

The Beginning of "Ashiki Harai"

Oyasama began to compose the Songs for the Service in 1866. In the autumn of that year, She taught:

Ashiki harai, tasuke-tamae, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto.
[Sweep away evils and save us, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto.]

She also taught the melody and the hand movements to accompany it.

In May of the same year, Ichibei Matsuo of Wakai Village in Yamato Province began to follow the path.


The next year, 1867, Oyasama became seventy years old. Between January and August of that year, She composed the Twelve Songs. Each song is in the form of a counting song consisting of ten verses and is filled with the happiness of the Joyous Life so wished for by God the Parent. The year 1867 was the thirtieth year after Oyasama had become the Shrine of Tsukihi. She greeted the New Year happily, after having passed through many long years of hardship spiritedly since the beginning of the teachings, in compliance with the intention of God, without having even a single peaceful day.

Further, in 1870, She added the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo to the beginning of the Twelve Songs.

Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo
Song One
Song Two
Song Three
Song Four
Song Five
Song Six
Song Seven
Song Eight
Song Nine
Song Ten
Song Eleven
Song Twelve

Then, for the next three full years following 1867, Oyasama devoted Her time to adapting melodies and dance movements to the songs and teaching them. <Links to Anecdotes of Oyasama 18 and 19> She said:

These are the songs of truth. So you must dance to the truth. You should not just dance. You must dance the truth.

Further, She gave instruction in the truth of the performance of the Service:

Hands that are limp in the performance of the Service betray a mind that is undisciplined. Also, it will not do to make even a single mistake in the manner of moving your hands. Through this Service, one's life can be renewed. So important is this Service.

The first persons who learned the songs were Chusaku of Toyoda Village and Koemon and Kisaburo of Senzai Village. The first persons who learned the dance movements were Saemon and Chusaku of Toyoda Village, Kisaburo and Zensuke of Senzai Village, and Ka’ichiro of Mishima Village.

Reflecting on Her past in later years, Oyasama said:

I had been reserved since My childhood, and it had always been difficult for Me to bring Myself to appear before company, but after I passed seventy I came to rise and dance in company.

In those days, Shoyashiki Village belonged to the Todo clan, whose fief in Yamato Province was administered by the Furuichi Magistrate’s Office on the southern outskirts of Nara. The monks of the Fudoin Temple had made complaints to the office, while Moriya Chikuzen-no-kami had made favorable recommendations. In the meantime, rumors about the “living goddess of Shoyashiki Village” had become increasingly vociferous. As a result, about 1866, the magistrate’s office summoned a party from the Residence to question them about the actual state of affairs.

The party from the Residence stayed two or three days at an inn allotted for their lodging. But after a series of hearings about the state of affairs, the authorities found nothing improper in their activities, except for the fact that they had not obtained official authorization. The party consulted the authorities about the steps to be taken to obtain authorization. They were advised to apply to the Yoshida Administrative Office of Shinto.

Authorization from the Yoshida Administrative Office of Shinto

In June 1867, they applied to the Furuichi Magistrate’s Office for a letter of introduction to the Yoshida Administrative Office[1] and obtained it.

With this letter, Shuji went to Kyoto, attended by Ryojiro Yamazawa and accompanied by Moriya Chikuzen-no-kami himself, and applied to the Yoshida Administrative Office for permission to establish a religious organization. It took them seven days to receive authorization, which was granted on July 23, 1867.

One can imagine how great their joy was when they finally received the sanction of the authorities. They thought it would certainly serve as a springboard to further the spread of the teachings of God the Parent. Above all, Shuji’s delight was indescribably great in proportion to the pains he had taken in obtaining the authorization.

At first, Shuji thought of forming a procession on the way home. But he received information that the priests of the Furu Shrine had dispatched some hired men to lie in ambush for Shuji's party at the gateway to the shrine in Kawarajo Village, declaring that they would show no mercy should Shuji and his party trespass one step on the Furu Road, as it was the direct approach to their shrine. So Shuji gave up his plan and, taking a bypath from Bessho Village to Toyoda Village, managed to return safely to the Residence.

At the Residence, the practice of the hand movements for the Service went on day and night, and the followers’ hearts grew remarkably brighter. But Oyasama said:

True, the Yoshida clan is apparently great. But in fact it is no more than one of the branches of a tree. The time will come when it will wither.

About August of 1867, the public raised a clamor that talismans were falling. Then Oyasama said:

To compare it to the human body, it is like vomit and diarrhea. When vomit and diarrhea become excessive, the flesh itself will be drained. God is concerned.

People were in suspense, wondering what possibly could happen. Then, on January 3, 1868, the Battle of Toba-Fushimi broke out.


On March 7 of the same year, Oyasama proceeded to the house of Chushichi Yamanaka in Mamekoshi Village and stayed there until the 10th of the same month. Kokan also went there, staying from the 9th to the 13th.

The Residence in those days was full of life with the practice of the hand movements for the Service. But this does not mean that the opposition to and attacks against Oyasama and Her followers had ceased completely. For instance, on the night of March 28, 1868, a large group of villagers broke into the Residence during a practice of the hand movements for the Service and ran riot.

In September of 1868, the new era of Meiji was inaugurated.

In December of the same year, Jirokichi Yaoi (later re-surnamed Kita) of Izushichijo Village began to follow the path.

The Service of the Kanrodai

In the year 1870, Oyasama taught the followers the song that begins with "Choto hanashi" (Just a word) and its hand movements, and later, in 1875, She taught the song that contains the line "Ichiretsu sumasu Kanrodai" (The Kanrodai which purifies all humankind equally) and its hand movements, thus completing the hand movements for the Service of the Kanrodai. Following this, Oyasama also taught the hand movements for the eleven different Services of Fertilizer, Germination, and the others.

In 1882, Oyasama altered the phrase "Ichiretsu sumasu" (Purifies all humankind equally) to "Ichiretsu sumashite" (All human equally purified), without altering the original hand movements. In conjunction with this, the wording "Ashiki harai" (Sweep away evils) was altered to "Ashiki o harote" (Sweeping away evils).

To next chapter

To start of previous chapter


  1. See Appendix, pp. 75–76.


A copy of the document which was presented to the Furuichi Magistrate's Office.

"Most Respectful Verbal Petition" Petitioner: Zenyemon, Shoyashiki Village

Formerly I was a farmer. When I suffered from rheumatism in my leg in my boyhood more than thirty years ago, when my father Zenbei was living, we enshrined Tenrin-O-shin in our residence and have been offering worship (parts omitted). However, this belief became known in every direction, and recently worshipers come from various areas one after another. So in case objection should be made by Shinto authorities, I fear we should have much trouble and difficulty. I wish, therefore, to become a disciple of the Rev. Yoshida in Kyoto at this time. I humbly beg you to understand my apprehension, and write a letter of introduction to the Rev. Yoshida with warm compassion. I should be most grateful to you if you would accept my application.
June 1867
Shoyashiki Village
Petitioner Zenbei
Village Senior Shosaku
Village Senior Heiemon
Village Head Jusuke
To Mr. Shozaemon Hattori
Note: At the end of the document, the petitioner is recorded as "Zenbei," but this is probably a scribe's error. It should read "Zenyemon."

External link to Japanese text of Chapter Five

第五章 たすけづとめ