Ofudesaki 01:047–9

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Ofudesaki (English).jpg
Author: Miki Nakayama
Date Published: 1998
Pages: 486 (English ed.)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16
Part 17
unnumbered set

Ofudesaki 01:047–9 is a set of verses from the Ofudesaki. These verses happen to be sung to a melody in O-Uta No. 1 (Tenrikyo Hymn No. 1), “Yamasaka ya” (Over Steep Mountains).

The English translation below is the sixth edition translation.


Over steep mountains, through tangles of thorns, along narrow ledges, yama saka ya ibara gurō mo gake michi mo やまさかや いばらぐろじも がけみちも
and through brandished swords, if you come, tsugugi no naka motōri nuke ta ra つるぎのなかも とふりぬけたら
Yet ahead through a sea of flames and a deep abyss, mada mieru hi no naka mo ari fuchi naka mo まだみへる ひのなかもあり ふちなかも
you will arrive at a narrow path. sore o koshitara hosoi michi ari それをこしたら ほそいみちあり
After following the narrow path step by step, you will come to a broad path. hoso michi o dandan kose ba ōmichi ya ほそみちを だん/\こせば をふみちや
This is the trustworthy main path. kore ga tashika na honmichi de aru これがたしかな ほんみちである

Alternate English translations

Third Edition

Passing over steep mountains and thorny paths, along ledges, and through the blades of swords,

Further, passing through a sea of flame and a deep abyss, you will come to a narrow lane.

After passing through the narrow lane step by step, you will come to a broad way. This is the trustworthy main road.


When you have passed over hills and mountains, through thorny shrubs, along narrow ledges, and under the blades of swords,

A sea of flames and a deep abyss will come into view. Crossing these, you will come to a narrow lane.

As you go along the narrow lane, step by step, you will come upon a broad path. This is certainly the true way.


Ofudesaki chushaku

This section contains translated material that has not yet been subjected to peer-review to check for accuracy and clarity. While the translator(s) have given their best effort to render Japanese text into English, we would like readers to keep in mind that the present translation may require further revising and refining. Any input to improve the present translation is greatly welcomed.

Translator(s): Roy Forbes

1:47 If you pass over steep mountains, as well as places overgrown with thorns, roads along cliffs and through [drawn] swords…

*Note: Unusual Japanese expression—gurō (“tangles of”) refers to a thicket or bush.

1:48 Yet further still ahead are flames and an abyss. If you gradually pass over these you will come to a narrow path for the first time.

*Note: Unusual Japanese expression—fuchi (“deep abyss”) refers to a chasm filled with water.

1:49 If you gradually proceed on this narrow path, you will finally come to a wide path. Once you have come to this broad path after making it through all kinds of difficulties, you will come to a reliable and infallible large path.

1:47–9 *General summary These three verses that utilize the metaphor of a path show us the course of the path that people must follow. We must awaken that these verses are telling us that if we endure such trials and tribulations and forge ahead, battling hardship to the end, we shall surely come to a magnificent path.

『おふでさき註釈』、pp. 12–3


註 ぐろふは、むらがり(叢)の意味。


註 ふちとは、青々と水をたたえた深淵をいう。


四七―四九、総註 以上三首は、道路にたとえて人々の通る可き道の次第を示されたもので、これだけの試練に堪えて、最後まで困苦と戦うて行くならば、必ず立派な道に出られるものである事を、よく悟らして頂かねばならない。

Commentary by Yoshitaro Ueda (2008)

Yoshitaro, 1:47

From Michi no dai: Foundation of the Path 32:42

We are following a footpath that goes up steep mountains, through tangles of thorns, along narrow ledges, and through brandished swords. After we go through all that, then what?

Yoshitaro, 1:48

We have to go “through a sea of flames and [then] a deep abyss,” where if we are careless we might drown. If we manage to go through that, we will “arrive at a narrow path.”

Yoshitaro, 1:49

From Michi no dai: Foundation of the Path 32:42–3

If we follow this narrow path step by step, then we will reach a broad path. This is “the trustworthy main path.” A verse that provides a start contrast with this verse is found in Part 3: “However broad a path you may have set out on, you do not see the narrow path that is in your future” (3:34). The metaphor of a path is used again and again in the rest of the Ofudesaki.

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