Ofudesaki 05:056–7

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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 05:056–7 is a set of verses from the Ofudesaki. The English translation below is the sixth edition translation.


Today, though nothing is seen, look forward to the eight month. kyō no hi wa nani ga mieru yanai keredo けふの日ハ なにがみへるや ないけれど
Then everything will be seen. hachigatsu o miyo mina mieru dena 八月をみよ みなみへるでな
Perhaps you cannot foresee what is going to appear. mieru no mo nani no koto yara shiremai na みへるのも なにの事やら しれまいな
From the high mountains a broad path will open. takai yama kara ōkan no michi 高い山から をふくハんのみち

Alternate English translations

Third Edition

Though nothing is visible today, look forward to the eight month! Then everything shall appear.

Perhaps you cannot foresee what is going to appear. From the high mountains a broad way shall be opened.


Today, nothing particular is visible to your eyes. But look forward to August; everything will appear.

You cannot foresee what will appear. From the high mountain, a broad path will be opened.


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

5:56, 57 *Note: In the tenth lunar month of 1874, Oyasama ordered Ichibei Matsuo and Gisaburo Nakata to question the priests at Oyamato Shrine about the identity and protections provided by their deity. At that time a number of priests from renowned shrines from the prefecture happened to be assembled. A priest named Hara from Oyamato Shrine then in a domineering tone demanded: “The identity of our deity? No one has ever asked such a thing! Who would ask such a foolish question? It must that old woman from Shoyashiki. Indeed it is absurd! Do you have anything to prove what you say?”

Matsuo then handed him a copy of the scripture (kyogisho) [1] and answered, “In Shoyashiki, Oyagami’s protections are taught to us like this.” The priest was unable to respond to this, and finally resorted to verbally abusing them.

The assembled priests then as follows: “To assume the name of a god not found anywhere in the ancient chronicles is inexcusable and liable to censure. The Isonokami Shrine itself is not exempt from censure, for it has allowed its own parishioners to advocate such a heresy due to its inadequate supervision. You ought to receive an appropriate investigation from Isonokami Shrine. At any rate, I give you fair warning that you shall be investigated soon.” As a result, five priests from Isonokami Shrine arrived to debate with Oyasama but She made them shrink back at Her eloquent responses. They then left to make a complaint with Tanbaichi Police Station. Due to this complaint, police officers came to the Residence and confiscated bamboo screens, silk cuttings, mirror, and other things from the Place for the Service and put them in the custody of the village head. Thus, this led to Oyasama being summoned to Yamamura Palace on the 15th of the 11th lunar month (11/15) of 1874 where Nakata, Chusaku Tsuji, and Jubei Ohigashi of Hata Village, and others accompanied Her. The line “From the high mountains, a broad path will open” refers to these aforementioned events and Oyasama’s efforts to sprinkle the fragrance to the authorities, that is, the high mountains.

『おふでさき註釈』、p. 80–1

五六、五七、註 明治七年陰暦十月、松尾市兵衞、仲田儀右衞門の両名は、おやさまの命を受けて、大和神社の神職につき、天神地ぎの御姿並びに御守護を聞きに行った。時あたかも県下官弊大社神職多数集合中であったが、大和神社の原某なる者、「神の姿などは、かつて聞いた事はない。そんな愚説は、庄屋敷の婆さんが言うのだろう。怪しからん話だ。何か証拠になるべきものがあるか。」と、威丈高に詰問したので、松尾は『庄屋敷では親神の守護はかくの如く説くのである。』と教義書を出して弁ばくした。某は、返す言葉もなく、遂には、ばり雑言するのみだった。





Commentary by Yoshitaro Ueda (2009)

From Michi no dai: Foundation of the Path 35:57–8


The inscription on the cover of Part V of the Ofudesaki says that this part began to be written in May 1874. The year 1874 saw a number of important events in the history of the path. Verse 56 might be seen as predicting the hardships that would befall Oyasama soon. It is worth noting, however, that the tone of the verse is not one of gloom. The verse is saying: “Regarding what can be seen today, it is not as if anything is seen clearly now. Yet everything will become clear, come August.” We do not know exactly what happened in August historically, but in the autumn of that year Oyasama instructed two of Her disciples, Nakata and Matsuo, to visit the Oyamato Shrine to ask the priests about the shrine’s deity. This is explained in some detail in Ofudesaki chushaku. The Oyamato Shrine was then designated as an imperial shrine of the first rank, indicating its high prestige. It is even said that Japan’s famous World War II battleship called Yamato had a “bunrei,” or a portion of the divine spirit, of the Oyamato Shrine. We should note that Oyasama instigated this dialogue during the years of the haibutsu-kishaku movement, which was designed to promote Shinto as the state religion by suppressing other religions such as Buddhism. We feel a bracing sense of challenge and courage from the way Oyasama is totally undaunted by the authorities.


As a result of the two followers’ dialogue with the priests at the Oyamato Shrine, Oyasama was summoned by the Nara Prefectural Office to appear at the Yamamura Palace. This marked the beginning of a period when Oyasama was to be subjected to the hardships of arrest and imprisonment on well over a dozen occasions. This verse, however, has nothing to suggest a sense of gloom that one might associate with predicting the hardships She was to endure. Instead, the verse says, “From the high mountains,” referring to people in positions of authority, “a broad path will open”–which is to say, a path of hope, a wide path used by many people, will come into sight, the foundation of this broad path being the Service.

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  1. According to The Life of Oyasama this “copy of the scripture” was a copy of Part 3 and 4 of the Ofudesaki. See pp. 86–91.