Place for the Service
Place for the Service (Tsutome (no) basho つとめ（の）場所) refers to Tenrikyo’s first sanctuary, built not long after the formation of a small following devoted to Oyasama’s teachings. Built on the premises of the Residence in 1864, it served as Tenrikyo’s Main Sanctuary until 1911 when it was moved to make room for the Taisho Construction, or the construction of the present North Worship Hall. It has since been relocated north of the Foundress’ Sanctuary and is preserved as one of Tenrikyo’s historical buildings.
- See also Life of Oyasama Chapter 4-1
Construction of the Tsutome-basho began not long after Sato Iburi was saved from post-miscarriage complications. Her husband Izo communicated a wish to build an altar shrine as an expression of his appreciation for Sato’s recovery but Oyasama told him to build a structure measuring one tsubo square that was not to be used for human habitation. It has been surmised that this spot symbolized the place where Izanami-no-Mikoto stayed for three years and three nights after the first conception described in the Story of Creation/Truth of Origin.
However, Oyasama also noted that followers were free to increase the size of this proposed structure as they wished, and after some discussion, agreed to build a building 21 ft. by 36 ft. in size.
Construction and dispersal of the forming congregation
- See also Oyamato Shrine incident
On lunar 10/26/1864, the raising of the beam of the Tsutome-basho took place. The celebration continued into the night. As followers celebrated with sake running out, Chushichi Yamanaka invited a number of followers to his home in to continue the celebration the next day. When followers asked for Oyasama’s permission to go, she readily consented, adding “Be sure to pay your respects at the shrine when you pass it on your way.”
The entourage ended up passing in front of the prestigious Oyamato Shrine and proceeded to pay their respects by loudly banging on a drum they carried, chanting “Namu Tenri-O-no-Mikoto” in front of the shrine torii. The followers happened to be interrupting a special seven-day prayer and were immediately detained for the next three days and fined. As a result of this incident, the majority of those involved dropped out of participating in the faith altogether.
The diligence Izo demonstrated toward completing the construction of the Tsutome-basho after this unexpected setback is a common theme in Tenrikyo sermons and is also alluded to in passages of the Osashizu.
Appearances of “Tsutome (no) basho” in Scripture
The phrase “Tsutome (no) basho” appears five times in the Scriptures. It is said that the term, in addition to referring to the building Izo Iburi helped build, also refers to the place where the Service is performed, and in particular, especially in the case of Ofudesaki 8:36, the Jiba itself.
- Song Three, verses 1 and 2
- Ofudesaki 8:36
- Osashizu 1892-12-24
- Osashizu 1898-07-14 night