The Proof Amulet (証拠守り shoko mamori ), or simply Amulet (おまもり o-mamori ), consists of a piece of red clothes worn by the everliving Oyasama. It is called the Proof Amulet since it serves as proof that the wearer has returned to Jiba.
“Mamori” literally means “protection,” and by observing Oyasama's teachings, or “protecting the mind” from deviating from these teachings, the Amulet provides protection to the wearer. Such is the meaning of the saying “To protect the mind is to protect the body” (心の守り、身の守り kokoro no mamori, mi no mamori).
Oyasama began offering the Amulet in 1874 out of her wish to reduce large misfortunes into small ones and small misfortunes into nothing at all for her followers. In December 1874, Oyasama began wearing red clothes exclusively and these clothes were cut and sewn into Amulets.
While Oyasama was still physically present, she would activate the Amulets by breathing on them with her sacred breath. She had notable women followers such as Rin Masui sew them. The first Shinbashira Shinnosuke Nakayama also took part in the creation of the Amulets by writing characters on pieces of cloth that were put inside the Amulets.
Sets of red clothes worn by Oyasama when she was physically alive that could be made into Amulets eventually ran out and the response to a request for Divine Directions in 1890 on how to deal with the matter went as follows:
A set of red clothes has since been ritually offered to the everliving Oyasama as a preparatory step to make Amulets. The ceremony of presenting a set of red clothes in front of Oyasama's altar in the Foundress' Sanctuary takes place every morning after her お出まし o-demashi (literally “coming out” or “appearance”). The set of red clothes is then taken down from her altar when the Foundress' Sanctuary is closed for the day.
Physical properties of the Amulet
An adult Amulet is made from a square piece of red cloth about three inches (三寸 san sun) on each side. Inside is a square piece of white cloth about half an inch (五分 go bu) on each side with the character (神 Kami) written on it. This measurement is said to symbolize the size of the first beings as described in the Story of Creation.
Amulet for children
A child's Amulet was once known as the Amulet for Smallpox (ほうそ守り hoso mamori). It is made from a red cloth about 2.4 inches long and 1.2 inches wide (二寸四分 ni sun shi bu and 一寸二分 issun ni bu). This is folded into a square-shaped Amulet about 1.2 inches on each side.
The child's Amulet also has a square piece of white cloth inside about half an inch on each side with the character (む Mu) written on it. This mu is said to represent elimination.
Applying to receive the Amulet
The Amulet can only be received at the Foundress' Sanctuary at Church Headquarters. One can receive and prepare an application through one's directly supervised church or followers dormitory. Anyone receiving the Amulet over the age of 15 must come directly to receive it in person.
Recipients under the age of 15 must be accompanied by one of their parents or someone acting on the parents' behalf, such as a grandparent, sibling, church minister, or fellowship head. It is also possible for a parent to receive an Amulet on the behalf of their child even if that child has not returned to Jiba.
Precautionary points dealing with the Amulet
It is said that “Each Amulet is bestowed specifically on its recipient alone for his or her lifetime.” For this reason, as a general rule, a person can only apply for one Amulet and cannot receive another if it is ever lost or stolen. Further, one is not allowed to give an Amulet as a gift to another person, even if that person is one's spouse, parent, child, or sibling.
While the Amulet is meant to be worn on the body at as much as possible, it is an obvious precaution for the wearer to remove it when taking a shower or bath and when going swimming to prevent it from becoming wet. In such cases, the Amulet should not be placed where it could be accidentally stepped on.
The Amulet should not be folded or twisted. While there are Amulet holders sold in the Tenri Hondori enclosed shopping arcade that one must twist the Amulet to fit inside, it must be noted that these Amulet holders are not officially endorsed by Church Headquarters in any way.
When the wearer of an Amulet passes away, the Amulet must not be buried or cremated with the deceased but continued to be kept as a family treasure.
- A Glossary of Tenrikyo Terms, pp. 4–6; 302–3.
- Words of the Path, pp. 46–8.
- Yoboku's Guide to Tenrikyo, p. 128.