Spiritual growth

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Spiritual growth is a common gloss for the Scriptural term (kokoro no) seijin (心の)成人. Spiritual maturity is an alternate but fairly common gloss for the same term.

In Japanese, the word “seijin” generally refers to the attainment of maturity or adulthood itself.[1] [2] This is how seijin is understood in Anecdotes of Oyasama.

However, the term comes to have a deeper connotation of spiritual maturity in Tenrikyo literature. Yoshikazu Fukaya has defined it as meaning “the gradual progress of nearing and perceiving the intention of the Parent.”[1]

Shigeru Matsumoto has noted that the kanji for seijin literally means “becoming a human being.”[3]and claimed the goal of spiritual maturity was to fulfill the "innate potential" bestowed to human beings at creation to attain the Joyous Life.[4]

Tenrikyo: The Path to Joyousness expands on this notion of seijin meaning "becoming a human being" by stating:

“It is therefore worthy of note that the process of spiritual maturnity is intrinsic with the process of becoming more human. That is, making efforts in living out the original mode of human existence—becoming more human—signifies that steps are being made to make spiritual growth.”[5]

Appearances of “seijin” in Ofudesaki

There are two only appearances of this seijin in the Ofudesaki. The first instance, in Ofudesaki 06:015 (translated as “mature”), reflects the notion that spiritual maturity will come as the mind becomes gradually purified.

The second instance of seijin in Ofudesaki 06:048 (translated as “grew taller”) is related to the birth and growth of human beings after creation. Passages in Chapter Three of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo also reflect this usage, giving us English equivalents as “reached (a/the) height of”, “growing to,” and “development.”

Appearances of “seijin” in the Osashizu

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Words of the Path, p. 126
  2. ALC.co.jp: 成人
  3. Matsumoto, Shigeru. Modern Society and Spiritual Maturity, p. 17.
  4. Modern Society and Spiritual Maturity, p. 19.
  5. Tenrikyo: The Path to Joyousness, p. 47.