Ten aspects of God's providence

From Tenrikyo Resource Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Ten aspects of God’s providence



The ten aspects of God's providence (also referred to as the ten aspects of the complete providence) is either a gloss of:

  1. tohashira no kami” 十柱の神 (literally, “ten gods”).[1] This phrase appears once in the Osashizu.[2]
  2. juzen no shugo” 十全の守護 (full providence/protection)

Relationship with the Kagura Service

Each of the ten aspects is represented by a dancer wearing a mask in the Kagura Service. The Kagura Service itself is considered a re-enactment of creation in which the workings of God the Parent that were responsible for creating the world and human beings are manifested for the cause of world salvation.[3]

Elements of the ten aspects

The ten aspects each have the following elements:

  • a sacred name
  • a gender
  • a specific aspect of God’s protection in the human body
  • a specific aspect of God’s protection in the world at large
  • a symbolic form in the muddy ocean according to the Story of Creation
  • a symbolic form in the heavens (i.e., a celestial object or group of celestial objects)
  • a symbolic direction
  • ura-shugo or “indirect explanation of the divine providence”
  • a dust

Chart of ten aspects and elements

Sacred name Gender Working in the human body Working in the world Form in the muddy ocean Form in the heavens Direction Dust[4]
Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto male eyes and fluids water great dragon Moon north covetousness
Omotari-no-Mikoto female body warmth fire great serpent Sun south miserliness
Kunisazuchi-no-Mikoto female female organ, skin and joining joining in general turtle Gensuke-boshi (Canopus) southeast grudge-bearing
Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto male male organ, bones and support support in general orca Hagunsei (Alkaid) northwest anger
Kumoyomi-no-Mikoto female eating, drinking, and elimination rise and fall of moisture eel morning star (Venus) east self-love
Kashikone-no-Mikoto male breathing and speaking wind (air) flatfish celestial objects in the southwest southwest hatred
Taishokuten-no-Mikoto female cutting ties of child to mother at birth, cutting breath for rebirth cutting in general globe-fish celestial objects in the northeast northeast greed
Otonobe-no-Mikoto male pulling child from mother during birth pulling forth in general black snake evening star (Venus) west arrogance
Izanagi-no-Mikoto male the seed model of man fish (uo/gigyo) Kengyu-boshi (Altair) center-south
Izanami-no-Mikoto female the seedplot model of woman serpent Orihime (Vega) center-north

Sacred names

Each aspect of God’s providence has been given a sacred name. Several of the names have antecedents in Shinto texts like the Nihon Shoki while some appear to be Oyasama’s original inventions.

Whereas Tenrikyo texts today are quick to point out that the ten aspects “are not meant to suggest that ten gods exist”[5], there is evidence that at least some early followers did consider them as ten separate deities.[6]

According to the Ofudesaki, “the true and real God of this universe is Tsukihi (Moon-Sun). The others are all instruments” (6:50). This verse is often interpreted to mean that Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto (Moon) and Omotari-no-Mikoto (Sun) symbolize the primary aspects of God whereas the other eight sacred names merely constitute God’s “instruments” (dogu).

Sacred names in kanji

Presently, it is a convention in Tenrikyo literature to write the ten sacred names in hiragana to more or less conform to the way they were written in the Ofudesaki. However, there was once a time when Tenrikyo was forced to slightly alter four of the sacred names and replace two of them altogether as well as to render all sacred names in kanji so they would conform to the Nihon Shoki. Such an altered list is included in the Meiji kyoten.

Sacred name in Kana Altered sacred name in the Meiji kyoten Romanized Meiji kyoten sacred name
くにとこたちのみこと 国常立尊 Kuninotokotachi-no-Mikoto
おもたりのみこと 面足尊 Omotaru-no-Mikoto
くにさづちのみこと 国狭槌尊 Kuninosatsuchi-no-Mikoto
月よみのみこと 月夜見尊 Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto (no change in reading)
くもよみのみこと 豊斟渟尊 Toyokumunu-no-Mikoto
かしこねのみこと 惶根尊 Kashikone-no-Mikoto (no change in reading)
たいしよく天のみこと 大日孁尊 Ohirume-no-Mikoto
をふとのべのみこと 大苫邊尊 Otomabe-no-Mikoto
いざなぎのみこと 伊弉諾尊 Izanagi-no-Mikoto (no change in reading)
いざなみのみこと 伊弉冊尊 Izanami-no-Mikoto (no change in reading)

Forms in the muddy ocean

The forms of eight of the ten aspects are associated with in the muddy ocean appear in Chapter Three of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo.

Although less widely known, Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto and Omotari-no-Mikoto also have forms in the muddy ocean according to some narratives of the Divine Record (Story of Creation). According to a narrative of the Divine Record written by Isaburo Masui, in the muddy ocean Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto came in the form of a giant dragon (tairyu) with a single head and a single tail whereas Omotari-no-Mikoto came in the form of a 12-headed serpent (taija) with three tails with a sword on each tail.[7]

Forms in the heavens

Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto is often associated with the Moon and Omotari-no-Mikoto with the Sun. Lesser known are the celestial objects associated with the other eight sacred names often referred to as God’s mere “instruments.”


Diagram of the Kagura Service from Yoboku's Guide To Tenrikyo

Some of the directions associated with the ten aspects appear in Chapter Three of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo. Others are noted in various diagrams of the Kagura Service such as the one on the right.


Ura-shugo or “indirect explanation of the divine providence” may be described as a version of inverted honji-suijaku. To explain, the ten aspects are identified with deities and other objects of devotion from Buddhism, Shinto, and folk belief.[8] [9]

It is unknown when the term “ura-shugo” came into use, but most of the narratives of the Divine Record (Story of Creation) include these associations of the ten aspects with other religious deities and other objects of devotion. It is assumed that by the term “ura” (“backside”), these deities and objects of devotion functioned as God’s way of protecting people before the revelation of 1838 that is said to have marked God’s foray “into the open” (“omote”).


According to Choshiro Mori, the first eight of the ten aspects are associated with one of the eight forms of dust.[10] It is unknown where these associations are ultimately from. Yet it is claimed that an affliction or an illness of a particular part of the body overseen by a certain aspect reflects accumulation of a certain dust. For example, an affliction of the eyes is said to represent over-accumulation of the dust of covetousness.

Some sources associate falsehood with Izanagi and flattery with Izanami.[11] It is also unknown where this assocation ultimately comes from.

Associations with people at the Residence

Although it is often claimed that Oyasama’s soul is that of Izanami-no-Mikoto at creation, seven of God’s other “instruments” are also associated with people who were associated with the Residence. Ryojiro Yamazawa’s poetic version of the Divine Record does not mention these individual by name but gives their age in 1881 from which their identities can be deduced.

Sacred name Age according to Divine Record by Yamazawa (1881) Individual[12]
Izanagi 16 Kikutaro Maegawa
Izanami 84 Oyasama (Miki Nakayama)
Kunisazuchi To be reborn in 30 years “Tamahime”
Tsukiyomi 61 Shuji Nakayama
Kumoyomi 5 Tamae Nakayama
Kashikone 8 Masajin Iburi
Taishokuten 32 Matsue Nakayama
Otonobe 16 Shinnosuke Nakayama

Further, Kunisazuchi is often associated with Kokan Nakayama and Izanagi with Zenbei Nakayama.[13]

It is unknown why certain individuals were associated with these seven aspects. It could be that followers may have believed that these individuals were actually the instruments God used at creation reborn in the place and time Oyasama physically lived. It is also possible that the roles and characteristics of these individuals were deemed symbolic representations of the aspect of God’s protection they were associated with.

See also

External Links


  1. Hashira happens to be a counter for deities. See Wiktionary entry for 柱
  2. おさしづ索引 Osashizu sakuin, p. 1725 (vol. 2, p. 855). The phrase appears in Osashizu 1898-08-26 night Timely Talk.
  3. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, p. 14.
  4. 毛利長四郎 Mori, Choshiro. 『十柱の神名守護の理』 Tohashira no Kami-nam shugo no ri, Appendix p. 4.
  5. A Glossary of Tenrikyo Terms, p. 421.
  6. Refer to Ryojiro Yamazawa’s version of the Divine Record (Story of Creation) as well as his written statement to police included in the appendix of Chapter Seven of The Life of Oyasama (pp. 118–120).
  7. 中山正善 Nakayama Shozen. 『こふきの研究』 Koki no kenkyu, pp. 116–117.
  8. 『こうきと裏守護』 by 石崎正雄 remains the only known publication that dedicated entirely to this phenomenon.
  9. The remainder of this section is loosely based on information from A Glossary of Tenrikyo Terms, pp. 163–5.
  10. Tohashira no Kami-nam shugo no ri, pp. 23–66.
  11. Truth of Origin: Ten Aspects of Divine Providence (diagram) by Rev. Nobunao Hamada
  12. Fukaya, Tadamasa. A Doctrinal Study: The Truth of Origin, p. 3.
  13. See note for verses 11:69–72 in 『おふでさき注釈』 Ofudesaki chushaku, p. 175.