Tenrikyo Europe Centre
by Hideo Yamaguchi (Head of Dai-Roma Fukyosho)
We are currently engaging in the activities that are conducted in anticipation of the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. I am sure that each and every one of you have made resolutions and are devoting your efforts to that end day and night. What a pleasure it would be to see your efforts bloom in January of the 189th Year of Tenrikyo as a reward given by Oyasama. Even if the objectives set through these resolutions are not achieved, I firmly believe that Oyasama will, in a different form, reward us for taking the first steps onto the path of spiritual maturity.
I trust that those of us who follow the path in our daily lives have many opportunities to learn about the teachings. For instance, we are taught the virtues of early rising, honesty, and working. To illustrate this, we have all heard the story of Rev Izo Iburi as it is one of the most prominent examples. And I assume you have conveyed this teaching to others on various occasions.
We also often hear about “contributions and dedications”. In the most fundamental sense, those terms refer to the contributions and dedications made to Jiba. We are encouraged to make our contributions and dedications by going to the church or grand church we are affiliated with, which translates to carrying them out for the Parent.
We learn about Hinokishin as well. I presume you have been taught “to devote yourself to ”, “bring joy to others” and “work as best as you can even when no one is watching you”.
The “filial piety” is also often mentioned. The basis of it is probably to be found in the way we treat our real parents, our spiritual parents as well as our superiors. However, it is asking ourselves how we can bring joy to them that will, indeed, enable us to truly advance on the path of spiritual maturity. Although respect for our ancestors is not mentioned in the teachings, it seems that the path we walk may be influenced by the path our ancestors have walked. This is why it is necessary to know the journey our ancestors have made, one, two, or even three generations ago. This will not only give us an opportunity to feel appreciation to our ancestors, but more importantly, this will be a major turning point to change our undesirable causalities into desirable ones.
Nioigake, or “sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings”, is also an essential activity for anyone seeking to make progress along the path of spiritual maturity. This is precisely why it is said that “Through saving others, you will be saved.” However, the main architect of salvation is none other than God the Parent, and the rest of us are simply Yoboku, or useful timbers, who help God in conducting the salvation work.
Next comes the action of “giving”. If you understand the first 25 years or so of the Divine Model of Oyasama, you will quickly understand this. First of all, Oyasama disposed of the things She had brought with Her at the time of wedding by giving them away to poor people around Her as well as those who came to beg at Her door while giving them warm words. We must ensure that we live every day while carrying this spirit deep within ourselves. Afterwards, Oyasama also gave up the Nakayama family's rice fields, farming fields, and even Her house buildings.
In the teachings, we are also taught about the importance of “working”. In keeping with its primary meaning of making things easier for people around us, it is our diligent work that will allow people around us to be physically relieved and therefore feel happy. Making people feel happy does not mean bringing yourself to the fore and acting in a way that attracts attention, but rather working behind the scenes and discreetly, which will later benefit us in a positive way.
In the teachings, we are taught: “Because it continues, it can be called a path”. So, whatever our determinations are, I believe that the most important thing is to continue to carry them out. The path must continue.
We read in the Ofudesaki:
Over steep mountains, through tangles of thorns, along narrow ledges,
and through brandished swords, if you come,(I-47)
Yet ahead through a sea of flames and a deep abyss,
you will arrive at a narrow path.(I-48)
After following the narrow path step by step, you will come to a broad path.
This is the trustworthy main path.(I-49)
When we walk along the path, we may go through many different roads. However, as stated in these verses, the difficult ones are only to be found in the beginning of our journey. After going through the narrow roads, there will only be pleasant and joyful paths to follow. However, once we are out on the broad path, we should not stop walking and relax. We will need to keep moving forward on this path, which leads to the Joyous Life.
I've already spoken about a lot of things, and I trust there are many others things for which you may want to make new resolutions. But from now on, I would like to continue my speech by focusing on the teaching of “a thing lent, a thing borrowed”.
In the 1,711 verses of the Ofudesaki, the term “a thing borrowed” is only mentioned once.
It is in the verse 137 of Part III:
So long as you remain unknowing that the body is a thing borrowed,
you can understand nothing at all.
We are told here that until we realise that the body of each one of us is a thing borrowed from God the Parent, we will understand nothing at all. However, the term “a thing lent”, which is the opposite of the term “a thing borrowed”, appears five times in the Ofudesaki:
All human bodies are things lent by God.
With what thought are you using them?(III-41)
Everything that exists in this universe, including the human body, is part of the body of God the Parent. Thus, our bodies also belong to God the Parent. God is asking us here how are we using our body without knowing this truth.
All human bodies are things lent by God.
Do you not know the free and unlimited workings of God?(III-126)
The human body is lent by God the Parent, who is protecting us through the free and unlimited workings. But God is asking us here whether or not we humans know about this.
Everything in this universe is all by Tsukihi.
All human bodies are things lent by Tsukihi.(VI-120)
This whole universe is all by Tsukihi, so it is the body of God the Parent. Therefore, the body of all humans who live in this universe are things lent to us in the eyes of God the Parent.
Furthermore, the instruments you use daily are all things lent by Tsukihi.(XIII-46)
Our body, which is an instruments we make use of, are things lent to us from God the Parent.
What are you humans thinking of this talk?
Your bodies are things lent by Tsukihi and you are all children of Mine.(XIII-79)
All human beings on earth, which amount to several billions, are all children of God the Parent. This is why there is nothing strange about the work of God the Parent appearing even overnight.
The terms “a thing borrowed” or “a thing lent” are not mentioned even once in the Mikagura-uta, but there are many other things in the Mikagura-uta that we should bear in mind in our daily lives.
In the Osashizu, the term “a thing borrowed” is mentioned 90 times and “a thing lent” 197 times. They appear in “Timely Talks”, but many of them appear in the Directions in Response to Inquiries. The terms “a thing lent” and “a thing borrowed” appear many times in these inquiries.
Today I do not have time to go into details about the contexts in which these terms appear in the Osashizu, so I encourage you all to study it further. For the remainder of my speech, I would like to quote some passages containing these two terms from what is called “oral instructions”, which are said to have been taught by Oyasama Herself during Her physical life and yet not officially authorised by Church Headquarters.
Here are some words spoken during the response to an inquiry made by Isaburo Masui, Chusaku Tsuji, and Yonosuke Okada (who will later be renamed Yosaburo Miyamori) on the evening of 3rd February 1877. When asked which path they should take in order to make repayments for the blessings they receive, Oyasama replied as follows:
“In order to be able to speak to people, you yourself must have firmly settled in your mind the truth of a thing borrowed. In so doing, make sure you teach it firmly. Make sure it has been understood.”
“If a person seeking for salvation settles the truth of a thing borrowed deep in the person’s mind, then the person will be saved, whatever the illness may be. No need to worry. Do not be afraid of anything.”
“As for salvation, as long as the person who seeks to help others be saved is guided by the mind of sincerity and carries deep within the mind the truth of a thing borrowed, God will work and look after the rest. There are nothing to worry about. Spreading the teachings with a sincere mind will lead to the path where you can make repayments for the blessings. So go ahead and engage in your duties with joy.”
“The more firmly and deeply you settle the truth of a thing borrowed in your mind, the more blessings you will receive. It is necessary that you firmly settle this truth within yourself.”
“If you do not act with the truth of a thing borrowed firmly settled in your mind, God will not be able to work for you. So proceed in accordance with this truth by getting rid of your human thinking.”
“When you seek to help others be saved, it will do well to do so with a big heart, and make sure that the truth of a thing borrowed is clearly understood.”
“Make sure that you yourself have firmly grasped the truth of a thing borrowed before trying to explain it to others. If this is not done, no one will understand you, no matter how hard you try. Ponder over this.”
Here are other quotes from Directions in Response to Inquiries, which were delivered on 23 November 1877:
“A thing borrowed means your body is lent by God. So ponder deeply over this truth.”
“With a good understanding of a thing borrowed, you can immediately receive blessings, no matter what kind of illness it may be. So, when it comes to helping others be saved, you should not be caught up in human thinking concerning the truth of a thing borrowed. Instead, you should just feel grateful and satisfied as you seek to tell them about the teachings. This is the most important way of using your mind when engaging in salvation work.”
The next words were delivered to Isaburo Masui, Kouemon Murata and Chusaku Tsuji on 23 November 1877.
“Make sure that you maintain a sincere mind, firmly settle deep within you the truth of a thing borrowed, and bring yourself into accord with the parental heart as you seek to fulfil your duties in your daily life. Walking the path with such a mind will allow you to receive free and unlimited blessings.”
“Concerning human beings, they all borrow their body from God. You may want to repent if you are using your body as if they belong to you. If you live your life with such a mind, you will no longer be able to receive blessings that you would be able to receive otherwise. Ponder over this truth carefully.”
“It is essential that you always keep in your mind the truth of a thing borrowed in your daily life.”
“When you suffer from illness or face a personal difficulty, you must immediately think about the truth of a thing borrowed. If you settle this truth firmly in your mind, you will be saved in any circumstance.”
“Regarding the truth of a thing borrowed, you should try not to forget that your body is borrowed at all times and live each day with gratitude and contentment in your heart. Having such a mind will enable you to see great misfortunes reduced to small misfortunes, and small misfortunes to no misfortunes at all, no matter how dangerous the situation may be.”
“Whether you are suffering from illness or other personal problems, if the truth of a thing borrowed is settled deep in your mind, you will be blessed with an extended term of life. You will even be able to receive blessings for hopeless situations that are beyond human control.”
“Firmly settle the truth of a thing borrowed in your daily life. Then, you will no longer have any worries or concerns, whatever the path taken.”
Next, here are words that were delivered to Isaburo Masui, Kouemon Murata, Chusaku Tsuji, and Izo Iburi on 4th March 1879.
“If you do not understand the truth of a thing borrowed, you cannot make any contributions. You will only become more and more indebted. Ponder over this truth as you seek to fulfil your duties.”
On the evening of 5 July 1879, Kouemon Murata made an inquiry, saying “What kind of God are you?”. Here are the responses to the inquiry:
“If you wish to bring joy to God in your daily lives, you should first and foremost firmly settle the truth of a thing borrowed in your mind. This will entail firmly settling in your mind that your body is lent by God.”
“There is only one way to receive blessings for illness or other personal problems. That is to follow the path with the truth of a thing borrowed firmly settled in your minds.”
Here are Directions delivered from 7 to 8 February 1881 to Chusaku Tsuji, Kouemon Murata, and Ryojiro Yamazawa:
“If you go about your daily life without knowing the truth of a thing borrowed, it will be difficult for you to receive blessings when you receive sings in the form of illness”.
“You are to listen to the teachings of God so as to gain a better understanding of the truth of a thing borrowed.”
“If you earnestly learn about the truth of a thing borrowed and act in according with the intention of the Parent, you will be able to receive any kind of blessing.”
On 5 April 1882, Matsujiro Kajimoto, Gisaburo Nakata, and Yonosuke Okada received the following words:
“If the truth of a thing borrowed is settled in your mind, God will guide you in any circumstance. No matter how much you preach with your mouth, that does not get you anywhere unless you have this truth settled in your mind. Once it is settled in your mind, God will save a life that could otherwise be lost. There is nothing to worry about. The difficulty lies in maintaining that mindset in your daily lives.”
“If the truth of a thing borrowed is settled in your mind, you will receive blessings for illness or other personal problems. So firmly settle in your mind the truth of a thing borrowed.”
“Concerning the truth of a thing borrowed, you would do well to firmly settle in your mind that we borrow such a marvellous body from God.”
Next, here are the words that were delivered to Isaburo Masui, Chusaku Tsuji, and Chobei Murata on 12 September 1882:
“There is nothing difficult you must do in your daily lives. All you have to do is to settle the truth of a thing borrowed firmly in your mind with a sincere mind and live each day in bright spirits while feeling gratitude and satisfaction in your minds as well as expressing them in words. God will surely provide you with marvellous blessings.”
“Without understanding the truth of a thing borrowed, you will not be able to walk this path.”
The next words were delivered to Isaburo Masui, Naokichi Takai, and Yonosuke Okada on 4 February 1884:
“Those who want to be saved should also listen to the teachings with a sincere mind,. The more the truth of a thing borrowed is settled in your minds, the more blessings you will be able to receive. There is nothing to worry about.”
Next, here are the words that Eijiro Matsumura received on 14 March 1885:
“The mind that you want others to settle and the mind that you yourself want to settle should be the same. As for the mind that you want others to settle, it is none other than than the truth of a thing borrowed. You must ensure that they understand. As for the mind that you yourself want to settle, you must settle the truth of a thing borrowed firmly in your mind and make a resolution to live each day with that mind. Once your mind is settled, you will be able to receive free and unlimited workings of God in any situation.”
“Concerning God’s teachings, it is none other than the truth of a thing borrowed. Make sure that you have the truth of a thing borrowed settled deeply in your minds.”
“I am speaking about the mind that you should settle and the mind that you want others to settle. It is none other than the truth of a thing borrowed that you must firmly settled in your minds”.
“If you firmly settle the truth of a thing borrowed in your mind, you will be guided by God in complete freedom.”
I have just shared with you Oyasama’s words concerning “a thing borrowed”, which She conveyed orally on various occasions. In our journey along the path, there are many times we need to make resolutions as part of our faith. But according to Oyasama’s words that I spoke about earlier, we are taught that we can certainly receive blessings if we fully settle the truth of a thing borrowed in our minds. So let us strive to settle the truth of a thing borrowed deep in our minds.
Thank you for your attention.