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Teaching of Tenrikyo

A Thing Lent, A Thing Borrowed

People view their bodies as their own, but God taught us that the human body is a thing lent by God the Parent, a thing borrowed. It is the mind alone that is ours. All blessings--including those that sustain our bodies--are given according to our use of the mind.

In the Divine Direction given on February 14, 1889, we read: "With human beings: the body is a thing borrowed. The mind alone is yours. From just one mind, any kind of truth will appear daily."

Therefore, it is important to use the body, which is on loan to us, in accord with the will of God the Parent. However, unknowing of this truth, we rely on human thinking and attempt to use the body for our own selfish ends. Thus, we cloud our minds, which would otherwise allow us to receive the providence sufficiently. Eventually, we might even invite suffering upon ourselves.

Comparing the self-centered use of mind, which is not in accord with God's intention, to dust, God teaches us to sweep away this dust constantly.

The mind of sincerity is the quality of mind that is capable of partaking of the free and unlimited blessings of God the Parent. We are taught that the highest form of the mind of sincerity is the "mind to save others."

The word "borrow" commonly means to receive something belonging to someone else with an implied or expressed intention of returning it. We eventually return the body, which we borrowed from God. This returning of the body is called "passing away for rebirth."

We are taught that, after "passing away for rebirth," our souls, which are eternal, will borrow new bodies and return to this world. This is called "rebirth."

"A Thing Borrowed"

In the Divine Directions, we read:

People say that they cannot use the "thing borrowed" as they wish--this is evidence that it is indeed a thing borrowed.
Osashizu, July 28, 1888, supp. vol.

When we become sick, we may realize that we cannot use our bodies as we wish - an indication that they might not simply be our personal possessions.

The Ofudesaki says:

This universe is the body of God.
Ponder this in all matters.
Ofudesaki III:40, 135

All human bodies are things lent by God.
With what thought are you using them?
Ofudesaki III:41

As implied by these verses from the Ofudesaki, the view that this universe is the body of God underlies the teaching of a thing lent, a thing borrowed. The body we borrow from God and use as our own is, in fact, part of God's body, which is the entire universe. Indeed, human bodies and the universe are governed by the one truth of heaven.

from Yoboku's Guide to Tenrikyo, translated by Tenrikyo Overseas Department