Teaching of Tenrikyo
Serving as the Shrine of Tsukihi (Moon-Sun), Oyasama, Miki Nakayama, not only conveyed the will of God the Parent to us human beings but also demonstrated the model of single-hearted salvation through Her own example during the ﬁfty years following the founding of the Teaching. The course of Oyasama's life after She became the Shrine of God is called the "path of the Divine Model," and we adore Oyasama as the "Parent of the Divine Model."
On January 26, 1887, She withdrew from physical life to urge the spiritual growth of the children, all human beings. Although we cannot see Her physically, She remains at the Residence of Origin and continues to work for world salvation, now as ever before. This, we are taught, is the "truth of the everliving Oyasama."
Oyasama's life before becoming the Shrine of God
Oyasama was born in Sanmaiden Village, Yamabe County, Yamato Province (presently Sanmaiden, Tenri City) on April 18, 1798. She was compassionate and religious from childhood, befitting the one whose soul was that of the mother in human creation.
She married into the Nakayama family, who lived at the Residence of Origin, where the original conception of human beings took place. She worked hard as a model housewife, and Her innate virtues of benevolence and compassion grew deeper and stronger. On one occasion, when an impoverished man tried to steal a sack of rice, She forgave him and, moreover, gave him the rice with warm compassionate words. On another occasion, after giving a beggar woman some food and clothes, She took the woman's baby into Her arms and nursed it with Her own milk.
The first 25 years after becoming the Shrine of God
After becoming the Shrine of Tsukihi (Moon-Sun) on 0ctober 26, 1838, Oyasama hastened toward the depths Of peverty by giving Her family's possessions to the poor in accord with God the Parent's intention to "fall to the depths of poverty."
Fifteen years later, the Nakayama family encountered a crisis when Oyasama's husband, Zenbei, the head of the household, passed away for rebirth. Nonetheless, She said, "Now I shall begin to build a new world." That same year, She parted with the main house and sent Her youngest daughter, Kokan, to the city of Naniwa, now Osaka, on a mission to spread the name of God the Parent.
Such acts were totally incomprehensible to those around Her. Therefore, She incurred not only opposition from Her relatives but also alienation and ridicule from acquaintances and villagers.
Oyasama always remained radiant and spirited despite living in the depths of poverty for the next decade or so. At times when there was nothing to eat, She encouraged Her children by saying, "When we drink water, it tastes of water."
In the meantime, the Grant of Safe Childbirth finally opened the path of salvation. As miracles were shown one after another, people began to come to the Residence in veneration of Oyasama as a living goddess. However, this increase in popularity invited further criticism and attack because of jealousy and a lack of understanding.
The path to complete the Service
It was against the backdrop outlined above that Oyasama approved the construction of the Place for the Service and began to teach the Service. She then began teaching the songs and the hand movements for the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements, thus making arrangements for the Service. She also wrote the Ofudesaki to explain the significance of the Service and give the vision of world salvation and its fundamental truth.
Oyasama bestowed the Sazuke, identified the Jiba, and urged the construction of the Kanrodai. Meanwhile, She drew forth the performers for the Service, nurtured them, and hastened them to perform the Service. In such a manner, She wholeheartedly advanced the path to complete the Service.
In the meantime, the teachings spread wider and the number of people who returned to Jiba in adoration of Oyasama increased rapidly year after year. At the same time, however, persecution grew harsher with each year's passing. Oyasama underwent the hardship of detention and imprisonment about seventeen or eighteen times.
Whenever Oyasama was taken to police stations and jails, She always set out spiritedly while encouraging Her followers by saying, "From a knot, buds will sprout."(*) Nothing swayed Her from hastening the performance of the Service.
People hesitated to perform the Service since they could not endure the thought of any further suffering befalling the aged Oyasama. This situation continued until January 1887, when there appeared a downturn in Oyasama's physical condition. Her disciples were greatly startled and made repeated inquiries of God's will. God's response never varied—they were to hasten to perform the Service exactly as instructed by Oyasama.
Through Her own serious physical condition, Oyasama epeatedly and wannheartedly taught and trained Her followers, who wavered between following God single-heartedly and devising expedients to circumvent the law. On January 26 (lunar calendar), 1887, when She was in Her ninetieth year, Oyasama withdrew from physical life at the moment when the Service being conducted by those "willing to risk their lives" was coming to a close.
Oyasama not only laid the path of the Divine Model over a period of fifty years but also remains everliving and continues to lead us human beings to the Joyous Life, now as ever before.
from Yoboku's Guide to Tenrikyo, translated by Tenrikyo Overseas Department
(*) On page 198 of The Life of Oyasama, we read: "It was not the first time She underwent such hardships and just as She had often said, 'From a knot, buds will sprout,' each time Oyasama was imprisoned, the number of people who came out to greet Her greatly increased."