There are various new religions that have come on the scene in Japan but none have had the success like Tenrikyo. They have over 2,350,000 members and approximately 15,000 "churches." They are found in Japanese American communities across us and Canada (225 "churches). All members are to be Missionaries, which are sent out all over the world, they have several congregations in Hawaii, Brazil, Korea, China, the Philippines, and other countries. The movement's headquarters are in Tenri City where 50,000 residents live.
Miki Maegawa Nakayama, was born on April 18,1798, in Sanmaiden Village, Yamabe County, in the Yamato Province, Japan.
In Her 13th year Miki married into the Nakayama family of Shoyashiki Village. Miki was known as a model of a virtuous housewife as well as keeping family. However something changed.
In 1837 a priest was called to perform a "mystical ritual" to cure both Miki and her husband.She had her first revelation and started to go into trances and spoke as if God was speaking through her.
At age 41Through Oyasama, she became the Shrine of Tsukihi God the Parent on earth in order to save all people in the world. The "Shrine of Tsukihi" means that God the Parent resided in Oyasama Miki on October 26, 1838, in accordance with the revelation of God the Parent. This settling meant that God the Parent now resided, within the body of Oyasama, and that Her spoken words and written words, emanated from the mind of God the Parent. Her mind was now that of God the Parent, though outwardly She was human.
I- Tenri means "heavenly wisdom", and Kyo is meanins "teaching." Tenrikyo teaches God first revealed himself as Kami (the cretaor) and then as Tsuki-hi (the moon/sun God) indicating the way God works night and day. The center of tenrikyo is tenri-o-no-mikoto (Lord of divine wisdom) also called Oyagami (God the parent)
"God of Origin" means god of truth. "God" refers to the Origin from which humankind and the world emanated-the giver of life for the whole of creation including humanity. "God in Truth" indicates that "God" refers to Reality, apart from which nothing exists and which is therefore present within human bodies also, providing protection, workings, and true salvation.
The idea of the moon/sun God is clearly paganism found in nature religions. God is his creation actually makes him not god at all but only something that was created. This goes as well as his indwelling all people. They also teach as revelation that an important aspect of the Joyous Life is that it is not just for humankind but involves both Mans and God. As human beings they teach we live in the very bosom of God. They teach that as people become spirited, God will also be spirited. When we become spirited through the helping of one another, the sight of our spiritedness will make God spirited, and God's spiritedness will enliven all living things, even plants and vegetables. What they are teaching is that in some way God is dependant on us to change things ,we become essentials to God as well as the environment, we empower him. The bible teaches the very opposite, that we are dependent on him for life and happiness. That man must align himself with gods ways to enjoy life. This means forsaking sin that breaches our relationship with him.
After being settled as the Shrine of Tsukihi, Oyasama plunged herself into poverty by casting off her possessions as well as those of the Nakayama family. Even when they did not have any food to eat, Oyasama gave away what rice the family had to anyone in need , she could not bear seeing anyone suffer. Her family and relatives strongly protested her actions. In 1853, as the family continued its gradual decline toward living in poverty, Her husband, Zenbel, died.
After this time she began to teach and performed "healings by faith" such as painless childbirth which attracted many followers. They teach that salvation shown through the Grant of Safe Childbirth resulted in opening the path, and people began to come to Oyasama to seek Her help. Oyasama taught that the origin of illness is in the mind. She worked numerous healing miracles before peoples eyes. The blind were instantly able to see , the insane regained their sanity. Sufferers were saved by Oyasama from any illness, people from the neighboring areas came to Her for healing calling Her a living goddess.
Tenrikyo teaches that she demonstrated God the Parent's intention and workings. This is something to take notice of. "The word "Parent" suggests that God's love for us is like the love with which human parents tenderly care for their children. " (Actually it is the other way around we reflect what Gods love is through our family.) While she taught and practiced selfless service and miracles to others she neglected her own family, so much for God the parent's tender care. What does this show about her concept of god? That she brought ruin to those closest to her, her own flesh and blood. To me this shows a religious zeal for something that made her blind to her own familys condition. This is nothing more than neglect as well as abuse. This is not Gods love, because she put her own interests and growth above those around her. While she couldn't bear to see others suffer her own family suffered greatly.
In 1874, She bestowed the Amulet and the Sazuke, the Divine Grant, for the first time and, in the following year, identified the Jiba, the place of origin where humankind had first been conceived. In 1877, She taught the women's musical instruments used in the performance of the Service. The arrangements for the Service was taught as the path to universal salvation. By 1908 the government gave them recognition as an approved Shinto sect. The teachings of Tenrikyo religion combine components from both Buddhism and Christianity as well as others. Tenrikyo Is basically from a Shinto frame of reference with additions.
The Parent shortened Her life by twenty-five years, and she died at 90 years of age. It is said, Though She withdrew from our sight, (by dying) She continues living at the Residence of Origin, She continues in all eternity, working night and day for world salvation, " Now I shall step out and save the world. Observe well. " She continues to lavish Her boundless parental love on all people in the world through the truth of eternal life. She continues to work, everliving, for the salvation of all humankind. Miki is said to be alive waiting for the time when Tenrikyo becomes the religion of all mankind. Her Followers continue to serve her three meals a day and prepare her daily hot baths. The Priests guard the door 24 hours a day.
Its hard to accept this is the case, when she died like anyone else. Everliving means still alive. How do they know what she is doing? Compare this to Jesus who already did the work of salvation proving who he was by rising from the dead. Oyasama Miki is no different than all the other teachers that have come along claiming a revelation from God, they all lie in their graves.
"God the Parent teaches that buds sprout from knots, "knots" being a metaphor for difficulties or hindrances we encounter-and that illness and troubles add an extra touch of beauty to the path. It is important, therefore, to let go of our dissatisfaction, worries, and skepticism, trusting completely in Gods boundless parental love." This is God in a Buddhism framework.
Tenrikyo's focus is to have a joyous life on earth, there is limited teaching about a afterlife. Death is defined as "a taking off of old clothes and putting on of bright new ones (Ofudesaki VII : 7-8 ) which suggestive of reincarnation.
Illness and pain of whatever kind do not exist. They are none other than the hastening and guidance of God.( Ofudesaki II : 7)The mind becomes the key in this religion they call it Causality, "It is in the nature of things that if we sow a seed of a plant, it will grow into only that particular type of plant. Likewise, seeds sown through the workings of the mind produce only results that accord with those workings. This law of cause and effect-whereby what we sow creates our future experiences-is referred to as causality. Every one of us has an affinity to the "original causality," whereby all human beings are to lead the Joyous Life. But there is also the kind of causality that is set in motion by the individual's use of the mind, Our mind may sow seeds that are conducive or adverse to the original causality. Causalities may be classified into the following groups: those originating in a previous life and producing their results during the present lifetime; those originating in the present life and producing their results during the present lifetime; and those originating in a previous life or the present life and producing their results in a future life. Here we have the Buddhist teaching of Reincarnation which Gautama kept over from his Hinduism roots, Cause and effect. But can we trace this all to the mind as the source? When accidents occur who thought it up. If I walk by someone who is painting on a ladder and he drops paint on me, did he think of doing this, did I? Can we actually then say it was because he or I did something in a past lifetime. I dont think this is a rational solution to mistakes and problems that happen to everyone everyday.
The beginning according to God the Parent
"In the beginning, the world was a muddy ocean." Finding that condition tasteless, God the Parent thought of creating us human beings so that, by seeing our Joyous Life, God might share in that joy. When creating human beings and the world, God began by drawing forth what were to become models and instruments, and their joined efforts produced nine hundred million, ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred, and ninety-nine seeds of human beings. Human beings when created have been nurtured by God the Parent while experiencing many rebirths over an extremely long time. As the land and sea, heaven and earth formed the entire universe progressed in stride with human development.
The muddy ocean, God saw a fish and a serpent amid many loaches. Planning to make them into models of husband and wife, God summoned them. Discerning their single-heartedness, God obtained their consent and received them, promising that when the years equal to the number of their first-born had elapsed, they would be returned to the Residence of Origin, the place of original conception, and would be adored by their posterity.
God then summoned an orc, a turtle after their consent and determining their natures he used the orc as the instrument of the male organ, of bones and support; and the turtle as the instrument of the female organ, of skin and joining. God then summoned an eel, a flatfish, a black snake, a globe-fish and repeated the process of consent and determining nature used the eel as the instrument for eating, drinking, and elimination, the flatfish for breathing and speaking, the black snake for pulling forth, and the globe-fish for cutting giving sacred names to all.
God consumed all the loaches in the muddy ocean, tested the flavors of their nature, and made them the seeds for human beings. Then God the Parent, as Tsuki-sama (the Moon), entered the body of Izanagi-no-Mikoto and, as Hi-sama (the Sun), entered the body of Izanami-no-Mikoto and taught them the divine providence of creating human beings. Then nine hundred million, ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine seeds were put into the body of Izanami-no-Mikoto in 3 days and 3 nights. Remaining there for 3 years and 3 months she gave birth in 75 days to as many children as there were seeds. God the Parent taught that human beings lived in water for nine hundred million and ninety thousand years, were trained for six thousand years in wisdom, and were instructed for three thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine years in letters.
The first children born were all ½ inch tall. Gradually growing taller, to the height of 3 inches in 99 years. They all passed away for rebirth and their father, as well. However, Izanami-no-Mikoto conceived again the original number of children by the divine providence already taught her and, after 10 months, gave birth to them again. They were born the same size increasing to 3 ½ inches in 99 years, and passed away for rebirth again.
This repeated the 3rd time. They were again born ½ inch tall and, and grew to 4 inches in 99 years. Their mother then said, "Now that they have grown so tall, in time they will reach the height of human beings five feet tall (5 shaku)," and with a smile, withdrew from physical life. All her children passed away for rebirth, deeply yearning for their mother.
After that, human beings were reborn 8,008 times in different creatures as worms, birds, beasts. Then they all passed away except a she-monkey. She conceived 10 human beings at a time, 5 male and 5 female. Again they were reborn ½ inch tall and they grew to 8 inches, in the meantime God the Parent began to develop the bottom of the muddy ocean. This time when they grew to 1 foot and 8 inches the land and sea, heaven and earth, and the sun and moon came to take form so as to be distinguishable. also development of human beings twins were born from each conception, both male and a female. When humans reached 3 feet, one child was born from each conception and they began speaking. When they reached 5 feet tall, land and sea, heaven and earth, the whole universe, was completed, and human beings began to dwell on land.
This story has a myth like ring with meticulous detail, a blend of evolution with a religious slant.
The 8 dusts
Humans During their lives collect Nokori (dust), but usually we don't notice it. dust" settles on a persons mind and soul when he or she lives a self-serving life. This they teach is not in accord with the Truth of Heaven. From the dust illness and troubles might arise as a result sometimes. Whatever illness or trouble we may encounter, we are to approach it positively and see it as a manifestation of God's parental love, which is helping us sweep our heart clean "with God as the broom." She has said there are no inherently bad men, but only "those whose minds are stained with specks of dust."
The 8 dusts this comes in various descriptions, Miserliness, Covetousness, Hatred, Self-love, Grudge-bearing, anger, greed, arrogance. This sounds too similar to the 10 commandments which are to convict mankind of their sin. This is a self system of awareness that has us become our own salvation by cleaning out the dusts.
As one sweeps away the dust they become open to living a happy life which is salvation. Prayer is accompanied by hand motions that symbolize dust being brushed away.
Sazuke is a "divine grant" offered to individuals and is "an important form of prayer for saving people from physical sufferings" . This blessing promises to lead to "miraculous" determination to follow God's "path" and realization of salvation. Sazuke is bestowed exclusively to those who have a sincere mind. God "grants only as much blessings as the sincereity in [one's] mind" .If your mind is truly sincere, there will never be a failure in any salvation.( Ofudesaki XIII : 71) Even after the reception of sazuke one must have the daily removal of dust .
The "Jiba " is where human beings were first conceived during human creation. The Kagura's has 10 performers, 5 men and 5 women reenacting the story through which human beings and the world were created. They wear their kagura masks and symbolize by hand-gestures God the Parent's providence in ten aspects. The Service is called the "Joyous Service" and the "Salvation Service" because it calls forth the blessing of universal salvation, which will bring about the spiritual renewal of human beings.
This is a traditional ceremony to drive away demons and to ward off evil. They will scatter beans (usually soy beans)inside and outside of the house or building and chant," Out with demons!(oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi) In with good luck!" The custom is for family members to eat the same number of beans as their age.
Tenrikyo is involved in numerous social services. Orphanages are built and they have founded cultural Institutions . Tenri University, a library that is one of the largest in the East, Churches and a museum .
Shuyoka has people learn the teachings of God the Parent. Each month 1,000 to 2,000 people are accepted to Shuyoka, a 3 month retreat, beginning at the start of each month. One needs to be 17 years old or older to be eligible for admission to Shuyoka, approx. 50% are in between their teens to their twenties, some as old as 90 years go as well.
While they help people with improving their quality of life this falls far short of the truth that Christ gave. Without dealing with the sin factor there can be no lasting results, neither now nor through eternity.