What do you think of when you hear the word God? Regardless of your religion, “God” is generally thought of as a supreme being; the creator of all things; the omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent deity.
But what is God’s character? What is the relationship between God and human beings?
Through our Foundress, we learn that God is the Parent of humankind. Therefore, our relationship is similar to that of a parent and a child. The Parent cares for, guides, nurtures, teaches, listens to, provides for, and protects the child. The Parent may warn or admonish the child when they are traveling down a mistaken path; however, it is all done out of love.
Children do not learn easily, and it may take many years for them to mature and understand the things taught by the Parent. When realization comes and the child starts to think and behave in accordance with the Parent’s intention, how joyous and satisfied the Parent must be.
God is not something to fear, nor is God something to spend our lives glorifying. God does not test us, or intentionally put us through trials. God teaches us that everything that occurs in our lives depends on our use of mind. This is not easily understood. Even those who have been saved still doubt the words and teachings of God the Parent.
In Christianity, there is the concept of the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost). In Tenrikyo, we have our own “Trinity” that is, we are taught that God the Parent, Oyasama, and the Jiba are one in Truth.
The entire universe is the body of God, but as far as science can estimate, the earth is unique among 700 quintillion planets; the only one capable of sustaining life. God created human beings on earth to see us live the Joyous Life, and thus share in that joy. After the number of years equalling the number of first-born children (900,099,999) had elapsed, God the Parent descended into the realm of human beings through Oyasama, our Foundress, whose name was Miki Nakayama. Speaking, writing, and working through Oyasama, we were left with the complete teachings of our history and the hope for our future, as well as a 50-year example of the way we should live our lives, i.e., Oyasama’s model life from age 40 through age 90 when she withdrew from physical presence. Oyasama’s divine model showed us how we human beings can live joyously and spiritedly each day, regardless of our circumstances in life, if we are truly thankful for being loaned our precious bodies, and if we focus on helping and saving others.
But what is the Jiba and why is it one in Truth with God? The Jiba is the original spot where human beings were first created. It is exactly the center of the bodies of the first couple that conceived and gave birth to the first-born 900,099,999 children. That spot on earth back then was somewhere in the middle of the vast “muddy ocean,” but eventually land masses rose up from the seas and that spot was located in a land that became known as Japan. Specifically, in a certain area in a village called Shoyashiki, in central Japan. Jiba is not only the birthplace of mankind, it is the place where God resides, and where the Service for universal salvation is performed.
The spot is marked by the Kanrodai (“stand for heavenly dew”), a hexagonal stand measuring about 12 ft. tall, symbolizing the evolution and maturity of human beings. When we achieve the goal of the Joyous Life world, where everyone on earth lives joyously and spiritedly by mutually helping, respecting, and saving one another, the heavenly dew will fall onto the stand and anyone who partakes of that dew will be able to live on as long as they wish, never falling ill, dying or becoming weakened.
This is not dependent on whether or not one believes in God the Parent, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. Even non-believers are assured of this ultimate salvation, as all human beings are equally God’s beloved children. However, the heavenly due will only come when we ALL understand the truth of our origin; comprehend the intention of the Parent in creating mankind; and live our lives in accordance with that divine intention – So please hurry and spread the good word! We are all brothers and sisters, and must cast away our self-centered thoughts to help and save one another.
Tenrikyo is not a “Japanese” religion. It is a universal teaching that can be understood regardless of race or culture. However, the Jiba, located in a spot that became known as Japan, resulted in the teachings originally being conveyed in Japan and the service for universal salvation being sung in Japanese. Not to worry, English translations are readily available through the nearest Tenrikyo church.