The Proof Amulet

In June of 1874, Oyasama began bestowing the Proof Amulet to followers who returned to the Residence.  Oyasama taught that when worn next to the body, the Proof Amulet will provide protection of oneself, as long as the bearer keeps a spirited and joyous mind, as Oyasama did, no matter what the situation.  Even today, the Proof Amulet can be received when one returns to Jiba, the Home of the Parent.  As the name suggests, the Amulet is proof that one has returned to Jiba; therefore, the recipient must receive the Amulet directly as opposed to other traditional Shinto or Buddhist amulets that are purchased as good luck charms to give to friends and family.

Since Oyasama wore red clothing (kimono) to distinguish Herself from others, bolts of red fabric are still offered at Oyasama’s shrine in the Foundress’s Sanctuary, then cut and sewn to make the Proof Amulets distributed to followers each day.  In this way, we are wearing a piece of Oyasama’s clothing with us, and keeping Oyasama near us, wherever we go.  It serves as a reminder to conduct ourselves in a manner that would bring satisfaction and happiness to the Everliving Oyasama.

Remember that the Proof Amulet also provides protection, so that a large misfortune becomes a small misfortune, and a small misfortune becomes no misfortune at all.  In this sense the word “Proof” has a dual meaning.  As discussed above, it serves as proof that one has made a pilgrimage back to Jiba and worshipped at the Kanrodai, journeying back to the origin where human beings were first conceived.  The other meaning is that is it serves as proof that so long as we keep go through our days with spiritedness and gratitude, we shall be protected by reducing the frequency and severity of mishaps.

Recently, I was party to a car accident.  I was reversing into my driveway and didn’t notice another car pulling out from the curbside.  Apparently, he didn’t notice me either and so we collided with a loud crash.  I thought to myself how close I was to getting home, with 5 minutes to spare before evening service, and now I’m going to have miss it to deal with the police and the other driver.  My wife heard the crash and came running out of the house.  Since we were both blocking the road, I asked the other driver to back his car up so I could reverse into my parking stall.  I got out of the car to exchange information and that’s when my wife pointed out that there was no damage to either vehicle!  We looked at each others’ cars in disbelief, but sure enough, no damages.

Apparently what had happened was that we hit each other at the precise angle where the flat part of his front bumper hit the flat part of my bumper, so even though the sound was quite loud, it was like two hands coming together to make a clap.  What are the odds of that happening?? I immediately said to my wife “dainan wa shonan, shonan wa bunan.”  The other driver happened to be a nice young man who worked in our neighborhood, and he and I agreed to exchange information but leave the police out of it.  (He mentioned that his mother was actually a police officer)

So, not only was I spared the agony of having to fix the car and dealing with insurance, I also made a friend, and still able to make it into the church in time to lead the evening service.  Thank you for the Proof Amulet, Oyasama!

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Taiheiyo Church

I am a fourth generation American of Japanese descent. My great-grandfather immigrated to Hawaii in 1907, and founded Taiheiyo Church in 1931. My grandfather became the 2nd head minister in 1956, and my father succeeded him as the 3rd head minister in 1981. On November 7, 2015, I was installed as the 4th head minister.

6 thoughts on “The Proof Amulet”

  1. Good afternoon Rev. Iwata

    I was reading your lecture and came upon your website. I admire you for your attempt to bring salvation to the world as promised in the Ofudesaki. I see that your site is new, and I wish you the best in spreading our religion to the world. I see that as a church, we have a up hill struggle in spreading God’s truth. Please visit my website at heaventruth.com I have a little different perspective in spreading God’s truth (read lecture 1). Please let me know your thoughts even if it is negative.

    Thank you,

    Hirofumi Nakatsuchi

    1. Aloha Rev. Nakatsuchi,
      Thank you for leaving a comment, and pardon my delay in not responding sooner. 98% of the comments that I get are obviously marketing spam, so I’m very happy to receive a comment from a “real” person. Let me first start by letting you know that you may be confusing my with someone else? My name is Wesley Mikuni. Rev. Iwata in Hawaii would either be Rev. Melvin Iwata of Honolulu-Ko Church, or his son, Rev. Tad Iwata of Haleakala Church (not to confuse, but the two of them will be switching positions – taking over each others’ church – in the next few months).

      In any case, I came across your website a few years ago and, truth be told, heaventruth.com was sort of the inspiration for me setting up my own taiheiyochurch.com website. Also, since taking over as head minster of Taiheiyo Church, I have recited my morning & evening service prayer out loud (in English) so that attendees know exactly what I am praying for. That prayer is largely borrowed from the prayer on your website. So a belated “Mahalo” for that!

      I am very impressed with the content, consistency, and straightforwardness of the blog. Although I do not get a chance to read it regularly, I can feel your conviction in the posts, even turning a blind eye to political correctness in some cases to make a point.

      I must admit that I don’t necessarily agree with all the perspectives you present (e.g., downplay of the mikagura-uta/teodori other than the seated service; strict emphasis on the Ofudesaki and not other scriptures or doctrines; interpretation that illness is used by God to specifically draw people to the Tenrikyo Church; and I don’t recall if you or another website disregarded the importance of the site of the Jiba); however, I want to say that I understand where you are coming from, because of your focus on increasing membership. Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems your attempt to cut short the service by emphasizing only the seated service is an effort to make it more tolerable for newcomers, especially non-Japanese speakers. You may have other reasons besides in support of the belief that the Yorozuyo and 12 chapters are not so important, but to most Tenrikyo adherents, such beliefs would be considered Itan, or a departure from the teachings of Oyasama.

      That said, I would not condemn or denounce you or your church for the modern views presented because it appears from what I read that your belief in God the Parent and Oyasama as God on earth, is the same as other Tenrikyo followers. Out of curiosity, however, I am interested to know if your method of “simplifying Tenrikyo” for lack of a better description, has resulted in the increase of followers, namely non-Japanese speaking followers. Many years ago, as our church’s own membership was declining, we decided to abbreviate the Gantan-sai (New Years Service on Jan 1st) by having those living at the church dance the 12 songs at the stroke of midnight, and having the rest of the congregation just perform the seated service at the regular 10am start time. We did not notice any increase in the number of attendees for that particular service, and it did not seem to motivate followers to bring new comers to that particular service just because it was shorter.

      My aim is not to change your beliefs, because as I said earlier, you may have other reasons for wanting to focus only on the seated service; however, the thing that comes to mind is that IF a shorter service is conducive for drawing more people and keeping more newcomers connected to Tenrikyo, then a Fukyosho (Mission Station) or family Kosha would be ideal for that. They generally only do the seated service and dance Yorozuyo + 1 song each month. This gives more time for sermons and fellowship, and allows the followers to develop their faith until they feel comfortable attending the full monthly service at a church.

      I once again commend you for your efforts to spread the teachings using the power of the worldwide web. For the past 8 months or so, I have been posting daily videos on Facebook (search Tenrikyo Taiheiyo Church) specifically focusing on the Ofudesaki, though for the past week taking a short break while studying the Truth of Origin. Please check it out if you have time.
      Wes

  2. Wes,
    I am sorry for the mistake in identity. I also applaud you for your efforts in spreading Tenrikyo to the world. You may also be confusing me for my parents. My father was a reverend (deceased), and my mother is currently a reverend in Santa Maria California. For myself, I am not involved in the Tenrikyo Church, except for my website.

    If you read my lecture 1, it kind of gives you an idea of why I created this website. I have no inclination of starting by own religion as some people have accused me of. My intentions is to study the Ofudesaki. The Ofudesaki I have studied it going over each verse for about 6 years now. I do admit that each time I read it, I find something new that I did not realize before. For me, I do understand Japanese, so I am able to read the Japanese version. I have found that the English translation is sometimes incorrect. I am constantly correcting the Fudesaki on my website (on going).

    My understanding is that all of the words in the Ofudesaki are from God, and this is why I focus on this document in finding what God wants us to do. The Ofudesaki does mention the teodori three times, but what is mentioned is the Joyous Service (Kagura Service, Kanrodai Service) many times. God tells us to perform this Service with a pure mind. Then God will bring people to our churches. How does God bring them to our churches? God enters them and places illness as Guidance. They come to our churches, and they are healed. If you read the Ofudesaki, this is the main theme. This is why I place emphasis on the Joyous Service. I truly believe that our religion does not grow because we are not following the Ofudesaki. Even in Chapter 17, God tells us that we do not understand.

    I do not believe I have the courage like you to step up and spread our religion, but I am hoping that some of you in our religion will truly open their minds and study what our sacred book tells us to do to save the world. I would like to think that Oyasama would like to save the people of the world one day sooner.

    I wish you the best as a Reverend, and I hope we can continue to communicate, as we are both on the same path.

    Hiro

    1. Aloha Hiro,
      I also apologize for any confusion. Sadly, I am not familiar with many of the churches in the mainland, other than those families with whom I attended the Oyasato Seminar with many years ago. Each of us reads the Ofudesaki and may interpret something different, especially when we are talking about 1,711 verses. So I am not one to say that your interpretation is incorrect. Far from that, I think that you your interpretation hits the nail on the head as far as God drawing people to the teachings (and practically speaking to our churches) though bodily afflictions. In fact, this is how Tenrikyo originally spread. As to the reasons why Tenrikyo has peaked, plateaued, and subsequently declined, the answers are many and varied. Some may say it’s because our faith has been diluted over the generations since our ancestors received miraculous salvations. Some say it’s because of the advance in modern medicine that makes people less reliant on spirituality for the healing of illnesses. Others believe the language barrier is too great to overcome in the English-speaking world. Whatever the reason, I think it’s up to the followers and Yoboku of this generation & the next to determine whether the trend continues, or whether there is another cyclical upturn in terms of the sheer number of followers. My personal belief is that there is no one reason, nor one solution. We must follow the teachings and the Divine Model of Oyasama to the best of our abilities, spiritedly perform the service as taught by Oyasama joyously and in high spirits, and also we must listen to the needs of our communities and figure out how we, as churches, are able to address those needs. Let’s keep in touch.
      Wes

  3. Wes,

    You may be correct in that there are many reasons that our religion does not grow; but I believe that God has given us the formula in the Ofudesaki. God in the Ofudesaki and teodori, gives us the formula in harvesting a crop. Field + planting seeds +water + weeding + fertilizer = harvest of crops. Any deficiency in one of the ingredients will lead to failure in harvesting. I believe God was also giving us the ingredients to harvesting new members. Let me go over each ingredient.

    The field is analogous to a church or a fellowship. If we want many new members, we build a church. If we are temporarily satisfied with
    a few members, we build a fellowship.

    Planting the seeds is like hinokishin. The word hinokishin is not used in the Ofudesaki. Hinoki is a polished timber, and shin is the original pure mind. My interpretation of hinokishin is a polished yoboku who is spreading God’s truth. The traditional accepted translation of hinokishin is helping other, or cleaning the parks, etc. In chapter 14 (verse 65-70), God tells us to tell people what work God is going to do. Without telling them, they will not understand. I believe that our job as a yoboku is to tell people that God will begin to start placing illness as guidance to the world. This I believe is hinokishin. If we do not tell them, they will not understand when God accepts our prayer (Joyous Service). In my opinion, this is one of the most important ingredient that most of us lack.

    Water is analogous to our pure mind. God uses the word muddy and clear in describing our minds. We must have a pure mind (without greed, arrogance, and self love) for our prayers to be accepted by God.

    Weeding is analogous to God helping us purify our minds by giving us yobokus guidance by illness. Again, a purified mind is necessary for our prayer to be accepted.

    The last ingredient is the most important. This is the Joyous Service that God had encouraged us to perform. In the Ofudesaki, God calls this Service the fertilizer (koe). In the teodori, songs 7 and 11 mention the koe in the last song (10). The current translation of both songs mention reaping a large harvest without the fertilizer. But I could not find the definition of both words okazuni and okazu as without. I would think it would mean with the fertilizer.

    In summary, we need all the ingredients for God to accept our prayer toward the Kanrodai. Without all the ingredients, we can not bring people to our churches.

    I hope this has piqued your interest.

    Best regards,
    Hiro

    1. Aloha Hiro,
      Your interpretation of the Ofudesaki and Teodori (and hinokishin for that matter) is certainly interesting, and whether or not “correct”, is useful for motivating Yoboku to spread the teachings further and wider. In the olden days, I don’t doubt that Yoboku did place a strong emphasis on mijo/jijo (bodily disorders/troubling circumstances) as a means to bring people to church. These days, it is still a reason why people ask me to visit their friend or family – to administer the Sazuke. But many who receive the Sazuke, even those who received miraculous blessings of a physical cure (cancer, kidney/liver failure, leukemia, burn victims), have not continued to come to church, even though they may have visited a few times when ill. I don’t attribute this to my lack of conveying the teachings of a thing lent/a thing borrowed, and how God uses illness to draw people to the teachings. Rather, I just feel it was not their “time” to make a large change in their lifestyles and beliefs. We cannot force anyone to embrace the teachings, whether by the eloquence of our speeches, or the threat of contracting deadly diseases. People need to connect spiritually and be touched by the Everliving Oyasama in order to begin to follow the path, and to continue following the path. As an interesting footnote, it has been nearly two years since I succeeded my father as head minister of Taiheiyo Church. During this time period, there have been around 5-6 people who have started to regularly attending monthly services. Several were Tenrikyo members who had drifted from the path and became reacquainted. The others were people who had little or no contact with Tenrikyo prior to coming to Taiheiyo Church. Today was our September monthly service, and in addition to those new followers, we had the sanctuary “packed to the gills” with family members of those predecessors we were honoring at the Autumn Memorial. There must have been 20-25 people who stepped into the sanctuary at Taiheiyo Church for the first time. It is worth noting that NONE of these people came to the church as a result of anyone telling them that God would start to place an illness as guidance to the world. That said, you may be happy to know that I did mention in my sermon (to be posted in a few minutes) that natural disasters such as the recent hurricanes are the result of the pent up regret and anger of God, due to the rampant self-centered thinking of the children who know not of God’s divine intention, similar to the way our bodies are afflicted by disorders when God desires to show us the misuse of our individual minds. Thank you for your continued dialog and daily efforts to spread the teachings.

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