Insights into the Anecdotes: Naraito Ueda (1863–1937), Anecdote 48: “Waiting, Waiting”

The Anecdote

Around two o’clock in the afternoon of November 9, 1876, Kajiro Ueda was leaving for the Tenjin Festival at Kayo. Suddenly his daughter Naraito, who was weaving, began to cry, “Iwagami-san of Furu with his great mass of hair is descending on me. I’m frightened.”

Later, she was administered all possible medical treatment without success. Through the devoted efforts of Yahei Nishiura, a neighbor, the Ueda family entered the faith and Naraito gradually recovered. She returned to Jiba the following month and was received by Oyasama who graciously said to her: “I have been waiting, waiting. You were My aunt who saved Me five generations ago.” She was completely cured in three days. Naraito was then fourteen years old.

 

Single Life in the Spirit of Single-Heartedness with God

by Yoshiyo Ueda, Honbu-in

 

Naraito Ueda was adopted by Oyasama as a daughter, remained single for her whole life as instructed by Oyasama, and succeeded the Honseki in the position of bestowing the truth of the Sazuke. She was born in Sonowara Village, Yamabe County (now a section of Tenri City known as Sonohara-cho) on February 23, 1863, five years before the Meiji Period began.

It is said that, as a child, she was big for her age and was smart. She was also dexterous with her hands so that she was already good at needlework and weaving when she was about thirteen years old.

 

Adopted by God

One day in 1876 a sudden, unexpected incident happened. Naraito began to cry, saying: “God is descending on me. I’m frightened.” Having changed drastically from who she had been, Naraito now appeared to be suffering from a mental illness. She repeatedly washed her hands, saying that they were dirty. She also said, “The interior must be cleaned,” and she cleaned every corner of the house while urging her brothers to clean up as well. Yet, when she calmed down, she would be withdrawn and immobile for hours. As her condition persisted, her father, Kasuke (later renamed Kajiro), prayed to various gods and buddhas for her recovery. When no efficacy was shown, however, he found himself at a loss.

Around that time, the fragrance of the teachings was sprinkled on the Uedas by Yahei Nishiura, who lived next door. Kahei was so stubborn by nature that he was unwilling to go to the Residence, saying, “I do not like these new popular religions.” However, he was shown a wondrous blessing, which made him interested in the teachings, and returned to the Residence with Naraito. Then Oyasama said: “I have been waiting, waiting. You were My aunt who saved Me five generations ago. I will make repayment by having you enjoy joyous play in this life.” Naraito was blessed with a complete recovery in three days, and the whole family came to embrace the faith. It is said that, once Kasuke started following the path, his stubborn nature ensured that his faith remained firm and solid.

In 1877, Naraito received Oyasama’s words “Kokyu, kokyu.”[1] (See Anecdotes of Oyasama, no. 55, “Kokyu, kokyu.”)

On February 23, 1879, during the period when Naraito was often visiting the Residence, Oyasama said: “Naraito will save others in her role as the shrine of Atsukenmiyo (or Akken myo-o),[2] with her body having been received by God. Therefore, she will be totally under God’s care.” Thus, Oyasama adopted her as a daughter. She was seventeen years old at that time. Naraito was to perform the work of single-heartedness with God, remaining single throughout her life.

 

Serving Oyasama by Her Side

Years later, Naraito recalled the days when she served Oyasama by Her side, saying: “I was allowed to help with various tasks such as making amulets and wrapping the sacred gift of konpeito.[3] At one time, Oyasama beckoned to me, ‘Come and warm yourself at the kotatsu heater.’ Putting my hands under the kotatsu quilt, I came into contact with Her hands. When I hastily withdrew my hands, She held and pulled them, saying, ‘You need not be reserved; warm yourself.’” This account provides a remarkable insight into how lovingly Oyasama’s warmth embraces us.

When Naraito returned to her parents’ home in Sonowara from time to time, Oyasama said: “Please bring her back. I feel very lonely.” Thus, Oyasama had Naraito stay by Her side and taught and trained her in everyday life situations and through timely instructions.

It is said that Oyasama once mentioned: “I am eagerly waiting for her to mature. I am eagerly waiting for her to reach forty. God has a deep, profound intention.”

Narajiro Kajimoto, who knew Naraito in those days, recalled: “She was a very hard worker. She quietly worked on one task after another without chatting with others so that she got a lot of work done. She disliked speaking ill of others. She never spoke ill of others. She did not like to hear others do so, either. I was impressed with her attitude.”

Naraito wrote down some of the core teachings, which included the following: “One can be assured of being saved if one solely devotes oneself to helping save the mind of others without speaking or thinking ill of anyone behind his or her back. True sincerity will measure up to the truth of heaven.” She herself faithfully put this teaching into practice.

After Oyasama withdrew from physical life, Naraito had no one to serve and no particular tasks to perform so that she occasionally became discouraged. Yet she was nurtured by the everliving Oyasama’s warm parental love shown through the Divine Directions. While Naraito was unable to settle her mind easily, Oyasama patiently continued to nurture and train her so that she could achieve spiritual growth necessary to work as an instrument of God the Parent. We can vividly feel Oyasama’s boundless parental love in the Divine Directions that were given to Naraito.

My father, Yoshinaru Ueda,[4] was trained by Naraito until he reached the age of thirty. Let me share some of the stories he told me. One year, when a cherry tree blossomed beautifully in Naraito’s garden, my father said to her, “Cherry blossoms are very beautiful, aren’t they?” She replied with just a few words: “Look at the root.” The remark became a lesson that he never forgot for the rest of his life.

She loved children very much. When she saw her family members scold small children, she said: “You should not scold small children. We should cherish them because our ancestors are reborn as our children.”

At the end of 1936, when Yoshinaru’s younger sister Takie came home to visit her, Naraito told her, “I am going shortly.” When Takie asked, “Where are you going?” she replied: “I am going to go where Grandmother [Oyasama] is. I will be back soon.” Not long afterward, she passed away for rebirth peacefully at the age of seventy-five at 2:20 a.m. on January 12, 1937. Just before her passing, she wrote: “Pine, bamboo, plum—there will be a happy settling.” Naraito never forgot the day when she had been saved. As she sought to bring joy and satisfaction to the everliving Oyasama—who is the true Parent—she followed Oyasama’s instructions throughout her life. Her life is a model for us to emulate and preserve for endless generations.

 

Bringing Joy to Oyasama

There are records showing that Oyasama welcomed not just Naraito but various people who returned to the Residence, saying that She had been “waiting, waiting,” the quoted phrase being the title of the anecdote appearing at the beginning of this section.

We read in the Ofudesaki, The Tip of the Writing Brush:

 

About causality: though people are numerous, never think that I discriminate among any of you.

 

To God, who began this world, all of you in the world are equally My beloved children.

IV: 61–62

 

Oyasama, whose parental love is expressed in these verses, welcomes everyone warmly, saying that She has been “waiting, waiting.” She is indeed eagerly waiting for all people to return to the Residence.

When Naraito visited the Residence for the first time, Oyasama told her: “I will make repayment by having you enjoy joyous play in this life.” What does “joyous play” mean? Having reflected on it while looking back at Naraito’s life, I cannot help but think that “joyous play” was her life of single-heartedness with God. Oyasama told her to “remain single for life” when she was still only seventeen years old. Despite all the knots of difficulty she faced, she faithfully followed Oyasama’s words and remained completely dedicated to the work of single-heartedness with God as intended by Oyasama. The life Naraito lived in single-heartedness with God must itself have been “joyous play.” I imagine that the days when she served Oyasama while living in single-heartedness with God and working for single-hearted salvation must have been filled with joy and brightness.

Regardless of differences in our positions and duties, we would all do well to visit the everliving Oyasama often, talk to Her with the simplicity of a small child, and try to bring joy to Her in our lives. Then paradise will truly be realized on earth, and all people in the world will return to meet their true Parent, saying, “I, too, wish to go quickly to worship.” Oyasama will welcome everyone with a big smile and say that She has been “waiting, waiting.”

From Itsuwa no kokoro tazunete—gendai ni ikiru Oyasama no oshie, published by Tenrikyo Doyusha Publishing Company

[1] . One of the musical instruments used for the Service is called “kokyu.” Oyasama was saying that Naraito should learn to play it.

[2]. The waka-style text of the Story of the Divine Record dating from 1881 links Atsukenmiyo to God’s workings associated with childbirth.

[3]. In those days, Oyasama gave people a sugar candy called “konpeito” as a sacred gift.

[4]. Yoshinaru Ueda is the son of Naraito’s nephew Narataro.

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