Tenrikyo’s Way of Thinking and Living: Money as a Seed

I have so far discussed the idea that money is a gift from heaven as well as plays the role of joining. It is important to know that money can also be seen as a seed.

Things such as salary and profits are often thought to be a “harvest” in the sense that it is something we receive in return for the things we have done. Many people think that they have full ownership of the money they earn from the work they do and therefore have the freedom to decide what to spend the money on.

As we develop our faith, however, we may start to look at it from a different point of view and come to appreciate the fact that we can only do the work we do because of God the Parent’s blessings. This may then lead us to wish to use some of our money for the path and the wider world based on God the Parent’s intention rather than using it all only for what we want for ourselves and for our lives. Money spent in this way will become a “seed” that will bear the fruit of happiness in return in the future.

In agriculture, if we consume everything that has been harvested in one year, we will have nothing or very little to harvest in the following year. We need to keep some of the crops as seeds for the next year even if it means we have less food to eat in the current year. This is a fundamental way to sustain our lives, a principle that must apply anywhere in the world through all ages. It is based on the same principle that we see money as a “seed.”

Incidentally, there is an old saying that goes, “Out of nothing, nothing comes.” In the Mikagura-uta, the songs for Tenrikyo’s Service, we are taught that “[e]very seed sown here will sprout” (VII:8). This seems to me a very positive message. However, if we sow seeds out of greed or a desire to, for instance, make ever greater profits or grow and harvest crops as quickly as possible at any cost, this cannot be called an act of faith but is rather like a deal based solely on self-interest. This way of thinking must be avoided, as we are taught in the Mikagura-uta (IV:9), “If you have greed, cast it away!”

It is my belief that, if more and more people see money as a seed and live their lives based on that principle, we will be able to come closer to the realization of the Joyous Life.

From Tenrikyo no kangaekata kurashikata published by Doyusha Publishing Company

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