Tenrikyo Terminology—Excerpt from Tenrikyo Jiten: “Water” (Mizu)

“Water” (Mizu)

Water is used as a metaphorical, symbolical expression of the providence of God the Parent. The metaphor of water often plays a prominent role in explaining the teachings.

1) As a metaphor for the providence of God the Parent, water may symbolize the way God the Parent works to save human beings by purifying the human mind. Again, water sometimes occurs as part of the compound “fire-water-wind,” which indicates God the Parent’s providence that gives life to all existence. For example:


Take warning: fire, water, and wind will withdraw from the three deemed as right-hand men among the ten.

Ofudesaki VI:21


God, the same as water, Washes away the dirts from your minds

Mikagura-uta V:3


Sah, sah, where there is sincerity, you shall receive sincerity. You may not know what My sincerity is. It is My providence—fire, water, and wind.

Osashizu, January 13, 1887


2)Using water as a metaphor for the human mind, the Scriptures encourage people to make the mind as clear as springwater so that it may accurately mirror the mind of God the Parent. Again, they caution against greed, which is insatiable and described as being turbid like muddy water, and urge people to let go of the self-centered imagination and quickly purify the mind. For example:


From now on, I shall speak in the metaphor of water. Be enlightened by the words “clear” and “muddy.”

Ofudesaki III:7


Greed is fathomless like muddy water. When your mind is completely purified, Then comes paradise.

Mikagura-uta X:4

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