Tenrikyo’s Way of Thinking and Living: Various Concepts of Parent

From the word “parent,” people in general only think of their immediate parents who bore and raised them. In Tenrikyo, however, this word is interpreted in a broader sense.

Most importantly, the word signifies “God of Origin, God in Truth” who created human beings and continues to work in our bodies. Seeing God as the true Parent of humankind, Tenrikyo followers use the phrase “God the Parent” to refer to God and worship by intoning the divine name “Tenri-O-no-Mikoto.”

All human beings are children of God the Parent, regardless of nationality, religion, and other differences; some people understand this truth clearly, but others do not. It was Tenrikyo’s Foundress, Miki Nakayama, who, having been settled as the “Shrine of God,” taught us about the existence and the parental heart of God the Parent, and we can refer to Her as the “Parent of the Teaching.” We thus call the Foundress “Oyasama” with adoration. (“Oya” means “parent,” and “sama” is a Japanese honorific suffix.)

God the Parent resides at Jiba, where Tenrikyo Church Headquarters is located, and the area surrounding it is referred to as the Home of the Parent.

People taking the role of providing guidance for those who have not yet known of God the Parent, Oyasama, or the Home of the Parent may be regarded as “spiritual parents”; those who have received guidance may be considered as “spiritual children.” However, they are both equally children of God the Parent.

We all feel a sense of gratitude toward our immediate parents who can be physically seen. However, that alone is not sufficient to make us spiritually mature or enable us to make progress toward the Joyous Life World desired by God the Parent. As soon as possible, we should all learn of God the Parent, the true Parent of all humanity, follow Oyasama’s example, and strive to take Her heart as our own in everyday life.

Although our immediate parents pass away someday, God the Parent and Oyasama are eternal. The same is true of the Home of the Parent. When realizing these truths, we can attain great peace of mind.

From Tenrikyo no kangaekata kurashikata published by Doyusha Publishing Company

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