We live in an era where various forms of freedom, such as political freedom and freedom of speech, are emphasized. This is because freedom has a profound connection to human happiness.
In Tenrikyo, particular importance is placed on the freedom of mind, while there is not much discussion about social freedom. This is not to imply that social freedom is disregarded; rather, the freedom of mind is considered the foundation for all other forms of freedom.
In the Osashizu, one of Tenrikyo’s Three Scriptures, we are taught:
With human beings: the body is a thing borrowed, the mind alone is yours.
Osashizu, February 14, 1889
The passage tells us that we borrow our bodies from God the Parent and that only our minds can be considered our own. Furthermore, the essence of our minds is freedom.
Thus, we have the ability to think about anything with our minds. We can even let our thoughts travel thousands of years to the past and tens of thousands of kilometers to distant countries, transcending time and space. Our bodies, which are bound to physical reality, do not enjoy such freedom.
We can also use the mind in both positive and negative ways, but since the mind is ours, the consequences of our use of the mind will all return to us. In that sense, freedom comes with heavy responsibility.
It is also worth noting that, though the mind is free, it is not without limitations. While we may wish for happiness, it does not always come our way, and although we have the freedom to wish for success, our efforts often end in failure. If the ability to make all our thoughts become reality is a mark of total freedom, then our minds do not enjoy total freedom. This is an important point to ponder.
God the Parent intends to have us savor that kind of freedom, which is sometimes referred to as “free and unlimited workings.” We may wonder where the free and unlimited workings can be found. Regarding this, we are taught:
What I call free and unlimited workings flow from the moment-to-moment presence of sincerity in the mind of each of you.
Osashizu, December 7, 1888
In other words, if, by utilizing the freedom of mind, we attain true sincerity focused on helping save others, we can enjoy free and unlimited workings.
From Tenrikyo no kangaekata kurashikata published by Doyusha Publishing Company