Insights into the Anecdotes: Kunisaburo Moroi (1840–1918), Anecdote 187 “Solely to Jiba”

The Anecdote (Summary)

Kunisaburo Moroi was so saddened by the passing of his three-year-old fourth daughter, Hide, that he returned to Jiba in June 1886. “I may have been mistaken about some things, so please let me know my shortcomings,” he said to Oyasama.

Oyasama gave him these words: “Sah, sah, concerning your child, three years was the life of the child. For the rest of your life, the heart of a three-year-old child. Unite your heart solely to Jiba. If you unite your heart solely to Jiba, then roots will spread to four sides. If the roots spread to four sides, even if one side decays, three sides will remain. If two sides decay, two sides will remain. Strong buds shall sprout.”

Treasure” Received after a Major Challenge

by Michitaka Moroi, Head Minister of Yamana Grand Church

Kunisaburo was born in a farming family in 1840 in what is now known as Hirooka, Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture. He went to Edo (now known as Tokyo), managed to secure a position serving a direct retainer of the shogun, and lived as a samurai warrior during the turbulent final years of the Edo Period. When the Meiji Restoration happened in 1868, he quit being a samurai warrior. Seeking to serve “national interests and the people’s welfare,” he decided to open a new business based on agriculture. He returned to his hometown and started sericulture, silk reeling, and textile weaving.

Through Third Daughter Being Saved from Illness

How Kunisaburo embraced the faith must have been due to the wondrous divine guidance of God the Parent. On October 14, 1882, his head clerk, who had gone on business to Hachioji, brought home a young man he happened to meet. Thereupon arrangements were made for the young man, Yasoji Kichimoto, to work for Kunisaburo while living with the Moroi family for the time being.

About two months later, another live-in suffered from a toothache. Unable to sit there and watch her in pain, Kichimoto poured water into a cup, offered it to the Moon in the sky, and let the sufferer drink the water, saying, “I have now apologized to Tsukihi (Moon-Sun).” Thereupon, the woman fell asleep and, by the next morning, the pain had completely disappeared.

Kunisaburo, who heard about this from his wife, Sono, called in Kichimoto and asked him about what appeared to be unusual religious faith. Kichimoto told Kunisaburo that he had been cured of his eye disease by Oyasama and that he was a follower belonging to the Osaka Shinmei Fellowship. The teachings deeply impressed Kunisaburo. However, he said to Kichimoto: “I am a business manager and have some debts, so I will not be able to practice the faith. Yet there are others suffering from illnesses in the village. I want you to cure them with your faith.” After that, Kichimoto’s prayers saved seven or eight seriously sick people one after another. When the Lunar New Year festival approached, he left the Moroi family, saying, “I will participate in rice cake pounding at the Residence.”

Approximately ten days later, Kunisaburo’s two-year-old third daughter, Koshi, suffered from a throat disease and deteriorated into a critical condition. His wife, Sono, begged Kunisaburo with desperate hope to embrace the faith, saying, “There is no other way than praying to Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, about whom we heard from Kichimoto.” He was initially opposed to the idea but, moved by his wife’s firm determination, he decided to trust in Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. They earnestly prayed in front of their home altar: “Namu, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, we, husband and wife, will follow the path together from now on. Please save our little baby.” Then, their daughter’s condition began to improve, and she was completely cured in three days. It was February 1, 1883. Kunisaburo was forty-four years old.

“I Shall Leave the East of the Country to You”

Shortly thereafter, Kunisaburo left for Jiba to express his thanks and reached the Residence on the sixth day. He was granted an audience with Oyasama for the first time. At that time, Oyasama conducted a contest of strength and said, “Twice as much strength is on the side of God.” (See Anecdotes of Oyasama, no. 118, “On the Side of God.”) He resolved to follow the path of single-heartedness with God as a result of his audience with Oyasama.

After he returned home, he established a fellowship with those who had been saved by Kichimoto before, and he became its head. In March of the same year, Naokichi Takai, Yosaburo Miyamori, Umejiro Izutsu, and Zenkichi Tachibana were dispatched from the Residence. They taught the “Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo” and “Song One” of the service. At that time, the fellowship was named “Totomi Shinmei Fellowship,” and the followers started performing the service even though it was not perfect yet.

Kunisaburo returned to Jiba in September for a second stay. He mastered the whole of the service including the Twelve Songs in four days. During his stay in Jiba, he received the following words of God through Izo Iburi: “After you return home and perform the service, I shall draw forth sixty percent of the people in the country. Yet it depends on your mind.” In fact, instances of wondrous salvation began to appear one after another through the truth of the service, leading to increasing numbers of people gathering at the fellowship, and the path spread throughout the whole Enshu area (the western part of what is now known as Shizuoka Prefecture).

On the other hand, his business was dogged by multiple factors such as unseasonable weather. After much consideration on the matter, he decided to quit his business altogether and work exclusively for the path in January 1884 on his wife’s advice. They sold off their household goods to make money for missionary work and spent all their time doing salvation work. Oyasama said to Kunisaburo, “Mr. Moroi, I shall leave the east of the country to you.” Thus, he expanded his mission from the Enshu area to include the Kanto area and was always on the go for missionary activities.

Misfortune on Their Journey of Single-Heartedness with God

The anecdote appearing at the beginning of this chapter revolves around a sad event that happened suddenly while Kunisaburo was working exclusively for the path. Hide, who turned three in June 1886, had been born after the Grant of Safe Childbirth had been bestowed by Oyasama. (See Anecdotes of Oyasama, no. 151, “Grant for Safe Childbirth.”)

She was growing up healthily without suffering from any illnesses, not even a cold. Yet one morning she suddenly went into convulsions and passed away for rebirth within the day. Kunisaburo could not hold a funeral because he was in the depths of poverty.

The sudden misfortune happened while he was devoting himself to single-heartedness with God. Kunisaburo could not stop his tears. It must have been hard for him to wipe away his sorrow and his doubts about the faith as his mind kept wondering “why this happened despite our devotion to the path.” Immediately, he returned to the Residence and asked Oyasama. However, what She said was “three years was the life of the child,” which he had never expected.

After merely hearing these words from Oyasama, perhaps he could not understand what causality she had carried over from previous lives—or what mission she had been on—that made it necessary for her life to end in her third year. Nevertheless, he obediently accepted Her instructions to keep his mind as fresh and new as that of a three-year-old child and unite his mind with Jiba alone. He put away his doubts as he sought the path of salvation in Jiba alone. He firmly believed that the path would take root everywhere, resulting in large buds sprouting, and he devoted himself to single-hearted salvation even more earnestly than before. In this way, he overcame his sadness.

Not long after this, Sono became pregnant again. Subsequently, a baby girl was born and named Roku. Then, in February 1888, at only ten months, she received the Sazuke of Water, which was also referred to as a souvenir. A lot of people were later to be saved through the wondrous effectiveness of this Sazuke. In the Moroi family, it is believed that Hide was reborn as Roku.

Walking the Path without Giving Up

Kunisaburo probably could not easily understand the meaning of his daughter’s passing away for rebirth. Yet I believe that he followed the path trusting in Oyasama without giving up on the faith. In Anecdotes of Oyasama, no. 171, “The Mountain of Treasure,” Oyasama teaches us: “If you go to the summit you will receive something marvelous. But since one turns back because of dangers on the way, one does not receive the treasure.” In fact, the exact same words are recorded in Kunisaburo’s autobiography, which is based on transcriptions of his talks. Although it is not clear whether he heard these words from Oyasama before or after his daughter’s passing, it can be inferred that he must have been one of the people who heard them from Oyasama directly.

Regarding these words of Oyasama, Kunisaburo said in his later years: “People working for single-hearted salvation may increasingly face difficulties. Many who worry about the times ahead may revert to their former ways and start working for their own living again. If we continue working for the path of single-hearted salvation by resolving that we will gladly endure any trials and tribulations—including having nothing to eat—and will even die for the path of single-hearted salvation, God will surely give us merit. This is what Oyasama meant. . . . I decided that, since this path was the true path, I would follow it through once I started to follow it and, as a result, I have been wonderfully blessed to become what I am today.” He thus related Oyasama’s message to what he experienced in his own life, in which he overcame a number of major challenges including his daughter’s passing away for rebirth.

From time to time, we are faced with various challenges in our lives. On such occasions we are often unable to understand the intention of God the Parent and, consequently, we may doubt the path or lose our way. I believe, however, that the most certain way to be blessed with fruits in the end is to never give up no matter what tough situations we may face and to continue moving forward on the path we trust in, as Kunisaburo did.

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

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