In a Divine Direction, we read:
You are bound to go through a number of knots in the course of following the path year after year.
Osashizu, February 21, 1889
We may encounter illnesses and other troubles while taking steps along the path of faith. We might face unexpected hardships even if we are devoting ourselves to the path, trying to measure up to God the Parent's intention in any way possible. Oyasama taught us that such difficulties are "knots."
Knots, in the sense of tree and bamboo nodes, are very hard. We could say that trees and bamboos can be easily broken at these knots. Yet it is important to realize that only because knots exist, can buds sprout. To put it another way, knots bring forth new life. We may encounter one knot after another while walking the path. Some of them may cause us to feel great suffering. There may be cases where formidable problems drive us into a corner. Yet, if we exert utmost efforts to live up to God the Parent's intention, we do not have to worry about such knots. So long as we rely entirely on God the Parent and advance our steps along the path in high spirits, we will get through any illnesses or any other problems. In fact, these knots will even enable us to enhance our joy greatly. It is safe to say that knots are opportunities for taking a significant leap in our spiritual growth.
Another Divine Direction says:
What is painful is a knot, from which buds will sprout. Have a spacious mind that allows you to accept your pain as a knot and a source of delight.
Osashizu, March 5, 1894
What is vital is that, especially at times when we are shown knots, we must strive to follow the path ever more spiritedly in a manner that accords with God the Parent's intention.
There can be a variety of knots. We might encounter illnesses, calamities, and other troubles that affect us individually, but some knots may involve all our family members and even relatives. Some knots might best be dealt with by one's church, and some may require the attention of the entire Tenrikyo community. Again, among such knots as traffic accidents, massive fires, droughts, floods, severe storms, and earthquakes, some might affect just the local community or district concerned, but others may have an effect on a whole country or even the entire human race.
As for those of us followers of the path, the most significant knot that we have ever had is Oyasama's withdrawal from physical life in 1887. Since then, the anniversaries of Oyasama, which we observe once every ten years, have also been regarded as important knots. Oyasama's anniversaries are, indeed, springboards for us to take a great stride along the path by reflecting upon Her parental love and perceiving Her expectations for us with a sense of gratitude for the marvelous blessings we receive each day.