"Universal Brotherhood"
 (Ichiretsu kyodai)

The term refers to the teaching that all human beings are brothers and sisters, whose Parent is God. All people, without a single exception, were created by God the Parent as equal children of God, and they live by borrowing a body from God the Parent and receiving the same providence of God the Parent. All people in the world are, indeed, members of one and the same family, and they are all beloved children of the same Parent--God. We read in the Divine Directions:

Human beings are children of God, I say. Parents and children, brothers and sisters--they are all in the same position, though they are each born with the truth of their individual minds.

Osashizu, August 9, 1890

There have been difficult journeys. I am sure you have been through all kinds of situations. Because of your determination to stay the course at all costs, however, the path has reached many countries and communities, thus paving the way for genuine brotherhood. Listen and understand the truth of brotherhood. What is called humankind was originally created from one truth. As brothers and sisters, you must demonstrate what true brotherhood means.

Osashizu, May 19, 1895

Some might think that what this teaching is promoting is the same as what is commonly called brotherly love or neighborly love. We should note that the universal brotherhood under discussion does not merely include those who share the same religion or belief. Rather, it implies boundless love that encompasses all people regardless of religion or belief and whether their attitude is hostile or not. The profundity and all-inclusiveness of love indicated by universal brotherhood is grounded in the truth that God is the original Parent of all humanity.

Another thing that should be noted is that this teaching of universal brotherhood does not refer to some ideal or concept to be translated into reality through efforts. Rather, it refers to the point of departure from which all practices of faith should unfold. Put another way, this teaching does not envisage people trying to achieve the ideal state called "universal brotherhood"; the term indicates the original condition for humanity to return to, for human beings were created as brothers and sisters in the first place (Ofudesaki IV:62-63, VI:119, VIII:4-6, XIII:43, XVI:31; Osashizu, October 23, 1887, supp. vol.; May 27, 1889; August 9, 1890; August 2, 1897; August 11, 1898; August 6, 1899).

(This article was first published in the February 2005 issue of TENRIKYO.)