Bestowed by Tenrikyo's headquarters, the sacred gift is of two kinds: that of the Grant of Safe Childbirth and that for general circumstances. The sacred gift of the Grant of Safe Childbirth is prepared by offering rinsed rice at the Kanrodai and performing the Service for Safe Childbirth. Concerning the amount of rice to be used, a Divine Direction (Osashizu, April 3, 1904) indicates that three pinches and three grains should be put into each of the three packets that constitute one gift. The amount is based on the Story of Creation's account of how God conceived humankind over a course of "three days and three nights." The sacred gift for general circumstances, on the other hand, uses rinsed rice offered to Oyasama in the Foundress' Sanctuary. It is bestowed mainly for salvation from illness.
Regarding the efficacy of the sacred gift, we read in the Divine Directions:
It is not the sacred rice itself but the truth of the mind that is effective.
Osashizu, April 3, 1904
Thus, the efficacy does not reside in the material substance itself. Rather, one's simple openness in accepting it as having been made sacred by God is what will allow God's blessings to flow forth.
At present, the sacred gift is in the form of rinsed rice, but, when Oyasama was physically present, it was at first roasted barley powder known as hattaiko that was bestowed as a sacred gift. The powder medicine called san'yaku that was given to Sato Iburi, wife of Izo Iburi, in 1864 was roasted barley powder. In about 1878, the powder was replaced with sugar candy called konpeito, which in turn was replaced with rinsed rice in 1904 as a result of some controversy.(This article was first published in the September 2007 issue of TENRIKYO.)