"Sprinkling the Fragrance of the Teachings"

The Ofudesaki has a reference, in verse XIV:7, to sprinkling the "fragrance" of the teachings, but it is mainly the following verse from the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service, that has shaped Tenrikyo's understanding of this term:

A single word can be hinokishin.
I simply sprinkle My fragrance around.

Mikagura-uta VII:1

By analogy with the image of a flower emitting a sweet fragrance to attract insects, the act of trying to invite people to faith is spoken of as "sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings." This term often occurs in conjunction with "salvation work," which refers to taking it upon oneself to help others receive God's blessings and salvation. The combination of these terms--sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work--often describes the work of spreading the teachings. About "sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings," we read in a Divine Direction:

Only because God works can the fragrance of the teachings be sprinkled--wherever it be done. It goes without saying that this is no ordinary work. No sooner you set out than I am there providing for you, so you can pass safely through any place, however dangerous or frightful it may seem.

Osashizu, July 12, 1893

A handbook outlining the teachings of Tenrikyo says:

There is no better way to repay God for the divine blessings than to convey the teachings of God the Parent, however little, out of our wish to share the joy of faith with others by spreading the teachings throughout the world. It is also a form of hinokishin. This is taught by using the term "sprinkling fragrance."

Yoboku Handbook, pp. 70-71

This passage suggests that one primary focus of "sprinkling fragrance" is to convey the teachings, though the specific process described here is merely one example.

Also, besides conveying the teachings, one may need to administer the Sazuke depending on the circumstances. Such efforts are usually referred to as "salvation work" but could also be seen as "sprinkling the fragrance" in a broad sense.

Tenrikyo distinguishes two main areas of mission--the "vertical mission" (handing down the teachings to the next generation) and the "horizontal mission" (sharing the teachings in wider circles). What constitutes the central core of the horizontal mission is sprinkling the fragrance and engaging in salvation work.

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