"Salvation Work" (Otasuke)

Salvation work, which is often paired with "sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings," refers to the act of striving to help others receive the blessings of salvation. Tenrikyo, it may be said, has been spreading through such efforts, put forth by Oyasama and Yoboku--though nothing, of course, would have been possible without the workings of God the Parent.

Since the early days, salvation work conducted in the context of spreading the teachings has involved various methods. This article outlines three of these.

The first method is almost the same as sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. Consider this Divine Direction, which was delivered in response to a "request by Shimizu and Umetani for permission to go to Daikokuya in Ichinomoto to do salvation work":

In this path, if you affirm "God!" and "Oyasama!" in all situations and keep God's directions always firm in your mind, I shall always be with you whether you go one mile, two miles, three miles, or ten miles. Never will you be alone in sudden despair even if you go out to a distant place. From heaven, God will always stand firm in your favor. When two or three gather and talk, they will say, "This is the way my mind has been until now," and "This is the way I have used my mind." Watch and see, for I shall make all speak out in accord with their own minds. Listen and understand well the free and unlimited workings of God.

Osashizu, April 3, 1887, supp. vol.

This passage alludes to a practice that is widely used even to this day. If we share our own experiences when trying to help someone, that person is more likely to allow his or her mind to become open and listen to the teachings of God. This is also referred to in the Ofudesaki (XIV:65-72, 73-78). We read, for instance:

From now on, even if each of you keeps silent, the Parent will enter you and make you begin to speak out.

Ofudesaki XIV:71

A second method of salvation work is trying to help those suffering from illness develop knowledge and understanding regarding their illness. This effort, which may also be directed toward their family members and others concerned, is widely conducted in the context of spreading the teachings. (This practice, of course, is also used among followers themselves as a fairly common aspect of their lives of faith.) Part of the aim of this effort is to encourage a sense of repentance in those with illness and lead them to make a resolution. The Ofudesaki, which provides the basis for this method (XIV:72-78, XVI:37-47), says:

Though until now no one has known the truth of the human mind,

This time, as God is openly revealed, I shall teach you everything about all matters.

I do not indicate anyone in particular by this talk. I shall give notice through bodily disorders.


The third method involves God the Parent enabling us to know the state of mind of those we are trying to help, so that we can work out what to say and what to do to help them understand the teachings. God the Parent thus works for us as we sincerely try to help others purify their minds and awaken to the truth of God the Parent's teachings. The Ofudesaki refers to this process in verses XVII:9-20. For example, we read:

This time, wherever you may be, I shall tell you all about the innermost heart.

Until now, if you were set apart by even one wall, you would know nothing of whatever was said.

Ofudesaki XVII:18-19

All three methods outlined above are based on the workings of God the Parent. Besides these, there are, of course, other methods of salvation work, such as the services and the Sazuke.

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