"Joy" (Yoki)

This term refers to a bright and refreshed state of mind. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo says:

A bright and spirited mind is a joyous mind. By living each day with this joyous mind, we shall find true happiness and shall feel that life is indeed worth living.

p. 73

Tenrikyo is working toward the realization of the Joyous Life, which is the purpose for which God the Parent created humankind. Says the Ofudesaki:

The reason Tsukihi began human beings was the desire to see you lead a joyous life.


Encouraging us to become joyous, God says:

As I am always in haste to save you,
Quickly become joyful and come to Me!

Mikagura-uta IV:5

God the Parent instructs us to replace the mind so that we can become joyous.

From now on, firmly replace the mind and become the mind of joyousness.

Ofudesaki XIV:24

The word "joyousness" here is meant to indicate the state of being filled solely with joy. In order to bring about joyousness, God teaches the Service (sometimes called the Joyous Service) and sweeps our minds clean, thereby allowing them to become spirited. Thus, the Ofudesaki says:

Joy in everything is all by the Service. I shall teach you every kind of marvel.


When God accomplishes the sweeping of all humankind, you will be spirited and full of joy.


Making the mind spirited day by day, Tsukihi will work to make the world be filled with joy.


However, if we let something weigh on our mind, we cannot become joyous. A Divine Direction says, "If something is weighing on your mind, your state of mind cannot be called joyous" (Osashizu, October 12, 1888). Indeed, if we allow ourselves to be caught up in our worry, we can spoil our enjoyment of any recreational activity we may be doing, for instance. Perhaps, that is why the state of joy under discussion is sometimes explained by analogy with "play" or an "outing." A Divine Direction says, "What makes God spirited is what one might call joyous play" (Osashizu, June 17, 1890). The frame of mind that allows this to occur comes from a deep sense of joy and gratitude for being enabled to be alive through the loan of the body, described as "a thing lent by God, a thing borrowed." The Divine Directions tell us:

If you find delight in life each day, feeling, "Ah, how truly blessed I am!" then it is the same as playing joyously here and playing joyously there.

Osashizu, March 14, 1902

Life is good today and will be so tomorrow. Play joyously without forming any thoughts or words in your mind.

Osashizu, June 5, 1897

The frame of mind implied in these passages, we may also say, is brought about by the knowledge and conviction that this path emanates from none other than God and that whatever is happening never needs to worry us so long as we live in confident reliance on God the Parent. Such a frame of mind may be likened to that of children who are playing, secure in the knowledge that their parents are watching over them. Remaining in such a frame of mind and exerting our full measure of sincerity to follow the path come what may is what is meant by "being spirited." The state of mind called "worry" does not arise therein. The Divine Directions tell us, for example:

You must set your mind not to worry. Where there would otherwise be joy, you are creating worries day after day.

Osashizu, June 3, 1891

Take single-heartedness with God for real and settle it in your mind. . . . It is the mind that has been experiencing the suffering. Take delight. If you correct your state of mind, you will find that there is no suffering. I have already told you about joyous play.

Osashizu, May 31, 1895

Incidentally, perhaps we have a selfish tendency to equate having peace of mind with "things going the way we want them to" and assume that "joyous play" means nothing more than enjoying ourselves with no cares in the world. To counter this tendency, God cautions us:

There is God-guided joy and self-serving joy. You cannot follow through with self-serving joy, even if you try to. Only when your joy brings joy to others, can it be called true joy. If you enjoy yourselves while causing others to suffer, this cannot be called true joy.

Osashizu, December 11, 1897

Human beings ought to live in harmony with one another. A Divine Direction, referring to the early days of this path, says:

Those who had no relevant knowledge got together to follow the path without saying anything about who is higher in rank than whom. . . . In the early days, people [made sincere efforts]* befitting their years, and now they are enjoying the path of nature together. . . . I want you to join together like the five fingers on a hand. Even among those whom others are belittling, there is no telling how great some will become if they stay anchored in the one truth as they gain years. . . . (Further:) This I tell you: if you connect with one another and implement dedication together while settling your minds in joy, the five fingers will prosper further.

Osashizu, September 14, 1900

We ought to help one another, besides relying totally on God, if we are to bring the Joyous Life to realization. One aspect of this effort lies in following the path of exerting layer upon layer of sincerity--that is, the path of ordering our fundamental priorities. A Divine Direction says:

Secure one part after another. Fit the parts together, one by one. Once fitted together, they will make a strong whole. Then will follow the Joyous Life. Nothing is so strong as the mind.

Osashizu, April 2, 1907

Thus, maintaining harmony, which will give rise to spiritedness, will allow us to savor "joyousness."

However long you may continue to believe,
Your life shall ever be filled with joy.

Mikagura-uta V:5

* Material within these brackets supplied by the author of this article.

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