Jiba, the Residence, the Home of the Parent--Returning to Jiba-- (Jiba Yashiki Oyasato)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

Although the terms "jiba," "residence," and "oyasato (home of the parent)" are in general use in society at large, each of these has a special meaning and refers to a special place among Tenrikyo followers.

In general usage, "jiba" can variously mean "place," "land," "spot," or "locale." In Tenrikyo, however, it specifically refers to the spot at the center of the Main Sanctuary of Church Headquarters that is marked by the wooden stand called the Kanrodai. It is the place where God the Parent, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, resides, and we pray to God the Parent through the Jiba-Kanrodai. This "Jiba" is the very place where humans were first conceived at the time of creation. It is the original home of humankind and the source of life that cannot be found anywhere else. Perhaps strong feelings of intimacy are meant to be evoked by phrases handed down by oral tradition such as "Jiba is the place where your jiji (grandfather) and baba (grandmother) are," and "Jiba is to be near by your oya (parents)."

The act of coming to Jiba to worship is referred to as "coming home" or "returning" to Jiba, as it is none other than returning to one's parental home. Also, the proper way to greet someone returning to the home of humankind and the place where God the Parent and Oyasama reside is not "Welcome" or "Glad you could come," but "Welcome home."

In this way, "Welcome home" is a common greeting not only at Church Headquarters, but also at the followers dormitories scattered about Tenri City. Therefore, there are cases when we refer to this larger area as "Jiba." Historically, although "Jiba" originally meant "the spot where humans were conceived," its meaning expanded to also mean "the Residence where the Jiba is located," "the place where Tenrikyo Church Headquarters is," and even "Church Headquarters and the whole surrounding area that includes all the followers dormitories." In the Divine Directions, the word "Jiba" is used in different ways, reflecting an expansion of its meaning in the minds of followers.

However, in the Ofudesaki, we read:

Prepare your minds for the place of the Jiba, the place where the Kanrodai is to be set up.

Ofudesaki IX:19

Thus, "Jiba," in its strictest doctrinal sense, is the very spot where the Kanrodai is set up. It is also the place to which the name of God, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, has been bestowed and where God the Parent resides. The Mikagura-uta says the Jiba is "the abode of God" (Song XI:1). The Jiba is where we pray to the True Parent, God the Parent.

"The Residence" originally referred to the Residence where Oyasama lived. In the Ofudesaki, it is "the place known as the Nakayama Residence" (XI:70) and "the Residence where [God] began human beings" (IV:55). It is the Residence where the Jiba of Origin is located. Thus in the beginning, "the Residence" referred to the very buildings where the Nakayama family lived from the time the Teaching was founded in 1838. As the path expanded, it also began to mean the place where Church Headquarters was located, and as the premises surrounding Church Headquarters grew, so did the area represented by words "the Residence." We are told that Oyasama once said, "The divine Residence will become eight cho (872 meters) square."*

The entire area that includes the Residence, surrounding facilities, and followers dormitories is called "Oyasato" or "the Home of the Parent," which also means the home of humankind itself.

Oyasama also once said: "Someday this neighborhood will be filled with buildings. Buildings will line the street for 28 kilometers (17.4 mi.) between Nara and Hase. An area of four kilometers square will be filled with inns."* Therefore, as the minds of all the people of the world mature, the world's home will also become increasingly vibrant and lively.

The three terms "Jiba," "the Residence," and "the Home of the Parent," can be differentiated as follows: first is "Jiba," the origin of the world; then, "the Residence," where the Jiba of Origin is located; and "the Home of the Parent" which, including the Residence, is an area that is even larger in size.

Thus a person who, upon arrival in Tenri, takes a rest at his or her followers dormitory without going to pay his or her respects at the Kanrodai in the Main Sanctuary can be said to have entered a tiny corner in "the Home of the Parent," yet this person by no means can claim to have truly returned to Jiba. We must always keep this in mind.

* Refer to Anecdotes of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, p.78