God the Parent cautions us on the way we use the mind each day, comparing the use of the accord with God's intention to "dust." Particles of dust are so light and minute that they can be blown away by a single puff of breath. If the sweeping is done promptly, dust can be removed easily. But dust accumulates quickly and, if we are negligent, the dust will in time pile up so high that the sweeping will be very difficult no matter how hard we attempt to sweep or wipe the dust away. This is why we are urged to reflect upon the way we use the mind and continue sweeping away the dust of the mind.
In conjunction with the teaching of "dust," let me share the following instruction with you:
Cotton that has just been picked from fields is white and beautiful. But when it is beaten to make cotton wool, dust will arise, although the cotton wool will be soft and clean. When it is spun into yarn, dust will arise again, although the yarn will be spotlessly clean and beautiful. When it is woven into fabric, again dust will arise. But the fabric will be perfectly beautiful and useful. When the fabric is cut to make clothes, yet more dust will arise. The clothes that have just been made are beautiful and free of dust but, while they are stored in a chest, dust will soon settle on them.
Oyasama's teaching of "dust" does not suggest that it is something evil. As the above instruction indicates, dust arises when making cotton, yarn, and fabric, even though these are all spotlessly clean. By the same token, as we use the mind freely while interacting with one another, although the nature of the mind itself can be characterized neither as good nor evil, we unwittingly give rise to the use of the mind that gets in the way of the Joyous Life in which all people can share the joy and delight of living. Thus, the dust of the mind does not mean anything like evils born of an essentially corrupt mind. We must also note that dust can arise and accumulate no matter how perfectly pure we think our mind is.
Oyasama taught the following as dusts of the mind: miserliness, covetousness, hatred, self-love, grudge-bearing, anger, greed, and arrogance. She taught these to help us work on the sweeping of our heart through our constant reflection on the way we use the mind.
(The above is a translation--first published in the May 1995 issue of TENRIKYO--of an article excerpted from Omichi-no-kotoba by Yoshikazu Fukaya, published by Doyusha Publishing Company.)