After Oyasama became the Shrine of Tsukihi on October 26, 1838, She committed Herself to the task of conveying God the Parent's intention to us human beings.
Strangely enough, however, while She had been looked up to as an impeccable housewife and had even been revered like a living goddess because of Her gentle and caring nature, She now had to face the mockery and derision of Her fellow villagers who felt that She had been possessed or gone crazy. Before She became the Shrine of God, everyone considered Her to be like a goddess, but after She became the Shrine, people called Her names. Though this does not sound like the way it should have been, this was actually what happened. But why?
Up until the day when Oyasama was settled as the Shrine, She had lived consistently in a manner that was considered supreme for a human being and ideal for a woman. Thus, even if Her conduct may have at times appeared too noble to be imitated by a regular person, people could still appreciate everything She did from the viewpoint of the world's common sense. After October 1838, however, She abided by nothing else but the intention of God the Parent, which is to say that She spoke and acted in accordance with God's intention alone. I imagine that it was as though She had become totally oblivious to the set of values people shared. A lot of things She did could not be measured against the yardstick of common sense. Not realizing that their yardstick was too small and, more significant, distorted, people applied it to everything She said and everything She did and thus regarded the things that did not accord with their standard as absolutely wrong. We can see how this led the villagers to ridicule and jeer at Oyasama.
Surely, Oyasama did not choose to do things that would only appear strange to people. She was consistently single-hearted in following the intention of God the Parent, regardless of whether abiding by the intention of God the Parent would cause Her to deviate from the norms and customs of society at large and whether She would consequently be ridiculed by people or be confronted with opposition from society and persecution by authorities. This is to say that She taught us the frame of mind that enables us to maintain God the Parent's intention alone as the standard for every action and God the Parent's teaching alone as the dependable guide to our lives. And we refer to this frame of mind as "single-heartedness with God."
The prime objective of the Divine Model, which Oyasama demonstrated through Her own example for fifty years, was precisely to show us how to be "single-hearted with God." Only by maintaining the frame of mind that is single-hearted with God as the backbone of our lives, just as demonstrated in the Divine Model, can we live a life of joy as originally intended.
The expressions "the life of single-heartedness with God" and "the journey of single-heartedness with God" seem to give some people a mistaken impression that they refer to a special way of living intended only for church head ministers and fulltime missionaries and therefore have nothing to do with their own lives.
"Single-heartedness" refers to the condition of a mind that abides by one thing. It represents an undistracted mind that pays attention only to one thing. Therefore, we would be totally opposite to being single-hearted with God if our faith in God were motivated by our desire to make our security doubly certain while sticking to the norms and practices of society at large and depending upon a variety of worldly resources, such as education, social status, and wealth, or if we separated the realm of faith completely from that of mundane affairs, thereby shifting from one to the other depending on the circumstances. The spirit of single-heartedness with God thus entails freeing ourselves from our concern about social respectability and common sense, appreciating fully the joy of being enabled to live by God the Parent, and basing our assessment of everything on the teaching alone, thereby trying to put ourselves in accord with God the Parent's intention.
This does not mean, however, that it only concerns people who live in a manner that appears completely different from, and foreign to, regular people's life styles. Please remember: no matter what occupation we may have, and no matter what life style we may have, depending upon our minds, we can lead our lives in a way that is single-hearted with God. If we remind ourselves to appreciate God's blessings given to us each day and make thorough efforts to use our minds in accordance with God the Parent's intention alone, we will be able to live in a manner that is single-hearted with God even while carrying on with our respective job.
After gaining a deep insight into God's intention and becoming less concerned about our convenience, we may choose to live our whole life as a full-time missionary. Surely, this is an outstanding way of living that can be single-hearted with God. We must remember, however, that even if we serve our churches or the Path day in, day out, unless we use our minds in accordance with God's intention ridding ourselves of even the slightest tendency to look to some worldly resources for security, we cannot be said to be single-hearted with God.
The path Oyasama taught us is not at all like the path of mountain ascetics and hermits, which requires one to go through rigorous spiritual training in isolation from the world for the purpose of attaining enlightenment or acquiring superhuman powers. Rather, Her path teaches us how to live in the world in the manner originally intended for human beings, thereby enjoying the life of joy in its true sense. Thus, She taught us the way of living a life of faith, not in isolation, but in relationship with one another.
(The above is a translation--first published in the March 1995 issue of TENRIKYO--of an article excerpted from Omichi-no-kotoba by Yoshikazu Fukaya, published by Doyusha Publishing Company.)