There Is No Discrimination Between Female Pine and Male Pine (Mematsu omatsu no hedate-nashi)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

The Ofudesaki, which Oyasama wrote by personally taking up the writing brush, teaches:

Of these trees, I do not say whether male pine or female pine. Tsukihi has an intention for any tree.

Ofudesaki VII:21

What Oyasama teaches us through a series of verses including this one is as follows: "In order to construct the true Joyous Life World, a great deal of useful timber or Yoboku is necessary. While searching everywhere for useful timber, God sees promising trees in abundance even in the low valleys, referring to people of so-called low social status or rank. If God the Parent provides care and nurture for these trees, they will doubtless become wonderful timber, which may even be called the pillars of nations. Among these trees, there is no discrimination between female pine and male pine. All of them will be used according to the intention of God the Parent."

Furthermore, a Divine Direction says:

I do not say whether men or women. There is no discrimination between men and women.

Osashizu, March 27, 1898

Thus Oyasama emphasizes that this path has no discrimination based on sex at all. Yet, what She says about making no distinction between men and women should be distinguished from extreme views that totally ignore the natural differences between men and women under the banner "equal rights for men and women." What She teaches is that when we make the most of our natural characteristics and abilities, we will be provided with significant roles and positions regardless of gender.

In this day and age in which we live, we might think that it goes without saying that we should not discriminate against women and in favor of men. Yet Oyasama was teaching at a time when common sense considered women of low social status and peripheral to their households. It seems that even those who were trying to follow the path could not readily understand Her intention. Through the Divine Directions, God the Parent sternly instructed the followers time and again, saying, in effect: "Is it a man or woman who opened this path? If you remember this, you can understand the truth. I have already taught you that women, too, may be entrusted with very weighty roles. Did you miss out on writing it down? Why can't you understand me? Do you really think that this path is open only to men and does not allow women to come to the fore?" (See the Divine Directions that were delivered between March and October 1898 and are related to the Women's Association.)

God the Parent was urging the people--who had not yet got away from the traditional feudalistic perspective that viewed women as subservient to men--to change their way of thinking. Even if we think we are following the path and living up to the expectations of God the Parent, we need to reflect critically upon our way of thinking, which may be being swept away by the common sense or trends of the times. It can be said that this path--which is beyond our common sense and self-serving traditional practices and grounded in the intention of God the Parent--is a path to achieve a fundamental change in our way of thinking.