The Path (Michi)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

We Tenrikyo followers refer to our faith as "the path" (or michi).

"Michi" not only has the meaning of a road or passageway but also is used to refer either to a part or the whole of a journey or process. Along with having the connotation of a person's actions and a way of life in general, it also refers to areas of specialized learning and the arts (the "do" in judo and sado, the Way of Tea, is written with the same Chinese character that is applied to "michi").

Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, wrote in the Scripture entitled the Ofudesaki (The Tip of the Writing Brush):

Hereafter, I shall speak in the metaphor of a path, not indicating any place in particular.

Ofudesaki I:46

She further described how our path of life goes "over steep mountains, through tangles of thorns, along narrow ledges," and leads to a "narrow path" and the "trustworthy main path." Then the Ofudesaki says:

This talk is not someone else's concern. It is a matter of your own and your single-heartedness with God.

Ofudesaki I:50

Oyasama taught by likening the way of living in full accord with God the Parent's intention to a "path." As this journey "is not someone else's concern," Oyasama walked it Herself as She demonstrated the Divine Model. This verse is also a message to each and every one of us who yearns for Oyasama. We must consider it a matter of our own concern to follow Her example and live in harmony with God the Parent's intention.

Oyasama taught by likening the Teaching to a path, a path which everyone in the world must follow to achieve true salvation. This, moreover, is a path that can be traveled by anyone and everyone. In the Ofudesaki:

Please become firmly convinced of this path. The Parent requests this of all humankind.

Ofudesaki XIV:56

When we use the word "path," we are first and foremost referring to the very teachings Oyasama gave us. We describe our daily efforts to live up to God the Parent's intention as "having faith in the path," "walking the path," or "following the path." People who engage in this effort are called "followers of the path" or "children of the path." Finally, the way we use the word "path" can also refer to Tenrikyo as a whole.

As I mentioned above, this path is a path that is to be followed by all the people of the world. It is indeed the absolute path which leads to the Joyous Life.

Oyasama wrote:

What do you think this path is? It is the true path that will settle this world.

Ofudesaki VI:4