Broad Path (Okan michi)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

The term "Okan michi" refers to a broad path that people can easily and freely walk back and forth on. Oyasama used metaphors to explain a variety of subjects, and "path" was a metaphor She particularly used with frequency. In the Ofudesaki, we read:

Do not complain about your present situation. A broad path will appear ahead of you.

Do not grieve over whatever path you are now on. Take delight in the main path that lies ahead.

Ofudesaki III:36-37

Oyasama turned to the people who were in the midst of struggling with opposition and attack from their peers as well as persecution and interference from government authorities and encouraged them, saying: "While you are passing through a painful and dangerous narrow path at the moment, do not lament over it. In time, you will come out to a broad path that you will be able to walk with joy and delight without the slightest amount of concern."

True to Oyasama's words, the Teaching overcame severe oppression, growing and spreading until it attained its present condition. Society no longer derides and ridicules Tenrikyo as an evil, wicked religion. Some outside observers have commended Tenrikyo for its teachings. Truly, we can say that we have come out into the broad path.

However, God the Parent has warned:

A broad path is difficult to follow while a narrow path is easy to follow.

Osashizu, January 13, 1890

We are also taught as follows: "You may wonder why I say a narrow path is easy to follow and a broad path is difficult to follow. While there ought to be no way for anyone to make a misstep on a broad path, missteps and straying occur because you let down your guard and become careless. No matter how narrow a path may be, you make no missteps if you follow it with your mind firmly settled. While you do not injure yourself on a narrow path because you are mindful when you follow it, there is the danger of tripping and injuring yourself on a wide path when you become careless. Even a broad path is difficult to follow without sincerity in your mind. Further, while a narrow path is a path for one person, a broad path is a path to be walked by a great number of people. This path will become busy, as many people will come and gather from the world. This will make it difficult. All things will settle if everyone comes together and walks with a mind of sincerity. Yet, among such a great number of people, there will certainly be those who say bad things about others. By criticizing others, you stir up dust and make the path narrow. Regardless of how good the path may be, how can it be called a path of salvation if you criticize others when they are walking the true path with their utmost effort?" (see Osashizu, July 31, 1888; November 1, 1889; February 6, 1890 and others).

For those of us who are now on the broad path and advancing forward to bring world salvation into reality, we certainly ought to keep the above words in mind.