Spiritual Parents and Spiritual Children
(Ri no oyako)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

The previous three articles outline "the path of order," in which those who were guided and awakened to the path a step ahead of others take the initiative to single-heartedly seek and follow Oyasama's Divine Model--an effort that naturally leads also to guiding and saving others, who then spontaneously come to gather around them. In this path, the relationships that come into being naturally between those who take the lead in walking the path and those who follow in their footsteps, those who convey the teachings to others and those who receive the teachings from them, and missionaries and followers are seen as the spiritual parent-child relationships. Those who form such a relationship are parents and children only in terms of taking steps along the path of faith; "spiritual parents" provide guidance on matters of faith, and "spiritual children" receive such guidance.

Such a relationship has nothing in common with the traditional Japanese family system. Rather, it is based on God the Parent's teaching on the true relationship between parents and children as outlined below.

We human beings are all equal children of God. It is God the Parent who is our true Parent. Filled with parental love, God the Parent embraces, nurtures, and guides us. Before we are born, God the Parent carefully matches each of us with the most suitable potential parents, discerning in each of our minds its tendencies, habits, and causality formed in previous lives over a long period of time. Each parent-child relationship is formed this way. As time goes by, parents become children and children become parents by following the path of making repayment for the debt they owe one another as well as the path of changing their negative causality into positive causality. It can also be said that the role of parents is to nurture their children, whose care God the Parent has entrusted to them, on behalf of God the Parent.

The point made in the previous paragraph is not merely limited to the biological parent-child relationship. All human relationships are arranged by God the Parent, who sees through everything and matches people together out of boundless parental love. As for guiding us to this path of true salvation, God the Parent discerns the causality of each person and brings together those best suited to each other in a relationship where one of them has the role of providing guidance and the other that of receiving it as they walk the path of faith together. Such are the "spiritual parents" and "spiritual children." It is due to God the Parent's blessings of making preparations beforehand that we can sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and engage in salvation work. To become a "spiritual parent" means to be entrusted with the mission of conveying and bringing the parental love to others on behalf of God the Parent and Oyasama. It is of paramount importance for spiritual parents to follow the path of the Divine Model earnestly while adoring Oyasama as their Parent and maintain the thorough awareness that their role is to guide and nurture people on behalf of God the Parent and Oyasama.

In several Divine Directions, God the Parent provides pointers on how to serve as spiritual parents:

All parents must work on behalf of the Parent. Their role is to guide children while bringing satisfaction to them.

Osashizu, July 7, 1888

The origin is the Parent, I say. Concerning the truth of the Parent, if you nurture your children with the truth of loving care, they will grow wherever they are. When you become a parent and nurture your child, you must do so by the truth of loving care.

Osashizu, November 29, 1889

Guide and nurture children even in a situation where it seems impossible to do so--such is the role of parents.

Osashizu, November 13, 1898