Three Years, One Thousand Days (Sannen sennichi)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

We often use the term "three years, one thousand days" when we are on the verge of making a particularly decisive resolution or in the process of committing ourselves to accomplishing an important goal. At those times, we set aside a period of "three years, one thousand days" during which we vow to be resolute in implementing a certain course of action, and then we spend those "three years, one thousand days" delivering our utmost to ensure that we fulfill our goal within that span of time.

The significance of the term "three years, one thousand days" is set forth in a Divine Direction (November 7, 1889) that carefully taught the followers the stance of mind they should maintain during the years leading up to the Fifth Anniversary of Oyasama (1891). Allow me to paraphrase a portion of what Oyasama explains in that Divine Direction: "Because I desire to save everyone throughout the world, I tried everything I could think of, looking for a way to help you understand, but no one anywhere bothered to listen. Meanwhile, I went through a path fraught with indescribable hardships and difficulties. Having said that, I hasten to remind you that it is not as if I went through that path for a thousand years or two thousand years. It was only a matter of fifty years. Still, you children might not be able to bring yourselves to take that path if I told you to follow it for fifty years. In fact, I won't even ask you to follow it for twenty years or ten. All I ask is that you try it out for three years. It will be enough if you follow it for just three years. Just one thousand days. I understand that even one thousand days on the path may not be easy for you. But try it and see! Leave your worries and anxious thoughts behind and get started following the one straight path of the Divine Model. After all, there is no path to the Joyous Life but the path of the Divine Model."

The term "three years, one thousand days," as used in the Divine Directions, strongly encourages us to implement Oyasama's Divine Model in our own lives--even if only for three of the entire fifty years. Remember, it is not asking for our commitment to spend three years carrying out some resolution that we think seems manageable or convenient for us. Instead, it is instructing us to put Oyasama's Divine Model into action and base our daily lives on it for a decisive period of "three years, one thousand days."

Moreover, this Divine Direction goes on to say that, so long as we persevere in following the Divine Model for a span of three years, Oyasama will accept our three-year journey "the same as the Divine Model," which is to say, as the full fifty years. It also promises that, once we have implemented Her Divine Model for "three years, one thousand days," we will be shown such great joy that we will wonder why we ever lived in any other way. Such is the depth of Oyasama's great parental love that seeks only to guide us to the Joyous Life.