Weeding and Fertilizing / Tending and Fostering (Shuri-goe)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

While the Japanese word "shuri" usually means to repair something that has become broken, in Tenrikyo it is a metaphor connected with agriculture. It refers to the care and attention one gives to crops such as rice. Tending and fertilizing are essential for crops to grow. Even though we make efforts to sow seeds and plant seedlings, we will not be blessed with blooming flowers or a rich harvest if we just stand idly by. Crops will grow magnificently and give us a joyful harvest when we give our care and attention by pulling weeds and applying fertilizer ("koe" or "goe").

The expression "shuri-goe"--most frequently translated as "weeding and fertilizing"--is often used to describe our efforts to raise children, guide followers, and enrich church substance. Events such as regional seminars or workshops also can be seen as a part of this effort toward "weeding and fertilizing" that seeks to nurture Yoboku and followers.

In the Osashizu, we read:

People will grow if you nurture them. Nurturing others requires sincerity. Sincerity is tending. Tending is to apply fertilizer.

Osashizu, July 24, 1890

It is weeding and fertilizing that will allow things to grow. There will be no fruits if you neglect what you have planted or neglect what you have sown.

Osashizu, October 21, 1890

"Weeding and fertilizing" must also be taken into consideration whenever we find ourselves in a position of receiving God's nurturing. Take, for instance, when you have offered your sincerity to bring joy to God the Parent. You have sown a single seed by demonstrating a mind of sincerity. However, this does not necessarily ensure that your days thereafter will be filled only with happiness. You may sometimes perceive that your days are filled with difficulties instead. It is in precisely such times that we need to instill more cheerfulness in our minds, telling ourselves that God the Parent is giving us attention and care. When anything unfavorable or trying unfolds before our eyes, it is important to pass through the situation in high spirits with the conviction that it will become the fertilizer that allows the seeds we have sown to sprout and attain magnificent growth.

We are also taught:

Do not even momentarily imagine that your work was all in vain. Let me say that this matter is one of weeding and fertilizing.

Osashizu, April 13, 1899

Let us follow the path by entrusting ourselves to the love of God the Parent with a mind that is constantly cheerful and spirited.