Mission to the High Mountains
(Takayama fukyo)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

On October 26, 1974, at the Autumn Grand Service, the Shinbashira* urged us to rouse ourselves to action for the sake of world salvation by pointing out it was the 100th year since Oyasama's first steps in Her mission to the high mountains.

While the harsh class-based system and feudal rule of Edo Japan was replaced by the new Meiji government during Oyasama's physical lifetime, ideas concerning democratic rights for everyone continued to be a non-issue. Oyasama referred to the people who held a high position in society by virtue of their political power and financial wealth as the "high mountains" and those who found themselves at the opposite end as the "low valleys." Oyasama revealed that it was God the Parent's great regret that those of the high mountains acted selfishly and self-centeredly. Oyasama Herself walked the path of the Divine Model dedicated to single-hearted salvation out of the parental love that wished to push up the low valleys and save those who were gasping at the bottom as quickly as possible. While I have already mentioned this in earlier entries, opposition to the path increased as the path gradually grew and spread. Opposition and attack from Shinto and Buddhist priests developed into persecution and interference from government authorities.

In 1874, Oyasama was summoned to Ensho Temple, which was commonly referred to as Yamamura Palace, and underwent an interrogation. Oyasama was 77 years old at the time. The Nara Chukyoin, a prefectural agency established to supervise religious activities, had issued an order forbidding followers from continuing their faith. Between this time and the freezing winter of February 1886 when Oyasama endured the hardship of a 12-day imprisonment at Ichinomoto Branch Police Station, She endured the hardship of imprisonment or detention on more than a dozen occasions.

Despite this, Oyasama, with an all-encompassing, warm parental love, considered those who opposed Her as Her beloved children and went through these situations with Her parental heart desiring nothing but all humankind's single-hearted salvation. She kindly expressed appreciation to the police officers who came to summon or arrest Her by saying, "They come to summon or investigate because of God the Parent's deep intention." Oyasama also left for the police station in light spirits, perceiving the occasion as a chance to connect the broad path of salvation to the high mountains and spread the fragrance there (see Ofudesaki V:56-61). Oyasama stood at the forefront of the mission to the high mountains, which is described in the Ofudesaki as follows: "I shall jump in the pond in the high mountains and clear away the dust and mud to make the water pure and clear. I shall sweep away the selfish, self-centered, prideful, and conceited dusts from the minds of those in the high mountains" (see Ofudesaki II:25-36).

More than a hundred years have passed since 1874, when Oyasama first embarked on the mission to the high mountains. To what degree have we been able to follow in Her footsteps and what results have we been able to achieve in the task of world salvation? Let us deeply reflect on this matter and renew our commitment to this cause.

*This article was originally published in 1977; "the Shinbashira" here refers to the third Shinbashira, Zenye Nakayama.