What Is Innen?
We can sweep away dust with a broom. It is taught that we can also sweep away the dusts of the mind using God the Parent as the broom. Man overlooks his own dust and does nothing about it, and, in the course of time, becomes unable to recognize dust as dust. Then, the dust gradually piles up, so that it becomes hard to sweep away.
God the Parent shows us in various forms the dust that has adhered to the mind. This is taught as innen. The concept of innen might imply punishment or fear to you.
An early follower of the Path said:
Innen does not always mean that of previous lives. Nor does it necessarily imply bad innen alone. Everything that we have done since we were fifteen, whether good or bad, results in innen. If we did something good in a previous life, for example, it is the cause that will, without fail, bring about something good either in the present life or in a future life. Good innen is something that pleases everybody and, therefore, God shows us its effects soon; though the effects of bad innen will also be shown.
When Rin Masui was saved by Oyasama from glaucoma and returned to Jiba to worship, Oyasama said:
"Sah, sah, you lost your eyesight during one night. Sah, sah, it is an innen, innen. God has drawn you to this Residence. Welcome, welcome home."
Oyasama further said:
"Sah, sah, your soul has an innen. When it is the divine will to use a person in God's service, God will draw that person to this Residence by any means. Be thankful and follow the path joyfully, no matter what you may encounter. You could not see because it was as if God's hands were in front of your eyes. When the hands are removed you can see at once. You can see, can't you? Sah, sah, take heart, take heart. You will not have any hardships, even if you wish to undergo hardships. It is all up to the individual's mind."
(Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 30-31)
People try to find the fundamental cause of various human experiences that are complicated and mysterious; some say that everything is based on destiny or fate. Most admit that all is controlled by some unseen force.
In the Osashizu are these words:
You do not understand innen. The whole world is a mirror; however many times all mankind has been born and reborn, each way you have used your mind is reflected in yourself. So understand this well. Hardship of hardships, suffering of sufferings. Those couples who complain of not being blessed with a child, understand well! It is innen.
Osashizu, February 15. 1888
Things you desire to happen do not always happen. Also, things you desire not to happen sometimes do happen. . . .
Osashizu, September 3, 1899
Also, understand through innen the things you do. Things you do not wish to do may come to be; things you wish to do may not come to be. This is innen.
Osashizu, February 27, 1898
Regarding human relationships, it is taught:
Everything and everyone are interconnected by innen. Innen, I say innen. The principle of parent and child . . . understand the principle of innen. To have a good child or a bad child is also innen.
Osashizu, March 11, 1901
All husbands and wives become couples because of innen.
Osashizu, November 21, 1891
Thus, innen is taught in various expressions. If something happens to us based on the innen of the present life, we might be able to repent our conducts, which are possibly in our memory, and replace the mind with the one that is pure. But if we experience something brought about by the innen that originates in a previous life, it may be hard for us who have human thought to understand and be convinced of that innen because we do not know its origin, though we should be able to admit it in the light of Divine Wisdom.
Then, people tend to regard innen as fate or some unavoidable force and to feel resigned or become desperate.
In the Osashizu are these words:
It will not do, thinking that, because all is based on innen, nothing you do will help no matter what.
Osashizu, December 22, 1903
It is reckless to say, "I don't care what happens to me." . . . It is reckless to say, "I can do whatever I wish, whatever I wish."
Osashizu, June 25, 1901
People become reckless because they cannot understand the true intention of God the Parent.
In the Osashizu, it is taught:
All human beings are the children of God. Understand this truth well. Counseling on the conditions of innen. All are the same children of God, beloved children. Understand the conditions of innen.
Osashizu, November 20, 1889
It is not likely that God the Parent--who created human beings, has lent them the human body, and protects them--makes bad innen manifest to human beings, God's beloved children, in order to make them suffer or be troubled. God shows us the innen only out of the desire to have us replace our minds and become blissful.
The Way of Severing Bad Innen
What should we do to sever bad innen and be saved?
In the Osashizu are the words:
Sah, sah, when innen appears, you must help each other, help each other. If each of you pass every day with the mind that commands respect from others, I shall accept without exception every day. You need not worry about even a single thing. Everything with be settled in an instant, clearly, as you wish. Things will go as you wish.
Osashizu, May 6, 1890
Whatever bad innen we may have, if only we come to have the mind to save others and to try to become admirable in the eyes of others, God will accept that sincerity and our lives will take a turn for the better.
In the Osashizu are the words:
Whatever you see is innen; whatever you hear is innen as well.
Osashizu, September 27, 1890
As the above passage teaches, we should realize our innen in whatever we see, hear, or touch.
Because you live with the mind that has returned to the truth of the Path, calamity becomes mere misfortune, I say.
Osashizu, July 3, 1901
When you replace your mind with the mind that conforms to the teaching of God the Parent, bad innen disappears gradually.
If we incur dusts day by day, forgetting to sweep them away, we produce the seeds of innen. So it is important for us to be careful in using the mind.
We should not think, however, that the manifested bad innen is punishment for the dust we have accumulated in the past. We should ponder over the fact that our mental attitudes toward the manifested effects of innen are the causes of what will happen in the future, and we should try to attain the Joyous Life in this world by realizing our innen in what has happened to us, calming our minds, and replacing them with the pure mind.
Though I do not mean that we should depreciate the concept of innen, I think that it should signify joy to us, not gloom. When one has swept the mind completely, he looks calmly at whatever sort of innen that appears without complaint, reflects upon his own uses of mind with feelings of gratitude for continuous Parental guidance, and feels always satisfied; therefore, his daily life will become brighter day by day.
In one who is of a bright and spirited mind and who is grateful in all circumstances, a manifestation of any sort of innen inspires eagerness to construct the mind that conforms to the divine will. Such a person may be said to have reached the stage of peace, of having been saved.
Our lives, however, might not always be full of good times. Even those who single-heartedly follow the path of true sincerity might sometimes encounter intense bitterness. On such occasions, some people might become desperate and ruin themselves. Others, thinking that their own lives are thus fated, bear their misfortune with desperate courage. Still others behave as follows: the harder the time, the more courage they rouse to go forward on their chosen paths.
In the Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo:
Around the middle of May 1868, five years from the time Chushichi Yamanaka had embraced the faith, a heavy rain had fallen continuously for many days. The river overflowed here and there, rice fields were washed out and houses were carried away. Chushichi suffered heavy losses. A landslide on his mountain property buried many large trees. Also, his rice fields of approximately ninety ares were washed out.
People in his village who had been deriding his faith immediately seized the opportunity to heap all sorts of abuses on him, saying, "Look at him! What a fool he is! Stupid one!" Feeling chagrined at what the villagers said, Chushichi visited Oyasama in the Residence and explained the situation to Her. Oyasama told him: "Sah, sah, that's all to the good. That's all to the good. Now that your goods have been carried away to the bottom of the sea, it will come to good in the future. You may wonder why your fields and hills were washed out in spite of your faith, but you must accept the situation with a heart of gratitude. You must do so. That will come to good in the future."
Chushichi heartily thanked God that he suffered only a small misfortune instead of a calamity.
(Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 15-16)
In one's course of life, one might have to climb so steep a slope as to pant for breath, or go through the thorny path of a serious crisis. We are taught the path whereby we can advance in high spirits even on such occasions, with the understanding that we are being educated, calmly seeing the truth that everything that happens has its cause in oneself. Only when we follow that path do buds sprout from knots.
We should not assume a negative attitude with passive resignation. Instead, we should maintain a positive attitude in which we, not changing our resolution at any time, devote ourselves spiritedly and wholeheartedly to the realization of the divine will.
Thus, bad innen will change gradually into good innen.
When Tamezo Yamazawa began to serve Oyasama in 1881, Oyasama instructed him in the following manner: "God says, 'Showing innen to parents, God waits for children to appear.' Do you understand? Therefore, virtue is more deeply planted in the second generation than in the first one, and deeper still in the third than in the second. By becoming ever deeper, it win become virtue which lasts forever. It depends on the mind of a man whether it lasts for one generation only, or for two or three generations, or forever. By the continuation of this virtue even a bad innen becomes a good one."
(Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, p.76)
In the Ofudesaki, it is taught:
Ponder from your innermost heart to understand. Through saving others, you will be saved.
By saving others we shall be severed from bad innen and be saved ourselves.
Also, in the Mikagura-uta, it is taught:
Fifth, If all come and follow Me,
By adoring God the Parent, we shall be severed from the bad innen that is the root of dissension, and by saving people who are troubled, we shall be severed from the bad innen that is the root of illness.
Also, in the Osashizu are these words:
. . . repentance for the innen of a previous life. You need not worry. If you understand the principle of the age of fifteen, I shall sweep by virtue of dedication.
Osashizu, June 4, 1891
Thus, it is taught that through our dedication we are severed from bad innen.
Oyasama said: "Where there is life, there is hope, it is said. The body is the foundation. Money is secondary. In the case of fire, one would take out as many valuables as possible, but one would not do so at the risk of burning one's body. In the case of flood, it is the same. In the case of robbery, because life is important, one lets the robber have the money, even though one does so reluctantly.
The same thing is true in the case of illness. One should give quickly to charity the things that are of secondary importance, and have one's illness cured. But when the dust of miserliness is strong, it is like removing money from a fire even though one is in danger of death from burns. One saves the money and treasures but throws away one's life. This is in accord with one's mind. If by giving to charity what is of secondary importance one's illness is cured, this is the principle of a disaster turning into a smaller misfortune. Understand well."
(Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 141-142)
What is taught in these various expressions, which are used to help our understanding, might be summarized as follows: it is guaranteed that, if only we conform to the divine will, the root of bad innen will be severed and bad innen will be changed into good innen.
(The above is an excerpt from Dust and Innen, first published in September 1982. Quotations from the Ofudesaki and the Kakisage have been replaced by the revised, current translations.)