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Tenchi Kane no Kami and the Farmer (Konkokyo sect of Shinto)

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Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
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Way back in the early 1800s, there was a farmer named Bunji. He lived in the village of Otani near Okayama. By working the soil and recieving many blessings of food, clean air, and so on; he came to understand the nature of the universe. One day, a Kami began to speak to him directly. This Kami wanted to help mankind. The Kami was called Tenchi Kane no Kami, which means Heaven and Earth Shining Deity. So Bunji had conversations with the Kami, and people from Otani began to ask Bunji for advice. He would pray and ask Tenchi Kane no Kami what to do for the various situations. And when he heard a reply, he would convey it to the person being helped. Thus was born the Toritsugi rite. Soon, he was doing Toritsugi for so many people that he no longer had time for farming. The Kami instructed him to build a shrine in his house and help as many people as possible. His family and neighbors thought he was crazy. But people whose problems were solved often returned with gifts out of gratitude, so they were able to maintain their lifestyle. One day, Bunji heard from Tenchi Kane no Kami, he was to change his name to Konko Daijin. He did this. Another time he heard that the people who lived outside of normal society would only be able to move from place to place at night. So he opened all the doors of his home and nailed them in place. And from then on he recieved theives, murderers, beggars, and yakuza at night.

Konko Daijin accepted students. These copied down the solutions to peoples' problems. Some of them also became priests in the new sect. When sects were outlawed in the Meiji era, and harsh punishments made for those who practiced them, Konko Daijin asked Tenchi Kane no Kami what to do. The solution given was to create the Tenchi Kakitsuke (Divine Reminder). Konko Daijin hand wrote a Divine Reminder for every member of the sect, to put on the altar in their homes. It is a reminder to pray every day, regardless of where you are. One of the teachings states that wherever you are is the hiromae (worship hall). Another says you need not stand on ceremony, even if you have manure on your hands, you can still pray. This is a strong difference from ordinary Shinto where you must visit a shrine or kamidana to pray, and must wash your hands first. Another difference is in the fact that Tenchi Kane no Kami will accept any offering from the heart. Most other Kami will only accept certain things.

Speaking of offerings, a man who was the first in the Okayama area to grow watermelon wanted to give his first melon as an offering to Tenchi Kane no Kami. So he packed it in a cloth and began to walk to Konko Daijin's house. On the way he stopped to rest. He saw a hungry child, and gave the melon to him. He arrived at Konko Daijin's house and told him that he would have to offer another melon. But Konko Daijin said that Ksmi sama already recieved it. When you do a good deed, it makes Tenchi Kane no Kami happy.
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