Reikai Monogatari in English. Book 64-2, Chapter 1

Reikai Monogatari, the Tale of the Spirit World, is an enormous sacred text by Onisaburo Deguchi, “the Gurdjieff of the East.” The Oomoto (“Great Root”) religious movement in Japan, from which countless groups emerged, is an excellent example of Counter-Tradition. Even though many Oomoto-inspired groups have translated works into English, not a single chapter of Reikai Monogatari has ever been translated into any language*, and after reading this section, which defies all description, you will either begin to wonder why, or cease to wonder why. I have chosen sections to translate haphazardly where it pleased me to do so.

* [edited, 2015] Actually, Jean-Pierre Berthon translated parts of Book 1 into French, in his Omoto: espérance millénariste d’une nouvelle religion japonaise (Éd. Atelier Alpha bleue, 1985).

Tale of the Spirit World, Book 64 (Former)
Mountains, Rivers, Flora
Former Book of the Hare

[Preface omitted.]

Chapter 1 (1630). The Mount of Olives

In the suburbs of Jerusalem there is a grand structure called the American Colony, which reaches towards the clouds, towering over its surrounds. Just 40 years ago, a Jew from America named Spafford, recognizing the closeness of Christ’s Second Coming, came there to prepare for Christ’s arrival, saying it was the peak of the Mount of Olives, and from that humble beginning, without regard to differences of race or citizenship, all those who believe in Christ’s Second Coming have moved there, engaging in cohabitation with all of their property in common. Saying that the earnings of each, according to their abilities, are distributed in cohabitation, they have a single organizational structure based in a Christian spirit. In the early days of its founding, people were exceedingly fanatic, and did not marry at their marriageable ages, but the thinking of those of the present time has become considerably more free, and there have been marriages within the membership, with several families creating a second generation of members. They constitute about 100 members, and they call each other brother and sister. They are from various nations, the most prevalent being Sweden. And the name given to this is the American Colony. The founder was an American, hence the name. But there are not many Americans there today, while dozens of Jews have assembled. [This is all true except for the part about Jews, which is Deguchi’s fancy. –A.H.M.]

The founder’s son, Spafford [not a real person –A.H.M.] is a fervent believer, and is assisted by a Jewish woman called Maria Magdalene. This woman, almost as much as Spafford himself, has taken the reins in continuing the great work of the American Colony. Despite being over thirty years old, she lives the life of a bachelor.

[I omit the rest of this book because I would rather translate the next book. Here is a summary: “Burabāsa”, an evangelist for an unknown, quasi-Abrahamic religion called “Rūtobahā” or “3-5-ism”, has come on pilgrimage from the “Sunrise Island” in the present day, i.e. 1925. “Sunrise Island” is Japan, duh. Rūtobahā seems to be composed from “Root”, i.e. Oomoto, plus Bahá, from the Bahá’í Faith with which Deguchi had good relations. The meaning of “Burabāsa” is mysterious to me; this character is a Mary Sue version of Deguchi who can speak many languages, including Esperanto, and has an enchanting effect on crowds. Anyway, after having a chat with Bahá’u’lláh who randomly appears on the train, Burabāsa checks in at the Notre Dame de France Hospice, which is a real place in Jerusalem, and meets the lovely Maria at the American Colony, who refuses his advances. A religious leader named Tiger, and her disciples Flower and Lord Gecko, have also come to Jerusalem.]

Tale of the Spirit World, Book 64 (Latter)
Mountains, Rivers, Flora
Latter Book of the Hare


Taisho, year of the Wood Ox, eighth month, fourteenth day, assisted by the heroic pens of Matsumura, Katou, Kitamura, accompanied by Tsuyako Tanako, safely arriving at the port of Karyuyura on the Wachiga River, old ruin of the Autumn Echo, while immersed in a saltwater bath, employed a free minute, and carried out dictation the continuation of The Opening of Mount Hinoshita.

I cannot endure the burden of gratitude immersed in the pleasure of summering by the kindness of Hokutan [a railroad company] section chief Mr. Tamizou Sagane and Shin-Maidzuru [the area of Kyoto where he stayed] branch chief Mr. Masamitsu Murayama. Every day I befriend the waves of the Sea of Japan, and as I worshipped the sacred space of Woshima-Meshima [an Atlantis in Japan] which has its deepest origins in Oomoto, I completed my descriptions at peace.

Taisho 14, August 21

In Review

This chapter continues The Opening of Mount Hinoshita, Mountains, Rivers, Flora, describing the gods of Divinationism, Tiger, Lord Gecko, and the romance of Flower, being a description of Burabāsa’s activities in the Holy Land. A expression is made of the reality of such things as the blind pretensions of the hegure of the hegure of the hegure warriors [sic], the self-respect of Flower, and the spectacle of the strange wriggling of Lord Gecko.

Taisho 14, August 21

Chapter 1 (1807). Easter

As the twelfth day corresponds to the nativity of Saint Uzunbara Chiyandā [the foundress of Rūtobahā], Burabāsa needed to leave his thatched hut and pray for a lucky day, so, making a pilgrimage to the Mount of Olives, then finishing his ardent prayer, today in a tenser mood than usual, yet with pious manner, he descended the mountain, and dropping by the American Colony, met the sacred masters and conversed with them on divine virtue, departing the vicinity before sunset, and, returning home, arrived at the Catholic monastery hôtel. As it happened, that very day was the Resurrection of Saint Christ, and all the Christian churches at once offered up prayers on this great holy day. Old faith and new faith alike questioned not each other’s creeds, and welcomed this holy day as a most splendid Good News. From the viewpoint of the old faith this year is a holy year, but within the holy year, Easter, April 12 of the Wood Ox, is the highest blessing. Generally, in a holy year in the Catholic Church, we enter Lent from the third Wednesday in March. It is a season of prayer, fasting, and penance. That is, sacrifices such as prayer, penance, and fasting are held during Lent. And as we enter April, the 5th to Easter Sunday on the 12th is a Great Week or Holy Week, the Lord’s Day of the 5th being called Yew Sunday, or Palm Sunday. [An extremely ordinary Easter sermon is omitted. Here is the end of it.]

When the Holy Week ends, they made this the second Lord’s Day, the 13th of Resurrection:

“Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

And on the 14th, they made this the third Lord’s Day:

“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.”

All the churches taught this teaching.

In a separate room of the monastery hôtel where Burabāsa had dropped by, a large number of Catholics had assembled and were carrying out ceremonies and prayers to commemorate this sacred day, Easter, the First Sabbath.

Burabāsa, like at the nativity day of the saint of Rūtobahā, was somehow glad that these grave ceremonies were being carried out at this monastery, and, astonished at the mystery of being entwined by divine fate, waited at the end of the ceremony, offered prayers with pious attitude from the lowest seat, and was filled with subtle emotions.

Bishop Terubson, who managed this Catholic monastery hôtel, Hospice Notre Dame France, stood at the front, prostrating himself before God, and all the faithful with one voice sang this hymn.


Our Father, who teaches the Way
  We who live in sorrows seek after You
Our Pillar of Knowledge, who descends to Earth
  Come and teach the People.


Great God Idzu [written as a Japanese place-name], who descends to Earth
  We beg you, come for the countless people
The god of pure water, who cleanses our hearts
  Come and wash the dirtied people.

[Idzu-no-mitama, when written with different kanji, is identified as Oomoto foundress Nao Deguchi, and is part of the name of the kami Seoritsuhime]


Great god Midzu [written as a Japanese place-name], who comes to Earth
  We beg you, come for the worrying people
Great Parent of Life, who descends to Earth
  We, who are stained by sin, live seeking You.

[Midzu-no-mitama, when written with different kanji, is identified as Onisaburo himself.]


The Pillar of Midzu is not born of this world.
  High and low, all come together to worship.
The Pillar of Heaven and Earth has come down to this world.
  All people, all things rejoice!

The four directions were purified by beautiful voices offering up this hymn, and when the singing ended, Bishop Terubson addressed the place, lecturing with a truly impressive voice.

“Everyone, today is a most joyous lucky day for us believers. We celebrate the resurrection of the Messiah, on this Lord’s Day, the Good News of Heaven embraces the whole world. Indeed, as the Puritans and the chosen of God, we have special honors. Everyone, did the Lord not tell us, ‘Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword’? We who have had the good fortune to be born in the era of the Second Coming of the Lord must not forget this. Owing to the power of the plurality of religions of modern people, or the power of absolute faith, it seems we are impatient for true, good, and beautiful deeds to be realized, for harmonious families to be designed, for one’s own personality to be elevated, and for things that benefit society and the nation, but what I think is, shall we base our faith in such dirty [‘dubious-wisdom’] thoughts? I do not think we can be saved in the second coming of Christ if we lack the resolve to take out our swords. We who have faith must be prepared to dispose of our social position, property, friends, relatives, and companions, all in an instant. Trying to harmonize our families with the taste of faith, or elevate our personalities, is utilitarian, based in self-love; how shall we procure the faith to live in the truth by which the greater part of the universe was liberated? I will be a demon to the end of the world, I am destined for Hell, and I will not please anyone in this world. If we have such a resolution of bitter hopelessness, then we might experience this immense infinity, the principle of this sacred, welcome universe, and touch the true God. One saint has said that this world is Hell. Another saint said that he will be evil to the end of this world. Lord Jesus Christ held a resolve that said that if He was ordered to by God, He was prepared to do anything. More than absolute submission, more than absolute hope, more than absolute adhesion, when we are truly separated, when we have absolutely no intention in our hearts, then emptiness is emptiness, nothing is nothing. Like a mirror, our mental states clear up, becoming serene, so that all phenomena return to that mental state in reality. At that time, we will truly know absolute freedom and peace, and we can gain happiness, and in that way all the experiences of the past become a single great power, a throbbing in the moment of now. That is, in this instant, if we see through the stiffness of our trodden, trodden feet, if we concentrate on that, there will be a creation of place-love, and there will be progress. It is my practice to live a life of faith with this spirit from beginning to end. As the bishop of this monastery, I keep my faith and wait for the second coming of Saint Christ, but I criticize the world like the most heretical demon. But in the darkness of this world, I am honored to have the acquaintance of this one evangelist of Three-Five-ism, Mr. Burabāsa. In any case, on this day when the Second Coming of Christ is close at hand, we must throw away all our traditions and rush madly into the love of God. I who am not captive to good or evil, Heaven or Hell, have neither material nor opinions to offer you. Therefore, blessing this day of the Lord’s resurrection, together with you all, I will cease the offering of praises to God. Amen.”

And as the laity responded, he left the platform. A great applause filled the monastery hôtel.

Next, Great Teacher Spafford stood, and addressed the place.

“Everyone, today, on this sacred day in this sacred year, we welcome the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being in this splendid monastery, and adoring the Lord’s Day with my brothers and sisters is such a blessing that words cannot express my gratitude. We, brothers and sisters, must make something of the meaning of this holy day. And shedding the skin of traditional bourgeois religion, established religion ornamented with traditions and folklore, we must begin a movement for a new religion that will guide the age. Since the founding of our organization, decades and some days have passed. And we expectantly await the Second Coming of Saint Christ. [… some of this speech omitted …] There is no great hero who understands the essential meaning of nation and society. I cannot have any faith in the popular power. I only await the divine hero, the Messiah.

“The crowd who heard Lord Christ’s Sermon on the Mount were shocked by those teachings, but when Confucius composed the Spring and Autumn annals, did the world not shudder and make him out to be a traitor, disloyal? What the scholars don’t understand about Lord Christ and Confucius is that this was like authority. Right now, the people of the world are naturally seeking out that kind of shock. Today’s people tire of the talkative spokesmen who simply express complaints. What today’s people wait expectantly for is not some golden tongue who can eloquently express their own misery, but the appearance of one who points the way with the dignity of a god. Only a god can say what needs to be said. Those who pointlessly cry out with the people, jump when the people jump, are like a layer of snow, or frost. I truly feel a deep shame for those gentlemen believers who emphasize the world. Please, beloved children of God, without inciting the people, humbly await the Second Coming of Saint Christ as the coming of the divine hero with prudence and patience. Amen.”

So saying, he left the podium. The whole room vibrated with a hail of applause.

Burabāsa approached the podium quietly, and after a moment of silent prayer, faced the room respectfully, and, drinking a cup of water, coughed a few times and said,

“Everyone, today is truly a marvelous day of the Lord’s resurrection, and there is no one among us who does not wish men and women of all ages upon the earth, without hatred, to take pleasure in this, the Lord’s Day. We especially, the favored children of God, as we aim to serve Him intimately, must give him our praise, I believe. A tide of bad ideas has flooded the world, and it now possesses the authority to destroy the nation of God. We must all labor to open this dark curtain as quickly as we can, and usher in the era of the brilliant Sunrise.”

As he said these last lines, in the midst of the crowd an old hag stood up, her face flushed bright red, and came briskly up to the podium: Mrs. Tiger, from Sunrise Island. Facing Burabāsa, Mrs. Tiger said:

“You are that Burabāsa, are you not! And did you not just say, we must all labor to usher in the era the Sunrise as fast as we can! The era of the Sunrise, what is that but the calling of the Sunrise Island! And the Sunrise God who was revealed on the Sunrise Island is the true World Savior. If we wish to hear the origin of the Sunrise God, we will know the quickest way is to hear listen to the person herself. Behold! How strange, the messenger lowers his head. Who does he think he is? Everyone, there is no need to lend your ears to this rotten fellow. For I, Mrs. Tora, am the true World Savior. This Burabāsa, just look at him, with his owlish eyes, and his green countenance. It should not be he!”

From the crowd: “Get out of here, Granny Tiger!”

And another: “Holy Master Burabāsa, we have faith in you!” Tiger whipped around, and said with a scowl… [I omit some of this utterly ridiculous passage.] “… Do you content yourself with being under the thumb of that degenerate girl who calls herself Uzunbara Chiyandā? […] Hohohoho! It’s all so ridiculous I could boil tea in my belly button!” […]

Burabāsa, reasserting himself, addressed the crowd.

“Dear friends, I have come to pray with all of you on this sacred day, and furthermore I was thinking to conduct many more such sessions with you in the future, but with this hindrance, there is no way I can continue speaking, and as I have no wish to participate in such a quarrel, I must restraint my speech, and ask you all to listen attentively to Madam Tiger in my stead. There will be time after her for a humble man to speak, and if there are any here who wish to shoulder the great responsibility of unifying the universe and improving all things–”

“Are those the words of a humble man? Perhaps a frog is speaking of you. A man can be a humble. But I am a princess, nay, a goddess. When it’s between a goddess and a humble man, what’s appropriate for this evangelist?”

Without listening to her, Burabāsa shuffled off the platform, and sat in the midst of the audience, wiping the sweat from his brow with a handkerchief. With an air of triumph, Tiger strutted to the side of the stage and drank two or three cups of water in fast succession, then hiccuped, and in a moment of panic, the water was forced into her bronchial tubes, so with a cough-cough she ceased speaking, and as a single tear fell from her eye, she leaned on the table, and so retired. At that moment Lord Gecko filled in for Tiger, and, utterly blotto, he stumbled his way up to the podium, saying,

“Everyone, Mrs. Tiger has sustained an injury, so yours truly will be her representative. Please don’t think badly of me. As a guide from Onogoro Island, I was invited here by Mrs. Tiger, but I didn’t believe her theories and I wasn’t especially impressed by her divinity. I hold the same feelings towards Burabāsa here. This world is full of false messiahs, false Christs, false prophets walking around, and we can’t help but stress over who is real and who is false. The word ‘christ’ in the language of the Sunrise Country means… uh… someone covered in oil… or… something like that, but the person who’s best at pouring oil on people must be Mrs. Tiger. When places are engulfed in the fire of conflict, doing things like throwing oil on the firewood has got to be her specialty. The fire gets more and more vigorous, and that’s why she calls herself the God of “Sun-” [Fire-]rises. Jesus can be called Yeshua, and Yeshua can be called iyasu [to heal], so in a word, medicine. Medicine means Yaku, Yaku as in Yakushi-Nyorai [the medicine Buddha]. Yakkosu [I have no idea what this means]. And the best medicine is liquor. There’s no god in the world as effective as liquor. Just a single sip, and your face starts to turn red. Two or three sips and your heart starts to flutter, and the world gets a lot more interesting. That is, Heaven is revealed to you. What do you think of that, think it’s funny for a tee-totalling non-smoker Christian to say something like that, well, aren’t those kinda contradictions the way of the world!”

Thus, besotted, he preached the virtues of liquor. As he did, Tiger’s throat seemed to get better, and she raised her head, looked to the side of Lord Gecko, and in the mood of having gained a million friends, said,

“Everyone, this gentleman is called Lord Gecko, and on Sunrise Island he is a saint. But while he was celebrating the holy day today he partook a bit too much of the sacred wine, so I fear he may have digressed a little from our program, but I do not understand that justly there is no person who makes digressions. For a locomotive may run too forcefully, and derail for possessing too much force. If we do not listen with that expectation, we may mistake his words and think ill, so please take caution.”

A boisterous clamor came up from the audience, and many yelled, “Enough of this–throw her out!” Without having a chance to listen to the address, three Muslims named Tonk, Tek, and Turo suddenly seized the podium, and Tonk took Tiger while Tek and Turo grabbed Lord Gecko, and to the accompaniment of “heave-ho, heave-ho!” the two were carried out the back door of the monastery hôtel. Burabāsa was reinstalled on the podium, and gave an address on the Second Coming of the Messiah and the need for an international auxiliary language, and after Maria gave a simple address, the conference was ended with a prayer before God, and the Sabbath was closed with tea and cakes for everyone.


Taisho 14/8/19, by the old calendar 6/30, Akita Inn, Tango-Yura.* Transcribed by Masumi Matsumura.

[* A tiny village north of Kyoto. I’ve actually been to this place, bizarrely enough. –A.H.M.]

Posted: April 4th, 2013 | Signs of the Times