Here is my final post about the “Tenchi.” I hope you all have enjoyed these posts relating to this interesting text. I do recommend everyone grabbing the book, The Beginning of Heaven and Earth by Christal Whelan and doing a full read of the Tenchi for yourself. Well worth it!
Book 9, Up Karuwaryu Hill, is about the Holy One’s (Jesus) lead up to the crucifixion. This story has two important elements. The first would be the appearance of the “Veil of Veronica”, which is the face of Jesus appearing on a towel. How it is explained in the Tenchi is as follows:
On the way up the hill the Holy One met a woman named Beronica who was carrying a jug of water. She felt compassion when she saw him. "How pitiful," she thought, and wiped the beads of blood dripping from his face with her cloth, and offered him a drink of water. The Holy One received it with gratitude and drank, thinking, "I don't know who you are but one day I will save you." Then because the image of the Holy One remained on Beronica's cloth she thought, "Keeping this for myself would be a sacrilege." So she made an offering of the cloth at the temple of Santa Ekirenja.
Veronica, Beronica, close enough. The other important aspect of this book is when the Holy One is nailed upon the cross, the two criminals that surround him. This references the story in book 5 about the bath water and the diseased child that bathed in the water. Well, that child has resurfaced and is one of the criminals that is being crucified as well! The Tenchi states:
Although he was nearly dead from disease, after bathing in that water he recovered miraculously in an instant. Nevertheless, when he grew up he became a wicked person, and in the end wound up a condemned criminal. Yet now he was together again with the Lord for his last moments on a cross. It was his fate that they should meet again.
Book 10, Money Bedazzled, is about the final death blow of the Holy One. Death was taking too long but none of the soldiers could pierce him as they were unable to move due to an unforeseen force. A blind man walked by and one of the soldiers offered him a monetary reward if he used the spear to stab the Holy One. Since he was unable to see, he did not face the “unmoveableness” that the soldiers did, and dealt the death blow. An interesting miracle happened:
Blood spurted out and poured down over the blind man. When it ran into his eyes, in an instant both eyes were miraculously opened.
Unfortunately for the blind man, he would be cursed by the Holy One, as once the man received his money, he returned to blindness. The text claims this is the origin for the saying “Eyes darkened by money.” The book ends with Maruya (Mary) weeping at the feet of the Holy One, who is taken down and placed into a stone coffin, which is lowered into the ground.
The Kirinto, book 11, deals with the resurrection. It has the Holy One returning to earth for a day before returning to heaven to sit at the side of Deusu. The Holy One then descends to the temple of Santa Ekirenja. There he teaches his head disciple, Pappa, for forty days about salvation and the afterlife. He then gave sermons for 10 days before returning to heaven on the fiftieth day. Maruya also ascends into heaven. The text describes it’s own version of the trinity:
In heaven, however, the Holy Mother is the Mediator, and the Holy One is the Savior. Deusu is the Father or Paateru, the Holy One is the Son or Hiiriyo, and the Holy Mother is the Suheruto Santo. Deusu became three bodies although they were originally One.
Book 12 (The Holy One’s Selection) is rather short and mentions all the massacred children (from book 7) go to Paradise, as well as the three Kings, and other select characters that were mentioned in previous books.
Book 13 (Establishment of the Officials) has an explanation of the roles of certain officials who await those entering into the after life.
Book 14 (The Destruction of Our World) is the “end times” type of story for the Tenchi. It states various time frames and what happens during each. All leading to a final judgment by Deusu. Those who do not receive baptism goes to hell, those who did will go to Paradise. The text does mention the people becoming buddhas:
Those people on the right who received baptism will accompany Deusu to Paraiso where, once judged, their good works will be the basis of the ranks they will receive. It is guaranteed that they will all become buddhas and know unlimited fulfillment for eternity.
The final book, which has no name, is a story attached to the Tenchi at some point during it’s circulation. It tells the story of two friends who make a pact with each other that the first one among them who dies will report back to the other within three days of their death to describe the hereafter. Well, one of them dies and while it takes longer than three days, he does show up and has an interaction with the friend. The story doesn’t really fit with the rest of the narrative of the Tenchi and it’s kind of odd that it is here.
If you are curious about Japan’s hidden Christians, there are several books out there. However, there is a movie that came out in 2016 that I HIGHLY recommend. It is directed by Martin Scorsese titled Silence, based on the Japanese novel of the same name. While not a true story, it does take place during that period in Japan and shows in great detail what went on. The movie is great and is one that will have you thinking about it long after you watch it. I have linked the trailer below: