Dusts of the Mind                  Back to “What is Tenrikyo?


The human body is a thing borrowed from God the Parent, the mind alone being one’s own. The key to receiving any blessing from God—whether it is for our health or personal circumstances or for anything whatever—is how we use our mind.

Selfish uses of the mind, which are not in accord with God’s intention, are referred to as “dust.” Although particles of dust are minute, they can accumulate, if allowed to do so, until, at last, they hinder our capacity to receive God’s blessings. For this reason, we would do well to be diligent in sweeping our heart clean by using God’s teachings as the broom and to take care not to cause others to accumulate dust.

As pointers on how to notice and sweep away our dust of the mind, the following eight dusts have been cited: “miserliness,” “covetousness,” “hatred,” “self-love,” “grudge-bearing,” “anger,” “greed,” and “arrogance.”


This dust includes begrudging giving our services in mind or body; begrudging paying an imposed charge; begrudging fulfilling our responsibilities to the world, to the path, or to others; begrudging returning things borrowed; and sitting back while others perform our unpleasant work—all these ways of begrudging money or effort are at variance with the truth of heaven and are dust.


This dust includes craving for money without putting in any mental or physical effort to earn it; desiring good clothes or good food beyond what is appropriate or fair; and desiring more and more although what we have is enough. In all matters, what is important is to settle the mind so that the feeling of insufficiency does not arise in the first place.


This dust includes taking offence at someone’s advice given in good faith and feeling animosity toward this person, as well as entertaining a feeling of animosity toward innocent people out of an instinctive or temperamental aversion and gossiping maliciously about and laughing at them. Also, this dust is present when family members such as husband and wife and parent and child lead a cat-and-dog life because of their own self-serving desires.


This dust consists in caring only about ourselves, forgetting others. Yet it also includes doting on our children in such a way as to let them make unreasonable demands about food and clothes and not to teach discipline or correct their behavior, thus allowing them to do as they please; this is not beneficial. Also, speaking badly of others in an effort to defend our egos comes under this dust. If we love ourselves and our children, we should love others and their children as well.


This dust includes bearing ill will toward others, claiming they have caused us to lose face or interfered with our attempt to gain what we desire or taking offense at some remark they made. In all matters, bearing ill will without looking at our own lack of wisdom, strength, or merit is dust. It is important to reflect critically on ourselves before getting caught up in the feeling of ill will toward others.


This dust arises from our own willfulness. It arises because our mind is not purified. This dust includes becoming angry just because someone has said something we find disagreeable or because someone has, in our own view, done something wrong. Anger also arises when we insist on making our own opinions heard without trying to understand others’ points of view. Instead of upholding our willfulness and anger, we would do well to uphold the truth of heaven. Losing our temper can lessen our merit and even have a harmful effect on our lives.


This dust includes desiring to have more than others and take as much as possible by any means—whether by giving short measure, by misappropriating what belongs to others, or by engaging in profiteering. Taking anything—whatever it is—without paying the price for it reflects avarice. Also included in the dust of greed is succumbing to lust.


This dust includes being puffed up with self-importance; being domineering; looking down on others and trampling on others by abusing our wealth or power; flattering our superiors while being cruel to our subordinates; holding others in contempt by boasting that we are knowledgeable; pretending to know what we really do not; and finding fault with others.


It is very difficult for most of us not to accumulate the dusts of the mind in our daily lives. The Dust Busters may be able to help you to cancel out the negative use of the mind by using the mind in a positive way. Let’s practice the opposites of the above dusts of the mind to cancel them out! Go to ☞ Dust Busters.