October 22, 2023 (Tenrikyo 186)
Honjima Grand Church Autumn Grand Service Sermon
“Spread the fragrance of the Teachings daily, don’t miss the opportunity to help others be saved and receive the truth of Jiba”
Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori
Grand church counselor
The Shinbashira announced Instruction Four at the Autumn Grand Service last year in October.
Please take a moment to reflect on how this past year went for you, and I also have three wishes for you today.
The first is “Spread the fragrance of the teachings to others daily.”
The second is “Engage in salvation work proactively.” Let us not miss opportunities to help others be saved.
The third is “Let us receive the truth of Jiba.”
I hope, in the remaining two years, that you take these three things to heart and turn them into action.
The first one is, “Spread the fragrance of the teachings to others daily.” What exactly is fragrance? What kind of fragrance makes you think, “That’s a nice smell.” It could be a faint fragrance that you suddenly notice. Something that is wafting by. I think this is a good fragrance.
Even if you have a wonderful perfume, if you put on too much, no one will think it smells good.
When I first started to do missionary work, my father gave me some advice. “If you find someone who you can talk the teachings with, go to them every day. However, don’t talk too long. Say, “Hello, how are you? How have you been?’ and then leave.” He then said, “Instead, go often. If you think you can just start talking, you talk too much. You want to tell them everything and won’t leave until they understand it all. If you go with that determination, that good fragrance won’t be seen as such.”
“It’s just right if they think, “Oh, he left already?” even if you visit them every day. It’s much better than staying too long that they say, ‘Is he still here?’ If they see your face every day, they will eventually get used to you. Once they are used to you, there may be some time they might want to listen to your talk. At times when they are sick or come across some sort of problems, they might want to seek some advice from you. So go visit them every day but leave soon after. That’s good fragrance.” If you are too persistent in conveying the teachings, it will not help to spread the fragrance of the teachings.
In the Ofudesaki, we are taught,
Day after day, the concern in the mind of Tsukihi
is the innermost hearts of a great number of people. (Ofudesaki X:57)
Make your minds spirited step by step and day by day,
and teach joyousness to all of you.(Ofudesaki X:61)
Day by day, calm your minds firmly, My intermediaries.
and begin quickly.(Ofudesaki X:97)
Build up small things every day—this is very important. Spread the fragrance every day, and the fragrance is a talk that will uplift someone’s heart cheerfully and joyfully. Let us convey something joyous as we are taught, “teach joyousness to all of you.” It also says, “calm your minds firmly, My intermediaries.” All Yoboku are intermediaries who convey the intention of God the Parent and Oyasama. It can be simple. Let us spread the fragrance that is light and wafting but let us do that every day.
The first wish I have for you is “spreading the fragrance of the teachings to others daily.” In Instruction Four, it says, “spread the fragrance of the teachings to others, starting with those around us including family members and coworkers.” I would like you to spread the fragrance that makes others feel good.
The next is “Engage in salvation work proactively.”
In the Divine Directions given on April 17, 1889, it says,
If you understand the teachings theoretically but do not understand the truth behind whatever presents itself each day, this will not do, will not do, will not do. I have entertained you with the teachings of the parent, the teachings of Oyasama. If you understand the teachings theoretically but do not understand the truth behind whatever presents itself each day, there is no knowing when the sluice will begin to crumble or collapse. (Osashizu: April 17, 1889)
Even if you understand the teachings theoretically; understand the teachings that is difficult to grasp the meaning; understand what Tenrikyo is, it does not help if you don’t put into action every day. I would like you to build up every day.
Further, the Divine Directions teaches us,
The tiny truth that can save you from danger is called the truth of daily life.(Osashizu: April 29, 1893)
There are times when we are saved from danger just barely. We are taught that it is the truth that we build up daily that saves us from the danger. The seed that we sow daily blooms at the most crucial moment. We all have crucial moments when we need God’s blessings to help others be saved. During this “three years, one thousand days,” when we want God to save this person or when we want to bring this person back to Jiba, it is the truth that we build up daily that works. Therefore, I would like you to engage in salvation work proactively now. If you build up the truth daily, your salvation work at the crucial moments will be well taken care of.
Lastly, I would like to talk about “receiving the truth of Jiba.”
The Verse One of the Song Seven reads,
First, A single word can be hinokishin.
I simply sprinkle My fragrance around.
What does it mean? It sounds like it means, “Telling others the story of God can be hinokishin,” but actually, by reading further, you will notice that the song is about a field.
Third, There is no one in the world,
Whose mind does not desire to own a field.
Fourth, If there is a good field,
Everyone equally will desire to own it.
Fifth, It is the same with everyone,
I, too, wish to own such a good field.
Seventh, I wish to get the field by any means,
No matter what the price may be.
This field is a piece of land where we sow seeds and receive the blessings of harvest.
For people of this faith like us, where, then, is this field? The place where we harvest blessings is Jiba. We sow seeds at Jiba, they are nurtured there, and we reap the blessings. This is our faith. So, I believe that the meaning of:
A single word can be hinokishin.
I simply sprinkle My fragrance around.
means, “To speak a single word is to sow a seed at Jiba. Speak those kinds of words.” In other words, I think it means that (Oyasama) wants us to speak words such as this: “There is a place called Jiba. This is our home, and this is where we can be saved.” I think that’s what it means.
Song Seven continues:
Eighth, As this Residence is the field of God,
Every seed sown here will sprout.
Ninth, Since this is the field of this world,
I, too, will sow the seed devotedly.
Finally, This time, I am glad to see that all of you equally
Have come here to sow the seed;
Those who have sown the seed,
Shall reap a rich harvest without fertilizing.
The field refers to the Residence, and the Residence means Jiba. Song Seven speaks about sowing seeds of sincerity at Jiba and keeping our minds connected to Jiba. This is what is meant by, “A single word can be hinokishin.”
The term “Hinokishin” appears in the Mikagura-uta in different Songs. However, surprisingly, it does not appear in the Ofudesaki.
In Song Three, Verse Eight, it reads:
Eighth, There is nothing so trying as illness;
So from now on, I, too, will devote myself to hinokishin
This means, “There is nothing so trying as being ill. I became ill as a guidance, so I will now go to Jiba and be saved,” and that is hinokishin.
In Song Eleven, it reads:
Second, Husband and wife working together in hinokishin;
This is the first seed of everything.
Third, I behold more and more people coming from the world,
And bearing straw baskets in hinokishin.
Fourth, Forgetting greed we work in hinokishin.
This becomes the first fertilizer.
Seventh, How remarkable this carrying of earth is,
When it serves as a contribution to God!
Other than Song Seven, the term, “Hinokishin,” appears in Song Three and Song Eleven. The Song Three and Song Eleven begin with the verse, “At Shoyashiki in the homeland of the Sun.” What does this verse indicate? It indicates Jiba. Hinokishin appears in both Songs. This is because all is connected to Jiba and you receive the truth of Jiba. That is how you attain salvation.
The third thing I would like to ask you today is “Receiving the truth of Jiba.”
In the Divine Directions, we are taught:
What is called the origin, Jiba, is not found anywhere else in the world. The more thought you give to this truth, the deeper the truth will become.(Osashizu: October 11, 1895)
There is nowhere else other than Jiba. There is only one Jiba. The more thought you give to this truth, the deeper the truth will become. The truth is the desire of God the Parent. God the Parent desires to save us. The more we think about Jiba, the more profound God’s desire to save us become. I think this is the source to receive the blessings.
What I would like to ask you today, first, is about “sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings to others every day.” It can be light and wafting but we should all be mindful of sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings to others every day.
The second is to “engage in salvation work proactively.” If there is someone who is suffering from illness, offer to administer the Sazuke with the desire of saving this person in that critical moment. If there is a person who is struggling with problems, offer to perform the prayer service.
The third is to firmly connect our hearts to Jiba, the source of salvation, and to make every effort in bringing this person back to Jiba.
I would like to conclude my sermon today by asking you to keep these three things in mind in the next two years leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama.
Just like today’s crisp clear sky, I would like you to be in high spirits, as followers of this faith, and I ask all of you, who are connected to Honjima, to be united in mind to advance in the remaining two years.
(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)