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Monthly Sermon

May 22, 2020 / Tenrikyo 183
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon (Summary)

Let us refine our mind, practice the teachings, and follow the Divine Model

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.NishiyamaMichinori

(Summary)

As the Covid-19 continues to spread, many members were not able to attend the grand church monthly service this month again despite their will to attend. However, although we had limited number of service performers, we were able to perform the service with our minds focused together. Thank you very much.

On January 4 this year, during his new years greetings, the Shinbahira spoke to us directly for the first time in two years. After listening to his message, there were two key words that remained vividly in my mind. One is “basic” and the other is “inertia”. Aren’t we undertaking our activities unthinkingly by force of habit, being caught in the customary forms, forgetting its original purpose or goal? I thought we may have been overwhelmed by inertia.

Presently, at the Main Sanctuary at Church Headquarters, in order to prevent spread of infection, during the day, people are permitted to enter only the South Worship Hall, while the East, West, and North Worship Halls are closed. All halls are open only during the morning and evening service times.

Moreover, during these two months, new registrations into the Spiritual Development Course (Shuyoka), Minister’s Qualification Course, and Three Day Courses have been stopped. This summer’s Children Pilgrimage to Jiba, Students Spiritual Development Course High School Division and other activities have been canceled.

Even so, there are a few programs that are still open. They include, “Grant of Safe Childbirth,” “Proof Amulet,” and the Besseki lectures. And thankfully, the Grant of the Sazuke is still being bestowed and the number of recipients is increasing each day.

Further, we are able to attend the morning and evening services.

Through Grant of Safe Childbirth, Oyasama was able to broaden the Path to universal salvation, in allowing women to experience a safe childbirth and delivery. Through the Proof Amulet, we can settle our minds on the teachings, as we are taught that “the protection of our minds is the protection of our bodies.”

The duties of a Yoboku is to perform the service and administer the Sazuke. In present times, it may seem difficult to administer the Sazuke. However we are able to sincerely perform the service.

Within the Eight Verses of Yorozuyo there is a verse that says,

“If you wish to hear and will come to Me,”

“Will come to Me,” means to pay a visit to Jiba, yet for some reasons the hand gesture that accompanies this verse points towards one’s own chest. This is my own interpretation, but aren’t we Yoboku the ones who stands between the people of the world and Jiba (God the Parent)? In order to fulfill that responsibility, it is important that we first firmly connect our minds with Jiba, and distribute our hearts out to the world.

The 2nd Shinbashira used to encourage us to grow spiritually and become Yoboku who can respond to a question, “What is the teaching of Tenrikyo,” by saying “Please take a look at me.”

So that we can connect Jiba and people of the world, let us strive to grow spiritually by refining our minds, put the teachings into action, and follow the Divine Model.

The foundation of salvation work in our teachings seems to be included in the following—Grant of Safe Childbirth, Proof Amulet, morning and evening services, the Besseki Lectures, and the Truth of the Sazuke.

In order for us to get where we need to be, there are various Association activities as well as lectures/seminars/workshops. These activities aim to save people’s minds. However, if we forget the true purpose of conducting these activities, it is regretful. Further, it seems that God the Parent is pointing out the important aspects of salvation work through this virus crisis.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

April 14, 2020 (Tenrikyo 183)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon (Summary)

“If there is truth within the mind, the mind of true sincerity will be accepted.”

Reverend Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

It was a warm winter, and it was said the cherry blossoms bloomed rather early. However, beginning from April chilly spring weather continued, so the road leading to the grand church greeted us with cherry blossoms in full bloom at its finest.

In the March 22nd issue of Tenri Jiho, a message by Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori, Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs titled “Let the Entire Faith Unite Our Hearts in Prayer” was published. The content was about the request to prevent the further outbreak of the new Corona virus, by requesting the prevention of all self-imposed worship at the monthly service. Within the message an example from the past was noted.

“When the bubonic plague arrived in Japan in 1899, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was asked by the government to postpone the Autumn Grand Service as a measure to prevent infection. A Divine Direction delivered in response to an inquiry granted permission to postpone the Service. It says that God will accept everyone’s mind of true sincerity, but it moves on to state that, even if the Service is performed in a correct manner, it will not do if people’s minds are not united.”

I would like to introduce that Divine Direction.

For the time being, if it is so, there are also worldly truths. If all say so, I will leave it up to you: whether it be postponed or shortened, it does not matter. So long as there is truth in the mind, surely, I will accept your mind of sincerity. Though it may seem as though the service is being performed with sincerity, if one is looking here and there and minds are scattered, it will not do.
(Osashizu: Nov. 23, 1899 / Trial translation)

Actually, a half year before this Divine Direction was received, the following Divine Direction was conveyed. At that time, there was an inquiry from the Shinto Headquarters if the Tenri Church would become independent and this Osashizu gave guidance on the situation.

You wanted to establish what you call ‘church’ in accordance with worldly common procedures and truth, and I granted permission to do so. But just because the church is tied to worldly truths, it will not do to draw on worldly truths only.
(Osashizu: May 30, 1899)

If the church follows society’s standards, it will receive permission from the worldly truths but it will not do to follow only those truths.

First of all, because God the Parent exists, this world exists. Settle the truth of order in your minds that because the world exists, all things exist. I would like for all of us to dedicate ourselves to universal salvation, developing hearts that do not waver with a single-hearted devotion to God.

In order to do so, all of us who are in this faith must unite our hearts. Do not act on your own selfish concerns but rather unite your minds with the intentions of God the Parent.

Thank you.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

March 22, 2020 (Tenrikyo 183)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon (Summary)

Align with the Jiba, Pursue the Spirit of Single-heartedness with God

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

I was able to do an official mission visit in America from February 28th through March 12th.

While visiting Maui Church in Hawaii, I paid my respects at one of its subordinate mission stations that runs a plantation business, and took a tour of that plantation.

Rev. Mark Hisao was waiting patiently outside with the palms of his hand on his chest. As I went closer, I realized there was a chameleon on his hand, which we rarely have the opportunity to see in Japan.

Rev. Mark asked, “Would you like to hold it?” To be honest I was afraid, yet I kept a calm expression and held it the same way.

As soon as I held it, the green chameleon gradually began changing to a blackish color. I got a little scared and gave it back to Rev. Mark. It then began to gradually turn back to its original green color.

Later, I learned that chameleons turn into a blackish color when they feel stressed. It seems like being on my hand was a very stressful for that chameleon.

Rev. Mark was used to it, so the chameleon didn’t move at all. I tried to keep myself calm, but I think I was just too worried that I would either get bitten or the chameleon would be violent. My anxiety may have been transmitted to the chameleon. If he thought he could be dropped, I’m sure he felt stressful as well.

I thought that it is important not to accumulate stress such as worries and anxieties. For that, I think we must develop unwavering faith. Having the spirit of single-heartedness with God and single-heartedness with the Jiba, I would like us to develop unwavering mind, instead of accumulating worries and anxieties.

The Women’s Association’s Commemorative Convention, which was to be observed in April, was cancelled as a precautionary measure implemented to prevent the spread of infectious disease. This was a large knot of incident.

I looked back on the Shinbashira’s words given at previous Women’s Association Conventions. Something he said five years ago at the 97th Convention in the 178th Year of Tenrikyo (2015) resonated with me. I would like to read you that part.

In the period between the Fifth Anniversary and the next anniversary, namely the 10th Anniversary, the seeds of sincerity sown by our early predecessors began to sprout, resulting in the establishment of churches in various parts f the country. On the other hand, force of habit began to take precedence over the effort to follow the Divine Directions, thereby putting the followers into a self-serving frame of mind from time to time. God the Parent used the First Shinbashira’s illness as a basis of teaching to reproach the followers for letting this situation arise and taught them the importance of upholding the truth of single-heartedness with God.

The fifth Anniversary of Oyasama was the first to be performed following the official recognition of Church Headquarters. Divine Directions were sought regarding every aspect of how to observe the anniversary as preparations were being made for the event. The meaning of going through a “three years, one thousand days” season was also taught in the lead-up to the Fifth Anniversary. Thanks to these Divine Directions, we are able to understand the way of thinking and dealing with God with regard to the anniversaries of Oyasama. In this sense, we may say that the Fifth Anniversary of Oyasama provides the basis for how to observe every anniversary of Oyasama

However, on the one hand—and this is what we must be careful of—although we may think we are single-hearted with God, we might gradually be influenced by society’s ways and trends and could be going along in our own self-centered tendencies. When such a situation was found to be true, God admonished us through the First Shinbashira’s illness.

We are presently in a period between the 130th and 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. Thanks to the foundation of sincerity laid down by our predecessors, we are able to offer our prayers without worry and follow the path.

During such times, what is it that God the Parent is trying to teach us through the physical illness of the Shinbashira?

I hope that we can seek the spirit of single-heartedness with God every day and align ourselves with the Jiba instead of acting out of force of habit or self-serving frame of mind.

The second Shinbashira put a lot of effort into Tenri Judo. Please allow me to use Judo as an analogy to talk about the faith.

To be single-hearted with God is to lean wholeheartedly on God. On the contrary, being selfish is to push one’s opinion through.

In Judo, “Flexibility is stronger than muscle” is often used. Instead of just relying your own strength/muscle, you utilize the opponent’s force and weight when you execute a throw, yielding to the flow.

Being single-hearted with God is not about being assertive by pushing one’s opinion forcefully, rather, it is important to make progress and to grow spiritually by going with the flow while finding joy in whatever occurrences you may encounter

With regard to being single-hearted with God, the essential point is that God the Parent wishes us to lead the Joyous Life and that God the Parent’s mind is filled with single-hearted salvation.

Therefore, it is important to be conscious of the triangular link between you, God the Parent, and whatever occurrences you may encounter.

We must see this major knot of current crisis as our own matter. Let us keep in mind that, out of God’s parental love, there must be something God the Parent wishes to teach us. With that thought in mind, I wish to make progress toward the Joyous Life.

Jiba is where we can attain salvation. Let us always keep in mind to connect our minds to Jiba.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

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