April 14, 2021 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

Let us look back on our homework from the Shinbashira as we head toward our Commemorative Anniversary

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



We are getting into the month of May, and we are going to be celebrating the 120th Commemorative Anniversary of the establishment of our church very soon. The Shinbahira gave us a lot of homework in his address 10 years ago at our 110th Anniversary. Is our homework done? We have a month until our Anniversary so I would like for us to do as much of our homework as possible so that we won’t get a zero.

Now, I would like to look back on his address from the 110th Anniversary.

“When our mind remains unchanging from that of those who requested to establish the church, we will be able to receive unchanging blessings of a church.“

I believe this is something that you have heard many times.

Further, he also said:

“The Path of Honjima was not founded in a day. During the 110 years, your forefathers and predecessors followed the Divine Model of Oyasama. It is because of their footsteps that you are here today.”

Also, he said:

“As years and months go by and people change generation after generation and we start to lose the memories of the olden days, we might say that it cannot be helped if there are changes in people’s minds.

To say that people in the olden days thought like that but since the era is different now and so we cannot think in the same way—I don’t think we can say that this is a religious way of thinking.

To proceed with care and not break the promise that we made with God the Parent at the time of our church establishment, keeping that promise as our promise of today and for generations to come, would be responding to God that Parent who has granted us the church name which is for all eternity.”

In these 10 years, society and this grand church have changed considerably.

However, no matter the circumstances, seek out the Path of the Divine Model and follow this path with the thought that you are always accompanying the Everliving Oyasama.

Further, the faith Honjima aims to fulfill is evident in the lyrics of the song, “Honjima Ondo (Honjima Dance Song).”

There are five verses in the song, but eacg ends with the words, “let’s go forward joyfully.”

In the time of our predecessors, they had hardships different from we experience today. They suffered hardships related to food and to the uncertainty and fear of war. But even within those hardships, I’d like to think that they held their beliefs in the faith, thinking, “let’s go forward joyfully.”

We may not be able to score high on the homework assignments that we received from the Shinbashira, but let us resolve our hearts toward the 120th Anniversary of Honjima so that we can strive to become closer to Oyasama and move forward joyfully.

The theme is “Unity of Mind.” If we lack even one person, we will not be united. I hope to be in unity with our hearts to welcome our anniversary in joyful mind. Thank you.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

April 14, 2021 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

The young who will shoulder the future path—Actively take part in the 120th Anniversary Hinokishin

Rev. Yasonori Okazaki
Board Member: Honjima Grand Church



It started to get warmer gradually as we entered April, and this pleasant weather has helped us to be more active.

April 18 is the 224th birthday of the everliving Oyasama. At Jiba, Oyasama Birth Celebration Service will be held, followed by the “Joyous Chorus,” where we sing the songs filled with joy in our hearts to send our birthday wishes to Oyasama.

In Ofudesaki, we read:

In the Ofudesaki, we are taught:

What do you think it is that I shall make known?
I shall make the Parent of Origin clearly known.
Ofudesaki IX:26

To teach you things unknown until now,
I shall make the Parent of origin clearly know.
Ofudesaki IX:30

When you come to know the Parent of Origin clearly,
I shall give you My assurance on anything whatever.
Ofudesaki IX: 31

Oyasama, Who has the causality of the original mother to give birth to human beings, is the Parent of Origin, Who expounded the ultimate teachings to save the world as the Shrine of God. The teachings of the Joyous Life was started by Oyasama alone, and today, Her teachings have spread throughout the world.

I would like to read a story from the Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. It teaches us the way to use the mind that we should all learn.

144 The Virtue Which Reaches Heaven

Oyasama was detained in Nara Prison from March 24 through April 5, 1884. Chuzaburo Koda was also kept in custody for ten days. While imprisoned, Chuzaburo was ordered by a jailor to clean the toilets. When he came back to Oyasama after he had finished cleaning, Oyasama inquired:

“Koda, what do you think of having been brought to this kind of place and even having been made clean such filthy places as toilets”

“I think I am serving God whatever I do. So I am very happy,”

He answered. Oyasama said:

“You are right. If you do something with gratitude, no matter how hard or unpleasant it may be, your virtue will reach heaven. Virtue which is accepted by God will be turned into joy. But no matter how hard or trying the work that you do may be, if you do it complaining, ‘How hard it is, How I hate it,’ the complaints will also reach heaven and be returned to you in kind.”

Somei Yoshino cherry, Japanese cherry tree, was born from grafting. It can be seen not only all across the country, but also all across the world. It is said that there are more than 10 million Somei Yoshino cherry trees around the world. The cherry blossom lightens up mind and comforts the mind of people.

The teachings of Tenrikyo, which was started by Oyasama alone, lighten up and uplift our minds.

Cherry blossom can ease the mind of people once a year. However, by always striving to follow the path of the Divine Model of Oyasama, we, Yoboku, can lighten up and uplift the mind of people around us anytime, anywhere.

Now, regarding the 120th Anniversary of Honjima, which we will celebrate on May 21, we are asking the younger generation of Honjima, who will shoulder the future of the path, to help the Anniversary.

It is intended that, through the hinokishin for the Anniversary, we hope that the young people feel closer in following the faith and as if it is their own, build fraternal connection with each other as they will shoulder the future of the path, and eventually grow spiritually to become active yoboku for their church.

In the past 2 years, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we are not able to gather a large group of people to hold any activities and events. Instead, online meetings and activities have been held via Internet. However, it is still important to have in-person association activities and events.

By spending time together at the same place, talking and listening to one another, and doing things together, participants can deepen their connections and bond with one another. Moreover, they will be able to deepen their own faith by inspiring and influencing with each other.

Looking back on my own experience, I was able to face my own faith through connections with many people and also deepening the bonds with them when I was younger. It has now become the driving force for me to walk the Path of Tenrikyo.

Regarding the Anniversary, I would like the people who lead the next generation to proactively participate in Hinokishin and take the treasure back home in order to follow the future Path of Tenrikyo.

In our Anniversary this time, I would like the younger generations to proactively participate in hinokishin and obtain treasures for their faith.

I would like all who are associated with the church, including the head ministers, to encourage the younger generation, who will shoulder our future, and send them off to take part in the Anniversary hinokishin.

Although we will not receive the honorable attendance of the Shinbashira this time, I believe we, who are associated with Honjima Grand Church, will receive a message from the Shinbashira. I am very delighted and grateful for it.

Despite yet continuing Covid 19 crisis, let us feel thankful to be able to celebrate our Anniversary. We have a little over a month and a half until the Anniversary, let us shift our minds into high gear and please return to Honjima for the Anniversary with hearts filled with joy.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)


March 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

Let us personally make the commemorative service meaningful and carry it out with a unity of minds.

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



Due to the circumstances of the Covid pandemic, over these two years, not only in Japan, but people all over the world have been feeling anxious and what we used to take for granted in normal daily life is not normal any more.

However, due to these circumstances, I think we find that people have been cooperating by wearing masks, disinfecting hands, getting vaccinated and avoiding the Three C’s (closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings), so that the Covid pandemic can be resolved even a day sooner.

I don’t know if we can call it a “unity of minds,” but everyone is hoping for a resolution and acting with one mind/thought. I think that this is a state of mind that is one step closer toward realizing the world of the Joyous Life that God the Parent wishes.

On the other hand, we see military aggression in the world.

We are being shown the state of people’s minds that are covered in the Eight Dustsof the Mind. For those of us who are following the teachings of Oyasama, let us first start out by making effort to sweep our own dust of the mind.

Let us not be affected by what we see but take a hard look at what we cannot see—especially our own mind. With the freedom of the use of our mind that we are being given, let us, ourselves, follow the teachings of Oyasama and work diligently toward a world of the Joyous Life in which we all help one another.

We are less than two months away from the anniversary.

This time, the Shinbashira isn’t going to grace us with his presence. We must make this meaningful ourselves, and make an effort to make this anniversary one in which we get even closer to the intention of the Parent.

I ask for your cooperation on this.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

March 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Let us perform the service with a completely purified, unified and spirited mind.

Rev. Shinjiro Hirai
Board Member: Honjima Grand Church



Led by the head, Rev. Kanta Katayama, we have just joyfully completed the March monthly service. Thank you very much.

Please allow me to talk of my reflections in regards to the keywords for the Joyous Life: “Gratitude, Moderation, and Mutual Help.”

First, “Gratitude” is the expression of thanks. The feeling of being thankful.

The origins of the Honjima path started in 1896, when a missionary, Rev. Eisa Sato, arrived from Tsuruga, staking his life on his missionary work in Honjima. In 1902, Yoshizo Katayama, being saved from near death, resolved his mind to dedicate his life for missionary work, against great opposition from those around him, and worked on establishing a church.

There are no words to describe the path of hardships and the salvation work Rev. Yoshizo experienced, which was originated from the “parental devotion” and the passion he whole-heartedly felt to bring joy to Rev. Sato.

The first person in my family’s faith, Kumanoshin Hirai, was suffering from an illness, when Rev. Yoshizo helped him. He became a follower of the faith, and generations later, here we are. Without the deep faith of the pioneer of my family, without mistake, I would not be where I am today. I’m sure it’s the same for you all.

I believe this is very important. This is “gratitude.”

Next is “moderation.” I think moderation is to learn and to become aware of.

After graduating from high school, I was downhearted since I did not pass the college entrance exam. My father asked to me to serve as a live-in missionary at the grand church and I came to Honjima very reluctantly. I was going through a difficult time living in a lifestyle that I was not used to.

One day, I went into the woods to collect sakaki branches to be offered as the sacred branches at the graveyard. The senior staff taught me how to do it but I was not able to get it right and I was being scolded again and again. I was again down in the dumps while I was on the back of the truck to the graveyard. Along the way, from my carelessness, I fell off the truck from head first.

When I regained consciousness, I was transported to the church office and a reverend, the board member of the grand church, was administering the Sazuke to me. Since I suffered from a severe head trauma, I was transported to a hospital in Marugame City. Because of that, I felt even more miserable.

It was in the evening of the day I injured. Around that time, head ministers from local Honjima church were taking turns to give a special talk to the staff members at Honjima. It happened to be my father’s turn to give a talk that evening.

I was listening at the very back of the room with my head and both hands wrapped in bandages.

My father’s talk was about the day of origin of the Hirai family. I couldn’t stop my tears from the story I heard for the first time. This was also the first time I realized that it was a guidance from God the Parent.

Back then, I was complaining about my church life in Hokkaido every day—I’m going through difficult times because of Tenrikyo. I was the only boy among my siblings, and I was repeatedly told I was going to take over the church since the childhood days. Because of this, I only had a sense of uncertainty about my future.

However, after learning the hearts of my ancestors, who transmitted the family faith from generation to generation, to cancel the causality, my attitude began to change gradually.

By realizing the guidance of God the Parent, I think, the mind of moderation will develop in your mind

I think this mind of “moderation” is very important for us, head ministers, who are in charge of local churches.

The last one is “Mutual Help.”

Last year from September to November, I served as an instructor for the Spiritual Development Course. I was assigned as the assistant homeroom teacher of women’s class number 101.

The class consisted of 19 ladies. Among them, the youngest student turns out to stir the class.

About after 2 weeks had passed, I began to hear comments from the class monitors and classmates that a fellow student’s actions were harsh and irritating. At the student’s wishes and upon discussing with the Spiritual Development Course advisor, it was decided to consult with a medical specialist.

The result was, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

It seems the characteristics of a person afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome are difficulties in social communications, and imbalances in interests and activities. I learned that afflicted persons have no ill intent, but they tend to bring about many obstacles within personal relations and have difficulty in adapting to group life.

I relayed this to the class monitors and decided to observe for a while. However, the situation did not change right away.

In such time, a woman in the class said to her, “When you receive the truth of the Sazuke, please administer the Sazuke to me.” Just by this, the situation began to change. Little by little, everyone in the class began to understand her more.

It seemed as though she was selfishly doing as she pleased, but little by little she started listening to the class monitors and the words of her classmates, and began to clean the corridors and do hinokishin together with them.

However, around the middle of the second month, that woman who requested the administration of the Sazuke withdrew from the Spiritual Development Course for personal reasons, and the girl also began to lose her direction.

Thereupon, with the homeroom teacher at the core, the class monitors, along with other classmates, made sincere effort to go to the Main Sanctuary and the Foundress’ Sanctuary many times to perform prayer services for her. This was certainly the true image of “Mutual Help.”

The third month came, and the girl was able to receive the truth of the Sazuke and became a Yoboku. She wanted to keep her promise to the lady who said, “I want you to administer the Sazuke to me.” A couple of days later, with the help of the classmate who belonged to the same grand church, she was able to go see the lady to administer the Sazuke. She sang “Ashiki harai tasuke tamae...” to administer the Sazuke at the Main Sanctuary of Church Headquarters. While all the classmates prayed together by surrounding the two of them, an indescribable emotion embraced the moment.

She, the lady, and all the classmates told each other “Thank you” many times.

Strangers were drawn to Jiba through the divine guidance, applied for the 963rd term of Spiritual Development Course, and brought together as the class number 101. They shared the emotional experience of “Mutual Help.” I have never experienced fully the meaning of the teaching of “bringing you together according to the causality and protect you.”

We have just 2 months left until the 120th Anniversary of Honjima. Although some things are still not settled, we are making the final push. With Rev. Kanta Katayama at the core, let each one of us, young and old, bind tightly together with the mind of “Gratitude, Moderation, and Mutual Help” and welcome the day of the anniversary in a unity of mind with full of joy.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)


February 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

Let’s implement the Joyous Life each day and convey to children the joy it brings.

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



I would like to inform you about the anniversary.

We will not be receiving the honorable attendance by the Shinbashira for our 120th Anniversary Commemorative Service on May 21. We will conduct the anniversary service with the honorable attendance by our church counselor, Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori.

Although we will not have the visit by the Shinbashira, however, because of that, we must bind ourselves together in a unity of minds and make the anniversary successful so that we can grow spiritually. Let us do our best and aim to perform the anniversary service to bring joy to God the Parent, Oyasama and our predecessors.

I would like to explain the general flow of the day of the anniversary.

The morning service will be held from 6:15AM on May 21. We will begin preparations for the anniversary immediately after the morning service.

Opening of the portals and placing of offerings will begin from 8:00AM.

At 10:40AM, 20 minutes before the commencement of the anniversary service, all church head ministers and their wives are to be seated, with Otsutome-gi, Service kimono, inside the partition bar at the main sanctuary.

The anniversary service commences at 11:00AM.

We plan to take commemorative photos in the main sanctuary right after the service, followed by lunch box distribution.

Regarding the reception after the anniversary, we will secure a large space to avoid close-contact settings instead of congregate in one place to enjoy the entertainment with foods and drinks like as in the past.

We will not be serving alcoholic beverages.

Furthermore, Rev. Ryuzo Iwahashi will be in charge of the service operation. Rev. Yasonori Okazaki will be in charge of the reception, and Rev. Shinjiro Hirai will be in charge for the boat transportation.

I would like to change the topic. The activity guideline of the Tenrikyo Boys and Girls Association is “Let’s implement the Joyous Life each day and convey to children the joy it brings.”

I think this is very important. “Let’s implement the Joyous Life each day” refers to the activities for all of us Yoboku, including us, head ministers.

In any situations, I would like us to be conscious of the Joyous Life and always remember to be thankful to God the Parent, and it our task to convey the joy it brings to our children.

We receive various guidance from God the Parent so that we can make progress towards the Joyous Life. Such guidance could be something you do not wish to or something you cannot take delight in it. However, if you can consider it as the guidance to make progress towards the Joyous Life, then you will be able to find the seeds of joy in any circumstances.

Such repeated effort will lead to becoming someone who exemplifies the truth of the teachings that Shinbashira talked in his new year’s greetings at the beginning of this year.

We must always strive to accumulate the efforts to finding the seeds of joy.

As we head toward to the anniversary celebration, you may encounter various things. However, let us work spiritedly and reach out to one another to make progress toward becoming someone who exemplifies the truth of the teachings.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

February 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Let us perform the service with a completely purified, unified and spirited mind.

Rev. Ryuzo Iwahashi
Board Member: Honjima Grand Church



There are 3 months left till the 120th Anniversary of the founding of our grand church.

So today, I would like to talk about one of our goals for spiritual maturity, “Let us devote ourselves to perform the service,” from one of my trivial experiences.

The first time I became conscious about the service was when I went to high school. Soon after I entered the dormitory of Tenri High School, we had a hand dance correction session. I was told by one of the dorm counselor, “Iwahashi, your hand dance is cheerless.”

At first, I was a bit upset and thought, “What’s so cheerless?” But as he explained, “Your back is bent, your gaze is downward, your fingers are curled, your movements are small and your voice is small,” I came to understand why he said that it was cheerless.

I was aware that I did have a quiet personality, but when I was told that even my hand dance was depressing, I felt kind of miserable and decided that I wanted to correct the areas that had been pointed out. I believe this was the beginning of my conscious effort to practice the service.

Later, my attitude changed after I came upon these words from the Life of Oyasama:

“Hands that are limp in the performance of the Service betray a mind that is undisciplined. Also, it will not do to make even a single mistake in the manner of moving your hands. Through this Service, one’s life can be renewed. So important is this Service.” (Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo: Page 71)

This Service is so important that one’s life can be renewed. In order for that to happen, I felt strongly that I must move my hands properly.

I thought, “It’s difficult to discipline my mind, but I can fix my hand movements if I make a conscious effort. I’m going to fix my limp hands first. Then, maybe my undisciplined mind can be fixed as well.” In any case, I started to be conscious about always straightening out my fingers.

I have many bad habits that I can’t seem to fix when it comes to my hand movements for the service.

For example, I can’t “throw” my hands straight. I think my hands are straight, but the directions I throw my left and right hands aren’t quite aligned. I can’t seem to throw them straight down and parallel. Also, if I don’t concentrate on it, my pinky fingers tend to separate from the other fingers.

Now, these are things that I had not noticed by myself. These were brought to my attention by other people.

If you think about it, you can see your own hands, but to see how your whole body moves, you’ll need to see a reflection in the mirror.

For that reason, I’m always grateful when anyone provides feedback to me. They are pointing out things that otherwise I would not have noticed.

This could be a chance for me to replace or modify my disposition and as a result, change my causality.

I’m a short-tempered person, and even though I know that about myself, when others tell me, “You have such a short temper,” I do get angry.

When we reflect and become aware of our own causality and finding gratitude from this acceptance, is when we can grow spiritually and make steps toward the Joyous Life.

In order to change oneself, you need to have self-awareness.

In performing the service as well, it is important to first be aware of your bad habits. With this awareness, you can begin to correct those habits with sincerity and diligence. I believe this is the true workings of the service.

This connects to the Oyasama’s words that teach us, “Through this Service, one’s life can be renewed.”

Also, I tend to get annoyed when the flute and singer are not in alignment. When I was in high school I trained daily to align my sound pitch in the concert band wind ensemble I was a part of, so I cannot help but become affected when the sound is out of alignment.

Upon hearing this, someone told me, “You poor thing.” “To have to perform a joyous service feeling annoyed and having to worship feeling this way is a pitiful thing.”

With this I realized something. Rev. Yoichiro Miyamoto, the church counselor of our grand church, taught us that a “purified mind”, a “unified mind” and a “spirited mind” are three important mental attitudes when performing the service.

Amongst these, I feel I have come to understand a little more about the meaning of what a “purified mind” is.

In Mikagura-Uta, the Songs for the Service, we are taught:

Though there is no one who is free from greed, Before God there is no greed.
If you have greed, cast it away! Because God cannot accept it.
Greed is fathomless like muddy water. When your mind is completely purified, Then comes paradise.

I reflected, it was the manifestation of my personal mind of greed to become annoyed at hearing a misaligned note, expecting people to do things this way or that.

As stated in the Life of Oyasama, on January 26, 1887 (lunar calendar), when Oyasama withdrew from Her physical presence, She felt completely satisfied at hearing the joyous sound of the musical instruments.

Couldn’t it be said, that Oyasama was completely satisfied at the mental attitude of those who performed the service, to do the service no matter what the conditions may arise.

I was simply thinking “No greed” equals “Purified”, but that alone is insufficient.

I wondered what were the thoughts of the people of those times when they performed the service. I felt I wanted to perform the service “no matter what may happen,” keeping in mind the salvation of someone and become even a little closer to having a “purified mind.”

I think the power of voice can be enormous.

In the past, when my mother was struck by a major illness, people at the grand church performed the prayer service. The singing sound that came into my ears was very promising and very warm, which provided me powerful energy.

At the time, there were less than 20 people who were present at the grand church but the sound the singing in the prayer service felt like so much bigger than that. Through the sound, I felt the sincerity of everyone and I could not help to shed tears.

From the bottom of my heart, I felt a church is such a wonderful place and I was truly grateful for the service.

A sincere mind, wishing for someone to be saved and wanting to save someone, can be manifested through voice.

Through the prayer service for my mother, I received huge power to uplift my mind. By recalling such a moving experience and my appreciation for it, I would like to perform the service to uplift my mind as well as the minds of other people.

During the pandemic, I cannot really promote “singing loudly,” however, let us sing together in high spirits on the day of the anniversary service in order to bring delight to God the Parent and Oyasama; so that we may be able to receive blessings; and to be in accord with the parent’s intention.

In conclusion, I would like to quote the following Divine Directions:

“If you bind yourselves together in a unity of minds, I shall provide any blessings for you. (Osashizu: January 19, 1898).”

In order for us to bind ourselves, we must be flexible and workable with one another. For next 3 months toward our anniversary, let us become “humble, gentle, and accepting mind” that Oyasama teaches us.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)