March 22, 2024 (Tenrikyo 187)
Head Ministers’ Meeting

Lay the foundation of the path from children’s age

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



In Instruction Four, we are taught: “Our predecessors earnestly followed the path that had begun by Oyasama alone by using Her Divine Model as their dependable guide and maintain the path of us to walk on. The efforts to pass down the faith from parents to children, from children to grandchildren, and so on, will allow this path to continue for endless generations.”

I learned this from one of my fellow follower of this faith. His grandmother passed away for rebirth at the age of 108. The long-lived grandmother had her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. Moreover, a total of 78 people received the truth of the Sazuke through this grandmother alone.

In the newsletter published by the Boys and Girls Association Headquarters, there are the words of the Shinbashira at the Boys and Girls Association leaders’ first meeting of the year.

In it, the Shinbashira pointed out that “The mission entrusted to the Boys and Girls Association is to help children at an early age to lay a foundation as a follower of the path. The foundation, which is invisible to our eyes for the most part, supports and maintains the stability above the surface, and the level of its strength influences significantly in positive or negative ways later. From this perspective, when we consider the future of the path more and more, nurturing the minds of children well is a very important task.”

Prior to this, the Shinbashira reiterated that those who follow the path, regardless of whether they are working exclusively for the path or not, need to always bear in mind God the Parent’s intention, feel and perceive God’s blessings daily, express their gratitude for the blessings with their sights set on the Divine Model of Oyasama, and strive to live joyously and spiritedly at all times.

Let us build the foundation of the faith as the followers of the path, and pass down the faith to our children who will shoulder the future of the path.

The family of the aforementioned friend of mine, who had 108 year old grandmother, recites the “Boys and Girls Association Pledge” after their morning and evening services.

The last part of the Pledge is “strive to become a good Yoboku,” and my friend also says “strive to become a good Yoboku” together with his children on their side.

I am pretty sure that the faith passed down and a total of 78 Yoboku were born.

Our precious children are also children of God the Parent. Let us nurture them well with our utmost care.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

March 22, 2024 (Tenrikyo 187)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

“Sweeping Away Evils:” Let us sweep away the dusts of the mind and pray to God every day

Mrs. Satoyo Hisao
Spouse of Grand Church Board Member



We are in the second year of the “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary activity period for the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. The Instruction Four was issued on October 26, 2022, the day of the Autumn Grand Service of the Church Headquarters. In the noiselessly quiet sanctuary, the Shinbashira read the Instruction in a gentle pace, giving his whole mind to each word he spoke. Listening to his voice, I was filled with gratitude and was greatly moved.

Since my husband became the head minister of Maui Church, I have gone through the Anniversary of Oyasama twice so far as the spouse of the head minister. However, that doesn’t mean I made a conscious effort for the “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary activity periods. This time, the third Anniversary of Oyasama, I want to do my utmost so as not to regret afterwards.

On the month the Instruction Four was issued, my eldest son got married at Oyasama’s Sanctuary of the Church Headquarters. I feel a great sense of responsibility to passing down the faith to the next generation.

After the wedding, my son came back to Maui, but his wife stayed in Japan for visa application process, and since we weren’t sure how long it would take for her to be admitted to Hawaii, we discussed with her what to do in the meantime. To my surprise, she said that she wants to do hinokishin at the grand church to sow the seeds of sincerity. Thus, we made a request to the grand church head minister, and thankfully, she was able to do hinokishin for three months, receiving the care and the guidance of Rev. and Mrs. Katayama and other staff members.

I didn’t notice this myself, but when I look back on it, I feel that we received God the Parent’s workings at that time, riding on the wave of the season of Oyasama’s anniversary.

The following year, in the first year of the anniversary activities period, since the Covid pandemic was winding down around the world, we decided to perform our monthly services at our church the same way as we used to before. We were happy to see everyone from New Year’s Day Service and be able to enjoy one another’s company over lunch.

The church members who were not able to return to Jiba for a long time due to the Covid pandemic talked about returning for sure this year and the atmosphere was filled with light-hearted conversation. Further, we were able to install a shrine for God the Parent in the home of my daughter who got married in March, and in May, in the apartment of our second son who lives in Sacramento. In June, my husband, my church head minister, served for two weeks at Dendocho as instructor of Shuyokai, the Spiritual Development Course, which was held for the first time in three years.

In the midst of all of these wonderful blessings, illnesses and other problems began to appear in the latter half of the year.

My husband, my church head minister, suddenly became ill from the middle of July. Tests found a malignant tumor around the stomach. Fortunately, it was found in the early stage and he was diagnosed with stage one cancer and started treatment.

At the Grand Church, they conducted a prayer service for him. I called our grand church head minister and thanked him for the prayer service and let him know how grateful I was that a great misfortune had been reduced to a small misfortune. His words were, “Great misfortunes and small misfortunes are visible to the eyes, but let us also feel God the Parent’s blessings of no misfortune, which is also invisible to our eyes, and be grateful for that.”

Of course, as I spent my days in peaceful routine, I began taking things for granted, and I once again reflected on whether my sense of gratitude towards the blessings of God the Parent had become neglected.

Furthermore, on August 8th in Lahaina, Maui, a large-scale wildfire broke out. Witnessing such devastation merely overnight, left me filled with a sense of loss. The television continuously broadcasted the tragic scenes, and combined with our head minister’s personal illness, my spirits began to sink.

Lahaina is the place where Rev. Yoneshiro Tanigawa, the first head minister of Maui Church, began missionary work on Maui after having received direction from Rev. Yoshizo Katayama. Although the current Maui Church was relocated to a location about 40 minutes away by car, for approximately 50 years, the church was in Lahaina. It was a cherished place where predecessors listened to the teachings and gathered to worship.

When I got married, the church had already relocated, so I don’t know the church in Lahaina. However, I often heard stories from my parents, and other followers about those times.

One day, as I was organizing old pictures, I came across a photograph that struck me by surprise.

Pictured with the first head minister Rev. Tanigawa, was my grandfather, Harunosuke Fujiyama, with the Lahaina coast behind them, on the top of a hill. It was taken in 1934. I did not know at all that my grandfather went to Hawaii for a mission visit that long ago. For me to then marry and move to Maui, that must have been fate.

Facing my husband’s illness and then the knots brought on by the Lahaina fire, I was in low spirits when my friend gave me a book, which made me understand the importance of “service,” which is so infused with the deep parental heart of Oyasama. Eventually, the spirit and energy within me started to rise up.

During the Kagura service, and the service at each church, we sing the word and do the hand movements to “Sweeping away evils,” many times.

In the book my friend gave me, was a message written, “You are to attempt to understand the profound intentions of Oyasama through the words, ‘Sweeping away evils.’”

From then on, at our own church, with my husband, we diligently move our hands when we perform the Service. When we do the hand movements to “Sweeping away evils,” the phrase, God, as the broom, is sweeping away the mental dusts that accumulates daily, popped up in my mind, and I make sure to not neglect my prayers to God the Parent.

Lastly, I have been reading the Instruction Four daily. The phrase that moves me the most is at the beginning: “unite the minds of all followers.”

It is certainly not easy to align the minds in the same direction.

In the Divine Directions, we are taught,

“If the principle of the unity of mind settles, the truth will prosper daily. Unity of mind is largely delightful.
(Osashizu: January 27, 1889 / Trial translation for this script)”

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

Through the knots I have been going through since last year, I learned the importance of the service, the preciousness of the Sazuke, and also the importance of aligning the minds in unison to pray for the blessings.

Although natural disasters, illnesses and other problems are unpredictable in the future, let us continue to seek God the Parent’s intention, and live spiritedly so that buds will sprout from knots.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)


February 22, 2024 (Tenrikyo 187)
Head Ministers’ Meeting

Engaging in salvation work—Let us pay careful attention to others

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



I would like to make a few announcements.

The first is regarding bestowal of the truth of the Sazuke. Until now, Religious Affairs Bureau notifies grand churches the date and the number of people who can receive the truth of the Sazuke. Then the followers dormitory director contacts the eligible recipients and make a request to Church Headquarters.

From now, we will be able to request a date to Religious Affairs Bureau. This way, the preparation becomes easier and we are very thankful for this. However, it is not guaranteed that the Sazuke bestowal will be held on the requested day. We will contact you if the Sazuke bestowal will not be held on the requested day.

Next, some of the ritual procedure for funeral service will be modified.

Following are eliminated: Purification by the paper streamers and offering of a sacred branch. Also, wearing kyofuku robe is now allowed.

The third thing is about the Church Headquarters’ Precincts Section. The number of staff members in the Precincts Section has been decreasing every year. The eligible age for Precincts Section was under 35 years of age, however, it is now expanded to those under 60 years of age.

As working at the Precinct Section is an important duty at Jiba and I will continue to ask individually.

And lastly, among the spiritual resolutions for the pre-anniversary activities, there is “Engage in salvation work proactively.” I think that the important point is being “proactive.”

Let us be proactive to make time for salvation work, and proactively keep your antenna up and pay careful attention for others. Oyasama is always working ahead of us.

Let us actively work as Oyasama's instruments.

Thank you very much.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

February 22, 2024 (Tenrikyo 187)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Carry out individual spiritual resolutions and make it as Oyasama’s Anniversary song for each

Rev. Satoshi Inoue
Grand Church Associate Board Member


It is already February in the second year toward Oyasama’s 140th Anniversary activity period.

I always remember the proverb my mother used to say, “January leaps away. February flies. March marches out.”

The meaning behind those words is that from the beginning of the year until March, with so many activities and events going on, the time flies by so quickly.

If you compare this to the “three years, one thousand days,” “the first year leaps away.” How was this past year for you and your achievements? Did this one year flash by while you may have been inactive? While reflecting on my effort to achieve my spiritual resolutions being not enough, I am tightening my efforts in order for the second year to not fly away.

On January 25, at the “Gathering to Promote Salvation Work for Oyasama’s 140th Anniversary,” Rev. Yoshiji Matsumura, the head of the Church Headquarters’ Salvation Committee told us, “For the activities for this Anniversary, at each church, let each Yoboku respond to Oyasama, striving toward accomplishing your spiritual resolutions and to grow spiritually,” and the Tenrikyo community as a whole is taking actions.

This is having the thinking of “what can I do?”

We are in the second year of the pre-anniversary activities, and I am sure that you have been carrying out the spiritual resolutions you set each day already.

Today, I would like to go over the sermon given by Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori during last year’s grand church autumn grand service. He encouraged us to practice three things as we engage in the pre-anniversary activities: “spreading the fragrance of the teachings to others daily,” “engaging in salvation work proactively (without missing opportunities),” and “receiving the truth of Jiba.”

Regarding “sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings to others daily,” Rev. Miyamori taught us that 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 point is “to engage in salvation work proactively without missing opportunities.” There are crucial moments when we need to save someone. If someone is suffering from illness, ask him/her to let you administer the Sazuke. If someone is having a problem, ask the person to let you perform the prayer service to pray wholeheartedly to God for the solution.

The third point is to “receive the truth of Jiba.” It is our effort to connect our mind firmly to Jiba, the source of salvation, and to bring someone back to Jiba. By receiving the truth of Jiba, we can receive the blessings.

I believe these were the main points Rev. Miyamori talked about. He concluded his sermon by asking us “to keep these three things in mind in the next two years leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama.”

Carrying out missionary and salvation work and receiving the truth of the Jiba—I especially took to heart once again how important it is to receive the truth of the Jiba.

Finally, if you would indulge me, I wanted to talk about something that I am interested in. They are the songs for Oyasama’s anniversaries.

Every anniversary, there has been an “Oyasama anniversary song.”

According to documents from the Tenrikyo Institute of Music, the first time a song was composed for an anniversary of Oyasama was in 1946 for the 60th Anniversary.

The document states that, “The anniversary songs have been sung as ‘sustenance for the mind’ by Yoboku and followers who were walking spiritedly forward so as to show their spiritual maturity to Oyasama at each juncture. Further, it states that the lyrics and tunes of each song is imbued with the atmosphere of the path of the times, and have an indescribably profound flavor.”

The title of the song for the 60th Anniversary is entitled “60th Anniversary of Oyasama Celebration Song.”

Describing the joy of the anniversary using the words “celebration song” shows the celebratory atmosphere of our predecessors and the joy of welcoming an anniversary.

Songs for Oyasama anniversary were composed between the 60th anniversary and the 130th anniversary. All of the anniversary songs were accompanied by wonderful lyrics, but the 140th anniversary song, “Shun no Kaze (Winds of the Seasonable Time),” is an impressionistic melody without lyrics. Have you wondered, why this is?

This is my own personal thinking, but I secretly thought, maybe there was a hope for each person to attach their own lyrics based on how they were carrying out their own spiritual resolutions. What do you think about that?

God the Parent placed the eyes of human beings at a high place of the body so we can see far, and our legs can only take one step at a time.

This is the second year towards the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. During this time, let us work tirelessly, leave nothing undone, and fix our focus on our goals, as we advance forward one step at a time.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

January 22, 2023 (Tenrikyo 186)
Honjima Grand Church Spring Grand Service Sermon

Let us brace ourselves and proactively move forward as we get into the second year of the Oyasama’s Anniversary activity period

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister


I would like to thank you all for attending the spring grand service of the Honjima Grand Church. We have just performed the service joyously. Now I would like to share with you some of my thoughts. So may I have your kind attention please?

We have shown a big knot through the earthquake that struck Noto Peninsula on New Year’s Day.

In Instruction Four, it says: “Global pandemics and frequent natural disasters are all expressions of the parental love and guidance of God, who urges us humans, who are God`s beloved children, to replace the mind.” This is not about someone else’s matter and let us take it as our own.

Let us pray for those who are affected by this disaster to receive blessings to be able to return to normal life as soon as possible. Also, let us exert effort to replace our minds to save others.

Are you working on Oyasama’s 140th Anniversary activities as your own personal matter? Today, we would like to study about this Divine Direction written in the Instruction Four, which was given on November 7, 1889.

Mainly, there are two kinds of Divine Direction—timely directions and directions given on people’s inquiries. The Divine Direction given on November 7, 1889 was a timely direction. As we read this Divine Direction, let us keep in mind that this contains a strong divine intention of God the Parent.

The Divine Direction begins with a phrase, “Sah, sah, a few words, I shall begin, I shall begin.”

Let me go over some historical background of the time when this Divine Direction was given. On the lunar-calendar date of January 26, 1888, one year after Oyasama’s withdrawal from Her physical life on January 26, 1887, about 30 thousand people attended the First Anniversary of Oyasama. However, during the service, the police officers from Ichinomoto Police Station came and ordered them to stop the service.

People discussed that it was crucial to establish Tenrikyo Church in order to gather followers openly, however, the Osaka Prefecture rejected the application twice in 1885. Since Nara Prefecture, which was split off from Osaka Prefecture, was considered to do the same as Osaka Prefecture, it was decided to first apply to Tokyo Prefecture, and if approved, to transfer the church to Nara Prefecture.

Then an inquiry was made and the following Divine Direction was given: “I have already led you through every kind of path.” (Osashizu, March 9, 1888) The followers immediately began preparations to apply for a church establishment. On April 10, they received the approval in Tokyo Prefecture, and on July 23, they were able to successfully transfer the Church Headquarters to Jiba. Then on November 29 (lunar-calendar date: October 26), the opening ceremony of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was observed.

With this, they were finally able to have people proudly gather and perform the service, bringing much relief to the pioneering leaders. When they started to set rules and assign roles, around that time, they received the following Divine Direction.

“I speak of nothing difficult. I do not tell you to do anything difficult or to do something without a model to follow. There is the path of the Divine Model for everything.”

This means “I will not say anything difficult. I will not ask you to do anything you cannot do or understand. The things you should do, I have taught you one by one through the Divine Model of Oyasama. It will not do if you do not follow the path of the Divine Model.” [Osashizu Research]


“Daily, I go before you and provide for you. You pray for things thirty days ahead. You do not understand that I have already provided for you fifty days ahead. It will not do, not to understand this.”

The meaning of this is, “The everliving Oyasama goes before here and there and blesses us daily. For example, if we pray for something 30 days ahead, She has already blessed us 50 days ahead. You do not know this. It will not do to not understand this Parental love.” [Osashizu Research]


“The paths of the world are many and unknown. The paths of the world are a thousand, the path of God is one. The paths of the world are a thousand but with the path of God, I do not tell you to do anything in which the results are unknown. It will not do to be unable to follow the path of the Divine Model.”

The meaning of this is, “In the paths of the world, it is unknown what kind of paths there are in the future. There are a thousand paths in the world, and it isn’t clear what path to follow. However, the path of God is the single-hearted path toward the joyous life. The paths of the world are a thousand, and there are those that one may be lost on in the future. In the single-hearted path of God, God does not tell you to do anything in which the one would not know what would happen in the future. It is the way of God, the way of the divine model, which will always show us the way that is good for us in the future. It will not do that you cannot follow that path of the divine model. [Osashizu Research]


“If you do not follow the path of the Divine Model, there is no need for a Divine Model. It will not do to change the Divine Model. You must understand this well. If you conduct yourself so everyone around you understands and respects you in all matters, then it will be good.”

It means, “if the path of the Divine Model, demonstrated for the sake of single-hearted salvation, is not followed, the path of the Divine Model which was demonstrated by Oyasama, would not be necessary. If the Divine Model is put aside, and not followed, God’s desire would have no meaning. If you listen to this well, and carry out the Divine Model accordingly, that no matter who sees it, it can be considered as something splendid, then there is no mistake. [Osashizu Research]

“In the first year after I hid Myself, you strove with hope that the path would become wider. Nevertheless you faced sudden difficulty. Through this difficulty, the path began to open a little. In the eyes of the world it may be a rather large path. A narrow path is easy to go through. A larger path is more difficult. You wonder what I mean. If you understand the truth that the larger path is more difficult, you will understand the importance of three days.”

It means, “A year after Oyasama withdrew from Her physical presence, although you thought it would already become a large path, you were suddenly blocked by many circumstances. There, you were told, “this is not right,” and you devoted yourselves by doing this and that, and the path that was blocked, finally opened up, and the church was established. Well, such matters as seen in a worldly sense, could seem like a large path was opened. However, a narrow path is easier to go through, and a large path is difficult. If I say this, I am sure you will doubt and wonder, “what does this mean?” To explain what this means, it is to say, this path is foremost a path of the heart. For example, when going through a narrow path, you do so discreetly exerting care, so it is safe, but for a large path, while doing various things, often negligence can occur causing one to go off the right track. For this reason, if you hear and understand the logic that, a large path is a difficult thing to go through, from here forward, it is three years until the Fifth Anniversary of Oyasama, so to speak, because it is a three day period, you must strive to work diligently. [Osashizu Research]

When this Divine Direction was given, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was established one year ago and the Tenrikyo community was elated at the time. However, toward the 5th Anniversary of Oyasama to be observed in three years, this Divine Direction taught us that we must follow the path of the Divine Model of Oyasama truly as is, do one’s utmost to go through “three years, one thousand days,” and become a model for each locale all across the country.

For all these reasons, we can understand that the earthquake that occurred at the beginning of this year and the illnesses and other problems that appear around us are from the parental heart that is telling us to brace ourselves to go through the narrow path.

Let us re-focus our minds once again, and I would like us to exert effort for the second year of Oyasama’s Anniversary activity period.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima News Editorial Staff)