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Greeting

March 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

Common sense changes over time; but our mindsets must not change.

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

The Covid-19 pandemic continues but each person may have different responses to it.

In a long staircase, there may be an occasional landing. After Oyasama withdrew from physical life, churches began to receive divine sanctions to be established and through the sincere efforts of our pioneers, the path, the teachings that Oyasama began only by Herself, was widened to the world. We then started to commemorate the anniversaries of Oyasama. It has been 30 years since the 100th Anniversary of Oyasama was held and I think we are at that landing in the stairs where we are to look back at that time.

The church is the place where we carry over the path that our pioneers started toward realizing the world of the Joyous Life. We should reflect on how we are acting on this original spirit, and whether we are not lapsing in action. I, myself, as I reflect back, I have realized many things.

Worldly common sense changes with the times. However, even if common sense changes, there is a mindset that must not change. I think it is important that we reflect upon ourselves and reassess what kind of mind we are going to use as we follow this path.

Let us set our sights to an unmistakable goal and continue with the thought, “Yes! I’m going to continue climbing these steps!” With such mindset, I think we will be able to relay to our children what we need to convey with confidence.

I hope that we can deepen our understanding of the teachings of our path and Oyasama’s Divine Model during this seasonable time and even if there are times when we are not feeling spirited, let us continue to seek God the Parent’s intention. Let us reset our minds, lift one another’s spirit and advance forward.

Thank you.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Boys and Girls Association Vertical Mission Seminar

March 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Passing the Teachings to My Children Through My Wife’s Illness

Rev. Yoshitsugu Ue
Boys and Girls Association Committee Member

Rev.UeYoshitsugu

(Summary)

When the “Three Years One Thousand Days” activities toward the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama began, we found a small lump in my wife’s breast, and in its course it had become larger. Thereupon, a test for breast cancer was taken, and we found a tumor around 2.8 inches (7 cm). The doctor recommended surgery, and we were told we would not know if the cancer had spread until after the surgery.

My wife was afraid of surgery, so after discussion, the doctor recommended she initially take an anti-cancer drug treatment. As I had heard about this anti-cancer drug treatment before, it turned out to be a very painful treatment.

I explained my wife’s illness to my four children. As I did, I found each child had a different way of reacting to it.

My oldest son, who is in 8th grade, said to his mother “I wish I can swap with you.”

Then my wife said “you don’t have boobs” and he looked sad and left. Despite young age, he has very caring heart.

My second son, who is in 7th grade, caught it through our conversation due to his sensitive character. He said to his mother mischievously, who lost her hair due to cancer treatments, “I’ll draw dots just like Shaolin Kung Fu monks!!” But he was hurt the most to learn the illness of his mother and showed sad emotion the most among the siblings.

During the time my wife was sick in bed, our eldest daughter, who was in 6th grade, hung the laundry to dry. One day she said, “I will take care of my mon instead of going to the school trip.” I said to my daughter, “It’s a school activity, so you should go,” and made her go. She came back home from the school trip and said, “I bought a souvenir for mom.” It was a hair accessory. She told my wife fun stories from the school trip, and when she gave my wife the hair accessory, my wife said, “Thank you, but this is how my head is,” and took off her wig. My daughter was surprised and said, “Wow.” Since my wife became ill, my daughter did the chores very diligently that my wife used to do for us.

Our youngest son, who was in 2nd grade, often came to my wife’s side and tried to administer the Sazuke because I always administered the Sazuke to her. My wife said to him, “You cannot administer the Sazuke yet. When you are able to do it in the future, please administer the Sazuke.” Then he went back.

However, my son would return after a little while. In the same manner, he tries to administer the Sazuke. So my wife told him, “Don’t make me repeat myself. I appreciate your effort but you can administer the Sazuke for me when you receive the Grant of the Sazuke when you’re older” and with that, he retired to his room. Then, he returned again for the third time in the middle of the night. My wife felt our child’s intention as he climbed up onto our bed so she laid there with her back to him. He then attempted to administer the Sazuke again. My wife was lying facing away from him trying to hold back her tears. Later, she told me with tears in her eyes, “I couldn’t stop shedding tears because no matter how many times I told him he can’t administer the Sazuke, his multiple and sincere attempts made me cry.” As we were both discussing and weeping about what occurred, I said, “Although illness is without a doubt troublesome, how grateful are we for what we are given through experiencing this illness.”

Through the anti-cancer treatment, the tumor was reduced to about 1.5 inches in size, and by operation, she was able to preserve her breast. Also, no metastasis to the lymph node was found. The doctor said, “It’s quite rare that things go this well.”

Although it was only for the Seated Service, she was able to attend the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama at the Church Headquarters, and then she returned to our church.

My wife said, “Our faith is like a backrest. I wish I can make a backrest for our children, too, so that they can lean on it with peace of mind whenever they are about to fall.” Her words touch my heart quite strongly.

In the Divine Directions, we are taught,

Even if I reveal the free and unlimited workings of God, you remember it only for the time being. But when a day passes, ten days pass and thirty days pass, you forget it entirely. (Osashizu: May 9, 1898)

With the passage of time, your minds relapsed. Therefore I must inform you by the truth of repetition. (Osashizu: July 7, 1890)

There is a proverb, “Once it’s past the throat, one forgets the heat,” but to prevent myself from forgetting the heat, I always keep in my mind these words from the Divine Directions.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greeting

February 22, 2021 (184th Year of Tenrikyo)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

From a young age, let us reflect the heart of Oyasama

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

In Japan, when a pedestrian is crossing at a crosswalk without a signal light, vehicles have to yield to them. However, there are many cars that don’t stop for them.

Research by the Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF) shows that an average of 21.3% drivers actually stop, while 80% are in violation of this.

However, if you look at the results in specific regions, the average (of those who stop) in Nagano Prefecture is 72.4%, a huge margin over Hyogo Prefecture with 57.1% for second place. Why is that?

I asked a friend of mine form Nagano Prefecture and was told that apparently in schools and in homes in Nagano, children are taught, “when crossing the street, raise your hand and then say, ‘Thank you’ to the driver.”

So it’s a common sight to see elementary school students, after crossing the street, turn around and give a bow of thanks.

Being raised in such a way, this becomes ingrained as a habit in children and as they become drivers in their adult years, they tend to stop at crosswalks. Thus, there is a chain of good habits that have continued in this manner.

How are we going to nurture the Boys and Girls Association members? Instead of raising children half-heartedly, I think it is important for parents to practice Oyasama’s parental love ourselves, think of how to relay it to children, and nurture them with this in mind.

In child-rearing, results don’t appear over night, but I think that as the number of years accumulate, the attitude with which you were raising your child will undoubtedly sprout.

In the Divine Directions, we read:

In this path, faith must be reflected in the minds of children while they are still young. (Osashizu: Nov 16, 1900)

The mind that must be reflected in this case is “Oyasama’s parental love.” We must reflect a kind, warm and clean mind to children from when they are young.

The Divine Direction continues:

It will not do to begin after they grow older. After their minds have been attracted to the world and they have learned the common worldly way of living, it is difficult to impart this path to them.

It becomes difficult once they become older. It’s your chance when they are young.

Next month on March 22, there will be “Boys and Girls Association Vertical Mission Seminar” for the first time in 2 years.

I definitely hope you will be able to return to Honjima. Even if you can’t come, I hope you will partake in the monthly service through live-stream, and read the summary in the Honjima Newsletter.

“Nurturing” will be one of the key words.

I ask for your cooperation with this.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

February 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Let’s perform the service which receives the truth of the Kagura Service wholeheartedly.

Rev. Norio Teramoto
Grand Church Board Member

Rev.teramotoNorio

(Summary)

We have just completed the February Monthly Service in high spirits with you who were willing to come back to the Honjima Grand Church despite the Covid-19 pandemic. I am very grateful for that.

Today I would like to talk about my personal interpretation regarding the service that I learned while serving as the member of the Service Training Committee for over 10 years. May I ask for your kind attention?

There are four ways to call the Service.

The first one is the “Kagura Service.”

In the Ofudesaki, we read:

Again, I impatiently await the coming Joyous Service.
What it is, is the Kagura Service. (Ofudesaki IV:29)

This is probably because the Service is performed by wearing the Kagura masks.

The second one is the “Joyous Service.”

In the Ofudesaki, we read:

If the hand movements of the Joyous Service
are learned day by day, how delighted God will be. (Ofudesaki IV:23)

This must mean the service is to be performed joyously.

The third one is the “Salvation Service.”

In the Ofudesaki, we are taught:

Because of this, the Salvation Service cannot be performed.
Oh, the regret in the mind of Tsukihi. (Ofudesaki VIII:6)

As such, the purpose of the Service is for the salvation of us humans.

The fourth one is the Kanrodai Service.

The Second Shinbashiras teaches us in his book “Hitokoto Hanashi,” it means to “perform the Service surrounding the Kanrodai.”

Aside from these, there is “Tenri-O-No Service”. In Song 9 of the Mikagura-Uta, the Songs for the Service, we read,

Eighth, Even in the mountains, here and there, The Service of Tenri-O is performed.

This verse, “even in the mountains,” is referring to places away from the Jiba or places where the teachings have not been spread. In other words, it is referring to local churches and the residence of the followers.

We can then interpret that the service we perform at our local churches is the Tenri-O-No Service which receives the Truth of the Kagura Service.

The Kagura Service is performed by ten Service performers, however, at the monthly service at local churches, there are only six service performers performing the hand movements for the seated service.

What I’m going to say from now is my personal interpretation. Out of the six service performers, the middle two represent the “six aspects of God’s providence during creation” out of the Ten Aspects of the Complete Providence.

In Ofudesaki, we read:

The very beginning of this world was at Shoyashiki Village
of Yamabe County in Yamato Province. (Ofudesaki XI:69)

There, at the place known as the Nakayama Residence,
appear instruments of human beginnings. (Ofudesaki XI:70)

These instruments are Izanagi, Izanami,
Kunisazuchi, and Tsukiyomi. (Ofudesaki XI:71)

Discerning this, Tsukihi descended
and began preparations to train them in all matters. (Ofudesaki XI:72)

It means that the human beings were created by a total of six aspects, out of the Ten Aspects of the Complete Providence, representing paternal aspects—Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto, Izanagi-no-Mikoto, and Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto, and representing maternal aspects—Omotari-no-Mikoto, Izanami-no-Mikoto, and Kunisazuchi-no-Mikoto.

As for the remaining four service dancers, this is also my personal interpretation, they perform the Service Dance by receiving the truth of the Ten Aspects of the following—the second female service dancer represents Kumoyomi-no-Mikoto, and the third female service dancer represents Taishokuten-no-Mikoto, while the second male service dancer represents Kashikone-no-Mikoto, and the third service dancer represents Otonobe-no-Mikoto.

When considering this truth, the female that is in the second position of the Service Dance for the seated service is Kumoyomi-no-Mikoto, which represents in the human body, the providence of eating, drinking, and elimination; in the world, the providence of the rise and fall of moisture. It will affect not only the person in that position, but it will also affect the eating, drinking, elimination, as well as the rise and fall of moisture of the entire grand church. It must be carefully performed so these blessings can be received.

Next, regarding the role of the musical instruments. I am told the 9 musical instruments correspond with the 9 instruments of the body. The 9 instruments of the body are the, eyes, nose, ears, mouth, both hands, both feet, and the primary instruments of the male and female.

From here on is also my personal interpretation, but the koto has 13 strings, and there are also 13 parts to the optic nerve. Therefore, the koto represents the eyes.

A semicircular canal is one of 3 semicircular, interconnected tubes located inside each ear; which allows us to recognize sounds. This is equivalent to playing the 3 strings of the shamisen.

When you push and pull, you can hear the sound from the kokyu. This is equivalent to the breath taken in and out from our nose.

When the flute makes a sound, the melody can be heard, so this represents the mouth.

Two hands represents wooden clapper and cymbals. Legs represent the Large Drum, while Tabor/Hand Drum represents the primary instruments of the male and female.

When I am assigned to play the Large Drum, I not only receive the blessings for my legs, but I also perform the instrument wholeheartedly so that my church can receive the blessings to make progress. When I perform the musical instruments, I maintain such mindset.

This applies to the morning and evening services. We must express our gratitude for God the Parent’s blessings bestowed on us daily during each morning and evening service.

Hoping to make this as a reference for you, I shared with you my mindset when I perform the service.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

January 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Focusing on performing the service with a unity of mind,
Conducting one-on-one salvation work

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.kantaKatayama

(Summary)

We have welcomed the 184th year of Tenrikyo—Happy New Year! God the Parent will probably show us various things as we strive for spiritual growth again this year, but I hope that we can encourage one another, lift one another up and advance in a unity of minds. I ask for your cooperation.

On January 4th this year, the Shinbashira gave us the following words:

“If it were not for the workings of God, we could not make any progress in our mission. From this point of view, it is of prime importance for us to firmly and straightforwardly settle the teachings in our minds in order to have God work for us.”

In Kyudo, Japanese archery, there is a phrase, “seisha hicchu (true shooting, certain hitting)” This means proper posture in shooting will certainly lead you to hit the bull’s eye, which teaches us, in order to achieve a successful result, one should focus on shooting property instead of focusing on hitting the target.

I believe we can apply this to our faith—instead of seeking successful results, we should check to see if we are using our mind in accordance with Oyasama’s teachings. If we are able to use our mind correctly, we will certainly see a successful outcome and get closer to the Joyous Life World.

Presently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to participate in activities and events that we were having previously. I think God the Parent is telling us, “I will take charge of activities and events for a little while.” So, what should we do?

It is the “Service.” It is imperative to perform the service just as taught by Oyasama and in a way to realize the profound intentions of God the Parent.

Also, it is “Salvation.” Especially since we cannot participate in activities or hold events, we should focus our efforts on face-to-face, one-on-one salvation work.

In the Shinbashira’s words on January 4th, he pointed out,

“No matter how much missionary work is done, if we fall short in our efforts to nurture followers, it will not do. We must nurture them steadily. It was something that always had to be done, but I think that as time went by, such efforts had become neglected.”

Perhaps it is thoughtfulness that is necessary when nurturing someone one-on-one. God the Parent will momentarily take care of the events. Instead of just having the person participate in the event, please take on the responsibility of nurturing the person on a one-on-one basis. I strongly feel that we are being told to do so in this manner.

Although the 120th Anniversary of Honjima Grand Church, scheduled on May 21 next year, is gradually approaching, I have no idea how the Covid-19 pandemic will be like around that time. I also don’t know whether or not we can conduct the anniversary in the way we had done in the past.

One thing I keep in mind is the Divine Direction that is included in the Goals for Spiritual Maturity:

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

I think there are many ways to unite our minds as one, but I would like us to start by aiming to be united in mind at the worship hall of the church.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we will have to keep wearing masks and may have to refrain from singing out loud. Yet, I would like us to sing the Mikagura-uta together even if we have to use a small tone while wearing masks. Let us unite our minds for the anniversary and make progress in our effort in repaying the blessings we receive.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

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