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Greeting

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

The pre-anniversary activity period towards Oyasama’s anniversary—Let us reach out to every single Yoboku.

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

June marks the halfway point of our “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary activity period. Taking this opportunity, I would like to reconfirm the meaning of the pre-anniversary activity period and settle it in our minds.

As for myself, I have been focusing on “advancing world salvation” and the “advancing spiritual growth” during this pre-anniversary activity period. “Spiritual growth” refers to the “process of nearing the intention of the Parent.”

This pre-anniversary activity period is for each church to set specific goals and also for each Yoboku to set spiritual resolution, and to carry them out

There are three key points in the spiritual resolution. These are “sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings on a daily basis,” “proactively engage in salvation work,” and “receiving the truth of the Jiba.”

It is the second year of the pre-anniversary activity period now, and we are doing the mission visits to all churches to make these points understood thoroughly.

Especially this time, there was Covid-19 pandemic that has caused various restrictions in our daily lives until just before the pre-anniversary activity period began. For a few years, the Church Headquarters and local churches were not able to host any events.

Because of this, there seems to be many who have come a halt on making progress as Yoboku or who have not been able to resume from long break.

Needless to say, there are many Yoboku who are making progress very actively since the beginning of the pre-anniversary activity period.

The aim to have “Action Day for All Yoboku” five times is for all Tenrikyo followers to advance together in the pre-anniversary activities.

Please reach out to all Yoboku in your church and make this pre-anniversary activity period the one to achieve the goals set.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

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

Let us take action in high spirits so that the joy of this faith is reflected in our children

Rev. Yasunari Ito
Honjima Grand Church Associate Board Member

Rev.YasunariIto

(Summary)

Under clear May blue skies, we have just joyously performed the May Monthly Service in a unity of mind with our grand church head minister as the core. Thank you all very much.

In this second year of the “three years, one thousand days” toward the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama, five months have passed so quickly. I trust that you are spending your daily lives in high spirits, taking in the guidance from the Instruction Four.

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

This made me reflect up on my own childhood years. When I was in 4th grade, doing what I was told by my parents, I participated in the Honjima Fife and Drum Corps for the first time.

Being tossed around for 7-8 hours on a bus riding on a bad road, for me, who easily got carsick, it was a hellish ride.

At the training camp, after being awaken by the sound of a bugle in the morning, we performed the morning service, then practiced, performed the evening service, and after roll call, it was lights out. After this strict daily routine, I started to feel homesick and wanted to hurry up and go home.

However, as I got used to things and made friends from the various regions, I started to enjoy myself.

The other day, a photograph emerged. It was a picture from the first general meeting of the Honjima Fife and Drum Corps. In the Honjima Tsushin, Issue No. 276 (August 10, 1966), there was a headline, “Honjima Grand Church Boys and Girls Association, Fife and Drum Corps Participates in the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba and Holds First General Meeting.” The article began, “From August 2nd to 5th, eighty-five members of the Honjima Grand Church Boys and Girls Association Fife and Drum Corps participated in the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba. Their long-awaited uniforms were completed, and their impressive orderly appearance and performance surprised even the people accustomed to seeing fife and drum corps performances at Jiba. It earned them the reputation of being among the top class of fife and drum corps participating in this year’s Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba.” It concluded with, “Furthermore, after the end of the Youth Conference in the afternoon of the 10th, the first general meeting of the Honjima Grand Church Boys and Girls Association Fife and Drum Corps was held.”

Looking at this nostalgic photo, I don’t remember the details of the general meeting, but I do remember there was a banquet, and the table was lined with dishes I had never seen at my own church. It was a delightful banquet that made us forget the strict and long training camp.

Long time ago, a reverend once told me, “Discipline and softness are both important in nurturing people.” If the strict fife and drum corps training camp is considered discipline, then the summer Youth Conference could be considered softness.

As a child, the highlight of summer at Honjima was undoubtedly swimming at the beach. During the beach events, we had sports events, clam digging, and on many occasions, there were lots of sudden surprises like pirates suddenly appearing from boats. The memories are endless, like campfires in front of the main sanctuary, where we had many enjoyable experiences full of dreams, that we could never experience at home.

The person who planned and executed these events was the 4th head minister, Rev. Noboru Katayama, Director of the Fife and Drum Corps, along with the many hinokishin volunteers who gathered there.

Just as we read in the words of Oyasama:

Whoever comes to this house shall never leave without being filled with joy. To Me, the Parent, all human beings in the world are My children.

Amidst the sternness, Rev. Noboru gave us something to dream about. He guided us with joy and delight.

In the Divine Directions, we read:

I am the Parent. You are My children. To give complete satisfaction to My children is what pleases Me. When the children mature, they will value their Parent and say, “How delightful, how delightful.”
(Osashizu, Nov. 14, 1895)

What this means is that the Parent delights when children mature, and when children are completely satisfied, this pleases the Parent. Also, the child who becomes mature cherishes their Parent. There is nothing more pleasing than this. This is God the Parent’s love and, at the same time, must be the true affection between the true Parent and child. (Reference material, The path of Sincerity, Doyusha Publishing Company, Ed)

Also, we read in the Divine Directions:

People will grow because you nurture them. People will not grow unless you nurture them. If you apply fertilizer, the fertilizer will take effect. I do not specify old or new. The one truth exists as long as there is sincerity.
(Osashizu Sep. 24, 1888)

Further,

People will grow if you nurture them. Nurturing requires sincerity. Sincerity is caring. Caring is fertilizing.
(Divine Directions, June. 24, 1890)

It requires extraordinary effort for a spiritual parent to nurture a follower. The indebtedness of gratitude to the spiritual parent can only be understood when the child grows spiritually to be in the position to nurture his/her own spiritual child. Then he or she will be able to walk the path to repay the indebtedness of gratitude, understanding that “the parents are important.”

The Fife and Drum Corps and the summer Youth Conference are the Boys and Girls Association activities the Honjima Grand Church has been conducting continuously for many years to nurture the successors of the path. The time and the environment may change over time, but I believe the passion of the parent will be inherited to the next generation to another.

Before I conclude, I would like to share with you the words of the Shinbashira that can be found in the “Nurturing Guidebook” published by Tenrikyo Boys and Girls Association.

“I hope that you, as parents, visit your church on a regular basis to demonstrate your children the importance of connecting one’s mind to God in your daily lives, so that in the future, the children will grow up spiritually and be able to participate in the church activities, including performing the service. This effort will enable children to have home for their heart and soul, be blessed with God’s protection, which will be the source for leading a good life. It also leads them to have a harmonious family, and eventually to take part in universal salvation.”

Whatever I do, I would like to do it with joy and in high spirits so that the joy of faith can be reflected in our children’s minds straightforwardly.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greeting

April 14, 2024 (Tenrikyo 187)
Head Ministers’ Meeting

Let us walk the path of faith willingly and honestly with the mind of filial piety

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

We have just performed the grand church monthly service for the world salvation and universal salvation together with so many of you attending. Thank you very much.

This year marks the 140th year since the foundation of Shido-kai fellowship. Honjima’s parent church used to be Koshinokuni, and Koshinokuni’s parent church used to be Kawaramachi, but before this Kawaramachi became a church, it was a fellowship called Shido-kai.

The first head minister was Rev. Genjiro Fukaya. He was affectionately called as “Kekko Gen-san” or “Gen, the marvelous” by people who knew him, for he always expressed his gratitude, saying, “How marvelous it is.”

First, he appreciated things that were given to him, and then, he also took delight in things that were rather difficult to appreciate. Difficult things tends to be the source of our dust, and so to cut off the root of them, he took delight in things that were rather difficult to appreciate.

Further, he took delight in what people cannot appreciate. In his later years, he became blind. However, throughout his life, despite the disability, he took delight in things that are difficult to appreciate, saying “How marvelous it is. How wonderful it is.”

Rev. Genjiro Fukaya's mother passed-away for rebirth at a young age. From there, he felt it would be inappropriate for his father to cook for himself, so throughout his life, Rev. Genjiro prepared meals for his father.

Even such a filial Rev. Genjiro once opposed his father in his lifetime. It seems that his father wanted Rev. Genjiro to become a merchant. However, for the first time, Genjiro opposed his father. The reason was he said, “I dislike merchants because they often engage in bargaining and are suspicious. I prefer to become a craftsman, because I just want to be paid for the value of my goods.”

So he became a blacksmith, and it seems he was known to be such an honest person, that he was called “Honest Blacksmith Gen.”

Even Honjima, who is a part of the Shido-kai, it seems that Rev. Genjiro’s faith has been passed down to this day.

As we approach the 140th anniversary of Oyasama, let us reaffirm our commitment to filial piety (being dutiful to parents) and take the opportunity to learn from the Shido-kai faith—be honest, and obedient—as we advance on “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary activity period.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

April 14, 2024 (Tenrikyo 187)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Let us engage in pre-anniversary activities with an open and honest mind

Rev. Yoshiaki Chayahara
Honjima Grand Church Associate Board Member

Rev.chayaharaYoshiaki

(Summary)

Receiving the blessings of fine weather, we have just joyously performed the April Monthly Service of the 187th Year of Tenrikyo in a unity of mind with our grand church head minister as the core. I would like to congratulate all of us.

The Shinbashira said the following in his New Year’s address this year:

I would like us to observe the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama—as we did the last anniversary—only on one day, namely January 26, 2026. January 26 of the year after next, that is, the day of the anniversary, is a target date for our pre-anniversary activities. However, rather than just doing something on that day, there is meaning in striving toward this day so that we can show Oyasama how much we have been able to grow spiritually. How we conduct ourselves during this “three years, one thousand days” period is important.

The “three years, one thousand days” period is not just for preparation for January 26, 2026, but for the actual work itself. We must lead our daily lives with an even more heightened awareness of the Divine Model of Oyasama than usual. The pre-anniversary period has traditionally been referred to as a “special time” in which we ought to live with a bracing level of commitment and enthusiasm—a level that we may not have during ordinary times. Without losing sight of what we must do now in our respective roles and positions, we need to steadily carry out the activities leading up to the upcoming anniversary.
(Partially trail translation—missing from Tenrikyo online:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/12bqy3eEpSikB7KiTF1hmF1qlHMG7WNiU/view)

We are now in the second year of the “three years, one thousand days” period leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. The beginning part of the Instruction Four, “I would like to share some of my thoughts in the hope that they will serve to unite the minds of all followers,” resonated strongly with me. Further, in the Instruction Four, he said, “The significance of observing an anniversary of Oyasama, therefore, is to respond to Her parental love by making decisive progress in spiritual growth, with each and every Yoboku raising his or her awareness of being Oyasama’s instrument.”

He made the significance of the anniversary clear.

In the Honjima Grand Church goals for spiritual maturity, we read:

• Let each of us engage in our pre-anniversary activities

• Let each of us make our own individual spiritual resolutions and, first and foremost, let us commit to bring someone with us to Jiba

When the pre-anniversary activity period started I thought that “I would strive with an open and accepting mind” during the “three years, one thousand days” period.

First, I have some duties as Hiroshima-Nishi District of Hiroshima Diocese chief. I was worried, but I decided to serve my role with an open and accepting mind.

However, in December of last year, I received offers from Rev. Kanta Katayama for being an associate board member and a representative of the mission tour. I was very surprised because I did not expect it at all. Since I decided to be an open and accepting mind, I have been serving my role with this mindset.

The word, “open and accepting”, is the calligraphy that the third Shinbashira, Zen’e Nakayama, wrote when he visited my upper church, Akihonnaka Branch Church in September, 1987. The calligraphy writing hangs in the sanctuary of the church now. The writing reminds me of being open and accepting mind every time I see it, however, to be honest, sometimes I forget.

During the first year of the pre-anniversary activity period, I felt that the first half was all about serving my role as a representative of the mission tour, and the second half was all about the “Action Day for All Yoboku.”

For the second year of the pre-anniversary activity period, Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori, Honjima Grand Church counselor, emphasized three key important points.

The first is “Spread the fragrance of the teachings on a daily basis.”

The second is, “Engage in salvation work proactively.”

The third is, “Let us receive the truth of Jiba.”

Rev. Miyamori said, “Spreading the fragrance daily” can be something very light but let us be conscious of spreading the fragrance the teachings every day.

“Engage in salvation work proactively” is about not missing opportunities to help others be saved. 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.

“Receiving the truth of Jiba,” is to firmly connect our hearts to Jiba, the source of salvation, and to make every effort in bringing this person back to Jiba.

Rev. Miyamori asked us to keep these three things in mind in the next two years leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama.

My father, Rev. Akio Chayahara, the third head minister of Honfumi Branch Church, did not have a driver’s license due to a physical condition. So I’m sure he had felt some frustration. When I was eighteen and told him I wanted to get my driver’s license, he was not against it and allowed me to get it. When I was 21 years old, he told me, “You should get a commercial driver’s license.” At that time, I said, “It’s not necessary, is it?” and he just said, “Well, just get it,” so I just did as I was told.

I don’t know if he was able to see the future, or if it was because he himself couldn’t do it, but he entrusted his son to do that. Because of having that commercial driving license, for 30 years, I have been tasked with driving the bus for the Fife and Drum Corps, and I haven’t had any accidents, for which I feel such appreciation from the bottom of my heart.

If you would allow me to speak a little longer, I have been conscious of the Tenrikyo year we are in. My first experience with the pre-anniversary activities toward Oyasama anniversaries started with the 100th Anniversary. The following year was the 150th year of Tenrikyo, and Church Headquarters had stopped using the Japanese calendar system and had transitioned to using the Tenrikyo Year instead.

n easier example is the Besseki attendance sheet. The dates were changed to Year of Tenrikyo, instead of the year of “Showa.”

From then on, this has been in use as years passed. This year is Tenrikyo 187, and the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama will be Tenrikyo 189.

I hope everyone gets accustomed to using the Year of Tenrikyo, and let us start naturally use it in our daily lives.

Lastly, I stopped smoking cigarettes after 30 years. It was last December, when I was assigned to give this sermon. I thought, “What can I offer for my gratitude?” So I decided to give up a luxury good and stopped smoking. I was quite pleased by this and even the head minister, Rev. Sawami Ikeda of my supervisory church, Akihonnaka Branch Church said to me, “How wonderful is the truth of the grand church.” I thought how true that is.

In the next two years leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama, let each of us humbly follow this path with an open and accepting mind. Thank you very much.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greeting

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

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

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

Rev.hisayoSatoyo

(Summary)

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)

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