honjima.com

Greeting

August 22, 2022 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

The “Instruction Four” will be announced in October and we will receive the Mission Visit by the Church Headquarters in January, 2023.

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

I would like to thank you for attending the monthly service as well as the head ministers’ meeting despite this hot weather.

As for my thoughts on the forthcoming pre-anniversary activity period for the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama, I would like to align my mind to the Shinbashira and go through “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary activity period.

The “Instruction Four” will be announced on October 26th. I would like to prepare myself to settle in mind the per-anniversary activity period as my own matter.

Thankfully, we will receive a mission visit by Church Headquarters official after the “Instruction Four” is announced.

Church Headquarters asked to submit three desired dates and for Honjima, we requested January 21, 22 and 23.

Although it is a cold season, I would like to have returnees from overseas to participate together.

We have received an announcement from Salvation Work Committee of the Church Headquarters to first set the goal and objectives towards Oyasama’s Anniversary and to conduct the mission tour to all local churches with the goal and objectives.

The mission tours to all local churches will be conducted after the mission visit by the Church Headquarters official in January, through the end of May. We will ask each church for their preferred dates later.

Also, after the mission tours for all local churches each church will be asked to set a goal towards the Anniversary.

The overall process is as such. It starts with the Shinbashira’s Instruction Four, and then all Yoboku and followers of each church are to set a goal to go through “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary activity period.

Please make a note of it.

Also on a personal note, I will be serving as the homeroom instructor for the Spiritual Development Course of the Church Headquarters from September 1 to November 27. I will not be at Grand Church for a while.

This is a mission that I will be serving in Jiba and it was assigned to me just when the pre-anniversary activity period is about to begin. Therefore, I would like to use these three months to grow more broad-minded while doing my best to help others. Please take care of Honjima during my absence for three months.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

August 22, 2022 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Seminar for Nurturing Students

Let us show that we are happy for being in the faith.

Rev. Yuichi Matsuyama
Church Headquarters Student Advisory Committee Board Member

Rev.yuichiMatsuyama

(Summary)

When it comes to having conversation about faith with young people, it is usually easier if it is done by someone who is close to his/her age group.

However, I would also like their parents’ age group or someone who are little older than the parents’ age group to reach out to the students.

Here is why: From the viewpoint of the young people or students, they have so called vertical relationship with their parents or the head minister of the church they belong to. The words spoken from such people are important, and sometimes certain influences come into play.

On the contrary, the connections with other students or friends are seen as horizontal relationships. A horizontal relationship is easier to connect, but there is an aspect that such relationships tend to get disconnected no matter what.

What I would like to bring up today is not the vertical or horizontal relationship, but diagonal relationship.

For instance, uncles, aunties, ministers of sister church that belongs to the same supervising church, or adults who live in the same neighborhood—these people are not in a vertical relationship with the student. To put it in an extreme way, the vertical relationship is an absolute relationship that is solid and unwavering.

On one hand, with a diagonal relationship, you can preserve a moderate distance between you and other person. It is different, however, with a horizontal relationship. You are not in the same row, in the same generation.

This diagonal relationship supplements and supports the vertical and horizontal relationships. “This may be an unasked for action, but next time, I’ll try to talk to that boy about his grandfather and grandmother.” “Let me see if I can call on that young person as they haven’t made it to church, even if they live nearby.” I would like you to call on others like these.

The other person could be in their teens or twenties. When they are told by their parent or a church minister, they may respond with, “Be quiet” or “Stop bugging me.”

However, perhaps an adult other than their parents or church minister can call upon them. They may think, “Maybe this is something important. Maybe this may be pertinent to me.”

It is not necessary to try to adjust to young people. But try to walk a little in their shoes. It is okay to have this feeling. Even a small word from anyone can change a young person’s life.

A small word coming in from the side (diagonal), can connect to an impactful salvation. I believe in that possibility.

In this year’s New Year’s address from the Shinbashira, he says, “Let us think about how to implement what we have to do in the given conditions and fulfill our respective roles in light of the current season.

Even if we are under the conditions of the Corona virus, we have no choice but to do what we can.

Therefore, I would like to ask the families of each church to apply daily effort to get closer to their young people by reaching out to them.

For example, on occasions like a birthday or advancement to the next grade or level in their education, the church could send the young people and students a letter. There, for example, even if you are not able to meet them at their home monthly services, leave a message of a few words to them.

I feel, even if you are unable to promote large activities, with a little time and planning, you can assure the youth and children, “I am thinking about you,” displaying your effort to connect with them.

We live in a society which promotes feelings of loneliness. Therefore, I feel that each and every small act of care, can become a great foundation for needed support.

In the Divine Directions of October 10, 1896, we read:

If little were done about the seeds sown, someone would be crestfallen there and someone crestfallen here. It would not do if little were done about the seeds sown. I, therefore, do weeding after sowing seeds. You may nourish one person here, and another there, so that you will be tempted to ask where you have actually sown the seeds. From these efforts new sprouts will show. (from An Anthology of Osashizu Translations p.272) When one observes that path, one will see that that one seed will become ten thousandfold. (private translation)

When we put our hearts into our salvation work, there is no knowing where the blessings will manifest. I think these words teach us that speaking to and caring for people never goes to waste.

We are about to embark on pre-anniversary activities toward the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. The Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs, however, has even spoken about the 150th Anniversary of Oyasama and the bicentennial anniversary of the Founding of the Teachings.

In 15 years, our present generation of Students Association and Boys and Girls Association members will become of an age when they will be at the core of churches, families and at work. In order to nurture this next generation, let us care for them vertically, horizontally, and further, diagonally; let us talk to these young people, these students, and do our best to nurture them every day.

Let us relay the good fortune of being in the faith, relay the joy of faith to the next generation. Let us, together, feel the joy and relay the teachings to others.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greeting

July 22, 2022 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

Let’s walk together, rather than alone, on this Path

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

When you were a child, have your parents encouraged you to try something by saying, “How about you try this?”

For me, my father asked me, “What do you think about going to America?” “Do you want to learn the piano?” “How about the saxophone?” and “Do you want to try golf?”

After I went to America to study, I learned how to play the piano many times. However, my fingers were too short, I couldn’t play very well, and on top of that, no one I knew was taking piano lessons. Besides the times when my instructor was teaching me, I didn’t play the piano at all, and although I had started lessons many different times, I would end up giving up.

I also learned to play golf. During that time in America, there was a golf course nearby that offered play times for $2.00 after 2:00 pm. Occasionally, I was taken to that kind of course and taught to play golf. In fact, this has continued to this day.

In the beginning, I disliked golf. I felt basketball was more fun than golf. However, However, the fact that my father came along to play golf with me was a defining factor. Even the live-in Seinen staff members at the time, although not skillful, played golf with me. We learned what it was to feel frustration, and as we played, we learned how to enjoy the game, and began to feel the sense of accomplishment and deep emotional joy of being able to do something I wasn’t able to do before.

In the message from the Shinbashira, I would like to cite the following:

We are taught that the “Path is eternal and everlasting.” The term “eternal” means to continue forever. With this in mind, today is an opportunity for you to ponder what mindset is needed to continue Honjima’s path, and to contemplate and confirm with one another how to move forward.

The piano lesson, which did not last long, came to an end because I took the lesson because I was just told to do so by my father. Although I met my Piano teacher through my father and I felt my parents’ expectations, I was all alone and it was not like doing things with others.

On the other hand, I spent great time playing golf with my father and other live-in Seinen staff members. Even though I was not that good at golf, I think I had all sorts of feeling of frustration and happiness, which gave me a boost to continue.

For this path to continue, parents must thoroughly convey their faith to their children. By doing so, we can make the path expand wider and more concrete. It is important to convey the faith to our children while keeping your hearts close to them. Instead of having the children go through on their own, parents must go through together while talking about the big goal so that the challenges they may encounter can lead into the source of joy later on.

Upon receiving the words from the Shinbashira, let us convey the teachings to children and those who will follow the path in order for the path to expand widely and endlessly.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

July 22, 2022 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Let us walk the path of faith straightforwardly with single-heartedness.

Rev. Satoru Onishi
Grand Church Board Member

Rev.satoruOnishi

(Summary)

In the Chapter 3 of the Doctrine of Tenrikyo—the Truth of Origin, we read:

Looking carefully through the muddy ocean, God saw a fish and a serpent amid many loaches. Planning to make them into models of husband and wife, God summoned them. Discerning their single-heartedness, God obtained their consent and received them, promising that when the years equal to the number of their first-born had elapsed, they would be returned to the Residence of Origin, the place of original conception, and would be adored by their posterity.

Today, I would like to focus on “discerning their single-heartedness.”

Single-heartedness can be interpreted as a heart that is pure and straight, an unchanging heart, a genuine heart, in other words, I think it is an ever-lasting pure heart.

In the Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, there is an episode titled, “Three Treasures.” Oyasama teaches Rev. Izo Iburi, “Early rising, honesty, and work.” Rev. Iburi adhered to this teaching for the rest of his life.

In the Divine Directions, we are taught:

Human beings are such that the body is a thing borrowed. So long as they understand this truth and the truth about the eight dusts, they can understand any and everything. Therefore, instruct him in the truth of joyous acceptance. (Osashizu: July 4, 1888, supplemental volume)

This is a Divine Direction given to Rev. Taemon Yamada, the first head minister of Koga Grand Church, who inquired a Divine Direction on his illness.

Although Rev. Yamada did not receive any education, he kept this Divine Direction in heart for the rest of his life. He also taught this Divine Direction to others repeatedly. We are taught that he was unchangingly and single-heartedly true to the Divine Direction given to him.

lease allow me to share with you my experience when I was 26 years old and was a Lay-Minister Qualification Course student

here was an elderly person in my class, who was 66 years old at that time and he also visited the Main Sanctuary daily for 27 years.

The reason he entered the faith was due to a farm work injury. He received the blessing of a complete cure by visiting his church daily. He began the daily visits to the Main Sanctuary, praying that his daughter’s marriage will go smoothly. He received so many blessings that all of his family members became Yobokus. He was very thankful for all of these blessings and that was why he continued his daily visits to the Main Sanctuary. He always kept in mind the indebtedness and gratitude of the day of origin when he received the blessings of a complete cure. As he continued his daily visits to the Main Sanctuary, I felt his strength, his faithful heart, his unchanging heart, his genuine heart, and his ever-lasting pure heart.

In Song Three of the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service, we are taught:

Never make an unreasonable prayer!
Come to Me with a single mind!
Mikagura-uta: III 6

The single mind, in this instance, teaches us the difference between the blessings the humans desire and the blessings that God bestows upon us. Humans pray for relief from suffering. In other words, humans ask for better circumstances in the form of blessings. It may be unreasonable.

We are taught that God will provide us the blessings in accordance with our state of minds. In other words, one must use the mind in accordance with God’s teachings. We must sow seeds in accordance with the divine intention of God, otherwise, it will not bear fruits. That is to say, we will not be able to receive divine blessings. I believe that if we do not sow good seeds and yet keep asking God for blessings, that is an unreasonable prayer. However, if someone in front of you desperately cries out for help, we immediately pray to God for help, don’t we?

Further in the Ofudesaki, we read,

Whatever may happen, bear no grudge.
It is what each of you has done to yourself.
Ofudesaki XVII: 60

Sowing bad seeds, using my mind incorrectly, and accumulating the dusts of the mind, using falsehood and flattery—yet, forgetting such misuse of the mind, I get angry and blame others for things that happen. The more I think about it, the more I feel bad about it. At the same time, I am really happy to be able to repent and offer my gratitude during the morning and evening services.

I would like to accept that whatever occurrences we may encounter is the guidance by God to lead us to the shortest way to the Joyous Life. I would also like to keep the truth of the teachings straightforwardly and do my best to do.

Further, in Song Three of the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service, we are taught:

Whatever may happen from now on,
I will go single-heartedly leaning on God.
Mikagura-uta: III 7

I think, the single-heartedness in this instance is human’s determination, for example, spiritual resolution, to accept whatever occurrences we may encounter by being determined, straight forward and genuine, and to seek delight from it to move forward towards the Joyous Life.

Let us, who are associated with Honjima Grand Church, work toward the construction of the world of the Joyous Life with “Single-heartedness” as the keyword.

Thank you so much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greeting

June 22, 2022 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

Keep the steady pace and spiritedness during the three-year pre-anniversary activities.

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.KatayamaKanta

(Summary)

When I was a child, I was a fast runner. When I attended a middle school in the United States, surprisingly, I did pretty well on the 800-meter run (0.5 mile) in the PE class. Since my weight was about a half of what I weigh today, I was fast.

You would sprint all out if it is a short distance like 50 meter or 100 meter dash.

For long distance run, I think you would run slower than short-distance run and pick up the pace at the end.

If you run full speed from the beginning in a long-distance run, you will run out of gas in the middle. Moreover, if you run slowly in a short-distance as you would in a long-distance run, you will come to the end even before breaking a sweat.

When it comes to a middle-distance run such as 800-meter, it is quite difficult to maintain optimal speed. You still have to push yourself but not to make it too fast to save energy so you don’t get exhausted too soon. I thought determining and maintaining optimal speed are the key to run in a good time.

Also, it is rather difficult to run forward if you shift your weight backwards. It is important to maintain the weight shifted forward. However, if you are careless, your weight tend to shift backwards. Thus, in order to shift your weight forward, I think it is important to first, have a sense of purpose and keep running towards the goal, without losing the aim.

The reason why I said this was because in the June issue of Michinotomo Magazine, there was an interview titled, “Things head ministers should do now in preparation for ‘Three Year, One Thousand Day’ pre-anniversary activity period towards 140th Anniversary of Oyasama,” and in it, the Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs said, “I believe that it is important to set a goal for three years and continue to work with the same amount of energy for three years.”

To continue to work with the same amount of energy for three years, the pace is important, as well as having the weight, which is also the “spirited mind,” shifting forward.

To begin with, although it could be something small, but to set the pace for the next three years, I set an alarm at two o’clock in the afternoon in my smartphone to vibrate every day.

By doing so, I would like to begin by reminding myself to be more conscious every day that two o’clock in the afternoon is when Oyasama withdrew from Her physical life, opening the portals to save the world.

I would also like to see many people, such as followers of Honjima, visit subordinate churches, and also see people who are in need of salvation work. I hope I can do so in a way I can continue visiting. For example, I want to do things I ended up doing only once before but this time, I’d like to do it again or three times from now on. Or I perform a prayer service for a particular person every day.

I hope we can all make some sort of resolution so that we can complete it with the same amount of energy during this “Three Year, One Thousand Day” pre-anniversary activity period without withdrawing in the middle. So for now, let us start preparing our minds for it.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

June 22, 2022 (Tenrikyo 185)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Leaning our hearts on the teachings of God the Parent. Let us follow the faith of the Joyous Life

Rev. Yoshiharu Katayama
Board Member: Honjima Grand Church

Rev.KatayamaYoshiharu

(Summary)

In his New Year’s address, the Shinbashira announced that we will observe the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama in four years. The activities for the Anniversaries of Oyasama are to focus on our spiritual growth and practicing the path of the Divine Model.

We are blessed to have Oyasama who has a heart overflowing with Her desire to save every single human being. She said, “You cannot understand the difficulties people suffer and to truly save them unless you fall to the depths of poverty. When water drops to the bottom, it bounces up.” If you don’t understand what people are going through, you are unable to save them. If you place yourself in the shoes of those who are suffering, and strive to embody the heart of the Parent, then you can truly help others to be saved. This is the Path of the Divine Model that Oyasama Herself demonstrated.

When She became the Shrine of God, Oyasama faced opposition from Her family, friends and other people in the village. Even so, She continued with conveying the teachings. Her husband, Zenbei, even approached Her with a drawn sword saying, “If it be an evil spirit, away with it!

When Oyasama’s husband, Zenbei, passed away for rebirth, the Nakayama’s main house was dismantled and sold. She also sent Her 17 year old daughter, Kokan, to cross the Jusan Pass and to the city of Naniwa, now Osaka, on a mission to spread the name of God the Parent. Thus, the divinely determined moment for launching the spread of the teachings, which marked the starting point for the work of saving humankind, coincided with this sad event in Oyasama’s life.

Also, when a Buddhist monk had heard rumors about the Living-God of Shoyashiki Village, intending to crush his rival, he rudely conducted himself by entering with force holding a sword, slashing the large drum, and cut off the paper lantern.

However, this kind of behavior did not bother Oyasama one bit. If attacked by a sword, She discerned to receive it with a silk wadding. Silk wadding is spongy and much softer than cotton. These goods also have a high power of warmth. That means, no matter how severe or revolting the future occurrence, never revolt, resent or hate anyone. We are being instructed to softly wrap them with a warm heart. Finally, we are being taught to never harbor complaints about anything.

Even when they had fallen to the depths of poverty and didn’t have rice to eat, Oyasama said, “…when we drink water, it tastes of water. God the Parent has blessed us with exquisite gifts.” She always had a cheerful attitude and didn’t regard the persecution and interference that were closing in as problematic. Truly, Oyasama’s model was a noble one in which She went through whatever hardships with joy and in high spirits with “Momentum first and foremost.”

She has shown us a strong spirit that can withstand hardships, and carry things out no matter what, in order to attain the spirit of single-heartedness with God. This strong spirit is inherited as the lifeblood of our predecessors who followed Her Divine Model. What is most important for us as well is this “Momentum.”

This path is not one that can be understood or followed by human intelligence or discernment. Because we use our human thinking and try to go through it skillfully or comfortably, we tend to waver or hesitate and even lose sight of the path and get depressed. When we think of the Divine Model and feel Her deep parental love in our hearts, our lonely lives become lively, our dark minds become bright, and just like the sky in the East becomes lighter at daybreak, our minds will be changed into clear skies, full of sunlight.

We may resent or be upset about life for little things in our daily lives. When we think of the Divine Model in our hearts, resentment or anger will go away, the feeling of self-reflection and repentance will well up spontaneously, pessimism and discouragement turn into rejoice, pride or great joy will turn into gratitude, new hope for future path will appear, and then a powerful awareness and conviction shall arise. Truly, the Divine Model of Oyasama is the goal of our faith and the guiding principle of life.

Always ridiculed and slandered,
Still I will realize remarkable salvation (Mikagura-uta Ⅲ:5)

Whatever others may say,
God is watching, so be at ease! (Mikagura-uta Ⅳ:1)

No matter how others may ridicule and slander, we push forward to where there is divine intention of God the Parent. This is the spirit and the momentum which are the most important for each of us who follow the path.

Joyous emotion is an asset for us who follow this faith. As we are the instruments of Oyasama, let us convey the teaching of Oyasama every day to those who are suffering from illness or other problems as much as possible in this wide world, while keeping “Be spirited, be joyful, and build momentum” in our minds.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

PageTopへ戻る