Tenri High School’s Day Course
On February 22, Tenri High School’s Day Course held its 64th graduation ceremony in the school’s multipurpose gymnasium, honoring 399 graduates (228 boys and 171 girls).
Principal Shigehiko Iburi gave words of encouragement in his address. “Always set your standards high and live your lives with an unbreakable will,” he said, adding, “I want you to never forget that you are all instruments of Oyasama.”
The Shinbashira then took the podium to address the graduates, who had received the truth of the Sazuke in January. He reminded them of the true meaning of a Yoboku by stating, “A Yoboku is a person who keeps a mind that is in accord with God the Parent’s teachings at all times while trying to move towards the realization of the Joyous Life World.”
He added: “You will most likely come across difficulties, but just remember to ponder how you can live in a way that accords with God’s will and put that into practice. I hope you will strive to grow spiritually.”
After this, the diplomas were presented to the class representatives. Then, perfect attendance awards were given not only to those who had never been absent during their three years of high school but also to those who had never missed a single day of school throughout their 12 years of primary and secondary education.
Tenri High School’s Evening Course
On the evening of February 22, Tenri High School’s evening course held its 64th graduation ceremony in the school’s multipurpose gymnasium, honoring 108 graduates (96 in the regular department and 12 in the nursing care department).
Tenri High School is ending the nursing care department after sending off its 9th class this year, thus bringing its 12-year history to a close. This is due to the 2011 revision of the national examination.
The nursing care department was established in 2000 with the goal of training “Yoboku caregivers”in response to the increasing population of the elderly in Japanese society. About half of the teachers in the department have been teaching since the launch of the department, providing students with meticulous instructions. To date, 220 graduates from the department have earned caregiver qualifications. Many graduates have moved on to work for medical care facilities such as Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital as well as elderly nursing homes and child welfare facilities all around the country as “caregivers of the path.”
During the ceremony, Principal Shigehiko Iburi presented the diplomas to each graduate and delivered an address. After touching upon how variouis kinds of values are intermingled in today’s society , he encouraged the graduates by saying : “We learned how to live by the measure of heaven, not by the measure of the world. . This means that you ought to seek the Divine Model in single-heartedness with God , which requires a way of thinking that goes beyond common human thought. I want you to ground yourself firmly and think deeply about the path of the faith.”
The Shinbashira then took the podium to address the graduates. He began by expressing his admiration for the members of the graduating class, who had spent four years working at Tenrikyo offices and facilities in the daytime while attending classes in the evening. Referring to the fact that the graduates had become Yoboku in their third year, he said: “Being a Yoboku means that you must make efforts to live the Joyous Life. I would like all of you to use what you learned here at Tenri High School over the past four years in your journey ahead.”
After the ceremony, the graduates attended their last homeroom class and then went to the Main Sanctuary to perform an appreciation service.
Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School
On February 23, Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School held its 7th graduation ceremony in the school’s Auditorium 2. The Shinbashira and the former Shinbashira both attended the ceremony, which was held in honor of 204 graduates (96 boys, and 108 girls).
In his speech, Principal Satoshi Nakamura reminded the graduates that they are graduating right before the start of the pre-anniversary activities for the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama. He then said, “After you graduate, I would like you to continue practicing God’s teachings you have learned at this school anytime and anywhere.”
The Shinbashira then took the podium to address the students. After touching upon the relationship between Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School and Tenri Seminary, he added: “On top of the things that are also taught in other schools, you learned various aspects of the teachings as well as took part in hinokishin activities throughout the past three years. Also, you attended the Besseki lectures and became Yoboku.” He then asked the graduates to make further efforts to internalize what they learned (at the school) as they embark on their individual paths.
Tenrikyo Language Institute
Tenrikyo Language Institute (TLI) held its 18th graduation ceremony on March 8 in honor of 58 graduates (Japanese Language Department, 38; Oyasato Fusekomi Department, 20). They were from 13 different countries and regions: Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the United States, Colombia, Brazil, the Netherlands, and Italy.
After presenting the diplomas to the graduates , who will now be returning to their own countries and regions all over the world, Principal Harunori Watanabe gave a farewell address: “My hope is that, while keeping the joy of being kept alive close to heart, you will work hard to save others by using the experience you gained as you sowed seeds of sincerity here at Jiba. I would like you to become a bridge that connects everyone in your countries and regions with the path leading to the Joyous Life.”
After a congratulatory address by Overseas Department Head Yoichiro Miyamori, two representatives from each course used the Japanese skills they acquired at TLI to express their determination to work as Yoboku.
Tenri Seminary—whose principal goal is to nurture human resources who can take the lead on the path in the future—held a joint graduation ceremony with the presence of the former Shinbashira on March 9 in the 4th floor auditorium of East Right Wing 1 of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex for a total of 92 graduates of the school’s three courses: Tenri Graduate Seminary’s research program, 5; Tenri Graduate Seminary’s practical training program, 13; and Junior Seminary, 74.
During the ceremony, Tenri Seminary President Motoo Matsuda presented the graduates’ diplomas to their course representatives and then delivered a farewell address to the graduates, who were attired in the formal service kimono. After expressing admiration for the graduates, who strove to measure up to the school motto “Seek the path and sow seeds of sincerity,” President Matsuda stated: “Today is a new starting point. I ask that you take a firm step toward further spiritual growth and take a leading role on the path of single-hearted salvation with your youthful energy and joy.”
After the ceremony, the graduates were joined by the former Shinbashira for a commemorative group photo and then went to the Main Sanctuary to perform an appreciation service.
Prior to the graduation ceremony, the Shinbashira addressed the graduating class on February 29. After expressing his hopes for the graduates, who were to embark on their individual journeys as the instruments of Oyasama with a renewed resolve, the Shinbashira reminded them of the school’s history and educational philosophy. He then said that the appeal of the school lies in the religious education that has been developed over the generations based on the spirit of single-heartedness with God—the spirit that refers to an attitude that seeks to base all decisions and actions on the teachings of Oyasama.
In explaining the spirit of single-heartedness with God, he quoted an excerpt from the Osashizu: “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.” He used this to stress the importance of continuing the efforts to seek and implement the divine intention contained in Oyasama’s Divine Model, which is the basis for reaching the Joyous Life.
As he went on to talk about the history of Tenrikyo after 1887, he quoted from an Osashizu that was delivered in response to the Secret Directive issued by the Home Ministry: “Those who oppose Me are also My children dear to My heart. Yet dearer are those who pray to Me. But even with those who pray to Me, if they do not follow My will, they are the same as those who oppose Me.” He then stated: “Compared to our predecessors, who wholeheartedly followed Oyasama even in difficult social circumstances, we have the freedom of religion that allows us to openly follow the path that Oyasama has taught us. But even so, we are easily swayed by human thought and social currents, which often lead us to interpret the teachings in a self-serving manner.” He then asked the graduates to make an honest effort to live up to God the Parent’s intention even if their knowledge and experience do not enable them to understand it and whether they like it or not. He also shared his hope that the graduates will always connect with Oyasama no matter how difficult their paths may become.
Lastly, expressing his hopes that the graduates will strive toward the Joyous Life, the Shinbashira stated, “Please do not become overly influenced by what is in front of you, the tides of society, or other people’s opinions. I hope that you will try to go through the path of true sincerity that Oyasama taught us while holding a firm conviction of faith.”
This year’s graduates will go on to serve at facilities in the Home of the Parent including Tenrikyo Administrative Headquarters, school dormitories, or followers dormitories (35), at churches and overseas mission headquarters (39), live at missionary houses or work as independent missionaries (4), study in Tenri Graduate Seminary’s practical training program (12), and others (2).