On December 26, 2009, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted its Monthly Service in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. Many followers returned to Jiba to convey their appreciation for the blessings they received throughout the 172nd year of the Teaching.
Shortly after 9:00 a.m., the Shinbashira and other Service performers left the Staff Quarters for the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall, where they paid their respects amid the solemn sounds of gagaku music before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary. The Shinbashira then ascended the dais to deliver the Service prayer, in which he looked back at the year and said: “We have made efforts throughout the year to bring ourselves into accord with Your intention to save all human beings in the world. We are truly grateful that You, in an effort to hasten our spiritual growth, have been showing us knots in various forms, training us through them, and guiding us to receive blessings that enable buds to sprout from knots.” Representing all Yoboku, he then pledged, “Throughout the coming year, we are determined to be single-hearted with God as we work toward enhancing missionary work with thorough implementation of the Service and the Sazuke, which are taught as the path of single-hearted salvation.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously while the followers joined together in singing the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service.
Following the Service performance, Honbu-in Zentaro Tanaka took the podium to deliver the sermon. First, referring to the fact that the year 2009 marked the 60th year since the publication of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, he spoke about the thorny seven-year period leading up to the end of World War II—a period when Tenrikyo’s doctrine and rituals were circumscribed by the government’s religious policy. He then explained how The Doctrine of Tenrikyo was newly compiled as part of the endeavor to “restore” the teachings and the significance of the compilation project. “The Doctrine of Tenrikyo is indeed the standard for our spiritual life,” said Honbu-in Tanaka.
He continued discussing The Doctrine of Tenrikyo while basing himself on chapter 8, which is entitled “On the Way to the Final Goal.” Saying that the chapter teaches tanno or joyous acceptance as the way to settle the mind, he quoted the following passage: “Our minds in the morning are not always the same in the evening. We are affected by events that occur around us, and our minds, bright in the morning, may become darkened by evening.”
He also touched on hinokishin, another key teaching explained in the same chapter, by saying: “Even in the period when the teachings were not always allowed to be taught as they were, hinokishin continued to be performed by the followers. . . . On the other hand, my own self-reflection has made me realize that when I do hinokishin, it is often confined to one place and one time.” He then went on to talk about the importance of sowing seeds of sincerity at Jiba by sharing with the congregation an experience he had when he was serving as director of Shuyoka, the Spiritual Development Course. He said that a Shuyoka student in a wheelchair was able to receive miraculous blessings through dedication to the morning and evening sanctuary cleaning. “For us, hinokishin is an indispensable way of implementing the teachings,” he stressed. No matter how technologically advanced we may become, “all of us ought to engage in hinokishin throughout our lifetime with the mind spirited and free from greed,” he continued.
He concluded his sermon by saying: “Today, 60 years after the publication of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, let us take to heart that the path Oyasama taught has been systematically organized and accurately passed down to us by our predecessors. Now let us continue our journey and hand it down to the next generation. . . . Let us put more focus on hinokishin in our church activities, promote it ever more actively, and make repayment for God’s blessings with sincerity that is appropriate for the years we have spent.”