On November 4, the 27th Young Women’s Convention, sponsored by Tenrikyo Women’s Association Headquarters, was held in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters under the theme “In gratitude for God the Parent’s blessings, let’s convey the teachings and spread joy. Let’s return to Jiba bringing people to attend the Besseki lectures.” This event was designed to provide an opportunity for young women between the ages of 16 and 25 to assemble in the Home of the Parent and report to God the Parent and Oyasama on the progress they had made in their daily efforts. In preparation for the convention, they had been assigned to study the ten aspects of the complete providence of God the Parent, cultivate the mind of making repayment for God’s blessings, implement the use of mind that accords with God’s intention in the course of their daily lives, and convey the joy of faith to people around them. Over 16,000 young women, including many from overseas, attended the convention.
At 9:30 a.m., Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama escorted the Shinbashira and other guests into the Inner Courtyard. Following the opening remarks made by a representative of young women, President Nakayama took the podium to deliver an address. After giving the participants words of appreciation for their dedicated efforts for the convention, she said, “The Joyous Life, which was the purpose of human creation by God the Parent, is the true goal of human life and the ideal state of the world.” She said that to follow the path of single-hearted salvation leading to the Joyous Life—in other words, to proactively sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and work for the salvation of others—is the way to make repayment for God the Parent’s blessings, by which human beings are kept alive. She thus encouraged young women to have the courage to speak proactively to people suffering from illnesses and troubles, listen to what is on the minds of those who have worries, administer the Sazuke to those who are ill, and convey the existence and the teachings of God the Parent to as many people as possible so that the salvation of the mind could be brought about.
Toward the end of her address, President Nakayama explained that living in a manner befitting Yoboku means “to practice the teachings in the course of daily life,” and emphasized the importance of implementing the association’s activity guidelines for young women. She concluded by urging young women to settle firmly in mind the intention of God the Parent—who desires to save all humankind equally—and keep the appropriate stance of mind during the lead-up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, as well as take steady steps toward the realization of the Joyous Life World so that they would be able to show Oyasama as much progress as they could make in their spiritual growth.
Next, the Shinbashira took the lectern. He first referred to the three activity guidelines set for young women: “Let’s visit our churches to worship,” “Let’s do hinokishin,” and “Let’s spread the teachings.” He said, “[E]ach of these guidelines indicates a way to express our gratitude to God the Parent.” He pointed out that once people understood the providence of God the Parent and became aware of the blessings, a feeling of gratitude to God the Parent would naturally well up within them. He went on to say, “If we all maintain this sense of gratitude as well as mutual respect for one another and a readiness to live in harmony with others, an atmosphere of joyousness will spontaneously come about and will gradually spread in wider and wider circles.” He mentioned that it is Oyasama who guided people to progress toward the realization of the Joyous Life and said that if followers accept whatever happens in a spirit of simple openness and make repeated efforts to bring themselves into accord with Oyasama, they can certainly find pointers on which way to go. He thus stressed the need for followers to have the attitude and courage to check each day whether the direction in which they are going is in accordance with Oyasama’s Divine Model.
Touching upon how Kokan and other young women followed Oyasama’s instructions with simple openness back in the days when Oyasama was physically present, the Shinbashira said, “[W]hen we consider how the significance of their examples has continued to this day in the sense of serving as the basis for the efforts you are presumably making to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and practice the dance and musical instruments for the Service, we can understand how accepting and implementing the teachings of the Parent with simple openness can lay an important foundation for spiritual growth.” He further explained that when people find themselves having to persevere by restraining their selfish impulses, they are going through spiritual training to help them progress toward the Joyous Life and that such an experience will open a door to the delight that lies ahead. He then told the young women about the basics of their lives of faith; that is to say, they should keep their minds connected with their churches, make repeated efforts to perceive the blessings they are given each day, and express their gratitude to God the Parent and Oyasama in the course of their daily lives. In conclusion, mentioning that young women are at an age when they should sow seeds of sincerity so that they can serve as the firm foundation for the Joyous Life, the Shinbashira said, “You can use your experiences in life as opportunities to make sure that your way of living is in accordance with the teachings as desired by God the Parent and Oyasama so that you can live in joy and brightness.”
In the afternoon, as a commemorative event, directly supervised chapters held their own meetings, in which the participants reflected on what they had learned from the addresses delivered by the Shinbashira and President Nakayama at the convention so that they could work together to gain a deeper understanding.