The March Monthly Service of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. Due to rain in the morning, followers who returned to Jiba were using umbrellas, which added color to the Sanctuary precincts.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for the boundless blessings with which God the Parent protects us day and night and said: “Through attending the Oyasama 130th Anniversary Yoboku Gatherings, which are being held from the beginning of this month, all of us Yoboku including church head ministers are rededicating ourselves to attaining further spiritual growth, and we are determined to accelerate the construction of the mind, help and encourage one another, and exert layer upon layer of efforts to perform missionary and salvation work in order to expand the circle of the Joyous Life in local communities, thereby taking great strides on the path in this seasonable time.”
The Kagura and the Dance with the Hand Movements were then performed joyously. The followers including those with their umbrellas in the pouring rain joined in singing the songs for the Service with their minds in unison.
Following the Service performance, Honbu-in Yoshiaki Nakayama took the podium to deliver the sermon. He started by quoting from the Book of the Besseki to explain guidelines for Yoboku. He went on to introduce one of our predecessors, who said that the source of our faith lies in repeating our efforts to settle in mind the truth of the everliving Oyasama each time we observe Her anniversary and that we can reach a new level of faith by returning our thoughts to that source.
He then posed the question “What do we need to focus our mind on during this seasonable time?” and talked about the truth of the everliving Oyasama, which is the foundation that enables the path to flourish. He said: “When we make further efforts by bringing our mind closer to Oyasama, we will be able to savor a new joy of faith that is different from the joy savored in our previous journey of faith. When we carry out contribution and dedication with true sincerity and practice the faith while embracing the truth of the everliving Oyasama, then Oyasama will grant us every blessing of salvation exactly as asked.” In order to repay our debt of gratitude for the great favors we have been constantly receiving and thus be able to undertake the pre-anniversary activities, Rev. Nakayama emphasized the importance of continuing our daily practice of faith, which is to say, expressing a sense of gratitude for the blessing of “a thing lent, a thing borrowed,” using Oyasama’s model path as our spiritual guide, and making a constant effort to sweep our mind clean by removing the eight kinds of dust.
Further, he quoted the Ofudesaki verse that says, “I earnestly request each and everyone of you to ponder deeply over these teachings” (XVII:75). He explained that Oyasama requests us to resolve the mind and follow the path in single-heartedness with God. Saying that we must not miss this seasonable time, he encouraged the congregation to base all their thoughts on the teachings, ask themselves how they can make full use of this seasonable time, and thus make progress toward the realization of the Joyous Life.
In concluding, he stated that the top priority is to settle our minds to carry out the pre-anniversary activities and said: “Let us take every opportunity to engage in salvation work, exert our full measure of sincerity in helping others be saved, and pray for the blessings of salvation by relying on the truth of the everliving Oyasama. Let each of us dedicate our full measure of sincerity to Jiba of Origin so that we can bring more and more joy to Oyasama, and let us make every effort to bring forth the fruit of the seeds of sincerity we have sown so that the joy of faith will enable us to make further progress in our spiritual growth, thus making headway on our journey to bring about delight in the future.”
Spring Memorial Service Performed
On March 27, the Spring Memorial Service was conducted. Following the service prayer, the Dance with Hand Movements was performed to the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo and the Twelve Songs in the Main Sanctuary. The ceremony then took place in the Memorial Hall, where the Shinbashira read a prayer, expressing his gratitude and respect for the efforts and accomplishments of the predecessors who dedicated themselves to the path in accordance with the intention of the Parent.