Tenrikyo Associations Announce Their Guidelines and Plans for 2011

Young Men’s Association
On January 25, Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held its first meeting of the year at the association headquarters. At the meeting, Association Chairman Masanao Nakayama, who was installed last October, first referred to the new activity guidelines: “Develop faith and spread the teachings in single-heartedness with God.”

After quoting passages from the Shinbashira’s address at last year’s association convention as well as this year’s New Year’s address, Chairman Nakayama explained what it means to develop faith in single-heartedness with God. He said: “It is important for each association member to acquire the spirit of single-heatedness with God so that we will be able to base all our thoughts on God the Parent’s intention. . . . In order to accomplish this, I would like us to further enrich the association activities.”

Chairman Nakayama reaffirmed the purpose and mission of association activities, which aim to provide opportunities for members to deepen and polish their faith with one another. He reminded the leaders of the association of the importance of holding repeated discussions concerning what it takes to become single-hearted with God in carrying out the association activities.

In regard to the part of the guidelines that encourages members to spread the teachings, he said: “Spreading the teachings is the primary duty of Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path. Considering our attributes as young men, we may say that missionary work is the task that is most conducive to helping us become single-hearted with God. The question is not whether our efforts will be successful or not. The important thing is to make full commitment to spread the teachings.”

Before concluding his speech, he called out to the leaders of the association: “From now on, while setting our sights firmly on the important milestone of the association’s 100th anniversary, let us make steady efforts each day and make progress in our spiritual growth in high spirits.”

The pillar of this year’s association activities is the 87th Young Men’s Association Convention, which will be held in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters on October 27. As for the activities of the chapters based in churches, the “Missionary Campaign Week for All Chapters” will be observed between September 4 and 11. Regarding the activities for the chapters based in dioceses and districts, the association will be promoting the “Heart Clean Campaign,” which is held on the first Sunday of each month except September this year and January 2012, when it will be on the third Sunday. This year, the campaign’s Action Day will be conducted on July 3. Starting this year, the Arakitoryo Orientation, which targets association members in the high school age bracket with the aim of nurturing young members, will be organized by directly supervised chapters between March and August.

Women’s Association
Tenrikyo Women’s Association held a seminar for chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters on January 27 and 28 at Moya 38 with an attendance of 260 chairwomen. The seminar began with an address by the association president, Mrs. Harue Nakayama. She started by referring to Shinbashira’s sermon delivered at the Spring Grand Service and touched upon events leading up to the lunar calendar date of January 26, 1887, when Oyasama withdrew from physical life. After quoting a Divine Direction that says, “[T]he principle of the founding and that of the ending are one in truth” (February 29, 1896), she spoke about the divine intention behind the Teaching’s day of origin. She then said, “Through the teaching that the principle of the founding and that of the ending are one in truth, we can realize that God is showing us the following two things: the parental heart that desires to save all humankind, the beloved children of God, as well as the assurance that God will provide us with any kind of blessings when we settle in mind the spirit of single-heartedness with God.” She thus noted the importance of not only listening to the teachings but also implementing them with an open mind.

Basing herself on the Shinbashira’s sermon at the Spring Grand Service, President Nakayama then talked about what kind of attitude followers need to have in nurturing people. “We are responsible for nurturing people to the point where they can feel gratitude for God the Parent’s blessings as well as put the teachings into practice with an open mind,” said President Nakayama, encouraging the listeners to continue to guide and nurture the people whom they brought back to Jiba as part of the activities related to the 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Association.

Further, after pointing out that the association’s 100th anniversary was but one milestone, she said, “If we truly settle our mind and get moving toward the larger goal, namely the realization of the Joyous Life, we will naturally be able to achieve even further spiritual growth.” To conclude her address, she encouraged the listeners by saying: “Lifting our spirits to greater heights, let us women seek to live up to our full potential and continue to strive to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings as well as engage in salvation work while fulfilling our role as the foundation of the path, so that we can be blessed with an enhanced Women’s Association and state of the path that are capable of bringing joy to God the Parent and Oyasama.”

The President’s address was followed by the announcements of this year’s concrete activities as well as group discussions. According to the announcements, the association will be continuing to promote its principal slogan for spiritual maturity, “Let’s follow the Divine Model and become the foundation for the Joyous Life,” as well as the activity guidelines: “Let’s keep the original intention in mind and grow spiritually to be true Yoboku. (1) Let’s nurture our own faith based on the teachings. (2) Let’s put our hearts into performing the service. (3) Let’s sprinkle the fragrance and strive to save others, starting with those close to us.” As its main event, the association will hold its 93rd convention on April 19, using the Inner Courtyard as well as the areas in front of the East Worship Hall, South Worship Hall, and West Worship Hall as its venues. Also, the association will conduct a new program whereby chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters will sow seeds of sincerity through hinokishin as well as participate in group discussions in the Home of the Parent on a total of 16 occasions between May and November this year. Moreover, the association will promote holding seminars and a monthly meeting at each branch chapter. Through efforts such as these, the association will seek to further enrich the activities of directly supervised chapters and branch chapters so as to set the tone for the association’s post–100th anniversary activities.

The next day, the participants were honored with the presence of the former Shinbashira, who delivered an address, speaking about the state of mind that they ought to have as the foundation of the path as well as the awareness and the level of spiritual growth they are expected to cultivate and attain as chairwomen of the association’s directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters.

Boys and Girls Association
On January 27, the Boys and Girls Association leadersʼ first meeting of the year was held in the Home of the Parent, drawing 1,743 participants, including heads of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters as well as members of the nurturing committees of those chapters.

This is the third year since the association started promoting the activity guideline “Letʼs connect children with our churches and nurture their sense of gratitude to God the Parent,” and the association intends to further enhance the implementation of the guideline. The association also announced the continuing use of the three concrete goals for association activities: (1) Having all chapters conduct church sleepovers; (2) Promoting hinokishin activities in every district; and (3) Increasing the number of association members participating in the Childrenʼs Pilgrimage to Jiba.

The meeting began with an address by the Shinbashira, who also serves as president of the association. He first referred to the guideline and emphasized the endeavor to connect children with the churches, saying, “The guideline implies that it is through bringing children to our churches that their sense of gratitude will be cultivated.”

He went on to speak about what it means for children to return to Jiba in terms of their journey of faith. “It is not necessarily sufficient for them to simply return to Jiba,” the Shinbashira said. Stressing the need to ensure that they repeatedly listen to the meaning of Jiba, the Shinbashira said: “As they gradually settle the meaning of Jiba in their mind and repeatedly return to Jiba, they advance in their faith. . . . In this regard, our churches should provide opportunities for them to listen to the teachings.”

The Shinbashira then turned his focus to highlighting the significance of visiting the churches by citing the slogan “Letʼs visit our churches with our families,” which the association has jointly promoted with the Womenʼs Association and the Young Menʼs Association. He stressed: “The sincerity of those who constantly make their way to their churches will undoubtedly be accepted by God the Parent. . . . By visiting their churches, they are making progress in their spiritual growth.”

After touching upon the concrete goals for association activities, he said, “No matter what activities we push forward, it is of prime importance for those of us who organize the activities to cultivate and maintain the attitude of wanting the children to become fine Yoboku in the future and work toward the realization of the Joyous Life.”

Following the Shinbashiraʼs address, Chairman Yoshiji Matsumura took the podium and shared his thoughts about the guideline. He said, “We would like to pass down the joy of faith to the children through nurturing their sense of gratitude and to guide them to become ʻchildren of the pathʼ who can live up to the intention of God the Parent and Oyasama.”

He then talked about the associationʼs concrete goals for its activities. With regard to the sleepovers at churches, he acknowledged that although the number of churches that conduct the activity is on the rise each year, more efforts can still be made toward the goal. “Let us brace ourselves once again this year and work toward having all chapters conduct sleepovers at their churches with directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters playing a core role,” said Mr. Matsumura.

Share this article:

Comments are closed.