Under the new slogan “Letʼs convey a sense of gratitude and expand the circle of joy,” this yearʼs Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day was observed at a large number of locations throughout Japan on April 29, which is a national holiday called “Greenery Day,” as well as at scores of locations in overseas countries mostly on weekends before or after that day.
Although hinokishin refers to daily actions that express oneʼs gratitude for Godʼs gift of life and oneʼs joy at being kept alive, this annual event is intended to help followers living in the same community to combine their efforts in an outpouring of joy as they seek to show their gratitude to God the Parent and to make a contribution to their local communities at the same time.
This year—the year when Oyasamaʼs 130th Anniversary was conducted—each district made particular efforts to invite as many followers as possible to this event, utilizing the list of participants in the Oyasama 130th Anniversary Yoboku Gatherings as well as the Yoboku network strengthened through the campaign to hand-deliver the Tenri Jiho newspaper, so that the growing momentum developed through the anniversary-related activities could be carried forward into the post-anniversary period.
Hinokishin Day was observed in a number of districts hit by the devastating April earthquakes, as well. In Oita-Chuo District, for example, 207 people participated in Hinokishin Day, working together to clean a local park. Among them was a woman in her 50s who said: “Every time my mobile phone received an alert message for an aftershock, I felt some tightness in my chest. At the same time, however, I have become more and more convinced of the preciousness of God the Parentʼs blessings that allow my family members to live each day in good health.”
On that day, the weather across Japan was relatively fine and sunny, and the participants worked up a good sweat as they spiritedly engaged in various hinokishin activities to make repayment for the blessings received.
In the Home of the Parent, 51 groups of participants, comprising some 4,000 people altogether, assembled in Church Headquartersʼ Inner Courtyard to commence the event. They included staff members of Church Headquarters as well as students of Tenrikyo schools and Shuyoka, the Spiritual Development Course.
Following a moment of prayer and a speech by Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs Hiroaki Yamazawa, the participants headed for their respective hinokishin sites, including areas around the Sanctuary precincts, public schools, the fire station, community centers, and riverbanks in Tenri City.
At sites in the vicinity of Kita-oji Avenue, a total of 66 students from TLI (Tenrikyo Language Institute) and 64 students of Shuyokaʼs classes for overseas followers engaged in hinokishin tasks where they pulled weeds and removed the sediment from ditches.
Mr. José Avellino from Brazil, a Shuyoka student from the Portuguese class, which began in April and is being held for the first time, said: “Today, by engaging in the hinokishin activities with my fellow students of the path, I was able to savor and experience the preciousness of God the Parentʼs blessings. I want to convey the teaching of ʽa thing lent, a thing borrowed,ʼ to people in Brazil.”