Fragrance of the Teachings and Joy of Faith Sprinkled Widely throughout the Country
This year’s Tenrikyo Nioigake Day was observed between September 28 and 30, wrapping up the month that Tenrikyo Mission Department annually designates as the month to emphasize and promote nioigake, or sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. This three-day period was designed to get all Yoboku to actively engage in missionary work. The first day of the period was also designated as the day for church head ministers to give roadside speeches. What follows is based on the Tenri Jiho newspaper’s report, which focused on Osaka Diocese.
All 32 districts of Osaka Diocese worked together in a coordinated effort to simultaneously perform missionary work on the 30th by walking through the streets while calling out the name of God and singing the Songs for the Service. To promote the effort, information on starting points and walking routes had been made available on the diocese website, and the start time was set at 6:30 P.M. in order to make it easier for those Yoboku who go to school or work during the day to participate in this activity. Followers lively singing and clear sounds of wooden clappers were heard at many locations in cities across Osaka Prefecture.
In the Mishima District of the diocese, 20 followers belonging to the district’s Group 2 gathered to sing the Songs for the Service in front of JR Takatsuki Station. This group has, in fact, organized missionary activities for 24 years to spread the name of God around the station twice a month. In recent years, the activities have drawn more than 10 followers each time. Shoko Okada, 78, a wheelchair user, is one of the original members who began the activities. This day, she took part in missionary work with her daughter and grandchildren. “Each time I go out to spread the name of God with my family members and fellow followers in the district, my body and heart feel nice and warm inside. Keeping in mind a sense of gratitude for being kept well and healthy, I would like to remain active so long as God allows me to be active,” says Mrs. Okada.
Meanwhile, departing from Kintetsu Uehonmachi Station, 28 followers of the Chuo-Tennami District of the diocese headed for Osaka Diocese Administrative Office while walking in two lines through busy areas, which were crowded with company employees and shoppers. Among the participants was Fumie Iwasaki, a freshman in Tenri University, who grew up in a non-Tenrikyo family. “I would love to share with other people my joy of having been able to encounter the path,” she said in a spirited tone of voice.
Ms. Iwasaki came to know Tenrikyo when she was in high school, where she had to face bullying. Thanks to guidance that she received from Tenrikyo church head ministers, however, she gradually became able to interact with her classmates and make friends. She now goes to Tenri University and actively participates in the Students Association activities. “The path has brightened my mind. With my feeling of appreciation, I want to convey the joy of faith to as many people as possible,” she said with a beaming smile after her first participation in spreading the name of God, which lasted 40 minutes.