The Students Association of Taiwan organized its annual Students’ Pilgrimage from August 16 to 27 with the participation of 36 students. While the participants were in the Home of the Parent, they were able to learn about the teachings through such activities as doing corridor-cleaning hinokishin and crossing the Jusan Pass on foot, as well as to exchange opinions about cultures with Japanese students. They also attended the August Monthly Service of Church Headquarters on the 26th. During the pilgrimage period, 14 participants, including 11 first-timers, listened to the Besseki lectures.
The Students Association of Taiwan, which was established in 2001, has developed its activities with an emphasis on promoting participation in the Students’ Pilgrimage and holding the annual convention in February and monthly gatherings. The pilgrimage is unique in that it draws many students who did not grow up in Tenrikyo families. This year, the pilgrimage group included nearly 20 participants from non-Tenrikyo families as a result of recruitment efforts made by association members.
After conducting the opening ceremony at the Mission Headquarters in Taiwan on the 16th, the group returned to Jiba the next day. The participants were taken on a tour of the Sanctuaries and then attended Tenrikyo Basics Course, both of which helped them get the feel of the Tenrikyo teachings. They practiced musical instruments for the service on the morning of the 21st. The afternoon of that day was set aside for a Japanese culture seminar, during which the participants learned how to wear a yukata, a traditional Japanese summer garment. Dressed in a yukata, they enjoyed looking at themselves in mirrors and taking pictures of one another. Then they went on to experience a Japanese tea ceremony while wearing a yukata. After listening to an instructor, they made a cup of tea for themselves and had a taste of it. “It’s bitter,” said a participant while sticking out her tongue when she was asked how she liked the tea.
A first-time participant, Lin Yu-yin, 23, said: “I am so glad that I was able to feel the kind of Japanese culture that a normal sightseeing tour wouldn’t allow me to experience. Also, I would like to put into practice the Tenrikyo teaching of doing things for others.” Chien Liang-hsueh, 19, vice chairperson of the association, said, “In order to help fellow students understand how amazing the teachings are, we would like to proactively hold association activities not only at the Mission Headquarters in Taiwan but also in various regions.”