On October 27, the day after the Autumn Grand Service, the 85th Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Convention was held in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters, drawing some 13,000 participants including association members from both within the country and from overseas. At last year’s convention–commemorating the 90th anniversary of the association–the members pledged to return their thoughts to the association’s founding spirit and make further progress in their activities. Directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters thus spent the intervening year increasing their efforts to enhance their regular activities and nurture human resources while striving to encourage more members to participate in this year’s convention. The Shinbashira, who also serves as president of the association, called for redoubled efforts to make the association ever more vibrant. Taking to heart his words and their mission as pioneers of the path in working toward world salvation, the members made a pledge to one another to work toward ever further spiritual growth and to take action.
On the convention day, the Home of the Parent was blessed with clear skies in contrast to the rainy weather on the previous day. Groups of association members began assembling in the Inner Courtyard one after another well before the convention began and filled thousands of folding benches set up in the venue.
Shortly after 10:00 A.M., the Shinbashira escorted the former Shinbashira, Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama, and other distinguished guests into the Inner Courtyard to the accompaniment of music provided by Tenri High School Brass Band. The convention started with a moment of prayer. After the hoisting of the association flag and the opening declaration, the participants sang the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo in unison. Then, Association Headquarters Vice Chairman Daiji Tanabe read out the progress report on the previous year.
The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver his address. He first spoke on the mission of Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path, by describing them as those who are able to work toward the construction of the Joyous Life World by going outward to open paths in yet unexplored regions and by going inward to work with their own mind to enhance spiritual development, which he said would enable them to acquire the fragrance worthy of being sprinkled on others and to build virtue that will allow them to have God the Parent work for them. He went on to make it clear that “the true value of pioneers of the path” is, in addition to pursuing these outward and inward endeavors, to implement ideas without being overly cautious, while maintaining a positive and proactive stance in seeking the path.
He then revisited the history behind establishing the association, touching on activities led by young men who had received faith from their parents. He said that the establishment of the association resulted mainly from those second-generation followers’ “efforts to seek the path and work together to deepen and polish their faith” as well as their “irresistible enthusiasm and passion.” Then, citing a Divine Direction that says, “Because it continues, it can be called a path. Without continuity, it cannot be called a path” (May 21, 1902), he emphasized that, “working towards a new level of spiritual growth, beyond what earlier generations achieved, is the role and mission of later generations.”
Drawing his address to a close, he expressed his expectations for pioneers of the path by saying: “I would like those of you who are pioneers of the path to be at the forefront of the Yoboku community and go forward at top speed. I would like you to maintain your youthful vitality and spiritedness and open one path after another in yet unexplored regions as you move into the future. . . . With the end of your association’s 90th anniversary season, now is the time for you to take a new step.” Following the president’s address, Iga-furusato Chapter Chairman Seiji Toshimitsu made a pledge on behalf of all the association members. To close the convention, the members recited the Guiding Principles of Arakitoryo and then joined together in singing the Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Anthem.