Following the Oyasama Birth Celebration Service on April 18, the Shinbashira disclosed plans for the westward expansion of the Sanctuary precincts as well as for the construction of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex’s South Right Wing 2, which is to be built adjacent to the recently completed South Right Wing 1, which houses Tenri Sankokan Museum. The announcement was made in front of Church Headquarters’ staff and directly supervised church head ministers in the Assembly Hall.
The Shinbashira made clear in the announcement that he would like to proceed with the expansion of the Sanctuary precincts by utilizing the followers’ efforts of “earth-carrying hinokishin.”
In the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service, we are taught:
There is nothing so trying as illness;
So from now on, I, too, will devote myself to hinokishin.
Song III: 8
A single word can be hinokishin.
Song VII: 1
Husband and wife working together in hinokishin;
I behold more and more people coming from the world,
And bearing straw baskets in hinokishin.
Forgetting greed we work in hinokishin.
Song XI: 2-4
Further, we are also taught:
How remarkable this carrying of earth is,
When it serves as a contribution to God!
Digging up the earth of the Residence,
You just carry it from one place to another.
Song XI: 7-8
“Earth-carrying hinokishin,” as referred to in these verses, was first conducted in the construction of the cemetery for Oyasama in July 1892, shortly after the Fifth Anniversary of Oyasama. It is said that, each day, over 2,000 followers from all over Japan engaged in the hinokishin by carrying earth in straw baskets.
For the construction of the North Worship Hall (part of the Taisho Construction), which was completed in the year before the 30th Anniversary of Oyasama, our predecessors engaged in hinokishin and sowed seeds of sincerity at Jiba. The second Shinbashira wrote: “The line of people carrying earth from Toyoda Hill to the Residence was unbroken day after day. Men and women, the old and the young, all carried an amount of earth that matched their strength in straw baskets attached to carrying poles. Both ministers and followers came back to Jiba from all over Japan wearing happi coats bearing the names of their churches.”
The followers who became spirited in the seasons leading up to the anniversaries of Oyasama engaged in earth-carrying hinokishin and sowed seeds of sincerity at Jiba. Those efforts were made, for instance, in the construction of South Worship Hall (part of the Showa Construction prior to the 50th Anniversary of Oyasama), in the construction of the East Wings of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex (prior to the 70th Anniversary of Oyasama), and in the construction of East and West Worship Halls (prior to the Centennial Anniversary of Oyasama). Thereby, the followers received the truth of Jiba and were shown instances of miraculous salvation here and there.
Among those efforts, it is said that the elderly and the infirm, who were unable to shoulder baskets of earth, carried small amounts of earth to the Residence in their handkerchiefs.
The westward expansion of the Sanctuary precincts will provide us with an opportunity to sow seeds of sincerity in the same high spirits as our predecessors and to prepare ourselves for the salvation work that we will be engaging in all over the world.
At a meeting of Kanamekai (an association comprising the head ministers of all directly supervised churches), which was held on 19th, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi said that the new construction projects are to be conducted through our efforts to sow seeds of sincerity, thus emphasizing the spiritual aspect of the construction. This new construction, therefore, represents not just material construction but also the construction of mind that each of us is to engage in so as to make progress in our spiritual growth during the years leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.
Westward Expansion of the Sanctuary Precincts to Begin on June 25
The main purpose for the westward expansion of the precincts is to make more room for followers approaching the Sanctuary from the west–particularly, to relieve the congestion of followers attending the 120th Anniversary Service. The west side of the west entrance will be raised by four meters (12 ft.). A ramp (19 m wide) will be constructed directly in front of the West Worship Hall along with a gentler slope for wheelchairs.
On June 25, a prayer service will be performed at 1:00 P.M. Earth-carrying hinokishin will be conducted at this site every day until the spring of 2005, the year before the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. The entire construction will be completed by autumn of the same year. The present site for earth-carrying hinokishin (to the east of Tenri University) will be closed down. The new site will be utilized during the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba from this year.
Construction of South Right Wing 2 to Resume on September 25
The construction of South Right Wing 2 was already begun during the construction of South Right Wing 1 (Tenri Sankokan Museum). The foundation work as well as the underground floors of the building was completed by the end of November 2002.
The use of South Right Wing 2 has been under discussion since then. The construction will be resumed now that it has been decided to use the wing for the “promotion of sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings as well as salvation work.” In concrete terms, South Right Wing 2 is to provide a “place where pilgrims to Jiba can experience and learn the teachings” as well as a “place where head ministers and Yoboku can deepen their faith.” Thus, the wing will be equipped with exhibition areas, conference rooms, and a large conference hall with facilities for simultaneous interpretation.
On September 25, a prayer service will be conducted and the construction will get under way. As with the westward expansion of the Sanctuary precincts, the construction of South Right Wing 2 will be completed by the autumn of 2005.
Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi asked us to utilize these construction projects as opportunities to sow seeds of sincerity at Jiba and, thus, to promote our activities leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.