Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted its July Monthly Service on the 26th at the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. Despite the announcement of the end of the rainy season, the sky over the Sanctuary precincts was covered with clouds and the temperature was lower than usual.
This day being the first day of the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, the Sanctuary precincts were filled with many children who had returned for this event as well as pilgrimage staff members wearing yellow T-shirts and the Boys and Girls Association Hinokishin Corps members dressed in their uniforms.
At nine o’clock, the Shinbashira, along with other Service performers, left the Church Headquarters Staff Quarters to pay respects at the Foundress Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary.
In the prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed his gratitude for the daily blessings that we receive. He went on to say: “Now the distortions stemming from shallow human thinking are manifest everywhere in the world that surrounds us. We are taught in the Mikagura-uta, ‘Indeed, this time all of you equally / Must ponder over it deeply’ (IX:7). We shall, therefore, ponder over the things that occur around us in order to recognize the distortions of the mind in them. We shall also firmly resolve our mind to accord with Your mind and exert our utmost in the construction of the Kanrodai world in a unity of mind.”
Further, referring to the 50th Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, the Shinbashira said: “Please watch over the many children who have returned here for this event. They will be participating in the various programs such as earth-carrying hinokishin with an appreciation for the bodies they borrow from You so that they may grow into people who can work for others with a bright and rich mind. Together with all present, I pray reverently that You will guide us through the event so that everything will proceed safely and successfully.”
This was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura and the Dance with Hand Movements. By that time, the sky cleared and the sun began to gleam over the Sanctuary precincts. Despite the heat, the followers joined the Service by fervently singing the songs for the Service.
After the Service, Honbu-in Yoshihiko Yasuno took the podium and delivered the sermon. He first quoted from the Divine Directions: “You think that three years is too long. Therefore you will experience various kinds of worries. It is but three days. If you go through the path of three years, you will never be in want nor will you ever suffer. It is but three days” (November 7, 1889). He then said: “When I reflect upon how quickly time passes by, I worry that, if we are negligent, we may end up spending the three years, one thousand days, as if they were just three days. I am afraid that we might miss the season for spiritual growth and for salvation.”
Honbu-in Yasuno reflected upon the atmosphere of the Tenrikyo community 50 years ago and said: “At that time of restoration, in the years leading up to the 70th Anniversary of Oyasama, followers were uplifted with joy at being able to follow the path in exact accord with the teachings of Oyasama. Especially in the Home of the Parent, the construction of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex started, and the Home of the Parent was filled with the spiritedness of many people who engaged in hinokishin for the construction, with the understanding that it was for their spiritual construction.” He pointed out that the desire to enable children who would shoulder the path in the next generation to savor the joy of hinokishin by carrying even a load of earth, led to the beginning of the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba–formerly known as Children’s Hinokishin Pilgrimage.
Furthermore, he said: “A way of living that convinces other people is a life devoted to hinokishin. We are taught that hinokishin is a daily contribution to God the Parent and Oyasama. The joy of doing hinokishin is our own joy of being able to make dedication and contribution to God the Parent and Oyasama. Although hinokishin may take various forms, it should always be done out of the single desire to bring joy to God the Parent and Oyasama. This attitude convinces others.”
He concluded the sermon by saying: “The Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba started out of the fervent desire of people who devoted themselves each day to hinokishin with the joy of being able to follow the path exactly as taught by Oyasama. Bearing this in mind, we should like to take Instruction Two as our guiding principle and to walk straightforwardly through the path of ‘three years, one thousand days’ so that we will not miss the season for spiritual growth and for salvation.”