The seventh International Hinokishin Corps was held between July 18 and 24. Organized every three years, the corps―which serves as a special corps of the Oyasato Construction Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps―is designed to provide overseas members with an opportunity to sow seeds of sincerity at Jiba through hinokishin as well as to facilitate interactions among members from various countries and regions. A total of 96 participants from the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, the U.K., and France dedicated themselves in efforts of hinokishin.
On the morning of the 18th, the opening ceremony for the seventh International Hinokishin Corps was held in Moya 12. The Shinbashira, who also serves as president of Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association, delivered an opening address. He first explained the purpose of the corps and the meaning of hinokishin. He then said, “It is important to dedicate yourself in efforts of hinokishin with the mind of gratitude.” He continued: “If you do hinokishin while maintaining a sense of gratitude, your efforts will be accepted by God the Parent. Those efforts will become seeds of sincerity sown at Jiba, and once they are accepted by God the Parent as seeds of sincerity, they will then become the merit that can nourish you.” He went on to say: “While reasons for joining the corps vary among the participants, I believe that all of you are here today because God the Parent has an intention for each of you. Regardless of the differences of languages, God the Parent intends for all of you members to assemble at one place, eat your meals together, stay in the same accommodation, and engage in hinokishin together. I would like you to spend your time in the corps in a manner that responds to that intention of God the Parent.” After the opening ceremony―which was simultaneously interpreted into English, Chinese, Portuguese, and Korean―the participants and staff members assembled in the East Worship Hall and performed a prayer service. In the afternoon, announcements such as the daily schedule and rules and regulations were made, followed by marching drills.
The members were divided into five groups to take part in hinokishin activities at different locations. They started doing hinokishin on the 19th. The participants pulled weeds and cleaned various facilities in the Home of the Parent, helped set up sites in preparation for the Children’s Pilgrimage, and transported felled timber at Mount Jatani, which is owned by Church Headquarters.
On the afternoon of the 21st, a group comprised of members from South Korea was assigned to clean a section of the Corridor of the Main Sanctuary. Among the members was Han Chang-su, who returned to Jiba for the first time. His father, an ardent follower of Tenrikyo, passed away for rebirth this February, and after pondering deeply over his father’s passing, he decided to join the corps. He said: “I almost allowed my spirits to falter after experiencing that unexpected knot in my life. However, I have come to accept my father’s passing away for rebirth as God’s intention for me to squarely face my own faith. That is why I decided to participate in the corps.”
On the 23rd, Hawaii chapter members went to Mount Jatani to engage in hinokishin. One of the members, Jesse Hironaga, said: “Participants shouted in unison and made a concerted effort, thus enabling us to haul out a lot of timber in a short period of time. Through this work, I renewed my appreciation for the importance of ‘unity of mind.'”
After the daytime hinokishin activities, the participants went to the Main Sanctuary for the evening service. They also participated in evening training sessions such as practicing the dance and the musical instruments for the service, which allowed them to deepen their faith together while overcoming language barriers and cultural differences.
Hsu Wen Her, from Taiwan, who participated in the International Hinokishin Corps for the fifth time, said: “Seeing that I was in poor health, members of my group administered the Sazuke to me one after another, praying for my recovery. I also saw participants from various countries administering the Sazuke to others on many occasions, both inside the dormitory and at hinokishin sites. Seeing their actions has motivated me to become the sort of association member who will be able to take action immediately upon seeing someone in trouble or suffering.”
On the 24th, the Shinbashira delivered an address at the closing ceremony held at Moya 100. He urged the members to continue striving to engage in hinokishin in the course of their daily life.
Alan Lima Invencao, who returned to Jiba from Brazil for the first time, reflected on his experiences and said: “Last year, my brother was involved in a serious auto accident, and he received miraculous blessings. I decided to join the International Hinokishin Corps because I wanted to express my gratitude to God the Parent and Oyasama for those blessings. Participating in the corps gave me a deep appreciation for being able to use the body, which is a thing borrowed from God, in good health. From now on, I will spiritedly engage in hinokishin in my daily life while always keeping the Shinbashira’s message in mind.”