Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Headquarters held the 22nd International Cultural Seminar on the afternoon of April 26 at Moya 38, with the participation of 235 people.
This seminar aims to heighten association members’ awareness of the overseas mission and encourage directly supervised chapters to conduct more activities related to the overseas mission.
After the opening remarks were delivered by Association Headquarters Overseas Section Head Kaoru Murata, a video was shown to promote the 11th Human Resource Overseas Dispatch Program, for which the association will start recruting members in June. There was also a presentation given by Mr. Motokazu Fukui, who had been dispatched to Thailand as a member of the 9th group.
Then Honbu-jun’in Yoshihiko Shirokihara, head minister of Honshiba Grand Church and chief of the Europe and Africa Section of the Overseas Department, gave a lecture entitled “Get Tenri Young Men to Go Overseas.” He started off by mentioning that the current prevalence of the Internet use and a large population of foreigners in Japan have made cross-cultural exchange easier and more accessible than ever before. He went on to speak about the steps that might be taken to contribute to the overseas mission, while sharing his own experience of studying in the U.K. He noted: “We need to become familiar with our own culture first. With that understanding of being a part of one culture, we can learn foreign languages, cultures, customs, or traditions and interact with people from overseas, while developing a respectful understanding of their ways of living and thinking. I think that is an important attitude in pursuing the overseas mission.”
Then referring to the increasing tendency toward secularization both in Japan and overseas, he stressed: “It is important for us to first improve our own qualities as Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path, so we can have those who live overseas understand the universality of the teachings. . . . Language is no more than a means to get our thoughts across. It is important to acquire the minimum necessary language ability, but what you want to convey matters more than the means of conveying it.” He then gave the audience three concrete suggestions on how to improve their own qualities: maintaining a passionate desire to convey the teachings and one’s own thoughts, in addition to acquiring foreign languages; dedicating oneself to daily activities including hinokishin; and cultivating an ability to convey the teachings in plain language so that people can understand them easily.
He concluded his lecture by saying: “Let us go overseas first. I want you to realize the greatness of the teachings of the path through experiencing foreign cultures. I think you need to truly become internationally minded if you are to serve as instruments in God the Parent’s work of world salvation.”