Members Pledge to Implement Commitments in Final Year before the 100th Anniversary

The Women’s Association held its 91st annual convention on April 19, with the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters serving as the main venue. The convention comes as the association gears up for the 100th anniversary of its founding, which falls next year, by reinforcing its efforts to implement its anniversary-related commitments through the 100th Anniversary Pep Rally for Women’s Association Members (May―August), the first Besseki Month (October 20―November 30), and other special focus activities.

Blessed with fine weather, the event drew some 55,000 members including many from overseas. All the rows of benches set up in the Inner Courtyard filled up quickly after registration began at 8:00 A.M.

At 9:30 A.M., Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama escorted the Shinbashira, the former Shinbashira, and other guests into the venue. The proceedings began with the singing by all present of the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo, followed by the new members’ pledge delivered by their representative, Tenri High School Student Haruyo Nishio. Then Committee Member Harue Masui presented her report on the previous year’s activities of the association.

President Nakayama then stepped up to the podium. She reminded her listeners of how, at the previous year’s convention, the Shinbashira had emphasized the importance of moving forward in exact accord with the Divine Model without missing the season. She then said: “During this final year, I hope that each of us will take the initiative to get moving with a firm awareness that we are the foundation of the path. . . . Taking advantage of the 100th anniversary, a season we will never have again, let us convey the teachings to as many people as possible and serve fully in our role as women both in our families and churches, by devoting ourselves to nurturing others while remembering to nurture ourselves at the same time.”

Then the Shinbashira addressed the members. Noting that the 100th anniversary―related activities of the Women’s Association are into their third and final year, he told the members, “Unless you exert your total strength as your 100th anniversary approaches, you may not be able to match the enthusiasm and vitality shown by your predecessors who established your association and have handed it down to you.” With reference to the association’s comprehensive goal of serving as the foundation for the Joyous Life, he suggested that members begin by serving as the foundation for the Joyous Life of the family, which is the smallest unit of society.

He explained: “The Joyous Life can start with something simple like accepting whatever happens in our own family as a source of joy. This done, if any family in our local community has any problem, we can convey the way of thinking whereby anyone can find joy in anything that happens so that this family may also savor the delight of the Joyous Life.

“Having said that, I do realize that there are various families. Some families may inadvertently have created a gloomy atmosphere because of their members’ entangled minds. We might find it awkward to speak to members of such families. However, if those people look at a Tenrikyo family or a Tenrikyo church that is truly settled in harmony and marvel at why this family or this church is always joyous and is able to overcome even very difficult situations, and if they feel like visiting this family or church to directly ask these questions in the hope that their own family may also become joyous if they live as those Tenrikyo people do, then this Tenrikyo family and the church will have done a fine job of sprinkling the fragrance and even doing salvation work. . . . All we have to do is let people know that we know the Tenrikyo teachings, that if they learn the teachings and put them into practice, they can also live the Joyous Life, and that they don’t need any special tools or equipment to live the Joyous Life, because this teaching will enable them to fulfill all their hopes if they just transform their mind.”

He went on to say: “I would like you to train yourself in such a way that sweeping away the eight dusts of the mind and transforming your mind into a mind of joy will be a part of your daily life. In this manner, I hope you will make continued efforts to become a person of joy who can live up to Oyasama’s wishes.” He concluded by expressing the hope that, as members continued to prepare for the 100th anniversary, they would achieve a huge leap in becoming the foundation for the entire Tenrikyo community and, thereby, go through the last twelve months of their “three years, one thousand days” season in a truly meaningful way.

Nishikie Chapter Chairwoman Nobuko Terakado then delivered a pledge on behalf of all members, expressing their resolve to “put in every effort to increase momentum for the 100th anniversary.” To conclude the proceedings, members sang the association anthem.

Following the convention, the members, with President Nakayama as the core, joined together to perform the service.

In the afternoon, members attended gatherings organized by their respective directly supervised chapters. The gatherings were designed to provide an opportunity for discussions based on the addresses by the Shinbashira and the Women’s Association president with a view to helping raise members’ awareness of their roles in preparing for the 100th anniversary convention. With each chapter devising its own ways of promoting and encouraging discussions, a variety of concrete activities were conducted for members, including panel discussions, group discussions, and speeches by representatives.

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