On the 26th, the November Monthly Service was conducted at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. Blessed with clear skies, the day was comparatively warm for this time of the year.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira first expressed gratitude for God the Parent’s constant blessings on behalf of all followers. He then said: “We Service performers as well as all head ministers and Yoboku will ponder over the Parent’s intention, which hastens salvation under any circumstances. Moreover, we will engage in the construction of mind without neglecting to sweep our heart so that we may make further spiritual growth. We are determined to devote ourselves to accomplishing the mission entrusted to us Yoboku by following the path of the Divine Model straightforwardly and by spreading the Joyous Life in ever wider circles, starting with the people nearest to us.” He concluded by praying that “the world will soon be reconstructed as a world filled with joy, where all people can live in perfect harmony.”
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then performed joyously. Honbu-in Kaneo Takeya took the podium to deliver the sermon.
Basing himself on the Ofudesaki, The Tip of the Writing Brush, Rev. Takeya reflected on the intention of God the Parent, who created humankind and the world. He said, “Any of us can lead the Joyous Life so long as we understand God’s intention and bring ourselves into accord with that intention.” He went on to indicate that the cause of our unhappiness lies not outside of ourselves but within ourselves, namely, our minds. Focusing on “greed,” one of the eight dusts of the mind, he explained, “It is not too much to say that the ‘mind of greed’ causes all kinds of occurrences that prevent us from leading the Joyous Life.” He then referred to the painstaking efforts that Oyasama had made for the people who were unable to accept the teachings due to their deeply doubtful minds. She tried to bring them an understanding about the truth of God the Parent by showing them instances of miraculous salvation such as “safe childbirth” and “freedom from smallpox.” He also made a reference to the anecdote describing how Izo Iburi first encountered Oyasama in 1864. “The essence of faith is to believe in and rely on the Parent,” he said. “To believe in and rely on the Parent means to always dedicate our sincerity to God the Parent, and this implies surrendering to God and desiring to be used in any way that accords with God’s intention.”
Basing himself on a number of passages from the Osashizu, The Divine Directions, Rev. Takeya indicated how we can live with complete reliance on God the Parent and accumulate virtue without being swept away by our greed. He said that it is important “to take delight in hardships” and “to stay in accord with God’s intention by implementing the truth of the teachings in our daily life while following Oyasama’s Divine Model.”
He concluded the sermon by saying, “Let us follow the path that enables us to bring joy to the Parent by devoting ourselves to the construction of the mind through sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work as befits today’s season.”
Group Pilgrimages to Conclude the 171st Year of the Teaching
As the year draws to an end, a number of pilgrimage groups returned to the Home of the Parent in late November. On the 30th, the last Sunday of the month, thanksgiving services were performed in the Main Sanctuary at 11:00 A.M., 11:30 A.M., and noon. The directly supervised churches that organized the group pilgrimages on this day include: Heishin, Senba, Shikishima, Ikuno, Ogata, Harumichi, Nishikie, Tokai, Izumi, Aiyo, Biwa, and Toyoshige. During the days between the national holiday on the 23rd and the Monthly Service day on the 26th, group pilgrimages were organized by seven grand churches: Kawaramachi, Nankai, Ikoma, Nishinari, Asakura, Omorimachi, and Kofu. Asakusa Grand Church held a convention for Yoboku in the Home of the Parent on the 23rd. Osaka Diocese and Gifu Diocese conducted rice-donation pilgrimages on the 26th and the 30th, respectively. Between the 23rd and the 30th, a total of 3,814 people attended the Besseki lectures, including 898 first-timers, while 800 people attended the Basics Course.