On September 21, a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of Tenri High School and Tenri Junior High School was conducted at Tenri University’s Gymnasium #1 in the presence of the Shinbashira and his wife, as well as the former Shinbashira. Addressing some 3,000 people including faculty members, alumni, and students’ parents, the Shinbashira stressed the importance of the education based on the spirit of single-heartedness with God and asked the attendees to impart significance to the occasion by renewing their determination to measure up to the expectations placed on the school.
Tenri Middle School–the forerunner of both Tenri High and Junior High Schools–traces its origins to Tenri Seminary. The school was established in 1908, eight years after the seminary’s founding, out of the profound parental love of the first Shinbashira, Shinnosuke Nakayama, who decided to respond to the Tenrikyo community’s growing need for secondary education at a time when it was working to achieve sectarian independence. Though the school has gone through many changes since then, it has always provided an education primarily based on faith while playing a central role in the development of human resources for the realization of the Joyous Life. Over the decades, the school has produced a wealth of people who make significant contributions in a variety of fields such as business, healthcare, sports, and cultural activities.
Prior to the ceremony, a thanksgiving service was performed from 8:30 A.M. in the East and West Worship Halls by participants including faculty members and students of Tenri High and Junior High Schools.
At 10:00 A.M., the ceremony commenced with a moment of worship and the singing of the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo. This was followed by a video presentation entitled “Aiming at Making Further Progress in the Next 100 Years–Now Is the Time for Tenri Education,” which traced the history of the schools and showed scenes from current school life. It also presented messages from four alumni–Mr. Kentaro Sekimoto (professional baseball player), Mr. Kazuo Senoo (broadcast personality), Ms. Mai Motobuchi (violist), and Mr. Tadahiro Nomura (judo gold medalist)–who have been at the forefront of their respective fields.
Following the video presentation, Principal Shigehiko Iburi, who served as chairman of the steering committee for the 100th anniversary projects, took the podium to deliver an address. After detailing the history of the schools, he said that the total number of people who have been members of “Yotokukai”–the schools’ alumni association–now stands at 65,376. Then he said: “The reason the school has been in existence for 100 years–which is equivalent to the length of several human generations–comes down to the fact that we have always tried to settle in our minds the intention of the everliving Oyasama. Another part of the reason is the parental love of the successive Shinbashiras as well as the support of our predecessors and the local community. . . . Therefore, instead of simply regarding this occasion as an anniversary event, we would like to take this opportunity to express our resolution to make further progress in order to respond to the intention of the Parent.”
This was followed by the Shinbashira’s address. After expressing his congratulations to those involved, the Shinbashira explained the foundation of “Tenri education”–which is to say, an education based on the teachings–by saying, “Tenrikyo’s educational system, including that of Tenri High and Junior High Schools, traces its origin to Tenri Seminary, which was founded in 1900.” After quoting a passage from a Divine Direction that says, “At the place where children of the path are trained, you must not regard the usual ways as representing the one truth (Osashizu, April 16, 1901),” the Shinbashira explained: “This clearly teaches us that Tenrikyo’s schools are places for training children of the path. In other words, we are instructed to provide an education based not on worldly common ideas but the spirit of single-heartedness with God. . . . The schools would be unable to earn the trust of others if their faculty members and students who talk about the teachings become attached to worldly common ideas and separate faith from daily life, thus using two different perspectives. . . . Therefore, it is of primary importance for those who teach to cultivate the spirit of single-heartedness with God and continue to nurture themselves in accordance with the teachings. Likewise, students are expected to be sincere and straightforward in learning the teachings.” He went on to say: “We are taught that human resources cannot be nurtured by human thinking that has deviated from the path. Instead, it is essential to exert utmost efforts to receive the blessing of having human resources grow through the workings of God the Parent. . . . In today’s society, individual values have become diversified, and there is a deepening sense of confusion because of a lack of a solid, dependable guide. Thus, I would like to ask those who are in a position to teach others to cultivate an unshakable level of conviction and, with firm resolve, nurture the next generation of the path.” The Shinbashira then expressed his hopes that the students would apply everything they learned at school–whether through their classwork, hinokishin activities, or school life–to the realization of the Joyous Life. After asking them to maintain the self-awareness that they are being taught the spirit of single-heartedness with God at their schools, he concluded his address by encouraging the attendees to embark on another century by taking firm steps forward in unity of mind in accordance with the original intention in founding the schools.