Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted its July Monthly Service on the 26th at the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. On that day–10 days after the announcement of the end of the rainy season–the Home of the Parent was blessed with a blue sky, and the temperature exceeded 35ºC (95ºF). Many children returned and filled the Sanctuary precincts in anticipation of the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, which commenced in the afternoon.
In the prayer, the Shinbashira referred to the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba for the 171st year of Tenrikyo: “Having looked forward to their summer trip to Jiba, many children will return to Jiba from both within and outside the country,” he said. “I pray that, in the course of their pilgrimage, these children will feel and express a sense of gratitude for Your blessings, which enable them to live in good health. I also pray that they will learn the teachings and nurture the mind of mutual help through engaging in hinokishin and various other activities. May this pilgrimage prove to be worthwhile and meaningful in this manner. I ask for Your blessing upon us so that we can conduct the Children’s Pilgrimage smoothly without problems.”
Following the joyous performance of the Kagura and the Dance with Hand Movements, Honbu-in Michihito Hamada took the podium to deliver the sermon. Currently serving as the bishop of the Mission Headquarters of Hawaii, he first looked back on the history of the Tenrikyo mission in Hawaii. Then he said: “It is . . . not easy to convey the spirit of Tenrikyo to people in a society that is predominantly Christian. . . . In order to spread Oyasama’s teachings to the world, we have to overcome the difficulties involved in passing down the faith to the next generation. We ought to have conviction and pride in the teachings if we are to overcome this problem whether in Japan or in Hawaii, or anywhere in the world. How can we have the desire to convey the teachings to others no matter what it takes? I think the answer is to develop a sense of gratitude and indebtedness that motivates us to make repayment.” As a means to embody the mind of gratitude, Rev. Hamada stressed the importance of “making it our habit to perform some regular gestures consciously.” Giving the example of gassho (putting both hands together in front of one’s chest), he called upon the listeners to “cultivate the mind that can sense God the Parent’s blessings that are given to us in our daily life” by practicing that gesture of gratitude not only when performing the service and administering the Sazuke but also when eating food, taking a bath, and before going to bed.
Based on his experience, Rev. Hamada stressed that the way to sweep away the dust of the mind is “to perform the service.” He then spoke about some important aspects of performing the service, saying: “When we perform the service, we become aware of the state of our minds, habits, and temperaments. We should perform the service seriously so that we can get rid of our bad habits and temperaments. . . . At the same time, it is important for us to bring ourselves into full accord with God the Parent’s heart without being driven by our bad habits and temperaments.” Further, quoting from The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo and Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, he emphasized the importance of the service by saying, “Through this service, each person’s life is changed and eventually all people in the world will be saved.”
Furthermore, after reading anecdote No. 135, “With Round Minds,” Rev. Hamada said that all people in the world are brothers and sisters; therefore, it is important to live by helping one another. He also quoted a Divine Direction that says: “Everyone gets along well and shares a happy life together. When everyone lives happily, God is also happy” (Osashizu, May 9, 1898, night). He then said: “The world is one–one big family. ‘One world, one family’ is our slogan in Hawaii. I hope to spread the sense of universal brotherhood, represented by the slogan, to the people in Hawaii and to all the people in the world.”
Referring to the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, Rev. Hamada concluded his sermon by saying, “I hope that the children, parents, and other adults who are returning here as well as those welcoming them here will receive many seeds of joy, which will eventually flower in their respective countries.