Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day: Followers Express Joy of Life Around the World

The annual Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day was observed at a large number of locations throughout Japan on May 16 and at scores of locations in overseas countries on a variety of days, mostly in May. This year’s motto was: “Get all Yoboku and their families involved.” While hinokishin refers to daily actions that express one’s gratitude for the gift of life and one’s joy at being alive, this annual event provides followers with a special opportunity to combine their efforts in an outpouring of joy, thus enabling them to show their gratitude to God the Parent and make a contribution to the local communities at the same time.

Though at a number of locations the wet weather caused the event to be postponed for a week, many districts either went ahead as planned or modified their plans–some changed venues–to suit the weather conditions.

At a time when Tenrikyo was nearly halfway through the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama–scheduled for January 2006–the participants spiritedly engaged in hinokishin activities to make repayment for the blessings constantly given by God.

In the Home of the Parent, Hinokishin Day was observed on May 16 at 29 locations–not 59 as planned–such as elementary schools, community centers, and other such public places and facilities. To commence the event, some 4,500 people gathered in a light rain in Church Headquarters’ Inner Courtyard. They included staff members of Church Headquarters, members of the Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps, and students of Tenrikyo schools and of the Spiritual Development Course. After a moment’s prayer and a speech by Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs Tomoo Itakura, the participants broke up into groups and headed for their respective sites in town.

In other parts of the world, too, Hinokishin Day drew many people to a number of locations. The Tenri Jiho newspaper has reported on activities conducted at the following venues.

In Brazil, Hinokishin Day was observed in 16 districts on May 1, Labor Day, with a turnout of over 1,500 altogether. In the Sao Paulo district, the event was held in Ipiranga Independence Memorial Park, located in the center of the city, drawing some 880 people. With fanfare provided by an 80-member fife-and-drum band, the opening ceremony began at 9:00 a.m., and a message from Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi was read aloud to the participants. It said: “We are able to be alive here and now because we receive God the Parent’s workings. We also receive God the Parent’s guidance, which seeks nothing less than to enable each and every one of us to lead the Joyous Life. Hinokishin refers to actions expressing our joy and gratitude for the blessings and guidance that we receive from God the Parent. Let us spend this day doing hinokishin together in high spirits so that we may present our communities with a convincing example that illustrates the truth of the teachings.” The participants then spread out through the extensive park to clean up. Other districts that observed Hinokishin Day included Bauru, where 164 followers cleaned up a home for the elderly. Some participants gave haircuts to the residents.

In Mexico, 22 followers cleaned the classrooms and gymnasium of a kindergarten in Aguascalientes district on May 8. In Colombia, followers cleaned up a nursing home in Cali and a city park in Palmira on May 16.

In North America, nearly 500 people took part in various hinokishin activities at about 30 locations, such as parks, schools, and cemeteries, between April 30 and June 5. In New York, about 50 followers cleaned the vicinity of Tenrikyo New York Center on May 2, and 22 of them donated blood at a nearby hospital.

In Hawaii, 100 followers gathered at Honolulu Zoo on May 1, where they pulled weeds and raked leaves.

In South Asia and East Asia, Hinokishin Day was observed at numerous sites such as the following. In Singapore, 65 followers cleaned East Coast Park on May 23. In Taiwan, some 500 people engaged in cleanup activities at 15 locations between May 15 and 30. In Hong Kong, 29 followers pulled weeds at Ma On Shan Country Park. In Thailand, some 90 followers painted beds at a children’s home on May 16 in Pathumtani, about 40 km (25 miles) north of Bangkok. Some followers also gave haircuts to children, and some performed comedy skits to entertain residents. In Mahasarakam, also in Thailand, 38 followers cleaned up a park on May 23. In Metro Manila, the Philippines, a record 88 participants gathered in Quezon City Memorial Park to pick up litter on May 9. Another 22 did cleanup work along the shores of Laguna de Bay in Santa Rosa on May 29. In Nepal, 115 followers cleaned Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu on May 15. In South Korea, 660 people cleaned up parks and other public places between May 16 and 27.

As for the rest of the world, about 20 followers picked up litter in Hyde Park in London on May 15. In Australia, three groups of people, comprising 95 altogether, performed cleanup activities in three cities: Melbourne on May 2 and Sydney and Brisbane on the 16th. In Auckland, New Zealand, 25 worked together to plant 650 trees on a waterfront site in Onehunga.

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