The September Monthly Service was performed in the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters on the morning of the 26th. The Service began with the Shinbashira’s prayer in which he expressed appreciation for the constant blessings that God the Parent bestows upon humankind. He then quoted verse IX:7 of The Songs for the Service, which reads, “Indeed, this time all of you equally must ponder over it deeply.” The Shinbashira promised that we would give deep thought to the message contained in that verse and take a hard look at the state of our mind, which has given rise to the present state of the world. “Taking to heart the Parent’s intention for us to replace our minds quickly,” he continued, “we are prepared to let go of our self-serving desires and free ourselves from the limitations of human thought. Indeed, we are determined to devote the full measure of our sincerity to the tasks of single-hearted salvation, always keeping our sights focused on constructing the Joyous Life World.” With regard to Tenrikyo Nioigake Day, which was to be held later in the week, he pledged that Yoboku would make a concerted effort to convey–from house to house, and from heart to heart–this path that will truly bring peace to the world.
The Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed while the congregation spiritedly joined in singing the songs that accompany the Service.
Next, Honbu-in Sunao Shimizu took the lectern to deliver the sermon. Reminding the listeners that only a few months remained in this second year of the three years set aside for our pre-anniversary activities, he stressed the urgent need for followers to reflect on the way they had been conducting their individual activities and ascertain whether they had been doing their utmost. He went on to recount how Kokan, Oyasama’s youngest daughter, had gone to Osaka to spread the teachings shortly after her father’s passing in 1853, and he praised the simple openness with which she had complied with Oyasama’s wish for her to go. “During the season at hand,” he continued, “we also are being asked to implement activities to help others be saved, and I would like to suggest that we embrace the task in that same spirit of simple openness.”
He pointed out, however, that our present efforts may be insufficient and suggested that this might be due to our inadequate understanding of the teaching of dust and the truth of a thing lent, a thing borrowed. “Once these are understood and settled in our mind,” he said, “we find it rather easy to practice joyous acceptance, which ultimately leads to a state of lasting joy. That joy, in turn, brings about a desire to help others savor the Joyous Life as well.” He emphasized the importance of putting quality time into exploring the truth of a thing lent, a thing borrowed–which he described as the starting point and foundation of our faith–and he stressed the need to maintain a deep sense of gratitude throughout the course of our daily lives.
In closing, he appealed to the listeners: “On January 26, 2006–just a little over a year from now–we will be observing the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. Bearing in mind that Oyasama’s anniversaries serve as milestones to mark our progress along the path of spiritual growth, let all of us make painstaking efforts to save others so that we may meet the next milestone with a new level of spiritual growth. There is a special joy that can only be known after having made painstaking efforts, and I hope that every Yoboku will be able to share in savoring that special joy on the occasion of Oyasama’s anniversary.”