The Fragrance of the Teachings Sprinkled in a Unity of Mind

Tenrikyo Nioigake Day was observed from September 28 to 30, when Yoboku and followers throughout Japan engaged in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. Since the year 2002, which marked the 70th anniversary of the activity, efforts have been made to distribute Tenrikyo leaflets to every household in the country by the year of Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary.

During the three-day period, a total of nearly 1,600 people, including the staff members of Church Headquarters as well as students of Tenrikyo Language Institute, engaged in door-to-door missionary work in Senboku New Town, located in the Sakai-minami district of Osaka Diocese. For seven years in a row, this area has been selected for sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings since there is only one Tenrikyo church in this town of about 53,000 households with 150,000 residents, which represent about 20 percent of the entire population of Sakai City, thus making it difficult to reach out to all the households. At 8:30 A.M., those who assembled for Nioigake Day headed by bus for Senboku New Town, where they spread the teachings in groups for about two hours. After finishing their missionary work, they dedicated themselves in efforts of hinokishin by picking up litter.

In preparation for this year’s Nioigake Day, the Mission Department of Church Headquarters organized a workshop to promote sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. With a keen awareness that there are a number of Yoboku and followers who feel uncomfortable engaging in door-to-door missionary work, the workshop aimed at helping them acquire the confidence and skill necessary for sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. It included various activities such as group discussions and practice in doing door-to-door missionary work based on a guide called Nioigake Drill, which was put together by the Mission Department last October. Prior to the three-day Nioigake Day, the staff members of Church Headquarters were given a chance to attend the workshop, which was conducted four times in July and September.

Furthermore, attempts have been made at the regional level to enhance missionary activities. The Kohoku district of Shiga Diocese, for instance, sponsored a similar workshop based on the Nioigake Drill in June. During the workshop, the participants discussed various topics, such as the importance of comprehending messages of the leaflets they distribute, how to select appropriate leaflets, and how they should introduce themselves at the houses they visit. The participants also paired up to go around door to door in the neighborhood to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings, and later, based on their experiences, they exchanged their opinions on the issues that they became aware of. One of them, who later participated in the Nioigake Day, says; “Today, I carefully studied the leaflet in preparation for the door-to-door missionary work. Trying to understand the message contained in the leaflet changed my attitude toward sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. I now realize the need to nurture the ability to convey the teachings to others, rather than simply distribute Tenrikyo leaflets to households.

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