Tenri High School’s Day Course
Tenri High School’s day course conducted its graduation ceremony in the school gymnasium on the morning of February 22. After presenting class representatives with diplomas for the 375 graduates (208 boys, 167 girls), Principal Shigehiko Iburi told the graduating class, “Though you may find yourselves in difficult situations from time to time, please remember that those situations are ‘knots’ that God the Parent provides for your spiritual growth and do whatever is necessary to make buds sprout from them.”
The Shinbashira, in his address, explained that this season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama is a season for spiritual growth, and he stressed the attitude that the graduates–as young Yoboku who had recently received the truth of the Sazuke–ought to maintain during this season. “The anniversaries of Oyasama,” he said, “are junctures at which we are given a chance to take a decisive leap in our growth as human beings. These seasons for spiritual growth only have meaning, however, when we make an honest effort to seek God the Parent’s intention in creating us and respond sincerely to Oyasama’s desire to see us mature.”
Tenri High School’s Evening Course
The graduation ceremony for Tenri High School’s evening course was held in the school gymnasium on the afternoon of February 22. After presenting diplomas individually to the 115 graduates (44 boys, 71 girls), Principal Shigehiko Iburi asked them to have confidence in themselves and follow the path of their heart straightforwardly.
The Shinbashira began his address by expressing his admiration for these members of the graduating class, who had spent four years attending classes in the evening and working at Tenrikyo facilities in the daytime. He then spoke about the phrase “Buds sprout from knots,” which teaches that thresholds in our lives, though perhaps appearing to be junctures of difficulty or closure, are in fact opportunities for new growth. “What is especially important in meeting new thresholds,” he said, “is how you handle your mind. I hope that you will meet this threshold today in such a way that it will bring forth new buds of growth in the next stage of your lives.”
Oyasato High School
Oyasato High School’s graduation ceremony was conducted in the school auditorium on February 23. This was Oyasato High School’s last graduation ceremony, since it will be merging with Tenri Seminary High School to form the new Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School, which will open for the school year beginning in April. After presenting the 126 graduates (62 boys, 64 girls) with their diplomas, Principal Satoshi Nakamura asked the graduating class to continue embracing the spirit of “hinokishin with a smile,” which they had cultivated while attending the school.
The Shinbashira then explained to the graduates, “The spirit of single-heartedness with God is a way of handling the mind whereby we make our thoughts accord with the teachings rather than trying to make the teachings conform to our thoughts.” Before closing, he expressed his hopes that these young Yoboku would serve as Oyasama’s instruments in accomplishing the task of world salvation while keeping their minds single-hearted with God.
Tenri Seminary High School
Tenri Seminary High School conducted its graduation ceremony on February 24 in the school auditorium. After presenting the 60 graduates (36 boys, 24 girls) with their diplomas, Principal Motoo Matsuda delivered his address. Regarding the school’s merger with Oyasato High School, he assured the graduates that it was not as if their alma mater would be disappearing altogether since the new Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School would continue to uphold the same principles as its forerunners. Since the graduates will be attending the two-year Junior Seminary, he said that their graduation day represented not only the joy of having reached the finishing line of their three years in high school but also the expectation of standing at the starting line for their next stage of instruction at Tenri Seminary. He encouraged them to set out with pride and in high spirits.
The Shinbashira then addressed the graduates, expressing his high expectations that they would make a conscious effort to develop into the sort of Yoboku that Oyasama would find easy to utilize in Her work of world salvation.
Tenrikyo Language Institute
The graduation ceremony for Tenrikyo Language Institute was held on March 8 in the school assembly hall. Principal Hideharu Nakajima presented diplomas to the 86 graduates of the institute’s four departments: Japanese Language Department (37); Oyasato Fusekomi Department (20); Foreign Language Department (28); and Missionary Training Department (1). Fifty-eight of the graduates were from overseas: Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and France.
In his farewell address to the graduates, Principal Nakajima said: “Please remember that following Oyasama’s Divine Model entails basing all our thoughts and actions upon Oyasama’s example. Regardless of what direction you take in your life, I trust that you will become the sort of people who can exert a positive influence on those around you.”
Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi then delivered an address in which he encouraged the graduates to provide sincere care and guidance to nurture others. “All of you have become what you are today,” he said, “thanks to the patient care and guidance of your teachers as well as your church and family members. I hope that you, too, will now dedicate yourselves to nurturing others in your role as Yoboku.”
A joint graduation ceremony was conducted on March 9 for the graduates of Tenri Seminary’s three courses: Graduate Seminary (7), Junior Seminary (77), and Daini Junior Seminary (20). After presenting these 104 graduates with their diplomas, President Yoshikazu Terada expressed his expectations of the graduates, who had been trained to take a leading role in world salvation. He said, “I hope you will pursue the delight of the Joyous Life and deepen your experience of that joy as well as impart it to those who are troubled.” As means to accomplish that goal, he advised them to fully trust in God the Parent’s words, firmly settle the teachings in their minds, and straightforwardly follow Oyasama’s Divine Model.
The Shinbashira then told the graduates: “Sowing seeds of sincerity is not something you are expected to work at only while you are young. Rather, it is a lifelong task, and I truly hope you will devote your sincerity to the Parent and remain connected with the Parent throughout your lifetime. Please keep striving to mature in accord with God the Parent’s intention and Oyasama’s loving concern so that, no matter what situation you find yourself in, you will be able to base all your thoughts on the teachings and embrace an attitude that is worthy of a follower of this path.”