The 48th Meeting for Teachers Who Nurture the Mind, formerly called “Tenrikyo Teachers Meeting,” was held in the Home of the Parent on August 7 and 8. Nearly 400 teachers, former teachers, and others concerned with education came from all over the country to participate. The meeting is held every summer to give educators an opportunity to learn about concrete methods of implementing education that nurtures the mind, to raise their awareness of being educators who should be taking a lead in this field, and to enable them to develop relationships with other participants for future cooperation. The meeting was held against the backdrop of increasingly complicated and diversified youth crime and other problems, which are seen as stemming from rapid social changes. Crime committed by children from ordinary families is rising, the average age of juvenile offenders is decreasing, and their crimes are becoming more and more violent. Other problems include classroom disruption, social withdrawal, and suicide.
The meeting opened with an address by Mission Department Head Kazuo Nagao, who depicted the meeting as a “significant opportunity for those concerned with such an important occupation as education to gather together to discuss social issues.” He then said, “We should ensure that our homes and churches become proper soil for nourishing good seeds and young plants, so that we may nurture human resources who will work to realize the Joyous Life.” This was followed by an address delivered by Tenri City Mayor Keisaku Minami.
Honbu-in Yoshihiko Yasuno, Tenri University Corporation President, then gave a lecture entitled, “What is Religious Education?” “What is essential to the religious education that nurtures the mind is,” he said, “our efforts to implement the teachings and make spiritual growth to the extent that our joy is reflected in the mind of every child.” He continued: “The most important thing in imparting the teachings to children is for us ourselves to accept the teachings as they are with a sense of simple openness. The first thing that those engaged in religious education should do, therefore, is to give thought to the divine workings that are behind what we see with our own eyes.” He closed his lecture by saying: “Those of us who follow the path are aware of the importance of living in joy even in situations where things do not turn out the way would we like. So long as we live joyously each day, our joy will surely be reflected in others’ minds.”
In the afternoon, Mr. Shin’ichi Shinohara, head coach of Tenri University Judo Club, gave a lecture. Silver medalist in the men’s over-100-kg division at the Sydney Olympics, Mr. Shinohara looked back on his life as judoka. He spoke about the great influence he had received from his judo instructors during his junior high school, high school, and university days. “Thanks to the many wonderful people that I met in my life,” he said, “I have been able to continue my judo training until this very day. I would like to treasure them for the rest of my life.”
On the second day, the participants divided into groups to discuss various issues related to education. This was followed by presentations made by some participants, who talked about how to deal with children who have problems such as learning disability (LD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and high-functioning autism (HFA).