Tenri High School’s Day Course
The graduation ceremony for Tenri High School’s day course was conducted on the morning of February 22 in Tenri University’s gymnasium, located directly in front of the high school. Guests at the ceremony included the Shinbashira as well as the teachers and parents of the 222 boys and 204 girls in the graduating class. Also present in the spacious gymnasium was the school orchestra, which performed “The Oyasama 120th Anniversary Song” while the graduates made a grand entrance into the venue.
Principal Shigehiko Iburi read the names of the 426 graduates aloud before presenting their diplomas to class representatives. In his talk to the graduates, the principal reminded them that the education they had received at the high school was based on Oyasama’s teachings, and he asked them to take pride in having Tenri High School as their alma mater.
Next, the Shinbashira took the lectern to address the graduating class. Referring to the fact that the graduates’ enrollment in Tenri High School had coincided with the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, he explained that Oyasama’s anniversaries are junctures that we designate to help us concentrate on our quest for spiritual growth. “Oyasama’s anniversaries have significance,” he said, “when we make the necessary effort to prepare for them by embracing a special commitment to attain spiritual growth and by making tangible progress toward that goal.” He went on to say: “I am sure that you already have many ideas about what you want to study after graduation, or about what challenges in life you wish to undertake. Nonetheless, I want to suggest that you also be ambitious in following the path, motivating yourselves to dig deeper into the teachings and to implement them in your daily life.”
A representative of the underclassmen then delivered a farewell message to the new graduates, and a member of the graduating class reflected on the three years they had spent at the school while expressing appreciation to all those who had helped them over the years. To close the ceremony, the participants joined together in singing the Young Men’s Association’s anthem, which also serves as the school song.
Tenri High School’s Evening Course
Tenri High School’s evening course conducted its graduation ceremony in the presence of the Shinbashira on the afternoon of February 22 in Tenri University’s gymnasium. Since students in the evening course spend four years attending classes in the evening and working at Tenrikyo facilities in the daytime, guests included not only their teachers, parents, and underclassmen but also representatives from their workplaces.
The school’s brass band provided background music while Principal Shigehiko Iburi presented diplomas individually to the 115 graduates (49 boys and 66 girls). In his farewell address to the graduates, the principal drew attention to the many national awards that members of the graduating class had received for both club and individual activities. He announced that the Gagaku Club, winner of the “Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Prize” at the All Japan High School Culture Festival held last summer, had been invited to take part in an upcoming Japan-China cultural exchange event backed by the Ministry of Culture. He closed his talk by telling the graduates, “All of you have become Yoboku during this important year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, and I trust that you will choose to live your lives in a way that brings Oyasama joy.”
The Shinbashira began his address by explaining the significance of Oyasama’s anniversaries. He then referred to the well known maxim “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. He went on to say: “The phrase ‘Buds sprout from knots’ allows us to view difficulties optimistically, but we should recall that, in actuality, branches sometimes grow from knots while others break off.” Reminding them that their graduation represented one such threshold, the Shinbashira asked them to remember what they had learned during their enrollment in the evening course and to set out on the next stage of their lives in a manner that would enable buds to sprout.
Following the ceremony, the new graduates attended their final homeroom period together with their parents before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary to perform a thanksgiving service.
Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School
Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School–which opened last April with the merger of Oyasato High School and Tenri Seminary High School–held its inaugural graduation ceremony in the school auditorium on February 23. The occasion was honored by the attendance of both the Shinbashira and the former Shinbashira.
After presenting the 211 graduates (100 boys and 111 girls) individually with their diplomas, Principal Motoo Matsuda said that, although they had originally entered high school as students of either Oyasato High School or Tenri Seminary High School, last year’s merger of the two high schools had made them the first graduating class of the new school, which, he emphasized, continues to uphold the same principles as its forerunners. He closed his talk by saying, “Please continue to practice the keywords ‘joy, gratitude, and hinokishin’ in your daily lives and be sure to stick to the straight course of the path, always using Oyasama’s teachings as the yardstick for your thoughts and actions.”
The Shinbashira, addressing the graduates, explained that “single-heartedness with God” refers to keeping the mind centered on God and handling the mind in such a way that we make our thoughts accord with the teachings rather than attempting to make the teachings conform to our thoughts. He then expressed his hope that the graduates, who are all Yoboku, would always keep themselves single-hearted with God. He closed by saying: “The role of Yoboku is to serve in the tasks of single-hearted salvation so that our societies may be transformed into the Joyous Life. I hope that you will always keep your minds focused on the teachings and redouble your efforts to grow into the sort of Yoboku that Oyasama will find easy to use.”
This year, two representatives delivered appreciation speeches on behalf of the graduating class. One was a former student of Oyasato High School, while the other was a former student of Tenri Seminary High School. The ceremony closed with the singing of “O-uta 7: The Seeds of Single-hearted Devotion.”