Honored by the presence of the former Shinbashira, Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in South Korea held its monthly service on August 18. Some 5,000 followers assembled at the mission headquarters in high spirits to welcome the former Shinbashira, who was making his first visit to South Korea, and reaffirmed their commitment to the further growth of the path in South Korea.
The weather had been windy since dawn because of a typhoon approaching the Korean Peninsula. However, followers started to gather at the mission headquarters even one hour before the starting time of the service. The congregation quickly filled the 200-tatami-mat worship hall and overflowed into the precincts. Soon the two thousand chairs set up in the precincts were fully occupied.
Shortly before 10:00 A.M., the former Shinbashira arrived in the worship hall and led the congregation in worship to commence the monthly service. Following that was Bishop Yoshimi Maegawa’s reading of the prayer in Korean. Reflecting on the course of the path in South Korea during the period following the relocation of the mission headquarters in 2002, he stated in his prayer: “We have been shown wonderful blessings during this year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. Building on the joy we have felt at receiving these blessings, we would like to make further progress in advancing the path in South Korea.” The seated service and the Dance with Hand Movements were then joyously performed.
This was followed by an address delivered by the former Shinbashira. After describing his joy at being able to visit South Korea for the first time, he expressed his appreciation for the sincere efforts the congregation had been devoting to the path each day. Emphasizing that all people in the world are brothers and sisters as the equal children of God the Parent, he explained how followers should work for world salvation. He said: “In my understanding, Oyasama sometimes used the expression ‘people in the world’ to refer to those who have yet to know the intention of God the Parent or Her teachings. In South Korea as well as many other countries, there are people who know the teachings of God the Parent, yet in every country there are also those who do not. This means that you will be engaging in world salvation when you sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings on people in the country where you live. It is thus important to give serious thought to how you can contribute to world salvation now.” He went on to say that the important thing for followers is to actively devote themselves to the salvation of others by doing whatever they can. At the end of his address, he stressed the importance of nurturing the next generation of the path and said, “I very much hope that you will take an honest look at where your steps are leading you, place total trust in the teachings of Oyasama, set your sights high, and spiritedly work in single-heartedness with God.”
Commemorative photographs were taken after the address, and the former Shinbashira planted a tree to commemorate the occasion.