2007 Graduation Ceremonies Held in Tenri

Tenri Seminary

A joint graduation ceremony was conducted on March 9 for the 121 graduates of Tenri Seminary’s three courses: Graduate Seminary (6), Junior Seminary (91), and Daini Junior Seminary (24). Tenri Seminary, whose principal goal is to nurture human resources who can take the lead in single-hearted salvation, has a history of 107 years, making it Tenrikyo’s oldest school. Honored by the presence of the Shinbashira and the former Shinbashira, the members of the graduating class met the occasion with firm commitment to fulfill their role as Yoboku by devoting themselves to single-hearted salvation. After presenting the diplomas to the graduates, who were attired in the formal service kimono, Tenri Seminary President Yoshikazu Terada delivered a farewell address to them. Citing a Divine Direction that reads, “You are all young. Yet, if your mind is singly intent on the truth of the path, you are always on a sure footing,” he encouraged the graduates to be absolutely sincere and straightforward in making progress on the path of world salvation. He went on to say, “I have high expectations that you will continue to devote yourselves to ‘seeking the path and sowing seeds of sincerity’ through whatever positions are entrusted to you and that you will grow into outstanding followers who can serve as Oyasama’s instruments.” Taking the lectern, the Shinbashira began his address by congratulating the graduates and expressing his appreciation for the dedicated hinokishin efforts they had made during their enrollment in the seminary. “We can say that Tenri Seminary, compared to other schools in Tenri, offers a greater opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge of Tenrikyo and become thoroughly versed in the teachings.” He explained that wearing the service kimono for their graduation ceremony, which is permitted only for Tenri Seminary graduates, expressed the awareness that they would be going out into the world as Yoboku trained at Tenri Seminary, and he thus encouraged them to go through life in a manner befitting seminary graduates. He added: “Please take advantage of everything you learned here. No matter what situation arises, please use the teachings to find a guideline for your thoughts, and please strive to become the sort of people who can think and act in a manner that is characteristic of Tenrikyo followers so that, in the end, you will always be able to savor joy.” Following the ceremony, the Shinbashira and the former Shinbashira posed for a commemorative photograph with the graduates. The members of the graduating class then proceeded to the Main Sanctuary to perform a thanksgiving service. Hereafter, 52 of the graduates will serve at Tenrikyo offices and facilities in the Home of the Parent, 49 will serve at their churches or overseas mission headquarters, and 4 will reside at missionary houses.

Tenri High School’s Day Course

The graduation ceremony for Tenri High School’s day course was conducted in Tenri University’s gymnasium on the morning of February 22. The ceremony was attended by the Shinbashira as well as teachers, parents, and underclassmen. After presenting homeroom representatives with diplomas for the 414 members of the graduating class (240 boys and 174 girls), Principal Shigehiko Iburi delivered an address in which he encouraged the graduates to make a determined effort to nurture unshakeable faith. He went on to say, “I hope you will forever cherish the fact that you attended the Besseki lectures during the significant year of Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary and then became Yoboku during the current year when the entire Tenrikyo community is setting out for the next milestone in our spiritual growth.” The Shinbashira then delivered his address to the graduates, all of whom had become Yoboku during the previous month. Stressing the importance of putting Oyasama’s teachings into actual practice in their daily lives, he said, “I hope that you will all work very hard at training yourselves so that, whenever you run up against difficult choices in life, you will be in a position to base your thoughts and actions on the teachings.” Next, an underclassman delivered a farewell message to the graduates, and a representative of the graduating class reflected on the three years they had spent at the school while expressing appreciation to the many people who had helped them over the years. Perfect attendance awards were presented not only to those who had never missed a day during their three years in high school but also to those who had never missed a single day of school throughout their 12 years of primary and secondary education.

Tenri High School’s Evening Course

Tenri High School’s evening course held its graduation ceremony in the presence of the Shinbashira on the afternoon of February 22 in Tenri University’s gymnasium. Honoring the 115 graduates (regular department, 85; nursing care department, 30), the ceremony was attended by their parents, teachers, and underclassmen, as well as representatives from their daytime workplaces. The school’s brass band provided background music while Principal Shigehiko Iburi presented diplomas individually to the graduates. In his farewell address, he asked them to keep up the Tenri spirit that they had cultivated during their enrollment. The Shinbashira began his address by expressing admiration for the members of the graduating class, who had spent four years working at Tenrikyo offices and facilities in the daytime while attending classes in the evening. Referring to the fact that all of them had become Yoboku during the previous year, the Shinbashira said, “You will now be going your separate ways, but whatever course of life you choose to take, it will not alter the fact that you are all Yoboku.” Following the ceremony, the new graduates proceeded to the Main Sanctuary to perform a thanksgiving service.

Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School

Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School–which opened in April 2005 with the merger of Oyasato High School and Tenri Seminary High School–held its 2nd graduation ceremony in the school auditorium on February 23. The occasion was honored by the presence of both the Shinbashira and the former Shinbashira. Principal Motoo Matsuda presented the 203 graduates (102 boys and 101 girls) individually with their diplomas. Although they had entered high school as students of either Oyasato High School or Tenri Seminary High School and, in fact, continued wearing the uniform of their respective school throughout their enrollment, they left the school as graduates of Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School. Principal Matsuda told the graduates in his farewell address: “Please continue to practice the keywords ‘joy, gratitude, and hinokishin’ in your daily lives and be sure to use Oyasama’s teachings as the yardstick for all your thoughts and actions. I hope that each of you will grow into the sort of Yoboku who can serve the path and work to save others.” The Shinbashira, addressing the graduates, explained that Tenri Seminary and Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School shared the basic aim of cultivating the sort of faith and conviction that would enable their students to become outstanding Yoboku. “Single-heartedness with God,” he continued, “refers to the ability to base all our choices and actions on God the Parent’s intention. Though you will now be going your separate ways, I want to ask you to always maintain the conviction that allows you to be single-hearted with God.” 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.

Tenrikyo Language Institute

The graduation ceremony for Tenrikyo Language Institute (TLI) was held on March 8 in the school assembly hall. Principal Hideharu Nakajima presented diplomas to the 82 graduates of the institute’s four departments: Japanese Language Department (39); Oyasato Fusekomi Department (21); Foreign Language Department (20); and Missionary Training Department (2). Sixty-one of the graduates were from 13 overseas countries: Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, the United States (including Hawaii), Australia, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Uganda. After presenting the graduates with their diplomas, Principal Nakajima delivered a farewell address in which he said: “Please keep striving to attain spiritual growth. To do that, you will need to study the teachings harder, deepen your understanding of them, and work at polishing your mind. Though you are now setting out on a new course of life and your living situation may be completely different from what it has been here, I hope that you will hold fast to the mind of sincerity and keep working to attain spiritual growth.” Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi then delivered a congratulatory address in which he drew attention to the crucial importance of attaining spiritual growth in the course of following the path. “Today,” he said, “we are apt to focus only on the results we attain from our efforts to spread the teachings, whereas our predecessors were careful to place emphasis on the manner in which they were following the path. It was the process that mattered to them, and one of the aspects of that process is what we call ‘sowing seeds of sincerity.’ Spiritual growth, therefore, is something that God the Parent gives us in response to the effort we make. I hope that all of you will also make steady efforts, a step at a time, day after day, always keeping your sights set on becoming ‘genuine’ Yoboku.” Representatives from each of the institute’s four departments then gave appreciation speeches in which they recalled the many experiences that they had benefited from during the school year.

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