Tenrikyo’s headquarters marked the 209th birthday of the everliving Oyasama on April 18 by performing the Oyasama Birth Celebration Service and holding a music event called “Joyous Chorus.” The occasion drew tens of thousands of followers, including many from overseas, to the Home of the Parent in the city of Tenri, Japan. Oyasama, “our beloved Parent,” is seen as guiding all humankind to the realization of the Joyous Life, which Tenrikyo teaches is the purpose for which humankind was created.
The Service was led by the Shinbashira, the leader of Tenrikyo. Accompanied by the other Service performers, he arrived in the Main Sanctuary shortly after 10:00 A.M. after paying respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall. He went on to ascend the dais and delivered the Service prayer to God the Parent on behalf of all followers. After expressing gratitude for the constant providence, he said: “Today is an auspicious day because, on this very day of this month in 1798, Oyasama was born with the causality of the soul of the mother in human creation. Therefore, we Service performers will now conduct the Oyasama Birth Celebration Service by performing the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements with our joyous minds in unison.”
The prayer was followed by the Kagura Service, which Oyasama taught as the path to universal salvation. Reenacting God’s creation of humankind and the world, the Service embodies the divine intention to reconstruct the world as that of joyousness, the world as God originally intended it.
After the Kagura Service, the Shinbashira, his wife, and the former Shinbashira proceeded to the Foundress’ Sanctuary to serve a meal to Oyasama. Meanwhile, the Dance with Hand Movements was joyously performed in the Main Sanctuary, with the followers enthusiastically singing the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service.
Following the conclusion of the Dance with Hand Movements, a sermon was delivered by Honbu-in Yoshihiko Yasuno. After summarizing the life of Oyasama, he mentioned the fact that the path spread like wildfire following Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life. He said: “God the Parent’s blessings were provided in response to the sincere efforts of our predecessors who fervently spread the path while placing their entire trust in the truth of the everliving Oyasama, the Service for universal salvation, and the truth of the Sazuke. This is the proof that the everliving Oyasama continues to work for us.”
Furthermore, quoting from the Divine Directions and Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo, he emphasized the importance of exerting our full measure of sincerity while completely trusting in the everliving Oyasama. He concluded his sermon by saying: “On this auspicious day today, let us joyously settle the mind to ‘purchase God’s sincerity with our own sincerity’ for the sake of endless generations. The everliving Oyasama will certainly guide us to the Joyous Life. So, let us renew our pledge to reflect the delight of the Joyous Life to the world.”
Following the sermon, the Shinbashira read a prayer to the everliving Oyasama in the Foundress’ Sanctuary. “Amid the deepening sense of confusion in society, we are determined to rely on the teachings as our dependable guide so as not to be swept along by the current of the times,” he stated. “Moreover, with the joy of being able to follow the true and firm path, we are resolved to make further efforts to become Your useful instruments.”
Immediately following the Service, the “Joyous Chorus” took place in the Inner Courtyard, where an orchestra comprising students of Tenri High School accompanied thousands of followers as they sang a number of songs together to celebrate the occasion, including “O-uta 12: Path of the Divine Model” and “Oyasama’s Birthday Celebration Song.”