The High School Division of the Students Training Course was held at the Home of the Parent from August 9 through 15 with a total of 1,523 participants from all over Japan. This annual one-week course is designed to provide high school students with an opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts with one another so that they can reflect upon themselves and deepen their faith.
The students were divided into groups according to the number of times they had participated in the course. In addition, first-time participants were subdivided into groups for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and second-time participants were subdivided into juniors and seniors.
At the opening ceremony, held in Dining Hall 2 on the afternoon of day one, Honbu-in Motoyoshi Tomimatsu gave the opening address, urging the students to approach the training course with a proper frame of mind. Student Advisory Committee Chairman Kiyoharu Kontani then delivered his address and introduced the staff members to the participants. This year, the course was supported by a total of 731 staff members. After the opening ceremony, the participants and staff members assembled in the East and South Worship Halls for a prayer service.
The course went into full swing on the 10th. The students deepened their understanding of the teachings through lectures and class meetings, practiced the dance and musical instruments for the service, and dedicated themselves in selfless and thankful acts of hinokishin. Third-time participants started practicing the Teodori, the Dance with Hand Movements, in preparation for the highlight of their program, which was to dance the entire Teodori on the night of the 13th.
On the 11th, third-time participants visited a park area in front of the ancient Ishibutai Burial Mound in Asuka in order to enjoy an activity called “Hearty Interaction.” The lush green countryside helped them relax and enjoy the games and group work so that they were able to become better acquainted with one another.
The event called “The Path of Our Predecessors–Crossing the Jusan Pass” was organized on the 12th for second-time participants. In 1853, Oyasama’s youngest daughter, Kokan, crossed the Jusan Pass to spread the name of God the Parent in the city of Naniwa, now Osaka, when she was 17. The students were all about the same age as Kokan was. At 7:30 A.M., all participants performed a prayer service in the East Worship Hall before getting on buses bound for Takayasu Grand Church in Osaka. From there, participants started walking toward the Jusan Pass. Helping and encouraging one another, the main pack climbed the steep hills for about two hours and finally reached the Jusan Pass, located near the border of Osaka and Nara. After taking a short break, they treaded on downhill and reached Heguri-Nishi Elementary School. They were then bused to Nara Prefecture Water Treatment Plant, where they began the second leg of their walk to Tenri. Around 4:00 P.M., the main pack reached their final destination, the Main Sanctuary, where they received a warm welcome from staff members and shouted out with joy, “We made it!”
On the 13th, first-time sophomores participated in an event called “Run and Fun in Unity of Mind,” where they competed in various games. On the same day, first-time juniors visited the birthplace of Oyasama in an event called “Looking around Oyasato.” First-time seniors participated in “Talk in Doyusha,” where they took part in the production of a talk show.
Toward the end of the course, on the evening of the 13th, all third-time participants assembled at Dining Hall 2 and danced the Teodori, the Dance with Hand Movements. At 8:00 P.M. sharp, a signal block resonated in the dining hall. All the students danced spiritedly and sang powerfully in unity of mind. Through this performance, the students expressed their gratitude for the blessings that enabled them to attend the course for three straight years and resolved to make a fresh start toward the future.
On the 14th, a faith experience speech rally was held. Listening intently to the speeches given by fellow participants, many participants were moved to tears.
During the training course, time was allotted for attending the Besseki lectures, and 474 students including 191 first-timers listened to the lectures. Meanwhile, the other participants dedicated themselves in acts of hinokishin or attended Tenrikyo Basics Course.
On the morning of the 15th, all the students assembled for the closing ceremony. After Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi delivered his address, the participants and staff members performed the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo to express their gratitude for the blessings that allowed them to complete the course in good health. Following the closing ceremony, all participants received their certificates of completion from their lecturers or counselors. The participants exchanged hugs with friends as well as staff members and promised to meet again at the Home of the Parent.