Commemorating the founding of the Teaching, the Autumn Grand Service was solemnly performed on October 26 in the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters with the Shinbashira presiding as chief officiant. The Tenrikyo community has spent the past 10 months since concluding the year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama taking fresh steps on the way to make further spiritual growth toward the next milestone to be reached in a decade. Having looked forward to the day of the Autumn Grand Service, some 72,000 followers returned to Jiba from various parts of Japan as well as overseas countries. They reflected upon the Teaching’s Day of Origin to gain a fresh understanding of the intention of the Parent–who wishes to save all humankind–and resolved to take a further step in implementing salvation work.
At 8:00 A.M.–the very hour when Oyasama became the Shrine of Tsukihi 170 years ago on October 26, 1838–the Shinbashira, accompanied by the other Service performers, left the Church Headquarters Staff Quarters to pay respects at the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall. He then proceeded to the Main Sanctuary and ascended the dais. After the strains of gagaku music ended, he delivered the Service prayer, in which he first expressed gratitude for the growth that the path has achieved. He then said: “Behind many troubles and difficulties in the world, those of us who are Yoboku, including the church head ministers, perceive Your parental intention to hasten salvation, and we are determined to tell more and more people that their lives can become filled with joy if they rely totally on You. We are prepared to do whatever it takes to help them join us in following the path of joy that consists in working for the salvation of others.”
It was drizzling early in the morning at the Home of the Parent. However, the weather recovered as the number of followers heading to the Main Sanctuary increased. Rays of sunshine broke through the clouds, and many found it warm enough to take off their coats by the time the Kagura and the Dance with Hand Movements were performed.
After the performance of the Dance with Hand Movements, the Shinbashira took the podium to deliver the sermon. He first stressed the essential purpose of founding the Teaching and called upon followers to take that purpose of the Teaching as the guiding principle of their own life. He then mentioned the Divine Model of Oyasama and the Story of Creation to explain that Oyasama’s teachings provide a solid, dependable guide that goes beyond time. He went on to encourage the listeners to perceive and understand the truth embodied in Her teachings, the truth that is beyond time, so that they can use that truth to address the problems facing the world today and join their efforts to reach out to society by showing an example of helping one another. After referring to the Seminar for Successors, he closed the sermon by saying, “I want to ask each of you to perform your tasks with a genuine sense of commitment to doing what you need to do by doing whatever you can through your own roles and positions.”
Waves of pilgrimage groups returned to Jiba for the Autumn Grand Service. According to the Overseas Department, a total of 950 followers from 18 countries and regions, including the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, Canada, the U.K., Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, and Hong Kong, returned to Jiba. From October 25 to 27, a total of 2,489 people attended the Besseki lectures, of whom 506 were first-timers, and 272 followers received the truth of the Sazuke, the Divine Grant.