Boys and Girls Association
On January 27, Tenrikyo Boys and Girls Association held its leaders’ first meeting of the year in Dining Hall 2, drawing 1,678 participants—including heads of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters as well as members of the nurturing committees of those chapters.
This year, the association will be promoting the same guidelines for association activities as last year: “Let’s implement the Joyous Life each day and convey to children the joy it brings.” The three concrete goals for association activities are also the same as last year: (1) Having all chapters conduct children’s sleepovers and get-togethers at their churches; (2) Conducting hinokishin activities in districts and encouraging participation by whole families; (3) Redoubling efforts to nurture members in junior high school—conducting and enhancing the “Workshop for Children of the Path” in directly supervised chapters and the “Workshop for Association Members in Junior High School” in diocese chapters.
At the meeting, the new theme for the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba for 2018 (Tenrikyo 181) was also announced, namely: “Gratitude! In joy we are united, to the Home of the Parent!” The association emphasized the message “Let’s promote our regular activities and increase the number of children returning to the Home of the Parent!”
The meeting began with an address by the Shinbashira, who also serves as president of the association. In his address, the Shinbashira first pointed out, “What we need to keep in mind at all times as we follow the path is to emulate Oyasama and hand down the path of single-hearted salvation to the generations to come without mistake, besides following the path ourselves toward spiritual maturity.”
He then said that there can be different ways of guiding people and conveying the path to them depending on their age bracket or their level of spiritual growth. He said: “Tenrikyo Boys and Girls Association was established for the purpose of working with young children so that they would make the teachings second nature and eventually become people of the path who can work for the path splendidly. Just like the Young Men’s Association and the Women’s Association, its aim is to help its members make progress along the path of spiritual growth. After children finish their membership in the Boys and Girls Association, they are to follow the path on their own volition and serve as Yoboku, who strive to maintain the mind of saving others. This is what the Boys and Girls Association should be ultimately aiming to accomplish. I would like to make sure we all understand this point.”
Moreover, he said, “What Oyasama showed us and left for us through the Divine Model is the foundation that enables us to nurture and guide children of the path.” He explained that “Oyasama’s uncompromising attitude that gives way to nothing in order to fulfill the intention of God the Parent is a precious example that we should be following, as we are entrusted with the responsibility to hand down the path to the next generation.”
Whether or not the Boys and Girls Association activities are going in the direction of single-hearted salvation is determined by whether those involved in the activities ask themselves if their minds are thoroughly single-hearted with God. The Shinbashira then went on to list some key points to keep in mind—“whether adult leaders themselves are making an honest effort to put the teachings into practice” or “whether they are not focused too much on entertaining the children.” He then requested the participants to make adjustments from time to time in organizing their association activities and to guide the children of the path with a deep conviction of faith and with a strong sense of commitment to fulfilling whatever tasks they are given.
Furthermore, the Shinbashira emphasized that the activities of the Boys and Girls Association can be regarded as faith-based education that can be offered regionally. He expressed his earnest wish for the adult leaders to promote activities so that in 20 or 30 years’ time today’s children will follow the path with confidence and, working with future generations of children, will strive to extend the path ever further.
The Shinbashira concluded his address by saying: “Children grow physically and spiritually as they get older. It is my earnest hope that they will make good use of what they learn while they are members of the Boys and Girls Association, using it as nourishment for their spiritual growth, and continue following the path in the future. . . . Please maintain the attitude of nurturing and promote association activities vigorously.”
Chairperson Chikara Iburi then took the podium to explain the activity guidelines and concrete goals for this year. He said: “It is crucial to provide as many opportunities as possible for children to come in contact with and implement the teachings of Oyasama in their daily life. I strongly request that you carry out association activities proactively in your respective communities and at your respective churches.”
“Especially,” he emphasized, “children’s get-togethers at churches are significant because those gatherings will provide precious opportunities to establish a close relationship between churches and children, which is important for the children’s lifelong journey to spiritual maturity.”
With regard to the third concrete goal, namely, “Redoubling efforts to nurture members in junior high school,” Chairperson Iburi asserted that those years in junior high school are crucial in making a smooth transition to the next stage in their spiritual growth and said, “Based on an increased understanding of the characteristics of children in that age bracket, the association headquarters will organize activities that cater to their needs as well as seminars that will assist in the effort to nurture them.”
On January 27 and 28, Tenrikyo Women’s Association held a seminar for the chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters at Moya 38 with an attendance of 247 people. The association announced that it will continue to promote its slogan for spiritual maturity:
Let’s follow the Divine Model and become the foundation for the Joyous Life.
The activity guidelines are also the same as last year:
Let’s grow spiritually into true Yoboku with our sights set on making repayment for the blessings we receive.
1. Let’s study the teachings and make them our own.
2. Let’s nurture those close to us into true Yoboku.
3. Let’s sprinkle the fragrance and help save others, aiming for a million members.
In the seminar, Association President Harue Nakayama delivered her address. She started by explaining the importance of the Truth of Origin based on the Ofudesaki. Referring to one of the key concepts in the Ofudesaki, namely, God the Parent’s intention to save the world by teaching the Origin, she said: “We should not just understand God’s intention in our heads but try to settle it in our mind and convey it to others. Taking delight in the fact that we are fortunate to have been taught the Origin, let us work to implement what we need to do.”
She mentioned that the Women’s Association 100th Convention would be held this April and that the Women’s Association would be celebrating the 110th year of its establishment in two years. She then concluded her remarks by saying, “Let us fulfill our role as women of the path by following the path while keeping in mind the intention of the Parent of Origin, so that we can bring as much joy as possible to God the Parent and Oyasama.”
During the seminar, the participants also had study meetings and group discussions.
The association is planning to hold various events and activities this year such as the following: The Women’s Association 100th Convention will be held in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters on April 19. Following the convention, all the participants will perform the service together. In preparation for the 110th anniversary of the association, the Women’s Association will be sponsoring the Seminars for Branch Chapter Chairwomen at each directly supervised chapter between February 10 and June 30. Other activities include regular events such as the Lecture for Mothers and various seminars.
Young Men’s Association
On January 25, Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held its monthly meeting at Yoki Hall. It was attended by 418 people, including chapter chairmen from directly supervised churches and dioceses as well as members of the steering committee.
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association. Under the slogan “Work with your mind—open up the world,” the association is continuing to encourage every member to make honest efforts to seek the path and spread the teachings this year. Also it is once again promoting the guidelines “Be grateful and take on new challenges.”
At the beginning of the meeting, Association President Daisuke Nakayama took the podium to address the participants. Touching upon its 94th convention to be held on October 28, 2018, as the 100th Anniversary Convention, he mentioned that the anniversary is not a goal but the beginning of a new endeavor to shape the future of Tenrikyo. He went on to say, “In order to ensure our full readiness to embark on a new stage, let all of us spend the remaining nine months making strenuous efforts to conduct the association activities.” As for the guideline “Let each of us bring one new person to worship,” which was established in January last year, he said that there is joy that can only be savored by those who have brought new people to worship.
He asked the members to work hard at fulfilling the goal so that the joy of bringing new worshipers will be experienced by as many people as possible, who will in turn proactively tell other members about this joy, as well. He concluded his remarks by saying: “I am personally committed to trying to conduct our 100th anniversary activities with more enthusiasm than anyone else. Let’s all work hard to carry them out while having fun!”
Association Chairman Yoshihito Ando then explained the association’s activity goals. Regarding the effort to spread the teachings, he announced two concrete goals: “Sprinkle the fragrance from heart to heart in a conscious effort to bring new worshipers” and “Promote Arakitoryo Nioigake Day.” Regarding the effort to seek the path, the association is working toward the following two concrete goals: “Let us practice filial piety, maintain harmony in our husband-wife relationship, and implement the Joyous Life” and “Let us study the teachings and cultivate the ability to convey the teachings to others.”
It was also announced that, toward the 100th Anniversary Convention, the association will use the motto “All Association Members Assemble!” On the day before the convention, the association will hold “100 Fest” in the daytime in the areas on both sides of the South Gate and in the evening in the open space in front of the Oyasato-yakata’s East Center Wing. Further details will be provided in due course.
As for the “Worldwide Nioigake Month,” the association announced that it will be held in June under the theme “Bring New Worshipers to Start a Chain of Salvation Work!” With respect to the activities to be conducted by the chapters, Arakitoryo Nioigake Day (day focused on sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings) is scheduled for the second Sunday of each month.