Tenri Seminary, which nurtures human resources that will serve as the core for the future of the path, held its graduation ceremony on March 9 with the Shinbashira and Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama in attendance in East Right Wing 1 of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex. Tenri Seminary, since its establishment in 1900, has consistently produced graduates that play a main role at the forefront of missionary activities. This year, there were a total of 109 graduates: Graduate Seminary research program, 6; Graduate Seminary practical training program, 19; and Junior Seminary, 84. On this day, the young graduates took to heart the congratulatory address delivered by the Shinbashira as they left the school with a new pledge for single-hearted salvation.
Following the opening prayers and the singing of the Yorozuyo, Principal Zenpei Kubo presented the diplomas to the representative of each graduating class. Then the Shinbashira gave an address. After congratulating the graduates, the Shinbashira talked about the purpose of Tenri Seminary, which was established as Tenrikyo’s first school to nurture human resources who would shoulder the path. He went on to say that the fact that they studied the teachings and cultivated their faith through engaging in hinokishin and missionary work as students of this school, meant that they were educated and trained right by God the Parent and Oyasama’s side, while sowing seeds of sincerity for the future.
He then talked about the phrases “respond to God’s parental love” and “bring joy to God the Parent,” which are often heard at this seminary school. He explained that Oyasama’s intention in shortening Her natural term of life by 25 years and withdrawing from physical life, was to help all Her children, all humankind, to grow more spiritually mature. He then said: “Making earnest efforts to respond to this parental love is the way for those who have learned and studied the teachings to walk the path. . . . Constantly reflecting on ourselves as we make efforts to ponder things in this regard will lead to bringing joy to Oyasama.”
He further stated after quoting from the Osashizu that, as we followers sincerely strive to be thorough in following the Divine Model, Oyasama responds to our sincerity by going ahead of us to provide Her blessings for us. He emphasized, “There is no other way to follow the teachings than to earnestly follow Her model path for single-hearted salvation.” Continuing he said, “No matter what situation you are in, continuously following the path earnestly with the Divine Model in your heart will bring joy to you as you spiritually grow, and that joy will give you power to grow even more spiritually mature.”
The Shinbashira closed his address by expressing his hopes that the seminary graduates would follow the path in a befitting manner and achieve even greater spiritual growth that would enable them to serve admirably as instruments of Oyasama.
Before the address by the Shinbashira, Principal Zenpei Kubo spoke to the graduates about the school motto: “Seek the path and sow seeds of sincerity.” He told them that it is important to always make sure that they follow this motto without forgetting it throughout their lifetime. He then quoted from Anecdotes of Oyasama: “Even the things that are considered to be straight by all the people of the world are warped when they are placed against the measure of heaven.” He referred to these words of Oyasama to stress that the teachings of Oyasama are the constant and dependable guide for all Yoboku. He closed by summing up what all followers should focus their minds on, “It is very important for all of us to follow the path by aligning ourselves with the teachings.”
Later, a representative of the Graduate Seminary research program graduates expressed appreciation for the advice the Shinbashira had given them in his address. That was followed by a pledge by two graduates from the Graduate Seminary practical training program and the Junior Seminary. Following the ceremony, a commemorative picture was taken with the Shinbashira and Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama in the center. Later the graduates went to the Main Sanctuary for an appreciation service.
Among others, 30 of the graduates now work as staff members at facilities in the Home of the Parent including Tenrikyo Administrative Headquarters; 50 serve at churches, followers dormitories, and overseas mission headquarters; 11 study in Tenri Graduate Seminary’s practical training program; and 3 live at missionary houses.