The June Monthly Service of Church Headquarters was conducted on the 26th in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding.
The day turned out to be a sunny spell during the rainy season. The high temperature in northern Nara Prefecture reached 34°C (93.2°F). A clear blue sky stretched above Oyasato and the Sanctuary precincts while white cumulonimbus clouds peeked out behind the eastern mountains.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m., the Shinbashira and other Service performers left the Staff Quarters for the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall to pay their respects before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary.
In the Service prayer, the Shinbashira expressed gratitude for God the Parent’s daily protection and said: “We Service performers as well as church head ministers and Yoboku will deeply ponder Your parental intention behind the numerous occurrences we are shown and awaken to the truth of the current season. Mindful that we are instruments of Oyasama, we will wholeheartedly serve in this role by maintaining the spirit of single-heartedness with God and the attitude of hinokishin where greed is absent and by helping one another in unity of mind so that the joy of single-hearted salvation may be achieved.”
This was followed by a joyous performance of the Kagura and Teodori. Followers sang the Mikagura-uta in unity of mind while the sun strongly shone on the Sanctuary precincts.
A sermon was then delivered by Honbu-in Kazuo Yamada. He spoke of what we Yoboku can learn from the exemplary lives of our predecessors as pointers for our own lives as we work to advance enthusiastically on the path to spiritual maturity. He turned to The Life of Oyasama and Anecdotes of Oyasama for examples of the kind of attitude that all Yoboku ought to take to heart.
In his sermon, Rev. Yamada described the unexpected knot at the Oyamato Shrine that occurred when followers passed the shrine en route to Chushichi Yamanaka’s home to celebrate the raising of the ridgebeam for the Place for the Service in 1864. When followers distanced themselves from the Residence as a result of this knot, Oyasama’s daughter Kokan remarked that they should not have gone. At this, Oyasama said: “Do not complain! This will be the basis of a teaching in the future.”
Rev. Yamada explained, “As Oyasama warned, despite how casual Kokan’s remark may have been, any complaint will cause us to fall far short of living the Joyous Life that God the Parent desires. . . . If we analyze our usual way of life and find that we have been offhandedly whining, complaining, and expressing our dissatisfaction, then we ought to quickly make the efforts to correct our behavior.”
Rev. Yamada next brought up Anecdotes of Oyasama, no. 21, “That’s All to the Good, That’s All to the Good.” The story in question is about the time heavy flooding caused a landslide on Chushichi Yamanaka’s mountain properties and buried his rice fields. Rev. Yamada said, even amid our efforts to openly practice and believe the teachings, when we are shown an unexpected calamity or a serious illness, we often tend to fail to awaken to God’s parental love and say to ourselves: “I have devoted myself so much. Why did this happen?” He then suggested that Oyasama’s instruction to Chushichi Yamanaka to practice tanno—or “to accept the situation with a heart of gratitude”—marked the starting point from which he replaced his mind, became single-heartedly devoted to God, and received God’s splendid protection.
Further, he said, “We are taught that tanno is accepted as the repentance for the causality from our previous lives. . . . Good causality allows God to continually bless us with happiness whereas God has our bad causality manifested so that a large misfortune may become a small misfortune. We are thus taught tanno as a way to settle the mind, a path of repentance that stops our spirits from falling. We as Yoboku ought to humbly savor the preciousness and magnificence of the teaching of tanno and express our gratitude for God’s blessings by spiritedly following the path that allows us to cancel out our bad causality.”
Lastly, to members of Yoboku families who have maintained the faith for several generations, Rev. Yamada said, “Let us not sit idly by, resting on the precious merit accumulated by previous generations, but instead have the discipline to look back on our daily lives to ensure we are measuring up to the footsteps of our predecessors as detailed in The Life of Oyasama and Anecdotes of Oyasama.” He concluded his sermon by saying, “Let us establish goals for furthering our spiritual growth to even greater heights and work spiritedly to advance toward these goals joyously so that we may bring peace of mind to God the Parent and Oyasama.”