Any person who is 17 years of age or over is eligible for admission to Shuyoka, the three-month Spiritual Development Course offered in the Home of the Parent. Shuyoka students sow seeds of sincerity at Jiba, reflect on their daily use of mind, and cultivate the joy of faith during their stay in the Home of the Parent, where the everliving Oyasama resides.
People from all parts of Japan as well as various places in the world return to the Home of the Parent to attend Shuyoka. Held as part of the 924th session of Shuyoka from April 1 through June 27, the English class consisted of 19 students: four from the U.S.A (three from the mainland and one from Hawaii); three each from the Philippines and Vietnam; two each from Nepal, Mongolia, and Brazil; and one each from Australia, Myanmar, and Kenya. The same session also included the Chinese class with 20 students (17 from Taiwan; two from Singapore; and one from Hong Kong) and the special Japanese class designed for overseas followers with 12 students (nine from Cambodia and three from Mongolia). In addition, the 925th session, which started on May 1 and ended on July 27, included the Thai class with 17 students (13 from Thailand and four from Laos.) Also, the French class is taking place from June through August with seven students (four from the Republic of the Congo and three from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.) These classes for overseas followers have drawn a total of 75 students from 18 countries and regions.
Kapia Benewis Malin from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) is attending the French class. Three years ago, he came to know of the teachings through a Tenrikyo pamphlet, which was given to him by a friend of his, and started to visit a fellowship in Kinshasa that later became a Tenrikyo mission station. Back then, he had been unhappy with various kinds of problems. However, as he engaged in hinokishin activities at the mission station, his mind gradually became clear and positive, allowing for a more humble perception of life. He was also blessed with a recovery from a stomachache of unknown cause that had beset him since childhood as a result of the administration of the Sazuke by his fellow followers of the path. This time, he decided to return to Jiba to enter Shuyoka with three fellow followers on the recommendation of his spiritual parent, the head minister of Tenrikyo Honshibafusa Branch Church. On hearing of the church head minister’s intention, he made up his mind to become a Tenrikyo missionary and dedicate his whole life to the path. “During the three months of Shuyoka, I would like to deepen my understanding of the teachings so that I can convey them to many people,” he said.
Phayline Deviengxhay from Laos attended the Thai class. She said: “Six years ago when I gave birth to my first daughter, we were both in critical condition. However, thanks to the blessings of God the Parent, we were saved. I applied for Shuyoka to express my gratitude to God the Parent for the blessings we received.” At first, she was worried about what might lie ahead in Shuyoka because she had brought her two-year-old son to Shuyoka but had no Japanese language skills to reach out for help when she needed it. Yet, she soon realized her worries were unfounded. Whenever she was in class or was engaging in hinokishin activities, those who were serving in her followers dormitory among others took care of her son. She said: “I was really touched when I saw them treating my son and Japanese children with equal kindness. They help and support me and my son with sincerity when I ask for help, which I can only do through hand gestures or facial expressions. After I return to my home country, I want to share with my family and friends the loving-kindness that I experienced here in the Home of the Parent as well as the spirit of mutual help that I learned from Shuyoka.”
Javier Pablo Goicochea from New York attended the English class. Four years ago, he came to know the path and, last year, he received the truth of the Sazuke and became a Yoboku. During Shuyoka, his fellow classmate who has been a wheelchair user fell down and had a compression fracture in his lower back at his followers dormitory. The classmate, however, had politely declined any offers of the Sazuke, saying: “You’re always helping me out. I don’t want to cause you any more trouble.” Mr. Goicochea, however, did not give up and patiently told him: “God the Parent and Oyasama would work whenever we administer the Sazuke. To help save others by administering the Sazuke is the mission entrusted to us Yoboku.” Two days after accepting Mr. Goicochea’s offer of the Sazuke, the classmate started attending the classes of Shuyoka again and, eventually, received the blessings to the extent of being able to walk short distances by himself. Mr. Goicochea said: “I have been able to reconfirm the preciousness of the truth of the Sazuke while my desire to help save others who are suffering from illness has been strengthened during Shuyoka. I want to continue to administer the Sazuke to those suffering from illness without missing any opportunity.”