Hinokishin is one of the Tenrikyo terms that are relatively well known to the public. There seem to be many people who have seen Tenrikyo followers in happi coats cleaning public facilities such as parks.
Although some may regard hinokishin as volunteer service, it is significant that the motivation for it is grounded in the teachings. If we use Chinese characters, we can write the word “hinokishin” as “日の寄進,” which can be translated as “everyday contribution.”
The essence of the Tenrikyo teachings is that we human beings were created by God the Parent, from whom we are constantly receiving blessings. We are not living by our own power but are being kept alive by the blessings of God the Parent. Hinokishin is action that expresses our sincere gratitude for this fact. Hinokishin can take various forms although they all share the same motivation.
For example, we are taught that trying to convey the teachings—even if we say just one word—can be hinokishin. Picking up litter in the neighborhood, calling for blood donations, engaging in volunteer activities, and the like can also be considered hinokishin.
Husband and wife are encouraged to work together in hinokishin. In addition, hinokishin should be spontaneous—we engage in hinokishin not because someone says we should do so but because we want to. That is how we can sow the seeds that will bring happiness to life.
Hinokishin is not theory but practice. Knowing about hinokishin is not the same as performing it. We would do well to savor the joy of faith ever more deeply through continuous efforts to practice hinokishin in everyday life.
From Tenrikyo no kangaekata kurashikata published by Doyusha Publishing Company