Any person who is 17 years of age or older is eligible for admission to Shuyoka, the three-month Spiritual Development Course offered in the Home of the Parent. Shuyoka students study the teachings and strive to become Yoboku who implement the Joyous Life, 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 other places in the world return to the Home of the Parent to attend Shuyoka. Held as part of the 936th session of Shuyoka from April 1 through June 27, the English class, the Chinese class, and the Spanish class consisted of 46 students from 18 countries and regions.
Marizel Martinez, a Cuna woman—“Cuna” referring to an indigenous people of Panama—attended the Spanish course with her father and her friend. In 2012, Marizel came to know of the teachings through a Tenrikyo missionary that visited a Cuna village in Panama to spread the teachings. She had received a pamphlet from the missionary and was impressed by how big Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was. The following year, she and 16 others—including the village chief—returned to Jiba. She then attended the Besseki lectures and became a Yoboku. After returning to Panama, she started carrying out activities such as picking up trash around her house in the spirit of hinokishin. Through Shuyoka, she learned that everything we do to make repayment for the blessings we receive from God the Parent is hinokishin. She said: “There are family members and people around me that are against my faith in Tenrikyo. However, after returning to Panama, I will strive to follow the path wholeheartedly, leaning on the Divine Model of Oyasama.”
One day last autumn, when Guillermo Domingo Pascual went for a walk, he coincidentally came across Buenos Aires Church (in Argentina) and learned of Tenrikyo. Amazed by the character of Rev. Yoshikuni Naito, head minister of the church, he started to visit the church on a frequent basis and, having become eager to learn more about the teachings, he decided to attend Shuyoka. After a month, he started to struggle with relationships with his classmates but, after listening to the Besseki lectures, realized that everything he encountered was the manifestation of his state of mind. He then had a change of heart and was able to change the use of his mind. He said: “Through Shuyoka, I discovered that diligently learning the teachings and then implementing them will lead to salvation work. I hope to be able to convey the teachings to others with a sincere mind.”
Two years ago, Ujawala Manandhar (from Nepal) lost her mother in a gas explosion in the kitchen. Unable to accept what had happened, she went on crying for days and was unable to work. Her boss at work then invited her to the monthly service at a local fellowship called Shinmeiko. Experiencing a Tenrikyo service for the first time, she wondered why she felt so at ease. She continued to go to the fellowship for services and learned about the teachings. She then applied for admission to Shuyoka to learn how to play the musical instruments for the service. However, she was always concerned about her nephew, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and was unable to move his lower body. “I was very worried about my nephew’s condition before I left for Japan,” she said. However, while learning the teachings and doing her best to implement them, she started to feel that as long as she was implementing the teachings, God the Parent would surely bestow blessings on her nephew. Having been able to receive the Sazuke during Shuyoka, she said, “I look forward to administering the Sazuke to my nephew after I return home to Nepal.”
From the U.K., Sung Jin Han applied for admission to Shuyoka after learning about the teachings through a friend. He was amazed by the teaching of the Complete Providence of God the Parent, while attending Shuyoka. “I was able to learn and understand that what I had taken for granted—while asleep, unconsciously breathing and our hearts beating—is all due to God the Parent’s blessings,” he said. “I was amazed by these teachings that I had never heard of before. Through all of this, I was able to feel gratitude, not just for the blessings that we can see physically, but also for being kept alive.” After learning about the Eight Dusts of the Mind, he became more conscious of his actions, and that enabled him to reflect more on his actions. After returning to the U.K., he intends to return to his job as an engineer. “I would like to apply what I learned at Jiba—the mind of helping one another—with my coworkers and those around me. I hope to be able to grow more spiritually to be able to spread the fragrance of the teachings,” he said.
When Hongyu Wang was a student, he came to Tenri on an international exchange program for those who do karate. At that time, he met Rev. Masayuki Fukui—head minister of Taiwan Shoshin Church. After graduating from a university, he started to work at a television company but later quit due to relationship problems and a thyroid disease. He was then encouraged by Rev. Fukui to attend Shuyoka. After his first hinokishin experience in the Home of the Parent, he wondered if he might have been sent here to do work that was very repetitive like his old job. However, after being encouraged by his fellow classmates that were engaging in hinokishin with smiles, he said, “Before I knew it, I was smiling, too.” He also experienced many wondrous feelings as his fellow classmates administered the Sazuke to him every day. As the days went on, he started to gradually receive blessings for his thyroid problems and, in the third month, his symptoms stopped completely. “Through Shuyoka, I learned that ‘true sincerity’ is the most important teaching,” he said. “I hope to keep these words embedded in my mind throughout the rest of my life and, after I return to Taiwan, I hope to be a Yoboku that offers a helping hand to anyone at any time.”