The 5th International Hinokishin Corps operated from July 18 to 24 at the Home of the Parent, enrolling 88 members of the Young Men’s Association from nine countries: the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, Slovenia, Colombia, Spain, Brazil, France, and Taiwan.
The corps, formed once every three years, is designed to provide overseas members with an opportunity to sow seeds of sincerity at Jiba through hinokishin, which refers to actions that express one’s joy at being alive. In addition, the evening programs enable the participants to practice the musical instruments for the service and deepen their understanding of the teachings through discussions, as well as to strengthen mutual ties among the members.
The participants, representing different nationalities and languages, first assembled on the morning of the 18th for a ceremony in Moya 2 to mark the beginning of the corps. The Shinbashira, who is also the president of the Young Men’s Association, addressed the corps by talking about the circumstances in which the Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps was first established. “The significance of our Hinokishin Corps lies in advancing our spiritual construction, which should not fall behind the progress in the construction of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex,” he said. “The work you do as members of the Hinokishin Corps will take on meaning and serve the future of the path if you are sincere in desiring to understand God the Parent’s mind even a little. . . . The important thing is to maintain a stance of mind that is capable of responding to the mind of the Parent who has drawn you forth. To help you do that, you would do well to keep your high-spiritedness without getting caught up in empty theorizing as you go through each day.” Following the opening ceremony, the corps members made their way to the Main Sanctuary, where they joined together in performing the service.
The members divided into five groups to work at different locations from the next day. Their work included setting up the earth-carrying hinokishin site for the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, cutting weeds around Shirakawa Dam, making ground stakes at Sansai-no-Sato camping site, and removing trees as part of forest thinning operations on Mount Jatani, owned by Church Headquarters.
Brazil Young Men’s Association Chairman Paulo Yasuharu Ishizaki (head minister of Sul América Church) participated in the International Hinokishin Corps for the second time. “It is due to God’s blessings that we have been able to return to Jiba,” he said. “We have, moreover, been given the opportunity to engage in hinokishin right by Oyasama’s side. We all feel a sense of pride in it. Maintaining this feeling, I’d like to continue my efforts to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and help others be saved in Brazil.”
“I felt really good when doing hinokishin,” said San Francisco resident Robert Williamson, who joined the corps for the first time. He was invited to participate by America Young Men’s Association Chairman Hamilton Niwa (future successor to the head minister of Hope of the Pacific Church), whom he had met last year. Although this was, for him, a foreign land’s religious event, he had agreed to come because the invitation had been from Mr. Niwa, who, he said, would be the last person he would doubt. “The teaching of hinokishin is wonderful,” said Mr. Williamson. “I’d like to use this experience as a springboard for learning the teachings more fully, and I hope to visit the church with my daughter after going back to America.”
Mr. David McCreadie, a Yoboku (belonging to Kyokushi London mission station) from the United Kingdom, was another second-time participant in the International Hinokishin Corps. He had first come across Tenrikyo about 10 years ago through judo. Deeply moved by the way Tenrikyo followers had taken such good care of him during judo-related events, he had become interested in the teachings of this path. “My mother underwent surgery for Parkinson’s disease several days ago,” he said. “To help her receive God’s blessings, I’d like to do my utmost in the service of God while at the Home of the Parent.”