On June 16, Tenrikyo Mission Center in Singapore conducted the service commemorating the 30th anniversary of its establishment, honored by the presence of the Shinbashira. About 230 followers, including those from neighboring countries, assembled at the mission center for the commemoration.
The path of Tenrikyo in Singapore dates back to the establishment of Tenrikyo Singapore Church in 1922. Thereafter many missionaries went to Singapore, but their missionary activities came to a standstill with the outbreak of World War II. An earnest desire to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings in Singapore was, however, revived in some missionaries around the 1960s. In 1971, official permission to conduct missionary activities in Singapore was given by the government authorities, and in 1972, the following year, the Mission Center in Singapore opened as Tenrikyo’s Southeast Asian center. Ever since, the mission center has been making strenuous efforts to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings, focusing on introducing Japanese culture to Singaporeans through classes in Japanese language, calligraphy, flower arrangement, ceramic art, and so forth.
On the 16th, the service commenced at 10 o’clock in the morning. After Mission Center Head Hiroshi Fukaya read his prayer, the Shinbashira took the podium. He began his address by reviewing the 80-year history of Tenrikyo in Singapore and said: “Though there was a period in which the mission came to a standstill, I am truly grateful that the number of people seeking God the Parent’s teachings, yearning after Oyasama, and becoming Yoboku has been increasing slowly but surely.” He went on to clarify the significance of a mission center: “A mission center is not merely a regional office that handles administrative work on behalf of Church Headquarters. Rather, it is a place where we ought to provide care and guidance that is conducive to the spiritual growth of the followers who live in the region. It is also a place where people who live in the same region, regardless of their church affiliation, can help and encourage one another, and join together in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work.” He then said: “The most important aspect of our efforts to spread the teachings is to convey God the Parent’s blessings and Oyasama’s parental heart and thus help people settle in their minds the understanding that all people in the world are brothers and sisters who are equally the children of God the Parent.” He further referred to how we followers should lead everyday life by saying: “Unless we receive the truth of the Jiba, we cannot receive God the Parent’s miraculous blessings, and unless we look to Oyasama’s Divine Model to discover the model for single-hearted salvation, we run the risk of unwittingly taking a wrong turn on the path. Consequently, though you live quite far from the Jiba, I should like you to keep your mind connected to the Jiba through your worship of God as well as to study the Scriptures and make an honest effort to follow Oyasama’s Divine Model.” He thus emphasized the importance of putting the teachings into practice in everyday life.
He went on to say: “People who have yet to become aware of God the Parent’s blessings or the intention embodied in those blessings tend to get lost in their greed and, in extreme cases, might even end up fighting one another. We must firmly maintain the conviction that this path will bring a true settling to the world.”
In concluding his address, the Shinbashira called upon the listeners to continue carrying out the energetic activities of the mission center, aiming at the world of the Joyous Life. “The blessing of the Joyous Life World will not be easy to attain if we practice our faith separately,” he said. “That is why it is important for followers living in the same region to bring their minds together and maintain a unity of mind. I hope, therefore, that you will not only work at making spiritual growth on an individual level but also help and encourage one another so that you may join your efforts with your minds united in striving for the further growth of the pathE. I hope that this center will continue to serve as a place where you can gather together and help one another to grow spiritually and refine your minds. I should like to bring my talk to a close, therefore, by expressing my sincere hope that this center will conduct its activities energetically and thereby serve as a base from which to spread the teachings.”
The Shinbashira’s address was simultaneously interpreted into English and Chinese.
Following the Shinbashira’s address, the service was performed joyously and spiritedly. Then, Mission Center Head Hiroshi Fukaya delivered his address, in which he made a fresh resolve, in anticipation of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, to make ever more spiritual growth while bearing in mind the words of the Shinbashira so that the mission center would become the sort of place that can bring joy to God the Parent, Oyasama, and the Shinbashira.
On June 17, the following day, the Shinbashira paid a visit to Towa Singapore Mission Station (belonging to Shikishima Grand Church), Meishin Singapore Mission Post (Senba Grand Church), and Ikoma Singapore Mission Station (Ikoma Grand Church). He also visited the Cultural Section as well as Ikoma Language School.
Between the 18th and the 20th, on his way back to Jiba from Singapore, the Shinbashira visited Tenrikyo Indonesia Shutchosho as well as Tenrikyo Mission Center in the Philippines. It was the first time for any Shinbashira to visit Indonesia or the Philippines. On the 18th, the Shinbashira visited the Indonesia Shutchosho in Jakarta, where he was welcomed by 66 followers. On the following day, the 19th, he left for the Philippines in order to visit Tenrikyo Mission Center in the Philippines in Manila. On the night of the 20th, he arrived back in Jiba.