On March 28, Tenrikyo Students Association sponsored a convention entitled “Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba” with the support of the Student Advisory Committee. About 4,500 high school, junior college, and college students gathered in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters to participate in the convention, which was honored by the presence of the Shinbashira and the former Shinbashira as well as President Masa Nakayama and Vice President Harue Nakayama of the Women’s Association.
After the participants sang the Yorozuyo, Yoshitaka Takeshita, chairman of Tenrikyo Students Association, spoke to the students. He said: “All of us who have assembled here today have been drawn to Jiba out of the profound intention of God the Parent. Let all of us continue to make efforts to nurture ourselves so that we might meet God the Parent’s expectation.” He went on to say: “Let us walk the path together so that we might bring satisfaction to God the Parent and Oyasama and reassure ourselves that we are not alone.”
The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver an address. He explained: “The most important thing is to trust in the existence of God the Parent and to have faith that everything exists due to the blessings of God the Parent.” Then, referring to the Divine Direction that teaches, “With human beings, the body is a thing borrowed. The mind alone is yours,” the Shinbashira asked them to become aware that an illness or a trouble is a message from God the Parent and, therefore, to accept it in a positive way so as to make the best use of it. In so doing, he said, we are able to change our course of life fundamentally. He went on to say: “In order to make the best use of a knot, that is, an illness or a trouble, we need to make efforts to meet the intention of God the Parent. Therefore, I would like to ask you to spare no effort to learn the teachings of this path.” He closed his address by saying: “I should like all of you to exert yourselves in applying the teachings to your daily life while keeping in mind that you are to put the Divine Model of Oyasama into practice, even a little.”
After listening to presentations made by two members, the participants joined in reciting the association’s Three Pledges for Spiritual Growth: “Let us thank God the Parent for being kept alive,” “Let us spread the wonderfulness of the teachings to others,” and “Let us take it upon ourselves to visit our churches.”
Then, Tomoyuki Takamura, who will be appointed chairman for the next term, expressed his resolution. He said: “Taking the words of the Shinbashira as the guideline for us students of this path, we will continue to make efforts to nurture ourselves and energetically promote our activities so that we might convey the joy of faith to our friends.”
Following the convention, 431 students, including 141 first-timers, attended the Besseki lectures, and the rest participated in activities organized by their directly supervised churches. After the evening service, the “Spring Festival” was held on both sides of the South Gate. The participants enjoyed food and drinks served at 72 booths as well as a variety of entertainment provided on stages.